Thomas Green here with Ethical Marketing Service. On the podcast today, we have John Davis. John, welcome.
Well, thank you for having me, really excited to be here today.
It is my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Absolutely. When I was young I had dreams of being a stuntman and a fight director and I went ahead and did all that. And then I became an artistic director, a college professor. And now I’m a professional keynote speaker and I go around to corporations all over the world and I awaken the interaction here, their team, using whips and numb checks and comedy.
Those are some pretty cool professions and you’ve got the speaking gig down – it’s very unique, isn’t it? Any thoughts on that approach at all?
Absolutely. When I first started speaking, I really tried to mould myself into the box of being a leadership speaker or something like that and I struggled for years trying to be a leadership speaker and when I leaned back into my authentic self and started doing the things that I really enjoyed doing and love doing, then I started getting all kinds of work. It was like, you know, the corporations didn’t want the standard leadership speaker, they wanted the, the guy who comes in there and make them laugh and gives them whips and dump trucks, but also brings really valuable content, it reminds me of, have you ever heard any old nightingale at all? Oh yeah, he talks about follow the follower, everyone sort of you know he’s copying everyone else and in your instance you decided to go completely against that and it’s working pretty well for you. Well you know it’s so funny because it literally, it’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger used to say when somebody told him he couldn’t do something, he’d say great I’m gonna be the first. When you look at his career and he has you know he became top bodybuilding, at the top in the movie industry, he became top in the political world, he did everything he ever wanted to do just by being able to step outside of himself and be something different and for me by that’s actually by my biggest marketing for speaking, you know my catch line is when I talk to a client for the first time, what kind of comedy, sort of finding stuff can I do for you?
You know, and it catches their attention right away. They’re like what? And then what’s interesting is that I bring real value because I also bring your linguistics and brain science and all the techniques for breaking through their fears and their anxieties and you know through change and leading a team through change. So I’m not only bringing them really something fun and exciting but I’m also bringing something that really changes the work environment, the work culture and I watched the I feel like I’m doing the audience a bit of a disservice because I already know I watched the video on the website, but of course other people haven’t, So can you share, I don’t know, maybe I might have to try and put a bit into the video or something, but can you share what that looks like? Yeah, Yeah, well yeah, I come out on stage and I first start with a joke, but then I work my way through. The first thing I do is I bring someone on stage to demonstrate fearlessness and I crack whips out of crept targets out of their hand with a whip.
And then by the end of the whole presentation they’ve been laughing, they’ve been joking, they’ve been interactive. I use no power points in any presentations because I want to in the room experience, not something that separates them. And technically, and this is for anybody who’s out there who’s in business, who gives presentations when you turn on a power point presentation, it splits the brain into two very distinct segments, which puts the brain into a form of trance and it shuts actually shuts down the part of the brain for content retention, so you really don’t want to use as much power point, you want to use PowerPoint as an enhancement, not a thing to lean on top of I don’t use power point at all, just because of the fact that I don’t want to have that sort of thing, but the last thing I do on that stage, in my main, my main speech is I bring the most timid person I can find up from the audience and in under five minutes time using my five f techniques, I take them from never having cracked the whip to taking targets out of my hand.
That is quite a promise, isn’t it? And it happens every time and it’s interesting because it is, it is all about managing their fear and getting them to leverage their present moment effectively, and once I get them, once I get there fear managed, I also, I also adjust their timeline from learning the skill to knowledge of the skills, so I shortened their learning curve, I increase their productivity and they get into their goal faster. So has that ever kind of gone badly for you in any way? You know what? The only time it came close? Well, the only time it came close was the last time I chose a man to do that because you put a whip in a guy’s hand and the testosterone kicks in and it gets a little crazy on stage, he almost hit me in the ear as opposed to near my hand, which was three ft away from my ear, right. but I find that that when I, when I choose a woman for that routine, they’re, they’re very focused, their very clear that and the testosterone obviously does not get in the way well how do you learn, how does that come about learning that skill?
The whip cracking or getting someone to do that. How did it come about for you?
The whip cracking? You know, it’s funny, I’m a firm believer that when you put yourself out there boldly and you, like for instance, I wrote a whole show about that, that needed me to crack whips in the show and I had never cracked the whip, so I gave myself a thing that I needed to get done by a certain date because I had booked the show and so it gave me the impetus to jump right into learning it. And it was very interesting because the first guy who tried to show me how to crack a whip for a week, he tried to teach me how to crack a weapon, just wasn’t working, and then somebody walked up to me and said, have you ever been fishing? And I said, yeah, I said, just cast your fishing rod and I cast a fishing rod and crack, and I was like, that’s so weird. And then I realised that when the first guy was trying to teach me the first thing he said to me was let me explain the speed of sound.
So basically because that’s why whip cracks the whip cracks, because it’s actually breaking the sound barrier and the sound you hear is a small sonic boom. And so for a week, I was listening to what he knew about whip cracking, but not actually learning anything from an exponential level, and this other guy walks up and says, you know, he met me where I was new, that it’s not a crack, a whip, and basically said it’s just like casting a fishing rod, I said, oh that’s easy crack, you know, that’s what I do when I, one of my stage with my, with my cut, my the person I draw up from the audience is I’d never talk about whips, I I only talk about fishing and I get to talk about fishing, I get part of the audience to do funny fish faces, like, like this right, and I get them to choose which fish they want to catch and the whole bit, so I got him laughing and joking and feeling light in the moment, and I just got to cast their fishing around and they cast it and they crack the whip, you know, for me, that’s how I learned, and then once I, once I learned the first crack, you know, once you, once you break through the educational barrier of getting something the first time you’ve now what they say crack the nut, you’ve gone past the hard shell and now you’re into the meat of the thing, everything after the first crack is easy because then it’s all experimentation and improvisation, you just play around until you figure things out now.
I do fancy crazy whip cracking all around my body now, but it was all because I realised that after that first crack that I could, and once I figured out that I could, that I don’t have to do is just play around and find out where the next crack was going to come from. Have you caught yourself at all? At any point, I’m gonna take my glasses off and you can see this, there’s a lump right here and that lump is where I broke my nose with the handle of the bull whip because they got caught under my shoe and the handle because you have all that motion coming up, that handle had to go somewhere and I went right into my face and so I broke that, I’ve cut myself several times, you know, bleeding. Yeah, I’ve hurt myself pretty good with some war wounds. It’s all part of the process, it’s all part of the process. You mentioned NLP, um, presumably you use some of those? Because NLP is correct my form around quite good short cutting, that learning curve.
So it’s good for learning things. So how usually, is that, how you used to learn it and also how you teach others? Well, I’ll give you an example of how I use it and when I, when I first learned that I was, I was working with people who are hypnotists and so they were they were already because I was working a lot of renaissance festivals and a lot of outdoor theater things. And so I was working around variety artists and hypnotists and you know magicians and fire eaters and sword swallowers. I was I was around some of the craziest people in the world. But they were all doing an LP. And so I started getting very interested in NLP, but the way I use it in my program that to go back to that person that I bring on stage with the whip after they crack at the first time casting their fishing rods. The first thing I say to them as I say, did you hear a crack? And they go yes, so what I’ve just done is I’ve anchored them to a sonic a sound, right? So now that sound means they know how to do it.
So did you hear it crack? Yes. So then I do a thing that’s called a hypnotic wipe where I literally go I take my hand and I sweep from high to low. And this is a gesture that all of us do naturally. But in hypnosis, they call this a wipe, it’s like you’re supposed to forget that when you do that, you know? And I’ll give you an example of people who do this naturally. You know somebody says gosh you look beautiful today, go stop, right? Yeah, that’s top right? And but the thing is if you can anchor something first, if you can go, did you hear a crack? And then you anchor it? And then you go wipe away anything else to go? So you already know how to make a crack and you start nodding and almost monotone. We already know how to make it crack, because that’s what’s dropping right into the subconscious mind. So did you hear a crack? So you already know how to make it crack and you do that three times and now you’ve created repetition. What happens is you’ve just changed their timeline from learning a skill to knowledge of the skill.
And when you shift them out of the learning into the knowledge, they don’t have to worry about learning anymore. And so they go from suddenly, you know, I’m just learning, I’m learning how to crack a whip. No, you know how to crack a whip, don’t worry about that. And then the next thing I do is I pull out a target and I hold the target out. Now I know that the next thing that’s going to happen to them is they’re going to have a fear of hitting me and before they can even get there, I said, look at me, you already know how to make a crack. I promise you’re not going to hurt me. You know sometimes when you’re leading somebody through something stressful, you gotta lie to him. Okay. But you have to realise that if I’m a leader in that situation and I’m going to guide them and I want to adjust their brain to do it correctly. I’ve got to meet them where they are and where they are is afraid to hit me and by going in there and directly, directly going at their fear and saying, I promise you’re not going to hurt me. It’s funny to watch them because they suddenly go okay and they just start cracking the whip towards my hand, right? And what happens is the other thing I said, I don’t get them focused on hitting the target.
What they actually say is I say, look right here and just cast your fishing rod and so I’m getting them even out of the out of the idea of the struggle of actually having to hit this thing. I’m just getting into the space of staying calm and serene and out of their fear and just simply casting their fishing right at the fish they want to catch and they hit the target every time I’ve done this hundreds and hundreds of times And they always learn it all in under five minutes. Amazing. If you watch that video at the end of that video, you’ll see four or five women taking targets out of my hand with the whip. It’s super cool and your hypnosis journey. Did you go back to people like Milton Erickson, that type of yeah, do you get kind of involved in the self-development side of it idea? I studied it, I didn’t really go to a lot of the, I went to one of the big conferences out in California, but I but I didn’t I didn’t continue with that because I was working, I was getting so much, so much work.
What do you put a whip and a motivational speaker together? You get work, you know? And so I I continued my studies but I didn’t I didn’t continue with the big hypnosis thing and the organisations and but yeah, I spoke at one of the conference is out in the out of the west coast, one of the NLP conferences in the hypnosis conference, and now it’s like I have been out of it for so long because I just use it to make to do my job to do what I do and I don’t actually study it any longer really. Okay. Any thoughts on band Little Bandler? any thoughts on Bandler? It’s been so long, Ericksen of course, but yeah, I couldn’t give you a really good answer on that radio? Well, I just thought because he’s like quite influential in that space, that maybe that was an inspiration there, but well, you know, it was really inspiring to me, was that I actually I’d go to this kind of study those things, but I was more influenced by the fact that I had two friends who were professional hypnotists now and actually now three friends professional.
So I was with them all the time. So my influences came more from them than really from the from the studies that I was doing, because they were they were showing me in time on stage with people. And so to me that was that was probably more influential to me than anything else because I was having real experience, you know, right there in front of my face on a daily basis. So as much as I did study I actually got more out of the fact that I was watching people practice. You had a good peer group, would you say? That’s true. Absolutely, absolutely. My comedy partner, he’s a hypnotist. My friend Rick, he’s a juggler, animals show, but he also does a hypnosis show. And my friend Peter, he’s a magician, He went on to do a full hypnosis show. Now he’s a hypnotherapist all the time. Full time. And really just it’s just great, yeah, the having peers that are that are deep into, it was very influential for me.
Cool, You touched on the five F approach, would you like to share that? Sure. Absolutely, absolutely. What the five F approach is, is a method of hacking your fight or flight response, breaking through your fear barriers. the first of my five Fs. Fearlessness. And before we can talk about fearlessness, we need to talk about what fear is for most people When I asked my audiences all over the world, what is fear? The room goes silent. Nobody says a word. They have no good answer for that. Until somebody in the back of the room will pull out the old trope false evidence appearing real. I hear that all the time and I don’t I don’t buy that answer because I don’t believe it fits scientifically with what fear actually is. Fear when you look at it scientifically is simply an emotional reaction to some future event that may or may not happen with you focus on the negative outcome. So it literally is just negatively focused uncertainty. Now, if that’s the case, that means fear is not rooted in your present moment. Fear is just an experience of negative focus.
And so I’ve got to break that fear out of the body because the body has a natural primal response to fear. And the simplest way to address that fear is to do the exact same things the actors on Broadway do when they’re on stage and they see 1000 people in their audience and they forget their lines. The next thing that they’re trained to do is exhale, relax all the muscles and it shuts off the fear response and turns the cognitive thinking bring back on and all their lines rushed back into their head And the reason this works is a very simple one. Have you ever watched those National Geographic shows on TV, those safari shows? I can’t say I have, sorry. Okay. Okay. So if for those of you who have you’ll know that almost every episode has a doomed gazelle. Hey there’s always these gazelles that are always getting attacked by something bigger and more fierce and the gazelles out there eating grass in the field just crunching away and suddenly the lion, it’s the field.
The first thing the gazelle does is go gasp for air and it’s the same thing with anybody who’s in a fear response. They feel like they can’t breathe but it’s not that they can’t breathe. It’s that their body is storing air in their lungs so they can run further and faster. The reason the actor’s lines come rushing back into their head is because they exhale, they get the air out of their lungs and they tell their body they don’t need the air for survival. And so by shutting off that response that way they’re able to move on. I was very fortunate I had a chance to go to the front lines of both Iraq and Afghanistan and I got to talk to soldiers in the field and I said how could you go into a firefight or a situation where you know you make a shot at or bombs blowing up around you. How can you do it? He said the first thing they do is they all get together and go okay we’re gonna do this. And the exhale, that’s the first thing they do. But the second thing they do is they get focused on the positive outcome of their objective.
They get very seriously focused. So the first of my five Fs fearlessness. The second one is focused. So now when you look at focus, focus on is an interesting thing. You can focus positively where you can focus negatively. And the interesting thing is there’s only one moment in your life you can focus and at your present moment it’s also the only moment that you can create anything to experience because it’s the only moment you have all three creative elements, thoughts, words and deeds. And your present moment is the place where all those things happen. But your past is a place where they store present moment memories, creating a subconscious belief, subconscious mind from your experiences but your past has a second job. Number one, it stores those subconscious belief that subconscious memories and those beliefs, those present moment memories but also whatever you focus on your subconscious mind will show you to give you an example. I love jeeps. I’ve had six of them in my life. I have one of my garage right now right when I drive down the road, I see every jeep on the road because my conscious mind sees jeeps?
Because I’m focused on jeeps because I love jeeps so much so I see them everywhere. If you’re someone who wants to buy a new car and you decide what kind of car you wanna buy before you go to the store to buy it, you’re gonna start seeing that car everywhere because that’s what you consciously focused on. So your subconscious mind collection stores these memories for subconscious belief, but it also shows you what you’re focused on. So if you’ve ever known as a negative person, you know, they always have something to be negative about and that’s because they’re focused on negative and so their subconscious mind is showing them negatively, which is giving them a negative moment, which is stacking another negative moment in their subconscious mind, which is creating a treadmill of negativity, that’s why they’re staying on the treadmill of negativity. The interesting thing is the future, you’ll never get there, your future is just a place where you set goals for future present moments because everything you experience happens in your present moment and you’re never going to get to that. So if you’re sitting here creating negatively, no matter what goal you said, you’re gonna you’re not gonna get there because you’re staying in this negative space. But if you can stay in this present moment and start stacking small President moments, successes that are in alignment with the goal, that thing comes and surrounds your experience. Does that make sense?
Perfect sense. Yeah, so when you experience that goal, it’s not going to be in the future. I mean, you can’t go to the store next Thursday right now, you know, you can only do it right here right now, so it’s going to come to you and surrounding experience. So fearlessly focus The next one is faith, belief, confidence. I don’t care whether you get your faith in your in your religion or your spirituality, I’m just, I’m literally talking about confidence, belief that it’s going to happen, believe that’s coming and you can believe that, you know, whatever part of your spirituality, as long as you have the belief that it’s going to happen, that confidence that believe, you know, Buddhist says what you think, you become, you create your world, and Gandhi said, you must be the change when you see in the world, and Krishna said, you are the culmination of your thought, and Jesus says, as a man thinketh, so, is he all those, all of those thoughts are telling you that your mind is creative and it’s all created by your belief, what your what you believe in, what you focus on.
So if you believe you’re going to get there, you’re going to get there and that’s really one of the most important thing, because if you look at five, the middle one is faith, it’s the one that holds up to two on either side, The next one we kind of touched on already, it’s it’s follow through follow through. when you’re, when you’re building towards something, as I said, you’ve got to create those small, successful present moments. But sometimes when you’re coming up, it’s hard to have that faith and sometimes faith is only developed by results over time because faith is basically trust and trust is developed by results over time. So you’ve got to start stacking your present moment successes. First thing you have to do is you have to set down your past those beliefs. Yeah, in Christianity, they would call that being born again basically starting over and changing your subconscious belief. The cool thing is that once you start creating a subconscious moment that’s positive and successful, you’ve now stacked that in your in your past belief and the more of those you stack the further you push the things that limit you further back and your subconscious mind starts creating positively.
So we got fearlessly focused with faith, follow through the last one is the tough one. Its flexibility, something is always going to come up that’s going to seem contrary to what you’re trying to achieve and when it comes up your job is to not choose to have it, stop you not to lose faith to instead say I have chosen a goal and I’m going for the goal and this thing has come up and that came up because my subconscious mind is showing it to me so that I can address it to get to my goal, not to have it stopped me because you know, Bruce Lee said, be like water, if you’re going down the river, you’re gonna come to Iraq, you can flow over around and over time through, but it doesn’t stop you, you keep moving and if you’re not continually moving, if you’re not continually in motion, then you’re going to become stagnant stagnancy is poisonous. If you take water in nature that’s flowing downhill when it’s moving and bouncing around, it’s got oxygen and it’s got life in it, take that same water and put it in a puddle and it will become poisonous and stagnant bugs will lay their eggs in it and it will become this nasty place.
That’s what happens with us. Our life has got to be in constant motion because it is in constant motion. It’s either going up or down. And if you stop, you’re going down. So you have to keep this. Now when I first learned this skill, these five Fs, I first developed it because I read a book by Bruce Lee called the Dow Gonzo and it was his philosophy of uh, of martial arts and in there, he talked a lot about staying very present as I’ve already talked about. And he talked a lot about flexibility and mental flexibility specifically. And that to be, to be totally, honestly, that book literally got me out of bed after a traumatic back injury. Well, that is an amazing so it’s a summary of your five f approach. I think there’s an awful lot in there. I feel like I would need to watch that 10-11 times over to get the full kind of impact of it.
Obviously I want to do, I do want to talk about your story. I do also want to mention that I’ve never heard that about fear before, the exhale and the reason why that works and why it’s beneficial. So thanks for sharing. Now before, I don’t know whether it’s links to your story, but I did want to touch on, you said that you went to the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq, what was that? You know, how did that happen, essentially? Well, I was a stuntman in the fight director and I had a comedy sword fighting show called Hack and Slash that went all over the world and very interesting. September 8th, get that now. September 8th 2001. I was walking off stage at Annapolis Maryland. Two gentlemen walked up to me and said, hey, we’ve been fans of years for years, would you be interested in doing USO shows and we’re like, sure we’d love to do USO shows. So September 10th 2001, we dropped our packet off at the Pentagon to get ready to do us.
September 11th was Tuesday. The Pentagon and the towers in New York were hit and everything shut down. They contacted us three weeks later said can you go immediately? And we said yes. And we left that year in November and we went November to February all through Europe as they were building up to go into Afghanistan. We were on bases and soldiers were sleeping in hallways because they didn’t have enough beds on the basis. And we were entertaining soldiers that are building up. And then the second tour they sent us back. We did Europe again. But everybody, all the soldiers were already in the theater, you know where they’re going to be. So Europe was, it was kind of kind of ridiculous to send us back to Europe because you know when American soldiers go overseas to Europe they don’t stay on the base for entertainment because they’re in Europe, they don’t want to hang out on the base. Right? So we were having really, really bad shows. The second tour and I kept telling our host, yeah, I said you need to send this where they need us, not, not here, we need to send us where soldiers needs will go anywhere you want to send us.
Well the third tour, I found myself standing on the flight line in Fallujah Iraq and I was talking to a colonel and I said Colonel, I said, I kept telling them to send us further down range and I finished the word range and a quarter mile off to my left, a bomb blew up in the kernel without flinching, looked over there and look back at least his son, you can’t get further down ranch. And we ended up doing a total of six tours and we had some amazing times and harrowing experiences and it was, it was one of the greatest privileges of my life and one of the greatest experiences of my life to go over there and find people who are in huge moments of stress and anxiety in their lives and to be able to be the pressure release valve. You know, we would show up and we get them to laugh for two hours. You know, that’s such an amazing gift to be able to give to somebody who is in that kind of situation and I had a soldier come up community in Ramadi Iraq after the show, he says Mr Davis, he says this morning I was in a firefight this afternoon for two hours, I was able to forget all about that. Thank you so much for coming.
So I would go right now anywhere in the world if they asked me to, but I’m not sure they want to see me back in those tights. I used to wear it is amazing. I mean there’s a sort of like a deeper meaning behind that as well because I mean if you can make people laugh. I mean generally speaking that say that can be quite rewarding. Anyway, can’t Now I was going to ask, did you, we at any point where you regretful about going to like high dangerous place like that. But you know, you know, I do not regret it at all. In fact, I’ll tell you the most harrowing thing that happened. I don’t know if you remember the story in the war. There was a, there was a moment where I think it’s a Shia attacked the Sunni’s mosque or vice versa. I’m not sure which one attacked, which in a town called Samara and we have a base right there in Samara and that attack happened. And a week later we landed in Samara and two helicopters, It was our equipment in the front helicopter and I had four, a total of four of us came and so we were in the back helicopter and our equipment in the front helicopter helicopters come in and they land, they unload our stuff.
We get off, the first thing they say is and we, you know, we’re going to get some lunch first, but we don’t have a dining facility on this base because it’s a place where people would congregate and that would be a target. So go over to that trailer, get your food and scatter basically don’t sit in large groups. So the four of us went and I got our food, we’re looking around, we found this Humvee and we climbed up in a Humvee, we ate our lunch, four of us finish that went over and did our to our show and we had, when we went to the show we had, you know, whips, sword fights, beds of nails, ladder walking fire eating, we had like a whole two-hour comedy circus kind of show, it was really kind of crazy and we finished our show, we got all packed down and took all our stuff out, helicopters came flying back in helicopters don’t stay there because their target as well, helicopters come in, they land, they throw all our stuff in the front shopper we have in the back chopper as the toppers take-off, a rocket-propelled grenade went underneath the helicopter I was sitting in and blew up the Humvee I had lunch in, killed then we were the only helicopters in the air. So we actually went hunting for them, but we never actually found them. But you know, that was a scary moment. Do I regret it? Not at all. You know, I had one instance of that experience, those guys were having it every day, you know that there’s a movie called Groundhog Day where Bill Murray repeats the day over and over and over and over and the soldiers were equating their data to Groundhog Day with one difference, it was Groundhog Day, but everybody wanted to kill them. You know and so they were having that massive stress. So I had one you know one night a couple other experiences but nothing as grand as that are or as scary as that. But you know I I couldn’t regret any of it because of the fact that you know those guys were doing it every day and it was almost my duty. You know I also look at the thing is you know the US has an all-volunteer army which means every person who was there volunteered to go anywhere in the world to defend my freedoms.
And the things that I believe in now, I don’t care if you believe in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan. Don’t care what your political views are. That is the most courageous thing someone can do is to volunteer their own life to go defend. And it was the least I could do to go there and make them smile for a brief time. Also, I truly believe that by going there and giving them their pressure release valve and giving them a moment of laughter and joy. I might have had them not have a break mental breakdown. I might have had them not treat somebody poorly in the local town. You know, I might have done some change in that way too. So I think it was the most important thing I ever did my life.
Amazing. Did you have any self-reflection or new lease of life as a result of what is essentially a near death experience?
You know what, I had such a weird experience with that because when it happened in the moment, I was like, what’s that? Let’s go get him. You know, I was like, I didn’t have a fear in the moment. I was like, all right, let’s do it. After the fact I sit back, I was like, you know, that was, that was really close, you know, it went right underneath me and it hit where I was just sitting the question I kept asking myself up and this is something I get asked myself a lot was were they considering shooting when I was eating lunch in it? You know, were they already looking at me as a target early on? You know, I kind of doubt it because I think the helicopter was the target because it’s a much better target to hit than, you know, for funny guys sitting in a truck, you know, But uh, but I, I often thought, you know, they hit the Humvee by accident because they were shooting at the helicopter, but you know, were they watching for that moment? You know, who knows? yeah, reflective wise. Yeah, I still think of it as the greatest thing I’ve ever done and we’ll do it again right now. Did you ever see the Robin Williams performance when he performed to the military tool?
You know what’s so crazy. I followed him and I say followed. I mean he would do a show and leave and we would come in right behind him and we did that. In fact, right now, if you go on YouTube, you’ll find out, you’ll find a, a video of Robin Williams at a base in Kuwait just before he goes into Iraq. I think it was Camp Sheriff john, I think. But Robin Williams walks on stage and he’s starting his bit and suddenly readily happens and the whole audience stands up and turns around and he’s like, what’s going on right? Because the flag, the flag was in the opposite direction. You couldn’t see it from where it was. But every soldier knew when the readily hit the flag was going down and they had to turn and salute the flag. And so he’s like, you know, I came out, I started by bending the entire, I didn’t turn their back on me right, which was really funny. What was amazing to me when I watched that video was, I had the exact same experience the year before on that exact stage. I was like, I was like, oh my God, I remember that.
It was so strange. I really, I would have loved to have been there when Robin Williams was because I think that man was brilliant. I’m really sad that he had had the mental disorders he had at the end that caused him to take his life. I loved a lot about Robin Williams was the fact that his concept that he put in every one of his films somewhere in his films, he either said carpet items or seize the day. And to me, it’s all about that present moment that’s seizing the day, take this day and make the best of it. And so I love that he had that as a through line of his life. And then, of course, at the end it was kind of sad the way he sees that last day. Great message though. So coming back to your story, I’d love to hear about, you know, your various professions and how you actually ended up in them or how began them When I was when I was a kid, I wanted to be Errol Flynn, I wanted to be Robin Hood and I used to have a stick in my hand pretending it was a sword.
And eventually what happened was I went to a renaissance festival and I met two of the top fight directors in the country, a gentleman named pacing Burton Brad Waller and they saw talent in me and they gave me such positive reinforcement at a time when I desperately needed a positive reinforcement. You know, I had an alcoholic, mentally abusive father and I was the one who didn’t like. So I desperately needed good role models and positive reinforcement and those guys were giving me such great feedback. I decided I wanted to become a stuntman, a fight director, I wanted to do fight choreography and sword fighting for a living. And so I started working that way and I started getting going from my black belt in taekwondo. I started you know, becoming strong and buff and back in those days I had long Fabio hair instead of this Telly Savalas era I have now. And then one day, a buddy of mine said, hey, once you come on out to my house and help me unload my van and I said, sure, so I went out to his house And I climbed up in his van that he was a professional potter and his van was filled with £80 boxes of clay and I climbed up in the box in the van.
I picked up the very first box and when I turned to set it outside of the van, my spine broken too. And I’m going to say that very clearly my spine broke into, I, they hauled me to the hospital paralysed, doctor told me I had a condition and a spina bifida cult to, to which I promptly said Gazoontite because I had no idea what he was talking about, which basically what that means is that three of my vertebrae never formed properly at birth And with the extra 80 lb and the twisting action, I literally broke the top half of my spine off the bottom half my spine and pinched off my spinal cord. And doctor told me that they didn’t, wasn’t sure I was going to walk again. It definitely told me that I would never have a physical career that I was done. And At 22 years old, with that goal already set in my mind, it was devastating. I went to some very deep in dark places and then, as I said earlier, friend gave me a book by Bruce Lee. Well, come to find out, that book was written by Bruce when he was lying in a hospital bed in traction.
After a doctor had just told him he’d never do martial arts again. And he went on to do every movie that we know him for. So I started just taking those philosophies and started formulating my five s at that moment. The first thing I had to do was I just did not take the doctor’s belief. I had to take my own belief and not let him dictate what my life was going to be. And so what I did was I started leveraging my present moment. I started with my neck and I and I just started flexing my neck muscles and I slowly work the muscles down my back until I got to my injury and I was working the muscles around my injury. and then we’ll suddenly one day I flex my hip muscle and the doctor was like, oh my God, yeah, I couldn’t believe it were blown away by day 30. I was sitting up on the edge of the bed at six months. I was walking around at a year, I was back to a normal physicality but I was not back to my buff masculine self, but at a year and six months I was, I was physically back to where I was before and I climbed up on top of a three story tower and I jumped off into a fall pat as a celebration and went on to do over 4000 live comedy sword fighting stunt shows all over the world, including the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan.
I’ve climbed Mount Sinai and Machu Picchu. I swam in the blue lagoons of Iceland. I’ve been to 30 countries total. I’ve done everything of everyone. I worked with movie stars in Hollywood. I’ve, I’ve anything I’ve ever wanted to, I’ve now done because I’m unlimited in my belief of what, what can be achieved. I decided that I moved to Ohio to be near my son. I decided I wanted to become a college professor. I started teaching at Oberlin College, started teaching stage combat to actors. I was an artistic director of theme parks because I wanted to do my theatre work as well. I ended up also directing, becoming known as a Shakespeare director here in town. And so I started directing plays for the just cause I enjoyed that. now I’m a professional keynote speaker full time and bringing all that five Fs into the workplace. As I said, there’s definitely an applause moment. If there were, if there were a crowd here they would all be clapping, congratulations and all of that. Oh thank you.
It was the hardest, most terrible thing, but the best thing that ever happened to me and I look at it as the greatest gift because I have six brothers and sisters and they’re all very accomplished in their lives. But when it comes down to sitting down and just talking about life experiences, I have done so much more than any of them because of the fact that that accident happened and it opened my mind to possibility and now that I have that mindset, I do, I do anything I want whenever I want. It’s really interesting learn here early, I have noticed a couple of things which is if you do get some adversity early and you learn how to overcome it that can really help you in the rest of your life. I’m thinking how, how bad must your friend have felt when you tried to help him move his stuff and you ended up in hospital for a year or whatever it was, he felt he felt bad, it wasn’t his fault, you know, and I kept telling him you know this was a thing that I had since birth had nothing to do with what you were doing.
I was doing much harder things than moving clay already I was already doing backflips and landing on hard ground and fighting guys and you know, I was already doing much harder stunts and lifting a box. So really he yeah, he felt bad but I think I broke him out of that. I hope so anyway, you hypnotised him out of that belief system at that point I wasn’t really into hypnosis barely but it was you know I said you know how I didn’t even know I had the back injury, I didn’t know I had spine a bit for that until that moment, I had no clue that I had that condition. Your inner action hero. Is that based on the 5f approach? Yes. Yeah. And the interaction hero is all about that empowerment that I was just talking about, that I found because of my incident by accident, but the five F’s are basically how to leverage that power and start creating those successful moments that builds your confidence himself and limit yourself defeating talk as well.
So if someone is let’s say not happy with their current situation and what sort of advice would you give them in terms of the first few things that they can implement? First thing I’d say is don’t focus on not being happy, you know, you only have one moment and it’s what I call the I am moment, right? Not the I will be where I was. And if you want to change anything, you’ve got to get seriously focused on a positive outcome. And if you’re focusing on the negative, you’re actually focusing on past experience, you’ve got to get focused on the future goal and then just literally right here in this moment, start stacking successful positive moment because if you’re if you’re in, if you’re in a bad space, it literally is because of some fear that it’s going to continue maybe or because of those experiences are telling you life is just terrible, right? And so you have to change your moment because it’s the only moment you can. And so the first thing I would say is breathe exhale, give yourself a break.
You know, life is life, perfection is subjective and things always happen when I when I go, I’m going through life and something comes up that seems so negative or nasty or I do something that is, it seems like it’s against what I’m trying to create, I no longer beat myself up because you know, most of us will beat ourselves up worse than well let anybody talk about anybody else, you know, and for me when I when I mess something up or I don’t feel like things are going well, I’ll go, I’m so you know, I’m so dumb, This is what I used to do, I don’t do this anymore. That’s because I lost my hair when I used to do this. that’s why I went bulb, but instead, now, instead of doing this, I’m now going well, that’s just silly because that’s not towards my goal. And the more I started saying things were silly, I started sacking positive, even my negatives became positive because serious makes you smile, right? So, I just started stacking present moment. So if you’re, if you’re in a situation where you don’t like where you are, first thing you have to say is what are you saying after the words I am now, here’s, here’s a little spirituality in this, Jesus said, whatever you’re asking, God’s name is granted and Moses said God’s name was I am after he talked to the burning bush.
So whatever you’re saying after I am is being created in your experience and I had to take certain words out of my vocabulary. Now, I am having a horrible time. It’s a terrible thing to be creating into your life. But the words I took out, we’re wanting, needing, hoping and trying because they are inactive, present moment words and by taking moments and putting moments like creating, enjoying, I am enjoying my life. I am, I am, you know, eating healthy, I am walking further, I am feeling strong is very much different than I am wanting, I am needing, I am hoping I’m trying, I am hating this life, I’m hating this experience. I’m in a bad space. I know that that’s just focusing on negativity and if you want to, if you want to change your life and you want your life be positive, you have to realise this is the only moment that you can be positive. You’ve got to make this moment positive so that your future will be positive. Right answer, Thanks. I practiced. Well, I told you before we were recording that I always ask about what your goals are in this particular instance.
I’ve had to try and hold myself back until you know, near the end of the episode. Just simply because you’ve been able to achieve everything that you have set your mind to and therefore I’m fascinated about what that’s going to be, what’s next on the horizon for you. Well, you know, I as I said, life is about motion and when I had final goal, I always set a new one and my goal right now is to get very focused on, on affecting as many lives as possible. I’m currently writing a book called Being Action Hero, not a reaction zero. I’m working on a lot of new ways of reaching more people because I think that the more I can get this, this information out to people, then I can affect more lives and that said, I want to make sure that your, I’m going to give your audience a gift. And when I say gift, I mean a gift, I mean it’s a link to go get my five F workbook and it doesn’t sell anything on that page and it doesn’t even take an email address. It is literally just a link to download it because today is about bringing value, not taking value.
I think the more people who can understand these principles, the more we can change our world for the better because it limits that fear response. So that’s number one. So my other goal right now is to buy a big beach house and go paint pictures on the beach. Last wild goal. And how long do you think that will take the second goal? The house? Yeah, I think I’ll have it within five years. Within five years. That’s my, my goal is I’m originally from a beach resort and so I grew up in Rehoboth Beach Delaware, which is a beautiful dolphins jumping in the waves, lighthouses, beautiful sort of east coast place. And so all my friends are there, my family’s there. So going back there will be wonderful and the real estate market is very expensive there. But I’m like I don’t care how money is money is just a number, I’ll get the number and I’ll have the house. So I have complete faith. Are you painting at the moment or does that start when you get the house? No, I paint all the time.
And if you give you a second, I’ll grab a painting real quick. Nice. Well, thank you. Thank you. I’m very, I’m very proud of it. Is that somewhere local? Actually? That was I was on a trip to Branson Missouri and I was driving down a country road out in the middle of nowhere and I snapped that picture and the sun was just shining and the haze and the trees and I was just like, oh what a beautiful image. And I came home and I just, I just kept thinking about that picture. So I pulled that picture out and I just went to town on the canvas and I just loved it. Nice. I think it’s a great example of you know, wanting, let’s say you want to achieve something. I mean there’s no, not that there’s no, but you don’t let the little voice get in the way of someone, you know telling you can’t do anything right, Well you changed a little voice and the voice has changed when you start stacking those present moment because the little voice is your subconscious mind and that little voice is easily changed just by as Jesus would say being born again, setting that passed down and starting something new to start stacking present moments and then those present moment get stacked. That subconscious belief that subconscious mind, that inner voice starts saying much different things.
Very cool, John. Where’s the best place for people to find you?
I am easily found corporateactionhero.com. And you can also find corporate action hero on YouTube and Facebook and on Twitter I’m JD Action Hero. But if you go to corporateactionhero.com you will find all of those links and that link for that free gift is corporateactionhero.com/gift and you have to use the link to get there because you won’t find it on the page. That’s strictly for podcast audience.
I’ll have a look after this episode. But yeah thank you for the value of its been great.
I loved it. Thank you. This was wonderful. Thank you for having me.