Commander Mark Divine interviews Wesley Chapman. Wesley started his entrepreneurial career during a troubled childhood by selling flowers at the age of eight. He’s had many successes since then, and now he is the founder of “A Human Project.” He speaks to children in schools and foster facilities and has taken it as his mission to help them find their way through often difficult circumstances to find purpose and happiness. He shares his story with us, and tells us how he made it his mission to help children succeed.
Wesley has written the book Runt: the Story of a Fearless Child, about his life from ages zero to thirteen. He’s also the co-host of the “Superhuman podcast” and runs a blog and the site at wesleydchapman.com.
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Transcript & Shownotes
Hey folks, Mark Divine coming at you with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Welcome back. Thanks for listening. And it’s great to have you here on the show. If you like what you hear with these podcasts please go to iTunes and rate them or leave a review. You can also find it at unbeatablemind.com/podcast and you can drop your email into our opt-in form there so you can get all the latest news and interesting things that we’re up to. So help me spread the word about the actual podcast itself as well as the super-cool guests that we have on the show. To include my guest today, Wesley Chapman. So I’m honored to be talking to Wesley. Wesley’s a man who’s closely aligned with my mission of empowering youth. Wesley is an expert on human behavior and development and I’ll get to that word human later, because he actually uses it as an acronym.
Anyways, Wesley’s teachings are now being used by hundreds of individuals, schools and governments across the world. His goal is to educate children on their real options in life. Informing them that by dreaming, acting and nurturing their possibilities they can achieve and succeed whatever they set their mind to. How cool. He’s a founder of “Human Project” and “Superhuman.” Co-hosts his own podcast called “The Human Project Podcast.” And, I love this, he’s writing his biography which he’s titled Runt. I love that. Welcome Wesley.
Wesley Chapman: Thanks man. I appreciate you having me on. This is an honor. I’ve been watching you for a while.
Mark: Appreciate that. So are you really a runt, I mean, what’s up with that? Let’s start with that.
Wesley: Yeah, so, I mean that jumps ahead in the story a little bit, who my dad is. I guess you could call him a famous guy. He’s Dog the Bounty hunter.
Mark: Oh, no kidding?
Wesley: Yeah, so just the whole concept of “Dog” and the name and all that. And then the reality. I’m taller than my Dad, but he definitely lifts more weights than I do. So… and as a child I was always very small and a lot of the medications that I took didn’t enable me to do a lot of growth, so I had some stunted growth and things like that, so it kind of comes around as that as a literal, but as figurative concept it is this idea that I was the one who was given up on, kind of cast to the side and was put out on the street and was kind of said,” You’ll never be anything.” And so, that’s the actual meaning of it. This concept of… Lot of times we give up on things just because of the way that they may appear.
Mark: Right. Did you feel like society did that? Or was there some actual sideline in your family whether consciously or subconsciously you were kind of ignored or not focused on as much.
Wesley: Well it started by being abandoned by my dad when I was one. My biological dad, who we just chatted about. And then being abandoned by biological mom when I was six and a half. So those two things combined kind of led to that. And then of course, going into the system, doing all that fun stuff at the age of seven and a half, they basically said that I was too broken, I was a damaged product, and that the post traumatic stress that I would go through in my life, the anxiety, the depression, would just basically make me… not an asset in the world. So it definitely started with family and then went to society and then, of course, I went into the elementary schools and middle schools and was bullied like you couldn’t believe. A lot of kids go through that, but I definitely had my fair share of the bullying. So it really was a message that was sent to me until probably my early teens.
Mark: Wow. Interesting. So you went through a number of foster-homes. Was it the foster-home system that you were alluding too?
Wesley: I actually was blessed that I never went into a traditional foster-home. I went into a couple of boys shelters and whatnot, but I was able to at about seven and a half, eight years old, a woman came into my life who I call mom. But important she was my hero and she started to believe in me. Which was a long crazy journey. In fact, I just sent her a text message last night, cause we kind of had an emotional experience at the organization. Some great growth that happened, but… I sent her a text message last night saying “Thank you for believing in me.” Because she was literally the only person in my young adult life that believed in me. That thought that I could actually accomplish anything. So, I was lucky. But I did bounce in and out of hospitals, and different treatment facilities and you know, they call them halfway houses, but basically just places that I would stay for a few days and bounce back and forth. But I never got into having to go into like a foster-care home for six months and then be kicked out and all that kind of stuff.
Mark: Wow, that must have been incredibly challenging, and I imagine that it is very difficult to break out of that system. That negative loop.
Wesley: It is. It is. It actually took me… I tried to commit suicide twelve times before my sixteenth birthday, and it was actually after my sixteenth birthday that my liver failed. And so I was into this entire world of wanting to die, being told to take, after… after I was diagnosed with different mental illnesses, they gave me just a ton of different pills and then I had pills for the pills’ side effects, and so I was on roughly between twenty to twenty-five medications every day. And my liver… I started being medicated at four and half years old and so my liver by the age of sixteen had just been toxified to a point where it was just done. And the doctors gave me an 80% chance of dying, and a 20% chance of living. And my teenage mentality saved my life. My teenage mentality was, number one these doctors told me these would save my life, and now they’re telling me that these pills are going to kill me. So I rebelled against the system of common medicine.
And then the second thing was the mentality and concept of, “they’re telling me I’m going to die, but I’ve never lived. I’ve never had a life. So how can I die?” So that kind of gave me enough strength and enough willpower to really start the journey of repairing my life and my existence.
Mark: These ideas–which are very powerful ideas that got you out of that rut, where did they come from? I mean, was it this woman who helped you? Did she dialogue with you and help plant some positive thinking or some possibilities in your mind? Or did these just come from your soul do you think?
Wesley: I think it’s a mixture of both, honestly. I’ve pondered that question a lot now that we’re working with youth all around the world. And we’re instilling these systems and I look at it and sometimes it works and these youth grab on and they rock it, and other times they just give up. And I’ve wondered we’re providing the messaging, we’re providing the proof, we’re providing the storyline, we’re providing them the blueprint. But yet a lot of these kids are still choosing to be–I call it choosing to be a victim. They’re still choosing that path. So I think it’s a mixture. I definitely know I could not have done it on my own. She was instrumental in showing me love, but there were a lot of ups and downs. I mean, I was not an easy kid to raise. There’s a lot of stories that can be talked about about me. Usually when I came home, specially in the summer, if I would come home after a day of playing it was because I was being escorted by some men in blue, or some neighbor was pulling me by the ear. I may or may not have almost burnt down a 7-11. So just a lot of things that she had to endure, but she always… and it wasn’t really what she said, and I think that’s the key to this conversation. It’s not the words that we use, it’s the actions. And she never gave up on me. She never abandoned me. She fought for me.
She… I mean, we just have so many crazy stories. My biological mom tried to come back and get me cause the welfare laws changed, and the more kids you had the more money you got. And so she came about three or four years after she abandoned me to try and come and get me. And my… So that’s my biological mom, but the woman I call mom, her name’s Karen. Karen actually crawled through an irrigation ditch to hide me from her. It’s things like that that I’ll never forget, you know, you’re laying in an irrigation ditch with a woman that’s holding you and telling you everything’s going to be okay, and in reality, you don’t at nine, ten years old, you don’t really know what’s going on. And then to learn later that she was doing that to protect me, I mean, those are the things that you just… I mean, it’s going to get me to tear up. But yeah, I think it was a combination of both.
Mark: You’re going to get me to tear up too. Holy cow. Man, what just… what an amazingly fortuitous thing for you to have Karen come into your life. And she was your harbor, I mean, you went out and you did your stuff and out raising hell, and you were being the runt of the litter, you couldn’t avoid that, because that’s the patterning… but you had her to go home to.
The Start of Entrepreneurialism[9:55]
Mark: Wow. That’s really cool. Now I read somewhere that you actually started a business around the age of eight. So it sounds like you were fairly busy doing other stuff at that age. So what was this business and how did that come about?
Wesley: Well, you know, again, just more stories. So at the age of eight is when Karen brought me into her home and about six months after she brought me in she came down with fibromyalgia. She was one of the first females to… She was a government employee, she worked for the veterans hospital. She was up in the administration, fairly successful. But she came down with fibromyalgia. This was in the eighties. Nobody knew what this was. They just thought it was arthritis on steroids basically. But it’s a nerve… you know, eats your nerves. So she was losing her nerves and she lost the use of her arms and her legs. And so at about eight and half years old… again all of this amazing stuff that we’ve talked about, her love and everything, but more importantly, when I looked at her, she was my hero. And six months into this journey of living with her, things were starting to be said that a little boy overhears, like “I don’t know how we’re going to keep the house, the car.” It was just her and I, and she didn’t know how she was going to keep going on, cause she had lost her job and all these different things. So in that moment, I just…
I’ll never forget sitting on a tire swing out in our yard and just kinda looking around at our yard, but more importantly just processing my life, and just going through this genealogy of me. One and half, my dad leaves, six and half my mom leaves. Everybody’s given up on me. Now this one woman that actually believes in me looks like she can’t keep me anymore. All these things going on and what’s the common thread? And I realize the common thread is money. I was told that my dad left because he needed a better job. I was told that my mom couldn’t pay to keep me anymore. And now here’s this. Here’s this… there’s no money to keep Wes again.
And so as I looked around the yard in the place that we lived at, she was an amazing gardener. Still is to this day. Her property has been featured in magazines, all this stuff, for its landscaping. And she was a green-thumb. We had a beautiful rose garden, lilacs, tulips, peonies, day lilies, I mean anything you could possibly imagine growing in your yard in the west, we had. And as I looked around at this yard I kinda had this flashback of going grocery shopping with her. And every time we’d go grocery shopping she would buy a bushel of flowers, and then take those flowers and put them on the kitchen table. And that didn’t make sense to me as a kid, because it was like, “Why are we wasting the money? Why don’t we go and just grab these flowers out of our yard?”
And so, in that moment I had a plan, I thought, “You know what? If we’re silly enough to go and buy these flowers at the grocery store, then what about all of our neighbors, who stop by and take pictures and brides who come and do their bridals in our front yard, and all these different things. So I ran inside and started… grabbed a pair of scissors and came outside and started whacking the flowers. Go on my BMX and went out and started selling flowers. Went door-to-door. Learned a lot. There’s so many business lessons I can teach people now, just at this one day from… I started off at five bucks, thought that was a lot of money, then I challenged myself to get to ten, and then fifteen, and eventually settled at about… I could sell these things for twenty bucks. And I could also sell them better to women than I could to men, and so I just started figuring all this stuff out. Started figuring out my gifts. Started figuring out what I had.
And at the end of that first day, I went home and again, remember, when I left for an entire period of time like that, I usually didn’t come home in a positive light. So when I got back, my mom was sitting on the edge of her bed with arms in slings, she had both of her arms up in slings, and she was crying, she’d had a really bad day…
Mark: She was probably wondering where all her flowers went.
Wesley: That and where’s this, you know, troubled little boy. And so, it took me about fifteen minutes to calm her down and convince her that I hadn’t done anything crazy. And then I started pulling out money from my pockets, and then, that started a whole ‘nother thing of like “Wait a minute. You said you didn’t do anything, but where’d this money come from?” So we had some post-conversations about this in my adult life about her feelings, what was going on. But in my mind, I was just laying out the solution and finally she believed me and I started pulling out money everywhere a little eight and half boy could possibly stuff money… my socks, my underwear, you know, my back pockets, everywhere.
And we started counting the money and it got up to five hundred bucks and some change that I had made selling those flowers. And I’ll never forget it, it’s kind of like my mantra in the entrepreneurial world. She turned to me after this whole life 45 minutes of like this back and forth emotional roller coaster, she turned to me and at the edge of her bed and just looked at me, dead in the eyes with this little half smile on her face and said, “Go out and sell more flowers.”
And that was the permission that I needed to just try this out, and see find worth in this. And I did, and I also found a lot of negativity in money as well, but it became my heroin, it became my crack cocaine. I did anything and everything I could in the entrepreneurial space to grow financially, because it became a shield. It became something so I did not have to talk to people about my story, my life, my existence, nothing. And it also gave me power, which I’d never had before, and so that was the start of my entrepreneur career. Now I’ve had my ups and downs. Every story of an entrepreneur, I have had it, but I’ve definitely been in a space where it’s part of my DNA, it really is. I mean, even my father is an entrepreneur in many respects, so… but that day gave me the permission to just go there.
Mark: Yeah, so what other flowers, metaphorically speaking, did you end up selling? What other projects did you get involved in?
Wesley: So the flowers lasted for about two seasons. Did really, really well. I ended up hiring neighbor kids. Found that I couldn’t sell to men very well, but there was a little neighbor girl who I employed, and she could sell flowers to men very easily, so it was just, learning that. And then, I mean we had memorial day sales. It was a legitimate… we were doing this thing. Again Karen stepped in, my mom stepped in and was really supportive. But then we realized, Look, we’re running out of supply.”
Mark: I was going to ask you about that. There’s a limited supply there.
Wesley: Exactly. And so, what I started realizing was that we had customers. We had neighbors that loved it, they were expecting us and I started looking around at their problems, you know? That’s the key to entrepreneurial success is find a problem that the most people have and solve it for them. As is stated, if you want to become a billionaire, solve a problem for a billion people. So I started looking around and I found a common thread in our area, and that was that these housewives would… and we lived in a pretty nice area, Karen was, like I said, doing very well. But these housewives would have a mini-van or Winnibego or whatever sitting in the driveway and it was disgusting. It was… you know, kids hand prints on the windows, whatever, and I would say, “Hey, why don’t you ever wash your car?” “Oh, I don’t have time between Sally’s basketball,” this and that, all this stuff.
And I said, “Well, hey, guess what? I’ll come to your house and I’ll wash your car for fifteen bucks. And so we started taking our existing clients that we were selling flowers to, and we started washing their cars. In their driveways. And this was in ’89? So this was a very progressive idea, at least in the area where I lived. You didn’t have to take your car to a car wash. It came to you, and so, we got extension cords. We had an old Kirby vacuum. Those things are like frickin’ titanium rockets, you can’t hurt them. But, you know, and we would vacuum the cars, we would wash them.
And Karen would come behind me and be like, “Nope, that one wasn’t done well enough.” And so she taught me the concept of work. And she would say, “You gotta re-wash those windows. There’s streaks on the car.” And so, we legitimately gave amazing car washes, and because of that, we started the third summer of my entrepreneurial life, we had people, I think my mom has a picture of it. We had forty cars in our front lawn on one Saturday.
And I had employed as many kids in the neighborhood as I possibly could. I was paying them in Skittles for the first year, which was awesome. And then the parents came back and I learned labor laws really fast. But yeah, so that started there, and then that fledged into landscaping. That was the next journey. Again, I saw dirt, I saw a problem, and we started planting trees, mowing lawns, doing water features. That grew… that was really my teenage years. I still love landscaping to this day, but I’m not a very big guy, and so I don’t like manual labor, but I love the art of selling and marketing.
And so at about seventeen years old, I got very proficient in computers, got very good at telling stories, and we started the journey of technology, and I wrote my first program and then that turned into digital marketing, which turned into full-fledged marketing campaigns. And then we started doing marketing for companies like Microsoft, Jani-King and Verizon and G&K and Franklin Covey and it just grew and grew and grew, and just kept going, so…
Finding his mission[19:46]
Mark: Does that organization still exist today?
Wesley: No. It doesn’t. Cause part of this journey of–as I stated before of the crack cocaine of money–is that about ten years ago I started looking at my life and I just said, “I’m not happy.” I had nine cars, I had the big house, you know, I had all the stuff that everybody said. I was in magazines. I didn’t wait in lines, I had my own reserve table. I mean, I was living this like… this life no one said I could ever live, but at the same time I was incredibly unhappy. And there’s a whole story that goes along in there, but the end of it was that I finally realized that I had just been lying. I hadn’t been true to myself, I hadn’t been true to those around me.
Nobody knew… I had six different last names throughout my childhood, between bouncing back and forth. Karen ended up getting remarried, there’s a whole story there, the guy was incredibly abusive. I mean, it was just like… all these things. And I hated going home, I hated being in certain spaces, but I loved being in business, and so I would do anything and everything I possibly could to extend that existence. And I would sacrifice myself. I wore four thousand dollar suits and made money. That’s all anyone ever knew about me. Nobody knew about my passions or what I loved to do. Nobody knew about my father. No one knew about my childhood. So ten years ago I finally realized that I was living this fictional lie, and I went on a journey to fix that.
And part of that journey was… I guess it’s been about six or so years ago now… I decided to leave the entrepreneurial space as I knew it, and go and just interviewing people. I started going to conferences and going to places and networking in the exact opposite. I went to the self-help world, which is interesting. I went to interviewing military vets. I just started interviewing anyone that would possibly sit down with me and have a conversation about “what is happiness?” And obviously, you do the full circle, and I can save people about a half a million dollars if they listen to this part right here: Happiness is inside of you. It doesn’t come from an external force. But I went on that journey, and then that journey eventually led me to speaking in a public school and telling my story. I started writing a blog. I started getting things going, just being honest with people. And spoke at a public school which changed my life forever.
That was two and a half years ago now. And that’s where I finally found my calling in life, which is to share this story, share this message, to inspire youth to, as you in the intro… to empower themselves, and to really understand that at the end of the day we’re all human and that’s a big word that we just throw around, but what does it mean? And so, now that’s what I do. I travel the globe, and speak to youth in schools, in boy’s homes, in foster facilities and anywhere I can possibly… Whether there’s ten youth or a thousand, you know, it doesn’t matter. And we’ve created programs and online communities in this last two and a half years we’ve gone from it being an idea in the garage to now we’re in thirteen countries. So it’s been amazing. And it’s my calling, and it’s where I know I’m supposed to be, and it’s where I’m fueled.
The Human Project[23:38]
Mark: How old are you now, Wesley?
Wesley: I am… What year is it? 16 of 2000… I’m 35.
Mark: You look like you’re about 19 or 20.
Wesley: That is my gift. I don’t sleep, I don’t eat and I look like I’m 12. So I’ll take it. Those are my superpowers.
Mark: Bottle that. That’ll be your next entrepreneurial venture. So you turned your eyes away from the externally motivating world of just accumulating material wealth, and outer business, and you turned it kind of more toward your inner business of understanding yourself and understanding happiness, and that led to the Human Project. And can you explain the acronym H.U.M.A.N.? What does that mean to you?
Wesley: Yeah, so, when we… And the Human Project, like I say, it started as an accident. We were never searching for this. I never imagined that I would write eleven blogs that would change my life. I mean, that just never was something that I thought about, and so when we sat down and we came up with what are we gonna call this company, I mean, this business, this non-profit.
I wanted something around the word Human, I just felt that it was so crucial. And so in that exploration and in the journey I started analyzing what really makes us human? And I broke it down into, as you said, this acronym of Hope, Understanding, Making a choice, Action and Nourishing. And it doesn’t matter if you’re going through a negative crappy life, if you’re just going through your everyday life, when we wake up in the morning, we hope that everything is going to go as we planned. We hope that we have what it takes to make the day happen. We hope we have enough energy, all these different things.
But we have understand certain things about our lives. We have to understand certain things about ourselves. Then we ultimately have to make the choice. And then after we’ve made a choice we have to take action. And then we have to be constantly be nourishing not just our minds, but also our bodies. I mean, as you know there’s not enough conversation going on, especially in this country, the United States, about the importance of nourishment for our bodies. And how critical that is for our longevity. A pill doesn’t just fix everything. You can’t just go through your twenties beating the crap out of this thing and then expect to be sixty-five and everything’s good.
So the Hope part is really where we come in as far as The Human Project, and we show these children… the definition of “hope” to me has been completely screwed up. You know, it’s this concept of “I’m in a burning building, and I hope a fireman comes and saves me.” That’s helplessness. That’s not hope. Hope is the concept that… you’ve seen somebody else similar to you, or has similar life lessons or life patterns or whatever as you did, and they’ve done something that you want to aspire to do. So it’s basically a roadmap, it’s a blueprint. And that’s really what we teach these youth in the story. In the story of my life and where I come from and all these different things, they can see that regardless of their circumstances, regardless of their race, regardless of where they were born, regardless of any of this, they can rise from the ashes like a phoenix. I’m standing in front of them. I don’t save lives, I don’t change lives. I am simply proof. That’s it. I’m just the proof. You want proof? You want a visual proof? Here it is.
And so that’s where the first step is. And then the understanding is where we start to have a conversation with them about just understanding what they can control and what they can’t control. And this is where… we have a quote, “Put the victim to bed, wake the hero up instead.” And this is that element where we start to tell them, “You have to have an understanding of what life is about and you have to have an understanding of the choices that your parents have made. You have to have an understanding of the choices that you’ve made. And now you need to make a choice.”
Which leads us very fluidly into the next stage. “What are you going to do? Are you going to go left or you gonna go right?” And some kids choose to go left which means to keep going back and doing the same things they’re doing over and over again and hope for a different result. We know what that means. But other kids will say, “You know what? I wanna make a choice. I wanna change my life.” And then we guide them through, “Okay. What action steps do you need to take? What do you need to create?”
And this is blueprint, this is a plan. Imagine if you are in business this is your business plan but this is for their lives. This is, “What are you going to do to make these things happen?” Simple things. You know, we start every child out with a twenty minute exercise regimen everyday. Something simple. If they’re not physically fit and they’ve got limitations, it can be a walk. We tell them to reduce their sugar intake. Just really simple things life that. And then, meditation. We talk to them about conversation skills. You know, just all these simple action steps that they can take, and then once they prove to themselves… What’s really amazing is to watch a child who says, “I can’t get off sugar. Sugar is a big problem. I can’t get off sugar, I love sugar.” And then we challenge them to do it, and then they do it, and six months later they’ll send an email or correspondence to our team, and say, “Oh my gosh, I haven’t had sugar in six months. I feel amazing. It’s so awesome. I can do anything.” That is the key. Now they’ve proven to themselves that they have the power. AKA, they’ve empowered themselves.
And then the last step of this is nourishing. And we teach them, “Go back and remember the hope. Remember that lesson that you saw. Remember the understanding. Remember the choices that you made. Remember the action steps. And then also, that’s the mind nourishing–and then also the nourishing of their bodies and all of that fun stuff. So that’s what it means to the individual, and then to our organization it has completely different meanings. Same words but different ways in which we approach it. So we broke that down into a program and a system and it’s simple. But now we’re in the middle of investing about $200,000 dollars into an online website, community, center, support deal for youth around the world. But that’s been the building block and the blueprint of our whole program.
We’re also doing a youth ranch, we’re super-excited about as well. We’re looking to personally buy about a hundred acres but one of my good friends, Joe DeSena over at Spartan Race, he’s donating his big estate out in Vermont this year for us to run our camp. So, lots of stuff going on.
Mark: That’s great. Joe’s a friend of mine. I’ve been there many times. And that’s a great place to do some work. There’s another friend of ours up there who runs a program called “Get Burly,” who’s got great connections with the youth up in that area. So I’d love to connect you with them.
Wesley: Yeah, please do.
Mark: Yeah, they work out of Joe’s ranch as well, or his “farm” as he calls it. That’s really cool. So, I was going to ask you that. You actually provide live training so these kids can get hands-on experience in learning how to PT everyday, learning how to meditate?
Wesley: Yup. And not just that. So our website is…basically think of it like an elearning center, right. We are putting 365 courses into this website, so the idea is that a child can go through one course a day. Which is really nothing, cause these courses are about ten to fifteen minutes long, they have a quiz at the end of them, it’s all gamified.
The way that the children get to camp, so that the way that they “pay,” I used air quotes there, cause they don’t financially pay anything, everything is 100% free, but the way they “pay” their way into camp is by going through the courses, finalizing the courses, passing the quizzes that each course has associated with it, and then they’re given points for doing that, which is currency in our system. And it’s legit. Every point equates to $1.60. So they earn a point, it’s equivalent to a dollar sixty, which means that if camp costs $3000, they’ve gotta get XYZ amount of points.
So they’re working for it, which is a different mind shift. We’re rewarding them for positive stuff which is something that we don’t talk enough about with our kids. But, these courses are on everything. I’ve got Gary Vaynerchuk who’s going to do a course on entrepreneurialism. We’ve got fitness people. We’d love to talk to you about putting something together. All targeted to that fourteen to twenty year old age group, and empowering them, and giving them the skill set so they can literally go into this online community and learn about anything that they want to learn about.
We’ve got connections with Jason Mraz about playing guitar. You want to learn how to play guitar? Here’s this guy. The key to all of it is having the person teaching it be relatable to these youth. We played with celebrities in the training space, you know the Tony Robbins, and the Bob Proctors and things like that, and these children just didn’t–they didn’t connect to these lessons. They’re looking for, like I said, that first step, hope. They’re looking for somebody that they can associate with and say, “This person gets me. I’ll listen to them now.” And so the first video in our series is the course instructor kinda getting raw and real and saying, “This is my story, this is where I came from. This is why I’m gonna teach you what I’m about to teach you.” And so that child has a frame of reference going into the lesson.
So, lots of different things. And then we do some fun stuff, where we drop in Xboxes and mountain bikes into their journey. So that as they’re earning points, we can be like, “Hey you have enough points to get a t-shirt or a mountain bike or whatever.” And teach them to make that decision of getting something material or saving for that experience. So there’s just a lot of different fun, psychological games that we play, so…
Mark: That sounds fascinating. Cool. Yeah, love to help you out if there’s a connection there… What about your own training for balance and spiritual development and…You know, what’s your day look like? How do you nurture your emotional well-being and your spiritual well-being?
Wesley: That’s funny. I just recently got on Snapchat which I’ve been avoiding like the plague.
Mark: Me to.
Wesley: But that’s just where these kids are, so I’ve gotta learn it. So I did my first Snapchat rant yesterday, which is exactly on that topic. Still not sure if I like that platform, but whatever… I was taking my dog, I started working… I usually get up around six o’clock in the morning. I have a Spartan course in my backyard up here in Lake Arrowhead. Cause I like working out, but I love it to me more of a self-competition. So you give me a basketball or a soccer ball or a football, or a tennis ball I don’t really care, and you say this is the objective, go do it, I’ll do it for thirteen hours. You know, that part. You say, here’s a gym do this stuff, and I’m like, “Mehh.” Five minutes in I’m bored.
So after I did a Spartan race, I’m like “I can do this every day.” So I’ve got this nine minute Spartan course in my backyard. I actually had a rescue swimmer go through my course, which is pretty intense. These guys go through a lot. But he went through the course and he said, “You know what that’s probably in the top five exercises I’ve ever done.” And I’m like, “cool.” I like to hear that. So I start with that and start working.
So yesterday I was doing my daily routine and I have a dog and I said, “You know what, we’re going to go on a little hike,” so I grabbed my dog and we went on a hike. And the rant that I did, and the reason that I brought that up, is because I talked about how we don’t have enough balance in our lives. We talk a lot about hustle and a lot about grind. Sorry, Gary. And it’s almost becoming like a fad. Like, if you’re not hustling, you’re not working. If you’re not grinding, you’re not going to have success. And that’s just a myth. It’s just a plain myth.
Every single human being, including Gary, has this thing that recharges them. Gary’s happens to be the hustle and the grind. But that’s a very rare thing. And so everybody needs to take that time to recharge. Mine is nature. If I don’t spend some time in the woods. If I don’t spend some time with basically the thought of a mountain lion jumping out at any moment, I don’t feel recharged. That’s where I get that energy and that recharge. And so on a daily basis I do as much as I possibly can to smell some trees. You know, as crazy as that sounds.
And then, meditation, it’s something that I do often. Anytime of silence, anytime that I don’t need to be talking or I can… like on an airplane or, you know, things like that. Rather than opening up my laptop and doing work, I use those moments in my personal life, I use the airplane as a lot of self-meditation. So the key to all of this, and the strategy behind it, so all of this rambling makes sense, is you need to take moments throughout your day to really re-energize and recharge yourself, and I call it regrounding yourself.
Too many people do the system of like I get up at six, I eat, and then I go on my day and nine o’clock I stop working, whatever. You need to be doing those things throughout your day. Giving yourself that little charge throughout your entire day. And that’s something that we teach these youth is that it’s not about just meditating for twenty minutes a day and then checking it off the list, it’s about really, when you have emotions or feelings coming up, to allow yourself to go to a place where you can process those, and can work through those different things. And if you need somebody to help you do that, you need to have those systems in play as well.
But my daily routine is crazy, just because of how much we have going on, but I still try to add those little moments of hyper-charges.
Mark: Nice. Yeah, I agree with that. I call them “spot drills.” It is very important to just pause and reconnect throughout the day.
Wesley: And I love using burpees. I might be that weird guy in the airport who will literally do burpees before getting on a flight. I do burpees before I speak. And that’s just a real simple little workout. It definitely for me gets my whole body just kind of like instantly energized.
But, yeah, when I was sixteen, I was telling that story, 80% chance of dying and 20% chance of living. I gave up on all–whatever we call it–all modern medicine. I refused to go to doctors, I went cold turkey on my meds, which was a nightmare for my body. But I haven’t taken a pill since I was sixteen. And I don’t put anything foreign in my body. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t drink alcohol. I mean, very rarely I’ll have a drink here and there. But I don’t drink pop, I don’t drink caffeine. I went very extreme, but then I started researching the brain. And I spent about a million dollars of my own money, maybe even a little bit more, researching how the brain works, and how the chemistry in our body works.
And that’s why I said at the beginning of this interview… I call the colon the second brain. I mean, it so important what we put in our bodies, because I mean the vast majority of our chemical makeup–what goes into our brain and circulates through our body comes from that colon. And if we’re not taking care of that, it’s massive. So I did a lot of self-experimenting and self-research. Met with a lot of individuals. Did a lot of research on individuals like Doctor Rife. One of my favorites right now is “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton and some of his stuff. And just some of the things that are out there in that world. There’s just so much. It’s so exciting. And I’m a research junkie. I love researching, so…
Mark: Right. If a parent was listening to this podcast, which I know a lot of the Unbeatable Mind folks are mothers and fathers, what advice could you give them to make their kids more resilient?
Wesley: That’s a great question. I think we do a lot of coddling, just to be really honest. If your child is in a… let me preface this with this… mom, dad, everything’s going well. Your husband’s got a great job, or your wife’s at home, wherever you are listening to this, we’re just going to stereotype, and say that for the most part things are stable and things are going well. You’ve got a really good opportunity to really teach your child some real lessons in life. And for some reason, this generation of parents we just over-coddle our children, way too much.
I will tell you right now, I say this a lot when I speak to adults, it’s your job to teach your child as much as possible. And at a certain age, you’re done, they’re going to make their decisions. Every child is different, but usually we start seeing that around thirteen, fourteen years old. So that zero to ten is a crucial time in child development. But one of the things that you really have to realize as a parent is that if you don’t teach your child, YouTube will. So it’s you or YouTube. And so, if you really want to be terrified, if you’re trying to give your child a really grounded, experience in life, if you want to be terrified, go do some common searches like “how to kiss,” or “how to go on a first date,” or “how to overcome sadness” on YouTube. How to overcome sadness? Cut. How to kiss? Well, this is where you put your hands. Know what I mean? There’s content… and these aren’t being created by creepy forty year old dudes. This content is being created by their peers, and so they’re trusting it, they’re believing it.
So my first thing to a parent who is in this situation like we outlined is, really get raw and real with your child to the level in which they can handle that. And make sure that they see you as someone that they can come to and learn from and that they’re not going to be terrified to come to you because you’re not speaking honest and real to them. The number one thing I get every time from youth is, “You’re just real. You talk to me like I’m an adult.” And that’s a gift. I understand that, and I also know that I’m an outsider, I get all of those things. But the reality is… I don’t say anything inappropriate, I have two children myself, I get that. I’m not inappropriate, I’m just real. And I would tell parents get more real with your children because they’re starving for that.
If you’re in a circumstance where your teen is acting out, where your teen is having problems, your teen is not listening to you. For whatever reason, they’re taking the divorce harder than you think they should. Whatever the thing is that’s going on in their life, and maybe there’s nothing that you can pinpoint that’s going on in their lives. My suggestion there is reach out for help. You’re just going to beat your head up against a wall if you try to solve their problems Cause nine out of ten of these cases… for whatever morbid reason, these children look at the parents as the reason for their dysfunction. And they could be wrong. It could be nothing that you’ve done. But unfortunately the teenage mind isn’t very logical. And so reach out for support and find somebody who can just simply have a conversation. It doesn’t mean a non-profit or a counselor.
Find that child a mentor in something that they love. That’s huge. If your child has an interest in basketball, find somebody in your community who has some credentials in basketball that your child could hang out with and spend a little time with. And allow that mentoring to just naturally happen. If your child’s into film and photography, I can promise you there are so many businesses in this world that are looking for interns, and looking for different things. Encourage your child to go and do an internship at a production house or a marketing firm or whatever else. Just encourage your child to find a mentor that they can start to allow that natural mentorship. And if it’s something serious. Your child’s cutting, they’re suicidal, obviously reach out to us. I would love to have a conversation in that regard.
Mark: Thanks for that offer. We gotta wind down here pretty soon. You may recognize it. It’s about fear. “Some say fear is the absence of courage, I say fear is the absence of trying. We fear the dark because we simply don’t try to enjoy it. We fear heights because we don’t try to look around at all the beauty from above. Fear doesn’t come because we don’t have courage. Fear is there because we simply don’t take a moment and try.” Recognize that quote?
Wesley: I do. I do recognize that quote. It’s been a while since I heard it, but I recognize it.
Mark: You said that somewhere. Probably from your blog. I think this is terrific, because you know, it dovetails a lot with what we teach at Unbeatable Mind and SEALfit, is that fear is the absence of knowing what’s on the other side of that gap. So to get to that gap, you’ve gotta move forward, you’ve gotta take action, you’ve got to overcome inertia. It seems like you’re saying the same thing, and to frame this for kids is super-powerful, because there’s a lot of fear in our world. And fear and negativity are all over the place. And oftentimes just having some success, moving toward something positive is really enough to get things rolling in a much better direction.
Wesley: For sure, and what’s beautiful about youth is… they may have a lot of baggage, for sure. But the elasticity of their brains is just so much better than adults. And so we can make like the sugar thing. They’re terrified to get off sugar, right? “I’m not going to have enough energy. What else am I going to eat?” Once they overcome that, now all of a sudden, they’ve created a new pattern, they’ve created a new direction. Their brain has literally chemically changed, where they have completely new pathways on how to overcome things and how to change things.
And even the framing. I just got done speaking at a foster-facility–which I love, those are my favorite places to go and speak. There’s so much more I can talk about without having to worry about politically correctness stuff in public schools. But I told them, “You know what? You complain about your lives. You say you have this horrible life, you have this horrible existence. Everything sucks, right? Cause your parents dropped you all this stuff. Reframe that thinking. You have already gone through so much. And you’re sitting here. You’ve already overcome so much at this point in your lives.”
And so reframing that conversation with them. And I spoke there… it’s been three days, and I’ve already gotten some amazing emails, but the staff there came and they were the ones that gave me some insane feedback that really just hit me. When we’re inside of something, we don’t realize sometimes how profound what we’re talking about is. And they said, “No one has ever come in here and said that these youth’s lives are actually their strengths and their benefit.” And I kinda stepped back and I thought, “Then, have you not had anyone come and speak to these kids? Cause that seems like 101 to me.” But it’s not.
But I want everyone to realize that, when you just… everyone can look in their lives and see something that they’ve overcome and they can see something that they thought they couldn’t do and they’ve done, and that is the fuel to making the next thing happen. And I love it. I love the mission you’re on. I love that you brought that quote up. Like I said, I haven’t heard it for a while and it’s true. You know, fear is… one of the benefits that I have right now is the amount of time I spent in the marketing world doing “big boy” marketing. Big boy stuff. These companies that are spending–collectively have probably spent, I don’t know at least a trillion dollars on studying psychology of humans. And they know what controls us. And fear and self-worth are the number one and number two thing. If they can scare us, and make us not feel good about ourselves, we will buy anything they want us to buy. So we have to… I get to take those same strategies that I sat once upon a time in a board room and figured out for you to buy a cell phone plan, or for you to buy a Coca-Cola, or for you to buy some program. I now get to use those in reverse, and figure out how can we motivate and empower these children. So, it’s really, really fun. But simple, as well.
Mark: Well it has to be to get through to the kids. And I love this idea that you have what you have, in life. You got what you got. You can’t change the past, and in that past lie the seeds of greatness, so find the right frame, you know, find the silver lining. cultivate the positive aspects and use that to drive forward. What a great message.
Listen Wesley, this has been very, very enlightening, very enjoyable, I think also very worthy for the listeners on Unbeatable Mind. Super want to thank you for your time and wish you good luck with your mission, and we stand by to support you in any way that we can.
Wesley: I love it man. I appreciate it. You’re just down south from me, so we should… I’ll find a time and we should hook up. It’d be awesome to chat.
Mark: Let’s do that.
All right folks, you heard it: “Put the victim to bed and wake up the hero instead.” Wesley Chapman. Thank you so much again Wesley.
Wesley: Appreciate it, thanks.
Mark: All right, folks. That’s it for today. The Unbeatable Mind podcast signing out. Again don’t forget to rate and review what we’re doing on iTunes. Go and opt-in at unbeatablemind.com/podcast. As usual train hard, stay focused and go out and do something positive today.
Coach Divine out.