Enjoy Life! Remove Useless Distractions with Drew Avery
Jade: Hello everyone. Jade here with Jade Inspiration the ‘Right on Baby Podcast. My guest today is Drew Avery, a longtime dear friend of mine. And he’s well known in the fitness industry. He won the 1997 “Body for Life” competition, competing against 50,000 people around the world. He has been featured on a variety of television shows, such as, “Entertainment tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” “E News Daily,” and so much more. In addition to lecturing and writing, Drew has been very active in the fitness community having been featured in 19 issues of “Muscle Media,” “Men’s Health,” and “Men’s Fitness,” and the list just goes on and on. Now today in this very casual yet passionate talk about his life now, he shares his story of how he has applied his fitness acumen to becoming happier and more fulfilled. When I first met Drew, years ago, he really was the definition of a workaholic, and in just, in just the past few years, I could tell he wasn’t truly gratified by all the pressures in his life, and he often called me to discuss it, and find solutions. As time went on, I noticed he was making some pretty bold changes in his life that truly allowed him to slowdown and enjoy the moment. And I was so happy to see this, and be on this journey with him. This journey, as he continues on it today, is what he shares with you. The what, how’s, and why’s of how he has created a life of joy, happiness, peace, and, fulfillment. In this interview, I’ve asked Drew to just go for it, you know, to just tell his story, so you’ll be inspired and entertained the whole way. He will definitely spark some questions within you, to go deeper and perhaps make some very important changes in your own life too. And here we go.(Music)Hi Drew, thanks you so much for joining me today.Drew: Well thank you Jade. Thanks for having me on the program today.Jade: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. I was excited to have you on, because you’re gonna be talking about your journey.Drew: Yes I am.Jade: From an unfulfilled life to a happy life. Tell us more about your— well let’s start off with your background.Drew: Well my background is one primarily related to fitness, about fifteen years ago, I was fortunate enough to enter the original “Body for Life” contest, where I was a heavy guy, and over the course of about 90 days transformed my body, and ultimately ended up winning, and changed the course of my life. And I got to pursue something, I’ve been lucky in that sense, I got to pursue something that I was passionate about. So to one extent or the other I’ve been tied to fitness all these years. And interestingly enough, as we talk a little bit today, about some of the techniques I used, to finally kind of arrive at understanding happiness and finding true happiness.
Jade: That sweet spot, yeah.
Drew: I will allude to some of the practices that I learned over the years through fitness, kind of an interesting similarity, you’ll see as I explain it. I guess, what I want to start with though, is talk a little bit about my life. I think when I look back on this, I really had a fantastic childhood, so I can’t look at that and say, “Gosh, you know, there was something bad there”. It was a wonderful childhood. And as far as my life as a whole, I’ve lived a very, you know, passionate, exciting, diverse life, so once again, I can’t point to anything that really was so bad, that I couldn’t be happy. But I think that very point speaks to where a lot of us are at. Our lives really aren’t that bad, especially when you look at what’s going on around the world. But we are not finding that we’re really happy. We don’t feel truly fulfilled, or we’re not passionate about what we’re doing. And I think that’s a common problem for us right now.
Jade: You started this journey towards happiness, and everybody’s gonna learn more about what your journey was like, as far as, gaining more insight into yourself. Where did that epiphany start? I mean, what really gave you the idea that there was more to life?
Drew: Well I think, specifically the stuff we’ll talk about today, really came about through what we’ll call the typical midlife crisis. But the truth is, is I think I speak for most people, in my own life, I would go through periodic times, whether it be a birthday or a new year’s resolution or some event in my life, that made me go, “You know what I’m tired of this. I’m going to make a change in my life.” And probably like most people, we’re really excited for about that first week to ten days, and then somehow we find ourselves back at that point where we were. You find that that intensity has dropped off. And you find you fall back into the same patterns. I was no different in that sense.
Drew: However, the one thing, the one area of my life that did not happen, was fifteen years ago, when I finally made that decision to transform my body, when I alluded back to the “Body for Life” contest. And I implemented some very interesting strategies that got me past that ten day scenario. And turned what used to be an impossible exercise, in trying to eat and exercise regularly, into an actual lifestyle change that I was able to carry with me for the rest of my life. And so, unfortunately, I did these fifteen years ago, but I did not know, or intellectually put it all together, that I can use some of those same techniques for fitness, but apply them to finding happiness. Well I think, like most people, we have those moments in life, where we stop and reflect, and we realize we want to do something different. In my case, I think it was the proverbial midlife crisis, I think that’s what we’ll call it. But I think it was a combination of just not feeling fully happy and fulfilled. Questioning what I was doing, and of course, getting older and realizing maybe there’s not a lot of time left. So I think that was the genesis of, what I will call a more concentrated effort of finding out what it’s gonna take to be happy. For me, once I hit that spot, I think what I began doing is really putting some thought into it, as opposed to kind of thinking about it, and letting that thought go, and running through kind of that cycle continuously through my life. I thought, “Well you know what, this is something I want to take more seriously.” And so, as I began to think about this, it required that I maybe analyze my childhood a bit more, and analyze what I was doing. And I remember the, I guess you wanna call it the epiphany, or the day that I had the…
Jade: The ah-ha moment.
Drew: The ah-ha moment is. I remember sitting in a parking lot, and seeing a child playing, with just sheer joy, file absolute sheer joy. Not a care in the world. And it hit me that, that is happiness. And I remember feeling like that, and it took me back to my own childhood. And when I started looking real close at it, I remembered that was about the age of about four to seven, when I was self-aware, I knew what was going on in the world around me. But I had not been socialized, I hadn’t been told what’s right or wrong, and how I should act, and how I should think. And so it was a, really as a child, that wondrous time of adventure and discovery. And in seeing that, it caused me to then look at my own life in a different way.
Jade: So did you utilize that experience in watching that child, did you utilize that experience to become, like “how do I get back to having that carefree you know, true joyous feeling as a child?”
Drew: Yes, I mean, I didn’t want to be so naïve to think that I would transport myself back to a child, but what I was trying to accomplish, was that sense of joy and excitement, and really just looking at life in a very wondrous way. I think as we get older we lose that, and it’s replaced with doubt and skepticism, and fear and many other things. And so, what I did was, I looked back at what happened through the course of my life that changed me from that child, to who I am today And what I arrived at was, I’ll use a term that we all probably know very well, and that’s baggage. But when I say baggage, it’s really more of an emotional baggage, in the sense that, if you stop as I did and literally got out a piece of paper, and start writing down everything that is in your life, that’s on your mind, that is causing some level of frustration, depression, anxiety, unresolved issues. And when you start writing it down, it becomes overwhelmingly clear, that there’s a reason why as we become adults, we have a much more difficult time finding that childlike happiness. And for me, it was looking at simple, just a very simple thing, and you and I, I think have talked about this in the past a little bit is, you know, having to do lists. And not completing that to do list, for the day. And that’s, in the scheme of things, it’s not that important, but in the back of your mind you’re not honoring yourself in a way. So that was one of the many, you’re just having, just not completing a to do list, or always having that to do list in the back of your mind. Feeling like, “I need to be doing this. I need to be doing this. I need to be doing this,” or “somehow I am a lesser person.” Looking at the disruption, and boy Jade, and we’ll talk about this a little later, you really opened my eyes, years ago, about watching TV, and that is, I started realizing all the negativity that was being brought in my life, just by listening to the news and all the political scene, and all these different things.
Jade: I remember that discussion…
Jade: And I told you that our watch television, I don’t watch the news, I don’t read newspapers, and yeah, your reaction back then, was like…
Drew: Yeah I thought you might be a little bit irresponsible.
Drew: [laughing] Quite frankly.
Jade: [laughing] Absolutely because I, you know, I wanted to, you know, like control what goes in my consciousness and what I think about every day, but I really did not want the negativity too, you know,
Jade: Impede on what my true choices are.
Drew: Well, and, to your credit, that was an amazing strategy that I found, when I implemented myself, it really changed the course of my thinking because, if you start really analyzing what you’re hearing on a daily basis, it’s overwhelmingly negative. And again, I don’t wanna go, don’t want to drill too far down on that point, but again it just represents another distraction. Another one would be the amount of time we spend answering needless text messages. So you’ve got a continual disruption there, you got a continual disruption on the social media side. You’ve got relationships, and all the interactions you have there. You have your own goals and ambitions in life, that you might not be fulfilling, and it’s just sitting there, day in and day out, and day in and day out. And again, everybody’s gonna have their own general list, but if you really just sit down a write out everything that you’re dissatisfied with, that’s on your mind. It was a shocking to me, and what I did was, in that exercise, I realized then and there, that there is a path, there was a way. And that way is to identify, you can’t identify something you don’t know about or you don’t acknowledge. So that very first step for me was, once I knew that I wanted to try to arrive at that childlike state. And not childlike in an immature way, in a mature way of, of finding happiness through eliminating, what I’ll call needless life distractions or needless life stresses, stresses. It doesn’t mean life is gonna be stress free, but it does mean that you look at those stresses differently. The ones that you can’t avoid and the one you can avoid, you learn to avoid. And the combination of that along with a few other things we will about.
Jade: It sounds like just letting go of useless distractions.
Drew: Right. It really is. I mean, I think we’ll talk again a lot more about it, but the core of it is letting go of the need to control everything, and letting go of continual expectations of things. I think those are the core to it, but I will say that, it’s one thing to talk about it, as we’re talking about it right now, I think where I fell short, and where most people fall short is, the implementation of that. I didn’t want— in coming here today, I didn’t really want to talk about a particular philosophy I think that brought me to a better understanding of happiness, because I think there are many guys out there. I mean, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Abraham Hicks, even Tony Robbins, they all do a very good job in their own way of delivering a message that absolutely is helpful. But my message today, is really more about how do you get past, what I’ll call the new year’s resolution syndrome, which is— it doesn’t have to be new year’s obviously, but it can be your birthday or whatever event that happen in your life, that makes you stop for a minute and go, “You know, this is just not what I had in mind for myself, there’s gotta be more.” And then you go through that week to ten day scenario, where you’re excited and you just don’t, for whatever reason, that excitement starts waning and decreasing and then what’s very easy to happen, is that old habits and patterns fall back in, because the world’s not sharing your desire to change you, the world is gonna be right there as it always is. Again, I use that time frame, because amazingly enough, that seems to be the time frame that is very consistent with the people I’ve worked with over the years, of trying to lose weight. For the last fifteen years, I’ve worked with people that have made that New Year’s resolution, and from my experience, it’s usually three to ten days. That window in there is one when that excitement falls off. And it’s unfortunate, because if they would’ve just hung in there a little bit longer, that’s where the real change takes place. And that’s really where I want to focus my, my discussion today of my own life, how I was able to utilize some techniques that I learned in fitness, to achieve happiness. And I don’t want it sound overly mechanical, but really I think it’s helpful for everybody to follow kind of a step by step method that will help them arrive at a point where they can realistically change their lives. And that’s what happened to me. Interestingly enough, here I am somebody that’s been teaching people how to transform their bodies over the years. And this technique that I was teaching people, was— I mean, couldn’t be more in front of my face. It’s like a fish looking for water, you know, I was immersed in the fitness arena, I was immersed in the step by step techniques necessary to implement these strategies into your life, to where it becomes a daily ritual, so you’re not thinking about it. But the interesting part about this was I missed it, as it related to my own happiness. And so as we go back to that time, when I was looking at the kid in the parking lot, and then that started me down the path of looking at my own life. And what was I thinking as a child, and what happened between now and then. And then I systematically, the process I went through was basically, systematically looking at all these disruptions, and seeing what I could remove fairly easily. Not watching TV was a very easy one to do. Not listening to talk radio, which was not easy because that’s, you know, I love talk radio. But what I found was, just as I tell people for example, when they get into shape, for the first week, you know, stop drinking the cokes.
Jade: Right, right.
Drew: You know, stop doing some of these things that are the core problems for your weight gain. I had to stop doing something that was a core problem for my happiness. One was getting rid of all that negative information. And the other part of this was, I think spending time in quiet thought. Now most people say, “C’mon, you’re driving in the car, you know, you could easily be quiet.” There’s really a difference between quiet thought and not hearing somebody talk to you. Quiet thought is when you’re not having to drive a car, you’re not doing anything, you’re sitting quietly in thought. And to take it one step further is to turn off your mind, and stop thinking. And that’s what I had to do. I was constantly thinking about the past and the future, and I was never putting myself in a position of quiet thought. So what I set out to do was, to implement a strategy very similar to what I did for body transformation, but for happiness. And the system was, was set up around removing those disruptions as best I can, point one. Point two is, putting myself in a daily ritual, see, this is the key because, when you don’t treat it seriously, when you don’t treat your happiness seriously, or you don’t treat your weight loss seriously. You not going to have the positive benefits, and so you— in order to make any of the stuff work, you’ve got to be willing to make it a priority in your day.
Jade: Tell us about your routine?
Drew: So, my routine was, I, instead of getting up in the morning and training, and working on my body, I took that opportunity, I live in California, I love the beach, so I got up very early in morning, and I love, since I love the beach, it was a perfect setting for me to find that kind of that relaxation, and that quietness, and being able to quiet my mind. It doesn’t have to be the beach, you could be in your bedroom, it doesn’t— but it’s really about having that quietness, that time of self-introspection, that’s not disrupted through continual thought or disruptions around you. And so that was the beginning for me. I set out to do this every day. And the other thing that I did was, I had to, I guess the word’s trust a little bit.
Drew: And I’ll go back to the analogy of fitness, most the people I worked with really had no understanding of how to diet, how to— what foods to eat, or what exercises to preform, or even what supplements to take, so that’s where I came in and lined everything out for them. And most of the time, they had— really didn’t understanding what they’re doing, but I just said trust me, just do it for a month, because obviously what you’re doing right now isn’t working, so why don’t you just trust me, and just do this, and see what happens. And those people that did, a very interesting transformation occurred, and that is it became from not knowing anything, to actually making it a part of their life. Fitting it into their life and understanding it, by the end of the thirty days. And I think we, studies have shown that the human brain just needs thirty days to establish a new pattern. So what I did was say, “I don’t know exactly what I’m doing here, I’ve done a lot of studying to know that I need to quiet my brain, I need to treat this more seriously. And so for that first 30 days, I trusted. I went out and treated the, this time by myself seriously. And so I would go out and spend two to three hours, I don’t know if everybody has to do that, I was just fortunate enough to have that kind of time to do it, you can do it in literally thirty minutes. But I found the process so interesting, so fulfilling, and so exciting that I wanted to do it.
Jade: Was it a meditative state, or just allowing your mind to just…?
Drew: Great question. It really encompassed three primary things. One is, first thing when I get there in the morning, I’m meditating, I actually turn on a meditation tape. It’s only about fifteen minutes, but it’s a breathing technique and it’s just a way to prepare the mind, I think— I don’t know another way of saying it, just it really puts you in a good state. Secondarily from that, I would go to, and still do, thinking. It’s funny, I tell you don’t think, but in this case the thought process is more along the lines of not thinking about what I’m doing for the day, not thinking about the future, not thinking necessarily about the past, but enjoying the moment and really being in that moment. Removing thought of past and future, and I’ll just to speak for myself, but I think it’s a technique that will work well for everybody. And it’s really, be in the space of gratitude. And I think it’s important to note, that I think up to that point, before I started doing all this, my gratitude was more mechanical. What’s the analogy I want to use? It’s like, almost like Thanksgiving. Thank you for the food.
Jade: [laughing] Yeah.
Drew: Thank you for thank you.
Drew: You know, it’s a very superficial, mechanical way of approaching it. And I found that, when I quieted my mind, and stop and just realize, “My goodness, I’m sitting here on a beach, in probably one of the most desirable places on the planet, able to do this in good health, I’ve got amazing kids, I’ve got amazing—” you know, I mean, when I did that, it was one of those epiphanies. It was almost overwhelming to me. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, I have been so blind.” I don’t— it made me stop and realize “I have nothing to be unhappy about. What is my problem?” I mean I really arrived at that.
Jade: Did you, did you, did you feel that as you focused on things you were grateful for, you found more things that came to the surface of what you were grateful for?
Jade: Because there’s so much to be grateful for.
Drew: Oh it was.
Jade: You forget.
Drew: It was literally a tsunami. It hit me and just made me feel, like “Wow, I’ve been amazingly blind.” And I think that’s an important point to note is, I would never have arrived at this, had I not made a concerted effort to remove some of these distractions from my Life, and tried to remove this thinking about the past and thinking about the future, just continuously, continuously, continuously, and stopping and saying, “Okay, I’m in this moment. Wow, this is amazing, oh.” And the quietness, it just came to me. Once again, “Wow, I am, I am amazingly blessed here.” And I think it’s so easy to see, we as Americans, especially, it’s so much easier to see, you know, especially when you know what’s going on in Iraq, Iran, Israel and in Syria. I mean, you just go on and on and on about how people are living every day. And for us to have any unhappiness is really a little confusing.
Drew: But, I think when it comes down to is this unhappiness is all self-driven.
Jade: It’s all from the inside.
Drew: And it takes this quiet time, and I can’t say, and I don’t want to mislead anybody, this wasn’t something that I said, “Okay, I drove up to the beach, here it is, first day, and I’m a happy guy.” It really wasn’t like that. I had, just like I was talking about on the transformation process, there’s a lot of trusting going on. And you’ll find that those negative thoughts you’d had for years, still come in periodically. The need for, you know, control and the need for self-judgment, and all that stuff did not go away overnight. It still took me, even though I was keenly aware of what I was doing, at least thirty days.
Jade: Well absolutely. Because we do have internal habits to our subconscious minds, and add two pairs to where that’s how we’ve been basing our actions on, on our past experiences. And what we’ve remembered, in our past experience, such as if something negative happens in an experience, you’re gonna do whatever you can, right now, to avoid that experience…
Jade: Happening again. So as we go through our transformation and our changes, it goes up and down. We’ll have good days, bad days, and we’ll kind of fall back a little bit, but move forward two steps back one step, forward three steps, you know, such as your life. So the process really is important to be patient with yourself. Did you find that to be?
Drew: Yes, and that leads to what I think would be the third point of what I primarily do in that quiet time, and that is I bring my tablet out with me, and I love to go to YouTube, and there’s a plethora of information, I mean, you don’t have to buy anything these days, you can literally go to YouTube and there’s so much information. You can pull up Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Abraham Hicks, I mean, there’s just really maybe even hundreds of people you can go to that have great information. And what I found is, I used that time to study, to listen, and to learn. It was— I really did study the process of happiness in a sense, because you have to understand that you’re literally rewiring your brain. And the thing that I found was, once I quieted myself and my thinking, and started down this path, and I just put my toe in the water on it, it was— there was so much excitement to it. I mean, because— all I can say is that, in the past, I had those times when I wanted to change, but I never could get my toe in the water really. I mean, I’d just, I used that emotional excitement to carry me, but there was nothing underlying that. So when the emotional wave subsided, I wasn’t able to carry it through. I went to back to all the old patterns, and so what I did once again was just treated it more seriously. Not, you know, and I treated it like that happiness project almost.
Jade: Right, right.
Drew: And so going out, and doing the initial meditation and quiet time, followed by study every day, was no different than asking the people that I worked with from a fitness level, to trust me. Just eat right and exercise. Don’t watch, it’s like watching water a boil, don’t do it. Just trust me, and at the end of thirty days you’ll be amazed. And I often say, for my point of view, I knew enough about this process, that I was— I knew mentally I didn’t need all the way to thirty days. A couple weeks in, I was like, “Okay the stuff that started, that initially felt a little odd, those negative thoughts that kept coming in, that doubt, that I was dealing with every day, started to subside.
Jade: So with YouTube, and the studying you did through YouTube, I mean, there’s so many modalities. There’s books…
Jade: There’s seminars, there’s webinars, so many modalities. Your modality was the YouTube, which is awesome, because you do get a lot of information and, and a lot of good feedback, as far as staying on track to a better mindset. A more positive thought process, so the more you fill yourself with positive energy and information that will help propel you to stay on a higher level of happiness.
Drew: That’s a great point. It’s just the opposite of when you’re watching the news.
Jade: Right, exactly.
Drew: And just as the news pulls you down, you can use, whether it be reading or the videos, to pump yourself back up. And for me, I will not understate it, I mean, it’s, for me it was an invaluable tool, especially on those days, as you mentioned, we all go through ups and downs. And there’s those days that, whether I didn’t get enough sleep, or I had, you know, something was on my mind that I just could not clear where my meditation wasn’t really happening.
Drew: I found that going through the material and listening to people, the experts we’ll call them, share their insight, it turned it around for me. It’s like, when you’re, it’s like, it’s almost like having a personal trainer in a sense, which we’ll talk about even more, near the end of the, the, near the end of the show I’ll talk a little bit more about the importance of having a coach. Because I think, in going back to the fitness side of this thing, there’s a lot of stuff you can do on your own. But it’s interesting what happens when you have another perspective, when you have somebody else helping you. And I found in this case, that even the videos, that it was kind of a coach, but not quite as much as actually having a coach.
Drew: Which we’ll talk about more, so, where I want to go in this conversation is, that the path to happiness can actually be accomplished through kind of a mechanical means. In other words, you just kind of have to set yourself, you have to remove some negative stuff, you have to detach yourself from a lot of the distractions, and you have to make a willingness to set some quiet time aside, and hang with it long enough. And even though you’ll have those days where you’re just going, “Wow,” you know, and believe me, I had many of them. Because, I pride myself and self-analysis, and I pride myself in having pretty good, what’s the word I want to use, I’m regimented. You know, I can follow a plan, and I have high expectations for myself, so even I had to stop and really cut myself some slack here, and come to the realization that I had some substantial negative wiring, that I had built over the years and this was going take time to rewire myself. And so the process of that thirty day period was something then, that was absolutely necessary for me. It was the mechanism that moved me from that, what we’ll call, New Year’s Eve scenario, or New year’s resolution scenario, where I fell off at ten days, to literally making it through all thirty, and all of a sudden all the things were a little bit confusing to me, and I wasn’t sure. They started, the clouds started clearing. And I really began to feel I had a shot at this, and it was exciting and exhilarating and it was, well if you don’t mind me again using another personal story.
Drew: Tied to this, and that was when I did my own transformation, again I was competing in a contest for turning my body from this heavy guy, this heavy guy into a, a guy that’s in shape. Well my first month, I was, you know, wondering if I was going to be able to do this, I was motivated but— I stuck with it. I hired a personal— or I hired a nutritionist, and I had my own workout plan, I follow— it was like a regimen, I did it every day, it was a ritual. But it took me about a month, and that ritual became my daily life, you know. The task of doing it was, it wasn’t a burden anymore, but more importantly at the end of that month, when I saw what I accomplished, because I went back and took a picture of what my body looked like after just one month of the focused approach. It changed my life. That was the actual turning point for me and interestingly enough, same scenario here, because initially I didn’t know whether dieting and training, or dieting and eating was really gonna do. And when I saw firsthand what it had done for my body, I knew what I was doing was working. And it worked the same way for this, what we call a, path to happiness, if that’s what we want to call it. I had to trust that the basic techniques I was using, although I was initially feeling rather mechanical, blossomed into a lifestyle change, where I could literally see there was a shot at finding what I call real happiness. Happiness that wasn’t centered on materialism. Happiness that wasn’t focused on continual satisfaction of my ego. The kind of happiness that really, I believe we’re all looking for, that closely mirrors what a child experiences, but with an adult brain. And that’s the beauty of this, because with the child mentality, you don’t know, it’s all wonderment. But when you intellectually get to that point again, with an adult brain, you realize once again, “This is an amazing world we live in.” And you get rid of the negative, and you start focusing on the positive, you want to be here now, this isn’t a burden anymore. And that was the epiphany I had after doing this for about a month, “This is exciting stuff and I want to continue.”
Jade: Absolutely and I’m really excited you brought that up, because I definitely, my platform really is our experience of life. Whether it’s good bad, you know, I have a great life or I don’t, it all starts from within, you know. How you feel about yourself, your thought processes and how you interpret and perceive what’s going on around you, but still on the inside your in joy, you’re in peace, you’re at peace with yourself inside, therefore, no matter what’s going on around you, the economy, the wars, the you know, or, you know, political setbacks or whatever, whatever is going on, on the outside, internally you have control of what you focus on.
Drew: That is true.
Jade: And that sounds like what you’ve gone through over your journey, everything is really based on transforming and upgrading what you’re thinking.
Drew: What you’re thinking is.
Jade: And how you’re thinking and what’s going into your mind, what you are focusing on. So I can really relate to that, absolutely.
Drew: Well, I mean, that is exactly what was happening here and is happening, because it’s not like I achieved it and now I reached the apex of it.
Drew: I mean, I finally just reached a point where I now. I call— the analogy that I use I’m still on my training wheels. This goes so far, and I don’t promise anything, I mean, I’m just happy that I was fortunate enough to get here. I mean, and that’s the thing, and other people I have talked that had similar experiences, it’s a frustration in a sense that you didn’t get there sooner, but “Boy, you’re happy that you finally made it.” You know that you finally have, have what I call the light at the end of the tunnel almost. You know, many of us say we want to be happy, but we can’t define it. But what this allows us to do this process, at least for me, was finally see that glimmer that, “Oh I see, this isn’t about how much material wealth I get. This isn’t about, you know, me being, you know, somehow somebody validating me and my ego and ego and ego.” This was about me going, “I am in an amazing ride called life. Amazing ride called life. And I am happy to be here, and I just want more life adventures, more life experiences.” And that’s really where I’ve arrived at. Is that I’m not so interested in acquiring more things. Which leads me to the other thing that I did, that I think my family looked at me rather strangely, and that is I also realized that there was a lot of disruption in. Personally looking at my own life, I’ve got a lot of clutter here. I looked at my desk, even a cluttered desk. If your really are honest with yourself, it works on your mind, and so I really took this seriously, and so I got rid of about half of my stuff. I decided to get as many bills as I could paid off, relieving financial stress, relieving personal disorganization, going to the beach. I mean, I really approached it from multiple ways, but I found the more I did, the more I wanted to do. And that, I think the procrastination that we all deal with, that overwhelming, “God, I just don’t know how to, where to begin. I don’t know what to do. It’s so overwhelming.” If you just knock down a few things one at a time, as what I did for my own life. It’ll give you a hint that, “Oh my gosh, I feel so much better. I’m not watching the news, and I’m not barraged by negative stuff. You’re gonna start having the feeling as I did, just relief. Relief, relief as you’re going down this path there’s more and more relief. And I found, that I’m at a point now, where I can live off so much less than I thought I could. I’ve released this need for, again this monetary assessment of myself, and the reason I keep saying monetary, monetary, and I’ve said it a few times, is I just think we live, especially in the United States, we’re a very monetary driven society. And the unfortunate part about that is, is that we base our self-worth on that. And it’s so easy to say, “Well, we shouldn’t do that,” but the problem is that if you care what other people think about you, and you care what society thinks about you, then you ultimately have a hard time releasing that. But that speaks to letting go of control and expectation, a portion that we talked about earlier, and that is as we have talked about, kind of the things I did at the beach. I don’t want to, I don’t want to neglect the, what I think are the real core elements of changing thought, that has allowed me to, to really see happiness in a different light, and that is setting aside all the rituals that I do in the morning, it’s coming to the understanding that everything that’s going on around the world I cannot control. I mean, Jade you’ve known me for years, so you know there was a point at which I could’ve talked on either point, either side, democrat republican, you know.
Drew: And listen to everything, everything, everything and I took pride in being able to know each side of the argument. Well, I had to stand back and go, “so, what have I done?”
Drew: “Other than keep myself in a continuous state of agitation.”
Jade: And I remember asking you, well is there anything you can do about the political movements going on right now, and you said, “no.” And I go, “Well then, why are you even worried about it? Why is it taking so much of your energy, and giving you such grief where you can’t control it, so let it go and focus on things you can control, that you want in your life. And…
Jade: And I think that’s what started to happen, you know, as you talking about the process.
Drew: That’s exactly what started to happen. You come to a realization, I think that if you look at just the amount of energy and mental disruption, and I keep using the word mental disruption, because it is mental disruption. I mean, it’s so disruptive to your life, to worry about what Obama is doing or not doing. What’s going on around the world. And I’m not, and I think there needs to be a distinction, between being aware, generally aware, and being wrapped up in it. I think we have obligation, because freedom is so important to us.
Drew: To be aware of what’s going on around us, to the point where we may have to act, but that’s different than trying to control every element of this. Trying to control what’s going on in the Democratic Party. Trying to take a religious position, and say your position is above everybody else’s. I mean, it’s just amazing, when you step away from all that, how you realize, how much needless time and effort and energy, and how you really ruin relationships, by taking a stance on something you have no control of. I mean, people are fighting to the death, families getting into fights over religious issues that nobody can prove, but we fight and fight and fight and fight about it. And that’s a whole other topic we can talk about, but what I’m trying to get at is, you have to be willing to let it go. Let it go. If you’ve got somebody comes and tells you, “Oh, I love Obama.” And you don’t or vice versa, let it go. There’s no benefit to getting wrapped up in this nonsense. And in fact, I found the more I let go, and just go, “Hey, I’m just enjoying life. I enjoy the weather. I enjoy the breeze in my face. I enjoy my health. I enjoy…” It’s overwhelming how many thing you can enjoy. And how much better you feel. And again, this may be a topic for another show, but when I found was that in letting go you realize that everything’s kind of going as it should.
Drew: You know.
Drew: And that, this idea that somehow not going the way it’s supposed to go. That our idea of how it’s supposed to go is the way it’s supposed to go. It’s not. In fact, I’ll make the comment now that we rarely grow through pleasure, it’s mostly through pain. And I think society is gonna have to go through some pain to ultimately arrive at a more conscious state. And I’ll just leave it at that, I think that’s for another show, but what I’m trying to explain in this show, in this conversation is trust yourself, don’t feel bad that you want to relinquish control. You’re not being irresponsible. You have an obligation to your happiness, and when you’re happy the people around you are happy. If you’re not happy, typically the people around you are not going to be happy. And so if this is really about our happiness, as an individual, it’s really about letting go of control, it’s also letting go of expectations. And I’ll tell you again from my standpoint, how I did that. When I first was presented this idea of letting go of expectations, I don’t think I fully grasp what that meant, and as time went on, and how powerful that statement is really, where it became a impactful for me was, even when I’m a driving my car, I started realizing, I had a whole bunch of agitation going on in my life that I didn’t need to have. Why did I feel like, just because I pulled into the intersection, that the light needed to immediately turn green for me?
Drew: Why do I need to feel that? And why, because the light didn’t turn green for me, do I experience an internal agitation about it. That’s an expectation, that all of a sudden because Drew came to the light it’s supposed to change. Or when I walk into the bank and the line is long I get agitated, because, you know, people aren’t hurrying, “Why aren’t they hurrying through their transactions?” They’re allowed to do their transactions, they’re allowed— they’re there to bank, just like I’m there to bank. I use those very small examples, but it is an example of all the many small examples that we are continually allowing ourselves to be agitated with, because we’ve got this expectation, that life should just be this way for us, you know, we should walk a life with no clouds, it should just be total sunshine and when it’s not, I deserve to be agitated and that’s really not the case. And it’s again, it points to changing your thinking. It doesn’t mean, people say, “Well, do you mean, when you do this does life change? In other words, do negative events no longer occur?” No, negative events do still occur, but it’s how you think about it. Yes the light is still not gonna turn for you, but when you’re not agitated, when you have an expectation, all I can tell you is it changes your life. These are all the small little things that add up to a big thing at the end, and that is called happiness. And it’s changing your thinking in these small ways that ultimately creates this amazing momentum, that you may not feel that first month. You may feel aspects of it in that first month, or maybe in the second month, but boy, once you keep with it and it becomes a ritual, it becomes something daily that you’re aware of. Once you become aware of it, and that’s, you know what, this is the point I wanted to cover a couple times, during the course of our conversation, but I didn’t do it, and that is you have to not run from unenjoyable feelings like we do. Just because something doesn’t feel good or and the fear associated with it, we want to bury it. We want to bury it, and by not thinking about it, somehow that fixes it. And I had to come to the realization, that you do just the opposite. When you have a feeling or a fear or something that’s causing— you can even feel it internally, you start being more aware of your emotions, you feel “Gosh,” I don’t feel good about that, don’t bury it. Look at it, be aware of it. That goes back to why I wrote down all the disruptions in my life, initially, you’ve got to see it. You have to acknowledge it before you can fix it. And burying it is not the way to go. So, when I looked at this entire process, which again I think I’ll title is working through the new year’s resolutions scenario we’ll call, it’s just simply put yourself in a position, even though you don’t really feel it fully yet, but you try to mechanically insert some of these things in your, and you going to fall, and you’re going to stumble just like a kid. That’s why I said I’m still on training wheels right now. You allow yourself, don’t beat yourself up, just be so glad that you’re even doing this, because once you hit that point, where that gratitude hits you, and you realize, “Hey, this life can be absolutely amazing,” just like that child. That four year old or six year old, before they’ve been too immersed in society, they look at life in a wondrous way. I realized, when I started, when I finally had a little bit of time that is possible for an adult. You just change your thinking. So what I wanted to impart through my story, is that you don’t have to be a guru, you don’t even need to be an expert in anything, you just have to be willing to set some time aside, and just do a few things. Look at your life and be willing to not be scared to look at yourself. Quiet your mind. Stop thinking about the past. Stop thinking about the future, just think about where you are right now, and replace negative stuff with positive stuff. And just sit in that for a while, with no real, going back to expectations, don’t go, I mean, when you leave in this society, it has to be now now now now now now now now now now now. And what happens is, we get frustrated with ourselves, and we fail to realize that we didn’t get here overnight. This wiring that we’re dealing with started when we were children. And so forgive yourself, be happy that you’re even doing this. Sit in it for a while. Give yourself thirty days, even though you’re not sure about it. Do it. Just trust it. And I think, as the case with me, it will open the door to something that you just had no idea was there. A level of happiness, a level of security, a level of passion, you know, again we all are frustrated with procrastination all the time. I found that once I figured all this out, I get up now at about five o’clock in the morning, willingly to go to this. That is the difference between trying, you know, to push yourself out of bed, you know, trying to think “I should do this. I should do this,” it’s move to not should, but I can’t wait to do it and feel frustrated when I can’t. One of the things I also did, and, gosh what do I want to call it, detaching from society a little bit, not completely. But I did have some people in my life that were negative, were not helping.
Jade: What were those relationships like?
Drew: Well I think the word that comes to mind is stressful, disruptive. I think we all understand the situations where we may be in a good mood, and the person goes into our life, and brings an emotional storm, and we have people in our lives that do that continuously, and we allow it. And I reached a point in deciding to make this a more focused attempt at happiness. I did some things that were probably, even my own family looked at and thought was a little strange. I did end some relationships with people that I felt were negative. I did get rid of about fifty percent of the things that I didn’t think I needed. Interestingly enough, I found that giving of myself, I think this is another show altogether. I found that in doing this, I wanted to help those, it took me, how do I say this. It took the focus away from me, even though I’m spending all this time on myself, the interesting scenario, the interesting outcome of this is I wanted to help others. So I find myself, where before, you know, I just pass a homeless guy on the street, you know, I feel sorry for him, now I’ll go get him food. It’s a very weird thing, I don’t want to position myself as some do gooder, I’m just saying it’s been an amazing transformation of the mind. And I think I’ve strayed a little bit from the original question, but it just goes to this, and I won’t go any further down that path, and I’ll just say, yes, It was a multi-tiered approach that I took. That sounds very technical but it was multi-tiered, and removing myself from society to a certain extent, but also removing those negative people and not being afraid to do that. I think that was the thing, you’re afraid to do it because my family and friends, and all of these people, what are they going to think of you? Well, you should’ve come to the realization that, “I don’t care. My happiness is the most…” And as long as I’m not hurting them and not be hurtful, I’m gonna pursue this. And I allowed myself do that, best move I ever made. And now I think, now to come full circle, and say I think the question was what does my life look like now. Is that what it was?
Jade: Yes, absolutely. What does your like look with now after going through your journey and creating this routine sounds very very very healthy?
Drew: Well I think, as I alluded to earlier, I’m still on my training wheels. I’m on this, what has, what’s the word I want to use, manifested. What has manifested in my life. Is that many of the things that I originally acknowledged wanting in my life has occurred. And even better defining who I am, better at defining what I want to do in life. It’s coming into much better focus, and I think that’s an important point is that, don’t be frustrated if you still don’t know exactly. You have to, who you are or what you want to do, this has been a very long process for me. In the sense, yeah, I did my ritual for thirty days and really kind of established it as more of a lifestyle change, but what I found was an interesting kind of side note is, I remember what my thoughts were when I started, about who I was, and what I wanted to do, and it’s constantly evolving, because as I grow I keep looking at life through different eyes. For example, when you and I talked about, you know, watching TV, and the news and all this. I was having a conversation with you from different eyes. You were speaking from one perspective through your eyes and I was speaking through my eyes. But as time went on, my view changed, and now you’re you makes sense. That process continues through a lifetime. As you mature, your view of life and who you are and what you want changes. But I will say that to speak specifically to what has occurred in my life, happiness has occurred. More consistent true happiness has occurred. And that’s where I started this journey, I wanted true happiness, and seeing a real way of having that kind of happiness that I ultimately would like, but understanding there’s joy in the journey. See this is no longer when I get there I will be happy, it’s I’m happy now, and I’m happy that I am finding ways to be happier. So now it’s really loving life, loving the journey of life, loving the learning that I continue to learn, you know, and I continue to experience. That’s really where my life is right now. I’m continuing to grow, I have not by any means reached where I want to be, but I see it happening.
Jade: Well, absolutely. I think as human beings and also as spiritual beings, we’re constantly evolving, we’re constantly learning more about ourselves, what we want and what we don’t want, we’re constantly upgrading and changing our preferences throughout our lives. So evolution is always happening within ourselves, and I think that’s not important thing that we understand, is that there’s not necessarily a destination. It’s just enjoying the process of life, the ups and downs and appreciating the challenges as learning experiences, and understanding that there is no, you know.
Drew: Right or wrong.
Jade: Exactly, exactly, and all is well and as it should be. We’re always challenged and are forced to learn what we need to learn to get us to the next step of our evolution.
Drew: Thank you for bringing up this point, because that’s something that I missed that’s important for me. And that is, I am slowly but surely, I’m not perfect by any means, but this one way of changing thought, maybe the most dramatic thing, interestingly enough, I haven’t talk about yet, and that is problems and challenges still come in your life, but if you look at those challenges as a learning event, as opposed to an irritation, it literally changes your life because you’re going to have what we, I think what , what Eckhart Tolle said, “Clouds come in your life, clouds…” But you allow, just like a cloud. The cloud comes in, you observe it, and it goes out. You don’t attach to it, you don’t judge it, you don’t, you don’t do anything and it comes and if anything you evaluate it and go, is this challenge…what can I learn with this challenge? and if you approach it that way life… you know, because if we think about it much of the unhappiness if not most of it is really centered around challenges, I think, I can speak to each of the relationships I’ve had, I think that, that the relationships, have been very valuable in teaching me who I am, who I want in a partner, and…
Jade: Tell us about the challenges that you have had in your relationships that have taught you… how… more about yourself.
Jade: And Why?
Drew: The challenge is when you are perfect like me, and everybody else isn’t, you know, that is the challenge
Jade: No… no well… what I mean, pick up one challenging relationship that you had that really thought you a lot.
Drew: Well I believe it really comes down to… You really have to…accept the person as they are if you are constantly looking at them through the eyes of … well if they only did this, well if they would only say this, if they would only act like this way, if they will stop doing this, I could be happy, this relationship will be great if they can just handle this checklist of things that I have written for them that…that… they need to follow because that’s what Drew needs to be happy, when you get rid of that and you realize, “Hey, my happiness is my responsibility, it’s not… it’s really what I think…it’s not what they think… It’s what I think, it’s how I think…” the us and our home home are the time when the use and come home and I have to find that… or say that … if there was one element related to relationships… it was the fact that once you come to the understanding that you can’t… you can’t control the other person and you stop trying to control them, you’re going to be much happier. You know, and I think the other thing is… interesting byproduct of this whole process is when you understand who you are better, then you can better find that mate, because you recognize those traits in yourself. If you’re, if you are trying to walk that path of happiness, you’re going to find somebody else in their words, in their actions, you are going to recognize that and what I think it does it puts you in a better position of finding the proverbial soul mate if there is such a thing… which I… I personally believe there is. But you can’t really find that soul mate until you know who you are, until you know what your real likes and dislikes are and those kinds of things. So I think we’ve touch in about ten subjects that could it be a show in among themselves, but that’s just one example of the byproduct of the, of this process. What’s happened for me is, when you start looking at challenges in a different light. It’s almost like instead of challenge being an irritation you look at it like “Okay what am I to learn from this?” And when I’ve taken that position and stopped and really looked at it and then arrived at a solution completely different than I would’ve in the past, that’s exciting. I just want to lead everybody with this understanding…this is a…once you get rolling with this, it is an amazingly fun process its…it’s something you want to do, you know I don’t want people to think, “Oh it’s just so drudgery”, you know, like people used to think when I worked with them on fitness, “oh getting up and eating, and exercising is just so drudgery its drudgery. “ What is drudgery for those people that never see any improvement, you know, they’re still overweight they still are out of shape, they are unhappy, but you talk to people that have made real change in their life they’re excited, you can’t keep them from doing it, once they figure out how to do this, they stay with it most of the time and that is what’s happened here. If you can put yourself in that position get that thirty day under your belt and just trust it. Get ready to have an amazing life. The interesting thing about this and you and I talked about this a couple times is, is that I pride myself on self-evaluation. I think if I was given a gift in life it’s being able to analyze things and to self-evaluate, so for someone who takes pride in this, it was kind of slap in the face in a good way. When I started sharing more of this with you and you would listen and then come back with stuff that completely floored me, in terms of how I possibly was looking at a certain situation or making me understand that my point of view, although logical in my own mind, could be viewed completely different from another point of view, but why is this important, because in this whole process of self-evaluation and, and, and mechanically working through this there was still a hole there were still a little bit of a hole in the sense that if I really wanted to have what I think to be every tool in my toolbox to help me find happiness I really underplayed the value of a coach. Only because I play the role of a coach in the fitness arena so much that, “Well, my ego… I don’t need a coach. I myself…” But that’s really not the case. I’m like most people, when you’re on a path, it’s very valuable to talk to somebody who’s farther down the road than you are. I miss that and so, what was so funny is in talking to you through this journey is that I just was shocked that somehow my thinking and my evaluation wasn’t correct. And it wasn’t, but what it did do was once again open my eyes more fully to myself, because I was getting a prospective of myself from somebody outside of me, and that is invaluable, because once you hear, once you see from somebody else, hear what’s going on its just another way of acknowledging a problem in your life, seeing it, acknowledging it, and giving a fighting chance to do something about it our talks have yielded many what I can say, interesting epiphanies from me.
Jade: Yeah, we talked about a lot of them.
Drew: But I think one that just stands out, as a perfect example is, I was convinced whole heartily that watching TV and getting all immersed in all that it was the responsible thing to do. Through my own eyes that was the responsible thing to do. But I needed somebody that was farther down the road than me.
Jade: As far as?
Drew: Farther down the road in terms of understanding happiness, farther down the road in terms of understanding the power of negative thinking, you know, it’s… it’s… being self-assured is a double edged sword it helps you in life, but it also hinders you, in the sense of if you have the incorrect way of thinking, you’re convinced it’s the right way of thinking. So I’ll go back to that situation with you where you…. you… you were farther than the road than I was. I needed somebody that was farther down the road to say, “Drew hey… you need to look at that because that’s really not serving you.” I wouldn’t have arrived at that, had that seed that you planted, hadn’t been given to me. And that’s why coaching is so important. It’s not a weakness, asking somebody to help you is absolutely not a weakness, you need to do it because it is imperative to really reach those higher levels of happiness in your own growth.
Jade: Oh absolutely, I love being a life coach, I really enjoy seeing the best in everybody. And knowing that they’re already whole and capable of reaching the goals that they want and just being by their side and encouraging them all the way because I do believe in everybody that I coach and I know that as long as they have the desire, then we can get there together as far as actions set. Thank you so much Drew, we really, really enjoyed having you today, you have so much to offer in regards to insights to a happier and more fulfilling life. What’s in the future for Drew Avery? What’s coming up for you?
Drew: Well I think the biggest project on the horizon is again, tied to fitness, now I’ve been working in this arena for fifteen years. And interestingly enough we were talking about that New Year’s eve resolution scenario, what I found in the past is that people… one of the things that really derails people is their addiction to sugar… well it’s a big problem for most people, and in fact the studies are now showing that sugar, from a reward center in the brain stem, is as addictive as nicotine and cocaine. So secretly sugar has a much stronger hold on us that we all know. Long story short is, I recognized that problem and I’ve developed a product that will be coming out in approximately ninety days, that’s designed to stop sugar cravings in sixty seconds.
Jade: Where is it? Where do I get some?
Drew: Well is called Sugar Suppress 60, and I’ve not put up the website yet, we’re getting everything in place. But that is coming in about ninety days and I am excited about it, because I think it’s another product that really can impact people’s lives, in a positive way and turn the corner in terms that people being able to successfully lose weight, because they are going to be able to effectively deal with the sugar addiction.
Jade: Absolutely that would help me a lot if I don’t have a craving for sugar, so we are going to look forward to that. Would you come back and talk about that product?
Drew: I would love to.
Jade: When it’s ready. Awesome, do I get free samples. [laughing]
Drew: For sure.
Jade: Thank you so much Drew. Mr. Avery it’s been a pleasure.
Drew: Thank you.
Jade: You’re welcome.
Drew: Bye, bye.
Jade: Bye, bye.
Wow right on baby if you want to learn more about Drew and his upcoming projects go to his website DrewAvery.com. Thank you so much for joining us today. To support the show subscribe and write a review. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, and learn about coaching with me. You can go to my website JadeInspiration.com or e-mail me at Jade J a d e at jadeinspiration.com. I look forward to hearing from you.