Episode 261: Down For The Cause | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Episode 261: Down For The Cause".


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Intro (00:00)

This is 15 Minutes to Freedom. I'm your host, Ryan Neidell, and today's episode is Down for the Cause. Today's episode, I'm going to share with you one of the craziest lessons that I've ever seen given to me by my daughter, Gianna. So for those of you that have kids around the holiday season, most schools, at least elementary schools, seem to have some sort of play, right? Some sort of concert, some sort of children's event. And they want all the parents to come in for this night of singing or activities and bliss and all this crazy stuff. Now, I don't say I'm new to being a father, right? Gianna is not my biological daughter. She got an incredibly active father in her life, but I don't like the term stepdad or even bonus dad, really. When she's with us, I feel as much like a father as I know how to feel. So I share with you very openly, I look at her as my daughter. That is not in a way to diminish what her actual father does for her and the role he plays in her life. But we have this concert that is a few weeks ago now. That really one of the last things that I want to do, being honest, is leave work, fight rush hour traffic, being honest, is leave work, fight rush hour traffic, deal with a crowded auditorium full of parents that also probably don't really want to be there, and then listen to kids sing. I love my daughter completely. I want to support her. But that's just not the thing I want to do. And maybe you yourself don't have kids and will have not experienced this yet. Maybe you do have kids and you love going to the concerts. I respect all sides of this equation. For me personally, I got to just drop it. This is not what gets me fired up. I'm not super excited about this. But I go, right? I sit in the car for a minute or two.

Taking Risks And Overcoming Social Judgments

Playing the game and taking the risk (02:27)

I center myself, do some breathing exercises and just realize how incredibly fortunate I am to get to be here in that moment. And I literally, whether it's internally, I know I didn't say it out loud, but it's almost just like opening myself up to the experience that's coming and be present every moment, right? Like leave my phone away. Don't mess with any of this stuff. Just be there. Have Gianna feel the love that comes from me and from her whole family, right? Her grandmother and grandfather showed up on Lindsay's side. Lindsay shows up, Lindsay's ex-husband, her aunt, her cousins. She had a cheering section in the front row. And we're all there, two rows, you know, four seats per row. We have the front two rows. And she comes up and, you know, she says hi to all of us. She hugs us. She kisses us. She says how happy she is that we're there. And it's just this great feeling. It's super great. And she does that. She's got this little swarm of friends around her. Right? I mean, these friends from the outside are the ones that everybody else in the school is watching. I would feel comfortable saying they're the popular kids. And I hate to have that be a terminology that we use to define people. But they are the little clique. Right? I think if we're all honest with ourselves, we recognize that that is still what goes on. I'll call it the tribalism, right? I've shared that before in other episodes that like-minded people hang out together. And at some point, there's a perception of what reality is even in a children's eyes and that some people seem to have it differently than others. So Gianna's got this group of six or seven, maybe eight little girls that follow her around. And she's, self-servingly, on my side, she's calm, she's centered, she's loving and gregarious, not going to all of them. And so it's not that she's necessarily the leader, but she's kind of the one that's the conduit, right? Because there's the crazy friend that like bounces around and has always got full of energy. There's a friend that's ultra emotional that might be the quickest one to cry. There's a friend that's already started to focus on boys. There's a friend that's maybe a little self – lacking a little self-confidence that she's you know in her own process of figuring herself out and everybody has their own personality and from my perception Gianna's like the the mid-ground you know she might exhibit some of every one of those different personality traits but she seems very holistically centered in who she is and so she's over with us saying hello her friends are around her everybody's in there you know nice skirts and dresses and all the fun happy stuff that goes on and then she kisses us goodbye and she leaves her friends i'm sitting there watching like maybe she's going to use the restroom right maybe she's walking in the bathroom maybe she knows how to teach her maybe she saw somebody else she knows and i see her walk over and there's two kids walk in the bathroom. Maybe she knows how to teach her. Maybe she saw somebody else she knows. And I see her walk over and there's two kids that have a fairly, what I would say, I don't know if aggressive is the right term, but they have Down syndrome, right? They are ones that are led around school with a teacher's aide. They have a special curriculum.

Gianna spends 45 minutes with two uniquely abled children (05:45)

They're made to feel a part of the whole group, but they have their own challenges. And Gianna sits right down next to him. And she's touching the one little boy on his back and having a conversation with him and asking him questions about the toy he's got in his hand. And then she moves to the other side of him, like stands up, and this is on the floor, right? It's the floor of the auditorium, and she stands up and then sits between these two children, one boy and one girl. And then she's sharing stories back and forth with both of them. Now, they're far enough away that I can't hear what they're saying. But you can just see these two children's face light up by the fact that Gianna's there and Gianna's present and she's engaged and she gets the fact that kinesthetically they enjoy touch, right? So she's touching both of them like almost reassuringly, but with just this loving energy. I don't really know how to describe it. but with just this loving energy. I don't really know how to describe it. And she stays there for quite some time. And she's not doing it because she's looking for external validation. Her friends have watched her walk away and then almost kind of turned their back and have focused on themselves. Not necessarily shunning her from the group, but they're not concerned with what she's doing. And oddly enough, Gianna's not concerned about them. She's also not concerned about us as a family unit. She's just there in the moment paying attention to these children. And a moment turns into five and five turns into 10. And she's just generally engaged. By this point, the rest of her friends sit down and have taken their seats and she stands up and comes over and says like ryan did you see my friends did you i want you to meet my friends and regretful i don't remember their names but she wants me to go meet these two children and i'm just in awe right here's this little girl that hasn't really been exposed to things like that other than in school. But she is completely unconcerned or not concerned with what her friends think. She's not concerned if she's doing the right or wrong thing she's going where she feels is appropriate and she generally enjoys these two individuals and regretfully we can't stand up and go say hello because the concert starts and she takes her seat that's a little bit more in the center but as the night progresses on and the children take the stage because it's fourth graders and third graders. Gianna's in third grade. Fourth graders come off the stage and the third graders go on. And even as they take the stage, Gianna makes sure that these two children are like present and taken care of. And she's talking to the teacher's aid about them. And it's just the most awe-inspiring thing that I've seen. Right? Because it's not until later in life that we learn to be judgmental. And then why do we learn that? Here's this nine-year-old child that would be thought of as the quote-unquote cool kid that has a plethora of friends that decides to spend time with the children that are cast aside. And she's not doing it to take a selfie for social media. She's not doing it to convince her friends she's more of something than she is. She's doing it because there's something inside of her that shares with her that she should go do that. And these kids love every minute of it. And whether they remember consciously afterwards how she made them feel or not is left up to interpretation. But in those moments, as someone now that I'll say feels a certain amount of energy from people, you can just feel how incredible these three young children now, Gianna and her two friends, how they're feeling in that moment. It's like the rest of the world might not even be there. It's just them and she's touching them and playing with their toys. And it's crazy to me. It's crazy to me because you think of all the places that we all judge people. Right? This time of year you see someone that's a little less fortunate that's on the corner of the road with a sign asking for money. Well, if you're driving a car and you have gas in the tank and you've had something to eat that day, there's a chance you have more than that person. But yet most of us keep our window down. We try not to make eye contact. We tell ourselves a story in our head about, oh, they're just going to use the money for drugs or for booze. Maybe they have a nice house and they're just gaming the system, right? There's this litmus test that we try to run people through to see if they're worthy of what we have or what they're asking for. Instead of just pulling out our change drawer that we all have in our car or opening up our wallets and giving them something, it's not yours to start with. Who cares? That couple bucks might be all that person needs and whether they're spending it on booze or food or drugs like what does it matter energetically you're doing the thing that your heart is actually telling you to do because i believe we all operate from a place of compassion the world tells us not to do that you can't tell me if you're honest with yourself when you see that person that has less or perceivably less than you have that there's not part of you that wants to make their life better. But then you talk yourself out of it. You go through this whole story of what else they could be doing with the money. It's none of your damn business what they do with the money. Just lean into them. Take a lesson from Gianna. Who cares? What about the person at the grocery store? We've all been there where this person is struggling to figure out how to pay for their groceries. They're rustling through their change and they're trying to come up with the exact dollar amount. They might be a couple bucks short. And they might not look like we look like. They might not sound like we sound like. They might not be wearing the right clothes. They might not have the same skin color. They might look like they came from the quote unquote wrong side of the tracks. But you know damn well standing in line behind them, the extra $25 for their groceries would not impact your life one bit.

Negative judgment and lecture (12:27)

It wouldn't matter. But yet you tell yourself another story, you go through your own judgment loop, you pre-qualify the bad decisions they had to make in their life to get to that point, and you don't pull out some cash or your credit card and help the people out. Why? At what point in life do we start to decide who's worthy and who's not? Because as a nine-year-old, my daughter has no idea. She's not running these two individuals through a filter. She's not saying all because they look different or they talk different or because they have their own challenges in life that they don't deserve attention, love, friendship. She just helps them out. She's just there and she enjoys their company. I even think about this as this will be close to the first of the year this episode airs. Think about being in the gym. You have the person that is very obviously new to the gym.

You Can Just Dissolve (13:30)

Not because they're overweight or out of shape, but because you can just see they're lost. They don't know what they're doing. And you run through the story in your head of how inconvenient it is that they're in your space and how you can't wait for them to go. And maybe you're even more judgmental than that and you start to mentally calibrate all the bad decisions they had to make to get to the point of life where they're out of shape. And you judge them and then you go about your day and you're almost inconvenienced that they're there. And all you're hoping for every day is that they go away. What would happen if you just leaned into them a little bit and offered them just a little bit of help, a little bit of guidance, maybe even just a little bit of friendship so they didn't feel so damn awkward there by themselves? Would your life be that much different if you gave up five minutes? No, it wouldn't be. We all get so damn self-consumed that we forget the fact that time is a human construct. We created the shit. It's not really real. Right? Like think about it right now. Your Apple iPhone, if Apple decided to speed up the way the clocks ran and every minute no longer had 60 seconds, it had 55, we would never know because it's a perceptive reality. So why do you care about quote unquote wasting five minutes saying hello to somebody and not being lecherous, not to talk behind their back, but to generally try to help them. It's crazy. I got asked the same thing as it pertains to a relationship. We've all seen the single mother or single father struggling to put groceries in the car, to pump gas, to make it through a store. Kids that are crying, kids that are screaming, like, right, that's part of life. And we judge, got to get the damn kids under control. Kids are running around lawless.

Instead of limping, pivot (15:32)

What a bad parent that person must be. You have no idea the struggle that person's going through. Who are you to preconceive what they are having to do to even get to that point? And how embarrassed and insecure they must feel or what they have to do inside just to be present in that moment with kids that are screaming. And how frustrating that must be. But yet instead of offering assistance or seeing if we can help, we walk by, we look down our nose, we believe ourselves to be better than them, and then we keep going. Why? Just pivot for a second and see if you can lend a hand. It costs zero dollars to be a good human being. Same thing then as it pertains to your business, right? No matter what rung of the corporate ladder you're on, whether you're an entrepreneur or entrepreneur, you have seen someone struggle. You've seen them not show up on time. You've seen them get frustrated. We've all had bad days before. But how often do we actually take the time out to just talk to somebody, to offer some advice if they're willing to receive it? To lend an open ear? Almost never. Because we're all afraid of being less than. We're all afraid of judgment. We're all afraid of something that we shouldn't be afraid of. Who cares? Just help somebody out. All this stuff comes to me in the moment of watching Gianna at her play.

The Importance Of Kindness

Be Kind (17:10)

Choir performance. And seeing her spend five minutes with these two children that for all intents and purposes didn't fit the societal norm of people she should be spending time with. And the fact she wanted to introduce them to me, and the fact that she cares about them as people, was this truly heart-opening experience to realize just how misaligned sometimes my thoughts are versus what they could be. Because I am no different than you. I see the homeless person or the person that doesn't have as much that's got the sign on the side of the road. And I'll fully say, I don't carry cash very often. So if you're listening and you're hoping to mug me one time, you're not going to get very far. When I have cash, I almost always roll down my window and give it to them. But how much more difficult would it be for me just to go out and get a couple hundred bucks and leave it in my center console, and every time I saw somebody, give them five or ten bucks? I'm fully capable of doing that. There's no reason why I didn't. I'm the person that at the grocery store does get frustrated with the kids that are running around and screaming and yelling instead of like stopping and saying, man, is there anything I can do to help you out? These things I'm encouraging you to consider are all things that are woken up inside of me by watching Gianna just be who she is. And there's so many life lessons to be learned if you just open your eyes and receive them. This is coming from someone that was grumpy and frustrated, fighting through traffic, showing up to this concert, trying to find a seat, but being aware and open enough to receive the gifts that were in front of me. And what I'll share with you from my heart is if you're open to receiving the gifts that appear every day, and then you apply them, every day after, you'll be able to get shit done.

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