17 May, 2022How to Resolve Conflict and Create a Fantastic Future with Paul Nadeau
“The quality of our lives depends not on whether we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them” – Thomas Crum
Today I will be speaking to a man whose compelling life story has left me speechless. He has been through life-threatening circumstances but still managed to become the amazing positive person he is today.
My guest Paul Nadeau is a Canadian former hostage negotiator, peacekeeper, author, screenwriter, motivational, and keynote speaker. He grew up in a violent home. Teachers and students looked down upon him but he was able to turn things around and was even able to publish a bestseller entitled Hostage to Myself.
Take a moment and let Paul’s thoughts and ideals inspire you. You too, can be a hero.
✅ We are more similar than we are different.
✅ It is important to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
✅ Reacting is different from responding. Reacting leads to conflict, depression, and anxiety.
✅ A winner’s mindset:
- Responds instead of reacting and chooses to make positive responses.
- Believes in oneself and moves forward with confidence despite the difficulties.
- Practices the golden rule.
- Start each day with gratitude.
✍🏼 3:29 Paul Nadeau’s transition from a battered and troubled child to the person he is now.
✍🏼 14:08 Paul Nadeau becoming part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
✍🏼 17:40 Paul Nadeau as a peacekeeper and trainer at the Jordanian International Police Training Center
✍🏼 25:04 Insurgents take Paul Nadeau hostage.
✍🏼 34:29 Paul Nadeau’s relationship with his future self.
You can contact Paul Nadeau through his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @jpaulnadeau.com, via his podcast “Inspire Us” or through his website jpaulnadeau.com
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About Pete Cohen: Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading life coaches and keynote speakers. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been motivated and inspired by Pete’s presentations. He has professionally impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide, including business executives, professional athletes, and everyday people. Pete focuses on the importance of closing the gap in our lives between where we are and where we want to be, both personally and professionally.
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Pete is the author of 20 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years.
Pete Cohen 0:00
Happy, beautiful day. It's Pete Cohen. It's the Future Self Podcast. I'm so excited to have my guest with me today. Paul Nadeau and we are talking about How to Resolve Conflict and Create a Fantastic Future. I will see you and Paul after the theme tune greater things that are stuck in some.
Pete Cohen 0:55
degree greetings from my Hey, happy, beautiful day. Thank you for joining me on the podcast today we're talking about how to resolve conflict and create a fantastic future. Paul, thank you so much for joining me what is going on? How are you my friend?
J. Paul Nadeau 1:12
I am doing absolutely amazing. Thank you so much. I have one question for you there Pete on the app on the clubhouse app. Do I remain muted or unmuted?
Pete Cohen 1:21
You remain muted.
J. Paul Nadeau 1:23
You get it? All right. I'm doing fantastic from Toronto, Canada. It is relatively warm. They're calling for some freezing weather again. It's just ridiculous. It's up and down just like anything else in this world. Absolutely.
Pete Cohen 1:36
Our world is so there's a lot of conflict going on in the world right now. And I probably couldn't think of anyone better to talk to about conflict, but we can talk about external conflict, but we can also talk about internal conflict now. How we met is how I seem to meet so many of the people. The people I meet these days you and I met on clubhouse when we were both asked to be a guest in a room. I had no idea who you were. You had no idea who I was. But then we had the great pleasure to hear each other speak and there's only been a few people in my life, really that when they've told their story to me. My mouth has just been literally just wide open by Wow, I can't believe that you have been through what you've been through and you are who you are today. I was just blown away by your story. So I mean, there's so much that we can talk about born but we'll see where this conversation goes. But just tell us a little bit about you who you are what you do, and let's just get this conversation going.
J. Paul Nadeau 2:31
Oh, you got it. I I'm Paul to do. I'm from Toronto, Canada, as I mentioned, but I was raised in a very, very violent home. I don't know if you want me to go through that. story at the moment but who I am now is I'm a former hostage negotiator international peacekeeper. I'm also a published author. I have four books out there once a best seller and I'm a screenwriter and a motivational and keynote speaker on the topic of negotiation, conflict resolution and mental wellness. That's what I'm doing now.
Pete Cohen 3:03
So you're just gonna hear recording in progress. I'm already recording this but I'm now recording this on zoom as well. So how did you find yourself because of your story of like the one of the big major life events and obviously feel free to share that how much of that actually shaped what you're actually doing now? What were you doing? What were you doing before that before this major incident in your life happened?
J. Paul Nadeau 3:29
You know, this, this pivoting point in my life actually happened very early on. I was in grade seven when this happened. Let me go into the past a little bit. My father was a very tortured man, a very violent man and a big alcoholic and he used to beat my mother, my brother and myself up and it was not a pleasant situation to be in. I did not have any self confidence. Of course I'm just a kid. And when you can't act out or be a boy at home, I found that what I was doing is I was acting out and being a little bit of a shit in school, and consequently I was being punished all the time. This is back in the 60s. So they would take the ruler slap my hand, slap my butt, do whatever, toss, teacher toss me across the room. You used to get away with that kind of stuff back in the 60s. Not anymore. But I was a very depressed young boy that wanted to act out and consequently, of course when you're not fitting in with the rest of the students you're being picked on which what I was being bullied all the time. The kids were laughing at me and I just had no self confidence. I do believe I was depressed as as a young child. As I grew a little bit older, and this happened in grade seven. I started to like girls, obviously and I started to be more aware of myself as a kid. And one particular teacher. He announced to the entire classroom he said we're going to have a test next week. He says I expect everybody to pass except for you. Nadeau I already know you're going to fail.
J. Paul Nadeau 5:18
The moment that happened, Pete. I felt such humiliation and of course the students are turning around and laughing at me and I'm feeling so small. And I didn't cry, but I felt like it. I went back home and just utterly humiliated and depleted. But I did something that I had not really done before that time. I actually tried to study I didn't think that was able to retain anything. But I locked myself in my bedroom that weekend and studied as much as I knew how to for a kid who had never done that. Who could never retain anything I just tried. When I went back to school to write that test. I had these two voices in my head. And I think a lot of people will probably relate to this. You got one voice that says you got this. You got this. You've got another voice saying you're always gonna fail. Why would you even try? You're going to fail. And I wrote that test. And at the end of it, I felt pretty good about it. But that one competing voice was telling me I failed again. A couple of days later, as was customary in this particular teacher's class is that he would call the student with the lowest grade to the front of the class. Was the walker shame. Now when you are conditioned when you're told something over and over and over again, you believe it and I was told I was a failure. So I was always conditioned to get out of my seat the moment he picked up the papers and started calling names. Which 99% of the time it was me. You know, I was either failing, but I would go up and I I would get ready to pick up my paper. So he started calling names. I immediately got out of my chair, but it wasn't my name that was being called. And the second, third, fourth fifth not my name. Halfway through the class Pete. I've got students who are looking over at me and they're, you know that they're putting their hands up like, what, why aren't you up there? And I'm thinking I don't know. And I've got those two voices again, the one saying you did really good. You knew the answers on that paper the other one saying oh my goodness, he is going to humiliate you like he's never humiliated you before you're done. I was the second last to be called I had the second highest grade in the classroom paid. for me. That was my pivot point. That was my moment where I didn't take the walk of shame. I actually walked up there and I was so proud. I was beaming. I don't know what the other students thought they were probably in disbelief as much as I was. But I felt something in that moment that shifted me. I started to believe in myself. And from that moment on, I really applied myself to the things that I did. And it was then that I started to build the confidence necessary to deal with the inner conflict that I had lived through an experience for so long. And when that conflict came up those self sabotaging thoughts, I would tuck them where they belonged out of my memory out of my mind. And then I went on to do some pretty incredible things. I had sworn to myself at one point. It was about seven years old after a beating that my father had given me I was on the ground and bruised and looking up at him and I swore in my little kid's mind that when I grew up, I was going to arrest my dad and people like him, put them in jail. And my father never gave me the chance to arrest him. He committed suicide when I was 17 but I had that spirit of servitude and one of helping to protect to serve and protect others, including my family members. So I joined the police department at 21 and it just got so good. I mean I went on to become a detective. I worked in the Special Victims Unit. I became a hostage negotiator. It was that that mindset that no longer held me hostage to those thoughts in the past that mindset that there's a notice out there that they're looking for a hostage negotiator. What do you think of that? Oh, and I'm thinking boy, yeah. Now that's a pretty cool, sexy job. I'm going for that. And that winner's mindset has served me in so many different ways. Pete So that's my story. And that's, that's how I became the person that I am today. That and also just leaning on other people, learning from other people, surrounding myself with positive material, positive people, and just on that journey of discovery and reinvention, so that's who I am.
Pete Cohen 10:08
Well, I don't mind telling you it's not very often I get lost for words. As you know, you and I we love words right? We love we love to speak that's funny. Look at your cup there your mug it says myself on it. You see that? Yes myself.
J. Paul Nadeau 10:25
It's it's hostage to myself hostage to myself. It is the first book I wrote. It's called hostage to myself. And that's the one that's become a best seller under the title of take control your life. But I wrote this this book called hostage to myself because that's exactly what I had done. Yeah. And when and when we take ourselves hostage by those self sabotaging thoughts. We're really kept in a box in a cell of our own making. You and I have talked about that, Pete because when I first met you and heard you speak, I was so intrigued by you and your mindset. And that's I think what drew me to you, Pete is that you think the same way that I do so you're not hostages to ourselves?
Pete Cohen 11:08
Yeah, well, this is you know, we have this theme this new theme tune and I wanted to just play this little sound here is this one or this one? greater things that have stuck in some you know the you know, these great things that are just locked inside our head. And what an amazing story of how you you were aware of those voices Right. And, you know, when I hear stories like yours, all the heads that I have not on my head, they are in my ears, in my nose, on my back. There's a lot of hair on my back and on my chest. They all just stand up. When you hear a story of what you went through, you know, the relationship with your father and how I just admire you and I respect you and I love you for the choices that you made because everybody a lot of people who work in this field of helping people know that when you are have gone through what you've gone through. The most common road you would take would be the same road. But you chose to be the complete opposite of that. And I just want you to know just how much admiration I have for you. Because I think it's one of the greatest things that we will ever do is to wake up to the reality of that we have a choice, you know, and I just want to take a moment to just say thank you. Thank you because it inspires me and for anyone who's listening to this, you know, my goal when I do a podcast is with interviewing someone is to shed a light, show a light or shed a light on someone. And then people can follow you. They can read your stuff. They can engage with you if they feel that you are someone who can help them and I love the rooms that you hold on clubhouse I think that's one of my favorite places. Because you just open up a space where we're here to help and they're busy rooms because people feel they can be themselves. So you became a hostage negotiator. What is the training to become a hostage negotiator because I've actually met a hostage negotiator before. I've done a podcast with her. And you know, one of the amazing stories that she told me, I don't know whether it's the same in Canada, but the story she told me was that she would go into negotiations. And then when the negotiation was finished, she wasn't allowed to find out what happened. You know, you you kind of you don't know sometimes you'd find out because we've done the news but most of the cut most of the times and she told me with her first negotiation, she was being watched by one of our mentors, and she got emotionally wrapped up in what was going on. And her mentor basically said look, I'm going to have to take over from you. And one of the things that she learned was, she learned that she had to find some peace in the experience and not be concerned about the outcome. Just be where you are. So I mean, there's so much and what I just said there. How does what's the training to become a hostage negotiator in Canada
J. Paul Nadeau 14:08
is very extensive. In Canada. Our federal police agency is the RCMP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. And one of the well there are several qualifications that they are looking for. In a hostage negotiator, somebody who can communicate well, somebody who's a good listener, somebody who can think on their feet. And I was working in the Special Victims Unit at the time and I had this ability and I still have it to get people to open up so you can imagine somebody who's been traumatized by a rape, sexual molestation. The last thing they want to do is to disclose those details to someone but I was very good in getting people to open up to me and even criminals, murderers would confess to me so I had this ability to really connect with them and I think a lot of that comes from my past, you know, listening to people and applying those techniques and just looking to to validate someone you know, to see someone. So when I applied for it, my police department said yes, you're a great choice. for it. I was then put through a battery of of interviews and tests with the RCMP and they selected me. Then I was off to training for only three months but three intensive months of psychology, communication, and roleplay. And it was intensive. We had to study like third year university psychology we had so much to go through so many hurdles. And that's the kind of training that we have and then we're put with a senior negotiator. And at some point, they just give us the green light and then we're on our own and we become primary or secondary negotiators. We just go do our job. The The important thing for us was that we role played a lot. And for example, it's not like a hostage would call us up and say, Hey, Pete. This is the bad guy in about three weeks from now I'm going to be committing a robbery and it's going to go bad and I'm going to take hostages so you want to make it to ABC variety store and do your job. No, we didn't know that that was coming. It's not like it was foretold to us. So we would get together twice a month and roleplay with actors, amazing actors, students that would drop in and they would play the part of the victim. The hostage is whatever we had ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, we made it as real as possible. So that when the negotiation when the the hostage crisis happened, we'd say Aha Pete and I did this a month ago. We know the dynamics of this when we got it. And so that's the kind of training that went into being a hostage negotiator.
Pete Cohen 17:17
Wow. I mean, it's just it's just worlds apart. You know, when I think about you know, could I do that? I don't know. But you must have so many stories to tell. And I know obviously there's one major episode that stands out. And I would love you to share you know what happened there where you were taken hostage, right?
J. Paul Nadeau 17:40
Yes, yes, I was. That was in the Middle East and was during a peacekeeping mission. I was deployed to Jordan in 2005 during the Iraq War, and Canada did not send soldiers to the war we sent peacekeepers and our job was really to train the Iraqi police officers to go back and to defend their country as best they possibly could. Where this happened, it was about 150 kilometers outside the Iraq border. And it was
Pete Cohen 18:15
let me ask you, right, yeah, sorry to interrupt it. What was that like then arriving in that country and being there for the first time? I mean, were you scared? Were you were you nervous? What what was that?
J. Paul Nadeau 18:25
Like? I was shaking in my feet. I listened to CNN and all I had heard is that the Middle East was going to kill me and that the people there were going to tear me apart and the opposite is true. Yeah. There are so many beautiful people there and they welcome to me, but yes, I was a shake. My knees were shaking, and I thought, I'm never coming home. And the reason I decided to deploy is that I wanted to do my part in the war against terrorism. And I was married at the time I had, I have two daughters, and they were 14 and 16. And it was a big decision. So I had to involve them and just sit down with them and say, Look, I really want to do this because we have to take a stand against the evil that's happening right now. We have to do something. It's like today and in in our current circumstances where we're taking a stance against Putin, with everything that's going on there. We need to step up and we need to do our job so I threw myself to my family. And said, This is the reality. This is what I want to do. And I need your permission to go. And my youngest daughter, my 14 year old she says, Dad, I think you should go and you should help people. And so my oldest daughter said the same thing. My wife at the time was a little bit more harder. But she said yes. So then I deployed and I gotta tell you, I was very, very fearful. And when I arrived, it took just a very short period of time to realize that the Jordanian people were so welcoming to me and just made me feel at home. Now going to the academy, the we call the diptych, the Jordanian International Police Training Center. It was the biggest police training center in the world in the middle of the desert. It was supposed to be in a secret spot. It was not so secret it was on a main road into Iraq. Our fear was that it was going to get missiles that the terrorists were going to send a missile because we had 3000 Police Cadets every eight weeks. Yeah. 3000. We had about 25 International instructors and you can imagine that the headlines would have been amazing for the terrorists that they blew up this academy with 3000 Police Cadets and 2526 internationals, not to mention all the other staff. So yeah, it was pretty scary.
Pete Cohen 20:52
Wow. And how did this so how long were you there for?
J. Paul Nadeau 20:55
I was there for a year I was deployed for six months. And at the about three months into the mission. They asked me if I wanted to stay and I said yes, but I wasn't sold on it yet. I hadn't hadn't come to the realization that I did about a month later, that it mattered for me to be there. But I had signed Yes. So what I could have said,
Pete Cohen 21:20
why did it matter for you to be there? What was what was the meaning that you found in in being there that made you think I need to stay here?
J. Paul Nadeau 21:30
The meaning I found was that I treat people with dignity and respect. And at first when I when I was first deployed there, I was deployed as a an instructor. And my job was to teach the Iraqi cadets how to investigate criminal offenses had to teach them about human rights. And and that was my job. Teach them how to be investigators, teach them how to treat people, humanely, all that kind of stuff. I would start i i imagined myself in my Cadet shoes. There were men and boys between the ages of about 16 and 65. Some of them were frail. Some of them were university graduates. Some of them didn't know how to read, right. Some of them had been scooped off the street. They had mental disorders. They were suffering from depression. I had 60 students in my class between 50 and 60 every two weeks. And so I imagined what it must be like some of these men were never away from home for just one day. Imagine living in a community where you're surrounded by a family all the time. You don't get to go on a trip. You have no money. You are in a in a community and that's where you stay. Now. They've been taken away from their home. They wanted some of them wanted to fight for their country. Some of them didn't even want to be there. Some of them were just kind of pushed into a bus and sent to the academy. So I imagined what it must be like for them the the sadness, the fear, being at war, being away from your family. And there's so many parallels we can use here now for our current circumstances today, but I imagined what would it be like for me to be sitting in that chair. So I'd start my classes off by saying my name is Paul. And I'm here to share some information with you on how to investigate crimes and on humanity. And I'm here to treat you with dignity and respect. And I would hope that you will do the same for me. So let's have fun in this class. I'm going to make it fun for you. And I did because I was an actor at the time and I used to at the end of the day. They had these long days. They started at 430 in the morning again. Some of them were so frail, they didn't have never exercised before but they were up at 430. They had to do their Drill exercises. They had to get ready to come to class and at eight o'clock they would come and they were already tired, ready to fall asleep. I hadn't make it fun. So I used to incorporate acting and all kinds of things into my classes because again, some of them didn't know how to study. I knew that as a boy. So to incorporate acting into it and at the end of the day. We they were with me until 430 in the afternoon. I shut it down at 330 And I'd say Does anybody here know how to sing or tell stories? Because American Idol was pretty popular. Just started it back then. And and so I wanted to bring this into the classroom to have fun. And Pete Wow, the singers, the storytellers Oh, it was truly amazing. So that's how we we got along in the classroom and I think that that's what connected me to the students. Even to some of the terrorists who had infiltrated the classrooms, because we had Sunni's Shiites. We also had terrorists in the academy, who had infiltrated the academy simply by wearing a police uniform. They were Iraq was unable to vet them fast enough. So we had terrorist among us. And a few weeks, well, a couple of months, probably around the end of March, an opportunity to transfer into the advocacy and counseling division arose within the academy. And I was very attracted to that job. It meant that I could actually help these cadets. I could comfort them, I could make sure that their food was good that their lodgings were good that they were protected as much as possible, and to those who had to be redeployed back to their country for whatever mental problems that they were having. I could make that happen a lot quicker. And so I was transferred there. And it was exactly as I had thought. Some cadets would come into me and they would speak to me just because they were lonely. And they were I missed my family and we would just chat
J. Paul Nadeau 26:02
back around. I think it was the end of April the beat now was the middle of May. I can't recall exactly one student came in. And he said to me, Mr. Paul, there's going to be an attack on the academy and internationals are going to be killed. And I don't know when it's going to happen, but it's going to happen from within and it's true. A lot of the insurgents were collecting whatever weapons they possibly could rock sticks, whatever they could use against us because we didn't we didn't give them weapons. Thank goodness. They didn't come in with real guns they practice with, with ammunition that was supplied to them by instructors that watch them carefully. And a few days after that warning, that's the attack happened. I remember I arrived at the Academy before most of the well before every one of the internationals because we had to drive into the academy and we had to get checked at the at the gates and make sure that we weren't bringing weapons in. But my partner Yato and I would arrive before all the other international instructors because we had to see the director with our requests to repatriate some of the students back home who are suffering from these disorders. And the sun was just coming up. I was walking with my partner through the desert after we had left the director's office, we were on our way to our own building. And from behind another building, there were about 40 armed insurgents that rushed us and surrounded us, and we were had one moment we were free. In the other moment. We were surrounded by these insurgents and they started yelling and screaming and I remember my partner you stood about, about a foot taller than me and he patted me on the head. He goes, this is going to hurt little buddy. And I looked up at him and I said, Yes, it is. And in that moment, Pete I was thinking about my daughters and I was thinking this is it. I'm never gonna see my family again. And, of course, they reached in they grabbed us. We started fighting. I was fighting for my life. They started beating us. And as this fight was going on, and I was fighting for my life, I heard one voice from the back, yelling Mr. Paul, Mr. Paul's, Mr. Paul's, and yell something else in Arabic. And I couldn't make it out of course, because I didn't have my language assistance with me. But what he yelled, put a stop to the attack. We were released and they moved away from us. So at one moment, we were these hostages about ready to be killed or beaten badly. I thought we were going to be killed because that's what we were told. And as they parted away from us, like, like the parting of the Red Sea. I was trying to focus because I'd been hit a few times and it's like the stars were floating around in the air. And when I came to focus, I saw this one Cadet with a big smile on his face walking through the crowd. And it was one of my students that I'd had about a month earlier in my classroom. And he had the biggest smile on his face. And he's the one who saved us. He reached over he grabbed me, He lifted me up. He said it's time to go. It's not going to be a good day. My partner was raised on his feet, and we were allowed to leave because of what that Cadet did what that insurgent did, he saved both our lives. And when I looked back that night, because I called off all the other internationals from coming in. I said, No, you guys can't come in. Today's the big day. It's the attack. And so they stopped all the internationals at the gates and we were allowed to leave and the whole place went went crazy. All the cadets came out and not all of them but many of them came out and just destroyed the place. But we were allowed to leave. When I look back at that incident. What saved me was the way that I treated people in the past.
Pete Cohen 29:48
Yeah, I mean like I said, I don't often get lost for words, Paul, but you've done it twice. And again, I've got chills in a good gels going right through my body around that whole thing around. Just do good things, be a good person and you might not necessarily see the payback from that right now. But it's like what you're putting out there. It's coming back. It's coming back whenever it's coming. It's coming because it's just like, it's like a boomerang, what are you putting out? And I thank you for just being such a great reminder of putting your greatest self out there and playing a bigger game. This is one of the things I love about you so much is that you're playing a game, which is about humanity being humane. And I'd love to I mean, I would ask you to me ask you a few more questions about you know the story. So what happened next when you got out? Where did you go?
J. Paul Nadeau 30:48
Well, after we were released and ran back to our building we knew that we were still not safe at Imagine this piece if you can, and I'm certain that everybody can. Here's a a terrorist, who was given a direct order by his terrorist cell to beat to death or to beat severely and break bones of these international instructors. And in the presence of 40 witnesses. He says no, imagine the cost that he had to give when he went back home. He was arrested and of course, sent back to his country as were many of the other attackers. What we had done after we were released as we ran back to our advocacy and counseling office, picked up the phone call the security and said we lock it down. We've got to we got to get out of here because it's happening. Now. And so I went back home. We were you know, left to we were given the permission to leave of course, and I went back home and just kind of thought about my day and called my family and thought boy today could have been the day it only I came so close to being killed that day. And so I'm not afraid to say my life was saved by a terrorist and you touched on something that I would like to say Pete, what we give, we get right two of the greatest lessons that I ever learned very early on in my police career where this number one, we're more similar than we are different. And I so embraced that lesson, because it made me realize that me wearing a police uniform or carrying a detective badge I have to imagine what it must be like for the person who's interacting with me, because they are just as much they're so similar to me. We got more similarities than we have differences. They they love laugh and bleed in the same way. So put yourself in the shoes of someone else. What would it be like to be talking to you and how is it that you can trick them to make them feel more comfortable? So we're more similar than we are different? And if we fear something, they're fearing it? If we're rejoicing in something, they're likely rejoicing in something, so we're more similar than we are different. And the second real big lesson was we get what we give. If I walk down the street and I see you and I don't know you and I give you the finger, you go hey, screw you. You're likely to give me the finger to or even worse, you're gonna come over here smack my face. Yeah, but if I walked down the street and I smile at you and say hey, how you doing? You'll probably be a little shocked because that doesn't happen too often, but you might smile back at me and wave I'm doing all right. How you doing? And we saw a lot of that at the beginning of COVID. Right? People were walking down the street and saying, Hey, are you okay? Let's not forget to do that. Let's treat people the way that we want to be treated.
Pete Cohen 33:51
I would just want to again just take a moment to thank you for sharing. You know that story of Paul, have you got your phone in front of you there? I don't know whether it is just turn the volume down because there's a little bit of feedback coming through those headphones, but just it's almost like you can't hear it but you're gonna get that yeah, it's perfect. So I want to ask you when we talk about conflict, and as you know, this podcast is called you know, future self. I want to ask you a few questions. Let me look at Ghandi and one of the things that he said, you know, he said Be the change that you want to see in this world. And if you can't be that change, get out of the way and support the person who can I'd love to talk to you about who you who you committed to becoming when you think about your future and your future self. Do you have a relationship to the person that you want to be in the future?
J. Paul Nadeau 34:42
I do. I since I was a child had the desire to serve others and to improve their lives. So I'm a protector. That's part of who I am. That's my fabric. But I also want to share the information that I've learned so that I can help improve the lives of others. That's why I've written a few books and that's why I do the room in clubhouse. And I have I see one of my wonderful moderators in the audience with me, Michelle. Yeah, god, she's amazing. And so she joins me and she's got the same kind of spirit. I want to make people's lives or help to make people's life better. Because we all remember we're all similar. We're more similar than we are different. And we struggle with these conflicts, these inner conflicts and I want to change that. I want to do as much as I possibly can because at the end of this life, when I leave it, I want to leave this world a better place and when I first came in, that's number one. And number two, I don't want to be visited by the ghost of missed opportunities on my deathbed who said you know what, Paul, you had an opportunity to make a difference in this world, or you had an opportunity to do this and do that and you didn't do it. Why? Shame on you. I don't want to be visited by those spirits. I want to be spirits of rock and roll who say Dude, what a wild. What a great thing. That book that you did that talk that you did that one room that you did, it changed a person's life and that person is alive because of you. They didn't take their life. They found hope. And love and whatever it is. That's what I want. I want to leave something in this world of good Pete.
Pete Cohen 36:25
While you listen, you most definitely do that. And we're very alike so alike in terms of, you know, protesting we are and you know, my dad was a Rotarian, for I'm very different in terms of the upbringing that I had, because my dad was was a was a great role model. In fact, you could say in one way your dad was a great role model to you in terms of how not to do things, you know, yes, yes, my dad was a Rotarian for like, 50 years and over 50 years and the whole motto of rotary is you basically seek service over self you know, you're looking to serve others, you're looking to be a good human being. And my mom always said there was an answer to everything. She also told me I had an answer to everything but you know, I've always looked to look at the world through someone else's eyes. And I think that what you really are sharing with me, I think one of the biggest things I take away from, from spending time with you is is about being human. I wanted to ask you, one of the realizations that I've had, I've had a few big epiphanies recently. And one of them was a few years ago, which was that part of the root of suffering for so many people, is they're not growing. They're just living in a world of stagnation. They're just settling for what is there comfortable, but they're not uncomfortable, comfortably uncomfortable. How important do you think it is for people to learn to play a bigger game in terms of looking to grow looking to contribute to other people's lives? How important do you think that is for people?
J. Paul Nadeau 38:04
It is vitally important Pete. A lot of people what you're talking about, to a degree can fall under what we call learned helplessness. And sometimes we are so accustomed to an environment of abuse that it because we become desensitized we believe to ourselves this is the life so if you're married and you have a spouse who's continuously bashing you and putting you down and telling you that nobody's ever gonna love you, even in a relationship boyfriend, girlfriend. I've heard so many people say that they lost their vision of who they were because they were so accustomed to the battery. And years ago, experiments were done. Back in the 50s, in which dogs were put into these cages, these electrified cages, and from one cage there was a little tunnel leading to another cage. When the dog was first put in, an electrical current was in that cage. And the dog would hop and feel very, very uncomfortable and, and some of the dogs would take a look at that run over and find that the other one was safe, and they would stay there. Others wouldn't see that tunnel, and after a while, they became so climatized to it. They laid down and that became the reality. We have to be aware of the things that are going on, you know, is this toxic to me? Is this the right thing? For me? Awareness is so important because without awareness, there is no action. If you're not aware that you're a victim, how can you change your circumstances, and nobody's coming to save you, not too many people will. That's up to us. So being aware of that something is not going right. And another thing Pete and I know that you're going to agree with this, is that when we look back at some of the things that have happened to us, look back at the abuse that I suffered at the hands of my father. You said it and this sparked the thought in my mind is that he also did something for me because of the abuse that my father did on me. He also gave me that spirit that I wasn't going to take it anymore that I was going to grow up and I was going to do something about it. So not only did that happen to me, it happened for me, it shaped me into the person I am today. People who go through a divorce, for example, and I did too. When I look back that relationship that I had with my ex was not the perfect relationship. We were not growing together. So the divorce came as a sudden like, Oh no, what is this? But when you look that you know what that actually happened for you? Because it opened all these gates for you. It is that awareness. Look at some of the things that happened to you in the past and ask yourself did that also happen for me? Because when we look at the superhero movies, almost every one of them there's a villain, right? And that villain goes and he he or she they torture everything and they destroy everything. But they also create a superhero. The superhero is as a result of the villain. So we thank our villains for creating the superheroes. So look at the things that have happened to you in the past and just think of yourself as that superhero. That incident that person created my mindset. My warriors mindset, and my survival mindset, because that's who I am. I have a villain to thank for that. My villain was my father. And yes, he was tortured, and I love him still, but he created a hero in me. So who's your hero? Who created you? What circumstance made you the person that you are today? That's what we have to ask ourselves.
Pete Cohen 41:42
Well, I've got something for you here. This is going out especially to you my friend,
Unknown Speaker 41:45
somewhere along the line. You changed. You stop being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you're no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. yourself do you already know? The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You Me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now if you know what you're worth, you're going to get what you're worth, but you got to be willing to take the hits and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you want to be because a him or her or anybody. Cowards do that. And that ain't you. You're better than that. Somewhere along the line.
Pete Cohen 42:46
I've heard you say that, you know, because I obviously I pay attention. I love to listen and I've heard you talk about that. A lot about how hard you hit. And you know, it's about you know, being able to play a bigger game so we could talk for hours but I definitely want to touch on on something and then I'd love for people who listen to the podcast and how they can connect with you and how they can engage with your material. And it's about this. So on Saturday, it was we had a an event for my mum. My mum died a year ago and we had this event where a lot of our friends came together. We celebrated her life it was beautiful on the way home. We got stuck on a glorious road is called the M 25. It goes right around London. It's a joke if you ever get stuck there and so it's a lottery. We were stuck. We didn't move for an hour. Then we moved in the car broke down and it was dangerous and I completely lost it and I very very rarely lose it. I'm pretty calm in most situations and I actually feel that it was kind of happening for me and I realized now that it was almost I felt like it was sounds crazy but my mum was giving sending me a very important message, which is peace. Because actually, when I put the engine back on about half an hour that the warning light had gone off and the car was fine and we drove home and I was thinking oh my god, what a waste of energy if me losing it and my wife being impacted by my state, you know, and that wasn't a great thing to do. But I forgive myself and I found peace in myself. And I know so much of what you do is around conflict How important do you think it is for people to find peace in themselves? And what impact do you think that might have to the world if we could find peace in the chaos that often goes on inside our head like you said, the villain in our head that wants us to stay where we are and a part of us that wants to advance. I'd love to hear what you have to say about giving peace a chance inside ourselves. Again, I know we could talk about this for hours, Paul, but I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
J. Paul Nadeau 44:54
You got it? Well, first of all, Pete when we're faced with those, those stalls, like your vehicle being stalled on that highway, you know, wait, what is good about this we have to the moat we can't just look at it and say, oh my god, this is so terrible or whatever. Let's change that that monologue or that dialogue that we're having in our head. So okay, what's good about this? What can I find in this moment that might give me peace or were it's an opportunity to talk to my wife, it's an opportunity to talk about how the night went, you know, so let's try to find some good and it's hard sometimes you're stuck in the middle of that highway or something. happens. Let's look at the possibility that there may be a message here, the universe might be telling you something. It's so important to look at that and say okay, what's good about this because we are our own message boards. It is that narrative that we tell ourselves that either brings us peace, joy, happiness, or fear, frustration, loneliness, and we truly are capable of changing the narrative once we become aware of it. And I spoke about awareness before, whatever happens to you, you have an opportunity to take a moment and to really analyze it. Viktor Frankl, he wrote Man's Search for Meaning. And for those who may not be familiar with him, that's a wonderful book. He was he was a Jewish doctor who was held in a concentration camp, but at any day he could die. He wrote this wonderful book called Man's Search for Meaning he says between stimulus and response. There is a moment and in that moment, you get to choose your response. The problem is many of us are human reactors. We react without response. We don't respond. We react something happens oh, we attach meaning to it may not be the right meaning we attach something to it. Oh, this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I can't get out of this. And then there goes that flood of negative narrative, the self sabotaging negative narrative that's going to hold you back or make you feel terrible, and nobody else is doing that too. Nobody can hurt your feelings unless you give them permission to nobody can hurt you. They can say whatever it is, it could be a loved one. They could say it. We're the ones who choose whether or not that hurts us. Eleanor Roosevelt said nobody can hurt you unless you give them permission. It's so true. So what happens to us is up to us to decipher and to choose and as Viktor Frankl said, let's take a moment. Let's take a deep breath and go Alright, how do I react to this? My car's broken down. It looks like we're gonna be here for hours. Do we have music? Do we have conversation? Do I do some meditation whatever it is, we get to choose our responses. When we have ambulance attendants. For example. We have first responders right? Can you imagine that they were first reactors and they got to the scene of an accident went oh my God, there's so much blood. I don't know what to go. What are you gonna do? I'm going back home like just get we don't want that in our first responders do it. We want the men and women who are first responders to jump out and say, I've got this. It's bad, but I got it. I'm ready for this. I've trained myself for this. I'm responding. I'm not reacting. Okay, let's get this done. It's like what you were talking about. With that hostage negotiator that you interviewed on your podcast. We have to learn how to respond and not react to what's happening. Take a deep breath and say I've got this and with anything that happens in your life, you get to respond and not react. You get to take a moment and not attach the wrong meaning to what's happening. You get to choose the meaning for yourself. I'll give you an example. You go out on a date, and you have a really nice time on this first date. The two of you connect. It's great. Wow. You know, and you're thinking I would like a second date. This person is really nice. So you leave the date and you text that person about an hour later and you say I really had a good time. We'd love to see you again. How about it? Can we go out tomorrow night? Don't get an answer. You don't get an answer for an hour. You don't get one for two. You don't get one for three. And now you're attaching meaning to it. Well, they must not like me. Maybe they have somebody else maybe they're out on another date. I'm so angry. I'm so upset. What did I do wrong? It's that conflict now that you start to create as a result of an unanswered text. And so you create all this conflict for yourself. And that's negative net energy. And it really bothers you and you're so affected by what meaning you attach to it. 12 hours later, you get a text saying I dropped my phone in the toilet so sorry. I had such a great time can't wait to see you again. We are the ones who attach meaning to it. Had we just taken a deep breath and said anything could be going on that person's life anything. I'm gonna give it a little while and I'll text maybe tomorrow and see how that goes. But we get to choose our responses. And so let's choose wisely. That's you know, I believe that we all have the ability to be the best versions of ourselves as possible. And that's what we must do must step up to the plate and say, It's my life. Nobody gets to run it for me. Nobody gets to feel it for me. I am in control. And we do have to take control of our lives. Just like my book says take control of your life. Nobody's going to do it for you. Nobody's coming to rescue. The rescue comes from in. It's what we make of our lives. That really makes it amazing or makes it sad.
Pete Cohen 50:52
There's so much in what you've just said. You know, we could unpack that for weeks but I'm sure you know, we'll have more conversations as from this, but I want to just take a moment to thank you. I think my again one of my biggest takeaways is, is that awareness is, as Jim Rohn used to say, you know, we're the only animals as far as we know that have this dignity of choice. And within that period that you talk about between the stimulus and response, there's always an opportunity to reinvent. There's always an opportunity to do something different and I'm looking forward to the next time. Something similar happens because I get a chance to respond in a different way. Respond with the ability and the learning and the wisdom that I have. So as we wrap this up, I'd love to know how people can connect with you. I think as you know, I've spoken about what this podcast represents around future self. I'd love to know what is one thing that you would really encourage people to to stop doing and what is one thing that you would really encourage people to start doing just off the top of your head, what comes to mind?
J. Paul Nadeau 52:00
Well, one of the things that I would really encourage people to do if they're not doing it, already, is to just remember how special you are and to start your day off each and every day off deliberately. What I mean by that is a lot of people wake up and they think about the day ahead of them. They jump into the shower, they might grab a breakfast and they take off and they don't give their day or themselves any more thought it's just like, I have to go to work. And gosh, I got no date for the for the weekend. And all these things happen. They don't start their day off deliberately so when things happen, they react. What if you started your day off deliberately? When you woke up You took two minutes, no more than two minutes, maybe three, whatever you wish, but you could wake up with a spirit of gratitude. Hey, I woke up this morning. I have a roof over my head. I have a job. I am blessed to have my health whatever it is take that I have people who love me. So take a few moments. In your day to to be grateful for what you have. Then the way I look at it is that in our minds, we have two closets if you can envision this, on the one side of our closet is this very dark space. We have that door locked and we have we have a closed because it holds regret. Shame, blame, fear, sadness, we don't want to open that. That closet. We want to go into the other closet. That is the closet of love, servitude, happiness, joy, whatever it is. We want to go and clothe ourselves with that in mind is that we get to choose our attitude for the day. So when we started deliberately, I'm going to have a great day these monitors these incantations. Paul, you're going to knock it out of the ballpark. Pete you're gonna have a fantastic day. You tell yourself these things and you really truly believe it. So when somebody cuts you off, or when you're on the highway and your car stalls, you've already set your day off intentionally said Nothing's gonna get in my way. Okay, what what good is happened here. So start your day off deliberately is what I would encourage people to do. That way you get to choose your responses. And what I would encourage people not to do is don't surround yourself with people who bring you down, or toxic people or things that you might be reading or watching or listening to. That brings these negative emotions. This anger, this weight, this heaviness. You get to choose your tribe and in clubhouse Pete, you're part of my tribe. You've got a great heart. You're such a beautiful soul. When I first hear heard you spoke that speak I said that's my kind of guy right there. So choose the people you surround yourself with. If you're on clubhouse, and I see that there's a few people on clubhouse, go into the rooms that support you, not the rooms that make you angry. Choose the people and environment and materials that you want to surround yourself with and that way your mindset is done a growth mindset and one that serves you as opposed to destroy you. Those were a couple things I'd like to say thank
Pete Cohen 55:22
you so much. You also just remind me of the importance of practice, whatever it is the practice of gratitude. These are all practices. You know, and it's the ongoing practice and then going out into the arena of life and having the opportunity to put into play what you've been practicing. Paul, thank you so much for your time today. You really are such a wonderful human being I'm so glad to know you what is the best way for people to contact you we will put this all in the show notes as well. But please just tell us what is the best way for people to connect with you?
J. Paul Nadeau 55:54
Well, first of all, Peter, I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to come here and be on your amazing podcast because you're an amazing man and anybody who's been listening can tell that you are just a fabulous guy. So thank you and I can be reached in many, many ways. If you just google me. You'll find all kinds of information about me but I do have a website. It's J just the letter J. Paul nadeau.com. And I also have a podcast called Inspire us.ca Inspire us.ca You can also reach me I'm on Facebook, I'm on Instagram, I'm on Twitter, my handle on clubhouse and Instagram and Twitter is at Jay Paul Nadeau. So those are the ways that you can reach me.
Pete Cohen 56:43
Thank you so much. I would encourage everyone who listens to the podcast if you've been touched by this in any way, shape, or form. Share it. Reach out to Paul tell him Paul, this is my takeaway from what you said. Because we love feedback, you know, and we've only just got started with what we're doing. Paul, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my guest on the podcast today. And I definitely look forward to touching base with you again very, very soon. It's been amazing. Thank you so much.
J. Paul Nadeau 56:57
Thank you Pete