You often hear people saying that it’s all about how you look at things, as with the glass half full, half empty dilemma. Shifting your perception in life can shift your direction as well as you start to see things you’ve never noticed before. Co-founder and CEO of Powerful U, James Purpura, explains his take on what perception is. Having been through traumatic events in his childhood, he discusses the effects of trauma on your self-evaluation according to who you are with your surroundings. In this episode, learn how you can create your happiness by shifting your perception of both the outside and inside worlds simultaneously.
We have James Purpura. He is the Executive Producer and Director of Perception: Seeing is Not Believing the movie. He’s also the Co-author of the book with the same name. He’s the Cofounder and CEO of Powerful U and everything he deals with in terms of perception ties into what I’m researching about perception. This is going to be fascinating.
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Perception: Seeing Life As It Is With James Purpura
I am here with James Purpura, who is the Cofounder and CEO at Powerful U. He’s also the author of Perception: Seeing is Not Believing. It’s nice to have you here, James.
It’s nice to be here. Thanks for having me on.
I was looking forward to this. I am interested in any behavioral discussions in general and perception is such a fascinating thing to discuss. I want to acknowledge that you have the book, Perception: Seeing is Not Believing, I also watched the movie. You were the executive producer and director of the same name, Perception: Seeing is Not Believing. I didn’t get through the entire thing. I didn’t have a chance to see all of it but I watched a good portion of it. I thought it was fascinating. I’m interested in what your focus is on. I want to get a little backstory on you because you talked about that in the movie, of your childhood and how this has led to your overall feeling about yourself. Can you give us a little backstory?
My story starts off in my kindergarten room. That’s where we start the movie. When I was in kindergarten, it became apparent right away that I had some severe learning disabilities. I remember the first day I went into a special ed class, my teacher at the time called me up in front of the room and she told me that only stupid and retarded kids go to special ed. I was shocked by that statement. She told me to turn around and leave the classroom. As I was leaving the classroom, she told the whole class to call me stupid on the way out the door. That’s where my story starts. When people hear that they’re like, “That’s traumatic.” I went home that night and I told my mom. I thought she would race down to the school and defend me but she was an undiagnosed bipolar disorder and manic depressive.
She didn’t have the capacity to handle it. She said, “The world is a cruel place. You’re going to have to learn to deal with it.” When I went to school the next day, I thought, “Surely this was a one-day occurrence,” but it happened every day. Every day she’d call me up in front of the room, tell me I was stupid and made the class call me stupid on the way out. What I was trying to demonstrate by sharing that story is it started me on a path towards a bad perception or self-evaluation of who I was in relationship to the world around me. What we try to demonstrate through these stories is that everybody’s on the path to somewhere. It makes perfect sense given their experiences. Without interruption, they may end up in a place that they don’t want to be and from that was drug addiction and then jail.
Watching that, I could not believe a teacher would do that. I have never heard of such a thing. Was she an older woman or a younger woman? I’m trying to figure out what her point was in doing that.
I’ve asked myself that many times. She looked to be similar to age as the woman in the movie from my perception of the situation. When you’re five, everybody’s older at that point. I don’t have any real insight into how old she was, maybe 40 to 45 at the time. As I’ve asked myself that question over the years, the only answer I’ve come up with is hurt people. I don’t know what it was about me or my circumstances or anything about me that set this woman off, but the fact is it did and I had this experience. I can’t put a finger on why it happened.
You never confronted her later. She doesn’t know about this movie or anything. Is she still alive? Do you know?
I have no idea. If she was 45 then she’s 90 now. If she’s still alive, she’s long since forgotten about me. One of the parts of my childhood that were strange is my parents got divorced young and my dad was off partying and drugs. My stepdad worked fifteen hours a day. I grew up in Southern California in Orange County. This experience happened in Huntington Beach. The school that I went to shut down shortly after it became an adult school, then it got sold and turned into condos. It was no longer there. As a part of my youth, before I graduated high school, I moved something thirteen or nineteen times between my two families. My childhood was a scattered mess. There was no recollection of where to go back to and who to confront. I probably would have only been in a position to do that intelligently over the last few years. I’ve never looked the woman up or wondered or spent any time looking back on it.
Not only did you tell your story that was horrible as a child. Your wife in the movie was telling her story. Your wife is attractive. She was talking about how she didn’t feel like she was lovable and all these things. You look at her and you think, “She should be the most popular one ever,” yet she had this perception of herself and you tell her story. Do you want to give a little of her backstory?
Her story is that when she was eight years old, she was sexually molested by a neighbor. Shortly thereafter, her parents got a divorce and then her dad abandoned the family. He didn’t want to have anything to do with her and her siblings. She felt like she was unlovable. She felt like he left because of her. Also, the person who abused her threatened her not to tell and she was scared. She was ripped out of her environment and put into a new environment. She was sent into this internal despair. In the book, we talked a lot about internalizing and externalizing your emotions. People internalize their emotions and blame everything on themselves. Those are the types of behaviors that lead to things like suicide. It goes dark fast. I externalize my emotions, which means I blamed everything on the outside world. That was the difference between our two stories and the external can hang around for a lot longer period but it always ends up in the same places. They say that drug rehabs and jails are full of people who externalize these emotional traumas. Morgues and drug rehabs are full of people who internalize their emotions.The world is a cruel place, and you're going to have to learn to deal with things. Click To Tweet
You replayed the woman who played the teacher and then your wife’s situation. It was a little boy not much older than she was.
That was the one mistake that was made in the movie. We didn’t have time to go back and re-film it. The kid was in high school.
He’s still a young kid.
She was eight and he was fifteen or sixteen. That was the one frustrating point in the movie like, “That kid is not old enough. He’s not big enough. He’s misrepresenting it,” but it gets the point across.
Still, she went through same trauma and knowing that he’s threatening her and all that. What’s interesting to me is that you both came out of this and found each other. How did that happen?
What’s important is to go back to the jail cell. When I was in my jail cell, I ended up in solitary confinement because I ran away from some police officers. I had sat in solitary confinement. One day I was writing a long list of people who I felt would harm me. I was trying to offer those people forgiveness, at least in my version of forgiveness. I looked down at that list and I had this realization that the only common denominator between all these things is me. I had this thought like, “What if somehow I was the cause of all these things?” I’ve never considered whether or not I was the creator of my existence.
I started tossing around this idea of, “Am I the creator of my existence or are things happening to me based on random sets of circumstances?” When I tossed around what those two things meant, here’s what they meant to me. If I was the creator of my experiences, that means I had to take responsibility for everything that ever happened to me. If I wasn’t the creator of my experiences, that meant the world was a terrible place and I probably didn’t want to play anymore. What I did know is that I could have created some of them but not all of them. It was either I’m the creator or I’m not.
As I pondered those two things, I thought to myself, “I hate to live in a world where my current circumstances keep extending out.” On that day, I decided that I was responsible for everything that ever happened to me. I had to figure out what that meant for me. When I say that people are often like, “Are you saying that you caused that abuse in kindergarten?” I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is that the other person’s action was never my responsibility. I had to ask myself the question, “Does the abuse that occurred in my childhood define me?” The answer to that question was, “No, it can’t define me because if it does, then I can’t go back and change that abuse and I’m stuck forever.” I had asked myself the question of, “Has everybody who’s ever had abusive situations in their childhood allowed it to destroy them?” The answer to that question is no. Therefore, it couldn’t have been the abuse that defined me.
The situation that defined my life was what I chose to believe about myself having lived through that abuse. That’s what defined me and my experience. If it was the belief, I can go back and change the belief. I can’t change the abuse. Oftentimes, I tell that story and people are like, “Don’t blame yourself.” I’m like, “Stop taking my power away.” They’re like, “What do you mean?” I said, “You made the only decision you could.” That might be true in the sense of here’s a person of authority and she’s telling me I’m stupid. It’s probably true. That was the most logical thing for the five-year-old version of me to take away from that, but it was still my decision.
In that decision was my power. I took my power back by realizing it was my decision to believe that I was stupid based on the interaction that created my terrible life, not the actual abuse. At that moment, I took my power back. What we’re trying to represent. Had my mom been a better mom or been in a better place? She could have intervened and told me that it wasn’t about me and got therapy or whatever it was going to take to move me past that without taking on all those false and limiting beliefs, but she didn’t. That’s what created my life.
As you say that perception of your situation, it reminds me of my brother and sister. The three of us had the same father. We all have the same experience growing up. If you talk to my brother, he would say, “My dad was the best guy who ever lived.” If you talk to my sister, she would be at the other end of the spectrum. If you talk to me, I’d say, “He’s somewhere in the middle. He’s just a guy.” How can we all have these same situations? Maybe somebody else had that same teacher and didn’t end up in the same spot or ended up dead, you never know. Its real frustration to figure out what it is that makes us different.
It’s a mixed bag because it’s a combination of environment, genetics and everything else. At that moment in the jail cell, I took responsibility for my life. Why do people refuse to take responsibility for their lives? What it comes down to is, why would I take responsibility for something if I don’t know how to change it? I would just be causing myself more suffering. People refuse to take ownership of the things that are happening to them because they don’t know how to change it. This is where it comes down to, especially your brother, your sister and you, I would bet that your sister is an emotional person.
We’re all emotional to some extent.
More so than you and your brother. You’re in the middle and of the three of you, he’s less emotional.
When it comes to that, yes.
In my mind, that’s the deciding factor. The two things we teach about are emotions and perceptions. They’re the two things that are the most misunderstood of everything that’s going on. Here’s what we have a tendency to do. Because we don’t understand perception and we don’t become experts in it, we don’t understand that perception dictates everything that we do, everything that we are, everything that we can be, and we don’t understand emotions. From a young age, we’ve been taught to do two things with emotions. That is to repress emotions where we shove them inside or project emotions and blame them on somebody else.
The biggest problem we’re always having is we’re always making other people’s emotions about us and our emotion is about other people. It’s like, “You made me feel this way?” Nobody can make you feel anyway. The other side of it is, “They’re mad. They must be mad at me.” We’re making their emotions about us. Because we’re not taught from a young age how to deal with the emotions, there are no perfect parents. As your dad was being an imperfect human being, because your sister is probably more emotional than you, she took it more personal. She made his emotions about her on a much deeper level.
You’re a little bit more in the middle like, “Maybe it’s about me, maybe it’s not about me.” Your brother was like, “That’s not about me.” He’s not as emotional. There’s a much different level of perception based on our inability or our knowledge around what the purpose of an emotion is. Here’s what most people miss about emotions. Emotions, as it relates to personal communication and connection, was never about the other person. Your emotions are not telling you there’s something wrong on the outside, it’s telling you there’s something wrong on the inside.
That ties into my research in perception. What I find is you can measure our perception like a perception quotient. You would look at it as a combination of IQ, EQ, cultural quotient and curiosity quotient of how much you want to ask a question, how much your culture impacts, how much your experiences and your emotional intelligence impact, and your intelligence level. All of these things come together. As I looked at this, it’s a process. You evaluate and then you make predictions. You interpret and then you come up with this correlation conclusion based on all these things. Do you see it that way? Is it a process based on all these issues?
Here’s what I tell people. I have this narrative and it’s in the book. I don’t think it’s in the movie. What if I told you you’ve never made a bad decision? Would you believe me?
No.People refuse to take ownership of the things that's happening to them because they don't know how to change it. Click To Tweet
In reality, you’re not even capable of making a bad decision. That throws people. Let me tell you what a bad decision won’t be. It’s making a decision that you know at the time you’re making the decision that you’re making a decision that’s not in your best interest. That’s not the way we make decisions. What we do exactly what you said we do is we take all the available information and we make the best decision we can with the information we have available to us. It wasn’t a bad decision. It was bad information.
Why is that important to know? I want your audience to learn that there’s nothing wrong with you. We all make decisions the same way. It’s not a you problem, it’s an information problem. The reason why that’s important is you can stop beating yourself up. We’re constantly blaming ourselves for all the bad decisions. We’re beating ourselves up, “Why did I do this? Why did I do that?” You’re only doing the best you can with the information you have available to you. It’s your inability to question that information that’s got you here. You’re writing a book on perception as it relates to business. It’s simple. Good information leads to good decision leads to good outcomes. Bad information leads to bad decisions.
You said their inability to question information is a problem with the information problem. That’s where the curiosity part plays a big role.
Curiosity can only come in safety. I’ve built this assessment and the assessment tests you for three different attributes. Its responsibility equals power. If you want more power in your life, take more responsibility. You don’t have power unless you believe that you have responsibility. The second one is the mindset, in the sense of the word fix versus growth. The third one is your capacity to take on the risk or to have a curiosity to take on uncertainty based on your level of safety. It’s in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you don’t feel physically and emotionally safe, you have zero capacity for curiosity or risk. You have to be able to foster a feeling of safety inside of you, then it’s like, “If you don’t feel accepted by the group, you also have zero capacity.” It comes down to when people are keeping in place these walls and these structures, it’s always about the safety mechanism. The question is not, “How do I become more curious?” The question is, “How do I feel safer? How do I feel more accepted?”
That ties into my research in curiosity. What I was trying to find out is what keeps people from being curious and you named a couple of them right there. What I found was to be curious, you have to overcome the factors that keep you from being curious. Those factors are fear, which you’re talking about. You don’t feel safe. Assumptions, the things you tell yourself, technology, over and underutilization of it. Environment and you’re talking about the environment quite a bit there too. What I’m saying is to be curious, we have to overcome these things. If we overcome these things and we’re more curious, it helps with our perception. Would you agree with that?
Absolutely. You have to be able to embrace and walk into the uncertainty of not knowing. What you have to understand is that your mind is a probability calculator. It is always calculating what’s going to happen next, and that comes from our evolution. Knowing what’s going to happen next is what’s going to keep you alive. Essentially what happens is if you don’t know in an evolutionary sense, that means you’re dead. In order to be curious, you have to walk into the uncertainty of not knowing. Your mind has got one program. It’s always trying to restore certainty. That’s the survival mechanism.
When you step into that uncertainty of not knowing something, your mind now has an option. You can get curious and solve the problem or you can lie to yourself which is the cognitive dissonance piece and lop off a piece of your soul and lie to yourself and that’s why you believe massive contradictions inside of you. We accept these contradictions to restore certainty in our minds. That’s the way our mind works, it’s always moving us towards the things that are certain. It takes a lot of practice in internal safety and work to get to the point where you can stand bold-faced in the uncertainty and the admittance in the great I don’t know, in order to explore not only your own inadequacies but the problems facing us as a species on the planet.
Restoring certainty creates a status quo in my mind. If we don’t question things in a business setting, we’re talking in general, but in my research for business. That’s why we need to talk about perception, curiosity and all these things because companies have many people who are comfortable where they are. Stepping outside of that can make them uncomfortable, but then companies will have status quo thinking it won’t become innovative. What you do is you question things. I like that you talked about how you had the self-awareness to determine that you somehow were the cause or part of this problem. That requires emotional intelligence. I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence. Self-awareness is hard for some people. How do you think you’ve got that level to be able to recognize that you needed to look inward?
I always tell people, “You have to realize that you’re wrong.” They go, “What am I wrong about?” I’m like, “About everything as it turns out.”
There are many people that won’t believe that.
It’s the safety mechanism. It’s like, “I’m wrong about everything. Why do I need to realize that?” As my friend says, “Nothing interesting starts with knowing, it only ever starts with not knowing.” Everything that’s interesting in the world starts with a question, not an answer. How I say, that is what life was never about finding answers. It was only ever about asking the right questions. Once you ask the right question, answers will come. You don’t have to go searching for it. My motto is, “Question everything all the time.” This is where perception comes in.
You found that it was helpful for you. A lot of people never get to that level. The title of your book is Seeing is Not Believing. What is your thought behind why you picked that phrase?
Because seeing is not believing and the opposite is true, believing is seeing. I tell people all the time, I’m like, “Can you have the thing you want most in the world sitting right in front of your face and not see it?” What do you think?
I would say yes.
Most people reject that idea because we think that we see reality when in fact, we don’t see reality. That’s the underlying concept behind perception and the part that people struggle with. I say, “You don’t see reality.” They’re like, “I know.” I’m like, “No, you don’t know.” They’re like, “What do you mean? It feels real, so therefore it’s real. It’s there. What do I see?” What you see is your mind is always collecting all the available information and deliver an interpretation of the situation that is based on your current sets of beliefs.
I’ll tell a story and it’s simple. The reason people don’t question everything is because they don’t understand the cost of not questioning everything. The cost is all of your hopes and dreams. I want you to imagine a man. This man wants more than anything to be loved and be in a relationship but unfortunately, he’s got low self-esteem. One day this guy walks into a store. He walks up to the counter and the girl behind the counter starts flirting with him. My question for you is, does he recognize the girl is flirting with him?
That’s the answer I get 99% of the time, probably not. That would be the right answer. Anybody else who answered that, you already understand how perception works, but you don’t think it applies to you. Here’s the second question. If this guy can have the thing he wants most in the world, the opportunity is sitting right in front of his face, what if that’s happening to you? The answer is, it is happening to you. Everybody thinks this is a cute story, but it’s an example of how life works.
How do you recognize it?
By asking yourself, “Why didn’t he see it?” You’ll say, “Because he had low self-esteem.” Why would a belief that low self-esteem is something on the inside that impacts what he sees on the outside? That’s the key. He doesn’t see it because he doesn’t believe it’s possible. That’s why seeing is not believing. You can only see what you believe to be possible. The more you believe it, the more likely you are to see it. The less you believe it, the less likely you are to see it. It’s like a scale. That simple example of the guy in the store demonstrates that. What does that mean? That means that you can only see what you believe to be possible. Why? Here’s the answer. It’s a matter of capacity. Let me ask you a question. Have you gone to the end of any rainbows and look for a pot of gold?
No.Because seeing is not believing, the opposite is also true, believing is seeing. Click To Tweet
I don’t expect it will be there.
Your mind takes in millions of bits of information a second. It’s not looking for things that you don’t believe are possible. Therefore, it doesn’t see it. Your mind is this calculator and it’s going, “What is the most interesting thing going on?” It’s delivering you information based on what you currently believe is possible. The man doesn’t see it because he doesn’t believe it’s possible but the girl is there. We can tweak this story and give you an example of how this changes in an instant. I want you to imagine you were in this store, but you’re in the store with the guy and you’re standing off to the side. He’s standing over the counter and he turns around. He goes to walk out the door. What do you say to him as his friend?
Make him recognize the girl?
Wouldn’t you say, “That girl is flirting with you?” We’ve all been in the situation where the friend or the person instantly knows it’s true. He’s like, “You’re right. How did I miss it?” It doesn’t matter if it’s a girl flirting with him, a boss in the office offering an opportunity. These things come up all the time. Your friend is like, “You got offered that new job.” He’s like, “I’m good.” They don’t see it. It’s obvious when it happens to somebody else, but we don’t think it’s happening to us and it’s happening every day. That’s the way our mind works. Once we set our intention for something, we move our attention to, “I want this.” Because we live in a universe of infinite possibilities, the opportunities to move towards that thing start popping up, but we can’t see them until we believe it’s possible. There’s all this talk about the Law of Attraction. They got it wrong. The way they described the Law of Attraction is, “I’m going to sit here and I’m going to look at this vision board so that I can draw the things I want into my awareness.” That’s not the way it works. The reason you’re looking at the vision board is to foster belief, not so you’ll draw the opportunity into awareness, so you’ll see the opportunity that’s already there.
We never did answer the question of how you met your wife. Did you see the opportunity that was there when you met her? Did you have to work on that to connect?
We worked in the same building. I met her in a hallway and I saw her immediately.
This was after you had your revelation when you got out of jail and all that stuff.
What’s important to know about that story is that my wife and I were still broken people. The last thing she needed in her life was another loser. About four days after meeting her, I told her all the stuff that I’ve been through and that I’d get nauseated and all this other stuff. I knew immediately that this was a woman that I wanted to be with for the rest of my life and I’ve never had that feeling before. I didn’t want to start a relationship off in a lie. I took the risk of ending the relationship at the beginning by telling her about my past, which is something I would have never done. I told her I was on my way up and I wanted more. I believe that I was the creator of my experience and I was going to figure out how I created my experience. I was going to create something great and wonderful. She believed me and we went on this journey together. Everything that we’re talking about and everything in this book and this movie doesn’t come from other books or other teachers, it comes from our experience.
We used to sit every night on our bed and talk about issues over and over again. We wake up and we meditate for an hour together every morning talking about issues, trying to move our lives forward, trying to grow, and trying to become more. We landed on perception as we started growing our lives. From the time I got to jail to I made my first million dollars was nine years. I was like, “That’s amazing.” It seemed like nine lifetimes. We weren’t watching TV. We weren’t watching Netflix. We weren’t doing all the things everybody else was doing. We were working on ourselves. We made the sacrifices necessary. The reason I tell people to read the book and watch the movie is there are two things that dictate everything that you do, everything that you are, everything that you feel, give your life all the meaning and that’s perception and emotions. If you don’t become an expert in those, you’re throwing darts in the dark, hoping to hit your target.
Had your wife already solved what was bothering her when you met her? Did you help her in her journey?
No. She’d never told anybody about it. The part we didn’t tell about the story was my wife had a massive suicide attempt and woke up on the bathroom floor. She has no idea how she was alive.
She tried to hang herself. It was shown in the movie.
When we got together, we were still both broken, angry, resentful, but both committed to each other in the process of growth. For us, it was a matter of life and death. We were going to do this and then we started a family.
You have five kids later.
We have an amazing life. We’ve created all of our dreams, but the journey is not over. There are still things that are still inside of us from our past that we’re still healing. We’ve healed enough and grown enough to accomplish material success.
Both of you have been through these traumatic experiences. In the movie, it’s a sedate and somber feel because what you’re talking about is serious bad things that happened to you. Have you guys gotten past that to the sense where you feel like you’re happy and you can have your humor and things back or do you still feel traumatized to some extent?
Yes, to both of us. You didn’t watch the end of the movie, which you already admitted. I’m not throwing you under the bus here. We talked about that a little bit more at the end of the movie. The movie and the book is our way to give back because everything we did was the wrong way. I always say that we took the belt loop around the city. We didn’t take the direct route in. We didn’t know what we were doing. You don’t have to make all the mistakes we did. You can go directly in. What we discovered was what it takes to create money and wealth and all those things are not the same thing it takes to create happiness. After our first million, I looked at her and said, “Are you happy?” She said, “No.” “Me neither.” We went in and we dove into what it takes to create happiness. As it turns out, creating money and wealth, anything in the outside world that you want is all about changing your perception of the outside world. Creating happiness is all about shifting your perception of the inside world. You can do those things at the same time. We did it backwards as do many people.
Everybody thinks that creating one leads to the other. If you look out in the world, we got a bunch of rich people that are completely miserable. We have a bunch of spiritual people who are happy but completely broke. We think we have to choose between those two paths when we don’t. You can create both at the same time and that’s what the book is more about. The book has a much deeper dive into that. It dives into the science behind perception, our biggest fears and how to go into your past. Here’s how perception works. Every time you have an experience, your mind does something similar to a Google search.
It goes back and finds the set of experiences, it’s almost like the experience you’re currently having. It delivers that as an interpretation for what you’re currently experiencing and it does this in an instant. The thing that people don’t realize is it brings the emotion of the old experience forward as well. That’s why sometimes when you have an experience, you get angry that the level of anger that you’re currently displaying doesn’t make sense for the current situation. The story I like to tell is I was standing on a chair screaming at my kid because he spilled his milk. My wife is looking at me like I’m an idiot, “What’s wrong with you?” It’s like, “I have no idea.”
It’s not about the milk.Creating happiness is all about shifting your perception of the inside world. Click To Tweet
It’s about the past experience and that emotion came up. That’s where happiness gets blocked. You have to go into those past experiences and traumas that you had and imprint new emotions on old experiences. The next time your perception grabs that experience that dictates your current experience, it comes with a different emotional response. We developed something called the emotional integration technique, which is to facilitate creating happiness and I would call it decluttering your past. It’s understanding, shaping and changing the three things that dictate how you create your outside world, mindset, capacity, and power. It’s the responsibility, safety, and growth mindset. In the book and movie, we teach all the science behind everything it takes to create happiness and well-being on the inside and everything that it takes to create money and wealth on the outside. You don’t have to go out and figure it out for yourselves.
You do these 2 to 3-day events as well. At your events, are you going into the power mindset capacity realm? Are you doing meditation, this neuro-guided meditation or performance training? Is it all of the above? Is this meant for day-in and day-out living to be happier or is this work focused? Do you do this at organizations? It looks like a Tony Robbins event a little bit when I’m looking at it. It’s that kind of a feel to the pictures you sent.
It isn’t a Tony Robbins event because our events are all about telling your story, being vulnerable, opening up, and understanding. The problem I have with the traditional events out there is like, “I’m perfect and you need to be like me.” Our events are all about, “I’m massively imperfect and you are like me but I made it through.” When we talk about our events is that we’re trying to recreate personal development into a guru-less space. It’s about the collective, not the individual. It’s about the power of the story and the narrative that we all are in this journey together. We all have problems. Stop acting like you’re perfect because if you were to accomplish it, you’d be the only one. It’s about getting out and sharing our stories. We did a women’s event called Powerful Women. Every single woman that was on the main stage started out with the massive trauma they’ve incurred in their life.
What kind of trauma for example?
We had everything from sexual abuse to massive bullying, to drug abuse and parents. It was all this stuff. That’s where they started but that’s not where they ended. Everybody in the audience related to one of those stories. When they went to the breakout session with those teachers, it’s like, “This person is telling my story. I need to hear it.” Are you still living in your trauma? The answer is, you don’t have to. What we’re trying to demonstrate is it’s great that we have the same story, the only difference is I did the work to move through. Now I can help you to do the work and move through it because I’ve been where you’ve been.
These women who share their experiences, do you say you have to have everybody know your dirty laundry of what you had to live through? In a day and age where everybody knows everything about everybody, everything goes around on social media. Do you have any problem with people knowing everything that you’ve experienced as negative or do you feel liberated by that?
Your story only has power over you when you keep it inside. Brené Brown dropped this idea of vulnerability, but what we’re trying to say is what do you do with it once you have it? What we did was when we first told our stories, we didn’t know how it was going to land. We shot the beginning of that movie as a part to open people up. What was the most amazing thing was every single person that came up and met us afterwards was like, “You told my story.” It opened them up so the content can land. It goes back to the old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Vulnerability is strength. Nobody can use your story against you unless you’re hiding it.
Do you do this in organizations or is this something you do separately? You’re speaking and all that outside of the workplace.
We’ve done three events. We’re holding off an event until we build all of our following and get our products out into the world. The answer is we’re going to be doing all of it. Small monthly events in different markets, bigger events and then we’ll work inside of organizations as well. We’re just putting all of the product offerings together.
You’re going to have this movie. Where will it air?
It’s airing on our website. You can go to our website or you can download our app, which we have like a Netflix for personal development. It’s called the Powerful Universe. It’s also streaming there as well.
If they wanted to know more about it, how do they find it? Your book is available. How about the movie?
It’s going to be available. It’s for sale on our website. It’s available through our app. We have an app. You can watch it on any device. You can watch it on your computer on our website. You can check it out there. You can see the movie for free if you subscribe to our platform for a month as well.
It was a powerful movie. I admire that you felt confident and have turned your lives around to such an extent because I could see what you went through was unbelievable. Your wife’s story was heartbreaking. It’s a terrible thing to happen to her. It’s great that you two found each other and you have established this company. You’ve done some amazing things with what you’ve been able to achieve. Did I see you’re in 24 countries?
That was my former business. We’re probably in ten already. From a product, we’re starting to spread the globe. We’re starting to get a large social media following all over the globe.
When did the book launch?
The book was launched already.
You’re getting this out there. It was fascinating to me because of everything I’ve studied. I did a lot of Carol Dweck’s research in my book on curiosity. When you talk about some of the research you used for this, these are some of the same stuff that I found. Perception is going to be a hot topic in business. You’re dealing with it as an overall group and not just business-related, where I’m more business-focused. We’re trying to figure out the impact of many generations and the cultures to get along with other people. It’s time to look at how we see things. I love that you say seeing is not believing. What you’ve done is amazing. Do you want to share the website one more time if people want to get your book, watch the movie and everything else?
It’s Powerful-U.com. Come check out the book. Come check out the movie. You should take the assessment by the way.
I’d love to. If mine comes out, you could take mine and then we’ll see.Stop acting perfect because if you were to accomplish it, you'd be the only one. Click To Tweet
I would love to hear your feedback on it. The assessment, based on all the research you’ve done, I would love to hear your feedback on it. It’s powerful because it’ll show you right where you’re stuck. Not you particularly but anybody.
I want to know where I’m stuck too. We’re all stuck.
We sent you a free code as part of the media if you want to look. You can go and take it whenever you’re ready. I’d love to hear your feedback. Come to the website and interact with the content. We have the book, the movie and the assessment. We have an entire app that’s got regional personal development content, masterminds and all that up on the website available. We try to keep it affordable for everybody. That’s the other thing we’re trying to do. We’re trying to reinvent the industry so that everybody can afford it.
It’s an important message. I thought it would be fun to hear different perspectives on this because of perception ties into critical thinking, innovation, engagement, creativity, collaboration, status quo, thinking, leadership, you name it. I loved having a conversation. Thank you so much for being on the show. I was looking forward to this.
I enjoyed having the conversation, as well. It was good to see another speaker and somebody who’s out there asking all the questions.
That’s a big market. A lot of people need to learn this. It’s a great message. It was a lot of fun having you on the show, James.
I enjoyed our show with James. Perception is a hot topic. I see it as a combination of IQ, EQ, and the two CQs. The cultural and curiosity quotients. It’s a process and there’s much that you can study about it because we hear the word perception and sometimes, you’re thinking the blue dress or gold dress, or you think it’s a circle bigger than the other circle. It’s much more than what we hear and what we see. It’s the outcomes that we come up with our minds based on what we think the world is and the impact it has on us. Perception like curiosity is going to be something you’re going to hear a lot about because it ties in all these different generations, all the different cultures, all the different factors of how people work together.
If we want a collaborative workplace where people can get along, if you want to start a company in another country, there are many things that come into play when we’re talking about the power of perception. I enjoyed the fact that James took it in a different direction than I did to some extent. His assessment is different than my assessment as well. You can get many different perspectives on perception even. That’s what I find fascinating about the topic. What is important is that you recognize the impact of it. I love that James and his wife, Steph. She had a big part in everything. They’re partners and everything.
This was a fascinating look and had a happy ending to see that they found each other. They were able to do what they were able to do and create such a great life and five kids. Thank you again, James, for being my guests. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to the site. If you’re looking for more information on curiosity, please go to CuriosityCode.com or you can go to DrDianeHamilton.com and everything is there. You could get the book. You can take the assessment, the Curiosity Code Index. If you want to become certified to be a provider to give the Curiosity Code Index, if you’re an HR professional or consultant, it’s there. If you want to be an affiliate, at the bottom of the page, go to the affiliate link. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope you join us for the next episode.
- Perception: Seeing is Not Believing – movie
- Perception: Seeing is Not Believing
- Powerful Universe
About James Purpura
James Purpura is the Co-Founder and CEO at Powerful U and the author of Perception: Seeing is not Believing and Executive Producer and Director of Perception: Seeing is Not Believing.
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