Back when you were, you probably remembered a life full of joy with no worries about the state of the economy. Why do people stop enjoying life when they get older? Is it because people fail to filter their struggles so they just end up hating everything? Or is it because people have the “I can’t” mentality. I can’t do this. I can’t do that. It’s never about having the confidence to just pursue something knowing that you’ll be great. People are unhappy because of all of the above. They need to change their mentality on how they view life. And, that starts today. Join Whitney Lauritsen as she talks to former NBA superstar turned motivational speaker, Joel Green about what it takes to enjoy life. Learn more about childlike imagination and how you can adopt one, even as an adult. Know more about teaching without developing hate, embracing the fatigue, and the difference between enjoyable vs. endurable. There’s a lot that you can learn from Joel today, including a peak into his upcoming book, Filtering the Way to Extract Strength from the Struggle.
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Drawing From The Difficulty & Enjoying Life Intentionally With Joel Green
Behind the theme of this episode is my guest, Joel Green, who I’m going to call Jay Green because that’s what he’s commonly known as. We ran into some tech issues. This happens from time to time. It’s always so interesting when something that you feel confident in doesn’t go as planned. There are always a lot of lessons in that. It’s a little sad because the tech issues we had resulted in Jay and I deciding to not do a video.
Sadly, there aren’t as many visuals as there are with other guests when I upload content to YouTube. I started the first time we attempted the recording pointing out what was behind Jay. I’m going to describe it, which is two bookshelves with lots of books on them. It makes sense because one thing I learned about Jay is that he loves to read. I love to read too. That’s always exciting to talk to other book lovers.
There was a variety of things but there were three items that stood out. One was a book, one was food and one was a playbill. The book is Will Smith’s book. I said to Jay, “Did that inspire the cover for your upcoming book?” He said no. He created the cover for Filtering: The Way to Extract Strength From the Struggle, which comes out in September 2022. You can preorder it for those that are interested. It has a similar cover but that’s a coincidence.
The second thing I noticed on your shelf, which I want to talk about later but I’m going to mention briefly now, is the playbill for The Lion King. The third thing was the box of Cheez-Its. I want to start with the Cheez-Its because I’m curious. Correct me if I’m wrong. I read that on the box of Cheez-Its playing basketball, which was your previous career. I shouldn’t even say a previous career because you’re still teaching. You’re just not playing professionally. Is that right?
Correct. I’m on the other side of the game. I’m loving it, to be honest. I didn’t even realize I would as much as I do. Outside of being a professional basketball player, I’m teaching other people how to get to that next level, whether that even means making the middle school team, the high school team or the pro squad. We’re getting a scholarship in college. I’m enjoying being a National Director for Nike and Nike Sports Camps and teaching people that way through our camps and my company. I love it.
You were telling me about the camp that you finished and the one you’re going to. There’s so much passion there. I do want to hear what is the story behind you getting on the box of Cheez-Its. Are you a cheeses lover? How did this all happen?There's always something you can draw from any difficulty. Click To Tweet
I am. I better be. I didn’t even know it was going to happen. I had no clue until my then three-year-old son was in a store with me. He said, “Daddy, you’re on the orange crackers.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” I joke to myself. I thought it was Scottie Pippen or somebody that I may look like. He said no. He ran off to the other aisle and brought back this box of Cheez-Its.
I turned it around. There was a picture of me on the back. I stood there in awe thinking, “Where does this come from?” I walked to the next aisle. There’s a wall of me in front of some of the boxes. I was in the back. You saw me in a dunking post midair on the backs of all these boxes. I felt like it was 50-plus boxes that were taller than me. I’m 6’8. It was some high rows of boxes. It was amazing to see.
I took the photo four years prior. It took some patience to have something come from the image that I took. Kellogg’s selected my image out of thousands as they told me. We have had an amazing relationship ever since. They put me in another box since then and sent it to me. I’ve been playing in the celebrity game for Cheez-Its and Kellogg’s every year. Shaq is a part of it. He has been my coach a couple of times with Drew Brees and some amazing personalities. It’s a great time.
I am blown away by the fact that you didn’t know until you were at a store. How does that happen? How are they able to put you on a box of crackers without telling you? It sounds like this was years ago that you tried to get the opportunity or something. How does that work?
That’s the funny thing. When I first retired and stepped away from the game and basketball to start my company, on the side, I was doing sports, fitness modeling and acting. I’ve been in several commercials. I was on a TV show doing different things like that. Amidst this hustle and grind, I took some photos at a random photo shoot one night. It was probably a 10:00 PM photo shoot to get my portfolio increased.
For those that may not be familiar with the modeling industry, you have something called TFP shoots or Time For Print. You may have a photographer that’s looking for models to build their portfolio and you have models looking for photographers to build their portfolio. You exchange the time and say, “Photographer, please take my picture.” The photographer is saying, “I need a model.”
You pretty much as the model sign the rights away to the images so that the photographer can use them in their portfolios or whatever they want to use them for but you disagree that they can’t be used in any explicit manner. I sold the rights away to this image and became a stock photo. I was on iStock.com and all these stock image websites where you go to find a stock photo.
Four-plus years later, there’s this random stock photo. Kellogg’s ended up telling me, “We went through thousands of images and selected yours.” They put me in a box. I had no clue because I had no rights to the image. However, we ended up touching base with each other. We connected. We have had a relationship ever since. They put me in another box since then.
I’m a part of team Cheez-It. I’ve been endorsing them quietly to expand the brand because I appreciate them that much. I ended up being on cans of Pringles, Rice Krispies Treats and Famous Amos Cookies. If we were on camera, you would see behind me that there’s also a box of Famous Amos Cookies that I’m on. It was a whirlwind of random blessings that I had no clue what was coming.
I’m blown away for several reasons. One of them is funny to me because the episode that came out was with Coach Lee Hopkins. He has this video that I started his episode related to Pringles. This is the first time Pringles has ever come up on my show. How odd that two episodes in a row have some Pringles’ reference. I’m curious if you know this reference that Coach Lee did not know about, which was when I heard Pringles from him, I thought about this video I saw from Bo Burnham in which he references Pringles. It’s one of the funniest things. As a dad, there’s also a layer of having a kid and something related to Pringles. You can check that.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Bo Burnham as a comedian but he’s doing this standup performance. He decides to make his version of a Kanye West song. Pringles is a huge part of the song that he’s saying. I rewatched it. I hope that you think it’s as funny as I do. Speaking of performances, you were starting to tell me about why you love The Lion King so much and how that story framework is based around the hero’s journey, which many of those types of stories are. What is it about The Lion King that you’ve loved since you were a kid?
The fact that I loved it as a kid, I related to the kid within the story before anybody else in the story. It wasn’t that I related to Mufasa or Scar. I related to Simba. Simba was the hero to every kid that saw it. He went from prince to king. At the same time as I grew older, I appreciated it. I experienced the death of a loved one. It was one of my older brothers. I had to overcome that in the same way that Simba had. In addition to the great music in the Lion King is the realism of the good versus evil in this story, overcoming and growth.While everyone is celebrating, be on route to winning again. Click To Tweet
A huge part of the story for me is the growth that took place. It’s trying to run from where you’ve come from initially and then having to go back and face it to face yourself in so many ways and face your reflection to dare yourself to look in the mirror and say, “This is who I am. I’m going to step into it no matter how tough it may be. I’m going to face the reality that I ran from. I’m going to thrive.” I’ve had to do that multiple times. I appreciate the story in that regard. Overcoming things is difficult as that and facing realities and realizing once I faced them, the awareness of who I am becomes that much greater.
That makes me wonder about your book. The subtitle is The Way to Extract Strength From the Struggle. It sounds like what you’re describing. I’m curious about this word filtering, which I interpret as you’re filtering the strength from the struggle.
That’s exactly what is happening. The struggle may be taking place. A lot of people don’t see but there’s always fruit there all. It’s not sometimes. There are always some lessons or something you can draw from any struggle, difficulty or obstacle. That can allow you to not go through that same situation the same way again even if you’re confronted with a similar situation. If you learn something from that last time around, you can be more equipped for the next time around.
That’s what it’s all about for me. When I go through anything, I want to draw whatever I can from that situation when I’m going through it, not waiting on hindsight to reveal any fruits or answers but being aware at that moment and not allowing my emotions to get in the way to cloud that moment. I filter it. I ask why it’s here but I do so without emotions. I don’t ask, “Why is this happening?” I ask, “What can I get from this? What’s the purpose of this? What fruits are aligned beneath the surface of this?”
I tell people all the time from the stage that their seeds vary within every situation but seeds don’t live on the surface. You have to dig down, find a seed and water that seed. Once you begin to do that, you begin brainstorming on ways to grow that seed and ways to grow from that situation no matter how difficult like death, divorce, job loss or whatever the case is.
I try my best to filter every situation I go through, good or bad. I mentioned the struggle in the subtitle but I filter my good moments. I’ve won multiple championships in life and a lot in sports. I filter those moments so that I can say, “What can I take from this so that I can do this again? What can I take from this to keep from becoming complacent so that I don’t rest on my laurels?” I filter everything.
That’s such a great lesson because even as you’re describing the Cheez-Its experience, that seems like an amazing win. You were a pro basketball player. You’re mentioning being around big names. A lot of people perceive that as winning and making it but you still have so much more life to live. Imagine if you were to say, “I’ve already made it.” What would the rest of your life even be like? It’s not letting all of that get to your head and thinking, “Life is good from now on,” especially for you being a father.
You also have this relatively new element of your life. You wrote a book. It’s coming out. You have training. You’re doing so much that you are not becoming complacent and not letting your ego think like you’ve already done it and you don’t have to work any harder. Is that something you think about? Do you observe people in your line of work as pro basketball players? Are there a lot of people that do become complacent in a role like that?
All the time. That’s one of the things that I train, non-complacency. As far as athletes that I work with, I can tell when they begin to in essence feel themselves and love themselves too much. That’s when we have our toughest workouts many times if I’m in the gym with them to break them out of that mode and habit because the moment complacency kicks in, that’s when consistency stops.
Often I’ve seen it with myself. I’ve learned that because I’ve done it. I’ve celebrated too long in the past with different situations where I make sure I smell the roses along the way and enjoy the moment but only for that moment. I move on to the next thing. I’ve been told by many people, “You should celebrate that and get yourself a drink for that.” I’m good. I’m okay. I celebrated it when it happened. I keep myself focused on the next thing once I enjoyed that moment because I know myself. Everyone is different. I don’t want to enjoy a moment beyond that moment.
I feel like I can already be progressing toward another victory. While everybody else is still celebrating, I’m already en route to winning again. I learned that from sports. I apply it in business, in life and as a father to where I’m teaching him, “Enjoy everything but still find a way to keep progressing even while you’re pleased with the effort that you gave.”
That’s an important thing for me. People always know that I do a lot. I’ve done a lot of things, “You’re always out there doing something.” It’s intentional. I do my best to not become complacent. Plus, it’s an adventure. I enjoy new things. If I feel like I’ve learned something and I’ve tapped out, I find something that I’m not so good at and challenged myself to learn that thing too.Enjoy everything, but find a way to keep progressing. Click To Tweet
You mentioned some well-known names in basketball. I’m curious who in that field and other fields are people that you look up to and see as role models. Who do you learn the most from? You also mentioned Will Smith so this doesn’t have to be sports-related.
Will Smith is one. I’ve always appreciated his mindset, mentality and the way he thinks. I feel like we think on a similar plane as far as our Method of Operation or MO. Denzel Washington is one who I related to a lot hearing him speak on different things. Here’s someone that I’ve spoken to. I had a half-hour conversation with Kobe Bryant. That conversation changed my whole life. It changed a whole lot about my approach and my mentality.
We bring up Kobe Bryant and this Mamba Mentality that has become so famous years before his passing but I heard it firsthand from him. I get it. He lived it. The things that he was telling me to do and the way he was telling me to do them were the most impactful thing. It wasn’t what he was telling me to do. It was the way he told me to go about those things. It showed a level of obsessive perfection that I heard from him and that I ended up seeing him live out. Those things right there set the tone for so much.
I mentioned Shaquille O’Neal. The thing I learned from Shaq is to love everybody. I was talking about that earlier with someone I was around and how he was not supposed to be signing autographs where he was. We were at an event together. We were both a part of the event. We were told to go up to the back. He knew that everyone that was there was there to see him. He said no and went back out to the court. It was huddled by hundreds of people. He stayed out there and signed probably every autograph. That right there meant a lot for me to see. I love to see things like that and I learn from things like that. For me, you can never be too high on life to appreciate those around you.
What a great lesson to see that played out from these great people and then have the opportunity to turn that around and teach it to your son. I’m curious about the impact he has on you. You started to tell me about that. What is your relationship with your son like? How has that changed you over time?
My son being born changed everything. I’m so intentional. I’m very aware that I’m always being watched, whether his eyes are on me or not. I’m being watched and my movements are. I’m so intentional about making sure what I do is something that can be upstanding and if replicated can be appreciated. I’m always teaching him. That’s my thing. I love teaching him because he’s such a sponge as kids are.
I developed quote cards that we go over every day before school. We work out before school. I want to show him the principles of life for whatever he decides to do. He wants to play in the NBA. He loves basketball. I want him to know, “Whatever you do, here are the principles that you can apply to whatever you do that will allow you to be successful.”
I love teaching him with the quote cards that we go over every morning. We read a quote. Many of the quotes I created. Many we found online. He has to then comprehend the quote and break it down to me. It has changed everything about me. I’m intentional about everything that I do being something that he can admire and also isn’t something that you can look down on. I’m intentional as a father like I never happened before.
What’s an example of something that’s on the quote card?
One of the quotes is, “Fear less to be fearless.” That’s something that my father told me when I was younger, believe it or not. I’ve gone over that with my son and said, “Tell me what you think about it.” He has to break it down, “You’re telling me I have to fear a little bit less to be fearless like a superhero.” He would say something like that. I say, “To be fearless doesn’t mean you’re absent of fear. It’s okay to be afraid of different things but fear a little bit less when it comes to something that you may have been apprehensive about.”
We had that conversation before school. We sit in the car and get to school about 30 minutes before school even opens. We sit outside of the school in a little roundabout along with other cars. We go over 1 or 2 quote cards. There were so many quotes we were going over. We have been doing it for about two years. That’s one of the quotes I know that we did. He does it very well, which is comprehending the message. He was in third grade. Going into fourth grade, that’s a way for us to practice reading and comprehension.
Where did you learn to raise your son this way? Did it come from within? You mentioned your father. Were there other people that impacted you and supported you in developing into the father that you are?You have to fear less to be fearless. Click To Tweet
You mentioned the word development. Development was vital in my household growing up from both of my parents. Talking about being intentional, they’re both pastors in the church. They gave us a can-do mentality so early. I’m talking about since birth. I wrote about it in the book. I got in trouble when I was eight for saying, “I can’t.” I was on punishment. I didn’t eat one night because of that. I had to sit at the table and watch my three siblings eat for dinner all because I said, “I can’t.” It was that serious in my house.
I said it twice. The first time, I got a warning. I said it again when I was doing some homework. That was tough. It was math homework. The next thing I knew, I wasn’t eating that night. I never said I couldn’t do something again in my life ever. I teach that to my son. I know so much of what I teach I’ve learned from parents as far as the values, the mentality and the approach to life to where you can do whatever you desire to do. Have some faith and work ethic. Throw some energy behind it. You’re going to get it done.
Words have such a big impact. These phrases we say have a ripple effect on ourselves and others. I’m curious. What is it about the words, “I can’t,” that were so profound for you and your family?
Can’t is an immobilizer. The moment you start to say things like that, it’s hard not to believe it. It’s so hard not to believe that you can’t do something if you say you can’t do something. I know they knew that. They still know that. They wanted us so much to excel in school and in life to where we dare ourselves if we can’t or we couldn’t do something, especially in an African-American household.
We were already told so much that we couldn’t do certain things in society. Why should we dare tell ourselves that? They were aware of that so they made sure we did not carry that mentality of tearing ourselves down because we’re already being torn down by a society that doesn’t like us for being African-American. They told us this.
I was aware as a kid. I’m talking 6 or 7 years old, “There are going to be others that are going to try to break you down. Don’t believe their words.” I was told this, “You have to believe in God and what the Bible says. Believe that you can do all things through Christ.” I remember hearing all of these things to where my faith was so high that no one could tell me that I couldn’t do anything. When I decided to pursue good grades, I knew whatever I decided to pursue, I would do amazing at.
It’s interesting to hear you reflect on that time in your life, which is not that far off from your son’s age. I’m curious where are the similarities as well as the differences in terms of raising a son in a world that isn’t fully accepting of people that look different from one another. How are you addressing that with him and guiding him so he feels empowered despite how other people may treat him?
I’ve been strategic my entire time as a father because it’s a real thing. The challenge has been to teach various truths that have happened without developing hate within him. That’s the challenge. It’s not discussed that much but we have heard about it as far as the curriculums. Some things are trying to be kept out of schools. They don’t want to teach XYZ about slavery and things like that because we don’t want anyone that may be Caucasian to be looked down upon for the time of slavery and stuff like that.
That’s something too. I’ve talked to my son about it, “It’s not about hating someone who doesn’t look like you. It’s about seeing the growth that has happened from both sides. Look where we have come from and also where they have come from. We’re not enslaved anymore. They’re not enslaving anymore.” It should be taught more in a school to see the growth of both sides.
One side has acknowledged what’s wrong and said, “Slavery is not right.” The other side has persevered and overcome that side and has been able to excel beyond that, which showed that bone and that muscle perseverance I would hold for young African-Americans. I would hope that it’s so encouraging for the future for them to say, “We have come from that. We can go so much further.”
It may be a sidebar conversation but that’s something too that I thought would be great to teach in schools, not for sake of hate at all but the sake of perseverance and seeing the growth of both sides. That’s something that I teach my son, “Here’s where we have come from.” I’ve taken him to the African-American Museum in Washington, DC. I teach him as much as I can about our history, where we come from and hopefully where we’re going.
That’s so important. It’s not discussed a lot. When I was going through your Instagram, I was thinking about the way that you teach these lessons and things like failures as a midpoint, not an endpoint, for example. It’s helping people think through problems and be dedicated to things. It’s common at least in this country. It seems like there is a combination of people believing in themselves and feeling like they have freedom and they can do anything.What you're exposed to the most is the foundation in which you operate. Click To Tweet
There’s also this underlying messaging of limitation, fear, anger, people taking sides, being focused on the battles, being against one another and canceling each other. It’s fascinating to see how the messages are coming at us simultaneously. If you focus so much on the ladder, you can get stuck in this negative mentality where maybe you know that you can do anything that you put your mind to but you’re held back by all those low emotions.
It’s tough. It’s all thrown at us at the same time by way of even social media. Since you bring that up, it’s all there. It’s a melting pot of good, bad and everything in between. It is about what you focus on and what you choose to see and believe. We all operate in the same way. What you’re exposed to the most is the foundation of how you operate.
I do my best to intentionally expose myself to as much positivity and encouragement, not to be an optimist. That’s not my intention but it’s to make sure my mind is in a place of productivity, not becoming stagnant and not believing in myself because I’m exposing myself to so much negativity. It’s hard to see that so often and not begin believing it.
It’s like the word can’t. If you say that so often, you believe it. If you see so many things that tell you that you can’t, you start believing them. I don’t want that to be me or anyone I’m around like my friends, my family and my community. That’s why I put these things out there online because I want everyone to think on a plane of multiple perspectives, to be honest. It’s not about being optimistic. It’s never about that with me, to be honest.
I love for people to have multiple vantage points to be able to have empathy toward even others that you may hate to understand even their side of the story or the table because understanding is where a connection can finally happen. With ignorance, no one can connect. That’s where hate continues. I always try to provide further perspective so that people can say, “I didn’t look at it that way. Let’s give that a try.”
Perspective is so impactful. I told you how right before I got online with you, I was watching Will Smith’s video. I don’t know if it was the first time but it seems like one of the more profound times he has spoken about what happened at the Oscars in 2022. I was impacted by that because of the perspective. I remember thinking, “I’m observing it. I’m taking in all these other people’s opinions on what happened.” My perspective kept changing too not by hearing things and reflecting on them. I started to see how complex that situation was.
It’s interesting given that Will Smith has made a big impact on your life. When I brought this up to you, you were saying something along the lines of how you recognize what he did but it didn’t lose you as a fan of his. I’m curious. What was it like for you to see someone that you have received so much positive value go through a complicated, messy and perhaps some people would view it as a mistake or something that was on the more negative side? What was it like to see that play out with someone that you value so much? What did you take away from it over time?
It may sound shocking and even emotionless but in addition, I was in awe. I was shocked like the world but I immediately said, “You made a mistake.” I was over it. When I say I was over it, he’s a human being. I admire him on a different level than I may admire a teacher because he has been out there for so long. He comes from Philadelphia. He made it out. I have high admiration for him.
That’s what made me say immediately, “I’m over it. He made a huge mistake or an error but I cannot let that make me look down on him or frown on him. As far as all the other positive stuff that I’ve admired about him, this one moment doesn’t change anything as far as my outlook toward him. I’m not going to be afraid to be around him. I’m not going to be hesitant to be around this guy.”
We all make mistakes. His mistake happened to be very public. It was immediate for me. I was over it from a sense of I forgave him for that error. I was hoping that he recognized the error of his way. I recognized it was a mistake right away. I know that’s not him. Everyone knew that’s not typically him but he was drugged through the mud as if that was his character. I didn’t think, “Will Smith is this villain.” I was over it right away. I said, “That was crazy. That was a mistake. Hopefully, he recognizes it.”
He didn’t lose me as a fan because one mistake doesn’t overshadow all that you’ve done before that point. I would hope that if I’ve made a mistake that it doesn’t overshadow everything that I’ve been that proceeded that. I was able to look at it in that regard or from that perspective and say, “He made a very bad public mistake that others have done behind the scenes. It wasn’t just at the Oscars.” That’s how I looked at the entire situation.
Was this something that came up with your son? Did your son know about what was happening? Was it an opportunity for you to talk through as you did with me? That lesson is valuable. Does he notice things like that happen in the media? Does this come up in your conversations?One mistake doesn't overshadow all that you've done before that point. Click To Tweet
We haven’t talked about this in conversation but we have talked about others. We have talked about his mistakes and him not beating himself up over a mistake. I tell him all the time, “Make mistakes.” That’s one of the main things I preach to him, “Mistakes are okay.” Being imperfect is one of the best things ever when you embrace it because so much pressure comes from trying to be perfect. You will never reach it.
I tell him all the time, “Make mistakes but when you make mistakes, make sure you’re giving your best effort to whatever you’re trying. In school, if you come up short on a test, did you give your best on this? If yes, there’s no problem. If you’re playing basketball soccer or any sport and you make a ‘mistake,’ were you giving your best? If yes, great job.”
It’s about effort for me. I’m talking to him about things like mistakes. Do not beat yourself up over a mistake. We know your heart and intention when it comes to trying your best. That’s all that matters. Try to be your best person. If you fall short every once in a while, there’s no problem. That doesn’t mean that defines who you are from here on out.
That’s such an incredible gift to give your son that lesson because even as an adult, hearing you share that, I’m thinking, “How nice when somebody tells you that it’s okay.” We can beat ourselves so much. We can sit in guilt, shame and embarrassment. We can let it hold us back and create fear for the future. To have someone encourage you to make mistakes so that you can practice learning from them, practice accepting them and know that one of the most important people in your life or your father is there cheering you on and helping you process it is incredible.
It reminds me of something else I saw on your Instagram that resonated. I want to hear you speak more on this because you posted this and then didn’t write too much in the captions. The phrase is, “Embrace the fatigue.” That ties into some of this because life can feel fatiguing. I’m sure being an athlete, a business owner, a teacher and all the things that you do are fatiguing. Also, fatigue is a huge challenge for a lot of people mentally and physically. What does that statement mean for you? Why did you feel compelled to post that?
Something I learned initially on the athletic side of life was embracing fatigue. I started telling myself that. No one ever told me that as far as those words. What I realized was as I embraced my fatigue as I was being an athlete, every time I embraced the fatigue, it allowed me to break through comfort zones. Anytime I would embrace my fatigue, that’s when I would go from the 1st win into the 2nd win. We talk about our second win all the time. I apply these same principles to life.
The unfortunate thing is so many people haven’t felt the gift of the second win of life or dealing with athletes because they weren’t willing to embrace the fatigue full-out of that first win to tap into that reserve tank that they have of perseverance, grit and grind. Things aren’t going right or people are being mean to you. You broke up with this person or lost that job. If you embrace those things mentally and emotionally fatiguing things, they become a part of the process for you.
You mention earlier the quote that I have, “Failure is a midpoint, not an endpoint.” They all tie in together as far as those quotes. When you embrace the fatigue, you will realize failure is not the end. Failure has to be a part of the process. I’m telling my son, “Make mistakes.” I want him to fail. I want him to see, “Let me fail as a child because failure comes later on in life.” I don’t want it to be the first time you fail as an adult.
Fail often but as you fail, please keep moving forward at the same time. You will figure out ways not to fail. That’s when it’s like, “I fortified or secured that area. That area where I was once insecure is secure.” That’s what it’s all about. It’s embracing the fatigue of life so that you can level yourself up and break free of every comfort zone, which is a scary place. After the first stage of the comfort zone, we can avoid turning into the Twilight Zone.
I love the way that you speak about supporting your son and raising your son. I’m curious. What do you learn from him and the other kids that you teach? You do these sports camps. You were telling me about a girls’ camp that you completed and another one coming up. What things did you learn from the students and your son being there with you?
It’s being loose and having fun. That’s the main thing I picked up. They have fun with no thought. It’s so natural. They create their fun. There’s a chapter in my book Filtering. I speak on this from the stage often. It’s called Childlike Imagination. The thing I love about children is they will create like none other. We lose sight of this as adults because we’re so busy. We’re aware of statistics and limiting factors that society and the economy throw at us each day but kids don’t know those.
They’re so ignorant of those things. That ignorance is truly a blessing. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to children not knowing statistics and so many things that can limit them. That’s what I love about being around kids. They allow their imaginations to allow them to create amazing things and ways to have fun and enjoy life.Being imperfect is one of the best things ever when you embrace it. Click To Tweet
I saw that so often with the young girls we were teaching at camp. We didn’t even have anything scheduled or structured for them. They still found creative ways to have fun because of their imagination. They would make up their games. I love witnessing things like that because it reminds me that I need to operate in the same fashion as an adult. That’s what would allow me to continue to have fun and enjoy life as a child does.
I’ve told adults this plenty of times whether I’m speaking to an organization or a company, “If you had the same creative outlet and flow as a child does or as you used to have as a child but have the intelligence, the education and the resources that you have and connecting it with this creative childlike imagination, imagine what you can truly create.” That’s what I look to tie into my life all the time. It’s stealing this imagination from the kids and applying it to my life as an adult. That’s what allows me to have fun every day.
You described yourself as a big kid to me. In what ways? It sounds like you’re learning these lessons but maybe they’re being around kids, whether it’s your son or someone that’s at a camp. They’re bringing out the sides of you. You get to embrace it because you’re around them. Do you feel like you can be a big kid around adults too? Why or why not?
I am me wherever I go. I’ve embraced that over the years. That wasn’t always the case. I will admit that. For years, I’ve allowed myself to be wherever I am no matter who I’m around and no matter what stage I’m on. I let myself show. I let the fun side show. I let the child inside of me shine through professionally if I’m in a professional setting. However, I don’t hide it as I once did, trying to fit in and be cool. I don’t want to fit in. I want to be me. I don’t want to try anything. I want to live.
When I’m living, the child inside of me comes out. I’m enjoying watching a kid’s movie from the ’80s with my son. He loves ’80s flicks, ’90s movies and stuff like that. At the same time, while he’s enjoying it, I’m enjoying it because it’s allowing that nostalgic feeling to come about. It keeps me young. I’ll be honest. It keeps me feeling good in a youthful mindset.
I enjoy the act of movement. I can run around outside like a kid and say, “I had a fun day because I ran around outside.” It may be me jogging as opposed to running around in circles as a kid would but I’ll still run around my neighborhood. I feel a kid running around as I used to in the yard. I find ways to still do the same things I did as a child. The fact that I have a son, I have the perfect excuse to still do some childlike things, go to theme parks or the arcade and have fun.
I enjoy life intentionally. I think, “How did I enjoy life as a kid?” I replicate those things as an adult. I’ll be honest with you. That has allowed me to create a lot of business as I’ve thought that way, “How did I create fun as a child?” Knowing what I know, I created those things from the business side. It has helped generate amazing business.
I’m curious. Since you do a lot of public speaking and you’re writing a book that I would imagine most adults are reading, what do you observe in other adults? Do you feel like a lot of the people that you speak to are struggling to let out that inner child and enjoy life because they’re focused on the hustle and the grind and maybe viewing life through more of a polished professional point of view versus finding the balance between accomplishment and enjoyment?
We’re way too grown. What I mean by that is that we’re trying to be grown. It’s difficult for so many to see and understand but our education grew us up in such a way or fashion where it almost taught us to not enjoy life as we used to. The most enjoyable part of life was when we were younger. We say that all the time. We think, “Why? What’s stopping us from reliving?” We’re not even reliving those moments but creating new moments of enjoying things.
I get that life is busier because adulting is not easy. If we’re intentional about still having the same level of excitement and enjoyment, it sounds corny and even cheesy but it’s using our imagination to enjoy life. It’s sitting back and daydreaming about places we want to visit. Since we have the resources and hopefully the financial ability to travel, sit back and dream about those places. The same way a kid used to dream about going to the moon one day or becoming an astronaut, a doctor or a lawyer.
We can dream about the same things as adults in different fashions. We just choose not to. For many, it may feel like we don’t have the time to because by the time we finally sit down, we’re maybe dozing off on the couch at the end of the day because we’re so exhausted. I get it but so many adults try to be an adult too often. It takes away from who we can truly become to enjoy this thing called life.
I’m looking over your website. It reminds me of some of the videos I haven’t watched down there. One was titled Dream Without Limitation. It seems like maybe adults view life as fitting in a certain box of what it means to be a grownup. Perhaps if you could dream without those limitations, that allows you to broaden, tap back in and redefine it. Another video title on there is Enjoyable versus Endurable. I’m curious since I haven’t seen that yet. What does that mean?Embracing fatigue can help you break through comfort zones. Click To Tweet
That’s a big one for me. That’s something I’ve spoken about. I did quite a bit of speaking on that during the first shutdown that we had as a country. I realized so much of that wasn’t enjoyable for people. It wasn’t always enjoyable for me but I had to ask myself, “Is that what’s most important?” It isn’t. You have to have the ability to persist, persevere, see beyond where you are and say, “Is this at least endurable?” If the answer is, “This is endurable,” then continue to move forward. Take at least one more step forward.
The funny thing is that the more we endure, the more we believe in ourselves and the more our self-esteem and our self-confidence increase. The great thing about that is when those things happen, whatever we’re going through becomes more enjoyable. When you look at a situation, assess it, filter it and extract something from it, “Can I at least endure this situation?”
Enjoyability is on the other side. The ability to enjoy that situation is on the other side of endurance. That’s what I try to get people to ask themselves when they’re going through something difficult, “It may not be enjoyable but can I at least endure this for another moment?” If you ask yourself that often as you’re going through a process, you will realize, “I made it over to the other side.”
What do you most enjoy?
I’ll be going to a camp. There’s a guy who I used to work with. He’s an NBA player. I used to train him when he was in high school. He asked me if I can help him out with his camp. It’s a one-day camp. I’ll be doing that. After that, I’m looking forward to sitting down. I don’t watch TV as much as I desire to or the new series. I’m a movie buff. I love movies. I will catch a new movie but I may try to sit down and watch some series tomorrow. I have no clue what. To me, it doesn’t even matter. I want to sit down and freestyle with the day. I’ll enjoy that.
Since you’re a movie buff, are there any movies you’ve seen or want to see? I haven’t been to the movie theater since the pandemic started. I miss that so much. There are a couple that I want to see. One is called Everything Everywhere All at Once. That’s streaming but the other movie that’s not streaming yet that I want to see and I’m debating whether to go to the theater or not is Nope.
I saw it.
How was it?
You would enjoy it. It’s probably not exactly what you’re expecting. I didn’t know what to expect from the trailers and the previews. I went to the movies because I was curious about what it would end up being. I’m not going to give anything away but I was entertained by the movie. I’m not going, “This is going to win awards,” but it’s an entertaining time sitting down. It was enjoyable to watch. It was funny and things like that. It was good.
Thank you for that. I’ll keep that in mind. Maybe that will prevent me from going to the theater and I’ll wait until it’s streaming. I would love to go to the theater but it feels like a wild time in the big cities. What movie are you most looking forward to seeing? Are you anticipating any releases?
I am. It’s John Wick 4. That is going to be maybe late 2023. I’m anticipating Black Panther 2. I saw the trailer for the first time.
Did it give you chills? That was an incredible trailer.I don't want to fit in. I just want to be me. I just want to live. Click To Tweet
It was eerie chills because Chadwick isn’t here in real-time as well as in the movie. It was like, “This is so tough to even watch a picture of him on the trailer.” It was tough to even see because I loved him as an actor and I appreciated him. I’m looking forward to seeing that. That may be the one I’m anticipating the most.
Did you see Hustle with Adam Sandler, the basketball movie?
I did. I was approached as far as the casting for it. I decided I was done with that side of things.
Do you have friends that are in it?
I have several friends that were in it. I received the casting and sent it to a couple of buddies I thought would be good for it. At the moment, I had so much business in front of me as a business owner. I was setting up things for my training company and preparing for almost 70 camps around the country that have to take place within a 7 to 8-week period. I said, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll enjoy watching it.” I thought it was so cool that it was all shot back home in Philadelphia. That was the best part for me. I was able to sit back and enjoy this thing.
Before, if a casting came my way, I was on it. I would go to New York. I would be riding the train to Manhattan and be at the casting call the next morning. At this stage in my life, I enjoy being home more often. Being a father changed everything for me. I’m like, “He needs me around more often. If I’m not traveling to speak or do a camp somewhere else, then I’m going to be home.”What's stopping us from recreating enjoyable moments as adults? Click To Tweet
I decided not to pursue it. It wasn’t that I had a role but I could have gone out for the casting. I feel like if I went out for the casting, I would have gotten the role. It’s not me being arrogant. It’s me saying, “I know the process of castings by this point. I’ve gone through so many to where I know what they look for athletically or a look and things like that. I can make it happen.” I felt like I could have gotten in the movie but it was so enjoyable watching the movie and seeing people I recognize and know personally in the movie. I loved it. It was a great movie.
I enjoyed it too. I love this lesson that you’re sharing here at the end of being mindful of what’s important to you and the way you described your thought process on passing up on an opportunity that some people would think they have to drop everything to take something like this but you are clear on your priorities and able to weigh out the pros and cons of saying yes to something. Even if it seems like this big thing, it might not be the right thing for you.
I appreciate how you approach life. You’ve shared so much. I’ve been writing down all these quotes. I will send them to you because they could be turned into more Instagram quotes. You’re so good at putting them together. You say things so articulately and reframe life. You pass on messages to adults, children and parents. Your wisdom spans across the ages and has left me with a great feeling of hope, positivity and gratitude. Thank you for sharing that with me and the readers.
I appreciate that truly. I enjoy seeing life from different angles. I’ve gone through so much coming up in ideal situations to where I used to have to distract myself by imagining ideal situations. Growing up in North Philly was a tough situation. I’m glad that as an adult, I still do that because it worked for me as a child. I would set goals when I was younger to distract myself from things that I was surrounded by that weren’t the best. I try to keep doing that same thing. I try to help other people do the same not to distract themselves at this point but more so to focus on the right things and be able to thrive as a result of that proper focus.
You’re doing a phenomenal job. I imagine that your book has so much more. It’s always wonderful when a guest comes on and has something new coming out because that means the reader can start here, go on, read even more wisdom from Jay and his writing and go onto his website where those videos I mentioned were and his Instagram. I’m also hoping that you create your podcast. Maybe the audience can help me encourage that.
You have me thinking about it. I’m so serious.The more we endure, the more we believe in ourselves. Click To Tweet
I can trust that you will be able to choose in your mind where the priorities are and see if a podcast fits in but regardless, you’re doing so much. Joel Green AKA Jay Greene’s book for you is in preorder. September 6, 2022 is when it comes out. Any time after that, you can go get your hands on it immediately. I hope you do. I hope you enjoy learning how to filter out the wonderful beauty of life despite all of the struggles. As you pointed out too, I loved when you said, “It’s not just about filtering out the good. It’s about filtering out the bad and viewing the different perspectives.” That’s so impactful. Thanks again for spending the time with me and sharing all of this with the readers.
Thank you so much for having me. I truly appreciate it.
- Joel Green
- Filtering: The Way to Extract Strength From the Struggle
About Joel Green
Joel Green is CEO of Pro Level Training, the National Director of Nike Sports Camps, a former professional basketball player, and a renowned motivational speaker. After retiring from his career in professional basketball, Joel Green founded Pro Level Training (PLT), which has become a 7-figure company. In addition to running PLT, Green is also the National Director for Nike Sports Camps as well as an accomplished speaker. He was honored to speak to thousands and deliver his own TED Talk.
Joel Green’s unique differentiator in business and as an individual, is his ability to see life objectively from multiple vantage points. Unfortunate circumstances as a youth helped to groom and refine Joel into adulthood. Growing up in an abandoned home and seeing both sides of life has really helped him to connect with people over time.
A thought leader in the motivational category, Joel Green has a B.A. in Psychology from Rider University, which has helped to fuel his ambition to inspire others. He has developed a reputation for personal excellence and motivational talks that contribute tangible advice for attaining desired goals. Many of the messages he has delivered on are conveyed in his first book, Filtering: The Way to Extract Strength from the Struggle, releasing early September.
In addition, Green is a professional sports and fitness model and actor, and he has been featured in commercials, ads and on television. Most recently he was the face of Cheez-It crackers Celebrity Crunch Classic campaign, in which he was solely featured on millions of snack boxes.
Green is known for setting very ambitious goals for himself, most recently his own challenge of reading 30 books in 30 weeks. He has unflinchingly put in 18-20-hour workdays with great joy to make his dreams a physical manifestation. He attributes his work ethic to his unwavering faith and his passionate desire for excellence – both of which have allowed him to overcome many difficulties and life challenges.
New book, releasing Sept 6th – https://www.joelbgreen.com/shop
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