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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)
I always like to say there are only two things that change your life.
Either something new comes into your life; a new possibility, a new opportunity, a new person, new luck, you win the lottery. Something comes in and changes the direction of your life forever. Or, something new comes from within. And you make new decisions for yourself. You set new standards, a new deeper level of motivation or drive, or hunger comes into your life and by necessity you decide to activate your potential again.
And I think that there have been three times in my life that were completely transformed because both those things happened almost simultaneously.
I bet you’ve had things in your life you can think back to. This is what psychologists call critical incidents. Moments in your life where something was so significant, an event happened to you that forced you to change, that made you want to be better. Maybe you didn’t want it to happen to you or maybe you did. It was luck, or it was bad luck. And from that moment of luck or bad luck you decided to transform the quality of your life and that’s exactly what happened to me three times, and they really shaped me the most as a person.
1. Breakup with My First Love
The first time was when I was a young kid and I had a breakup with the first woman I ever loved. We’d gone to high school together. We thought we were going to get married. The relationship fell apart and because my whole identity was tied to her and the relationship, I fell apart when that relationship ended. And I became a broken young man. I fell into depression, into suicidal thoughts. This is one of those experiences where you did not want it to happen to you. And it was just a really dark period of my life.
And I remember in the depths of all of that, I, as many of you know, had a car accident and that was when I decided I really needed to transform. I needed to change my whole identity. I didn’t just need a new morning routine. I needed to transform my life. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there where it wasn’t like, “Oh, I need to change one habit.” You were like, “No, I need to change my identity. I need to become a different person because who I was, was not someone who was fully who I really wanted to be.” And so it’s a transformation of identity.
And when you make that huge shift in your life, when you say “I need to change who I am fundamentally,” that is always a pivotal moment. It is always a changing day. That is a time in your life I bet you remember.
For some people, it happens when they graduate high school, they get divorced, the kids leave the house, they quit one job, or they move from one city to another one. It’s a total transformation in their life. But what makes that work is that they now attain clarity on the identity of who they want to be, what type of person they want to become, what values are important to them, how they want their emotional quality of life to feel, and how they want to treat other people.
In other words, when you get that changing moment, you have to be more intentional. The first time we go through something in our lives, we’re kind of bumbling through and just going through the motions or reacting.
But transformation begins with a greater awareness of who we really want to be and a more intentional way of living.
At least that’s what happened for me. I said “I’m going to take control of my thoughts” and I got into personal development. I started listening to Dale Carnegie type tapes. I was reading books written by Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Og Mandino, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer and Earl Nightingale. I really invested myself in the personal development world and I also started studying psychology. I analyzed individuals like Alfred Adler, Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, and other psychologists who helped me shape how to think about life. They helped me realize life really is short. They helped me realize that life is precious. They helped me realize that either you are reacting in life or you’re taking command of the wheel. And these types of things really helped support my transformation to becoming a happier and better man.
2. Quit My Job for a Meaningful Career
The second time where something happened to me that prompted a shift from within was when something new came into my life. I decided to activate something within at the same time and that was when I had the opportunity to quit a job. Most people don’t have an opportunity to quit a job. But while I was sitting in a seminar, a guy was talking about how you could write a book and have a career as an author. I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t realize it could be a career. I thought it would be like a hobby. And that revelation made me quit a good job.
When I graduated from college, I landed a job doing work for one of the world’s largest consulting companies at the time, Accenture. At the same time, I was also doing leadership development programs. I was working at a high level, I had amazing peers and coworkers, and I was making good money. And yet, I knew in my heart I wanted to write a book. That opportunity, that new idea that you could be an author as a career, was something new coming into my life. A new idea, a new strategy, a new understanding that forever changed me.
In that very moment, I decided to reach from within and say,
“I need to believe in the dream that has been sewn in my heart.”
Before that, I was always trying to earn a job. Go to college, get the job, work with this team, and I was always kind of forcing it. But in my heart, I just knew that I wanted to be more of an artist and write a book. And I didn’t know how to do it or where to start. I’d never even taken a writing class! But I knew that I wanted to share my message with the world. And I just want to tell the world, “Hey! You can have second chances.”
And when you have a second chance in life, be more intentional, be more thoughtful, be more loving, be more courageous. That’s the story of what the man goes through in my first commercially successful book, Life’s Golden Ticket. With those two things lining up, something new entered my life.
A new idea for abundance and becoming an author and living as an author, was a new and thrilling idea. It made me activate something within. I would have to be courageous to quit my job. I’d have to be committed to my dream, to my art, to this belief that I can share this message. I’d have to go all in. And that’s what I did! I quit a job that held a lot of security for me, because it wasn’t my life’s work. That decision transformed the quality of my life forever. The book came out and it did okay, but it forced me to learn how to share my message, how to communicate on video, how to write blog posts, and how to ultimately embrace social media. It taught me to believe in my ability to share a message and to have a career doing it. It transformed me forever, that moment.
3. Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury
I would say the third reason or the third moment was when I had my brain injury. It was where those two things collided. It was when something new came in and something new activated from within. Some of you were with me actually because I’ve been on YouTube for a long time and doing podcasts for a long time. In 2011, I wrecked a four wheeler.
It was an ATV four wheeler and I wrecked going about 40 miles an hour. I just rolled over. I hit this little pillow of sand I didn’t see, lifted up the four wheeler in such a way, landed—boom! Threw me off the bike. I rolled several times. Luckily the bike did not land on me.
But I snapped my wrist clean off. I threw out my hip and my shoulders. I broke a couple ribs and later, without knowing, realized that I had post-concussion syndrome and TBI—traumatic brain injury.
And it was not something I wanted.
It felt like bad luck. And yet, when these things happen to us, we have to ask, “What am I going to do with that? I can either go within and just suffer and be sad, or I can activate something within to cope, to be better, to grow.”
You know that old thing you often hear sometimes—some people have post traumatic stress syndrome when something terrible happens to them. But psychologists are also finding some people also have post growth syndrome, post traumatic growth syndrome.
Meaning, after something negative happens to them, something in their mind digs deep within to be resilient, to climb out, to improve. They take that bad thing as a reason to become better and that’s what I did.
I had the brain injury and I lost the ability to control my mind and my emotions. I was hurt physically. I was not in good health. Obviously.
I said, “Okay, I’m going to have to take care of my health in such a way that I control everything that I can in a positive and healthy way so that I have brain health.”
Well, your brain is connected to your body, so everything you do to your body impacts your brain. Your brain is part of your body, right? Often people say there’s this big difference between brain and body. No, it’s the same.
The brain is the body, and the body is the brain. And so, what you eat in your mouth goes and affects your blood flow to your brain. It affects nutrients, it affects your hormones, it affects how you feel—it affects everything. Whether you workout or not has a dramatic affect on both your mental emotions and your physical vibrancy. But that’s the stuff of your brain. How you feel at any given time is operated by your brain, ultimately.
And so, I wasn’t taking care of my body enough to really recover from my brain injury faster. I saw all these nutritionists and these neuroscientists and psychiatrists who said, “Hey, here are some things you can do to really optimize your health so that your brain heals faster.” And that was transformative for me because I never really got it before that accident. I never really understood the brain-body connection.
Those are three times in my life when I really had to take something that was going on and change myself because I wanted to live a better quality of life.
And if you’re there, I would invite you right now to write down those times in your life that were what psychologists often call, “critical incidents.” Moments in your life when something new and significant came into your life, good luck or bad luck, and how you decided to respond to it.
Because it really tells you a lot about who you are and how you ended up where you’re at today. And possibly, where you’re going to go from here.
I can think of all sorts of things that were significant in my life from times I moved, to times I took big risks, to times I placated, to times I was too fearful, times I wasn’t nice in a relationship or I didn’t do something responsible. We all have those times, but I invite you today, to do the personal development of thinking through those major times in your life and ask, “How did I respond to them? Did I use those critical incidents as moments to be more intentional, thoughtful, kind, and courageous in the next go around?”
Because that’s where transformation comes from.
We all think transformation just happens suddenly. Something happens to us. But actually, real transformation happens when you take everything going on in your life and you use it as a tool of self-awareness to say, “Okay, what’s the next level for me? Who do I want to become now? How do I want to feel about life? Energetically, emotionally, how do I want my mind to operate? How do I want to care for my body? How do I want to treat people? How do I want to spend my days? What do I really want to do with my life? How do I want to shape my day’s agenda so that my family and I can have a joyous, abundant, loving, connected life?”
These are the questions we ask when transformation is afoot.
And so, if you’re watching this video, make sure you go to transformationweek.com because we actually have a Transformation Week challenge going on right now.
You can click the link in this post and join us in Transformation Week. What that is—it’s my wife Denise and I. Transformation Week is a seven day challenge where we give you new training every day for seven days. We’re also live in the chat roll taking on your questions and interacting with you, so that you can really find where you need to transform your life.
Do you need a significant shift in your relationships or in your career? Do you need a significant shift in your health—in what you’re doing with your life? This is all part of Transformation Week, where every single day we give you a new video that helps you develop the mindset for personal development, that helps give you a specific habit that we know if you implement this habit, you do increase your odds of success in life and there’s no question about that science.
You do feel more confident, more happy. You do feel like your relationships improve, that you’re more focused and productive. You’re more influential, more courageous. These things are possible if you line up the right habits.
If you know anything about me, I’ve spent my entire career studying the habits of the world’s most successful people. So we brought that into Transformation Week. We also give you all the tools and the resources and the community to help you grow.
So if you ever loved an online challenge, you’ll love this one. It’s called Transformation Week. You can sign up at transformationweek.com for free.
As you know, I’m always trying to give you all the community and things you need to help change your life. I would love for you to think about that today.
What did change your life? What were the transformative moments of your life? And when they happened, what did you determine? Did you step back and say, “How will I use this to create the best quality of life that I possibly can?”
That’s why I’m always here cheering you on.
Denise, my wife, will be in more videos and podcasts as we create this new HPX community. For us, HPX stands for the High Performance Experience. We just believe that everybody wants to feel great, vibrant, and aliveness in their lives. Everybody wants to feel a deeper connection with themselves and other people. Everybody wants to be more focused and excellence-driven as they seek to make their difference in the world.
So if you’re into that, join our Transformation Week challenge hosted by what we call HPX Life. High Performance Experience. If you’d like to do that, go to transformationweek.com or click the link in this post to join us.
I deeply believe that your next level of breakthrough won’t happen just by accident. It will happen because you’re just more reflective about where you’ve been and what you’ve been through.
But now you can get more intentional about where you’re going. If this video inspired that, please comment. Please share and make this part of your day—just sharing good stuff with other people.
We call you and this community now Team HPX, which we believe is a team of people, all of us, just trying to live the High Performance Experience, trying to live our best life. It’s not always easy, but I hope that videos like this, episodes like this, inspire you, my friend.
As Denise, my wife, says in Transformation Week over and over again, “Every single day you have a choice to transform your life. And every single day you have a choice to either go out and be average, or to become extraordinary.”
So my friend, today, go be extraordinary.