Why We MUST Separate Facts From Stories!


It was a little over 2 years ago I was sitting in a room filled with a hundred other people of various ages and backgrounds. 👥

We all were sitting quietly, listening to the teacher at the front of the room as he calmly spoke with a distraught person who had come up to one of the nearby microphones set up near the teacher. 🎤

It was the end of September 2017, and I was attending a weekend seminar called the Landmark Forum. It was one of the most mentally challenging experiences I ever had, not in a bad way but in how it really challenged my way of thinking. 🤯

And it wasn’t just me. It challenged all of us who participated that weekend! We were introduced to ideas and teachings which challenged how we saw our very lives and the people within it. 👁️

Without giving the seminar details away, I do want to share with you all a teaching I learned while I there which I’ve held and been using ever since.


In a similar vein as my previous post (http://bit.ly/2ZxwJzR), I want to share with you all a realization that just blew my mind when I started seeing this teaching reflected in everyday situations. 🤯

I share this with you all because I believe this can be applied to so many aspects of your life! 👍

With this teaching, you can save a lot of unnecessary stress, a lot of unnecessary worry, and take your personal self-control to a whole new level! 😁

I want you to imagine for a moment you hear about a nearby shooting on the news. 💥 You hear about the shooter’s personal background, how he ran from the police, and how he led the police on a car chase through 3 town before crashing and being arrested. You hear from the cop’s interviews about how remorseless the shooter was, how terrified the nearby witnesses were, and you keep remembering how close that shooting was to your home. 🏠

The incident passes. The shooter is in jail for a long time. Life goes on for you…but not quite! ☝️

Instead of locking your front door like you use to, you now start unconsciously double-locking it. When your child wants to go outside, you start feeling more hesitant to let him go outside like he used to. When you’re driving in your car, every time you pass by where the shooting happened you are reminded of what you heard on the news. 📺

But wait! The incident has passed. The shooter is in jail. So why has your behavior started to change as if the shooter is still out on the streets..? 🤔


One of the most important teachings I learned attending the Landmark Forum was the teaching to separate What Happened vs. the Story You Told About What Happened.

🌟 What Happened: The facts and nothing but the facts.

📖 The Story You Told About What Happened: The narrative which surrounds What Happened.

What if I told you the news doesn’t tell you facts? 😱 It actually tells you stories around a set of facts. Think about it: Would you really read a news story that just wrote the facts like this…?

📰 “A shooting happened on [STREET] at [TIME]. The shooter was identified as [NAME]. The shooter took off in a [CAR TYPE]. The police chased after him through the towns [TOWN #1], [TOWN #2], and [TOWN #3]. The car crashed. The police surrounded the car. The police arrested the shooter. He is awaiting trial at [PRISON NAME].” 📰

If the news only told you What Happened, no emotional narrative, no witness testimony, no police statements, no opinions, no drama whatsoever, you would be bored out of your mind! I would be too! 😅

The same even goes for my posts! If I just gave you a list of facts, you’d not have much of a desire to read them. It’s why I share stories with you; we as humans enjoy stories. It’s why we’ll go to the movies or read fictional books. There’s nothing wrong with that; it gives our lives more emotions to experience. 😊

So it’s not facts that influence us, rather it’s the stories around the facts that influence us. But the problem is when all the negative stories we hear about on a daily basis start influencing the internal stories in our own minds. 🧠 It’s when they influence us to start locking our doors more often, where they influence us to be worried about the dangers outside our home, where they influence our fears to take over our minds. 😨

Again, the fact is the incident has passed. The shooter is in jail. Nonetheless, your mind has created an internal story around what it heard on the news. 📖

Of course it’s illogical to assume there’s automatically danger still outside your home based on 1 single incident where the shooter was caught. But your emotions are dictating to you otherwise, just as if the danger is still near. 😟


That is why is it so important we distinguish these 2 things!

📌 So we can help ourselves see a clearer look at situations and at our emotions.

📌 So we can remind ourselves through a logical perspective of what to actually be concerned and not concerned about.

📌 So we can crumble the internal stories Fear will create in our heads about situations.

And this doesn’t just happen with news stories either! 😱 Think about situations you have with other people! 👥

🌟 What Happened: Someone says to you: “I appreciate you!”

📖 The Story You Tell About What Happened:

🧠 “They just said that to be nice.”


🧠 “They’re right, I am amazing!”


🧠 “They are weird for saying that! I’m not worth appreciating.”

🌟 What Happened: Your friend says he will be at your house at 5pm. He arrives at 5:05pm. He smiles when he sees you and says “I’m sorry I’m late.”

📖 The Story You Tell About What Happened:

🧠 “5 minutes late, no big deal!”


🧠 “Clearly he doesn’t care enough to be on time!”


🧠 “He just is not a person I can trust to be on time anymore!”

⭐ You don’t remember the facts; you remember the stories you created around a set of facts. ⭐

While I may be hitting the nail on the head a bit excessive here, I do it because I want you to see how much these internal stories run our lives. 👍

So the next time you see hear a story on the news, read a tabloid article online, or have a conversation with someone which fills you with negative emotions, take a step back. 👣


Ask yourself:

🤔 What are the Facts this situation provides? Remember: feelings and opinions are not the same as facts.

🤔 What are the Stories coming out of the situation in my mind?

Because when we continue to develop ourselves, when we continue to become more aware of the Stories we tell ourselves, when they see they are simply stories we will then realize we have the power to change them. 💪

Because who wouldn’t want to have a more empowering story to run their life? 🥰



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How Emotions Are HABITS!


There’s no question: we all get upset at times in our lives. Sad. Frustrated. Angry. Fearful. Perhaps even hateful.

In fact, these negative emotions are some of the easiest for human beings to experience. It’s hard-wired in us. 😲

It’s known as Negativity Bias, just 1 of many cognitive biases which affect our ability as human beings to see the world in an objective manner. 😱

Instead of seeing the world as it is, as a matter of fact, we usually see it through many lens filters of cognitive biases. 🌎

So it makes practical sense to me when I see people get passionate about experiencing negative emotions. Our brains which evolved to help us survive needed those emotions in times of defense and protection. 👍

But there are times when negative emotions become excessive, one where instead of being useful it becomes an emotional home for people. 😱

“Wait! You can’t be saying that people LIKE to feel upset! That’s ridiculous!” 🗣️

I’d love for you to try my jacket on for a moment. 🧥

Think of your emotions as similar to habits. We all have habits, some good and some bad. But wait, why do we keep bad habits? Why do we hold onto bad habits which don’t benefit us yet can cause us long-term harm? 🤔

🌟 Because it’s far more comfortable keeping bad habits than it is creating new ones to replace them. 🌟

Or when we attempt to build new habits, we stop trying and we fall back into old habits. Like the saying: “Old habits die hard!” 😅

So like habits, what if our emotions work in a similar way? What if we keep experiencing emotional states of mind not because they necessarily help us but because they’re the places we’re most comfortable, an emotional home we’re most familiar with, a place where we have certainty over our lives? 🏠

It sounds self-defeating, and like our bad habits it is too! 🙁

One has the “right” to be offended. One has the “right” to feel angry. One has the “right” to judge, criticize, condemn, and generalize people and things all they want. You will get a temporary feeling of power. 💪

But it never lasts. The question: does it serve a person to feel negative emotions? Or are they perhaps bad habits needing to be broken? 🤔



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Why There’s Always ANOTHER Layer! (PERSONAL)


I’ve been around the Personal Development community for over 3 years now. I’ve read many books, heard lots of speakers, and met hundreds of people who continue to help me grow into my best self! 👤 I’m forever grateful! ❤️

But yet, I can hardly say I’ve grown into my greatest potential! 😱

🗣️ “Wait! Are you saying all this stuff’s just a bunch of hooplah, Donald?!” 🗣️

Oh no, not at all! I’ve gotten a ton of growth through Personal Development. 👍 But what I’m saying is the longer I’ve been around the community, the longer I’ve focused on growing myself, the longer I’ve immersed myself in the piles upon piles of material, I can safely say I still have a long way to grow. 🌱

On an even brighter side, life never gets boring because of just that! It’s why im going to be sharing another story with you all! 👨‍🏫

One thing I can assure you, say you decide to go on your own journey of personal growth: As long as you keep making the choice to never stop growing, you truly will never stop growing. 👍

Some people will stop after watching 1 motivational video. Some will stop after reading 1 self-help book. 📖 Some will stop after attending 1 transformational seminar. Some will in fact stop at the end of the section in the library labeled “Personal Development”! 😱

But if you decide to keep growing, you will keep growing. But that also means more than just living your life inside the Personal Development circle. 👍

Last week I was having a conversation with someone I consider a dear friend as well as a mentor in my personal growth, Charles M. Hawkins. Charles in fact was the gentleman who first encouraged me to write down my thoughts like I’m doing right here. He saw in me what I for a long time wasn’t willing to acknowledge: a gift for communication through thoughtful writing. ✍️

And because of him you all now get to put up with my lengthy social media posts! 😂 Muhwahaha! 😈

Anyways, as Charles and I spoke we got onto the topic about my time Crewing at Tony Robbins’s events. I told him how I was a big fan of Tony Robbins’s work…but not in the sense he or others may think me to be. 🤔 On the surface, I can definitely see how some others may see me as a “fanboy”, a “sheep”, or a “naive” individual. But I told him about how in-depth my reasoning goes as to why I actually support Tony’s work. It’s not at all black-and-white! 🔲

(If you want to know more about my reasoning, read my post here: http://bit.ly/2QH65RZ)

But what started as a conversation about Tony’s work soon branched into many different subjects, from the Hard Sciences to Philosophy to Sociology to Social Media. They were all subjects I’d been self-educating myself on the past year, and I found how they were all interconnected in some form or another. 🔄 I led Charles down many territories of thought, and as much as my explanations fell into tangents I somehow was always able to bring it back to the overall root. ☘️

I was showing a side of myself to Charles I don’t typically share. It’s one I don’t share much on social media either. And I know some of you have heard me say that statement many times before! But like I said earlier:


I revealed to Charles the Intellectual part of my personality:

📌 The one that sees a more complex world than the one we like to make it out to be.

📌 The one which loves to analyze and get to the root of issues.

📌 The one which sees a world filled with many paradoxes and contradictions.

📌 The one who has an idea, and will then debate that idea in his head for a period of time.

📌 The one who is hesitant to come out into Donald’s everyday life out of concern no one will understand him.

Fear peeked in his little ugly head throughout our conversation. 😨 “I hope you’re not boring Charles!” “I hope you’re explaining this well enough to him!” “I hope you’re still talking like a ‘normal’ human being!” 🗣️

Eventually Charles asked me a question I’m not at all surprised he asked: Was there a moment I decided to go outside the Tony Robbins and personal development environments to learn all these things? ⁉️

Quite often it’s easy to stay inside our comfort zone by surrounding ourselves with ideas we’re already familiar with, ones which don’t challenge our current paradigms of the world. But I was doing that. Why? 🤔

The best way I could answer Charles: At some point I decided my personal growth could not end at Tony Robbins’s doors. 🚪 I decided my personal growth could not end at the library section labeled “Personal Development”. I decided my personal growth could not end at only learning about topics that I was interested in or reinforced my current worldview. 🌎

The past year I stepped outside Personal Development, not away from it but took time exploring what other subjects the world offered. I’ve been self-educating myself on various topics from Philosophy to Psychology to the Hard Sciences. I’ve even learned about topics I’m NOT interested in! 😲

By no means am I saying this to toot my own horn or act like I’m somehow now intellectually superior. I’ve only just started developing this part of me. And I’m going to continue to let it grow! 😁

(For those who want to continue expanding their knowledge base, CrashCourse has become one of my top favorite Education channels on YouTube 💻:https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse)

I’m grateful I’ve taken the time to step outside the Personal Development field to see how else I could expand my mind. And you know what: some of the topics I use to once consider ‘boring’ as a kid I learn now and find very fascinating! 😄

But I never would’ve re-discovered them had I not decided to step outside the realm of Personal Development. 🙌

🌟 Paradoxically, you limit your growth when you limit yourself to just Personal Development. 🌟

But of course, what is to come of all this learning I’m doing? 🤷‍♂️ Education is pointless if I’m not also finding ways to use and integrate it in my life, right? As the quote goes: “Knowledge is not power; it’s potential power.” 💬 Nothing comes of knowledge when it’s only sitting in your brain! And what if you die with all this knowledge just left in your head?! ⁉️

I thought about all this as I continued talking with Charles. I admitted to him these kinds of topics where they get complex I don’t usually talk about. Why? Because Fear likes to rationalize in the mind:

😨 “Your online brand needs to stick to a singular focus!”

😨 “People won’t understand what the hell you’re talking about!”

😨 “People want simplicity; that’s Entrepreneurship 101!”

But if you were to ever tell me to a write a book on a singular topic, I’d surely write you a book. But the best book title for it would be “Assorted Writings”! 😂

It was only until this conversation with Charles that I was reminded for the millionth time…


I thought I had gotten over my fears of judgement and rejection from others. I have in many situations! But here it was appearing again, hiding in a crevice I never thought to look into! 🧱

Charles gave me an important lesson last week: If you have a gift, open it. Don’t let it go to waste. Don’t let your fear of social acceptance waver your sail from reaching its final destination. ⛵

So now, with the realization I was still holding back, I’ve decided in the coming year I’m going to be sharing with you all a lot more of Me in future entries. 👤 I’m going to share topics that are more in-depth and things I believe will benefit others to learn about. It’s not to bore you; I can assure they all serve a greater purpose than hearing myself ramble. 😉

It doesn’t matter if I think in complex ways some people won’t understand. It doesn’t matter if I won’t always be accepted for my lengthy posts. It doesn’t matter if my thinking so often falls on Yellow in the Spiral Dynamics scale. 💛

They are only “flaws” if I embrace the belief that they are. But what if they are in fact my greatest “gifts”, and I’m wasting them by hiding them? It’s time for them to be shown a lot more! 👍

If you have a talent or skill you believe is useful in sharing, go and share it! 🏃‍♂️ I think of the scene in “Good Will Hunting” here where Will’s best friend Chuckie gives him some tough love, but it’s exactly what he needed to hear (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i8eIzSeC8w). 📺

Share your gifts. 🎁 Share your skills which others don’t have. That goes for anyone, not just me. Like this movie scene illustrates: If you won’t owe it to yourself, owe to the people who want you to see you succeed. Owe it to the people who want to see you thrive. Owe it to the people who need to receive what you can give them. Life is far more than just about focusing on yourself. 🌎

It’s why I share this post with you all today. It’s my hope through my own stories that you see them reflect through your own. 🙌 As I’ll always continue to tell you all: I’m not perfect, and I will never claim to be. I’m perfectly imperfect, just like all of you. And I’m also still growing just like all of you. 🌱

🌟 The moment you say you know all there is to know is the moment you stop growing. 🌟

I think of Socrates’s quote: “All I know is that I know nothing.” 🗣️ And the more I’ve continued to learn and grow, the more I keep seeing how that quote rings true. 🔔





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Why It’s IMPORTANT To Empathize!

Do you believe you’re always right? Do you make room to hear other’s perspectives? Are you open to people who disagree with you? 🤔

🌟 No one sees the world 100% exactly the same. 🌟

Think about 2 people who attend a music concert. They both experience the exact same concert, hear the exact same music, but yet they both came away with separate opinions. ↔️

PERSON 1: “That concert was AMAZING!” 😄

PERSON 2: “That concert was CRAP!” 🤬

How does that happen? Who was right?! 🤔

A lot of opinions we hold are just that…opinions. We feel certain ways towards certain things. It’s not to say either person is right or wrong, but it’s a friendly reminder we each have different reasons for why we carry our opinions. 🙌

PERSON 1: “They’re my favorite band, and they performed just as AMAZING as I hoped!” 😄

PERSON 2: “I had a feeling this band was CRAP! My friend even told me not to come!” 🤬

Do you see now some of the reasons why they had different opinions? 👍

That’s why it’s important we develop the skills of empathy:

📌 So we can step into other people’s shoes.

📌 So we can be open to the possibility of a new perspective to embrace.

📌 So it can challenge how we perceive a certain situation.

📌 So we remind ourselves we all have reasons for why people do what they do.



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