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Jamila Souffrant 0:00
You're listening to the Journey To Launch Podcast. Breaking Free Of Shame, Limiting Beliefs And Labels To Live A Full Life With Adi Jaffe.
T-minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the Journey To Launch Podcast with your host, Jamila Souffrant. As a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave Journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the Journey To Launch to financial freedom in five, four, three, two, one.
Jamila Souffrant 0:33
Hey, hey, hey, Journeyers! Welcome to the Journey To Launch Podcast. And if you are completely new around here, welcome. I hope this won't be the last time you're listening. Don't forget to subscribe or follow this podcast. Wherever you're listening right now. It's free. And you don't want to miss an episode. So do that. And we can speak every week. You can listen to me. We can share the vibes. You can learn and be fueled on your journey to financial freedom and independence. Now in this episode, we are going to be going in on something that I believe is important. I mean, I believe all the topics are important, but what really excites me, when I get a chance to think about what to bring on the show, The topics, are not necessarily the things that are directly money related. But they are the things that impact everything we do. They are the things that impact our relationships, who we are as people, the choices we make, how we go on about in this world, who we are when we close that door, you know... and are by ourselves at night. And so this episode, I'm going to be talking to Adi Jaffe, who is the author of the book, "The Abstinence Myth," and he's a nationally recognized expert on mental health, addiction, relationships and shame. And we are going to be talking about all the ways that people find themselves with labels. How that causes them to act, and do, and behave, in a certain way. What society expects of them, of us. How we can begin to break through those labels, and embrace our shame, because we all have. You'll even hear in this episode, I get a little vulnerable myself about some things and so I am really excited for you to hear this conversation.
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If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journeytolaunch.com, or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes, you'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned, and so much more. Also, whether you are An OG Journeyer or are brand new to the podcast, I've created a FREE Jumpstart Guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to, stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources, and so much more. You can go to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.
Hey, Journeyers! So I have a guest for you and it's gonna be a little bit different, I think, but really good. You know, I always curate the people I talked to, that I bring on this show, to be something that's going to help you on your journey. The emotional, mental and practical side of reaching freedom, all parts of freedom. And I have on Adi Jaffe on the podcast. Hi, Adi.
Adi Jaffe 4:09
Hey Jamila! How you doing?
Jamila Souffrant 4:11
Good, good. And, you know, I'm excited to talk to you, because I had someone in my community and reach out and say you should really check out this guy because he talks a lot about mental health and wellness. And I checked out some of your TED Talks. And I thought they were really good. And I was like, "Well, this is.... yeah, sure. It's not about like money specifically, but this has everything to do with who we are as people on this journey." And so I'm excited to dig more into your story and just shoot the breeze. So can you just tell us a little bit about your journey to where you are today?
Adi Jaffe 4:44
Sure. I mean, I'll tell a shorthand and people can go look at some of those talks to get the specifics because I want to get into the topics that are relevant to your audience, but, I grew up in Israel. lived in the same apartment my whole life growing up, literally until I was 14 years old. Then my family moved to the States. And it was really exciting, but also really, a terrifying time in my life. It was the beginning of high school. So I, I knew nobody. I moved from, you know, literally living in the same neighborhood forever, to just literally not knowing a single human being. Having a weird accent. I was that weird foreign kid, right? And that caused a lot of upheaval. I don't think anybody expected it to, but it caused a lot of discomfort in my life. It took me another three to four years to kind of even just get used to being an American student, or, you know, an American kid. I started rebelling a lot. Got into alcohol, and then heavier drugs, and eventually got addicted to really, really heavy drugs. I was addicted to meth for about five years while being in school out here. I'm out in Los Angeles now. And I was at UCLA. But I ended up graduating, but literally, so addicted to meth that I would take a meth pipe to class with me and go to the bathroom and smoke meth in between my classes, during tests. It's not a euphemism, when I talk about this, but I was high for five years straight. And when I talk about it, now I have a frame of reference. And I know why. And it's because I didn't like myself. And I felt really anxious. And I didn't fit in and blah, blah. There's all these reasons for it. But at the time, I didn't know that I was just... It was like a nosedive. Like I was just, you know, going nowhere really, really fast. Because the drug use was costing a lot of money. I was selling drugs, in order to be able to afford the drugs that I was using. I ended up selling a lot of drugs that landed me in jail. I was looking at over a decade in jail, but I got I managed to sort of sober up and clean up my act a little bit before I went in front of the judge for the last time. And so I ended up getting one year in jail, which is still a substantial amount of time to be behind bars. And I had a lot of soul searching to do during that time. When I got out, I knew, I knew there was one thing I wanted for sure. And that was to never end up back in jail. And I would say the last of... that was 2004/2005 when I got out, sorry, 2003/2004. And I got out and I've spent the last 16, 17, 18 years of my life just gradually building, what would become this new version of me, that is completely removed, but informed by that first experience of that.
Jamila Souffrant 7:26
Wow. So I think one of the reasons that the person in my community sent me your stuff is she's going through stuff. And I think we all are going through stuff, especially with this pandemic, but emotionally and mentally. And then when I watched your TED Talks, which we'lll link in the description, you know, I thought of how you found yourself at your lowest point, and how different your life is, but how that pivot, how you're continuously working on yourself. And now you're teaching or at least talking and helping other people do the same. How important that is. Because I feel like there's so many people walking around with these secrets and/or addictions, whatever that may be, that we're not sharing. We're not talking about. But impacts everything we are and some people in our lives have no clue about what's really going on with us. So talk about what you do now and how you talk about your journey and how it's helping others.
Adi Jaffe 8:20
I mean, I love that you brought that up first. At Igniter, which is a company that I run now, we have our own podcast, and we have, as you mentioned, a program where we help people with addictions and issues like that. One of our biggest mottos is F shame. we use the full word, but I'll I'll keep it PG for this, but-- and the reason is exactly what you just mentioned. You know, too many of us walk around, actually full of lessons, full of stories, full of insight, but we feel like that insight makes us less than. We feel, we're afraid, that other people will judge us for that insight. So we keep it inside. We don't talk to anybody about it. We don't want to mention it. We actually have been taught, wrongfully, that the job is to try to make it look like everything is okay. And everything has always been okay in our lives, right? Like the story I should be telling, based on societal sort of rules is, hey, I moved from Israel. And it was tough, but man, I overcame it. And it was really, really great. And then I went to college, and I graduated, and I took a little break to do music, which was the lie that I was telling everybody back then when I was using drugs all the time, I had a recording studio, but really I made music between like 2 and 4am, when I was so high and everybody else was asleep, that there was nothing else to do. You know, after music. I tried that for a little while, but it didn't really work and I wasn't making enough money. So I went back to graduate school. Like that's the story everybody wants to hear, they think, but the problem is we've been so programmed to pretend that everything is okay all the time. That actually what I think is happening in the world is there's millions of us walking around and in deep pain, right? Walking around, thinking we're not enough. Walking around thinking that everybody else is actually smarter, better, more confident, more able than us. More popular than us, etc, etc, etc. And if you have that internal experience, and you really do believe that speaking about it will make you judged, then you end up living a completely different world inside and outside. And to me, that's the cornerstone of mental health struggles, the cornerstone of addictions, it's is the cornerstone of feeling less than and of having shame. And so I've sort of made it my mission, if you will, to make people comfortable talking about what's actually going on for them inside. Because no matter how bad it is inside, it makes it worse to hold it in. It makes it worse to hide from it. You know, in a way, what we talk about it Ignited all the time is you have the shadow, but ignoring it or trying to pretend that it doesn't exist or trying to numb it out, is actually writing a piece of yourself off. It's saying, "I'm not okay with this part of me," and if you're not okay with a part of you, than nobody else will ever be okay with it either. And that's that's a huge part of the job that I see myself having now in the world.
Jamila Souffrant 11:10
Yeah, there's two parts of shame. And now with Instagram and social media, and even books, right? So sometimes I feel like either we discount our experiences. So, what we say it's not as bad, like our experiences, whether childhood and how we were raised, and the trauma that we experienced, like, sometimes it's not as overt. It's very subtle. And it's interesting, I actually, before this call came from therapy, I, myself recently started therapy, and have been discovering things about my life and how I was raised and the things I didn't have and how I used to say that I think it is my superpower, that I think that's why I'm where I am today, but also acknowledging that, you know, at some point, it can also become something that is actually keeping me from the life I want, because it helped me get to where I am now. But if I keep this as my like "thing," it may prevent me from really opening up and being the Jamils I want. So part of that for me is I didn't experience, from what I remember, consciously any big traumas. But I've had some things happen to me or experienced things that matter. So what do you say to the people where it's like you, you know, big trauma, where it's like, yeah, we know that is a thing, whether it's like being addicted to something, maybe assault and growing up in an abusive household that was overtly abuse, versus like the subtle things that a lot of us have experienced trauma in the world, but we don't, it's not big. So we don't know that it's trauma, but it's we carry it with us.
Adi Jaffe 12:32
That's a great point. So, you know, everybody associates PTSD with being in war, being raped, being you know, physically assaulted, something massive like that. But we also know that repeated occurrence of what we call little-t trauma, so kind of chronic little-t trauma occurrence can create PTSD as well. But I think, I really don't like any of those labels at all, and what I ascribe to is something a little bit different. And that is, we all got handed a book, not explicitly, but we all got handed a book earlier in life, our parents and our friends and our culture and our environment, our neighbors, kind of on the down low, just kind of handed us this little manual. And they said, "Hey, if you do this, you'll be happy." And they did it subtly. And we learn it gradually, like a sponge, we just absorb the lessons of that book. Nobody, for most of us, and we've-- I'm trying to do this differently, a little bit with my kids, but nobody said to us, "Hey, this works for me. It may work for you, try it out." They said, "This is the way you live." So we all ended up with this manual. And we didn't know that it was badly written by people who were flawed and didn't really understand exactly what they were doing. And that half of it is actually handed to them by their parents, and they were just trying to correct it. It looks to us like this is a finished manuscript. And then we follow it. And we think they told me as long as I do this, I'll be happy. And we don't know that we're different people with different experiences and different genetics and different environmental influences and friends. And when the book doesn't work, unfortunately, I think most of us go, "What's wrong with me? That the manual didn't work?" We don't think, because nobody suggested it to us, "Hey, maybe I need to edit the manual." And I think one of the biggest discoveries in the world and you're talking about this, and I think you're totally right about it. The story of the past is the story of the past and we need to understand and accepted is that. it is not the determination of who you become in the future. There's this term a lot of people are using now of "expanders." Another way to talk about is role models or, or models period, right? And I'm a huge fan of Bruce Lipton. I don't know if you, you know the man or not, but if you don't, so Bruce Lipton wrote a book called "The Biology of Belief." If there's one massive lesson I'll leave for everybody here, it's check out that book. It's a little sciency because he's a microbiologist, but it's a pretty powerful book. The core of it is not all that different from law of attraction and things of that nature. He just gets at it a slightly different way. And it's this: I think it was Henry Ford that said it, right? Whether, whether you believe you can, or you believe you can't, you're right. And the problem is that we got handed so many beliefs, until maybe for some people, until this moment, but a lot of people have been listening to your podcast for a while. So they've had this happen to them multiple times here. The beliefs you have about life, whether you like it or not, are just the beliefs you got handed through your life, they are not truth, they just aren't. I didn't believe this when I was in my 20s. I thought I knew what the world was, and I didn't. One of the stories I tell oftentimes, for people to really get a good sense of this is, imagine your, if anybody's ever been on a hike or something like that, you know, imagine you're coming to the end of a hike. And you see this gorgeous mountain, it's snow capped, and you know, you see these beautiful trees on the left hand side of it, and, and animals, you know, walking through it, and you just you're in awe about this beautiful mountain. So later on in the day, you describe it to one of your friends, and you say, "Oh my god, I came up on this amazing mountain..." and you describe to them as, "Wow, that looks really similar to another mountain that I I saw at the end of my walk three days ago, but it looked a little different..." than they, they describe it to you. And it's not exactly the same, you can fight each other on who saw the mountain the right way. Or you can realize you actually just watched it from two completely different perspectives. And that life is full of opportunities, to not have to prove yourself right, but rather learn from the perspectives and the experiences of others. That to me is, is my path in life now, right? Is I understand now, that I've been limited in what I can accept and what I expected myself and, and what I think will and can happen in my life, by stories and beliefs and little, little expectations that were just set in place without anybody thinking about it when I was younger, but that there's almost nothing limiting what I can accomplish. If I just understand that my job is not to, to become a different person, but rather to take on the belief in the, in the, in the knowledge of how to accomplish those things. And so one of the things we do at Ignite it for people all the time is I don't think addiction is a thing you have to struggle with for the rest of your life. And people really get pissed at me for saying that, because we believe addiction is this disease that you struggle with forever. And I just, I don't know if I... hopefully I can say this on here, if not, you can add it up, but I just call bullshit on it. It's just like, it's only a lifelong struggle if you allow yourself to believe that you're stuck. The moment you get out of that mindset, you can release yourself on the chains of addiction. And I think that's also true for abundance and, and money and everything else you have in your life.
So I'm glad you touched upon the addiction part of things. And I want to just also go back to... as you were talking, I thought of this quote in the song, and it's from-- I'm Jamaican, so I love Jamaican music. And it's by a artist called Protege. And it's the song is called 'Who Knows,' but he says this line, and he says, "Don't be a slave to the things that you know." Now, sometimes using the word slave is like triggering for me, but in this context, I think it works to just show that a lot of things that, like you said, were handed down, and takes experience and seeing in our lives, and especially with, even this platform that I have now, and the reason why I started it was because I was exposed to this concept about financial independence and living this life that I didn't know was possible for me until I saw other people doing it. And it kind of like was a glimpse of like a hope. And I was like, wait, what is that over there? And that's why I started to explore this life and did things totally different. And a lot of people now who listen are also coming to that realization. They may be in their jobs, maybe living their lives, I call it kind of like sleepwalking in a bit, that you're just like going through the motions. And then you notice something, or you realize something and you say, "Wait, maybe all the things that I've been taught, and what I'm doing is not what needs to be done." So can you talk about, maybe, how does one, or someone, begin to awaken themselves from this? So if they have this idea, and they think it's not possible, they see someone else doing it and living this life-- how do they start to say to themselves that they can do it too?
Oh, this is so important. And I think one of the ways you do it is by doing what you just mentioned, you started doing without realizing it. And that is exposing yourself to the sort of messages and the sort of lessons the sort of beliefs that you want to have. If you think about it, how did you take on the belief of what is right and what is wrong? Like-- I grew up, my dad worked three jobs. We were living in Israel. He was a physician, but it was really hard to make money in Israel and so he had to work three jobs to support us the way our family wanted to live. And so I never saw my dad. My dad was great at his job and was really celebrated for it, but not exactly the best dad ever, because I literally... my dad, we saw them for breakfast on Saturdays. Almost only until I was 14 years old. Other than that, he was never home. He would come home after we'd fall asleep and leave for work before I would wake up. The lesson... even though I hated that life with my dad, the lesson was if you're not working your butt off, and you're not always working, and you're not making enough money to support your family, in one, two, or three kind of ways, you're a bum, and you're lazy, and you're worthless. Now, that's insane when you think about it a little bit. Like, I hated that way of having my dad, but I saw him doing it, and so as a kid, the message was be busy, or you're a bum, right? And be great at it. So unless you're one of the best in your field, and you're working all the time, you suck. I'm still trying to unload that, right? I've got three kids, I'm with my wife. She looks at me like I'm crazy when I work after 6pm. She's like, "What are you doing? You start you wake up at 5:30 in the morning, to get your stuff done before work. Just get out of work." And in my head, I have to fight this thing all the time. So how do I fight it? I read books like '4-Hour Work Week,' and which is not really about a four hour work week, but it's about getting help. I never watched my dad get help. I never saw him talk about getting help. It was never a thing. Like, delegating, what are you talking about? Do it all yourself. Learn how to do everything. So I have to get these messages from other people. And I love that you brought this, because music is a huge inspiration for me, but recently, I realized, you know, I've been working on the scarcity/ abundance thing. One of the messages I heard and I'll repeat it here, if it helps anybody. One of the worst beliefs that I got ingrained in me when I was younger, is that money and success is a zero sum game. And that means, if you're getting some, somebody else is losing it. I'm very much about equality and truth and fairness. And so there's a part of me that feels like if I get too much money, I'm taking it from other people. And that's not fair. And it was only a few years ago that one of my friends was talking and he's all about abundance and he was saying, "Look, money is energy, you put it into the world and you create more, make more money and put more money out, you can elevate, there's more than enough money for everybody. You don't, you can create more abundance, you don't, you're not taking from somebody else, you're creating more energy in the form of money." And to allow that belief in release me from this feeling that there's something wrong with me even wanting money. Because if I believe that I'm hurting somebody, and I don't want to hurt people, then I'm not making money, not because I don't want the money, but because I don't want to hurt somebody else. And all those beliefs, they hold us back. Look, there's a lot of cynicism in this world right now, especially after COVID. I believe firmly that the people who've made the most money in the world end up being philanthropists for a reason. And there's enough conspiracy, and I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna step into that puddle. But there's a reason why people who've made billions turn around and give away most of that money. And I think it's because, and I've worked with some of the richest families in the world, and I think you realize, when you get to the top, and you have enough money for the yachts, and the planes, and the stuff, that none of it makes you happier. It's really nice to not have to wait for a plane and be able to jump on one whenever you want to, doesn't make you happier. There's something in the purpose and the contribution and making other people's lives better that creates massive joy and massive contentment in us, but you can do a lot more of it if you have resources. And that's something I've been working on for the last couple of years is just realizing, "Oh, crap, like, if I can make it the way I want to make it, I can give back in massive ways that I'm not able to do now and change millions of lives." And so these little beliefs, they intervene, they become like hurdles and walls, you have to climb over in order to get to your success.
Jamila Souffrant 24:09
And I'm so glad you actually brought up your father, because, it's one of the things that came up in my therapy session, was my relationship with my, like, the non-existent relationship with my father and stepfather and the lack of trust there with them and how that actually impacts everything I do today. Even though, like for me, I, it's a superpower, because I feel like that's why I work so hard. And you know, I'm really self sufficient and independent, but in some ways, it doesn't allow me to be vulnerable with people or ask for help. And vulnerability was like a through line that I realized, even though it's like, you know, it's my personal life, I'm in my relationships with friends, even my husband is also in my business, which is how I make money. So I have a fear of being vulnerable in my business. And even though, if you listen to this podcast, some Journeyers are like, "But you do share with us!" And I do, but it's not just the sharing part, but it's even the way I make money. Like being vulnerable to one source, one way of making money. Being vulnerable, like wanting to be diversified, which is smart and logical, but at the expense of doing it, where it's like, I'm actually not happy doing this thing, but I keep doing it because I want to be logical, because I don't want to be vulnerable to money that actually is coming in really, it's coming in great, and it's actually it's work, but it's feel good work. But part of me feels like well has to feel like, you know, struggle if I'm wanting to, like, earn it.
Adi Jaffe 25:26
And that's one of the beliefs. Like if you want to make good money, you got to struggle. That's a belief, right? And, yeah, there's so many of these little ones. I love that you brought up the struggle thing, because that was the same for me. Like, hey, if you want to make you gotta work hard. Versus, you know, work smart, and ask for a bunch of help, and like, again, there's so many different ways of thinking about it. But we get stuck in the single perspective.
Jamila Souffrant 25:49
Yeah. And I hope as we're talking, some Journeyers, some people listening are thinking of ways in which-- how you act right now, or how you move about in the world is impacted by the way you were raised, and just the beliefs that were passed on to you. And knowing that you can actually work to change those beliefs. You don't have to be stuck to those things.
Adi Jaffe 26:08
And this is the thing. Look, everybody listening right now has already had this experience. So, it's hard for all of us, in a moment, to realize that we are currently holding on to beliefs that are holding us back and hurting us. I'll go to the one that I use a lot, even though it's kind of just funny, but a lot of people listening right now used to believe in Santa Claus. Now, it was nice to think that there was a magical guy who would show up and drop a bunch of gifts off to you. But you learn at some point that wasn't true. And actually, you learned something even cooler about it, it was your parents and your family who loved you so much that they would hide around and after you go to sleep, but like that's actually a cooler story to me. My... wait, my parents love me so much, they would tell me the story and then hide and wrap gifts down in the basement so I wouldn't see!? Like that's, that's love, you know, in some ways. You learn it. It was weird. It was shocking at first. And now you couldn't even think of believing the old belief again. I guarantee there are beliefs right now that you're holding on to that are as equally.
Jamila Souffrant 27:20
Yeah. Now one of the things you talked about in one of your talks, was this idea of potential. And sometimes it's not the ability--- it's not an issue or ability, but of expectations. And you talked about the albino rat experiment and the fake Harvard test. Can we talk about that a little bit, because I think, depending on how society labels us or what they expect of us, depending on where you are listening to us right now can impact what we do. So let's dive into that.
Adi Jaffe 27:47
Thank you for bringing that up. This is huge. And it goes back to that slave word you and me talked about before. I'm in the field of addiction, so it talks about people calling themselves alcoholics and addicts. I'll tell the story of the research first, but one of the studies went like this. It was a bunch of professors actually from, one of them ended up at UCLA, but it was psychologist went to an elementary school in Northern California. And they were trying to test this new assessment, this new school assessment. And so they went to the kids in the beginning of the school year, when the kids got this battery of standardized tests, and they just slid one in. And after the testing was done, they used the test to identify 20% of the students that, they believe based on this assessment, were ready, or primed, to become extra smart. Like their IQ was ready to grow. And that was the whole point of this test. And they call this test the 'Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition.' And what they did is they went to the, to the teachers, and they said to the teachers, "Look, we're just testing this, so you can't tell the students, or the parents, but we used this test at the beginning of the school year. And we identify these students," and they will tell them the students names, "Who are, we're calling them "Bloomers," they're ready to grow massively in terms of their IQ this year. So do with it what you want to do, but you can't tell people yet because, you know, we haven't exactly proven this." School year goes by, they come back at the end of the school year for the next battery of assessment tests. And they look at the results. And what they find is that the test was able to predict a group of students, about 20% of students, that grew by an average of seven IQ points more than the rest of the students. Just for a frame of reference, seven IQ points is what's called, about a half a standard deviation. Two standard deviations above average is genius level. So these kids went-- they didn't go that far, but a quarter of the way to genius, which is kind of an insane amount of growth in one year for some elementary school kids. Which is incredible. If you think to yourself, like if I could give you a test today, Jamila, and say, "Hey, you know what, this is the year this is the year you're gonna make extra money. This is you're gonna get extra smart." That would be incredible, but the whole thing was made up. The entire thing was made up. There was no such testa as the 'Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition,' they never added anything into the mix. They literally picked 20% of the students at random, out of a hat, they picked them out of a hat. And then they went to the teachers and told them the students names. The real test was whether the teachers thinking that these kids are extra smart, would cause the kids to become extra smart. And it worked. And there's now a body of literature-- this, that specific effect is called The Pygmalion Effect. And I can explain why in a second. But, there's a different group of studies around stereotype threat, which are the opposite of this. And those are what happens when you tell people that they're not as good, right? Pygmalion Effect, you're making them better than they are by telling them to do extra powerful. Stereotype Threat, which was done by Claude Steele, incredible, incredible professor, who was trying to figure out why Black students weren't performing as well at school. And he figured out it has nothing to do with ability. It just had to do with expectations. And again, I can talk about that study a little bit if people want to hear that as well. But, you know, I got my PhD in psychology. When I learned about this, I was like, "This is messed up. It's messed up that we literally can put people in the place we want them to, just by believing that's where they belong." And then I realize, "Oh, shit, we have the same responsibility." Right? So my expectations for you, Jamila, whether I wanted to or not, they affect the way you see yourself, and what you expect for yourself. And when you said that thing about slaves, I think, I think that was a really powerful piece for people to recognize, right? When we keep using these labels about ourselves, and there's been research that shows that even if you don't believe that the label means much to you, as long as you understand what the label means, it still impacts you. It's an insane effect. And you feel stuck. You feel stuck in that old position.
Jamila Souffrant 31:59
Yeah. Oh, my gosh! Okay, so much, so much to say that I want to point out here. So it's a balance, right? So part of me feels like, we live in a world where we want to acknowledge the systemic things, racism, inequalities, that-- what got us to where we are today and be real about the history of things. And part of me also, that's important, and we need to fix that, top down, bottom up, all that, but part of me also feels like a lot of it is messaging. You know, whether it's the media, and we don't have to like I don't want to turn it into what they like, for this conversation. But like, a lot of the messaging sometimes when it comes to abilities, and people of color, and Black people, I feel like from both ends of the spectrum, are kind of like telling us what, how we should feel and who we are and what we went through when it doesn't give, I would say, if I'm speaking for myself on how I want to raise my kids differently, it's like, they like have a clean slate, apart from the things that they cannot control, have the ability to do what as much as they can control their destiny. But it's so hard because I feel like we're living in a society in which is split between telling us what happened to us and why it's still happening and that we are behind. And some of that is definitely true, but then also part of it is how do we come out from that? So what is the balance you think?
Adi Jaffe 33:19
So here's what I've seen that is, that is important. Owning the experience and owning who you are, are two different things. The experience is reality. It's we can't ignore it. We don't want to whitewash that. I mean, that would be, I think that's where we get into toxic positivity. It's like, "Oh, come on, just everything is a positive experience." You know, you hear about some of those stories. And it's gut-wrenching. I believe it's the same thing like I deal with people with addiction. And a lot of people come to me and say, "Look, I've been an alcoholic for 20 years." And I say, "Hold on, hold on, hold on. You've been struggling with alcohol for 20 years." There's a difference between saying, "I am a," and "I've had this experience." And I think, you're totally right in bringing this up. Notice in that study, and in every study that you see before, what they found is it's the belief that the self is different, the cause of the effect. So I'll tell The Stereotype Threat study, just quickly so people can hear it. Dr. Claude Steele when, when they were studying this effect, look, you go back 50 years, 60 years, Black and Hispanic students were underperforming substantially compared to white students, and the story was simple: I hate saying it, but evolutionary psychology, the story was, "Hey, it's... their IQ is not as high." That was the story everywhere. And he was like, "Wait, I think there might be something different here." He's a professor of color as well. So he was like, "I don't, I don't think this is what's going on. Let's see what's up." And the study was set up this way: They brought in Black and white students, and they gave them an intelligence test, like they always had, and it said, you know, "Intelligence Test" at the beginning of it and they sat and they took it and they found the same problem that they'd always found. Black students performed by like, I think it was like 15-20% lower than whites. It was substantial. They brought another group of students. They give him the exact same questions. They just didn't identify it as an intelligence test. They said, "Hey, before we start the experiment, would you mind answering these questions?" They just, they were like an aside. No difference between the scores. Then they brought the students back. They didn't call it an intelligence test, but the first page was identified by race. So they had them identify their racial category before they took the test. Black students underperforming again. There was this expectation, because the "knowledge" quote, right? The right knowledge in society was that Black students perform more poorly an intelligence test. The students knew that and they did, they did a lot of follow up studies. Their blood pressure went up. Their heart rate went up. They got anxious. The moment they knew they were being tested, because they knew the comparison. So while the white students are hanging out, they're just answering questions, the Black students are dealing with the stereotype. "Oh, shit, I got to prove myself here, because you know, I'm not a smarter these other people, I got to really work hard." So now they got that going on one side, and they're trying to answer the question on the other, which put a big, it's called "cognitive load," it made it harder for them to be able to focus and think. And I think to myself back again, to what you were talking about earlier, if you're walking around with this negative belief, "I'm weaker, I'm enslaved. I'm all this stuff," As a human, not, not my ancestors, or I went through these experiences, but this is who I am, as a person. Every time you have a challenge, every time something comes up, you have to overcome that belief, and then still achieve, which is like you're doing two jobs instead of one. You can flip this effect. They had Black and white students play golf. They told one group that this is a test of natural athletic abilities. The belief in society is Black students have better athletic ability, they did better at golf. They took-- they brought them back in a different group of students, they told them, this is a sign of natural athletic intelligence. White students perform better. It's like, it's mind-boggling how powerful this effect is. And so what you're teaching people here in this podcast, to own identifying the world where there are other people that are doing what you want to do, learn from them, that is allowing people to take themselves out of what belief about self, they're stuck in and create another version.
Jamila Souffrant 37:37
Yeah, and some of it is subconscious beliefs. And some of it is conscious, like, you know, it's messaging, it's been, you don't even realize it's being pushed upon you, but it's there. And it's so I, I do agree, and like this idea of finding people that you can relate to who are like you, you know, I learned from everyone, I can look at anyone, but I also know that if I see someone who's like, had similar experiences, you know, whenever I see a Black woman winning in an area, I'm like, "Yes!" Like, it just especially in breaking barriers that maybe were not broken before, it makes me feel like, "Okay, see, like it is possible." The other thing I want to talk about with the whole expectation is, this is why it's so important, my husband's a teacher, but that there needs to be more Black teachers, because the thing about it is, you know, you have these teachers, and let's just say they're not even in this study. They didn't do the studies, they're just teachers now. A lot of it is like their expectations, if they don't understand the kids, or their unique cultural experience, because they come from totally different backgrounds, while the teacher is, oh my gosh, God bless you, you are doing your best. A lot of times, like if you don't understand like that child, you may think, wait, this child is... something is wrong. They're not as, you know, capable. And it's like, no, they learn differently. And, and so I just think representation and more Black teachers, and more teachers of color are needed in the school system, which means you, I think, they need to get paid more, so that we encourage them in these positions. Okay, I appreciate us being open and having this conversation here. The other thing I want to just touch upon, before we have to go is, so we talked about having these labels put on us. And you know, breaking through that and really discovering the things that we want and identifying that. So you talk about addiction and you've been through addiction. Does someone like recognize that they actually have a problem? And I'm saying this in terms of like our journeys to wherever it is we're going. When do you use the labels to like, push you forward? So like, let's say someone is being labeled right now, even me, like, "Oh, like you are so smart," or "You are all these things?" And I'm going to use that for my benefit. But when can you recognize, "Okay, this label actually is working against me..." that you want to break free from it?
Adi Jaffe 39:41
I don't think there's a limit to this. And what I mean by it is this, if you look at your life, you create a little printout of how it looks. How do people treat you, what do you have, Wwhat do you not have, what are you trying to get that you keep failing out, what do you what do you get really easily? Just a little write out of what you're week looks like. All this stuff that's working is because you believe that you're good at it, and it's working and you deserve it. And all that stuff that isn't working is because you believe you don't deserve it, and you're not the right person for it, and the world doesn't want to give it to you. And so the question gets to be really easy, actually. You can change whatever you want. Look at your life, look at the things you don't get, and that you really, really want. Or the things that you feel like you're failing at repeatedly. Those are all experience generated by the belief of what you can and cannot do. And I know that sounds insanely overarching. I know it does. And I'm not saying that there are not systematic and systemic hurdles in your way. I'm saying, overcoming those systemic hurdles with the belief that they are true, is insanely more difficult than overcoming the systemic hurdles with the belief that they are false and have been put around you falsely. So, right, again, if you believe you can, or you believe you can't, you're right. I'm not saying that if you believe you can, nothing will ever stand in your way. I'm saying if you believe you can't, nothing has to stand in the way and it won't work. So, life still happens, events still happen. It would be insane to not understand that there are systemic limitations and, and hurdles and, and blocks that have been put in front of specific groups of people in our society. I mean, we're dealing with the LGBTQ world of that right now, in some massive ways in the last five to 10 years that we've never seen before. That's gonna keep happening. That evolution is gonna keep happening. But pay attention to the trailblazers, pay attention to the people who were the first people who showed you that shit was possible. I'll mention the obvious, but like, we all thought it could happen. And then when Barack Obama became president, we all knew it's possible. Now, the difference between the next person that has to go after him and become the second person of color to become the President of the United States, and the first is massive. It's massive. But I'm... tell-- like, I don't know the man. And I wish I mean, I want nothing more than meet that guy one day. The belief in his ability to stand in that office had to be absolute for him to be able to break through the, the systems that kept him from doing something like that. And what I'm saying, and this is the insane thing, most of us don't think we're that powerful, but we are. It's just, you got you got to do the work. You got to show up and say, "Okay, what isn't happening in my life? Who has already made that happened? Let me go learn from them." And if you do that enough, I truly do believe you can achieve almost anything. It takes work. It takes dedication, it takes a lot of that searching for the role model, as you mentioned, but it's there for the taking.
Jamila Souffrant 39:47
Yeah, yeah. All right. So this was an amazing conversation. I want to just end on, because we did mention it just a little bit about like this abundance, even in a you... I always like to kind of get personal with people who come on the show with their financial journey. I mean, so you, obviously you've been through a lot. And we all have been through some things, but you are now running a company, you are now helping people through their own struggles, but where are you personally with your journey, your financial freedom journey and independence journey? Because you talked a little bit about like that abundant and making money kind of mindset, how you're still kind of working on that. So where are you with that?
Adi Jaffe 43:37
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I, I have this practice. Every morning, I do a five minute journal. I love that thing. If anybody's ever wanted to kind of have more positive affirmations, etc. I think it's a great, simple tool. But yeah, about a year or two ago, Look, my life is ridiculous. I, I was facing 13 years in prison. I live in a six bedroom house with a pool in Los Angeles now, with my wife, we got two cars, we just we go on trips all year, I got three kids, everybody's eating. Life is amazing, right? Like, if I put on paper what my life looks like, abundance is not a question, but in my head it always feels like it's not enough. And that's the part-- it always feels like I'm just chasing behind. We don't have a million dollars or $2 million in the bank account, but we have everything we could want. And what's interesting about my experience is what I'm doing right now is working on how do I talk to myself about abundance? What do I truly want in my life? What is the signal to me that I'm abundant, so I don't feel like I'm always behind and always scarce. And so that's been the game for me now. What that meant, like everything else in my life, is I've had to become keenly aware of what I want, what's standing in the way, and what signals are already present. We call it Reality Testing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and we do that, in the Igniter program. Reality Testing. What signals are there that I'm not scarce? What signals are there that I'm actually the opposite of it, that I'm abundant? What am I doing? I'm taking attention and focusing it on the things that already show me that I'm either on the way to or already where I want to go. My brain, again, my dad, right? Worked three jobs, always behind, always, always money missing. Couldn't do this. When we moved to the States, going to McDonald's was like a treat for us, because we were broke. And I took a lot of that on. I didn't realize I was taking it on, but I took a lot of it on. So I'm now, I'm not doing some of that work myself. I love the self growth part of life, you know? I think there's always more and more opportunity and I revel in the ability to always push ourselves and go farther and farther and grow and expand.
Jamila Souffrant 45:51
And really all the endeavors we take on and journeys, whether the financial ones, like career, entrepreneurship ones, they all start first all the success of it to me, depends on our personal development journey. Like it all stems from there and how we work on ourselves, our mindset, our habits, our beliefs, so. Okay, Adi, thank you so much. Please let everyone know where they can find out more about you and your work.
Adi Jaffe 46:14
Yeah, sure. So Adijaffe.com - is probably one of the easiest places and then the podcast and the company I run is called Ignited, but we took out some vowels. It's Igntd, Igntd and you can just go to Igntd.com
Jamila Souffrant 46:31
Awesome. I'll link all that in the show notes. Thanks so much again for this conversation.
Adi Jaffe 46:34
Thank you, Jamila. This was great.
Jamila Souffrant 46:39
Okay, Journeyers. I hope you found that conversation with Adi as enlightening as I did. I hope it helps you at least start the process if you are being held back currently, by limiting beliefs. I mean, we all have them. I have them still, and shame and our experiences and what people want us to be, instead of what we want to be. I hope that this episode is a launchpad for you to dig deeper, and it starts the journey, right? We're all on this journey to living our best lives and having enough money, more than enough money, so we can have options, right? But everything we do is impacted by how we feel. It's impacted by our surroundings, and obviously, it's been a tough last two years. When it comes to dealing with the pandemic. We're still in the middle, I would say, of it. We don't know when things will ever be back to normal. And if there ever will be a normal again, it's going to be a new normal. And so many of us on top of the things we're dealing with before the pandemic, are dealing with now this, right? Our reality today. And so I hope that this episode touched something in you, to help you begin whatever healing process, if you do need to heal and confront something that maybe you need to confront. If you found this episode enlightening, please tag me. I always love when you take a screenshot on social media. Take that screenshot on your phone, tag me I'm on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @journeytolaunch. I always love hearing your feedback, or it's something stood out to you. I love to reshare it, I love to respond, because then I know that, "Okay, this stuff, it resonates. You know? It's what you want to hear." And so let me know. I'd love to hear your feedback. So check me out on Instagram @journeytolaunch and let me know what you thought of the episode, or share it on social media and tag me @journeytolaunch.
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