Today on the show we have critically acclaimed author, World-renowned speaker, educator, pastor, and audible.com Audie Awards Finalist Eric Thomas, Ph.D.
ET, as he is better known, has taken the world by storm, with his creative, common-sense approach to living a successful, satisfying professional and personal life. Through a significant social media presence and regular domestic and international tours, “ET, The Hip Hop Preacher” has become a global phenomenon!
Eric’s spiritual walk, tenacity, and drive are the perfect example of his quote,
“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”
Drawing from his personal experiences: homelessness, the absence of his biological father, academic struggles, and various other obstacles, ET’s life story allows him to connect with others fighting for greatness. Millions of followers have been able to apply the principles revealed in his award-nominated autobiography, The Secret to Success and, equally successful subsequent releases: Greatness is Upon You and, Average Skill, Phenomenal WIll.
ET’s passion is never more evident than when he’s in a school, changing the lives of students forever. Whether he’s meeting and greeting students with warm hugs and a bite to eat on bitterly cold Michigan winter mornings or helping them to recognize their superpowers in a district-wide assembly, where ET goes, greatness follows.
ET believes that Every kid has the promise of greatness within them — every single one. The key to nurturing that greatness is knowing each child’s unique approach to learning. By identifying that unique approach to learning, their “superpower,” teachers are better able to coach their students to greatness!
Unfortunately, most kids don’t even know that they have a superpower and, that’s where “You Ain’t The Boss Of Me” comes in. Every student CAN succeed! They just need the right tools to make that happen. Every child wants to achieve greatness; it’s our job to teach them how.
“I firmly believe if you don’t know you can fly, you’ll always think you can’t.” – Eric Thomas
Get ready to be inspired. Enjoy!
Listen to more great episodes at Next Level Soul Podcast
Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 002
I like to welcome to the show et Eric Thomas. I'm so excited to have you on the show brother. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to the tribe man. I appreciate it.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 9:50
Super duper excited to be on you know I tell people when you use the word tribe, I am very particular about who Put in front of my tribe, you know, so the fact that you will give me access to your tribe. It's an honor man. It's an honor.
Alex Ferrari 10:08
And I I've been following you for a while now, man. And when I need motivation, I just turned on at video and they'll get you. They'll get you riled up. Good. Five minutes is all you need. It's better than a cup of coffee. I hear. It's better than a cup of coffee in the morning, brother. You just want an ETA I
Eric Thomas Ph.D 10:24
hear. I don't listen to et myself. I've heard that He's, uh, and I got a funny story. Man. I went, you know, when I do work in the physical industry, especially maybe a year ago, and guys would come up to me buff. You know, young ladies come up to me cut e t. Man. I listened to your video and I was like, Yo, I need to start listening some et. I'm kind of chunky over here. So yeah, absolutely. I appreciate you listening, man.
Alex Ferrari 10:53
Thank you, brother. Thank you. So can you tell the tribe a little bit about who you are and where you come from? For people who don't know you? Yeah, man. I
Eric Thomas Ph.D 11:01
tell people all the time, man I am. I'm a failure. That didn't give up. No, I'm a failure that didn't give up fail. In every aspect of my life, I failed as a son. You know, I failed as a student, I failed myself. I failed as a husband, I failed as a parent. You know, I felt as an entrepreneur, you know, I'm saying I'm just a guy, you know, who fail but got back up. My mom got pregnant with me at 17 You know, my biological father, you know, didn't have anything to do with me. until probably I was 30 years old. I dropped out of high school. I was homeless. Took me 12 years to get a four year degree. I've done a lot of failing man, you know, I've done a lot of failing, but that's what you learn is I just, yeah, I just didn't give up now. I'll be honest, I don't even know if I learned a whole lot the first 20 some years, you know, you know, but I will say this, you know, being a kid growing up watching, you know, like football. I was a cowboy fan. When I was younger, you know, and just watching, you know, the Cowboys pursuit to you know, the Super Bowl and different teams, the pistons pursuit, you know, Isaiah lose into, you know, Larry Bird several times before they actually won their first one. And I said to myself one day, you know, you like you like the feeling of winning when you see your team wins. What would it feel like if you won? Mm hmm. You know, and so then it was at that point, I was like, yo, you're a high school dropout. Your father's a high school dropout. I often say my grandfather was a high school dropout. The reality is, I don't even know my grandfather. You know, I just say, Listen, I was like, Oh, you can't? You can't say he's a high school dropout. You don't even know him. You know, but I'm, nobody's calling me not none of my Auntie's, or uncle's called me and told me I was lying. So I must be right about it. You know, so for me, man, I've just fail, fail fail. One day, I woke up and was like, you know, I'm just not failing, failing, no more. Like, it just doesn't feel good. Isn't it something about it just not right. You know, and I just don't want to have to, I don't want to do it another 20 years, you know, so I just made up in my mind, the fear, the anxiety of success, the the pain of change, like I'm going through so much pain anyway, I might as well, I might as well go through some of the pains that it requires to be successful.
Alex Ferrari 13:27
Very, right. And without question, and there is a lot of pain that you do need to go through to be successful. There is that grind that we're going to talk about in a bit? But can you tell me what is the biggest challenge you see in people when you speak to them and within your ministry and within your, you know, your mission in life?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 13:45
Oh, I'll be honest, man, you know, for me, it's at I know, I can do better. You know, I know I want to do better. I just don't know if I want to work as hard as it takes to get there.
Alex Ferrari 13:58
That's pretty honest. Not a view but of the people who say that because most people aren't even that self aware.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 14:03
If you asked me like, that's what you know, my wife we were talking about, you know, hey, changing the diet up you know, and doing the vegan boy You know, you know, just modifying it like not you know, I'm not no fanatic. No disrespect to people who you know decide to do plant based but I'm not a guy that just feels like you know, I got you know, I just got to do plant but I knew she needed to change your diet, you know, but I knew the struggle for my wife was my MS is not that bad. Is not that bad to give up. You know, macaroni and cheese, Popeye's chicken, like it's bad, but it ain't that bad. Whereas I'm just being honest. When somebody has, you know, a chronic illness and they can't walk or they can't see right it's like, oh, man, I got it. I got to do whatever I got to do, you know, but for my wife, she's doing very good. So to do to do well or great is that Sacrifice worth it. I just really think that when I look at the average person, that's what it is like you're here, I'm not doing bad. I want to do better. But to do better we cry like people say you get up at three o'clock in the morning. Have you lost your mind? And I look at it the opposite. I look at it as I get up at three o'clock in the morning. I can be a millionaire, I can work for myself. I can change my family's three o'clock in the morning. Are you kidding me? How easy is that? Like that doesn't require, you know, it'd be one thing if somebody said, Ed, you want to be a multimillionaire, you have to be a rocket scientist. I'm like, Bro, I had no chance at it. Like, my family is doomed. I'm not gonna do a body, right? I'm saying, but when you telling me that I could become a multimillionaire off my effort. Just get up earlier, like, bro is no is nothing to think about. Like, let's go. So for me, it's the opposite. So I think of it as I only have to get up earlier to be successful. I don't have to pay anybody to do anything. I don't have to take classes or anything like that. I just got to get up earlier and put forth more effort, I why would not do that. So to me, I think that's what I've seen in humans is this, this will to want to do better, but not the will to do what they have to do to do better.
Alex Ferrari 16:16
Now, you mentioned that you are vegan and plant based. And I'm also vegan and plant and plant based. You know, I've been doing that for about five years now. And I live in Los Angeles. I live in Los Angeles. It's super easy out here. And people here everybody here is either, you know thinking about or doing and, and I still get pride, I still get looked at weird that like you don't eat meat, all this kind of stuff. I can only imagine what you go through in Michigan. to people like they're like at you, you eat this is what do you eat? no meat at all right? Like, how do you survive? Where do you get your protein?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 16:55
I have to remark I have to remind people that there are other beings, animals, etc, who are surviving some pretty thick, and they don't eat the animals, you know, they're doing quite well for themselves,
Alex Ferrari 17:09
you know, like an elephant or a buffalo? Or a gorilla?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 17:13
Yeah, they do a pretty good. But no, it is a challenge in Michigan. I live in a small town, which is a challenge in is in and of itself. Sure. Maybe if I was in Detroit, it would be a lot easier. But I've been fortunate and that I've got my cousin started a vegan out of her house restaurant. So she ships, she drives stuff down to me. And then when I'm on the road, what I try to do, she'll prepare. You know, the only bad thing about plant base is that when she prepares food for me, you know, it's a short, it's a short shelf life. You know, it doesn't it doesn't last a week. So if I'm out of town for a week, she could probably get me going for about three days. And then you know, but after that it's kind of it's kind of rough. But you know, what I said is, you know, this is the challenge. For me. It's like he got to find a way and what I love, everybody knows I love Chipotle. So that's my cheat. That's my cheat with the beans, you know, and rice in the fajitas. You know, and sometimes I'll do to corn. But I also love what I found is a great substitute is the Mediterranean food. No, I do a nice Mediterranean or my wife's favorite is an Indian cuisine, and they have a few dishes that we can do. So I mean, it's like anything else. If you if you if you want it, you know, you'll find a way if you don't, you'll find an excuse. You know, and so for me, it's just like, Hey, I don't I don't have room for excuses at this point in my life. They don't pay bills.
Alex Ferrari 18:47
Amen, amen. Now, what do you what do you say to a person who tells you my dream? My dream is too hard. It's just never gonna happen you to me, you got to where you are, but I'm never gonna make it to where I want to make. I'm never gonna make that movie. I'm never going to write that script. I'm never going to paint that painting or make that song. What do you tell these people? What would you say to them?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 19:09
You know, unfortunately, I would say that I'm You're right. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Right. Yeah. I'll say like, I can't debate you. You're absolutely right. I went to Detroit, Henry Ford. And so one of the mantras in the hallway was, if you think you can, you can if you think you can't, you can't, you know, and that was a mantra we looked at every single day coming in and out of school. You know, so I was sending that person if you don't think you can do it. You know what, you are absolutely right. You can't do it because you don't think you can. But at any moment, if you believe you can, then you'll find every resource. You'll find every human you'll find every reason to make that thing happen. And here's what I find to be amusing. Is that my first goal, as I look back, my first goal was to get a GED instead was the craziest thing like, that was my first big goal was like, Yo, I gotta get this GED, and I gotta get out of Detroit. And I got to follow my wife to college, like, I gotta get out of here. I cannot let her leave me. And then after the GED, it was like, you know, he you, whatever you say you want to do, just like you did the GED, it only requires that same thought process and that same energy. And what I mean by that, guys, my next goal is a Nobel Prize. I don't have to do anything more to get the Nobel Prize, then I had to do to get the GED.
Unknown Speaker 20:39
Alex Ferrari 20:42
hmm. Without without question, without question. Now, can you also talk a little bit cuz I've run into this all the time with people I talked to in the tribe and, and when I talk out on public and stuff, and this was a problem I struggle with, for for over a decade almost too. Can you talk a little about how people get in their own way, and how they can get those obstacles that they're putting in their own way out of their way so they can reach their potential.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 21:11
So I think what happens is, and this is weird, but it's kind of like simultaneously when people come up with their dreams and goals. They immediately and I don't know why they do this, but they immediately talk out the obstacles and challenges to keep them from making those dreams and goals become reality. Like it's the weirdest thing. It's like, as soon as they say, Okay, I want to go to college. They immediately say, Well, I don't have the money to go to college, or college is hard. You know, it was funny. I told somebody recently, and recent meeting like a year or so ago, when my daughter was deciding what she's a sophomore now. She was deciding which University she wanted to go to. It was a San Diego State University was one Michigan State University was to, and I was telling everybody, if she goes to San Diego State, we're moving to San Diego. And it was the weirdest thing. As soon as I told him, Alex that I was moving to San Diego, everybody said to me, yo, he, you're going to San Diego, it is the most expensive city in the United States of America. There is a son tax like bro, you can't afford to. And I said, Whoa, last time I checked his people in San Diego on welfare. Last time I checked there homeless people in San Diego. Yeah, last time I checked. Last time I checked San Diego wasn't populated by only billionaires and millionaires. The last time I checked is people who are in a working class who live in San Diego. So it must not be that difficult to live in San Diego because there are other human beings who look like me who live in San Diego, they bleed. They have a mom and a dad. Just like come Are you kidding me in San Diego is do you do you know that San Diego would go under if people didn't buy a house if they didn't buy food, like San Diego needs people to move there to share. So for me, I think the biggest challenge is that as soon as a person says that this is what I want to do, I think is probably the ratio is probably sick, because they have one dream, and they come up with 10 or 20, negative things that that will stop them impede them from making that dream become a reality. And so I'm just the opposite man. As soon as I say I can do something, I only think of all the possibilities. I only think of all the great scenarios as going happen. Because I only think of how quick this thing is going to happen. How soon is going to take place. And it was funny, Carl, who's our videographer. We were talking the other day they come from Barbados. So they came in students. So there was a time where they weren't considered citizens of, you know, the US. And so the wife expecially. She was very limited in her travels. And so we were just talking about the day because we've been a lot of different places. And so I was like, you know, to make sure before we go to Hawaii, have you been to Vegas, and he talked about going to Hawaii. Like we can go to Vegas first and do Why? She was like, You know what? I've never been to Vegas before I was like, you've never been to Vegas. This conversation was about maybe a week and a half ago. She said No, I'd never been to Vegas before I was like, Okay, good. We're going to Vegas. And she's like, What do you mean, but I was like, don't worry about it. We're going to Vegas. I promise you not. A week later, my agent called me and said, Hey, you got a gig and Jimmy for Jimmy John's. And the convention is in Vegas. You know, I'm saying I told him I was like, yo, we're going to Vegas. You know, I've got a great friend there. You know who sets up? You know, he does bookings for celebrities and you know, gets their accommodations for him. I said I gave him a call. He gave me some great rates. You know if you got an elliptical and a treadmill in your room, you know I'm saying you got to Grand Lux and Cheesecake Factory all in one bit under one roof. You know, I'm saying that's going she was like what I was like, She's like, what I mean, what do you mean? What she's like, yo, we just had this conversation, I'll say, yeah. And immediately after we had the conversation I put in my mind, and in my spirit, we're going to Vegas. And so I got to to Vegas, when you didn't even believe you can go to Vegas. So what could you do for yourself if you believed, you know, so I think that's the problem. We have a dream, we have a goal, then we come up with a million reasons of why the thing we thought of can't possibly happen to us. And I don't do that.
Alex Ferrari 25:29
Now I'm going to I'm going to do I'm going to be the devil's advocate here. I completely 110% believe what you're saying. But for the art, because I know there's someone listening right now saying, Man, that's all like positive thinking and all this kind of stuff, man, you know, you're not being realistic about your goals. Like if you're going to go after a goal, there are going to be obstacles, why shouldn't I think about them and prepare for them? I'm just throwing, I'm just being devil's advocate. So what do you say to that guy
Eric Thomas Ph.D 25:55
said, you only have so much energy. Telling me, negativity is gonna happen anyway. Don't Don't worry about that day, you already got, like, you already know, that's a reality. So let's leave that alone. She has put all of our energy on making this dream come around. And that's my thing. You can't go in two directions, you just can't do it. You can't drive north and south at the same time. So I'm just going to drive north. And if something happens, that pulls me back south. Now it is what it is. We'll prepare for that when we get to that. But what I'm going to prepare for is the greatest scenario ever. So when my wife was diagnosed with MS, I didn't say and I heard the doctor said, The doctor said, you know, hey, you know, individuals who have this lose their sight, they can end up in a wheelchair. This could be a debit, she gave me a promise you, she gave me about six or seven debilitating things that could happen to my wife. Listen to me, Alex at no point that I embrace any of it. Now, I'm thinking it could be a reality, my wife could go out and she could go blind. I'm not going to prepare for that though. When that comes, I guarantee you I can work that out. When I'm going to prepare for we're going to look at every possible scenario, you retiring, right? Because that's going to lower the stress getting you get rest, I'm going to take you in the end the winners, I'm going to get you out of Michigan, we're going to travel to the south, we're going to travel to the west coast, we're gonna get you some vitamin D, you're I bought our happy, like, the other day, I got that happy, like, you know, that's supposed to provide, you know, these these these vitamin D sundre. You know, I went and found somebody that does supplements that are not the cheap stuff, she noticed diluted, I got the best of the best. You know, look, we went vegan for the most part. I say, five, six days out of the week, we're vegan, you know, we might do vegetarian, which is the Mediterranean and India and when people say what do you mean by that? Like, I realized the Indian things that they put like, it seems like they might put like cream or something they spinach, because it's a little mushy, you know, but but but we've not done meat. You know, I've really pulled her back on some of the sugars and sweets, you know, um, you know, she doesn't like to exercise. So I take her to the mall every day, and she can least get walking in. You know, she's in a mall. So this is this is all I thought about. It's all positive. So have we had Has she had relapse? Absolutely. She's had a relapse, too. So we just stay in the bed that day. You know, I'm saying Has she had pain in her leg once or twice? Absolutely. But I prepared the cruise. I prepared the trip to Hawaii, I prepared a trip to LA like these are the things that I did. And and she's not gone blind yet. She's not in a wheelchair, you know, you know, can will tell you, Carl will tell you. She's She's outruns us in terms of getting up early, staying up late, you know, so my thing is, yes, negative happens. We know that, you know, that's why we go to work. That's why we get insurance. I let my insurance take care of all the negative stuff. You know, I file a claim, I'm saying that. That's their job. That's not my job. I pay them. And when when something happens, I file a claim they take care of it. But in terms of even as we're speaking right now, you know, I went to Lowe's, my wife phone of some, I guess wood and she's doing a whole house over again. I know that brings her happiness. Sure No, and I know happiness is the thing that it will counter attack Ms. Because the one thing the only thing that they know for certain about Ms. Is that is triggered by stress. So my thing is let's try to get as much stress as we can out of her life. You know, and whatever happens, we'll fend for it when it comes so that's just my philosophy. And if you say et is just too positive, we'll go on YouTube and look at who's the number one motivational speaker in the world based on social media. You know, look who went from being a high school dropout to a PhD, you know, so
Unknown Speaker 29:57
it must be some right
Eric Thomas Ph.D 29:59
you must be Yeah, you say, I'm too positive,
Alex Ferrari 30:02
but I look at the results a bit. You know, man, that's the bit. That's always the best answer for anything is the results like you don't believe me, that's fine. But these are the results. You know, and and without question, man. Now a lot of a lot of tribe members of the indie film hustle tribe. They're writing their screenplays, and they're shooting their short films, and they're doing their things on a side hustle. What do you suggest they do to try to make it a full time thing man takes to try to construct or create a blueprint where they can be doing their dream in a responsible way, full time.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 30:38
This is what I tell skeptics, right? So for all you all you guys and your tribe, you're talking about who you know, want to do a movie, but they kind of pick a pattern and they got their full time job. I'm gonna give you the safest answer, guys. This not if it was easy, I just tell you to jump. Amen. You're not et so right. So so this is what I'm going to tell you. I'm going to tell you to find somebody else who jumped before you. Alright, and if you are a skeptic, fine, three or four people who jumped before you. So you got people like Tyler Perry. You know, people like Oprah Winfrey, who started their own network. You know, what I want you to do is study four or five people. And don't just study them. This is the problem. I have Alex with a lot of people. Um, why are you studying people? If you're not going to eventually jump? You know, I'm saying like, what is it? Are you looking for a reason not to jump? Is that why you're studying them? Because if that's why you're studying them, don't study them, because you're not gonna jump anyway. So my thing is having your mind that you're going to jump, but because you're not et and you are a little afraid, I want you to look at how they jump. So study about three or four people. Look at how they jumped. And then as you see how they jump, jump, so look at Okay, how many years that they worked before they did it? You know? What were they doing as a side hustle? How many hours were they putting in? You know, like, how much editing and whatever? How did they find stars? Cuz you look at Tyler Perry. It's like, yo, how did he find the stars? Because to me, Tyler Perry actually has done it backwards. When you look at this stuff that he has on Oprah Winfrey's network. Those are be actors, but he blew up using a actors who maybe just weren't getting any time. You know, they hadn't necessarily been on a camera in a while. But in terms of their skill set, no, they were once known as a actors.
Unknown Speaker 32:32
Eric Thomas Ph.D 32:33
You know, so I'm saying, yo, go study them. So if you're Eric Thomas, you're studying Zig Zigler, you're studying all night and getting Nightingale, you're studying Jim Rohn you're studying Tony Robbins. Yeah, Napoleon Hill, like you're studying these dudes. And then you're watching what they're doing not to just watch what they're doing to mimic it at some point. Now, of course, you're gonna put your own flavor to it. But all the guys I mentioned, I, you know, you watch what they do, and then you do it. So my thing would be to people who don't jump, make up in your mind that at some point, you're going to jump, that you're not going to be studying for the rest of your life, you're not going to be hoping and wishing and, you know, when we were kids coming up, my cousin's the girls used to double dutch, you know, and so in double dutch, yes, there is a period of studying, you know, of swaying back and forth of being very intentional and deliberate, you know, before you jump into rope, but that didn't last for an hour, he did last for 30 minutes. You know, it lasts, it only lasted enough time for you to comfortably feel that you could successfully get inside that rope and begin to jump. So I'm going to say to you stop watching the rope. And if you're not, if you're going to watch the ropes, you there's no profession and watching the rope. So just quit it. But if you're going to be a filmmaker, if you're going to be Lucas one day, you know if you're going to be able to make an impact Spielberg, if you're going to make an impact. If you wait until you 67 years old, it'll never happen. So to me, if you're in your 20s you jump before you start getting too many responsibilities that stop you from jumping. If you are in your 30s you better hurry up and jump before you have kids. I'm saying before you have a mortgage, like just jump but if you're scared to jump, study those who jumped before you and watch how they jump and you better jump like they jump or you'll be one of those dudes that will be looking for the rest of your natural life saying I could have I would have I should have and for me, I just think that's a safe place. I want to die. No, I did it.
Alex Ferrari 34:50
I made it happen. Absolutely. Absolutely. And not be that bitter guy on the corner or on the sideline. You know, you know those guys, you know those guys. They're just The bitter people who just like, Oh, you know, well, they did this or they did this. I could have done it. Well, you didn't. Straight up you should have but you
Eric Thomas Ph.D 35:08
didn't Not only did you you didn't, you didn't do it. And now you are telling other people, they can't do it. Right. You know, and I definitely don't want to be that old man.
Alex Ferrari 35:17
Absolutely, man. Now, can you also talk about the importance of challenging yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone? Because I feel so many people, you know, they have their little box that they feel comfortable, and they just don't want to step out of it. What do you what do you say?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 35:32
Yeah, so so to me that that's what I say the Nobel Prize.
Unknown Speaker 35:36
Yeah, that's a pretty big bucks.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 35:39
I'm just gonna be honest with you. I don't even know if I could do that. Sure. You know, here's the reality. It wouldn't even bother me if I never got it. Right. Or what what would bother me is if I never pursued it. So So what happened with the Nobel Prize? The Nobel prize? was me watching other people jumped. And I like, I like the way they jump. I've never looked Spielberg. Lucas King. I only know those names, guys. Because they're so big. Right? Like those. Those are big boys. I'm saying I grew up watching Star Wars. I'm not really. I'm not really a What do you call it? Scary Movie? Do you know, we know King though? You got to know King, right? Gilbert? was it? Was it? UFO?
Alex Ferrari 36:30
Yeah, close encounters a third time he also made ETL.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 36:34
I knew that movie when I was a kid Spielberg, you know, I'm saying Close Encounters of the Third guy. I remember that. You know, these are the big boys, you know. And so but but watch this. I never watched King do his thing and say I want to do that. But when I saw Mongol to King, I said, I want to do that. When I saw Gandhi, I said, I want to do that. When I saw Mother Teresa. I said, I want to do that. When I saw Nelson Mandela. I said, I want to do that. And I looked at them. And what was the commonality, the Nobel Prize? You know, when I asked myself, how did these people win a Nobel prize? They disrupted something in the world, you know, they looked at something and say, This isn't right. You know, this isn't right. And we got to stand up. And I've been that kid since I was, you know, maybe five or six. When I saw somebody fight, I wanted to do something about it. I couldn't just drive past and didn't act like I didn't see it. I've always wanted to do something. So it was a Nobel Prize. When I said I want to do it. Somebody came to me and said, Do you know what you have to do to win a Nobel prize? I was like, not exactly. I said, here's a book, this is a book on Nobel Prize winners, the first thing you have to do is find a an area that you can disrupt something. And I was like, Oh, I know that I've been disrupted in school since I was a kid. I got it. Like, I got it. It's a school who disrupt the school system, you know, and we'll make school fun again, you know, and we'll make it we'll connect the dots for kids on why they need to be here Monday through Friday, you know, so I would say that this Nobel Prize, and their goals or their dreams that are bigger than them, what it's going to do is it's going to give you a reason to wake up when you look at all the stuff that's going on in this world. And sometimes you don't want to get up, you know, when you're going through your personal stuff. And let me tell you some I've meet those kids Monday, Wednesday, Friday, when I'm not busy. And let me tell you some, if I'm not doing anything, I'm up Monday, Wednesday, Friday greeting these kids, I got to get up to greet him even when I got a slight headache. Or when I had a bad night the night before or when the sales weren't what this actually gets me up. And then when I'm with these kids, it brings a smile on my face. So whatever I was going through, I can't go through it no more. Because I'm with these every Tuesday I'm at Michigan State doing my thing, giving them this message and it's on Facebook Live and I don't care about got an attitude when I get there. If I had some bad news, it's over once I get there and speak. So I'm saying to you that that that the goal is going to give you live that the goal is going to give you purpose that the goal is going to drive you in a way that you never ever ever ever thought that you could be driven so your life your blood, the DNA, like every every fiber in you is counting on you setting goals that you thought you couldn't do because those goals will be responsible for pushing you and driving you in a way that being comfortable could never drive you
Alex Ferrari 39:34
and and also you're enjoying the journey towards the goal and that that's such such an important part of that is enjoying the journey because it sets a people always just a lot of people just like a miserable trying to get to their goal and when they get to the goal, they have nowhere else to go. So you got to do agree you got to enjoy that journey. Enjoy that grind. Yes.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 39:54
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and I think what the what the what the That kind of goes you're talking about, it takes you from checkers to chess. You know, chess is all you know, chess is not really about checkmate. You know, chess, chess is about your own personal development, like your personal strategy and thinking 567 steps ahead, whereas checkers, man, it's just like, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop,
Unknown Speaker 40:20
Eric Thomas Ph.D 40:21
there's like, it's like the the current move. Whereas in chess, like you're sitting there before you make a move. So I'm saying for those of you who don't have dreams and goals that are bigger than you, you plan checkers, you know, and so that's, that's a small span of life. You start playing chess, you're starting to plan now for your baby, for your grandbaby for the next door neighbor, for the city for the state for the world. Like the stuff we're doing right now. Man, let me tell you something, people will be listening to these podcasts forever, you know, people will be drawn from us forever. And it won't just benefit the people that we're close to. It's benefiting people like you are giving people hope in the film industry. And you're giving them strategies and tips that if they didn't have they, they wouldn't get to their dream ever, maybe. And some of them wouldn't get there. This quick sort of stuff that we're doing is legacy stuff. I just don't think you could do that. If you're just saddo. If you're just average, if you just comment. I think having big goals is what makes you legendary.
Alex Ferrari 41:23
Mm hmm. Hey, man, my friend. Now, can we talk a little bit about beastmode?
Unknown Speaker 41:31
I love they ready for this?
Unknown Speaker 41:33
I don't know. I don't know if they're ready or not brother. But
Unknown Speaker 41:37
based off this some.
Alex Ferrari 41:38
There's some organic plant that is Nope, did not McDonald's. This is not in and out. Now, this is some plant based stuff right here. The reason why is because you are a inspirational quote machine. I've quoted you many times on my podcast, and beast mode, and wanting to be the lion and all that stuff. Can we talk a little bit about beast mode and get a little bit of fire in these guises. But today?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 42:06
Yeah, Beast Mode, man is about survival. You know, Beast Mode is understand that at any moment, you can lose your life because of your ignorance. You know, that's what beast mode is about. Beast Mode is not about not settling, not getting comfortable. Beast Mode is knowing that, you know, the economy can change tomorrow, and you need to be prepared for you know, Beast Mode is like this constant idea of staying ready. Like, like, Yo is me trying to eat and there are other people out here trying to eat, you know, and we were not in the Safari. You know, I think that's where a lot of people live as in in Safari. Safari as crew cute as Safari is where it's like a manmade jungle, right? You know, where control. They have everything contained. It's not really real. The Serengeti, you can lose your life in the Serengeti, you wake up and you could be this thing. And I had a picture people were like, yo, he was all on the lion thing. What's that? I'm like, I'm on hyena. Now. I'm on the hyena. Now, once the world got to a place where they were like, Lion mode, Beast Mode, I said, No, no, no, don't make beastmode. Alliance don't do that. That's not beastmode that that was the example that I gave you in 2016 and 2015. The example of beast mode now is the hyena that has the lion in his mouth. And the reason why I'm going with hyena now is that most of my tribal hyenas, they're not lions. They weren't birth as King got a jungle, you know, they didn't have this space carved out for them. Most of them are these low, small spotted ugly animals that came in without, you know, any pub. They didn't come in with any recognition. But they did Alex they didn't get the memo, that the lion was the king of the jungle, and that he couldn't be beat. They didn't they didn't get that memo. Right. Oh, and and I like what you said, your tribe, because hyenas run in tribes, like bigger than lions. And, and, and when you look at the lion, the lion doesn't always go out and hunt. Like my man kind of gets out when things get out of control, the hyena, they all hunt every last one of them together, you know, and so sometimes you'll see a lion kill a prey, and then the hyena will come and say, Okay, that's good. Thank you for killing it. Move out the way that's ours now. And so some of us are hyenas, man, I didn't grow up with my father. My mother was 17. When she got pregnant with me, she got kicked out the house. My mom didn't go to college, you know, so I'm scrapping. But I'm out in this journey. Serengeti saying, What's mine is mine. I don't want Alex stuff. I'm not going after Alex stuff. I'm not pursuing your stuff. There's some stuff out here for E t. In the motivational realm. I'm not going after Bob Proctor. I'm not going to have to as Les Brown, I'm not going after Tony Robbins. Like we all in the same feel you can I got to, I got to go out here and get my butt. I'm not competing against other I'm competing against the best Eric Thomas. I'm going after my stuff. I'm going after you. But what I'm doing is I'm going after it every day. I'm going at it intentionally and deliberately. I'm not waiting for it to come to me. I'm not waiting for an animal. I'm like, I'm not setting traps, and waiting for animals to get in that trap. No, I'm going after it. And so that's what this beast mode is about is what do you want? What do you need? What are you willing to go get? Stop, stop waiting for stuff, stop being reactive, stop, stop, stop, stop hoping and wishing and go after it. And I want to recommend to you guys a book, the QB Q. And the reason why I want to recommend that is because I got to a point in my life where I realized be small also met, taking full responsibility. I can't say Carl didn't do the presentation. And so I wasn't able to speak and then not my family can't eat because Carl didn't show up, bro, I'm not on that. I would love the presentation, I would love to have the presentation. But my family got to eat man. And I can't put my family's life in somebody else's hand. Now, I respect Carl's gift, and I wouldn't be here without him. But at the same time, if they're ever no videos, and I got to hit these cities, and I got to hit these schools and hit these prisons, and I got to find a way to make myself viral without videos. And that's what I was doing before I
met Carl. And that's probably how we ended up meeting. I was beast mode in my area. So he took the beast mode to a whole nother level. But I didn't wait for social media to start doing what I'm doing right now. I started doing this in 1989. And social media caught up with me. I didn't wait before I didn't wait for YouTube and Instagram. I have been doing this for years before YouTube came out, you know. And so that's what beast mode is about being intentional and deliberate about your life, making no excuses and doing everything you have to do to eat. And make sure your family your friends eat, like whoever is important to you, making sure that you wake up every day and you go get it
Alex Ferrari 47:14
met, can you can you discuss if you can the Why? of why people do what they do as far as children go after goals, because a lot of times people set goals and they don't even know why they're setting them. You talk a little bit about that.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 47:27
Yeah, let me tell you this, guys, I'm gonna be honest with you. I don't think you should ever start a goal without having debt without making sure you got you. You know, I'm saying like she don't want I've never gotten in my car. I'm not a mechanic now. But I've never gotten my car without looking at the gas meter like I'm looking at. That's the first thing I'm looking at. When I get in that car, and I crank that sucker up, I'm not looking at how much oil I admit the last time the car got the oil got changed. They did ask me. When's the last time you change this oil? I'm like, bro, I'm not 100% Sure. You don't put the right sticker up there. Yeah, yeah, I messed up. I'm just gonna be honest with you. It gas. I checked the gas every time I get in the car. And so what I would say to people is there are many people who start ventures without looking at CVS enough fuel to push that boy, you need fuel to push a Mercedes Benz, you need fuel to push a Lamborghini, you need fuel to push a Maserati, a telsa, whatever it is, you need fuel for that you're saying either electricity or get you need fuel. And so I tell people don't start something without few. Because at some point, life is going to happen. But if you've got the right for you, let me give you guys let me paint a vivid picture for you. I've said this. I've said this in many conferences that we have seen women who are five, five, frail women. You know they like to run in the morning they weigh about 98 pounds wet and they've got these beautiful little running strollers with their babies and they're out doing their thing and a dog comes out of nowhere. A dog comes out of nowhere and I always asked what do you think is gonna happen? seven month old baby in his stroller and mom is running his dog comes out. No we think is going to happen. They say what was not going to happen is the mom is not going to let the stroller going wrong. alita seven my baby there for the dog. What's going to happen nine out of 10 and I love it because as ferocious as some dogs are because of how they would train since fear, even a dog understands like whoa, she's not playing. And we have we have record of mothers getting dogs off the children or mothers lifting boulders or cars or mothers getting their kids out of dangerous situations going up against gangbangers but you get that same mother. I'm sorry, that same woman who's not a mother, she's just running up the street on her own Same dog comes out, she's going wrong. What's the difference? Same situation? No, no, no, it's not the same situation. At first when she was fueled by something. So most of us what we do wrong is we go after activities without being you. So before I start any major task, I asked myself, yo, he, why are you doing this? What's the real reason why you're doing this? You have enough fuel to do this, he. And when I think about my son, I was like, yep, I'll get my master's degree, my PhD Why? My father is a dropout. And my grandfather dropped out. So it made it easy for me to drop out. Because when I dropped out, nobody could call me and say anything to me. Why? Because my father, my grandfather didn't finish. So there was there was no expectations. There was no real goal set for me, my my grandma couldn't call him and say you didn't finish school, her husband didn't her son did. So she couldn't say anything to me. I said he, I need you to get a master's in a PhD. So your son at least finishes high school, at least finish college. And because I went to Michigan State University, and walk across that stage twice, my son walked across that stage, same stage, when he was in high school, they use that stadium, and then he walked across the Michigan State stage with his four year degree in four years, it took me 12 years, he did it in four years. Now his sister's a sophomore, and she's trying to finish in three years at Michigan State University, the fuel I needed, when I didn't feel like going to school was if you quit, you're gonna make it easier for him to quit. If you keep going, you're going to teach him what keep going looks like so you cannot stop. And I tell you when I got to a point where I wanted to stop the PhD, and I remember kids asking me when I would travel, Mr. Thomas, you get your et you get your PhD yet. I was like, nope, you get your PhD? Nope. And I remember saying to myself, yo, he if you stop, what are you gonna tell these kids? When they ask you? Why did you quit. And then if you quit, and they're watching your videos, you know how easy it is for a kid in Chicago without his dad who's in prison, and his mom had him at 15 you're not easy, it's gonna be for him to quit. You know how easy it's gonna be for him to give up. So he do not quit. You keep going for these kids. And so you must have fuel in your tank. You must have fuel in your engine, you must have fuel to keep yourself going. So don't ever start a vision without a why we can get to the high later. I think if you got the right why you've got to find a way to make it happen.
Alex Ferrari 52:27
Man, that's amazing advice, brother. Amazing advice. Now I got a few more questions that ask all my guests. First off, if you were going to talk to a filmmaker or screenwriter today, and they want to break into the business, what's the one piece of advice you'd give them?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 52:43
So if I'm, if I'm talking to a screenwriter want to break into the business, and I would tell him is, we need you desperately? Need you desperately. We need you desperate. Let me tell you why we need you desperately. What if the filmmakers Martin Luther King days had not recorded the I Have a Dream speech? I don't care how I don't care how good the speech was. If you didn't record it, if you didn't put it on film, we'd never have it. And think about the millions of people when we went to space, somebody recorded it. What if it hadn't been recorded? Where will we be if john F. Kennedy's great speech was not what your country can do for you, but what you could do for your country. And more importantly, if Ken Nelson hadn't recorded the guru story for a project in school, the world may not necessarily know who Eric Thomas is where my ministry may not be where it is today. I want to say to every filmmaker every year, every month, every week, every day you wait to do what you're doing. You stop something from being memorialized. I don't care how good I am. If it's not recorded. Think about the millions of people
who listen to that audio, because he put a mic on me. Nobody would ever put a mic on me before like that nobody had ever captured that captured me in the essence of that old field. And just think of how many, look how many people have gotten through cancer. How many people have gotten back up and took that law exam again, or that medical exam again?
How many people have been blessed because of that one video, when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe? Then you'll be successful. So I say to you, the talent is good. But if it's not recorded, then it never happened. We need you get busy.
Alex Ferrari 54:42
And I always tell them you have no idea what your art can do for somebody in a moment in their life. You have no idea when a movie, a story a song a painting. Art is so important in our in our world.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 54:55
You can tois Fisher and Swan Fisher made me no one could get me to forgive my biological father for not being in my life. Nobody could get me past that pain and that hurt nobody. Antwan Fisher the movie and sell movie gotten a guy in a fetal position on the side of my bed while me and my wife were watching it. And I started screaming and hollering my wife said, What's wrong with you? I said, for the first time in my life being healed. You are hearing me release, not released it. It began a relationship with my biological father, after I was 30 something years old because of that movie. So I think what a lot of filmmakers do wrong, they see it as an art what is not art? It can be classified as art is life changing. Joe is what I would tell him john,
Alex Ferrari 55:47
Joe it do. Now what, what a book had the biggest impact on your life or career?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 55:57
I'd say two books. First, the pilgrims progress. That was the first book I read. changed my life. It was actually a book in school growing up, we had to read, read it in college. And then it is kimbro. And it a spin off of Napoleon hills thinking grow rich. And what he decided to do the exact same book, pretty much the exact same framework, he just decided to use African American. He rose in that particular text that he did, but it was it was a spin off of Napoleon hills thinking grow rich. So the exact same principles. And that was the book I think, professionally took my life to another level. And I think if I'm not mistaken, I haven't read it since the beginning. I think the Guru's story that I did came from that book. I'm not mistaken.
Alex Ferrari 56:52
And what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn in life?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 56:59
to unlearn what you've learned to unlearn what you've learned, because what you learn got you to where you are, but it won't take you to where you want to go. So I'm learning so many of the things that I learned in Detroit, you know, the stuff I learned in that meant that what do you call it automobile industry? You know, it's a lot of things. I learned that that's not be fitting of an entrepreneur. You know, there's nothing wrong with Detroit, nothing wrong with the automotive industry. He had his time. But we see the conditions of Detroit based on people not forecasting, and believing that one industry would last forever, you know, and so I was fortunate that I let go have that mindset. But there was a lot of there are a lot of people that didn't, there's an entire city that didn't, and they're dealing with the repercussions of it so unlearning many of the values that I held on to in my other life, I'm an entrepreneur now and there are new things that I need to learn
Alex Ferrari 58:02
now what are three of your favorite films of all time sir?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 58:06
My favorite films of all time three of them goodwill honty Really Good Will Hunting because not only was it a great film, what a great storyline. I'm inspired that Matt Damon and Aflac is that his name is Ben Affleck. That these dudes were you know, saying they jump man. They jumped, did their own field and use their own environment, a college environment? Um, Shawshank Redemption, Shawshank Redemption, Shawshank Redemption,
Unknown Speaker 58:39
on my top three, Tilly?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 58:40
Oh, his ability to use what he had to get what he wants, and my all time favorite. And people are going laugh because they like et. It's a Wonderful Life.
Alex Ferrari 58:51
Of course, that's always that's a popular one. That's a popular one on the podcast,
Unknown Speaker 58:55
Alex Ferrari 58:58
Now I've changed. Now where can people find you at?
Eric Thomas Ph.D 59:03
They can find me if they want to be a part of that a tribe needs some motivation need to be developed, you know, just in their own personal space. I tell people a lot of time you have a great gift, and a great art. But you also need to develop as a human. And a lot of times we spend a lot of time just developing our art and not developed developing our mindset, you know, and our character. And so breathe University is where they can go to be a part of that tribe and pick up some of those skills. But if it's just motivation that you're looking for et inspires calm is all access et
Alex Ferrari 59:40
and of course YouTube. Yeah, there's a few videos on there.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 59:42
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, it's a couple was one. Thanks to thanks to my guys who jumped there a little bit over 1000 videos up there. So I'm appreciative to them for that.
Alex Ferrari 59:54
And I can't tell the tribe I can't I can't promote and and and Say that you've got to go see and watch Eric's work so much because honestly, it's like a cup. It's better than a cup of coffee in the morning, you watch five minutes of an ET video in the morning, right before you start working, you will be inspired and, and and when I need inspiration, I go to itI, man so I appreciate that it
Eric Thomas Ph.D 1:00:18
means a lot man. If you showed that somebody of your caliber you know who's listened to me consistently that means a lot.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:25
Thank you and I'm humbled that you You came on the show and shared shared a bit of of knowledge bombs with our with our tribe, man. And I hope this episode will reach far and wide to all creatives and people who want to listen to it and get some inspiration and get some good and get some good stuff out into the world man because God knows we need it now more than ever get some good art, right? Get some more art in the world. And and just more happiness, man, just more happiness. So Eric, man, et thank you again so much for taking the time, brother.
Eric Thomas Ph.D 1:00:57
But I appreciate you, man.
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Links and Resources
- Eric Thomas – Website
- Eric Thomas – Youtube
- The Secret to Success
- Greatness Is Upon You: Laying the Foundation
- Average Skill Phenomenal Will
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