MindForce: Mental Fitness & Career Stories!

Resilient Minds: SMSgt (Ret.) Maurice Arnold on the Power of Mental Fitness in Military Life and Beyond

January 31, 2024 Nathaniel Scheer
MindForce: Mental Fitness & Career Stories!
Resilient Minds: SMSgt (Ret.) Maurice Arnold on the Power of Mental Fitness in Military Life and Beyond
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When life threw me curveballs I never saw coming, it was the power of resilience that caught each pitch. Maurice Arnold, a retired Senior Master Sergeant, joins me to unpack the essence of mental fitness and resilience, particularly within the crucible of military life. Our heartfelt conversation traverses the landscape of mental health's impact on families, urging the importance of daily mental fitness practices akin to physical regimens. Maurice's personal narrative and the stories shared in this episode are not just tales of survival but beacons of hope, emphasizing the proactive approach to life's adversities.

Have you ever wondered about the ripple effect of your kindness? This episode is a testament to how empathy and small acts of generosity can illuminate the darkest corners of someone's world. We dissect the power of being 'merchants of hope' and the vital role of building a supportive social network for fostering individual and community resilience. By sharing anecdotes of personal generosity, like the ones from my mother's life, alongside stories from the front lines of medical service, we aim to inspire listeners to create waves of positive change in their own lives.

Venture with us through a discussion rich with wisdom from the pages of influential books and the corridors of our dreams. We analyze the significance of "why" in our actions and how values, integrity, and personal development intertwine to shape our lives. The episode doesn't shy away from tough topics like overcoming failure or navigating the military's complex relationship with mental health. Bringing vulnerability and strategy to the table, we explore how accountability, the TALK acronym, and authentic connections can steer us through life's challenges, both personally and professionally. Join us for an episode that's not only a journey through adversity but also a guide to living with mental agility.

Scheerious Positivity!

Speaker 1:

Hi, I'm your host, nate Shearer, and this is Mindforce, the podcast for love, life and learning, where your mind matters. Today we'll be talking about resiliency, and one thing I think is interesting is resiliency kind of is a buzzword in the military and I feel like it's kind of been watered down. But today I am sure you're gonna leave with some actionable tips from the one and only senior master sergeant, retired Arnold. I met him many moons ago. It's been a very long time. I would say he's one of the very few positive influences I remember from the Air Force kind of my upbringing and coming along. He's just one of those gems, just that positive atmosphere, positive environment when he walks in a room. So now let's hear from the one and only Maurice Arnold. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became interested in the topic of mental fitness?

Speaker 2:

Yes, most definitely. Look, first of all, Nate. You know Nate, and I go way back. So my name, I have names for my people that are like terms of endearment and I called Nate. I've always called him sheer excellence, Ha ha ha, Nate sheer excellence Cause he was a killer back then. But my, you know, I'm Mo Arnold and my organization is Mo Lossophy, which is an organizational development team building firm with a specific focus on DEI diversity, equity and inclusion and, along those lines, resiliency is a key part of that. I became interested in mental health, slash mental fitness because my mother, who was a brilliant yet broken woman. She experienced several nervous breakdowns prior to graduating high school. She was beautiful, intelligent, talented, she was innovative, with a strong passion for justice. However, her lack of mental fitness shackled her where she couldn't exploit the fullness of her potential, and that impacted, made, that impacted our entire family. And so, with that being said, that's why I am interested in mental fitness because of the negative stigmatization, the negative stigmatization associated with mental health.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's interesting because the reason I kicked off the show and really felt this poll was my grandmother lost her battle of mental health as I was growing up, and it's one of those things like I'm super disappointed and bummed that like my kids will never get to meet her and things like that. But the aspect of that that was such a the biggest loss to me was she was a light. When she would come in the room she would smile, she would pull over to help somebody that needed help. She would chat to everyone in the grocery store line like she was just this light, and so to imagine all those years and all those people that now won't get to experience the light that she brought into the world is so disappointing. And really the other aspect of that is not being able to ask for help. So, like you said, the stigmatization. Apparently when we were kids she stayed in bed for a week at a time. We never knew that and so there was so many people that she could have asked for help and all the help that she poured into the world there would have been 50 people that would have stood up and been like, yeah, let's help you. But it was so stigmatized and so much going on where she didn't think she could ask for help and all she had to do was raise that hand and get some of that. So that's really the point of the conversation and the point of this podcast is these serious conversations where I'm hoping, the more we have them, the more we make it normal, the more we talk about mental fitness, like it's not out of the ordinary, it's not abnormal. You should be able to, as you're going up your calendar with friends or whoever, like, oh, yeah, I'm swinging by to see my therapist. Okay, like we should be having conversations, we should be working on things before they get bad and that should be a normal thing. That's in there and we've talked about on the show a little bit. But mental fitness, really that key. Like you can talk about the sets you're doing at the gym, but then we won't talk about, like I said, going to the therapist. So it should be the same thing. I'm working on buys and tries and, yeah, I'm gonna swing by and talk to my counselor. Oh, that's awesome, cool, so that's great. And you also mentioned, or wanted to talk about, part of your mission in life.

Speaker 2:

Right. Most definitely, my mission in life is to see the people around me and everyone that I contact maximize their full potential, and so being resilient is a key element in them. One of the things that I really despise about the movement with resilience. Resiliency is the definition, one thing to keep in mind. All problems are established by language and thinking. The thinking is the precursor to the language, and so when people say that resiliency deals with the ability to bounce back, I would say that is passive. Life isn't happening to me, I'm happening to life, and so I would define resiliency as the ability to move forward in all steer conditions and simultaneously bounce back when I'm hitting, when I'm hit with something real heavy. So it's both I'm moving forward, I'm stepping into the position as a president. That's a tough position that takes resiliency. I must have all of the pillars of resiliency in place to be able to function at that level. Simultaneously, when I'm hit with something, I'm able to bounce back, or I'm not even bouncing back. It's hitting me and bouncing off. That's a form of resiliency also. So my life mission is to see people come into the fullness of their potential and to fulfill their purpose, in which they've been established on the earth, their mission in the earth.

Speaker 1:

There's really nothing better. I know I get asked that question a lot. I've been in different career fields and whatnot, and some of them lucrative on the outside, and they're like, why are you still here? And it's the people. And I know sometimes I feel like I'm a walking cliche and I just say the thing that I'm supposed to say. But if I really feel it, I mean that's what I gotta say. So I'm here for the people. There's nothing better when someone gets the degree, or their adoption goes through, or they got your driver's license, or they rode their first motorcycle or whatever it may be. It's just these things where, when someone's accomplished something, they put their mind to. It's amazing. And I wanna touch on real quick. Before we kicked off the recording, we had kind of touched on. Resiliency is the ability to look back at something difficult and say, hey, I did that, I made it. So I think that's one thing. You should not dwell on the past. That's a completely different thing. Like, don't dwell on it, but look back at the accomplishment and say, hey, that was pretty tough but I got through. I think a lot of times we're wanting things to be too easy and still have resiliency. You can't have easy and resiliency, you gotta have some difficulty and that's how you build up that resiliency. And in the episode that releases actually today, the person Ms Laura. She had talked about paper plates, which I really enjoyed her definition, her analogy there. So every time you go through a difficult situation and you get to the other side, you put another paper plate in your stack and then when you get that big bowl of spaghetti or whatever that hits the plate, if you got your paper plate stacked up, you can take that large meal and get through that difficult situation. But if you only get that one flimsy little paper plate because you've never been through nothing, it's just gonna fall right to the ground. So that's a really good analogy for that one. So, I wanna open up and have a few questions my way. Keep this, make sure we're going both ways in this conversation. So what questions do you have for me?

Speaker 2:

Well, let me ask you this though Chair Excellence, you mentioned about your mom and the Grandma. Well, I mean, excuse me, what's that? Yeah, grandmother, yeah, yeah, I'm sorry, your grandmother. You mentioned about your grandmother having the challenges in that space of mental health. What is one aspect that she deposited in you that you would love to see going forward with others?

Speaker 1:

I think it's kind of like we had talked about your goal in life pouring into other people. I saw that constantly. So the examples that I use helping people and pulling over and making conversation and just constantly helping people. I think I probably got that from her, which I'm kind of glad you asked that question. I've never really stopped and thought about it before, but that must be where that comes from, because I always want to help people and it's hard for me to walk by someone that needs help or someone like that, and that might be something that the world is having some challenges with. I feel like the more we go on, people kind of pass by people that need help. So I think that's the biggest thing and it kind of goes back to putting yourself in other people's shoes. We never know what's going on with everyone and they might be having different battles and things like that. So just stopping and helping them real quick. You have no idea what that means and sometimes it's simple things. I think we want it to be this Herculean effort or something big, but just saying hi or how you're doing, or smile, some of these smaller things. You got that butterfly effect where it ripples out so much Maybe that smile and hey, how are you doing? And really Karen ripples out from that person and they were having one of the worst days and then they were able to bounce back and then they take care of others. So I guess the pay it forward is really the biggest thing for me. So well, I guess two. So one is, you know, thinking about it from other people's shoes. That day that you had the worst day, you know, just pause, reflect, think about where they could be, and then, yeah, and then try and take care of them. Come on.

Speaker 2:

So the main attribute she released to you was empathy. She modeled, she personified empathy for you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, come on. That is to be able to connect with others right. Oh man, come on. You know, john Maxwell in his book said many people communicate, but few connect.

Speaker 1:

Hmm, ain't that the truth?

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh man, and so that's a beautiful thing that my mom was the exact same way. She would go out on the streets in Atlanta and would cook, I mean robust breakfasts, bring out eggs, grits, bacon, orange juice, whatever, and bring it out to people, to homeless people on the street that she had. I mean she had just cooked, hmm, and so she was.

Speaker 1:

I mean she was huge into helping people really big and helping people for the right reasons, right. And another thing that's really difficult we're in a social media world and tick tock, and so I hope people continue to help people for you know the right reason and not for followings or other things like that. So you know that's interesting.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I am a low key person in a sense. I mean like I'm a big person, which is which is oxymoronic. I'm a big personality, but I'm low key when it comes to doing stuff for people. A lot of times, my wife don't even know. Not like she'll find out. Oh, your husband did this and it's something that wouldn't take from the family, but it was something that was very impactful for that particular individual or group of individuals that she may not even know. She'll find out later about it because I do it and I pretty much forget about it. That's awesome.

Speaker 1:

That's kind of why I love being a medical service core officer. We work the backside of the clinic and take care of things. We're not in the front, we're not the providers, we're not the people you ever see, but your supply showed up, your internet worked, your, you know, HVAC turned on, the guy you all taken care of. But it's kind of that in the background, making sure things happen, and I love that. Just personal accomplishment. Like you know, no one knows. I coordinated to get the AC to work that day, but I do. You know people are coming to the door and getting the patient care and the things they need. I'm not the person you know directly in patient care, but making sure things happen, it's kind of nice in the background.

Speaker 2:

Come on, you know something beautiful that you said, though, like the illustration about resiliency and the paper plates. One thing about us we're merchants of hope, and hope is a transferable competency. I remember when I was stationed at Langley, up at Langley Air Force Base, there was a young lady. I didn't know she was on the verge of suicide, but there was some encouragement that I delivered to her and I found out about it later. Some other people told me and said that, man, what you said so encouraged her, but she was on the verge of suicide. And so what we do can wow. What we do can have a second or third order effect on other individuals, and so simply being kind to people and being a merchant of hope can actually help build resiliency, because it can establish that social pillar.

Speaker 1:

That's interesting too. Did she come back and tell you, or how did you know that, how close it was?

Speaker 2:

I found out because somebody in my squadron. She told somebody in my squadron and said you have a very special individual within your unit. This person spoke to me and I was on the verge of committing, so I was considering suicide, and so she told him who it was. And they came back and told me and I had no idea.

Speaker 1:

That's the craziest part you never know. So my last flight that I had I did a stand up every Friday, brought everyone together. We were going through COVID so we needed a way to get information out and I'd start that meeting every Friday saying I love you all. But I'm like that's going to be weird, it's going to freak some people out, but I don't really care. But we had one guy in our flight. His brother had passed away and they were best of friends, as tight as you can be and he later it was like a year and a half later was coming out of the holiday party. He was about to leave the island and he stopped me outside of the holiday party. It was like I was in the darkest place in my life and I remembered you saying that you loved me. Yeah, it was pretty crazy. So I think the biggest thing is you just have to keep doing the right thing. You're not going to maybe get the feedback. Sometimes I feel like feedback in this world. Everyone will jump on Yelp and tell you the restaurant's terrible, but they don't like to jump on there and give the praise as much. It seems to be the harder thing. So I was going out telling I loved him because that's what I felt in my heart and that's what I need to get out. I had no idea if anyone cared, or they just thought I was saying it to hear myself talk. That's kind of how I felt. I'm like, oh, this guy just talks too much. But that moment will be something I'll carry for the rest of my life for sure. So it's crazy. You never know. You just got to keep pouring it out. Maybe you'll never know, maybe you'll never get the closed loop Right.

Speaker 2:

And that's fine, because you're simply being who you are. Real love is tangible. Real love is tangible. There's a tangible expression People out in California, they are real sympathetic, but in some cases they may not be empathetic. So they'll come through. Let me see you on the side of the road. Oh man, that is horrible. I feel so bad for you. All right, but I got to be going. However, I'm from Atlanta, so somebody in the South might come by like man, oh my God, I got to come over here and help you. Man, I had somewhere to be. Man, this is some foolishness, you know. You should have put that together this, that and other. But they helping you and so they're being empathetic. Now, I'm just using that as an analogy. I'm not saying everyone is in California is that way, or everyone's in the South is that way, but making that distinction between sympathy and empathy and so that real love is tangible, whereas stepping to a space where someone is and actually extending a helping hand.

Speaker 1:

There's a great video. We watched it at SOS. I wish I could have the. I could find the link. If I can, I'll try to put it in this description, but it was showing the difference between that and it was like, you know. The sympathy was, oh, poor you, you know. Then the other one was like oh, I've been in a similar situation, let me get down beside you, like that's different, like up above, looking down your nose, like poor you, and then the other one kneeling down hey, let's figure out how to move forward, even if they're poking a little bit of fun. I mean, I'd rather take the poking the fun if you're beside me, right?

Speaker 2:

Oh, okay.

Speaker 1:

We're jumping around a little bit, but let's get back. I'd love to hear more about you, so can you tell us a little bit about your origin story? Where are you from?

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm originally from Atlanta, raised by a single mother. You know we moved approximately eight to 10 times before I reached the fourth grade. Now that's a lot of moving force to the villain, but that shows where. That shows the instability that my mother had at that time. And so she dealt with the mental illness, she dealt with the stigma. She was classified as being paranoid, schizophrenic. So from an early age I dealt with that piece. I was the plus, I was an only child. I was the only person for her to lean upon. I was the only person who she perceived ever truly loved her, and so, as a kid, she wanted to extract love from me. You know kids can be selfish. Now, I did love my mom, but the beautiful thing about her even though she was beautiful and broken man, she imparted some leadership principles to me. She was an out of the box thinker and she was fearless. If my mother wasn't struggling with mental health, she would have been a legislative powerhouse and force in the community, and so right now, I picked up part of that mantle to fulfill the things that she didn't fulfill concerning her mission, and so that's the space that I'm from.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so I got this question from senior master sergeant Robert Rivers. Great question, I love it. I had to plug it in, since we only got about an hour of time with the guest. This is one I think is a good way to get to know you in a short amount of time. So how are you using your time? What's one app you're using, one book you recommend and one thing you're listening to? Oh my come on.

Speaker 2:

Well, I would say the book that I read outside. Now I read the Bible. Every day I read the Bible. The other book that I really like I mean I would say love is Simon Sinek's Start With why Beautiful, beautiful piece. The other book that I love is the book called Integrity by Henry Cloud. Most of us in the Air Force of the military we really don't know what integrity is, and the way he defined integrity in that book is absolutely mind-blowing. It made me relook at integrity.

Speaker 1:

And what are your two biggest takeaways from those books?

Speaker 2:

My two biggest takeaways from Simon Sinek's book is, even starting with the title, starting with why, and the aspect of when you start with why, you're starting with your heart first. When it comes to whatever you're doing, if you're in business, you're doing it because something is within your heart and how you're going to impact humanity, and that's what people can connect to. People are spirit beings, and so our spirit men, the spirit within us, is like Wi-Fi, and we connect with one another's routers, and so people can connect, and so they can connect with the big thing. Why I'm here is why I'm doing what I'm doing. That's my biggest takeaway from Simon Sinek's book. And the other thing is my why helps with my design and infrastructure. I make everything from why I'm doing it and everything communicates it, so there's a level of consistency.

Speaker 1:

And one thing I wanted to touch on real quick. I hate to jump back, but I got a touch on it. So earlier you said words turn into feelings, and so there's one thing Simon talks about is he went and interviewed people that were nervous or about to go into a job interview, and then he interviewed people that were up for the Olympics, and so he asked them what are your symptoms? They're like sweaty palms. My heart is racing, I'm sweating. All of them have the exact same symptoms, and then he said how are you feeling? So the one person, the person going in for the interview, said they were nervous. The people that were going up on the largest stage in the world for the Olympics say I'm excited. They've worked their whole life for that opportunity. So nerves is not there, nervous is not there, it's excited. I'm here, I'm ready to prove myself. I'm ready to get up and be first, second, third, take gold, but the symptoms, the heart rate, the sweatiness, exactly the same right. So the word is transforming the feeling. Exactly what you said. I'm excited let's get it, or I'm nervous, I'm going to shriek back, I'm going to be not feeling great things like that. All that is is the word. Nothing changes in that. But the word Come on, isn't that wild, I know.

Speaker 2:

And the other thing, the other part of your question too, about Henry Cloud's book on integrity.

Speaker 1:

That book is good, that book is good, I'm grabbing it now.

Speaker 2:

The way he did one of the aspects of integrity. I look at it along these lines Integrity is words come first, actions follow, right. So there's a continuum of truth, there's a long line of truth. Honesty and this is connected to the book, but the book doesn't say this. Honesty is actions occur first, words follow. Anybody a criminal can be honest. Did you steal the candy bars? Yes, I did. I went in and died. Actions come first, words come later. And the middle of it is candor. Candor is the releasing of unsolicited information whereby the other party would feel betrayed if you didn't share. That's in the middle. That's candor. But integrity words first, actions follow. In his book he talked about and some things I thought were integral, like somebody did it, somebody they reported what they did. Oh man, that person was integral. No, no, no, they were honest. But in this sense he talked about aircraft and he was saying that look, some aircraft like, let's say, the F-22, is built for a certain level of aerodynamics and the way that it's built is to maintain a level of integrity. The integrity that is put into that metal equips it to deal in those particular terms, to be aerodynamic. Another aircraft that lacks that level of integrity, that level of design cannot function within that space. He also gives an example of an individual who was he worked with on a project and he said the guy would do everything within the contract. Everything he said he would do, he would do it in the contract. He said, however, if there was a slight change of the smallest element, he was looking to charge you for it. He was looking, he would say, hey, we got to do this, this and this, and he would charge you and hit you across the head with it. He said and he showed that that was a lack of integrity. He said because, sure, he did everything that he said he would do in the contract, but when it came to the integrity and the integrity was about looking out for others, like you would look out for yourself, and so he mentioned somebody else said, hey, you work with this particular person. Would you recommend it? He said sure. He said yes, I will warn you, make sure you got all your ducks in a row and if you have to make a change, you will be charged, and charged heavily for. But I never thought of integrity along those lines.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's interesting, that's good stuff. And then the last thing was John Paul Jackson's teaching on dreams.

Speaker 2:

Yes, man, we dream all of the time most of us and John Paul Jackson's teaching on dreams is so impactful because dreams, to me, are like a panoramic motion picture of what's going on with you or what will be going on to you in the future or through you, and so that teaching on dreams helps you when it comes to examining dreams, looking at dreams and really understanding and dreams, man, they're so important. A dream can serve as an avenue or a bank of hope, because you got a dream and you're like man, I'm going through this tough situation. I'm going through this tough time. I need to maintain my integrity and I need to continue to walk this out and be resilient.

Speaker 1:

Good stuff. Ok, next question what's one lesson you've learned in this life? You think everyone should learn.

Speaker 2:

I would say one of the key things we've been taught in school. We've been taught in school and in life to keep it safe. I would say, forget about safety, don't don't think safe first, because our failures are fertilizer for our future progress. If you're going to fail, sit down and process it properly. A farmer gets manure on the ground. Now that manure stinks, but he takes it through a process and uses it and it becomes fertilizer that gives him richer crops. So that's what I would say Take your failures and let it become fertilizer for future success because you process it properly. In life we have stuff happens, stuff happens.

Speaker 1:

Stuff happens.

Speaker 2:

Manure happens S-H-I-T. Consider it, and I'm not cursing Super hot, intensity training, leverage it for your purpose.

Speaker 1:

That's another thing. I think we touched on this briefly, or maybe it was before we started recording, but social media just paints the world in a completely different light. You see, the people that already made it famous, the shark tank, their ideas are already huge and things like that. I feel like this is in that same realm where the best example, or the one I can think of at the top of my head, is WD-40. I'd be going to the garage for WD-40 all the time, spraying things that are making noise or to clean things, be going through those cans all the time. You know why it's called WD-40? What? Because it was the 40th formula. There was 39 other formulas that didn't work. They didn't work. They didn't do what they were supposed to. People didn't buy it. But they got to 40 and they're like this is the one, but that seems to be something that's lost. This current thing they want to do. Formula one everything work out, everything be good, no manure, no plow in the fields and putting in the hard work. Everyone knows WD-40. You could probably go anywhere in the world and people would know that logo at this point. But it took 39 formulas and I'm sure that was months or years of time, every formula. Who knows how long that took to get to WD-40, but it's a household name now.

Speaker 2:

Come on, man, I like that Along the same lines, thomas Jefferson, excuse me, thomas Edison. When the reporter asked Thomas Edison how does it feel to fail in producing the light bulb 10,000 times, thomas Jefferson turned it on. He said no, inventing the light bulb was a process that took 10,000 steps.

Speaker 1:

He had to do 99,999, not how to do it to get the one that did work.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. But think about this. Think about the level of resilience, but also think about the mental fitness that he was building through his perseverance. He was strengthening in the midst of failure, in the midst of other people saying, man, you need to give that up. In his stick-to-itiveness he kept going and man that level. I mean you talking about some mental fitness.

Speaker 1:

Which that goes back to. I feel like in the military we always use the example of the rubber band for resiliency, which I think is dumb. Like, oh, just bounce back. They like to say just bounce. But like what does that mean? But we go to the paper plate. Right, he's got 99 paper plates. Come on, he's taking the biggest meal ribs and everything else he could take the heaviest items, he's taken all of it, but I never really thought about that. 99 times you failed. That is a lot of mental fitness. 98,000, I don't know, I'd be like maybe I got to throw this in, but he had the perseverance to go through 99, to get to the light bulb and take care of all of us. Now he just hit the switch and comes right on.

Speaker 2:

I'm crazy. The cool thing about mental fitness is a team sport. It's a team sport, and so when you think about the pillars of resiliency the spiritual, mental, physical and social pillars all four of those team sport, especially the social pillar. I had one of my number one man, my favorite commanders of all time Brigadier General Tinsley, committed suicide in Alaska, 2007,. I'm walking to the BX and I see the Air Force times and I'm like not my guy. This guy was such an impactful leader that I remember him when he was a colonel he was my group commander before. When he was in your presence, he had the ability to exude authority at the same time, connect with you, and so Airman basic and airman basic felt comfortable in his presence. The reason why I know this was something that he was emanating from his person, the same thing that I knew in Virginia and airman basic said the same thing in Alaska, where he committed suicide. So this guy was impactful. He was the best fighter pilot. He was a tremendous leader, but behind the scenes things that he didn't talk about more likely, they got the best of it the strongest of the strong who had the ability to identify with the weakest.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, which is super powerful. We'll have some interviews coming up in future podcasts, but I have a couple of those where it's the person you wouldn't expect. The person is not supposed to have problems. So some really great ones coming up. But that's a good reminder just to say that out loud, mental fitness or mental health issues can impact anybody. So we got that thing. Oh, you got it all squared away. There's demons, there's things people are struggling with on the inside, and I think that's probably one of the most difficult parts of the whole thing, because I love the aspect of calling it mental fitness. But there are some elements that are more difficult with it. Like, you know, traditional fitness you can see someone gets slimmer, you can see, you know, the muscles grow and things like that, but you can't see the scars, the wounds and the demons of the mental aspect. So that does have a completely different challenge to it to be able to know when to step in or try to take care of someone. But that's hopefully the point of the podcast, at least this one and having these conversations and making it more normal. So I want to move on to Okay, go ahead.

Speaker 2:

But there are certain metrics that we can actually detect when it comes to mental health, Mental fitness, if we Depends on our level of relationship. So we know their history and we know how they went through certain things and if we've partnered with them and said, hey, you could press through and give them some tools, we could see when they come out on the other side and how they handle other situations. So what you're saying is true we may not be able to see some of the scars, but there is some metrics where we can begin to see progress. But it's all based on relationship.

Speaker 1:

Hey, we're going to have to have another episode. I got to hear some more about that. We'll have to come back to that at some point. Next one this is one of my most intriguing questions. I guess is the best way to put it. I'm going to go to conversations about mental health growing up.

Speaker 2:

I had my conversations with. Mainly, I didn't have conversations about mental health. My mom was talking to me about her mental illness because she several times like she would be locked in the room for days or at a mental hospital getting a break, and so all of the conversations were centered around that. In every conversation that I heard from other people had negative connotations associated man or people, family members. Well, you know, your mom's is crazy, in which my mom wasn't crazy. The mind, the soul, could be injured just like any other body part.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, that's sad when people get labeled in certain ways, but you know, hopefully we'll continue to have these conversations and we'll clear the stigma. I don't think it's going to be quicker, you know around the corner, but we got to keep on pressing on, I agree.

Speaker 2:

So I wanted to ask you a question.

Speaker 1:

you were in the military for a couple of years. I'm curious what do you think one thing the military does right in regards to mental health and one thing they need to work on?

Speaker 2:

I believe the military does a tremendous job, especially the Air Force. I believe we do a great job now when it comes to destigmatizing mental health and talking about it from an aspect, in giving and creating or giving people the latitude to establish a safe place to express the deep things that on the deep recesses of their hearts. I believe the military does a great job, especially the Air Force. On the flip side, one thing, one challenge though in the midst of it, we want to be comforting but not coddling. And so I see what we're creating the safe space, but we don't want the pendulum to swing to the other side, because there are things that we need to strengthen fellow service members in pressing through and not rescuing them from it. We want to help them, because when you begin to coddle, then you then the whole thing, you begin to create a new stigma. The entire culture of it is losing credibility because people are coddling and not holding and when I say holding people accountable, it's just asking questions at the right time, because sometimes mental fitness can deal with a person's level of competency or it could deal with their level of capacity. It could be one or the other, and we need to address that to help them walk through it, because it's not a permanent state, it's not, it's a dynamic situation, it's not standing.

Speaker 1:

Which I think that goes back to, which is repeating. But I think repeating is an important for, you know, reinforcement, but that's that getting beyond a difficult situation and knowing that you can get through it. You don't have any, you know, you don't have anything to bounce the ability to bounce back when things get difficult. We're going to move on to another question. So you've touched on a lot of these aspects, but just want to make sure we capture all these. So why is mental health important to you personally? So you kind of touched on, you know, the ability to have a prosperous life and wanting to destigmatize, but what are some other things you want to touch on and mental health being important to you personally?

Speaker 2:

Well, I believe I mean one of the other reasons why mental health is important with me, because mental health for mental fitness is one of the and let me, let me go with, let me start with mental mental health in the aspect. Mental health is one of the silent struggles that shackles a lot of people, and so that's why I want to deal with it, because it's it's one of those hidden enemies. You know, like, the difference between. See, there's a difference between DUI and sleep deprivation. One of them is punitive, the other has the same effect but it's non punitive. If a police pull you over and you're sleeping, they're just going to say a guy gets some rest. If they pull you over with DUI, they're going to lock you up. Sleep deprivation is just a big of a killer. Is DUI? It has the same aspect. There are studies that show that when you lack certain amount of hours of sleep is like drinking so many beers but it's not punitive. So it's a silent killer. It's a non punitive killer. The punishment is on the individual and the people that are impacted by the crash. But it's not Is you don't get locked up for.

Speaker 1:

That's a while, because either way you're commanding a three thousand pound vehicle through the streets, right? So if you fall asleep, a vehicle still going somewhere. That's why I'm completely different. I mean same but different, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so with mental health is one of those things, that silent you mentioned that before. It's silent, it's behind the scenes, it's camouflaged and a lot of smiles and a lot of other things Suit up. It's camouflaged and that people don't want to be a burden, this, that another, or people don't want to be stigmatized, and so that's one of the things that we want to open up those safe spaces for people to share what's on their hearts.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely so. I want to transition because look through the notes and I really love what you wrote in here. So I'd like to hear more from you on not being prepared for a situation, because if you're not prepared, you're going to be stressed, you're going to feel a lot of different things, but that shouldn't be the excuse for not preparing. That doesn't mean you're having, you know, a terrible mental fitness or mental health day. So can you touch on making sure that you're prepared for the things that you, you know, take on?

Speaker 2:

Most definitely, and again that goes to mental fitness. That goes to the example that you mentioned from Simon's, the next book. Start with why? About the difference between the two individuals that were going up in front of a large crowd? One of them said, hey, I've been preparing for years for this, I'm excited. The other one is nervous when it comes to the space of an individual not being prepared, that that can open you up to some fitness issues. That can open you up to a level of criticism that you're not prepared for, that you actually brought on to yourself because you didn't invest the amount of equity you needed into that particular project, and so that is that could be really harmful. So being prepared sets you up and puts you in a space where you, where you could skyrocket.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you still got to put in the work on the front, which goes back to the manure. These are all reinforcing right.

Speaker 2:

Right, you got to, you got to put that in. And one of the things that works against our preparation is now, with all of the apps, all of the platforms, there is a level of distraction. Hmm, mental fragment, mental fragmentation, like my mind, of your mind's everywhere.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so when I look at the word distraction, I'm thinking about disconnecting you from traction. Hmm, you were moving forward and now you're disconnected from from moving forward. You're disconnected from the traction you were, you were making and so being all over the place instead of just being focused and aligned, and that preparation sets you up, that preparation leads to focus and clarity and puts you in another space. Nice.

Speaker 1:

I saw throughout the notes there's a few acronyms in here, so this one is talk. It sounds like this to shell pass. Can you kind of walk us through talk.

Speaker 2:

Right. So let's say, if someone experiences a challenge and we and we need to pull them off of a project and they say, you know, I'm having some, I'm really stressed out right now, I'm like, ok, cool, so you stressed out, we pull you off the project. And then I begin to inquire. You know what's going on. When the dust settles, I'm going to have a conversation with the individual, I'm going to talk to them, I want to ask some questions. So I'm going to be truthful, assertive, loving and calm, so that we can keep accountability within the mental fitness space.

Speaker 1:

But still connect.

Speaker 2:

We're still going to connect. And so what happens in many cases and we touch this several times but a lot of people are hands off, like they could see something nefarious is happening or somebody is leveraging the thing that they're leveraging. You know what this is? A mental health thing, you know? Hey, just just get me up. It could be something that they were unprepared for or they didn't put in the work and they want you to pull them off the project and they may be stressed and overload. I'm like, ok, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool. I still want to come back and ask those questions after the dust settles. And there are four principles that I use when I, before I have conversations with an individual. I consider timing, place, heart posture and word choice. Timing place, heart posture and word choice. I don't want to do it at the wrong time of the wrong place because the message won't be received. I don't want to have the wrong heart, even though I got the right words, because the message won't be received, wow. Or if I got the right words in the wrong part, I still don't want to do it, so I got to do that, and then we could have that talk Trueful, assertive loving and kind, and that's not one of those.

Speaker 1:

you can have a few of them, but not all of them. It sounds like you got to have every one of those.

Speaker 2:

Right, you need to have all of those in place.

Speaker 1:

That's an all or nothing. I want to move on to the next question. This one's a little deep. I can't wait to hear your thoughts. But what's the biggest challenge you've overcome in your personal mental health?

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh. I would say the biggest, the biggest challenge I ever had with my personal mental health would be I had a. I was divorced, so I'm remarried, so I was divorced years ago and when I went through that divorce, the people that were around me, that I leaned upon, that I shared life with, they turned on.

Speaker 1:

Had to pick a side.

Speaker 2:

Right, they had to pick a side. So they picked a side, and I understand it. They picked a side and, man, I was broken and that, really that really challenged me. On top of that, my son I didn't get to see my son for a while, so that, so that disturbed me Not to get to see my big man.

Speaker 1:

That's tough. So what actionable things did you do? You could have went down spiral and an endlessly down right. What did you use to kind of break that cycle and get feeling a little bit better?

Speaker 2:

Well, what I did? I leaned upon my. I leaned upon my friends that were faithful. I had some. I had my pastors I would connect with. They prayed for me a lot, they shared with me wise counsel and they stood along my side as I walked through that entire process. They allowed me to share the things that were, that were upon my heart and over time I was able to walk out of that situation into another space.

Speaker 1:

It seems like a lot of times you just got to break the cycle and, you know, start going in the other direction. I mean, obviously easier said than done, but the social pillars being able to lean on people and get going in the right direction super important.

Speaker 2:

And I would say I know there's a lot of talk now about self care and I would say self care is essential for for survival. Self care is extremely important, but being other centric is very important for mental fitness yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think being connected to the, the greater population, is really important. You know, regardless of introvert, extrovert, things like that, there's something you need being human, you know, growing up, you know whatever being part of that larger community is super important.

Speaker 2:

Right, Absolutely. And what and what I'm talking about? I'm talking about serving others in something that you love to do. Take care of yourself, but serve others in something that you help, that you love to do, and it will shift your mentality and get it all for you.

Speaker 1:

You still take care of you Right.

Speaker 2:

But then when you shift and focus because there's something innate within us, what God created us, when we, when we do something good for somebody else, we feel great.

Speaker 1:

That's funny, you mentioned that because I have this introduction I do with my flight and I mentioned some of the difficult things I've been through. So divorce and shared custody and you know my grandparents have passed away and you know my bonus dad died at 50, and different things. So a lot of different things that are very negative, right, but the way I look at it which I don't know if it's like weird or skewed or whatnot but if I get to help somebody, that was for a reason, that was for a purpose, and I get to use it for something Like why have something sucked to suck? That's not any good, like, oh, that sucked Like a dwell on it, you know, and it doesn't do anything. But instead, you know now, when I have somebody come into the office and want to share something and I in no way you know I repeat this every time I'm not saying I've been through everything, I'm not saying I've been through your exact situation, I'm just saying I've been to been through something and we can sit down and connect. And you know, the two biggest things I try to do is one listen, you want to vent and you know release and then let it go Perfect, or I'm going to get on it and start fixing. Those are two different things and I think those are are very different. Sometimes it's just vent, I need to do this. Don't try and fix anything for me. I can fix it myself, or I'll fix it later, or, hey, I'm going to start making phone calls and we're going to get after this. You just let me know what needs to happen. But I think that's super important because those situations did suck and they were, you know, very low points in my life, but they're now, you know, good, or at least neutral. You know, whatever you want to look at it, because I get to use it to connect with other people. So don't let someone suck to suck. You know, get out there. Hey, I agree with you.

Speaker 2:

I agree with you Leverage it. And when we're talking about serving others, it's not to provide novocaine to the pain. We're not looking for that. The pain is the pain. You want to address the pain, but you want to take your mind off of it. The difference between the dead sea and other bodies of water the pain that a stagnant begins to become putrid, it begins to stink. So the dead sea is dead. No life in it because it receives. It receives an inflow, but there's no outflow. When there's outflow, there's life. And so you go on with your life. You still maintain a level of self care. You need that for survival, but in order to thrive, we need to serve, and that could bring us out of that space Serving something that we love doing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's, that's super important. I want to know what are some of the actionable things, what are habits you do routinely as we talk about mental fitness, things that you're doing ongoing to take care of your mental fitness.

Speaker 2:

One of the things that I that I do, one of the things that I'm doing and this is one of the things I've let me speak, some things I'm doing, other things that I am orientating, saying, look, I got to do more of this. One of the things that's very important for my mental health is recreation. I call it recreation, not recreation. Yeah because when I'm out doing something that I love to do, I'm stepping back into the highest level of creativity that I could have. It's like refreshing a computer. So that's very important for my mental health and connecting with friends, individuals with the same values, with the same passions, where we feed off of one another. Sometimes you have a conversation with somebody and you feel like you could fly when you leave that conversation because that was strategic life exchange taking place between you two. Wow so those things are extremely important.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it reminds me I hate running in the military, like, oh you know, you'll learn to love it. I'm now over 14 years, I'm still not loving it, but it's part of my terms of employment, so I got to keep on running. But one thing I found that really helps me get through is the Nike Run app. Coach Bennett is on there. He does guided runs where he's talking in your ear and that guy oh that guy can't get you motivated. I don't know what will. But one of the things he talks about is recovery runs, and so he says recovery runs, you know, people see as slow and boring and I don't want to do my recovery run. But one thing he did in one of the recovery runs is he defined the word recovery, which kind of gave me you know the epiphany and kind of puts it all in perspective. He said recovery is regaining something that was lost or stolen. So you're regaining your energy, you're regaining the things you can so you can do the fast runs, the long runs, the sexy runs, you know, the things that are cool to you, right, you have to put in the recovery to be able to do the cool things, but to regain what is lost or stolen. So you're going to, over time, lose your energy, lose your motivation, lose, you know, muscle fiber or whatever it may be, but you are regaining. And I think the most powerful part of his definition is like you had talked about earlier is the proactiveness is going after life and getting it. You are regaining, you are taking it back. You're not allowing the energy to flow back to you or just sitting there and maybe I'll feel better later, or maybe I'll take a nap or whatnot. You are going out and getting it and so, by putting the slower miles or the slower things in, you're still moving forward, but you're allowing your body to regain and take back what was lost or stolen. So I love that definition he put in there regain you know what was taken from you.

Speaker 2:

Come on, because exercise is a key part of resiliency. It deals with that particular pillar. I remember a while back I was catching a lot of colds and wisdom came to me and said you've been eating a lot, but you've been starving yourself to death.

Speaker 1:

Oh, not eating the right things.

Speaker 2:

Right, I wasn't nourishing myself at the cellular level, so I've been eating a lot, but you've been eating a lot, but you've been starving yourself to death.

Speaker 1:

That's powerful.

Speaker 2:

I know man, and so I begin to. Over time, I've changed the way that I eat, because that's very important. People don't, we don't realize that mental fitness is also associated with what we eat, and I would. One of my other suggestions is for people to go to YouTube and look at the teaching by Daniel Dr Daniel A man oh, my God him and Dr Mark Hyman. They talk about nutrition and there's a YouTube video called how to end mental illness. It's brilliant, brilliant. They make a, they make a connection to food. It's not saying that you don't do the other things, but they talked about how much food impacts our mood and what happens with us.

Speaker 1:

It makes sense, got whole whole person stuff right. I can't really tackle one thing. Got to really take care of all of it.

Speaker 2:

Earlier I'd go ahead Sorry.

Speaker 1:

Earlier I'd asked about you know what your conversations were with mental health, things like that growing up. I'm curious, like you've lived a couple more years now and whatnot, so what are your perspectives and you know how do you reflect back on you know what you thought of mental health as you were growing up versus now.

Speaker 2:

Well, I had a. Unfortunately, at that time, when I was young, I looked down on my mother. I was thinking like you, just, you just need to get together. Like you be weak. And so, as a child you know a teenager looking down on my mother and looking at other people cross-eyed when they were going through those struggles, I look at that now. I look at that then, as opposed to now understanding that a we help bear one another's burdens and help people. It's not a death sentence, it's not a life sentence. Yeah. Understanding is really important right, Right, yeah. So I look at it from a totally different people, from a totally different picture, and there's a, there's a. There's something in the book of Psalms that said that your gentleness has made me great To be. Now I could be gentle with people who are having those struggles. I could be extremely gentle and help them walk through that particular process.

Speaker 1:

It sounds like that connection and that empathy right.

Speaker 2:

Right, right, getting more mentally stronger man. I had someone contact me not too long ago because I would speak at the Chief Leadership Academy and I connected with someone that I knew from the past and basically this person is higher up, you know, high. They called me and they let me know they were pretty much on the other end, but they were on the. They were on the within the self-harm spectrum that could have done something to themselves. But it was beautiful that they saw something in me, that they saw me as a safe voice and I was one of the few individuals that they talked to. And so my and I'm switching a little bit, but one of the things that I implore for you know, any one listening wherever you work at, there's a principle I live by, called I-squared. There's the responsibility of the institution and the responsibility of the individual. As an individual and as a leader, I want to remove gossip from wherever I'm working because it allows people to come through in authenticity when they know that they're not being talked about and when they see me not as Superman but as Clark Kent was Superman type exploits. When I'm showing my scars and they know that people are not being talked about, it opens the avenue for other people to begin to share their story and they begin to see oh, my God, you're going through this. You went through this. Oh, you went through this. And then people begin to come together, but gossip is kryptonite.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that goes into like Brene Brown's you know her vulnerability stuff. I know I try to open up and, like I talked about, kind of talk about some of the things that I've been through in my life, and I know that kind of is weird or might freak out some people like you're not supposed to show anything, you're not supposed to be weak, but if there is any moment of connection or ability of someone to bring something forward, I'm down for that. So I'll be a little goofy, a little vulnerable and things like that and I think that makes us more powerful. I think sometimes, being on the officer side, there's a little bit more pedestal or division and you know I'm a person just like everyone else. I have good days and bad days, but sometimes there's there always has to be some level of respect based on the structure that we have. But people are people. I mean you can bring me things and things like that. But I do have another question for you Can you share some tips, their strategies that I talked about at the beginning? People are really gonna leave with some great tips and strategies. So what are some things that listeners can start implementing in their lives today? Maybe?

Speaker 2:

I would say one of the key things that individuals can implement in their lives. Today. I would take the Acrostic or the acronym Trash, right Trash. So the T I wanna treat trauma, any trauma that I got. I wanna treat it. I wanna get counseling, I wanna share it with friends, and so you want that safe place, one veiling your heart. And then I wanna deal with the R. I wanna remove toxins. Those toxins can be programming people or poisons, yeah, yeah, Programming the way that I, the lens that I see through if I'm seeing something and it's off, and people are letting me know that it's off. Stephen Covey made this statement. He said we don't see the world as it is, we see it as we are or the way we've been conditioned to see it. So I wanna remove toxins. I wanna remove toxic thinking. I wanna remove toxic people, People that are not merchants of hope but they're dispensers of despair. I wanna get them up out of here. And also poisons. I wanna detox my body, because I talked about Dr Daniel A-Man. You know you remove those things from your body. You're doing good. And then A? I want to annihilate any accusations that I have against anybody. I wanna forgive. I wanna clear my heart and readily forgive people, and for a tool man, I would suggest that people go out on YouTube to Dr Dennis and Dr Jennifer Clark. They have a teaching on forgiveness that is mind blown. We could definitely leverage that, because that forgiveness turns into arthritis. That's what my mom dealt with. She dealt with a lot of unforgiveness because she had a root of rejection for being rejected from family, and so that forgiveness releases a lot of things and also releases a level of creativity and allows us to be resilient. And then the S I wanna separate from false expectations. That's what a lot of people they're under pressure. They got false expectations and somebody said Moe, we bring you in to speak, but I need you to step up to this level, because I told them this, this and this. My wife laughs because I said hey, I said do you believe what you told them about me? Because if you didn't, you need to go back and tell them that hey, I exaggerated, I lied, cause guess what? I'm not taking that upon me. I'm coming in, I'm being who I am, I'm not submitting the false expectations. That's on you. If you didn't believe it, you shouldn't have said it, and so I don't let people put. I don't let people put those expectations on me. And then the H holding yourself accountable Whenever you see that you're doing certain things because you know truth and you say you know what. I was straight wrong. I was straight wrong in this situation. And in order to hold yourself accountable, you got to have humility. There's something within our office of core that is a little different from the enlisted. The office of core is good. We got tremendous leaders, but there's an error that I've seen in our force that they want officers to have, especially in the Air Force. General Tinsley functioned with a level of humility. He was so humble that it was palatable. You are a one star but an airman basic can feel comfortable in your presence. Hmm, it's powerful, that is powerful and I would charge officers with that and anybody enlisted, whatever man. Humility, man is a beautiful thing and humility allows us to go for help. So we want to hold ourselves accountable. We want to remove the trash.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I'd like to try to summarize some of the things we talked about today. So we talked about, you know, words are powerful, have an empathy for other people and, really, I think, just sitting down and educating yourself. You mentioned quite a few different URL, so I'm super excited for people to get out there and, you know, check out some of these things about diet. You know, letting people off the hook for different things and, you know, be a model to get after that. So I think education is super important. I encourage everyone out there to share their thoughts, send me any messages, let me know what your thoughts and ideas are, or if you have any ideas for wanting to be on the show. I'll totally be here. All the links and everything will be in the notes for this. So I'll try to get all this stuff out there for social media to be able to connect if you need to. But I wanted to give one final thing for you and would love to know what message or takeaway you hope listeners will take today from today's podcast.

Speaker 2:

One of the that. My main takeaway it's hard right. Just one, yeah, just one, but no, no. My main takeaway from today is to open yourself up. Open yourself to receive the help that you need. Being vulnerable Me, one of the things and I didn't mention this, but one of the things that has helped me to be really resilient is my quiet time that I spent with Jesus. He is that answer for all things. And, man, I'm telling you, the manufacturer who created all things, he knows his product, so that's why I go to him, because he's the one man If I could say. Anything that I shared with you was a tool that came from truth. But it came from truth, it came from the word of God and it came from the person of Christ. And I would say to anybody, whether you believe in him or not, we're gonna have to stand before the creator knows what's up, right.

Speaker 1:

Yes, well, maurice, thanks for coming on the show. Really appreciate you coming out. All the information, like I said, will be out there. We'll keep having these serious conversations and I hope we start to lighten the mood. And even those are deep conversations and deep topics. They need to be had, so we're gonna keep on having them. But that's all I got. You got anything else?

Speaker 2:

Hey man, look, connect with me on Maurice Mo Arno on LinkedIn or connect with me at connect at molosophycom. That's how you can connect with me. Or go to molosophycom and check out my website. Get on the contact. So I would say be blessed and just enjoy life to the fullest. Don't be courageous. I'm not asking you to be courageous. Courageous is a good thing. You do it in spite of fear, but we wanna grow to the place that we're fearless. That's really dangerous.

Speaker 1:

Be fearless. Everyone out there have a great day. We'll see you next time. See ya, Make sure to subscribe.

Resiliency and Mental Fitness
Empathy and Helping Others
Using Time, Books, and Dreams
Resilience, Mental Fitness, and Overcoming Failure
Military's Approach to Mental Health
Mental Fitness and Overcoming Challenges
Encouraging Authenticity and Self-Improvement