It's an Inside Job

Fostering Communication & Connections: Insights from a Former Hostage Negotiator.

January 01, 2024 Jason Birkevold Liem Season 5 Episode 1
Fostering Communication & Connections: Insights from a Former Hostage Negotiator.
It's an Inside Job
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It's an Inside Job
Fostering Communication & Connections: Insights from a Former Hostage Negotiator.
Jan 01, 2024 Season 5 Episode 1
Jason Birkevold Liem

Do you often struggle with bouncing back from life's challenges? What if adopting a resilient mindset could help you thrive in the face of adversity? If you're ready to build your resilience and find strength in unity, this episode is for you.

In this episode, we delve into the topic of resilience and how it can help us bounce back from adversity. We start by sharing the inspiring story of Rocky Balboa and his message to his son about perseverance. We highlight the importance of adopting a resilient mindset and surrounding ourselves with supportive networks.

To facilitate effective communication, we share the SALES acronym as a practical tool. This acronym stands for Stop and listen, Ask questions, Evaluate responses, Listen and learn, and Share information. By following these steps, we can enhance our ability to connect with others and navigate difficult conversations.

Imagine navigating life's challenges with resilience and effective communication. 

By listening to this episode, you'll discover:

  1. Adopting a Resilient Mindset: Learn how to adopt a resilient mindset through inspiring stories and practical strategies.
  2. Fostering Connections: Understand the importance of recognizing similarities and giving to others to build meaningful connections.
  3. Effective Communication: Gain insights into the SALES acronym to improve your communication skills and navigate difficult conversations.

Three Benefits You'll Gain:

  1. Enhanced Resilience: Discover practical strategies to build and maintain resilience in the face of adversity.
  2. Stronger Connections: Learn how to foster meaningful connections by recognizing shared experiences and extending kindness.
  3. Improved Communication: Understand and apply the SALES acronym to enhance your communication skills and effectively connect with others.

Are you ready to embrace resilience and overcome adversity with confidence? Scroll up and click play to join our inspiring conversation. 

Learn practical strategies for building resilience, fostering connections, and improving communication. 

Bio:
Former police detective, hostage negotiator and international peacekeeper J. Paul Nadeau “Paul” spent more than 31 years working with victims of crime and perpetrators and learning from top experts in abuse situations, murder investigations, hostage takings, terrorist attacks and human behavior in general.

Over the course of his career, Paul talked hostage takers into giving themselves up and murderers into admitting to their crimes, and because of his extensive training and his unique approach to connecting with people of all walks of life and under every circumstance, his life was saved by a terrorist during a terrorist attack in the Middle East.

Contact:
Linkedin: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jpaulnadeau
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/paul.nadeau/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jpaulnadeau/
Website: https://www.jpaulnadeau.com/
Book:  https://www.amazon.com/Books-J-Paul-Nadeau/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AJ.+Paul+Nadeau

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you often struggle with bouncing back from life's challenges? What if adopting a resilient mindset could help you thrive in the face of adversity? If you're ready to build your resilience and find strength in unity, this episode is for you.

In this episode, we delve into the topic of resilience and how it can help us bounce back from adversity. We start by sharing the inspiring story of Rocky Balboa and his message to his son about perseverance. We highlight the importance of adopting a resilient mindset and surrounding ourselves with supportive networks.

To facilitate effective communication, we share the SALES acronym as a practical tool. This acronym stands for Stop and listen, Ask questions, Evaluate responses, Listen and learn, and Share information. By following these steps, we can enhance our ability to connect with others and navigate difficult conversations.

Imagine navigating life's challenges with resilience and effective communication. 

By listening to this episode, you'll discover:

  1. Adopting a Resilient Mindset: Learn how to adopt a resilient mindset through inspiring stories and practical strategies.
  2. Fostering Connections: Understand the importance of recognizing similarities and giving to others to build meaningful connections.
  3. Effective Communication: Gain insights into the SALES acronym to improve your communication skills and navigate difficult conversations.

Three Benefits You'll Gain:

  1. Enhanced Resilience: Discover practical strategies to build and maintain resilience in the face of adversity.
  2. Stronger Connections: Learn how to foster meaningful connections by recognizing shared experiences and extending kindness.
  3. Improved Communication: Understand and apply the SALES acronym to enhance your communication skills and effectively connect with others.

Are you ready to embrace resilience and overcome adversity with confidence? Scroll up and click play to join our inspiring conversation. 

Learn practical strategies for building resilience, fostering connections, and improving communication. 

Bio:
Former police detective, hostage negotiator and international peacekeeper J. Paul Nadeau “Paul” spent more than 31 years working with victims of crime and perpetrators and learning from top experts in abuse situations, murder investigations, hostage takings, terrorist attacks and human behavior in general.

Over the course of his career, Paul talked hostage takers into giving themselves up and murderers into admitting to their crimes, and because of his extensive training and his unique approach to connecting with people of all walks of life and under every circumstance, his life was saved by a terrorist during a terrorist attack in the Middle East.

Contact:
Linkedin: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jpaulnadeau
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/paul.nadeau/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jpaulnadeau/
Website: https://www.jpaulnadeau.com/
Book:  https://www.amazon.com/Books-J-Paul-Nadeau/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AJ.+Paul+Nadeau

Support the Show.


Sign up for the weekly IT'S AN INSIDE JOB NEWSLETTER

  • takes 5 seconds to fill out
  • receive a fresh update every Wednesday

[0:00] Music.


Introducing "It's an Inside Job" podcast with Jason Liem


[0:09] Welcome back to It's an Inside Job podcast. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
Now, this podcast is dedicated to helping you to help yourself and others to become more mentally and emotionally resilient, so you can be better at bouncing back from life's inevitable setbacks.
Now, on It's an Inside Job, we decode the science and stories of resilience, into practical advice, skills, and strategies that you can use to impact your life and those around you.
Now, with that said, let's slip into the stream.

[0:37] Music.


Season 5 Begins: Intriguing Guests Await


[0:46] Well, welcome back everyone to It's an Inside Job, I'm your host Jason Liem.
Well, this episode is quite special because this is season 5, the top of season 5 and this is episode 1 of that season.
And if you don't already know, on It's an Inside Job, a season is 6 months, so this will be running till June.
My goal for this fresh season is to bring intriguing and very interesting guests to trigger your curiosity, your interest, and your intrigue.
Well, without further ado, I'd like to introduce this week's guest.
Now, he is a former police detective, Haasen negotiator, and international peacekeeper, J. Paul Nadeau.
Well, Paul has spent more than 31 years with victims of crime and perpetrators and learning from top experts in abuse situations, murder investigations, hostage taking, terrorist attacks and human behavior in general.
Over the course of his career, Paul talked hostage takers into giving themselves up and, murderers into admitting to their crimes.
And because of his extensive training and his unique approach to connecting with people.

[1:52] Of all walks of life and under every circumstance, his life was saved by a terrorist during a terrorist attack in the Middle East.
Understands that the importance of connecting to others without judgment, prejudice or fear, so that we can each contribute to helping the world become a better, safer place.
He reflects this compassion in each of the books he writes, each seminar he runs, each life coach, motivational session he has, and each of his global keynotes.
He's Canada's most recognized hostage negotiator and the author of Dammit, Just Ask, a book on negotiating in life and in business.
Short introduction. It cannot capture the breadth of the latitude and altitude of this conversation I had with Paul.
It's fascinating and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. So without further ado, let's slip into the stream and meet Paul.

[2:43] Music.


From a Troubled Childhood to Becoming a Policeman


[2:51] Welcome to the show. Thank you very much, Jason. Always nice to meet someone new and to share some time with somebody who's going to ask me some interesting questions, as I'm sure you are.
Well, that's the objective. Could you tell us a little about your background and your experience that led you to become a police detective, a hostage negotiator, and an international peacekeeper?
Start where you will.

[3:16] No, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I start this story off by saying that I was raised in a home with a very disturbed and violent alcoholic father. And my dad had two sides to him. He was Jekyll and he was Hyde. He had a dark side to him and he had a very charismatic side to him.
The dark side that he took out on his children, on his wife, had a lot of effect on me because I was beaten regularly and severely beaten and put through some pretty disturbing things.
I got like, I saw animals being killed in front of me. I was taken to a slaughterhouse when I was seven years old.
There was a number of other things that I don't want to get into, but it really, for a kid, it left, it left my soul really taxed.
And I remember after a beating when I was seven years old, I remember looking up at my dad and saying to myself, when I grow older, I'm going to become a policeman so I can arrest you.
I wanted to stop my dad from doing that to me, to my brothers and sisters and to my mom.

[4:27] And I couldn't be the protector back then. And as I grew older, my father didn't give me the opportunity to arrest him.
He actually took his own life when I was 17, and he shot himself with the same rifle that he shot Santa Claus with when I was eight.
And I remember just going through the police academy, just following my dream and becoming that policeman, because by then I wanted to protect others from experiencing the same thing that I had done.

[5:00] Now, in every person's life, I mean, I'm not the only one with this kind of story, Jason.
A lot of people have it.
But what I discovered is at a very early age, I really had to take care of myself because, my mother, beautiful angel that she was, didn't have the time to really take care of five children and she also had to take care of a number of people who were living in our basement.
These were people who were renting rooms that my father wanted income from.
And so she had very little time for her children, but it did for me.
It taught me to take care of myself at a very young age, to learn how to sell myself and learn how to communicate with adults when I was looking for a job at the age of 12 and, 13.
And I got good at it. And I realized that once I had joined the police department, that my ability to connect with people and to really sell myself, but sell my ideas to people connected.
It made a difference in people's lives.
And I went on to become a detective. I thought this is what I set out to do.

[6:04] And I put my heart and my soul into becoming the detective. And I became the detective.
Then I went into the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit, the SVU, as a lot of people refer to it, and really connected with the victims of crime and was able to get them to open up.
And an opportunity came across my desk to put in my name to become a hostage negotiator.
And I thought, you know what, that's a cool job, and I think I could do that.
And the moment I told my boss, he says, geez, Nadeau, yes, of course you can.
And so I went out and I applied for it.
And being from Canada, Jason, you would know, but maybe perhaps some of your listeners wouldn't.
We have a federal police agency, the RCMP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada, and they have to approve and sign off on hostage negotiators because not everyone can be a hostage negotiator for a number of different reasons.

[7:03] And I went through their tests. I went through a number of different scenarios with them, interviews, and then they sealed it. They said, yes, we're welcoming you into the program.
And then several months later, after I learned how to become a hostage negotiator, I became one.
The international peacekeeping happened, yeah, it happened a little bit later during the Iraq war.
And I remember one of our inspectors, a really beautiful man, he announced that we had opportunities to join the United Nations and keep the peace across the world.
And there were a number of different countries that were looking for peacekeepers, and Jordan was one of them.
And the Iraqi police cadets, like the Iraqi police, their country, Iraq, was falling apart, and they were at war, and they were getting as many police officers as they possibly could to join the police department.

[8:02] And I saw an opportunity there to teach Iraqi police cadets and that's how I joined.
In your career, you know, you've been involved obviously with victims of crime, perpetrators.
What are some of the key insights about human behavior, especially in high stress situations like hostages, hostage takings and sort of terrorist attacks that you've learned over the years?


Key Insights on Human Behavior in High-Stress Situations


[8:24] Yeah, one of the things that I've learned is that we all respond to what happens to us quite differently.
And this is based on our backgrounds, this is based on our experiences.
But when a person's liberty, when their power and control has been taken from them.

[8:41] People tend to respond in one of two ways. One way is that they are a complete victim, that they blame themselves oftentimes for what's happened to them, or they're just, they're going to obey no matter what the circumstances are. In the taking of a hostage, we can understand it, that we're all going to suffer from a great deal of stress and uncertainty. And some people are going to handle it much better than others.
And they're going to look for the silver lining, so to speak. It's like, hey, this won't last forever. I've got to be optimistic. I've got to look forward to it. Yes, I'm going to have to listen to what they're saying, their commands, and I'm under their control. I got it, but everything's going to be okay. Whereas others don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

[9:33] Their systems are just so severely attacked that they lose all ability to focus, to think, to rationalize.
And I understand it because recently, as we're doing this podcast, Jason, if this is played in a few years from now, Right now, what's happening in the Middle East is that there is a war that has broken out between Hamas and Israel, and I've been on the news a few times to talk about the state of the hostages and what we could expect from this.
And again, it comes down to the negotiation, but more specifically to your question, Jason, People handle stress and the unexpected in many different ways.
Some people lose complete control, whereas others, they retain control of themselves, but not their circumstances, if that makes sense.

[10:38] No, I understand. So it sounds like from my experience, because we talk a lot on this podcast about equanimity and resilience, and that these kind of things are not just given to us.
It's something we have to go through the crucible to earn through experience. And hopefully we never have to experience being a hostage. But it's interesting what you're saying that how there are different responses to an identical situation. So would you say some part of it comes down to the narrative we assign to the situation, the meaning we give to the situation, or how we relate to the situation? I don't know if you can speak to that layering of it. Oh, I certainly can, Jason, and it's an excellent question because it really does come down to the narrative that we tell ourselves. When we talk about the taking of hostages by a physical entity, by hostage takers, as is the circumstance right now, Hamas taking hostages, that is one thing. But I want to spin it a little bit and talk about you and I and each and every one of your listeners. We can take ourselves hostage. We can actually take ourselves hostage. What does it mean to be taken hostage?

[11:52] It means that your freedom of choice, your actions, your movements, what you do and what you say, are severely controlled by an outside source. But when we take ourselves, our own cells hostage, we are taking.

[12:11] This person, my person, hostage by my narrative, not by anybody else.
Nobody has control over it, but if I give in to my hostage thoughts, for example, you can't possibly do this, Paul.
There's no way you can do that. That's a narrative that so many people go through.
I'm looking for a job. Hey, come on, what are you talking about?
You're looking for that job? Nobody's ever going to hire you.
Why would you even try? Or I'm looking to ask this person out for a date.
Oh, I'm gonna ask her out, or I'm gonna ask him out.
And then all of a sudden the narrative comes in and says, wait a minute, wait a minute, have you looked at yourself?
There's no way that you're gonna be able to score a date with this person, you're just not that person, you can't do it.
And this is the essence of taking yourself hostage by the narrative that you choose to accept.
If you give in to the hostage taker, if you give in complete control to the hostage taker, you are as much a prisoner as those people being held by Hamas today.
Is that we can be held hostage by ourselves, meaning that we won't move forward with our dreams, with our thoughts, with our goals and aspirations.


The Power of Changing Our Narrative


[13:24] Because we're holding ourselves hostage to a narrative that doesn't serve us.
As opposed to saying, I can't, we have to say, I can, and I will, and what must I do to get to where I wanna be?
It is very much, Jason, about the narrative that we give ourselves.
That voice in our head that sounds just like us.
I don't know if you've experienced it, I'm sure you have. I know everybody has. Everybody has.
I talked about that with Jim, our mutual friend Jim, and I have had this discussion as well because I spoke about it in my first book.
But it is really about that narrative that we choose to give into, and it's a choice.
A lot of people don't realize that they have the choice of changing the narrative, which is so powerful when you think about it.
What? I don't have to give in to the hostage taker myself.
Just as you don't have to give in to the hostage-taker, Viktor Frankl said it beautifully.
Viktor Frankl was a neurologist and he was taken hostage because he was Jewish and during the Second World War.
And he made observations from inside the concentration camp in which he said that anyone can take away everything but one thing.

[14:43] Thing, our power to choose, our power to choose our own destinies. Nobody can take that away from us. And so if you are held hostage as he was, it was a choice of his not to give up hope, not to believe in the faith that he had. And that in that way, his hostage takers didn't have complete control for him. He always held on to the hope and the faith that he had. And that's just a beautiful thing. We can control ourselves.

[15:16] You know, in this, I've read his book when I was 17, 18, Man's Search for Meaning. You know, I went to Auschwitz with my twin daughters and such. And so it had a double impact on me and it's always sat with me. If we can come back to whether I'm a hostage myself or unfortunately being a hostage of Hamas in these crazy times and such. But one thing is the ability, you and I are having a conversation and it's easier to speak about these tools.
You know, in that heat of the moment, you spoke how deep different people respond. How does someone, because from my experience, people get so wrapped up in what's going on around them that they don't realize their brains assign an automatic narrative to it.
Some people have the ability to assign maybe a much more constructive narrative that gives them hope, that allows them to see light at the end of the tunnel, if I may use that overused expression.
But in that heat of the moment, when we're so wrapped up with a gun to our head, a gun we put to ourselves because we don't think we can because of self-criticism, self-doubt, or literally a gun to our head because we've been taken harsh by a terrorist.

[16:27] From your experience, you know, doing this for so long in so many different environments, How does someone move from that, getting wrapped up with what's going on, the intensity, to, okay, I have to find, I need to take ownership, I need to start rewriting this narrative?


Taking Ownership and Rewriting Our Narrative


[16:45] I know this is a very simple question, a very complex topic, but maybe you can somehow answer my question.

[16:56] Rome was not built in a day. A bridge was not built in a day. Our skyscrapers weren't built in a day.
They were built one step or one piece at a time. And when we look at perhaps, okay, I'll use our physical bodies as an example. If someone is a little bit overweight or somebody wants to build muscle because, hey, next summer, summertime, I want to be able to take off my shirt. I want to to be able to look good, I'm going to start going to the gym.
And if they only go to the gym once or twice and give up, they're not going to get the results that they want.

[17:31] It requires consistent work, it requires that you focus on what you're doing and that you learn as much as you possibly can in order to build the body that you want.
If you want to have a garden, a beautiful garden with vegetables and flowers and such, it takes time. You have to plant the seeds, you have to water the seeds, you have to do the work.
It's the same with our mind.
We have to do the work. We have to, every day, we have to take a few moments to do something to our inner selves as much as we do to our outer selves.
When people wake up in the morning, typical thing, a lot of people, they wake up and they jump in the shower and they might put on their makeup and they've picked out the clothes that they want for their day, grab their breakfast, they're gone.
They don't plan their day in their mind and they don't take a few moments in the morning to be grateful for what they have and to decide how their day is going to go, decide who they are.
For example, in my morning routine, I'll say, today is going to be a great day.
Anything can happen today, anything.
I'm so grateful for the things that I had. I woke up this morning.
So I'll go through this two or three minute ritual.
It is a preparation for the day, and I'll tell myself, my day is going to be fantastic.
Nobody's going to mess with my day.

[18:57] And depending on my circumstances, if I know I'm like as a police officer, when I knew that I was going into battle, when I knew I was going to be on the streets, I had to prepare myself mentally, hey, you know what to do in the event of a critical incident. You've trained for this, you're ready for this. And we have to remind ourselves that we're ready for what happens to us and that we are not first reactors, we should be first responders. And let me explain that a little bit more. When you prepare for your day, when you prepare and you decide how your day is going to go, you're not leaving it up to chance. So if you're driving down the street, somebody cuts you off, if you weren't prepared for your day, you hadn't taken a few moments to decide how you were going to respond to life as opposed to react to it, when that guy cuts you off, you're going to get in a a heated moment and you're going to yell at them and you might give them the finger, you might do this.
You roll a little bit of road rage, who dare? And that really affects your self and your day.

[20:03] Somebody cut me off this morning, I'm pissed off. I'm really pissed off about that.
As opposed to somebody who's already prepared themselves mentally, nobody's going to bug me.
Somebody cuts you off, you're going to take a moment to respond and you're going to think, deep breath, okay.
Well, that guy must be in a really big hurry. I hope nobody gets hurt.
I hope he doesn't get hurt. Hope nobody else gets hurt.
And on with your day you go, because you prepared for it.

[20:30] Imagine an ambulance going to an accident scene and the accident is pretty horrific. It's a car accident. There's a few people who have been severely injured and we have an ambulance going to that accident scene having two first reactors and these are people who jump out at the accident scene and they go, oh my goodness, look at this. This is terrible. There's blood on the ground.
I don't know what to do. I don't want this. This is not me. I'm sorry. I'm not cut out for this.
Let's get back in the ambulance and let's go back to the hospital because I don't want to deal with this.
There are a lot of first reactors in this world. When we think about it, there are so many people who are reacting to life and not responding.
Let's go back to the same scenario, ambulance coming with two first responders.
The responders have trained. They're ready.
They're mentally prepared for what is going to happen as best as they possibly can because they already have it in their mind how they are going to respond to whatever happens to them.
So they get to the accident scene, same accident scene, they both jump out, they take a deep breath, they go, oh man, this is horrific, I know exactly what to do, and they get to work.

[21:43] They do what it is that they prepared themselves to do because they are responding to life.
And I believe that this is one of the great gifts that we can take to get back to your situation, what happens if we are attacked? And as we're speaking right now.

[22:03] In the United States, there was a first shooter, there was a like there was an armed shooter just last night.
Yes, in Maine. Horrible, horrible, horrible situation.
And I think that many Americans are like, we know that when an attack like that happens, the schools are responding because they already have a plan.
When this happens, we're going to get under the desks, we're going to lock the doors, we're responding and not reacting to it.
Reacting would be running into the bullets, responding would be hiding from the bullets.
I think that that's what we have to do in our own lives, is that we have to prepare ourselves mentally.
Your question, what happens if all of a sudden, life happens and something horrific happens?
Well, we're normal, we're human.
We're going to get, our bodies are going to be attacked, our stress, everything is going to be attacked.
A first responder will continue to be attacked, will continue to allow the effects of that attack.


First responders focus on self-efficacy and controlling their response.


[23:08] Just dictate how they're going to react to the rest of it. Whereas a first responder, reacts in the very onset but then takes a moment to calm themselves down and to focus on what they can control and not on what they can't control. What can they control? How they respond to what's happening to them. They can't control the events, they can control what they think.
And so what I hear is that first responder, that experienced first responder, they will have their immediate stress reaction, which is normal, but because of their training, because they piecemeal, step by step, put a brick in the wall, they become, they have this mental fortitude as to how to respond to a particular situation. And so what I hear is they focus more on self-efficacy. What do I control? How can I deal with this? What are the facts on the ground? That leads me to when I was doing some research, in one of your writings, I can't remember exactly where I read it, but you were saved by a terrorist during a terrorist attack in the Middle East. I was wondering, because this kind of connects it, this is like a natural segue for this question. Can you share that story behind the incident and how it impacted your perspective of connecting with others?

[24:29] Oh, absolutely. It was during the Iraq war when I had taken the job as a peacekeeper to train the Iraqi police cadets. We were training 3,000 police cadets every eight weeks, in the largest police academy in the world in the desert, about 150 kilometers from the border of Iraq in Jordan. And we knew that there were going to be Sunnis, Shiites and terrorists in the economy.

[24:58] The reason that there were going to be terrorists in the academy is that we couldn't, the security department, the Iraqi government, couldn't vet each cadet that was coming to the academy, quick enough. They needed thousands of men, desperately needed thousands of men. So if you were an able-bodied man, able to carry a gun, and you looked fit enough, even if you didn't, but you could carry a gun, they'd shove you on a bus, and off to the academy you would go.
And every eight weeks we would get 3,000 police cadets, Sunnis, Shiites, and terrorists. Because terrorists, well, they were going to get, number one, they were going to get paid to be there.
Every cadet was paid a certain amount of money to be there for the eight weeks of training.

[25:43] They were also going to get trained in weapons, explosives, self-defense, and a number of other things. And so we were training the good police officers, the people who intended on defending their country, as much as we were training the not good, the terrorists. But I ran my classes, I was teaching in the very beginning when I first arrived at the academy, I was put in charge of a criminal investigations classroom. And I was going to teach criminal investigations as well as human rights. And I thought to myself, here I am in in Jordan, but training Iraqi police cadets. How would I feel about a stranger from another country telling me what to do, telling me how I should be policing my own country. And with the conflict going on right now, they probably don't like me. And And the color of my skin, where I live, they don't like me.
So how am I going to reach and connect with these people?


Building trust and connection with diverse police cadets.


[26:47] I will start off with, oh yeah I know what I'll do. I'll start off by telling them that it is an honor for me to be here. It's an honor for me to share my experiences with you in hopes that you can take something from it. I am Paul, I'm here to treat you with dignity and respect and I would expect the same thing from you. I want to make this experience in my classroom meaningful to you.
You. I want you to learn and I want to learn from you. So I'm hoping that in the next 2 weeks because I only had them for 2 weeks, Jason in the next 2 weeks, we can develop a trust amongst us enough that we can share our own experiences and we can we can talk about what is happening in our lives and that would be my opening speech. Now. I also came up with another idea because you can imagine I had a classroom of about 50 or 60 police cadets.

[27:48] Ranging from the age of 16 to 60, 65, because they were supposed to be between 18 and I think it was 55, but guess what?
I'm 18, okay, there you go.
Like I'm 55, there you go.
So we had these cadets all in this classroom. Some of them were physically fit, some of them were not.
Some of them knew how to read, some of them did not.
Some of them were suffering from mental illness. Some of them had university degrees.
We had such a cluster. Some of them were Sunnis.


Keeping the Peace in a Diverse Classroom


[28:27] Guards. They had like bodyguards because of their status in their tribe and others did not. So I had to keep the peace in the classroom between the Sunnis, the Shiites and the terrorists.
I didn't know that we had terrorists. I couldn't identify them. We were doing our best to do that. But I just had to keep the peace and make it a pleasant experience, as I had promised them when I first gave the speech, my opening speech to them. I realized that they had been up in the morning from 4.30 a.m. doing calisthenics, push-ups, weight training, self-defense a little bit.
No, sorry, not the self-defense, that came later during their day.
But they had to do their drills, they had to do their runs, they had to do some physical training, and that's at 4.30 in the morning.

[29:16] They're coming to my class at 8 o'clock in the morning in a small classroom with wooden chairs and very uncomfortable tables and heat because we didn't always have air conditioning and they were going to listen to me for eight hours. Are you kidding me? Like they're going to listen to me for eight hours. How am I going to make this interesting? So I'm an actor. I started to engage in acting with them. All right, Jason, today you're going to be the policeman. You're.

[29:43] Going to arrest Mahmood and Mahmood, you're going to be the bad guy. And we want we want Jalal, You're going to be a witness. And so let's do it tomorrow. You guys are on stage. I'm going to sit down in your chair. I'm going to watch you guys do it. And then, Jason, after you've done everything that you did, you're going to teach the class. You're going to teach us what you did. You're going to tell us what you did and we're going to evaluate you. And that was fun because they loved it. And when 2.30, 3 o'clock, because I had them till 4, when about 3 o'clock showed up, I said, all right, I think we've had a long enough day. Who here knows how to sing and tell stories? I started off with that because Canadian Idol and American Idol were a big thing back in 2005, and I thought, wouldn't it be interesting if I ended my class with a little bit of song and stories? You just connect us, just to, you know, like everybody loves to sing together and everybody loves to tell stories, and they certainly did because many of them didn't have the internet, they didn't have television, right? So this is something that they could relate with. So when I first said it...

[30:51] My language assistants, because I had Jordanian language assistants who would translate everything I was saying, and they looked at me and they went, what? And I said, no, just ask them who knows how to tell stories or who wants to sing a song.
And so he did. And then all of a sudden you see a couple of hands raising like this.
And next thing you know, we have a singer. We have beautiful music coming out.
Coming out, they would grab the empty five gallon jugs of water that we went through jugs of water that like in a day, it was crazy. And they would start to play the drums. And then they would, somebody would tell a story, I didn't know what they were saying. So my language assistant would sometimes try to to tell me what was going on one particular story. Everybody was laughing. And I said, You got to tell me what's going on. He okay, okay, this is it.

[31:44] It was an arranged marriage. Yeah, yeah, okay, all right. An arranged marriage.
And it was their wedding night. Okay, okay. But she was completely covered.
She, he knew not what she looked like until their wedding night.
Okay, okay. And what happened next? She took off her veil. Okay, okay.
What happened next? She looked like a goat. Everybody's laughing and they're saying, yep, been there.
It's not always a pleasant experience. So we just had that connection and over the weeks I had different classes come, but there was one man who came in with a bodyguard and he didn't look like he was engaged in the class. He just looked at me and I wondered who he was because he had a bodyguard and what he was up to. And after both the first three or four days he stayed behind after the class was done and he said in perfect English, Mr. Paul, what do you think about the war?


Conversation with a Terrorist: Unlikely Allies


[32:41] And we sat down and we had coffee and we talked about what I thought and what he thought and he stayed for coffee a few nights in a row he'd say do you mind if we talk and I know I was, really impressed by the first by the fact number one he could speak so so well in English and we had an engaging conversation and then that was it after his two weeks he went on his way a few weeks later I was transferred into the advocacy and counseling division because I had applied to be a counselor and to be an advocate for the cadets and I loved my new job and one cadet came in to see me and he said I just want to let you know that there's going to be an attack on the academy. Internationals are going to be killed. The attack is coming from the inside of the academy, and I don't know when it's going to happen. So I thanked the cadet for telling me and I went to tell our security they already knew and so we were all put on high alert but when you're a peacekeeper or when you're in the army or you're you're defending your country you can't just go home because it's going to get hot it's going to get dangerous you stay you do your job and a few days later when my partner from the advocacy and counseling division and I were walking through through the desert early in the morning.

[34:04] We were surrounded by 40 armed cadets. They were armed with rocks and sticks. They didn't have firearms, thank goodness. We didn't allow firearms on the property other than the security. But we were surrounded by 40 cadets whose job it was to kill us. And I remember when that happened, it was going back to what we talked about, Jason, that preparation, like what would you do do if you were surrounded or if you had to fight for your life?
Well, you would fight for your life.
And you get your mindset ready and prepared for the unexpected.
And when the unexpected happens, you're in a better position.
And I remember we were surrounded, and they were hooting and hollering.
My partner was about a foot taller than me, and he passed me on the head.
And I remember, I'm still friends with this guy to this day, Yadamo.
And Yadamo passed me on the head, And he says, this is gonna hurt little buddy.
And I remember looking up at him and saying, yes, it is. And we knew that it was probably our final moments in life.
And I thought to myself, I'm gonna fight because it's instinctive in us that we fight for our lives.
And I did, they grabbed us, they started to beat us. I started to fight back.
And just as the attack started, one voice was heard from the back, yelling, Mr. Paul, Mr. Paul, Mr. Paul.
And I could hear that voice, I could hear my name, Mr. Paul, Mr. Milton.
I couldn't make out what else he was saying because he was speaking in Arabic.

[35:34] But no sooner had he shouted out some orders, which sounded like orders, and I'm on the ground, my head's spinning, and everybody just moved away from us.
Everybody, Jason, moved away from us. It was like the parting of the Red Sea.
And I just, I'm focusing to see what the heck is going on. And when I look through the crowd, I see one man walking up to me.
And when I was able to focus, because my eyesight, I had to regain my eyesight and take a look into who this was.
It was the cadet who had had coffee with me a few weeks earlier. He was in charge of that attack.
He didn't realize it was me in the very beginning. So he put a stop to the attack, at the expense of his own safety because he went against his terrorist sales orders and said, this man doesn't die today. So my partner and I were allowed to leave.
And he told me, he says, you better go. This is not going to be a good day, Mr. Paul.
And I look back at why that happened and like, why was I spared that day?
Why were Yadamo and I spared when his job was to kill us?

[36:43] And it came down to the dignity and respect that I spoke of when I first opened my classes and treated them and even my enemies as human beings.
And it paid off big time because I'm on a podcast with you, Jason, and I wouldn't be here having this podcast had it not been for that man, for that terrorist.

[37:06] Music.


Challenging upbringing and the power of choice


[37:15] In the first part of our conversation with Paul, we were given a glimpse into his challenging upbringing marked by violence and abuse.
As a young boy, he harbored a heartfelt wish to become a police officer.
With the noble intention of protecting his family from his abusive father.
Paul shared an insightful perspective on how people respond to crisis situations, distinguished things between two fundamental approaches. On one hand, there are those who tend to play the victim, blaming themselves and fixating on what they can't control.
These individuals often find themselves mired in a cycle of self-blame and helplessness.
On the other hand, Paul discussed the contrasting approach of individuals who, focus on what they can control and how they can influence the situation. They view crisis as temporary challenges, retaining control over themselves and their responses. Instead of fixating on the problem, they channel their efforts towards finding solutions and ultimately shaping the outcome. Paul also touched upon the idea that we can hold ourselves hostage with our own narratives and thoughts. The stories we choose to accept can keep us trapped, preventing us from moving forward and pursuing our dreams and goals. He highlighted the remarkable example, of Viktor Frankl, who in the direst of circumstances in the Auschwitz death camps, clung to hope and faith. Frankl's ability to choose his own narrative despite the physical captivity.

[38:38] Imposed by the Nazis, serves as a powerful testament to the human capacity for resilience and self-determination. In essence, Paul emphasized that we all possess the power of choice. The choice to react to life or respond to it. Reacting, in his word, can be likened to first reactors, who act impulsively, driven by emotions and without, thoughtful consideration. In contrast, he introduced the concept of first responders.
Individuals who take a moment to reflect and are equipped with a mental map for how to handle life's challenges. Becoming a first responder, he noted, requires practice, dedication, and a commitment to self-awareness, where individuals regularly examine their thoughts, their emotions, and their behaviors in order to navigate life's ups and downs with greater, control and greater purpose.
So become that first responder. Alright folks, let's slip back into the stream with Paul Nadeau for Part 2.

[39:34] Music.

[39:42] Such an incredible story has a huge impact on how you see yourself and the work that you do.
You know, doing more research, I see that your work emphasizes the importance of connecting with people without judgment, prejudice, or fear. I was wondering, obviously, you've had many years to master these kind of skills. How can individuals apply this approach to their own lives to contribute to, I guess, a better, safer world when you see the craziness of, of polarity and how we get pulled to each spectrums, whether it's politically, religiously, nationally, what have you, what would be some of your experienced advice?


Lessons learned as a police officer: We are more similar than we are different


[40:24] We have to do some self-examination and really I think self-examination often to examine our lives, who we are, what we stand for, what our principles are, what we have to do in order to improve relationships or whatever it is. We have to examine ourselves. One of the things that we also have to do is two of the greatest lessons. I'm going to tell you right now Jason because this will answer in part your question and this is for each and every listener out there.
Two of the greatest lessons I ever learned when I first became a police officer were these. Number one, we are more similar than we are different.
We are more similar than we are different. That helped me out.
I'll come to number two in just a moment, but let's talk about we are more similar than we are different.
How that helped me out as a police officer was that it made me aware of what it must be like to be in the shoes of the person who's dealing with the cop, me.
What would it be like if I had just been raped by someone and now I'm in the police station about ready to talk to a male detective who's going to ask me what happened and who's going to want the details of that attack?

[41:37] And I can, when I put myself in the shoes of the other person, what it must be like for them to have to deal with this. It puts on my shoulders the, okay, how am I going to approach this situation? What is it that I'm going to be able to say if I were talking to myself in that situation? And I love these words. These are words that I used as a hostage negotiator to start a negotiation. I'm here to help.

[42:11] I'm here to help you. How can I help? And those are wonderful words. We're more similar than we are different applies to our lives right now when we take a look at the conflict that other people are going through. Number one, we have to realize that we weren't all born in the same place.
We weren't all given the same rules or the same holy books or the same religions. We're all We're different, so many differences, but there are so many similarities. We all want to live.
We all love and laugh and bleed in the same way.
We may have different beliefs based on where we were born, based on what we were taught, what we experienced in life, but does that mean that we are completely different?
No. We're all flesh and blood, and we all have these dreams and aspirations.
So why not appreciate the fact that the person that you're talking to is more similar than they are different to you, but they may have a different set of beliefs.
If you approach them with an open mind, an inquisitive mind, and not a pointed finger saying you've got to believe the way that I do, imagine being them.
Why should I believe the way that you do? I don't experience the same things that you do.
I come from this background.

[43:40] And I ask the people that I speak to, because I do a lot of speaking on this topic, on a number of different topics, I say, listen.
All right, and this is for you, Jason, as much as it is for all your listeners.
I'm gonna ask you a question now.
And I want you to take just a few seconds. Don't tell anybody the answer.
Keep it to yourself. But you might want to write it down. Here's the question.
Okay, here's the question, don't tell anybody. Who is the most important person in your life?


You are the Most Important Person in Your Life


[44:12] Okay, that's a long enough time. You should have written the most important person in your life.
Now take a look at that name. Is it you? Did you say that you are the most important person in your life? If you didn't, no, you were wrong. You're wrong. Okay, then you are the most important person in your life. The world revolves around you. I'll tell you why. When you're on a plane, and turbulence hits, you're warned. When we when the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, make sure you put it on yourself first.
Only when you take care of yourself, can you then take care of others.
Only when you love yourself first, can you love others. So take care, you are the most important person in your life.
When you're not with that significant other, or that child, or the person that you might have put on your list as being number one, when you're not with them, you're experiencing something 24 seven, 50 to 60,000 thoughts a day.
You're with yourself to deal with the traumas, the experiences, so you have to be the first and most important person in your life.
You have to take care of you, number one, then you can share that love and that knowledge and that whatever it is with the other person.
Now, if that's the truth, if you are the most important person that you have to take care of yourself, number one.

[45:31] And you are now talking to someone, anyone, be it your spouse, be it your child, be it a business partner, or someone that you wanna do business with, Who do you suppose is the most important person in their life?
If you answered they are, you're right again. So now you have two very important people in one room.
What do you do?
You treat that other person the way that they ought to be treated as the most important person.
You ask them questions, you show interest, you really become focused a lot on them and their needs while you're taking care of your own. So treat others not only as you would like to be treated yourself, but as they would like to be treated, and they would like to be treated as a a very important person. So this goes back to we're more similar than we are different.
We're all these these human beings are trying to make our way through life with as little problems as possible, but that's not always easy. So once we begin to treat others and to see that they are more similar than we are different, then we can we can withhold judgment and instead of judging, we can ask questions because we're not always right.
And we don't always see things the way other people see.
But when we ask questions without judgment, without anger, or without pointing guilt.

[46:56] Then we can reach agreements.
We can negotiate.
We can say, well, thank you. I never saw it from that perspective.
Now I know so much more about you, Jason, and I really never knew that you went through that.
And wow, like I'm more knowledgeable for having heard that, so thank you.
And you may not always agree. Somebody may talk, and we know that we're not going to be agreeing with some of the positions in war right now that we're seeing between Hamas and Israel.
We're not always gonna agree with either side.
We may have our very specific judgments on that, but we have to try to understand where they're coming from, and we don't always have to agree.
So number one, the most important lesson was we are more similar than we are different.
Here's the second one. Here's the one that makes a big difference too.
You get what you give.
You get what you give. So if I meet you, Jason, and I flip you the bird, and I say, hey, Jason, why don't you go jump in front of a truck?
And I'm angry with you, and I don't know you, but I just flipped you the bird and told you to go jump in front of a truck.
You're going to probably give me what I just gave you. You're going to flip me the bird, maybe tell me something or even worse.

[48:20] However, if I first meet you and I say, wow, what a pleasure it is to meet you, Jason.
I've heard so many things about you. Jim has talked highly about you and I've listened to your podcast.
What a great job you're doing out there. It's a pleasure to be here, man.
I'm likely going to get some of that energy back from you because we're all energy, man.
And so if we give something that's positive, something that's beautiful, something that's.

[48:48] We're likely to get that back from another person or even from the universe.
When I wake up in the morning and I say to the universe, hey universe, I'm here. Baby, I want something amazing today.
So bring it on. Bring something amazing.
The universe says, oh dude, I've got something for you. I'm going to bring something amazing into your life.
And that's what usually happens. The energy we give, we get back.
What we give, we get back.
So, the two most important lessons that can prevent conflict, inner conflict, outer conflict, we're more similar than we are different, and you get what you give.
I live by those principles. I live by those beliefs, and I teach those beliefs because I believe in it that much.
And obviously, you know, from being a police officer to a detective to, sorry, a hostage negotiator and detective, international peacekeeper. You've seen this play out in different cultures, with genders, different age groups, different people in different societies. And what I hear, Paul, is that for this, we're more similar than we're different. You get what you give.
What I hear is also almost the connective tissue self-awareness. And at the top of this conversation, you talked about how we hold ourselves hostage, right? And the only way we can move away from holding ourselves hostage with self-doubt, self-criticism, what have you.

[50:12] Just understand the narrative. And then also, you know, everyone comes with, we do walk into a room, and we do have prejudice and judgment. We may not share it. Hopefully we don't share it.
But I think the self-awareness, what I hear you also saying is that, you know, step back. Okay, what are your silly fears? What are your silly judgments or your prejudice you have for this particular person? Because what the hell are they based on? Right? What are you basing this on?
It's a belief system. All beliefs, as powerful as it is a conviction, it's still a belief, right? It's not factual. And if you can hold up on those prejudices and you hold up on those judgments and you use this connective tissue of self-awareness, whether it's holding ourselves, hostage or walking into a room and being hostile with someone, like, what the hell? Why are you hostile? Right? Because that's what you're going to get back. Is this what I understand? Is this some sort of, does this resonate with, am I making any sense here?

[51:06] Oh you know what you summarize that beautifully you really summarize that beautifully. What I love about.

[51:14] About what we're talking about here Jason and I teach this when I teach business negotiations, what you just did is the S in sales and the the last S in the acronym sales. Okay when you're a salesperson but well this applies to to life as much as it applies to business but sure if you If you were to take the word sales, S-A-L-E-S, the key to great sales or great negotiations is this.
The S, the first S in sales is service.
I wanna provide you a service. I wanna be a service to you. How can I help?
And again, if I'm a hostage negotiator, I'm using the sales acronym as a negotiator or I'm just going into a meeting and I really wanna connect with people.
How can I serve? You're like, how can I help?
So if you have that attitude of service to others, then people respond very well to that.
The A in sales is the asking. So ask these open-ended questions, ask these inquisitive questions.
So serve yourself if you are walking into a room with biases serve yourself by asking questions so that you can perhaps change your judgments or your prejudices or whatever it is.
So asking open-ended questions.
The L in that sales acronym stands for listening.

[52:39] Truly listening, listening to understand, not listening for the purpose of creating your next question, listening, and this is what you've been doing, is that you have been listening to everything I said, and it's brought other questions to the surface that you want to ask about.
I love that. You've asked those open-ended questions, you've been listening.
The E is with empathy. the E in sales is empathizing, so understanding the other person's position.

[53:12] Oh, I get it. Okay, I see how that could be a real pain point for you.
I can see from your past how this happened, and it's that empathy that we have for one another.
Empathy is a great connection with other. What you just did was the last S in sales was you summarized what I said.
Number and you ask that beautiful question. If I understand you correctly, this is what you said. Did I get that right? Wow. When you do that in a negotiation, when you do that in a sale is so if I understand you what you're looking for and what your pain point is and what you're looking to accomplish is this. Did I get that right? John? Yes, you did. Did I get that right? Martha? Yes, you did. Alright, good. Let's move forward. I love it. I absolutely love it. Well, that's great feedback to hear from a host and negotiator, but I think I'll stick as being a sparring partner and podcast host and not move into the dynamic world of hostage negotiations. But okay, so that that leads me to another question. Um, you know, we're well outside of COVID now, but you know, a lot of people can.


Strategies for overcoming depression and uncertainty


[54:18] Suffer from depression and many of us suffer from uncertainty.
I mean, that's just part of the DNA of life. And this can be challenging to many of us. Is it possible to dig your way out of depression and uncertainty and if so what strategies would you share with us from your experience and that you've discovered that work for people on their professional and private levels? If we can take it for what you will, this question. It's a great question. It's one that a lot of people can benefit from the right answer. And I'm going to shoot at giving you the right answer. You mentioned a word earlier that I hadn't mentioned, but you brought it up, which was great awareness. Number one, we have to be aware of where we're at. We have to be aware of our narrative. We have to be aware of our fears.
And we really have to focus on what is causing this.

[55:13] Like, where am I right now? Why am I thinking this? And then we have to look at two big things that can change our world, is asking ourselves this question.
Is this something I can control or something I can't control?
COVID we couldn't control. When we were going through COVID, we couldn't control that.
We couldn't control the laws that we were put under.
The different things that happened, but what we could control was our responses to it.
We could control our physical distancing.
We could control wearing a mask, washing our hands, doing all kinds of stuff.
Now, if you're suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress, then awareness, being aware, okay, this is what I'm suffering is the first step.
And now the next step is to ask yourself, why am I feeling this way?
Are these things that I can control? What is it in this situation that I can control?
Is my narrative the one that's bringing me down?
Are my fears the ones that I'm having such difficulty with?
And once you know what it is that's holding you back, then you challenge the narrative.
And remember, just by going to the gym once, you have to do the work that goes along with it.
Your mental wellness is nobody else's responsibility but your own.

[56:35] People can help you. Doctors can help you, people can help you, but the responsibility for getting better is you. You have to do the work.
I can't lift the weights for you. I can't pump your arms or your legs for you.
You have to do that yourself.
You have to say, I'm ready to do the work that's necessary to get me better.
Now, I understand that there are some mental illnesses that can't be addressed simply by thinking great thoughts or doing great things.
That some of them do require the medical assistance, the drugs, the, you know, the- Yeah, medical intervention, but that's not what you speak of.
You're talking about sort of general level depression or when we face uncertainty.
Is that what I understand though?
Not these sort of very deep clinical challenges.


Building new neural pathways through changing the narrative


[57:29] Exactly let's get to that alright so we can build new neural pathways in our brain by changing the narrative by focusing on the narrative and starting to believe the narrative and we really have to put a lot of effort into it for example i talked a little bit earlier about starting your day off with intention, you even getting out of bed for some people is a real challenge but.
Just do it two inches at a time. Just, you try it for two minutes. And in the.


Start Small: Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins


[58:02] I've read a couple of books and I'm trying to think of the Atomic Habits written by James Clear, is a book that says, you don't have to do it all at once.
You can do it in small steps.
The great philosopher Lao Tzu said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
What I added to Lao Tzu is that the idea is that you keep moving forward.
So start your day off with that intention.
Force yourself to take a few moments to say, I'm grateful that I woke up. Some people didn't.
I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head. Some people don't.
I'm grateful that I have someone who loves me. Some people don't.
And just take a few moments to be grateful and then start to change the narrative.
I can't get out of bed. No, I can.
I can. I'm going to.
I'm going to, I get to. A lot of people, when they look at the gym, for example, they say, oh man, I have to go to the gym.
I have to go to the gym. I don't wanna go to the gym. I have to go to the gym.
Others get, they change that little narrative and they say, I get to go to the gym.

[59:07] And that creates a spark of excitement in us when we get to do something.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you got to go to an amusement park?
Woo, well, I can't wait to go. I get to go to the amusement park.
Well, let's take the amusement park in our minds. I get to do something as opposed to I have to do something.
Change that narrative.
When you start to change the narrative, you start to pour out the bad.
You start to challenge the bad and you have to start to believe it, be an actor.
Like really become that person. What must I do to become the person that I wanna be?
What must I do to be stress-free or relatively stress-free and be confident in myself?
I must behave as someone who is confident in themselves. I must get out of bed and I must do things.
I must work on changing my narrative and being positive. I've got to remind myself I can.
So change the I can't to I can.
Change the I'm so bad to I am amazing.
And just keep telling yourself this, but say it with belief.

[1:00:13] Don't just hope, believe. Yeah, it's really, it comes down to the way that you look at things.
Jim Carrey, the comedian, the Canadian comedian, amazing man, he's very philosophical as well.
He says, you know, he says, I don't believe in hope.
Yeah, yeah. He says, I don't believe in hope. Hope is a beggar.
He says, I believe in faith.
Hope walks through fire. Faith leaps over fire.
So when you start to believe that good things are going to happen for you, when you start to believe that you have got this, you are digging those, you are, let me put it this way.
Imagine if you were digging a hole in your backyard and you were down six feet and you were digging and digging. That's depression.
You're digging and digging. You keep digging and it keeps getting deeper and deeper and deeper.
The first thing to get out of depression is to stop digging.

[1:01:15] It's to stop digging. Just drop the shovel. I'm not going to do this anymore.
I'm going to get better.
I am better.
And if I need help, I will ask for help. Vulnerability is an amazing tool that we have, to be vulnerable, to ask for help.
There's no shame in that. It is a great way of connecting with people, opening doors and helping ourselves to a better place.

[1:01:45] If we wanna do it ourselves, then we do the work. We listen to some positive podcasts like yours, Jason.
We listen to this and we really internalize the message.
We learn from it.
Every day I walk out, I'm either listening to a positive podcast, something positive on YouTube, or I've got a number of different things I tell myself, and I'm listening to something positive.
I'm giving myself a steady diet of positivity.

[1:02:13] And when we don't, when we are surrounded by darkness or surrounded by fools, you examine your life, are the people in your life the right people in your life?
Are you drinking every night, swearing every night, you know, with people who say, oh my God, this world is so bad and look, poor me.
I don't want to go to the poor me hotel. How many of you have been in the poor me hotel? I've been there.
It's not a it's not a fun place. When I check into the poor me hotel, they have the why me lounge.
I have to go to the YME Lounge because they've got dirty drinks for half price.
So I go to the poor me hotel. I see some people I know there and I check into the room and I go to the poor me hotel.


Let Go of the Past: The Power of Choice


[1:02:51] And every once in a while, I get a special invitation into the Hatter room.

[1:02:55] The Hatter room is if I had done this, if I only had done that, if I had done this, my life would have turned differently. Hey, the past is the past. Come on, get over it.
The past is the past. You can't go back five minutes and change anything that happened.
That's the past.
You can't go back 25 years. I was abused as a kid. When I was a child, I was abused.
I was locked in trunks. I was I was physically injured.
I've been damaged and all this kind of stuff.
But that's the past. If I go back and say, poor me, I'm in the poor me hotel.
Why did that happen to me? I'm in the whiny lounge.
And oh, had somebody just come and rescued me. That didn't happen.
It's in the past. It wasn't my fault. That's not me. My circumstances don't define who I am right now. I do.
I get to choose in this moment choices that six-letter word that's so powerful.
When you get to choose your destiny, when you get to choose your thoughts, when you get to choose how you feel, That's a choice that you can make and you're not dictated to. The hostage takers cannot dictate how you feel, only you can. Nobody can magically give you a fairy dust that's going to get you out of depression. You've got to work at doing that. Your past is in the past. The future has not been.

[1:04:15] Yet created. You get to write how your future is going to go. The next page is up to you and on how you decide your story's going to go.
And we know that we can make all the plans in the world for our future, they may not happen.
COVID reminded us of that. People were going on holidays, people were going to visit family, they were going to Christmas, they were going to this, they were going, and COVID said, no, you ain't, you ain't doing any of that.
You're gonna stay home and all those plans are gone.

[1:04:45] That leaves us with the present moment. The present moment is the most important moment in your life. It's the most important moment in my life right now.
I'm with Jason.
We're talking, we're having a podcast, we're enjoying each other's company.
This is great. This is the most important moment in my life. Why?
Because I am sharing an experience, a number of experiences with a guy I just met and a guy I like and I'm really enjoying this. I get to choose how I feel.
This is the most important moment in my life.
It's great. What's the most important moment in your life? It's right now.
You listening to this podcast right now, what are you getting from this?
Are you smiling? Are you saying I resonate with that? Because this is what you ought to be doing.
You ought to be creating the best moments in your life. I want to say this to, I'm on a roll, Jason.
Shut me up whenever you want. No, just once I get it. I'm not going to break your flow.
Well, once I start talking like this, I just go, it's like a snowball that gathers more snow as it goes down the hill. But I was talking about, you know, the past being the past, the present being.

[1:05:49] The most important moment of your life. And when you do think about that, I will also want to think about this too shall pass. It's a little like we tell ourselves this and I remember I was was watching a video and it was Tom Hanks was in a room with a number of A-list actors and for those of you who may not be familiar with Tom Hanks, he's an American actor, very, very popular. He's won Academy Awards.
You've seen him in a lot of movies if you watch movies. Some of you may not.
But he was talking to these A-list actors and he said, you know, this too shall pass.
And all these actors are sitting at the table and going, yeah, yeah, yeah.
He says, you think you've got a great movie right now and you've got a great contract that's signed?
And everybody's going, yeah, yeah, yeah. He says, this too shall pass.
He says, this too shall pass.


Embracing the temporary nature of struggles and hardships


[1:06:42] He says, not only does it apply to those struggles that we're going, because when we're going through struggles, we have to remind ourselves, hey, this is only temporary.
This too shall pass. I can control certain things. I'm gonna focus on what I can control, but this hardship is going to pass.
I know it is.
But the same is true with the good times. We have to remind ourselves that the good times will also pass.
What does that mean when you are actually, when you're embraced with someone that you love, you're kissing somebody that you love?
It means that when you think this too shall pass, why don't you kiss a little bit longer?
Why don't you take a couple of extra photographs? Why don't you say something a little bit more special?
Because this magic moment will pass as well. It will become a memory.
This moment will become a memory. Let's make the best of this moment.
What can I do in this moment that will make it that much better?

[1:07:34] And this is how we look at life. If you're going through hard times, remember this too shall pass.
If you're going through good times, remember this too shall pass too.
But what can I control to make this even better?
Those good times that you have. Maybe I hug my children for an extra five seconds and give them a kiss and say, I love you one more time. Just make that memory last.
And I'll tell you, those are the secrets to success. Those are the secrets to life.
It's just being aware that you are not a first reactor to life, you're responding to life.
And that you understand what it is that you need to do to get you to where you want to be.
Hoo, that's my rant.
You know what? I think that was a brilliant, brilliant conversation. And I really have no follow-up questions because I mean, you've covered the whole spectrum. You know, hearing the hardships of your childhood, I mean, you could see anyone going down the wrong road, but obviously you've made sense of it. And that motivation allowed you to become a police officer. And you excelled at that, becoming a detective. And then you excelled at being a hostage negotiator. And and then putting life and limb out there in the Middle East to be work with peace as a peacekeeper in what role you did.

[1:08:52] And now you are, I guess, almost Canada's most well-recognized hostage negotiator or past negotiator. You're an author, you're a motivational speaker, you're a coach.
And you know, just listening to you and having this conversation, the privilege I have to to have this conversation with you, Paul, it just shows that what you do is so important.
And I couldn't ask for a better cap to this conversation.
Let me put it to you. Is there any last things you would like to share with our audience?
No, you know what, I do, Jason. And thank you so much for those kind words.
It's been an absolute pleasure being with you and getting to know you.
And I'm glad that our mutual friend put us together here. Jim is just an amazing person and I thank him.
Jim, if you're listening to this, thank you, my friend. You did a lot for me. He's solid.

[1:09:45] He is a solid person and to everyone listening here, life is hard, it ain't easy and I want you to have what I call the Rocky mentality.

[1:09:59] For those of you who may have watched the Rocky movies, it's a series of movies in which Sylvester Stallone created this character called Rocky.
He was a, it wasn't a professional boxer, but he was just a guy from the Bronx and who just wanted to fight for a living and make a little bit of money and just get on with life.
But as the universe would have it, the universe called on him and a chance meeting to go against the world heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed happened.
And Rocky was not a professional fighter and didn't want to get involved in that.
He thought it was going to be a great embarrassment to him.
And he originally said no, but they sweetened the pot and said that it would be a benefit to a lot of people.
And he reluctantly agreed to it.
But when he agreed to it, he agreed with a purpose.
We all have to have a purpose in life.
And if you haven't found your purpose, you've got to find it.
What I love about the Rocky movies is the mentality that Rocky brought into the ring, was that I'm here to fight, I'm here to win.
I'm here because I believe that I can. And he was knocked on the ground when he faced Apollo Creed, the world champion.

[1:11:22] He was knocked to the mat so many times, but every time he was knocked to the mat, he got back up.
And he faced his opponent and he went that much further. Later in the series of movies, and if you don't want to have a spoiler given, I would recommend that you just turn this off for about 30 seconds and come back.

[1:11:43] In one of the movies later in his life, he's given another opportunity for a fight, but his son, who has grown up now, feels that his father, Rocky, has really been a shadow in his life, has taken all the limelight, and poor, the son is poor, me, life is like, the only reason I'm getting a job is because of you, Dad, and I feel so angry with you that you did this and you did that, and me, I'm not getting any breaks, I'm not, all this.
And his father meets him outside of his restaurant, the father's restaurant.
And he says, you know, he says, when you were a child, when you were a baby, I held you in the palm of my hand.
And I said to myself, this is a great kid.
This kid is going to grow up, and he's going to be something.
He's going to mean something. He says, but somewhere down the road, it didn't happen.
He says, something happened to you, and it didn't happen. He says, you know, life ain't all rainbows and sunshine.

[1:12:40] It can be a mean and nasty place, and it will knock you down to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life.
But it ain't about how hard you're hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
How much you can take and keep moving forward.
That's what winning's about. Now, if you know what you're worth, go and get what you're worth.
But don't be pointing the fingers at him or her saying you ain't where you want to be because of them.
Losers do that and that ain't you.

[1:13:16] So I love using this example, Jason, to remind people that we have to have that Rocky mentality, that life is going to knock us down to our knees. It is. It's going to slap us on the face. It's going to knock us down.
But as Rocky said, it's not about how hard you can get hit. I'm sorry how hard you're hit but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward how much you can take and keep moving Forward life is not gonna be easy folks It's not you're going to get knocked down to your knees but guess what even Rocky had a coach in his in his corner and your coach may be coming to, Jason's podcast and being coached by Jason it may be going to a friend and being coached by a friend leaning on someone else We're not meant to go through this life to get alone. We're meant to be together. We're meant to have coaches in our corners we're meant to get back up and face whatever it is and, become stronger as a result of the experiences that we go through.

[1:14:16] If you have a story and everybody has a story, you have a story.
If you want to share your story, your struggles with someone, do it.
Because in sharing your stories, you become stronger. But don't share from an open wound.
If your open wound is still open, make sure that you heal that wound.
Speak from the scar and not the open wound.
But you have a story. Everybody has a story.
If you can help others, help others. We're more similar than we are different.
There are people out there who are struggling just like you are.
You meet somebody you ask them how are you doing they're smiling they're going i'm doing great meanwhile they're not doing great they're thinking about where they're going to commit suicide what bridge they're going to jump off of you just don't know show a genuine interest in someone else and be aware of every little indicator that others have like be that life jacket for other people but be the life jacket for yourself too make sure you put your jacket on who's the most important person in your life. I hope you're answering. You are. I am. I'm the most important person. Who's the most important person in the other person's life? They are. Let's treat them as such. Let's.

[1:15:23] Treat them. Let's make them feel important. Let's really connect with them and just open our hearts and just not judge and just help one another out because life ain't all rainbows and sunshine.
It's not all icing on cupcakes. It can be hard. Well, Paul, I am very privileged that you shared your passion, your perspective and your principles today and they mean a lot to me and this has been a brilliant and passionate conversation and I couldn't have hoped for better.
Okay and thank you so much for your time and for having me on your podcast.

[1:15:54] Music.


Principles of empathy and understanding


[1:16:01] In the second half of our conversation, Paul shared two fundamental principles that have guided his approach to life and his career as a police officer. The first principle is the, belief that we are more similar than we are different. This perspective has helped Paul develop empathy and to understand others by putting himself in their shoes. He emphasized the importance of approaching interactions with curiosity and an inquisitive mind, treating others with the same respect and consideration that we would want ourselves.
This principle encourages active listening, asking questions without judgment, and seeking to understand others on a deeper level.
Now the second principle Paul discusses is the idea that you get what you give.
If you offer aggression, you'll receive aggression.
But if you demonstrate empathy, you'll receive empathy in return.
Paul introduced the SALES acronym as a practical guide for effective communication.
S stands for service, emphasizing the importance of being in service of others.
The letter A encourages asking questions without judgment, approaching conversations with curiosity.
L underscores the value of active listening to truly understand the other person's perspective.
E promotes empathy and the effort to relate how others may perceive a situation.
And finally, S suggests summarizing the essence of what has been shared, to show that we've truly understood and acknowledged the other person's viewpoint.

[1:17:26] Paul also provided insights on dealing with uncertainty. He recommended focusing on the present moment, recognizing that circumstances do not define who we are, and that it is only temporary. Understanding that challenging situations will pass is crucial for maintaining resilience moving forward. And as Paul quoted Rocky, it's not how hard you are hit, but how hard you can get hit and still keep moving forward.
And to you Paul directly, a personal thank you from me to you for such a passionate and, fantastic conversation.
And a personal shout out to my friend Jim Gifford for putting the two of us together.
Thank you Jim. You're a solid guy and a good friend.
Well folks, if you're interested in getting in contact with Paul, I will leave all his, contact information in the show notes.
In his latest book, Take Control of Your Life, Rescue Yourself and Live the Life You Deserve, well, I'd highly recommend reading that, but you can also get that in audio format.
And again, I will leave the links in the show notes.
Well, thank you for allowing me to be part of your week. And until next time we continue this conversation, keep well, keep strong.

Introducing "It's an Inside Job" podcast with Jason Lim
Season 5 Begins: Intriguing Guests Await
From a Troubled Childhood to Becoming a Policeman
Key Insights on Human Behavior in High-Stress Situations
The Power of Changing Our Narrative
Taking Ownership and Rewriting Our Narrative
First responders focus on self-efficacy and controlling their response.
Building trust and connection with diverse police cadets.
Keeping the Peace in a Diverse Classroom
Conversation with a Terrorist: Unlikely Allies
Challenging upbringing and the power of choice
Lessons learned as a police officer: We are more similar than we are different
You are the Most Important Person in Your Life
Strategies for overcoming depression and uncertainty
Building new neural pathways through changing the narrative
Start Small: Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins
Let Go of the Past: The Power of Choice
Embracing the temporary nature of struggles and hardships
Principles of empathy and understanding