Eric Rogers speaks about how he learned to face the pain of his childhood trauma and overcome his self-destructive habits. He shares that drugs kept him alive, by numbing what he was unable to face, and how hitting rock bottom gave him the reason he needed to change, find a higher purpose, and face all that he had been running from.
Commander Divine speaks with Eric Rogers about how he learned to face the pain of his childhood trauma and overcome his self-destructive habits. Eric shares that drugs kept him alive, by numbing what he was unable to face, and how hitting rock bottom gave him the reason he needed to change, find a higher purpose, and face all that he had been running from.
Adverse Childhood Experiences are linked with increased risk for many types of illnesses: both physical and mental, as well as addiction. The stigma and silence around sexual abuse prevents many children from ever speaking up and getting the help they need.
Nature is a powerful tool. When we spend time in nature, we are reminded that we are part of nature. We are part of something bigger, and simply being away from all of the distractions of modern life allows us the space to go deeper into self reflection.
Running from pain doesn’t work. It eventually catches up with you. Instead of running from pain, sit with it, embrace it, try to understand it, so that you can learn from it and move past it.
Replace your bad habits with positive habits that serve you—Eric channeled his intensity into extreme fitness, which gave him structure and purpose, and led him to a meaningful career helping others.
We need to do hard things. Creating daily rituals that challenge us physically, mentally, and spiritually make us more resilient. When we spend time challenging ourselves, we develop the strength to face whatever curveballs life throws our way.
Eric Rogers 0:02
There was one day I was sitting in my Honda accord actually had some minors in my car. 1716 year olds, I just turned 18 years old. And I’m lining out to coke right and I’m showing off all my drugs and three cops parked right behind me. I had a meth pipe I had an eight ball of cocaine. I had an ounce of weed and like three grams of hash all in my car under my seat, and I was getting minors high. And so what happened is I went to jail. It scared the shit out of me, bro.
Mark Divine 0:35
Welcome to the Mark Divine show. This is your host, Mark Divine. On the show, we discover we dive deep and discuss what makes the world’s most inspirational, compassionate and resilient leaders so courageous. We talk in depth to people from all walks of life, such as martial arts grandmasters meditation, monks, CEOs, military leaders, Stoic philosophers, proud survivors, and great adventures, and many more. In each episode, we get deep into our guests life, their experiences, their lessons learned. And we come up with actionable insights that we can use to follow and lead in life filled with compassion, and courage and to do good things in the world. I’m excited today to talk to Eric Rogers. Man, what a story about embracing struggling chaos to optimize personal growth. So if you struggle with self doubt, and self defeating habits, and you’re willing to face those negative habits, you can learn to be more cognitive flexible, set healthy boundaries, build a brain that’s wired for happiness and success. And Eric can teach you how to do that. Eric is the founder of Rogers fitness Academy. He’s now a leader and influencers, entrepreneur. And he’s known for one of the world’s greatest transformations, not because of where he is now. But where he’s come from. We’ll talk about his journey from homelessness to extreme addiction, as a method to suicidal ideations to where he almost pulled the trigger. Turning around to extreme discipline, determination and mental strength is a fascinating story. I’m looking forward to our conversation today. Now, here’s Eric. You said you live in Sacramento, tell us about your childhood, and kind of like who you are, and what shaped you know, kind of the force that you are today. We’ll start there, you know, at the beginning. Yeah, it’s
Eric Rogers 2:25
a long drawn out story. So when I was about two years old, I was, this is the first part of my life that I have any memory of, I barely remember it, but mostly what my parents say, I was diagnosed with a disease. It’s like cancer. It’s history, I cytosis. And it’s a really rare disease. And basically, I was given two months to live. And, you know, I was putting through radiation treatment. And I had no chance, right? And there was that moment where my parents realized they were going to lose me. And it put them through a lot. They had lost a child prior to me as well. Wow. And one day, we went to a doctor, and they said it was gone. I like telling that story. And the reason why is because, you know, looking back at that moment in my life, I realized that I have a purpose. I should have died. I shouldn’t have made it through that. And it helps me in moments where I feel, you know, maybe where I’m stuck in life now. So it’s very helpful
Mark Divine 3:27
was this intervention or did the radiology work? The doctor
Eric Rogers 3:31
literally called it a miracle? Literally, I love that. Yeah. And because of that story to like, I have a really, really tight on my spiritual path with God. And the reason why is because he gave me life and I didn’t have a chance. And so I seek Him throughout, you know, this journey of my life. So, growing up, obviously, I made it through that, right. I lived in a small town called Pilate Hill, California population like 400 people very small town, a little bit east of Sacramento. And, you know, from the outside looking in my family looked like a really great Christian family. Father was a prison guard, Folsom prison guard
Mark Divine 4:12
and cashes. Sangha popping.
Eric Rogers 4:15
Right, right. Everybody knows Folsom Prison, right? Yeah. And he grew up in a bad place. Like he dealt with a lot of abuse. Both his parents had died when he was very young, and he was putting orphanage homes, he was a runaway. And so him being a father to me, and my brother and sister was probably a tough thing, not to mention working at Folsom Prison and being in in a violent environment all the time. You know, a lot of times he took that home with a lot of discipline, which some of it was loving, and I definitely blame him for a lot of the good in my life, too. But a lot of it was abuse, right? A lot of it was mostly emotional. At the age of seven years old. You know, we go to church every Sunday. Going to Sunday school situation happened where my Sunday school teacher, a woman sexually abused me at the age of seven. Yeah. And that was like the start of trauma in my life, being seven years old and scared. And I’m really angry. What I remember was just being like furious and scared, because I knew I had to go back. And I didn’t want to tell my parents, right. I don’t know why I didn’t want to tell my parents, but it’s how it usually works. I decided to deal with it myself. I went back the next week, and I knew I was going to go there week after week after week. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. And I actually poured bleach inside of her coffee cup. Oh, my, yeah, she got really sick. She got really sick but
Mark Divine 5:42
immediate karmic blowback for her.
Eric Rogers 5:47
Yeah. i From that moment on, because I didn’t get caught. So I definitely was shutting my mouth about the whole situation that right, right now it was like,
Mark Divine 5:56
which makes it worse, obviously. Yeah. So now you can tell him? Yeah, you had to deal with a demon inside,
Eric Rogers 6:01
it actually became like quite a repressed memory. And it’s just something I just started talking about. This month. It’s been 21 years since I’ve held that in. Well, welcome
Mark Divine 6:11
to a new version of yourself that’s able to speak about Absolutely. Your past trauma. That’s huge. That’s a huge Yeah,
Eric Rogers 6:17
Mark Divine 6:19
I want to just pause here if it’s okay. Because I don’t want to gloss over the challenges that both emotional trauma physical abuse and sexual abuse, you know, present for people, you took you 28 years to be able to talk about it openly with others. 21 Yeah, yeah, 21 some people never get there. Right. And so the fact that you’re able to do this and speak about it publicly, is really helpful for those others who have dealt with a similar circumstances to be like, Okay, if I can talk about it, then I can talk about it or get therapy or, you know, really find help, because absolutely those things, especially at a young age, you just don’t have the tools to understand and to process those things. And so it ends up getting really, really suppressed in the stuck energy. Yeah, that you carry with your whole life. Right. And I’m sure you’re gonna know more about that. That’s
Eric Rogers 7:04
a great word for it. Yeah,
Mark Divine 7:06
I have a little bit of understanding because I had an abusive father and alcoholic, family and whatnot. So I had to deal with that in my own way as well. But um, man, I really feel free, especially sexual assault. I can imagine what that would be like, Yeah, I know a lot of people. It’s far more prevalent, I think then people are willing to admit.
Eric Rogers 7:25
Yeah, absolutely. It is, you know, those statistics say it’s like one out of four people. Unbelievable. Yeah, in the world have gone through a sexual abuse situation. And it’s definitely, I think that’s another reason why I want to talk about it. Because I think a lot of people can relate to it, which is sad sucks, but it’s true. It’s really what happens after that is the problem. If you hold it in or you repress that memory, which I did, what happened was, it completely changed who I am, right? I was no longer a seven year old kid enjoying my life. Like I had just tried to murder somebody like, right, I can laugh about it now. But
Mark Divine 8:08
in a twisted way, it is
Eric Rogers 8:09
right. And I got away with it, first of all, and then also, she never did it again after that. And so what I learned in that moment was it was okay, she knew she knew what happened. She had to have because she didn’t look at me touched me ever again. I won, right? You won? Yeah. But what it taught me at seven was it’s so it’s okay to retaliate, right? So I actually became and built some violent characteristics. That plus, you know, my family life, my family, my home life, just the trauma itself. You know, I had a lot of really bad temper tantrums, kind of off the hinge anger issues, as a child just uncontrolled. And because of it changed me going back into my family and living with them. The years after that. I didn’t fit in, right. Like, I wasn’t me anymore. I wasn’t like them. I didn’t know what was going on. Right. And so I was treated even more differently. Like, there was most of my life, I was the scapegoat of the family. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that term, but just this, I was a smallest. And I was tiny Manley’s small my whole life and just picked on a lot, like bullied at home and my siblings
Mark Divine 9:19
or your your parents are both more
Eric Rogers 9:22
my father, he did a lot of it, and he encouraged it. And honestly, telling my story has caused a lot of turmoil in my family, I bet but for me, it’s like I don’t they don’t want me to talk about this, of course, but the truth is, is like this is my purpose. And I’m not afraid to explain what it is. I went through all that right. I have every right to talk about it. That’s fine. So I’m going to hopefully they can accept that. And then we can just move on if they don’t. So what is it that’s what it is. That’s a boundary that’s
Mark Divine 9:53
crossed or choice, right? Yeah, exactly. So you’re doing the right good job. Yeah.
Eric Rogers 9:56
And so a lot of that a lot of in House of verbal, emotional and some physical abuse, not crazy. But sometimes they got out of hand, right. And, you know, eventually what, what I did is I found some painkillers that my mom was hiding that she had from like kidney stones or whatever, I didn’t really know what they were. But when I was eight, I tried one. And I loved it. And from that moment on, I realized that I could hide from the pain, I could numb it. And, you know, I could run from it through substances through anger through violence, you know, and just being depressed. And I’ve been suicidal since I was eight, right? So, obviously, I couldn’t get my hands on pills that young all the time. So I mean, I’d go on the, in the medicine drawer and grab drama mean, and eat the whole bottle, I would drink the whole bottle roba test and I would take four doses of Benadryl, just to like, I would do anything it took just to get out of that pain, that trauma. And yeah, cause its own problems. Because when you turn to drugs, obviously drugs brings on its own amount of pain in your life. Mm hmm. And it’s just going to add to that trauma, you know, eventually, you know, going into high school, getting into lots of fights, really doing horribly at school, and just not giving a fuck, honestly, just not caring, a very insecure person, very sensitive, very negative. And because of that, I think the only thing that made me feel like worth living was being high or being drunk, or being crazy, right? Like, I wanted to be that crazy kid. I was like, accepted as that. And I liked that. There became your identity, exactly. Who I was like,
Mark Divine 11:37
so everybody got a teenager at this point, or you’re still in your 20s. When
Eric Rogers 11:41
Yeah, I’m a teenager. At this point. I’m in high school, and you know, dabbling with harder and harder drugs. And by the time I’m 17, I got my hands on cocaine. And the way I work the way I’ve always been is like, if I try some I’m going big. So you’re all that. I’m all in 100%. So I’m either a bad influence, or I’m a good influence, right. And so I took it to the next level, and I started selling it. And I started getting people hooked on it in my in my hometown, and making money off of it. My dad found a little straw inside my backpack, and he’s a cop. So he tested it, you know, his little field test. And he called me, and he’s like, Look, dude, you’re done. Never come around this house. Again. If I ever see you here or around any of our family, I’m taking a job myself. Like, that’s it, you’re done. And basically, they threw my shit out. And I had to come get it within 24 hours. And I was 17 years old, I had a job. I worked at round table, and I had a Honda Accord. And that’s it. I was kicked out of the house. I was homeless at 17. And I just wasn’t prepared for that, bro. It was really a shock. And at that moment, it was a shock. But it was freeing because I was finally released from that. A big part of my pain, which was the emotional abuse of beats from home. I was like, okay, cool. Like, I’ll figure this out, whatever. The first night that I was out, I went over to a friend’s house. And I was introduced to methamphetamine. Oh my so I didn’t know what it was. I tried it. I thought it was coke. It was meth. I ended up taking that to the next level too. So now I’m a meth addict. And now I’m actually starting to hang around people because I didn’t have a place to live. So I’m hanging out with people to stay on the couch. And these people are like the most evil people I’ve ever met. It’s insanity out there. Like in the meth world. In the drug world. There’s some really bad people and they were all I knew. They were the only people that accepted me were one mean in their life. And so I took it and just I was held at gunpoint. I was held at knifepoint held hostage, threatened to be killed like multiple times. And it’s just because they were high and paranoid. And that’s the type of people that were like, Hmm, this journey is just, it’s I’m lost, right? I’m just lost, and trying to find truthfully, like any reason to live, which would be like the drugs were the only thing that made me feel like, I couldn’t even make it through. without drugs. I can guarantee and promise you that I’d be dead right now. Which is wow. Yeah.
Mark Divine 14:15
That’s an interesting statement. Yeah, they kept me alive. Good. gets you through the pain. So you think what would have happened? If you didn’t?
Eric Rogers 14:22
I would have killed myself.
Mark Divine 14:23
You would have killed yourself?
Eric Rogers 14:24
Mark Divine 14:25
Yeah, well, that’s one positive thing about drugs. Jeez,
Eric Rogers 14:30
yeah, that’s the first thing to I’ve ever heard. It’s true. You know, what happened is eventually that catches up on you. You know, there was one day I was sitting in my Honda Accord actually had some minors in my car. 17,16 year olds, I just turned 18 years old. And I’m lining out the coke right. And I’m showing off all my drugs and three cops. parked right behind me. The lights on Oh boy. I’m with minors. I just turned 18 And not to mention I didn’t just have Coke, I had a meth pipe. I had an eight ball of meth. I had an eight ball of cocaine. I had an ounce of weed and like three grams of hash, all in my car under my seat, and I was getting minors high. And so what happened is I went to jail on sac county jail. And it scared the shit out of me, bro. Hmm, I did not belong there. I was about 125 pounds probably at that point. Well, sucked up skinny. I hadn’t eaten in like three weeks. You know? What? Oh my gosh, yeah, it I didn’t sleep or eat for three weeks at a time. I was taking enough methamphetamine, that I was scaring these people that have been doing it for 20 years. They’re like, Dude, don’t slow down. I was like, Nah, I’m good. I mean, I actually got psychosis. So where there’s points where I was talking to myself, I was seeing demons. I was just skipping through time, like straight up, I wake up in places I didn’t know what the fuck happened. And complete psychosis. I’d hear my dad’s voice in my head. I’d see my dad in the windows, like some trippy stuff. I was deep. I was that guy on the side of the road yelling at cars, you know? Wow. Yeah. So so just to give you like, a good idea of where I’ve come from, yeah, how dark and how deep it actually got for me. You know, and I hope that this can give hope to anybody out there that thinks that they can get out of a situation. You can absolutely
Mark Divine 16:27
you can recover from that. I’ve always wondered like how someone recovers from that. Remember, I have a summer home in Lake Placid my family does. And one summer, I’m up there. And a friend said hey, you know, there’s this homeless guy who’s been wandering the streets for pretty sure he’s a seal, really. And I’m like, Okay, and so I’m like, I gotta find this guy. You know, like, this is my brother, like, what the heck’s going on? So I go, sure enough, I can’t remember his name now. But this guy had been at Dev guru. He was SEAL Team Six guy. Wow. And he’s homeless. And he was just like you described said he wasn’t as strung out as probably you describe your Yeah, because I actually kind of sort of had a conversation with him. He did not want my help. Right? He was definitely not all there. Like he was had to had a psychotic break or something. He didn’t give two shits about me that I wasn’t feeling I was there to help him out. And so yeah, conversation short, as you can imagine, with those types of people as you were one of them. Yeah. But I wondered, you know, like, Whatever happened to him? Is there a path back for people like that? And I guess the answer is some Yes. And probably some No,
Eric Rogers 17:25
it’s a very low percentage, low percentage. Even anybody that gets addicted to meth in general, maybe they do it like 10 times, there’s a very low chance that they’ll
Mark Divine 17:34
ever stop. Really, it’s very low. It’s that the
Eric Rogers 17:38
biggest thing is is like a lot of people that do it end up getting cancer. It’s got all sorts of nasty, gnarly chemicals in it and made in people’s basements out of oh my god, like raid and spray.
Mark Divine 17:50
How bad of a epidemic is meth?
Eric Rogers 17:52
I’d say it’s a location type thing, a geographical thing. In the Midwest, it’s really bad. I know that in smaller towns, it’s really bad. But it’s bad right now. Because a lot of that stuff comes from Mexico, right? The cartel brings it in, in mass amounts, along with heroin as well. But I mean, you don’t really hear as much comparatively to heroin because people don’t generally die and overdose, like you would on heroin. Right. Right. Methods are sneaky, right? Like, you’re not gonna know what’s going on. Like, they’re hiding. They’re finding ways to survive, you know? So, I mean, heroin addicts, they can’t even move. You’re going to know, you know, someone dies. Right? Right. So yeah, it’s pretty bad where I grew up, it’s really bad. Very small town. And it’s just group of little small towns and a lot of my friends parents growing up were addicts food, and a lot of my friends ended up getting on some type of drug and, you know, ruining their life as well. I’m one of the few that made it out. No, no, the few
Mark Divine 18:58
do you think JL helped you? Because a you’re getting three square meals a day. You’re catching up on your sleep? Yeah. Scared you a little bit.
Eric Rogers 19:04
Yeah, it scared me. I’ll tell this is kind of a funny story. When I cuz I had a detox. I was doing right sac County for about two weeks. And
Mark Divine 19:13
that puts you in like the hospital at the jail. If you’re detoxing.
Unknown Speaker 19:17
Just put me in a cell just in a cell and let you deal
Mark Divine 19:19
with it. Wow. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah.
Eric Rogers 19:21
And the biggest thing is I started to crave sugar so bad, so bad. And I don’t know when you quit alcohol, that’s a symptom. But basically, I hadn’t eaten in like, three weeks. So and I didn’t need a lot before that. You know, I was 125 pounds and I was eating like, weird. I was eating the toothpaste. myself. I was eating the toothpaste. That’s how bad that craving was just a little side note kind of just some weird shit. You know, there’s nothing in that moment. I you know, obviously detox I slept I ate and it scared the shit out of me. That was actually one of the only times Up until then, that I was sober enough to see that I was going to be okay, sober. Right. It gave me a little glimpse that I can actually like, life’s not that bad, right? I always thought that I always had to be high. I always had a run, because if I don’t, I’ll think too much. I’ll get depressed and I’ll kill myself, right? But I realized, like, man, I’ll be okay. And I eventually I got out. I went to trial, and my case got dismissed. I was a bad search, like, Thank God, I don’t have a felony, because I was looking at 10 years.
Mark Divine 20:36
I walked away from Wow, yeah, another intervention.
Eric Rogers 20:39
Another intervention Not to mention, like eight overdoses and three seizures. From the time I had cancer to that moment in my life, like, right, yeah, so lots of miracles along this path, and I eventually got it got off the hard stuff, and moved up to Truckee, and I started to live my own life actually lived in a tent in Truckee for four months and detoxed more,
Mark Divine 21:02
always during the summer, because that’s it was,
Eric Rogers 21:05
it was it was it was a very fun actually a really cool experience to do that. But just got away from all the drugs, all the people and I lived on my own isolated myself a detox
Mark Divine 21:14
smart to go into nature to do that. Yeah, um, what told you to do that.
Eric Rogers 21:18
I knew I wanted to go to the ski resorts in the winter. I was like, if I go up there and establish myself and try to find a summer job, then I’ll have a good chance of now being sober and then finding a job right. Or getting that job and I’ve always gone to Tahoe as a kid, so I love it. There’s something about nature that’s healing, you know, in my opinion, and it was great. I mean, I didn’t have much I had a tarp, a homemade hammock, I had a box of canned foods and $40 for gas and ice money, and some food. I eat chili and I killed squirrels with my guitar strings. Not even kidding, I snared squirrels, and I overcooked them, and I ate them. Oh, I put them in my chili. And I did that a lot. So I went from like, survival mode to survival mode, right, in a whole nother environment.
Mark Divine 22:10
Yeah, you know, I’m brownish. Holy cow. Yeah. I’m brown. I did some training with him. He’s got his wilderness survival program where you literally, you know, he teaches you if you go into the wilderness with anything but your shorts on Yeah, you know, then you probably won’t, you don’t know how to survive, right? He likens you know, a backpack and all the equipment you get at REI to be like an astronaut. You know, you’re going into the wilderness. You rely on all that stuff, you know? Yeah, exactly. You’re like a natives. You know, you got to live off the land and you should be thriving. It sounds like you kind of started that journey a little bit. Eton school. Yeah. Well, they probably tasted great chili when
Eric Rogers 22:46
they were food I survived. That’s all I cared about at that moment. One thing I can say is that being out in nature was just an eye opener to me. Like I started to reflect a lot and meditate and nothing else to do right now. I started putting all these little tools in my pocket, right? self reflecting meditation, praying, writing, I will, you know, this was like eight years ago, so I was about 20 years old, okay. 19,20 years old. Yeah. Right. What happened is I eventually I got a job. I actually met my wife up there in Truckee, and we got married, had a kid, our son is four now. And I wasn’t done. You know, I wasn’t done. I was still haven’t really faced my past. I kept hiding. I kept running from it. I kept blaming everyone else. I was the biggest victim you can meet. And you know, what happened is I started dabbling more in alcohol and the stuff that’s more legal, but it’s not necessarily better for you. And I took that to the next level. So Xanax, alcohol, Adderall, just heavy doses. bottle and I fit the night. I did that for about four years. And when we had our son, my wife quit, we partied a lot, right? We were young, we were married. We partied. We had our son, she quit. She got her shit together. I did it. What happened is I realized I couldn’t, I couldn’t quit. I was just so mad at my dad. I was so mad at this lady was so mad at my past and everyone in the world that that point was just trying to just kill myself like slowly and cost a lot of pain in my own little family. Because a lot of turmoil I did a lot of bad things to them, and I hurt them a lot. And what happened was they pack their shit and left, right. So yeah, there I am. Just a victim, you know, just an alcoholic. Now, the same problems, same pass, even the abuse thing I never told my wife, you know, so a communist point where I was alone again, just had lost everything again. And four months later, just drinking heavily. I got this moment where I was like, I’m done. I’m gonna kill myself. I made a decision. I said, nobody wants me. Nobody loves me, you know, the cry for help and I realized that, like life wasn’t worth living, I have caused so much pain. I’ve heard so many people. So many people have hurt me, life sucks. But my walk in my mouth, and I put my finger on the trigger, and I started bawling my eyes out. And I started having like a panic attack. And it was intense. Like I was sobbing snot coming out my mouth, I was gonna do it, you know. And something clicked in me. Something clicked in me. And what it was, is I pictured my wife being loved by another man. I pictured my son calling some other men dead. It was enough pain right there to pull that gun out of my mouth. Wow. And I just started sobbing, I realized it was the first time in my life, I realized that all my past actions got me to this point. Mm hmm. And it was the first time I took responsibility. I was like, Wow, I did this. Because I was like, I want to be that man, that loves my wife, I want to be that man that loves my son, I could be that man, I just have to change what I do now, to become that. I told myself, it was a moment with God. It was a powerful and very purposeful moment in my life. And it was a complete 180 where I told myself and I promised myself, I’m going to do everything it takes to get them back. I’m going to do everything it takes to change and become a better person that became your wine, right? Yeah, that was it. That was my original intention to become better. And I spent four months, just like, learning what normal was. I put myself in communities at church and just, you know, asked a lot of questions, understood and learned other people and what how they react and how they cope with things. And, you know, it was weird to me, like people were happy people were like, This is fucking weird, dude. Yeah, in my head, like inside of it’s just like, like, come on, like, just intense. I’m intense. And the way I think is intense. And it’s like, they’re like walking on clouds out here. I kind of got the heebie jeebies being around normal people. And I was like, this is weird. Like, it’s all lovey dovey, like, I’ve never experienced that in my life. But it was welcoming. And I put myself in a place where I would accept it. What and one thing I learned in that situation was I didn’t want to be normal. I hated it. I was like, I can’t do this. But I didn’t want to continue being a piece of shit. I didn’t want to be so fucked up. And so I decided to take the characteristics from them just there want to be good. And my intensity, and I created who I am today. Right? Right.
Mark Divine 27:35
Yeah, like that. I mean, I call that common. Right. So my next book title is uncommon, okay. Because common is boring. Yeah, it is, you know, common is just following the status quo. And there’s a lot of really good people. Yeah, that are doing common. And that’s okay for them. But to be uncommon, you got to have that intensity the hair on fire, and to really step forward to do something bold and courageous. And that’s what you intuitively came to that. That’s good. Very cool.
Eric Rogers 27:58
Yeah, man. I’ve never really accepted help in my life. That’s something about me, because I had trust issues with authority, because of what happened to me. I’ve figured a lot of this on my own, which is, yeah, crazy. I learned the hard way I learned through experience and rule of
Mark Divine 28:13
hard knocks. Yeah. But you know, the tuition is pretty high.
Eric Rogers 28:17
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, the big thing that I learned through all of this was that everything that happened to me happened for a reason. What I what I look at it now is when we go through something hard, like hardship, or struggle in life, there’s a purpose happening as you’re going through. And it’s, I mean, I know a lot of people are going through hard stuff right now. And it’s just, it’s cool to know that they’re not fucked, right? Like, something is happening. And really what it is, is, if you look at pain, if you change your perspective on pain, which I’ve done really well and teaching people this pain, its main purpose is growth. And that’s it. No, we don’t grow. When we’re joyful. We don’t grow when we’re happy. I believe that our growth comes from the hard times it comes from the struggles, it comes from the suffering. And so that change of perspective, made me realize that I have to stop running from pain, and I need to face it. I need to feel it. And I need to let it change me. Right, right. And so from that moment on to now that’s been like my journey, it’s like when adversity comes or maybe this trauma has come up, instead of me running from it through vices, which is the drugs that I used to take, you know, I just faced What is it trying to tell me, bro, this darkness, this feeling of suffering, it’s forming me it’s shaping me. And it naturally does. If you just are willing to just not not run away from
Mark Divine 29:41
it. Yeah, um, stare it down and learn from it. That’s cool. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I want to get into so you started the business, Rogers fitness, like what led you to fitness? And then let’s talk about some of the core principles that you live by and you teach. Okay, I think that that would be really valuable. Some of the listeners, yeah, absolutely.
Eric Rogers 30:01
Well, fitness came into my life at a young age, at the age of eight years old, found pull ups to help me with my anger. So when I get, my dad would hit me or whatever, you know, spank me very angrily or I get made fun of, I get really upset. I go in the garage, and I do pull ups till I couldn’t breathe. And I realized really quickly that exercise helped my state of mind. It took me from angry and upset and uncontrollable to a place in my life where I was just like, I was able to stay calm, like, Okay, I got that out, right, I got it out. And that was another tool I put in my pocket for now. And I wasn’t that into fitness. I was into it. But I didn’t eat right, I was young, I was doing drugs, you know. But eventually, fitness really turned into my lifestyle. When I quit drinking, I quit doing the drugs, I needed something to do. Right, I need to keep my mind busy. And so I went to the gym, and I started getting really into it. And I started realizing that man, if I eat, which I hadn’t so long, you know, actually, I’m pretty good genetics, like I look different. I’m growing muscle. And I took that to the next level, I started eating the food, I started eating seven meals a day. Wow. And that started about four years ago, I start eating seven meals a day. And I started to become extremely disciplined with that. I love bodybuilding because it’s a challenge. You don’t enjoy just the gym, it’s a lifestyle, you know, right? It’s everything out of the gym is what matters. And so what that did is it just kept me on this path of structure. Right? If I am controlling what I ingest, and I control or I put some stress on my body every day, what I realize is that it gives me a sense of control. And it helps build my character. So what I mean by that is one of the key values I live by is intentional suffering intentional stress. So one thing that I do every day is I wake up, and I put on a hoodie. And I get on the stair stepper. And I go as hard as I can for like 3045 minutes, sometimes an hour, depending on my day. And I just I hate it. I hate I hate it. But you love this feeling of accomplishment. One thing that I learned is that there’s this point where when you hate it, and your skin’s growing and you want to get out just like in a life situation where you’re struggling, you can change your perspective on that. And I believe that the same place in your brain, this is facts, the same place in your brains that receives, you know, pain is the same place that it’s the pleasure point in your brain as well. So like, you can trick your brain into it, there’s this alpha inside you, there’s this monster inside of you, that can just like, change how you feel about something, right? And just you can power through it. And I just I love that. And so what I teach my clients and my followers is if we intentionally put chaos, stress and suffering in our life, which through training or for you it was the Navy SEALs, you did that intentionally. You get rewarded at the end of it. That’s right, your tolerance to stress in the outside world, man, compared to the seals, like you can handle situations way better. Your stress management is on point. And I think that’s a key thing to living a successful life is not letting everything affect you negatively.
Mark Divine 33:27
In my book, The Way of the seal, I have a chapter called or sections called go to the challenge, or the challenge will come to you. Yeah. And so that that’s big into what you’re doing is like, do something hard every day. Do something harder every week, once a week, do something even harder or once a month. Yeah, do something even harder once a quarter and then do something really effing hard. Once a year. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then when you do that, both the preparation and the insight and the suffering and then like you said, changing the suffering into reward and pleasure. It’s just through the process of understanding how it’s making you grow. And then you start to shift your entire perspective on life, then there is no challenge externally that can affect you, because you’ve already brought it to yourself, you know, yeah, you know, you can’t run from pain. You can’t Yeah, but you can embrace the suck of it. Exactly. You use it for growth. Yeah, that’s awesome. So what else are like some big guiding principles for you? That was a great one.
Eric Rogers 34:19
Well, obviously, the discipline and the way I teach that is by controlling what you ingest. Because when you can control what you ingest, and I mean committing 100% to it, right, you can start to control your energy, you can start to control your attitude, you can start to control your reactions and your emotions to things. So I think that’s key to building character. And the goal for myself and some of my clients, hopefully, all of them is to get to this point where your character is so strong that you don’t break conduct in any situation, right. So I kind of look at Jesus Christ to this, because, you know, he was the most disciplined man in the world. He was and ever walked on this earth and when he got slapped, turned The other cheek like, yeah, he didn’t react. Like he had damage control. And that’s like something that I aspire, because I know that I’ve lost everything three times in my life. And it can happen again. Next time it happens if it does, I want to be so strong in my character, that I don’t stop my routine. I don’t change my values, I don’t change my morals. It doesn’t affect me. Because my identity is in my character. It’s not in what I have. You know,
Mark Divine 35:31
that’s cool. I like to pause. This idea of thinking of Jesus as discipline is so accurate and the root of the word discipline is disciple. Yeah, exactly. And so he had disciples who put him above their needs, which helped them with their growth, but also Jesus was a disciple to something higher than his knees higher themselves, which is God, you know, his father got left. I think that’s really powerful. Right? So when we put something higher as our main thing, and we commit to that, and then living in integrity with that means that we’re gonna take actions that take us out of alignment. Yeah, exactly. And to include honoring the body. Right. And so powerful. Yeah,
Eric Rogers 36:10
I believe that discipline is truly just obedience to God. Yeah, yeah. And like taking care of your body, like you just said, like, I believe that the more disciplined you are in life, which is the moral beating you are to your Creator, whoever that is, the quicker you’ll be shown your purpose in life. You’re not distracted by everything else, that everybody else is distracted by, you’re focused, you’re focused, you’re clear headed, you’re not putting bad things in your body, you’re going to be shown away more opportunity than anybody else, which is going to take you higher than the standard of life. And it’s going to separate you from ordinary everyday. Right? Yeah. So I love that. I basically what I did is I became a good influence instead of a bad influence. Mm hmm. You know, I’m either or I’m black and white type of person. I’m bipolar. Like, legitimately. Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s kind of have a YouTube channel called the polarizing effect. Because of that. I’m a different person. Sometimes it depends on the situation. But I go all in, you know, and I believe that it’s been a driving force to get me to this place. Because I don’t backstab. I don’t back up. And if I do, man, it’s bad. So I make sure.
Mark Divine 37:22
Oh, my God, what’s your daily routine look like? Now it is
Eric Rogers 37:26
my daily routine, a wake up at 4:30am. And I have an intention behind everything that I do have a purpose behind everything I do every day. And the intention of waking up early, is to wake up in suffering, right? Instead of hitting that snooze button. When you hit that snooze button, you immediately seek comfort. And what I noticed is when I hit that snooze button, I’ll hit that snooze button. And every part of my life after that, that day, I’ll sneak in a rice krispies global snooze. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And so when you wake up in the first action you take is to choose purpose over pleasure, you’re going to have more of a different kind of mindset, walking through it. Right. Next thing I do is I jump on that stair climber. And I put myself through as much pain as I can in 30 to 45 minutes. And I just practice myself talk at that moment, if you one thing I struggled with my whole life was self doubt, because of what my dad told me that I was, I was a bitch, I was a pussy. I was a mama’s boy, I never amounted to anything. That voice in my head has been ringing my whole life. And that’s what I used to call myself and what you believe you become, you know, that repetitive self talk, it will turn you into that thing. So I changed that to good. And I’ve started to become it right. And so now, then next thing I do is eat a good one of my seven meals, a good home food meal. And I do my praying, read the Bible. I educate myself somehow, either on business or, you know, mindset through like self help books or business books. And then I self reflect. So I’ll write down the things that I feel I should I could have done better on yesterday, right? Like behavior wise, or attitude wise or reaction wise, and I do whatever I can today, I’ll set a plan to fix those or to do better. I set my goals for the day, I time management, every second is accounted for. You know, later on the day, I go to the gym, I train as hard as I can and just run the business and be a good father. I got my wife and kid back on the way. They’re back in my life. I’ve gained everything back. And way more from changing my life.
Mark Divine 39:37
What a cool story. And I feel like you’re just getting warmed up. Yeah. Here’s the interesting thing. It took you like 24 years of hell to find four years of like, wow. And so you’re just building the foundation for the greatness that’s to come built on the foundation of all that all the learnings and all lessons from the suffering.
Eric Rogers 39:56
Yeah. Every day is a miracle. You know, great. Without back before every day, it was like, I was lucky to be alive because of my lifestyle. And now it’s like, I wake up and I’m like, I’m alive and it feels good. And I can take steps towards my vision and my future man being on this podcast, the fact that I’m on this podcast, Eric Rogers, the guy that that hurt a lot of people, the guy that nobody trusted in the past, can sit here and be a teacher, to other men and woman, and an influence and be in front of your audience, which man, this is one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve ever had in my life. I’m just going to be straight up. Very cool. My purpose and my vision is unfolding. And I believe it’s because of my discipline, and obedience to God.
Mark Divine 40:39
100% and your humility. Yeah. So you recognize that it’s not just you? Right? Yeah. Like a lot of teachers along the way, be they good or bad people. Everyone’s a teacher, like you said, even the suffering itself is your teacher, right? Nature was your teacher, your wife was your teacher, the best one, she’s hold the mirror up to you and say, Yeah, you’re this. And that’s not what I want. Yeah. And then you had to look at that and be like, Oh, shit, I can see why she doesn’t want this. Because this sucks. What I’m doing right now sucks.
Eric Rogers 41:14
Yeah, and I think there’s a lot of, actually, I’d say the majority of people my age or, or younger, have a hard time reflecting on where they are in life, or who they are, how they’re behaving. You know, and I believe that most people have to hit a rock bottom, before they can have that awakening that change of mindset. It’s unfortunate,
Mark Divine 41:32
but that seems to be common because our society doesn’t provide rites of passage doesn’t provide education around the need for reflection, and keeps people constantly distracted. Yeah, thinking that they have to be as a professional over committed, overworked, and as a kid, you know, the next shiny thing on tick tock or YouTube, right, keep some constant strikes. They’re not taught to reflect right? I was fortunate enough to similar but dissimilar, I didn’t get into drugs, but um, I had my battles with alcohol for sure. When I was younger, I found nature early and nature because of my privilege of having a summer home in the Adirondacks. I was like, I’m not staying indoors, you know, because it’s not safe there. Right. So I spent all my time outside. That’s why I look at your time in Tahoe is that four months? Equals 40 years of greatness, right? That nature, just led you right there, you know, not just the squirrels instead, your spirit. Being outside all the time with the silence of nature, and hiking and running and getting my energy out. It was a lifetime of learning to be okay, being quiet and to look within. Yeah, so but then when I found meditation at 20 years old, it felt like coming home. Yeah, I feel very blessed to have stumbled upon meditation. It was a foundation of spending time in nature that taught me that constantly avoiding the pain and suffering and chaos through distraction is, you know, it’s a slippery slope, it is going to lead eventually, to that serious wake up call through either a disease or some rock bottom through burnout, or depression or suicidal thoughts, or you name it, right. It’s gonna be different for every individual. Yeah. But there’s a way out, right? You don’t have to get there, you can just start today. Yeah, to be more disciplined to become a disciple to something higher, your God, whatever word you want to use, or concept you want to use there, and to start taking time to reflect and to journal and to do hard things. Yeah, to grow.
Eric Rogers 43:28
I mean, this is just what I think that a lot of men look at superheroes. And the superheroes have this character, right? That we kind of wish we had like this assertiveness and strength and doesn’t break for anything, you know. And that’s actually something that is achievable. And I know that you have that Mark, I do see it in you. And it’s totally possible for anyone to have. And really what it is, is you’re establishing this character that no matter what happens, you’re going to be this identity, and it won’t shift. Because what happens when you change who you are in a situation, you’re going to see a lot of turmoil in your life. It’s gonna be hard to control it. Right. Right. consistency with character is definitely something I’ve learned that is important to have when you’re trying to be successful or become, you know, something better in life.
Mark Divine 44:21
I love that. Integrity is consistency of character. Yeah, yeah, alignment, thought words deeds, actions and emotions. You know, yeah. Everything is alignment. Takes a lot of clarity to live in integrity. Absolutely. And clarity comes from introspection. Yeah, it doesn’t come from rolling the YouTube channel and seeing what’s next.
Eric Rogers 44:39
Right, right. So get off here and go work.
Mark Divine 44:44
Yeah, do something hard and spend time in meditation, which is hard. Yeah, absolutely. Hard work. Works.
Eric Rogers 44:50
does work. Yes, true. Definitely works. You’re going to work hard no matter what,
Mark Divine 44:55
no matter what we are, but you know, I’m telling everyone else just embrace the suck of hard work. until it becomes fun. Yeah, you know, that’s kind of one of my primary message for through SEALFIT is like, yeah, it might suck for a little while, but then eventually it’s like a blast. Doing that hardcore workout every day is fun. It is fun. So make it fun. And do it with a team and have fun, right? And suddenly, like you’re doing the uncommon things, uncommonly Well, yeah, that was my honor man certificate said, definition of extraordinary is when you do extraordinary things extraordinarily well. I was like, hey, like, let’s go with that. Right? Yeah. I
Eric Rogers 45:29
love that. It’s awesome,
Mark Divine 45:30
man. Well, Eric, it’s been awesome talking to you. What’s next for you? Like, what’s big for you in 2022?
Eric Rogers 45:35
Oh, man, 2022, I do plan on starting a new business. And okay, what I’m going to do is I’m going to create an apparel company with a message behind it, a movement behind it. And you know, it may not launch this year, I’m going to be doing everything I can for it. But I’m also going to continue to build my coaching business, it’s done very well. You know, I’ve helped over 200 people in last year and a half, and I really help people change their lives and get in the best shape of their life. And it’s all sustainable, and it’s all customizable, and really just continue to grow as a person myself, because my business ain’t gonna grow if I don’t. And so my main focus, my main intention is just becoming better and more disciplined and getting on more podcasts and sharing more of my story. And I believe that that purpose will unravel as it comes.
Mark Divine 46:26
Yeah. Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing your story today with us. People can learn more about you at Rogers fitness. academy.com. Is that correct? Yep. And you have on social media and
Eric Rogers 46:37
give me a follow on Instagram. That’s where I’m most active. And I do respond to messages. And I do interact with my, my followers. That’s the real underscore Eric Rogers. I’m sure you’re gonna put a link on on the
Mark Divine 46:50
Yeah, we will video too. But some people don’t go to the website. So that’s good to say it again. So the real underscore Eric Rogers as your Instagram, Yep. Awesome. Great. Eric. honored to meet you, man. And to story is very inspirational. And, man, I’m just very happy for you that you’ve, you’re at this place, you’re able to help a lot of people, and you have got an incredible future ahead of you. So let’s stay in touch. And if I can do anything to help you out and support you, then I’m all in.
Eric Rogers 47:15
Thank you, Mark. I really appreciate that. And is there anything I can do for you?
Mark Divine 47:19
Just keep doing what you’re doing?
Eric Rogers 47:21
I’ll review your podcast. I can’t do a lot for you, man. You got a lot. So now you’re killing it, man. I’m very, very happy to be here.
Mark Divine 47:30
Yeah. So we’re a team, trying to make the world a better place. That’s the way I look at it. Yeah, and you’re doing a great job. No one person is better, or whatever. I mean, this is all just young 58. So wait until you’re 58. You know, you’re 28. Dude, you got 30 years to get up and just think about what you can accomplish in 30 years. That’s true.
Eric Rogers 47:49
I do get a little impatient. I mean, is that something that you do? I know you’re very driven person is that something that you deal with? Do like impatience, like
Mark Divine 47:59
used to, but not anymore. I’ve really cultivated this idea. And you said it earlier. You know, it’s one day, today is your day. Yeah, it’s a great privilege to wake up. Yeah, and to be alive. So craft your day, like a masterpiece, around your purpose. When you’re done, you know, be grateful that you had this opportunity, and learn the lessons and overcome any regrets immediately. So you don’t drag those kettlebells regret to bed, and then have a great night’s sleep with the hope and expectation that you get another opportunity to do it tomorrow. I love that. I love that. But if you don’t you go to bed with no regrets, right. And that means you just live to regret free life. And so if you go to the other side, you’re gonna have a much better experience than if you’re filled with negative threats. So anyways, that helps me that warriors mindset. You know, in the seals, I had to learn patience, because you know, we could be like, one of the things we said is like, a typical seal mission is 23 hours and 30 minutes of utter boredom, right? intersected with 30 minutes of sheer terror. Geez, yeah, I can imagine. So we are you know, we had to say hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait. And also, yeah, boom, the bomb goes off on the door. Yeah. So patience is a really important thing. But it’s cultivated, you know. And here’s the other thing. The meditation really helps because meditation trains you to stop spending all your time in the future or the past. Okay, yeah, no, I get that time in the future should be spent planning and visualizing. Yeah, and time in the past should become spent overcoming regrets and diminishing the energy you give to negative thoughts and emotions. That’s good time spent any other time is just fantasy, or the world of Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda. Okay, so we don’t want to spend time there unless we’re being very deliberate with our future and past state, you know, time right. The rest of the time should be spent in the here and now doing something productive and being a good person. I love that. That was a beautiful mini unbeatable mind lesson.
Eric Rogers 49:56
Yeah, that’s awesome. Thank you for that. Is there anything Any advice you give a 28 year old? That’s, you know, a business owner? I know you’re a father too, right?
Mark Divine 50:06
I am. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, so there’s so many things, but this is hard, but embrace the suck of it, and recognize that it never will turn out exactly the way you think. So instead of relying on plans rely on your vision, okay? When the vision in your mind every day by continuing to stoke the vision of what you want in the future, and allow your plans to be very flexible and very adaptable, okay, I like done otherwise, you’ll get an expectation hangover. If you feel like you know, your plans, not meeting reality, because the world changing really fast. Yeah.
Eric Rogers 50:38
Does. Your definition of vision which I do go through that every day I work on that is just a general like, where? I guess it’s kind of more general than just like, this is exactly what I want.
Mark Divine 50:50
Yeah, yeah. So you because you never know exactly what you want. Unless you’re going for something like, want to be a Navy SEAL then, right? Like, even when I went through, I didn’t know exactly what that I literally just had one recruiting video to give me a sense of what it’s gonna be like, right. So the rest was my imagination. But I imagined it close enough to the truth. And I imagined I knew who I needed to be. And so I practice in my mind, the person I needed to be to crush SEAL training and earn the trident. Yeah. Then neuroplasticity. Yeah, and I exactly I visualized that training every day. You know, it’s a very short movie clip that I created in my mind, down to the graduating right now. I didn’t visualize myself graduate his honor, man, but I saw myself and I felt the experience of graduating. I tell this story quite often. But nine months of that I did that every single day, before I even was admitted to the Navy, right? In fact, my recruiter was telling me don’t get my hopes up, because they’re going to take only two people from the civilian world into the seals that you’re most people come from, obviously, in the Navy, and naval academy as an officer or ROTC. And nine months of daily practice, suddenly, something shifted inside of me, like I felt this utter sense of certainty, one day, utter sense of certainty that I was going to be a Navy SEAL. About a week later, my recruiter called and said, Hey, Mark, you’re not gonna believe this. But guess what, you you got one of the two slots. And I said, I do believe and I actually already knew it. Because, yeah, you’re gonna make a great sale because you’re crazy.
Eric Rogers 52:14
I love that word. certainty, right? I do.
Mark Divine 52:16
Vision gives you certainty. It does.
Eric Rogers 52:19
My vision is like I see myself in front of 1000s of people. Yep. Like on stage. And that’s all I see. It’s almost a blurred and it’s getting more clear. But I think that’s all I need.
Mark Divine 52:28
That’s a great vision. But everyone in the audience is also wearing your apparel.
Eric Rogers 52:32
Yeah, there we go. Oh, God, I like that. Maybe I could see what type of apparel I need to make. That’s awesome. Cool, Mark. Appreciate you, brother. I wish I could shake your hand right now. But thank you for your service and everything you do,
Mark Divine 52:45
we’ll do a mental handshake or a mental hug. I got to stay in touch. Wow, what a tremendous guy, Eric Rogers, under Rogers fitness Academy. The story is incredibly inspiring. Overcoming so much hardship and suffering from getting kicked out of his house is 17. And his foray into drugs, landing him in jail, his attempted suicide, and how he transformed from all that and to be the man he is today, a world class coach. And so we had a great conversation about discipline of doing hard things. You know, every morning, he wakes up and gets on a Stairmaster and just bust his butt. And he hates it, but he feels really strong from it. So really interesting lessons around creating a daily ritual of challenges that make you stronger and help you grow. And also the power of contemplation and introspection. And to carve out time for that every day and learning from yesterday, learning from the challenges and what went well, and what did not go well. Show Notes and transcripts will be on our site at Mark Divine calm. The video will be going up at our YouTube channel, you can find that our Mark Divine site or Mark Divine.com/youtube, I am at Twitter, the handle Mark Divine and on Instagram and Facebook. It’s at real Mark Divine and you can find me on LinkedIn as well. In January, late January, we’ll be launching divine inspiration, a new newsletter, I’d love for you to receive it. And if you’re not on my email list, please go to the website, Mark Divine, a calm and subscribe. And we will be disseminating really interesting tidbits of inspiration for myself and also some updates or summaries from this podcast, and some other maybe products that I’m testing and trying out. So lots of interesting things you’ll find on that new divine inspiration newsletter coming to you soon. Special shout out to my amazing team Jason Sanderson, Geoff Haskell, Michele Czarnik, and Amy Jurkowitz who do amazing things to help bring this podcast to you every single week. Also really appreciate reviews. And if you review this podcast, thank you very much. If you have not, please consider reviewing it. It really helps with awareness and other people finding it now. Share it with your friends as well. Well, this is gonna be an incredible year 2022 We’re choosing to overcome a lot of the challenges that we found from 2021 We’re gonna learn from or we’re gonna grow from them, or become stronger, more resilient, more focused, less distracted, more introspective in 2022. It all starts with you. We must be the change we want to see in the world. Hashtag Gandhi. And that’s what this is all about. Mark Divine show is about helping you learn how to take control of what you can control and live one day at a time doing amazing things that are in line with your purpose. So I’m here for you. If I can do anything to help you out, please let us know. Hit us up on social media. And I look forward to talking to you next week.