EPISODE 354
Mark Divine
Mark Divine Q&A

Mark and Amy talk about leadership, the evolving state of the world, and how to handle stressful situations.

Mark Divine
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Show Notes

Today, Commander Divine does a Q&A with his friend, Amy Jurkowitz. They discuss the future of leadership, the importance of cultivating a positive mindset amidst fear, how to handle stressful situations, and more.

Key Takeaways:

  • The future of leadership is world centric. The only way we can hope for a more peaceful world is to get all leaders to move beyond merely an egocentric view (“I matter”) or an ethnocentric view (“my tribe matters”) and into a world centric view (“everyone and everything matters”).
  • Negative thinking = negative action. The reason we have such violence on this planet is the collective negative mindset that has accrued and been projected out into the world over thousands of years. If we can change that collective mindset to one that’s positive and inclusive, then we’ll start to see the outer environment change really quickly.
  • Try pattern interrupts for more productive conversations. The next time someone you’re working with becomes reactive instead of constructive, try a pattern interrupt. Very calmly, point out the obvious to the individual who’s lost control. For example, pause, take a breath, look at the individual and say, “Well, yelling at me isn’t going to help X, is it?” Turning the mirror on their behavior will likely make them stop and think about their actions.
  • The best way to face a crisis. If you’re facing a crisis, don’t meet that crisis with more activity, because it might be the wrong activity. Press the “pause” button, take a retreat, spend some time on the meditation bench. Just take some time to go inward so you can ask better questions and find out where to point your arrow for the future.
  • The next several years are about to get interesting. Between now and 2030, we’re going to see a lot of changes in global structures and culture as the Industrial Age structures fall apart. It’s up to us to not contribute to the negativity through fear, but to maintain a positive mindset that we can move to a better place. 

Quotes: 

“Leadership is a juxtaposition between who you are as an individual, your personality type, your character or stage of development, and your life experiences.”

“Part of charisma is knowing when it’s run its course and when to step out and let others have their moment.”

“Developmentally, Zelenskyy is much more evolved than Vladimir Putin… Putin is working out of a very early or preconventional, almost egoic stage of development where fear and separation rule the roost, and he’s very, very ego and ethnocentric and doesn’t give a crap about much of the rest of the world. This is why he doesn’t value life, the way that Zelenskyy values life.”

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we had the capacity to or the ability to have a prerequisite or set of standards for those who we allow into these positions of powers to lead major governments? Where someone has to be at a fifth plateau or above stage of development in order to have the right to lead their country into the future?”

“When it comes to freedom, the human being is always on a movement toward freedom, the only thing that can shut that down is a system that crushes your freedom.”

“It’s really important for everybody to not bury their head, but to pay attention, and to learn from what’s going on in the world stage, but also not get sucked into the fear. Fear just makes everything worse.”

“[Leaders] don’t have to have the same values as all the other cultures, but there are certain universal values that humanity can, in any culture, basically point to and say, That’s a good value. That’s good. So let’s identify those universal things. And then let’s hold leaders accountable to those.”

“The reason we have such violence on this planet is the collective negative mindset that has accrued over literally 1000 years, that’s projected out onto the world. And so if we can change that collective mindset to one that’s positive and inclusive, then you’ll start to see the outer environment change really quickly.”

“In my world, all life decisions are important life decisions. I don’t drive anything, I just pay attention to all the little decisions. If you pay attention to all the little decisions, all the little things that happen every day, then the big ones take care of themselves.”

“If you’re facing a crisis, then don’t meet that crisis with more activity because it might be the wrong activity. Press the “pause”  button, take a retreat, you know, spend some time on the meditation bench. Just take some time to go inward and ask better questions and to find out where to point your arrow for the future.”

Mark Divine 1:00
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Welcome to the Mark Divine show, this is your host, Mark Divine. In this show, I go deep into what makes the world’s most inspirational, compassionate and resilient leaders so fearless by bringing to you people from all walks of life such as Grandmaster martial artists, meditation monks, elite level CEOs, special operators, Stoic philosophers, proud survivors. And sometimes even just me, such as today. In each episode, I endeavor to bring our guests experiences to life and distill it into actionable insights that you can learn from, and use to lead a life of your own filled with compassion, power and courage.

Today, I’m going to do a solo cast, and also answer some questions about leadership. And since we record one to two weeks in advance, and with all the turmoil happening in the world, especially with Ukraine, what better time than now to look at the many faces of leadership? So I hope we can add some insight, open your minds and maybe bring some clarity to this whole very murky field. All right, so let’s get busy. First off, because of Ukraine, I want to talk about really just this idea of what is leadership, everyone’s got a different view of it, the concept of leadership in the field of leadership is about as broad as any come in the field of social sciences, everyone’s got a different opinion or view on what it is, is leadership, just a position, such as leader of a country? Or is leadership the act of leading, which could be motivating and inspiring and coordinating the efforts of others? Or is leadership an art, really about one’s character, or essence and how they show up in the world? And the answer is, it could be all of the above. But you know, when you start to look at it, you can ask some qualitative questions such as, Here’s a big one, does a moral stance or does morality have to be involved in the art or act of leading for something to be called Leadership? When I think of leadership, or the definition of leadership, it does include a moral quality to it. So let’s look at world events in that vein. So if a leader like Putin, who leads the nation of Russia, can invade a neighboring state and destroy lives, and his, you know, view of of what the world should look like, from his perspective, to rebuild the Soviet empire, some semblance of some past utopian view that he has of what Russia meant, and he’s destroying lives, which is morally repugnant, then is that leadership, or is that just bullying? And I say it’s the latter. He’s just a bully. And others would say, No, he’s a great leader, because look what he’s doing, he’s rebuilding the Soviet empire. And then I asked, well, is that what his people wanted him to do? Was there a huge groundswell of individuals of his citizens, or one Putin to do this? Or was he really just acting out of his own egoic needs and desires, right, and maybe to stamp his legacy into the Sands of Time?

And then you can take a look at the Ukrainian president, Mr. Zelenskyy. Now Zelenskyy also has this what we would call positional power. So from his positional standpoint, he is also a president, just like Putin, but Zelenskyy isn’t invading his neighbors and killing individuals indiscriminately. In fact, he’s on the opposite end. Now he has found himself in a position and so when you have a position you essentially take on the role of the defender of the organization and the organization needs a leader or a figurehead at the top. So that’s another, you could say that a leader of a country is more of a figurehead. And if they possess leadership qualities and morality, then they’re also a leader. So Zelenskyy as a figurehead in the position of president is also a leader in the sense that he’s upholding a moral standard that the rest of humanity would say is good or righteous, or at least from a higher developmental stage than Putin, who is indiscriminately killing civilians. And so in that regard, you can say we see an individual with the qualities of a leader who is performing leadership acts, or behaviors in a position that one would typically consider to be a leadership position, which is really the temporary placeholder and being a leader of a country, or you would have the same conversation about the leader of an organization. So let’s put a pin in that now we can also look at leadership from the perspective of characteristics, as well as influence, let’s talk about influence first. So when you’re in a position of power leadership role, then we have naturally certain influence at our disposal. Because of the position that we’re in, we have the ability to coerce people through the powers or instruments of the structure, whether it’s a government or a corporation. So there’s a positional power, there’s coercive power, there’s reputational power shooting, for example, Putin has the position of power as the president and CEO of Russia, he uses his coercive power through brute force, and then his FSB or the former KGB to coerce and to use hard power such as military might. And then he’s got this reputational power as well, because he’s been there for 20 years, people know his reputation as a former KGB agent, and knows reputation as a ruthless and cunning statesman, and his reputation for being willing to go where most positional leaders in charge of a corporate state like what we have currently, in terms of our nation states are willing to go and I’m speaking specifically about using chemical weapons or allowing, supporting the use of chemical weapons, biological weapons, and also nuclear weapons. Now, he hasn’t actually used nuclear weapons yet, but he’s clearly rattling his saber there. And so because of his reputation as a ruthless and cunning statesman, when Putin rattles his sabers request to better take it seriously, and I hope that we are and then you have expertise power. Now, expertise power, when it comes to political positions is sometimes there and sometimes not. You’d be hard pressed to say that President Zelenskyy has expertise power through a life in politics. But you could definitely say that Putin has expertise power through life and power. And also President Biden, United States has expertise power, whereas President Trump did not have expertise power. And so that showed in their leadership styles and, and how they kind of organized the efforts are the management piece of leadership, by the way, leadership is said to be doing the right thing, whereas management is said to be doing things right or efficiently. So there is a distinction between leading and managing. And oftentimes, positional power. Individuals are individually in positions of power, which we can mistake for leadership. They’re often just managers, right? The next kind of level of influence comes from Charisma. Now we see this at some level with Putin in the past. In his early days, there was a lot of charisma that he brought into his role, and his population enjoyed the fact that he was bringing some glory back to this, Russia that made them nostalgic, maybe for the Soviet Union days. Again, I’m guessing here, because I’m not Russian. And I’ve frankly, actually never been there. I’m just a student of human behavior and leadership. But then it seems to have been lost in the past 10 years, because part of charisma is also knowing when it’s run its course and when to kind of step out and let others you know, have their moment.

And so Putin never let anyone else have their moment. He considers his entire life to be Russia’s moment, right. And he’s going to bring glory like this one individual is going to bring glory back to Russia. And yet that charisma, power has really been bled off over the years. And it really not shows up more as what I was saying earlier that calculating brutality, and cunningness. And someone who really just doesn’t give a shit besides anything, except for what he wants.

Whereas now let’s contrast that with Mr. Zelenskyy. Because he is a comedian and a boxer, right. And he had this colorful life that actually thrust him up, you know, into the limelight in Ukraine, which was seeking motivation and enthusiasm, after many, many years under the Soviet thumb. And so, as Ukraine was beginning to experience some western values of freedom and democracy, which is very inclined to appreciate fame over hardcore expertise. We saw this country with Trump versus, let’s say Hillary Clinton in 2016. And so now he finds himself in a position of power as a leader, where his main strength is not just the position or to backup the position is his charisma. And when that charisma comes certain qualities of beingness, which are combined with certain strength of character, in terms of what he’s doing, that are making him extremely effective, and really kind of uniting, at least from our perspective, are uniting the Ukrainians and, and helping them find the courage to stand up and mobilize instead of fleet, which obviously is causing a little bit of thorn in the side of Mr. Putin’s plans. And many believe myself included that Mr. Putin did not have a good appreciation for what he was going to find when he invaded Ukraine. He thought maybe it was going to be a quick slam dunk, like the initial invasion of Iraq in 2000. For desert storm when Saddam broke within days or a week, and it was one and done or even in the second time, we invaded Iraq, and Iraqi Government fell, but then we found ourselves locked in a long quagmire. And I think you’re gonna see a similar situation like that in Ukraine, if there is not some sort of off ramp, which in my opinion, is it’s going to be difficult to see how Putin is going to orchestrate an off ramp that doesn’t, you know, challenge his ego in some way, because the guy likes to win. So Zelenskyy, you have this charisma, which is backed by a very strong character that says, You know what, this is my moment here. Now, I’m the leader. And I’m going to put all of my charisma skills to work here, as a pugilist as an actor. And now in this position or role as the leader of this newly freed country, Ukraine. And so I’m going to use those skills to my advantage to motivate and to inspire these individuals and to talk to them as my brothers and sisters. And to show them by leading by example, meaning I’m not gonna flee the country and, and like other leaders have when their country has been invaded, or their their lives are at risk, you know, I’m going to keep myself and my family, my inner circle, we’re going to stay here, we’re gonna fight alongside everyone else. And that has been very, very inspiring to many of us in the West, because we don’t see that very often. Right, and many in the West, and there’s even been recent surveys around this are not willing or don’t think that we’d be willing to stand up and face down tanks and bullets. We haven’t had to do that, since World War Two.

So it’s really interesting to think about, what if we were in Zelenskyy’s shoes? What if we were in an average everyday Ukrainian’s shoes, and how would we be acting right now, you know, would be grabbing a weapon and, and running to the frontlines running toward the sound of gunfire would be fleeing. So there’s different types of influence power at the higher levels. And I’m going to get into kind of another aspect of leadership in a moment around developmental stage, but we have compassion and inclusion, you don’t see a lot of compassion coming from Putin, but you see a lot of it from Zelenskyy. And you see a lot of inclusion from Zelenskyy. And the fact that he’s running a democratically elected government, he’s, you know, he’s got support. And he asked for support, he doesn’t just dictate, he’s not autocratic, whereas Putin has a very, very decreasing or diminishing inner circle. And it’s possible that he could be the king with no pants right now. But nobody’s willing to tell him that his pants have fallen down around his ankles, because it’s not safe to tell him. And when you read that even his own government wasn’t aware that they were going to invade, but they’re too afraid to say anything, because they’ll end up in jail or worse, you can see that there’s not a lot of compassion and inclusion in that type of leadership model. But you do see it in Ukraine.

So what we have here is like two radically different worldviews, two different types of people in terms of their developmental stages, human beings. What I mean by that is that Western psychology one of the primary or major gifts to the world is the ability to study ego development and recognize that there are these different stages of ego development. And the highest stages are what you would see in a spiritual qualities of someone like the Dalai Lama, or Mahatma Gandhi and these leaders that we revere, but we’ve come to recognize it. Those are traits, behaviors and qualities that are developed in human beings. And maybe only a few percentage of humanity will ever or has ever developed the qualities of the Gandhi’s or the Dalai Lama’s, but it’s not inaccessible to everybody, depending upon where they’re at in their life situations if you actually work on it, right. And so this opened up the whole field of developmental psychology and transpersonal psychology and a lot of the things that we do in our business, Unbeatable Mind.

So you can apply this model of developmental psychology and say that Zelenskyy is operating out of a post conventional worldview, or he’s got a much more inclusive perspective, and is operating much more from his heart because he got that compassion. And so developmentally, he’s much more evolved than Vladimir Putin and veteran Putin is working out of a very early or preconventional, almost egoic stage of development where fear and separation rule the roost, and he’s very, very ego and ethnocentric and give a crap about much of the rest of the world. This is why, you know he doesn’t value life, the way that Zelenskyy values life.

One very famous developmental model developed by a psychologist named Susan Kreuter has seven stages of development. At Unbeatable, we have five. For example, Putin was operating between first and second levels of development that we call those first and second plateaus, survivor and protector whereas Zelenskyy is operating out of the fourth and fifth, the equalizer and integral. And it’s like two ships passing the night, which is no wonder that they’re not going to have any concordance when they have these these peace talks, or these ceasefire talks, because they’re literally operating like alien races, you know, talking completely different languages. So I think that’s fascinating. When you look at leadership from the perspective of stage of development, you can see that leading at a first plateau level looks a lot like gangster activity and leading at a fifth plateau, integrated, world centric, inclusive level looks a lot more like what you’re going to see with as Zelenskyy or other more spiritually evolved leaders. And my position here is that that’s what the world needs more of, and this is why we’re so inspired by Zelenskyy.

And we’re so appalled by the behavior of Putin, you know, to actually deliberately target obvious to us anyways deliberately targets to billionaires and, and to really bring the heat to the civilian world to bring pressure on Zelenskyy in the trains to capitulate. That’s repugnant behavior, that’s first plateau behavior. At any rate, wouldn’t it be nice if we had the capacity to or the ability to have a prerequisite or set of standards or prerequisites for those who we allow into these positions of powers to lead major governments, and maybe someday, that’ll be something to aspire to? Right, where someone, you know, actually has to be at a fifth plateau or above stage of development in order to have the right to lead their country into the future, in those positions of power, where they can wield such incredible destructive or positive influence, because of all the different powers that accrue to them.

So the last thing I want to talk about is the notion of leadership as a juxtaposition between who you are as an individual, your personality type, your character or stage of development, and your life experiences versus what you do, as some people only look at what an individual does and claim that that’s leadership. So that would be looking at like leadership behavior, or acts as kind of like defining the leader. And so a lot of corporate leadership development, you see this, this kind of played out in the sense that the leader is really about developing mission and strategy, which is doing stuff, as well as motivating, and or coordinating. And, you know, you can put a bracket controlling the actions of the organization to meet the objectives, or the goals, and oftentimes, coordination, collaboration, you know, slides into control, depending upon the development stage, or even the stress level of the leader. And so the behaviors and the skills that an individual has, in these doing things of leadership, such as defining a mission, creating good strategies, motivating, and coordinating and facilitating collaboration. Those are important leadership skills, but it doesn’t define the leader. And so what defines a leader? This is the being aspect of who you are as a person, the attributes that come out of who you are, are the leadership, things that come out of who you are, include things such as vision, what’s the vision, that’s a very internally generated sense of what the future looks like, to me as a leader? And what does it look like to me as a leader for my organization, if I’m in that role, also values right? So what are my values? And do I believe that the organization should share these values or have values of its own? And how are we going to demonstrate that those values are important to us through our behaviors, and through our incentive plan, and by walking our talk, so to speak, and, and this is probably one of the biggest issues we see now, why ESG and social capitalism is so important these days, because for many, many years, during the Industrial and early information age, you know, values were just things that were slapped on a wall and people would walk by them and forget, they’re there within two days. Whereas now, stakeholders, especially employees are demanding, like demanding that an organization walk their talk when it comes to the values and have values that are inclusive, and more healing for the damage that’s been done in the past. This is why environmental, social and governance issues and diversity, equity inclusion issues are so important, and many people kind of rail against them. And they think it’s a political issue. And it’s not it’s actually being demanded by employees because they’re sick and tired of seeing organizations not walking their talk and Actually, you know, saying that they value something, but doing something opposite that harms someone somewhere.

And again, back to nation states, it’s going to be up to us, as citizens to hold our nation’s leadership’s to the same type of standards. We’re not holding our corporate leaders, and our corporate leaders to hold the nation leaders to the same standard that they’re being held by their employees and stakeholders. So that we get to a place where all structural leaders are being held to the same standard of do no harm, while doing good and making money or organizing the efforts of a citizenry. So that, you know, things don’t go to hell in a handbasket, which is essentially the role of government.

And so vision and values are an aspect of who you are, they’re not something you do. And then because of this, we can develop a stand, like we stand for something. So think about, let’s take this back to Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy has a vision for his country, and he’s got a set of values that he lives. And so he stands for something, and he’s willing to stand up and to literally die for that cause, you could say that Putin also has a vision for him and for his country, he’s got a set of values that at least he adheres to, whether his populace does or not, is a separate issue, but it’s probably not. And he’s taken a stand. But it’s not an inclusive one, right, yet his vision, values and stand are coming from a much lower level of character development than Zelenskyy. And so you’re seeing, you know, quite different behavior.

Okay, so that was quite a lot there. And I covered a lot of territory. And I hope it was interesting and valuable to you, just wanted to share that information, really off the cuff unprepared comments, so that we can kind of open our mind about what leadership is reflected upon what’s happening in the world today, with Russia, Ukraine. And, you know, to just step back a little bit from leadership and kind of the academic discussion. I think, personally, this situation, as I alluded to earlier, is going to go on a lot longer than we would like, I don’t think there’s going to be a quick and easy revolution. The Ukrainians have been put in an existential situation, and they’re gonna fight for what they believe to be right, they’re taking a stand. And Putin has taken a stand for what he wants. He’s got a lot of firepower, but he doesn’t have skills of urban guerrilla warfare. That’s why he’s recruiting Syrians and you know, Chechnyans. And so we’re gonna be looking at a situation like Afghanistan for a while, the difference is that you’re going to have an enormous amount of pressure put on Russia, as a result of all these sanctions and chasing down all the oligarchs and seizing assets and all that, the good side of that is, it will put a lot of pressure on the citizenry and on Putin’s inner circle, to maybe influence him, if possible, are tossing out a window, which would be advisable. And the flip side, the negative side would be the caged, or the corner lion principle is that, you know, Putin’s not getting what he wants, and he’s getting all this pressure. And he’s already declared that economic warfare is something that he puts on the same level as military warfare, and that we’re engaging in economic warfare, then he’s already justified in his mind, the rationale for lashing out and attacking a NATO countries or Europe or even the United States. And, you know, really, the only way he has to do that is through asymmetrical weapons, cyber warfare, chemical, biological warfare, and God forbid nuclear warfare.

So we are in a very, very dangerous time now, we’ve always known and I’ve been saying for years that we’re heading into the fourth turning Neil house work. The fourth turning is a phenomenal book showing how these generational turnings happen in every fourth turning, which for us, happens roughly every 100 120 years in a time of great economic and actual physical violence. So the last fourth turning was the period between World War One and World War Two, the turning before that was period of the civil war in this country. And before that, it was the Revolutionary War, literally each one of these roughly 100 120 years apart. And so now we’re in the fourth turning and with always, we’re in the latter stages of the fourth turning is when things turned violent. And this is when one generation who’s roughly Putin’s age and Biden’s age begins to see their own death and make them want to make their mark in the world. And they so they do things that are completely contradictory to what the incoming generation that are in their 20s or early 30s, which is, you know, where you see the people rising up, and basically saying, screw that in both corporate American culture, and also in Ukraine, and basically trying to change things, whereas the old guard is trying to keep things the way they are, or go back. And it tends to lead to great economic dislocation and chaos.

And then when it ends, right, the new guard comes into power, and you tend to get two generations of really, really calm and prosperous periods and then and then it starts the whole cycle starts to happen over again. You add to that the exponential age that we’re in with, with technology, adoption and and Development just accelerating explosively. We’re in for some very, very interesting times in the next five years, you know, between now and 2030. And you’re going to see a lot of changes in global structures and culture. And I’m very optimistic that what is on the other side of that is going to be a much better world. And it’ll take a lot of trial and error to develop the new structures, they’re going to grow up as sprouts and the seeds of whatever the Industrial Age structures, you know, end up either decaying or getting destroyed as a result of this chaos. Unfortunately, a lot of people will be hurt. And so it’s up to us to be very, very aware, and to not contribute to the negativity through fear, but to be optimistic, and to maintain a positive mindset that we can move to a better place. And that we can co create a better future. And if we have hundreds of millions, or eventually a billion people who are able to maintain a positive mindset, positive imagery about the future, positive dialogue, and to feel into the compassion, and inclusiveness and connection of all beings to see the sameness instead of the differences. And to not Lord over other cultures or other those who don’t look like us or share our values, man, then we can actually through just scaling consciousness that like that can have a major effect in changing the reality of our situation on planet Earth, which is basically feeding off of hundreds of years of negative thinking, and control and violence. A lot of that has been very deliberately portrayed upon us through powers that be and like to remain kind of anonymous and hidden. But um, that’s a different subject here.

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Mark Divine
I’m also pleased to have Amy join me, Amy Jurkowitz, who is my producer. And so she’s gonna pop in here. Hi, Amy.

Amy Jurkowitz 30:22
First of all, I just want to thank you because for your insights today, it’s so timely and to hear your viewpoint I know, is really revealing and interesting to so many people who follow and listen to you. We are in such a tenuous and frightening situation in Ukraine and Russia. Yeah. And you really clearly articulated that there are two countries here being led by two very different men with very different leadership styles. Right? And we can just hope and pray that it ends peacefully but it is, as you say, probably going to be a long road

Mark Divine 31:00
When I looked at this, I was caught off guard, like many people, even though our intelligence agencies and even the President was saying, Look, they’re gonna invade because they had they had credible Intel. I kept thinking, Well, you know what Putin has already gotten mostly what he wanted just by massing troops on the border. And I can’t see why he would want to invade. It can only go against him, you know, his interest, right. And then he went and invaded and guess what, everything has gone against his interest, right? Suddenly, the entire Russian culture is shut off from the global economy. They’re considered pariahs, you know, not the people. But you know, certainly the state, all of his oligarchs who soak billions out of the culture are now like, trying to chase down their boats before the FBI or Interpol and get some, you know, and, and are having to sell their soccer teams and, and they’re not even able to sell their soccer teams. And so he just cost all of his crony friends billions and billions of dollars. And there’s so many other, you know, things, you know, Ukraine is suddenly heading closer to NATO instead of further away, Poland is, you know, and all the border countries are going to be arming up NATO, which was hoping to drive a wedge between us suddenly coming together. And Germany, which had resisted arming itself up since World War Two is now basically allocating defense money to start investing more in their military and their defense. And now, so is Japan. What an incredibly opposite base scenario from what he wanted.

Amy Jurkowitz 32:25
The biggest issue, though, and we don’t need to go here because we want to get to our fans questions. Sure. It’s five letters. And that’s China. You know, on February 7, in Beijing, it was green lighted this whole war, you know, wait till the Olympics are over, they have their support, they’re still putting propaganda out. So two world powers, one very, very big, has galvanized the other.

Mark Divine 32:47
And it’s a lot about China’s leadership as well back to our developmental stages and kind of who they are. They’re not good people. And I know some Chinese might be listening. So yeah, they are well, no, if you want to control and manipulate, we do in level this in our country. I think a lot of our leaders are good intentioned. But I think our system has also a lot of corruption and a lot of like weird things going on, you know, like what’s going on with these biological, you know, factories over in Ukraine? Like, is that something that you and I voted on? Or, you know, would expect the United States to be involved in? No, right? No, like, I don’t get that. So there’s a lot of things that we do that we pretend that we don’t do. So we’re not the heroes all the time, like we think we are. But when it comes to freedom, the human being is always on a movement toward freedom, the only thing that can shut that down is a system that crushes your freedom. And you don’t, you’re not able to question, you just take everything that you’re fed at face value, we have some of that going on, people who believe fake news, and that’s not but when you live in a society where everything is censored, like North Korea or China or Russia, and you can’t speak out because you’ll get killed or sent to a gulag, or do whatever your concentration, and that’s not freedom. And so any system or any type of human that takes away or contracts, the humanity or the freedom of others, is operating at a very, very low level of fear and control. And my view is that at least the West has the capacity to continually evolve. That’s why we’re always evolving our institutions. And we get stuck sometimes. But then we kind of break free. And the pendulum swings a little bit to the left or right.

But we’ve got to as a citizenry, really fastidiously protect the freedom, and even freedom of speech. So you know, we have a little bit of concern right now about freedom of speech. Because you know, that’s one freedom that when it starts to go away, others will slip. At any rate, it’s a fascinating time to be alive. And it’s really important for everybody to not bury their head, but to pay attention, and to learn from what’s going on in the world stage, but also not get sucked into the fear. You know, fear just makes everything worse.

Amy Jurkowitz 34:54
And I think we’ll see that in some of the questions. And I just want to quickly go back to when you said, China that you know, like Xi Jinping might not be the best leader according to how we articulate what makes a good leader. It’s not as people it’s the same thing in Russia, the people have no voice. They’re being suppressed down. That’s what we’re against as Americans. I’m going to jump right into this because I think you’re gonna enjoy some of these questions that have come from different social platforms. We have some from LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and I’m gonna start with a question on the topic that you just talked about from a woman named Lila. And she says, What do you think it is about Zelenskyy that has galvanized his people’s resistance?

Mark Divine 35:39
I kind of talked about that already. Ukraine has had a taste of freedom. And so they’ve got free internet. They’ve got things like Tik Tok and Instagram over there. And they’ve had a taste of Western kind of culture, and they’ve been moving toward it, which has been increasingly agitating to Putin right because he was hoping, you know, for a long time, he was able to have a puppet government in there. And then that got tossed out. He blamed that on a coup from the United States. But for a long time, you know, he was able to control his satellite states like he does with Belarus, but Ukraine slipped through his fingers. And now you have this young, charismatic man who gets, you know, elected an actual real election. And he’s got that charisma power that I talked about and power comes from, not his expertise, not necessarily in politics, but his expertise as a comedian, and someone who can make people smile. And also who’s willing, because he’s, you know, he’s a boxer. And, you know, it’s hard to be a comedian and a boxer, right, there’s a lot of character development that goes with that. And I would maintain a lot more character development goes in developing the skills to stand up, make people laugh, and to fight people in the ring than it does to garner votes, and go through the electoral process and to work your way, slowly up the ladder, you know, a democratic system. There’s a lot of compromises that happen by the time we get to the top, you end up with something that looks corrupt to some people and others, maybe not.
So anyways, he seems to be incorruptible, he seems to be pure, right? He represents that youthful energy that the nation of Ukraine as almost a reborn country feels he’s the perfect man of the perfect moment, to inspire the nation because they feel like him. They feel like he represents the Ukraine that we want. We want Ukraine to be happy and to predict fun, but be a fighter, to fight for our values and fight for our future. And also people who are very proud of their past, and the fact that they did endure a lot of suffering at the hands of the Soviets, and a lot of oppression, and that they’re not going to stand for that anymore.

And so just a few actions that he took really galvanized the public, right when he steps out and posts a video on Twitter saying, I’m not leaving, I’m staying in, my family staying with me, right? Or, we don’t need sanctions. We need fighter jets, right? He’s just asking for very practical things. And it’s really inspiring, you know, how much of that is legitimate, how much his showmanship I mean, everybody does levels of showmanship, you know. And so I think he’s just the right person at the right time. And he’s very inspiring, because I think the Ukrainians see him as the embodiment of what their country’s potential is.

Amy Jurkowitz 38:29
I think also he’s acting with so much less ego, right. And you talk about that a lot, it’s sort of a funny thing to think about, if two women were running, one was running Ukraine, and one was running Russia, do you think we’d be in this situation?

Mark Divine 38:45
Probably not, one of the women would have to have basically set aside all of their womanhood, to have the cruelty and, you know, domination quality Putin has. And I’m not saying that, that a woman couldn’t, you know, subject themselves to that energy, but it’s not natural for them by any stretch of the imagination, you know, it’s just not natural at all. Women are by their nature, nurturing and more open, inclusive, and literally lead with having conversation versus the fist, whereas men are, you know, we’re literally instinctually trained to lead with the fist and then ask questions later, you know, in the old model, the old school, it’s changing, right? And so Zelenskyy is part of that change. And I think younger generations are part of that change. That’s a great question, though. I don’t think we’d see ourselves in this. So we should put women in charge of all nation states until we get through this.

Amy Jurkowitz 39:36
No, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Because you wouldn’t find… I mean, it’s not completely true. But it’s the narcissism. It’s the killing of innocent people. It’s the ego, it’s the power. And of course, there’s women who are like that, but it would be done more by compromise. And let’s be rational. But again, we can’t generalize that big, it’s just something to think about. This is from somebody on LinkedIn, Jonathan W. And it’s a little bit of what you’ve talked about too. So I’m gonna change the question a little bit, but what characteristics or qualities should we be looking for from our leaders, as the world changes so rapidly?

Mark Divine 40:13
People who fear a one world government, you know, are right, because if that’s a totalitarian government, like we see in China or Russia, then that would be bad for everybody. But if we could have one world standard, that everyone, you know, somehow could be held to? That would be good. Right? And if that standard said that any leader of our humans, nations, right nation or humans, humanity’s tribes, really had to have a certain depth of character, the depth of character coming in is expressed in certain qualities. And so what are those qualities?

One is that they align with universal principles, such that what is good for me is going to be also good for you. It cross culturally. Let’s take the biblical quality of treat your neighbor as myself, right, if you’re gonna treat your neighbor as yourself, you wouldn’t invade your neighbor and bomb a maternity ward, right? You just wouldn’t even cross your mind or your heart. You know, all leaders, I think in the future, we’re gonna have to have this quality of moral uprightness. And they don’t have to have the same values as all the other cultures, but there’s certain universal values that humanity can in any culture basically point to and say, That’s a good value. That’s good. So let’s identify those universal things. And then let’s hold leaders accountable to those.

And so another one is, like, this idea that nuclear weapons are a good idea is just the definition of bleeping insanity. Right. And so we shouldn’t have leaders who still believe that nuclear weapons are good. Now, how do we get to a point where we can have the trust to be able to denuclearize that’s been this fly in the ointment for any kind of talks around that way. But it’s not going to happen until the evolution of consciousness where the majority or certainly a super minority on the planet Earth, especially those aspiring to power or allowed into power, have this this inclusive, you know, we’re one race, and we’re all in this together kind of viewpoint, which happens naturally, ego, myself, I’m all that matters. Second is ethnocentric, which is “I matter,” but also “my tribe matters.” And that’s where most of humanity is now. And then the third stage is World centric, where in a cosmic way, we all matter, including our home, right? If you look at Planet Earth, at all matters, or otherwise, we could disappear through catastrophic environmental collapse, or we can disappear ourselves through nuclear attack, or we can disappear ourselves by not mobilizing as a global community to protect against, you know, existential crises that we don’t necessarily see yet, but destroyed the other species in the past such as asteroid hits and whatnot. We don’t have any of those right now. We’re not acting together as one race. And so we’re racing toward the bottom. And we’re at a very, very sketchy period where we could literally blot out this version of humanity, and the survivors will pick up and dust themselves off and go back to the Stone Age for a while and pick up the pieces. It really could go that direction very easily, you know, and so it’s why I think, instead of sitting and cowering for me, what do we do, we talk about it. And we all visualize the world moving away from that, and we hold our leaders accountable to, you know, move away from these things that are just pure insanity.

Amy Jurkowitz 43:28
You talk about denuclearization, right, no one talks about it, there’s not one leader who says that’s where we need to go. It’s the opposite.

Mark Divine 43:38
I think that people are ready to talk about those things. You know, nobody likes to live under the threat of annihilation, and even knowing that it’s there and then denying it adds more stress to people’s lives. Right. When I grew up, we used to get, you know, do those under the table drills in school like that was going to do anything for us, pretty hilarious, just stressed us out, you know. So I agree. So we gotta have those conversations. And we have to get to a point where we have at least like a global council of elders, who are able to assess and evaluate and say no to leaders who don’t have the qualities that are going to be good for humanity, right, in the individual countries. It sounds utopian, but I think something like that is absolutely necessary,

Amy Jurkowitz 44:24
You could have the same conversation about the climate, as you know, whether the climate is changing, and how rapidly it’s changing, or the buildup of nuclear weapons in countries that… one little touch, and we’re all blown up, right? There’s no one coming together to talk about the world and peace and how do we move forward?

Mark Divine 44:43
Right. I’m a big believer in the power of the human mind, you know, and I’ve studied yoga for years. And people who study yoga eventually are led continually to sutras and you learn about the powers that accrue to Yogi’s who meditate. For years and years and years, I have this belief that we’re kind of moving back there. And technology is going to help us, right – Virtual Reality simulations, artificial reality, we’re going to be able to achieve what a yogi did studying in a cave. In the past, you would achieve over 70 years, we’re going to be able to achieve that and 710 years, right at scale, like really affect some of these things like global warming, you’re going to be able to have hundreds of millions of minds acting together through group visualizations and meditations. And they’ve already done research to show that you create a vibrational harmonic coherence or when people meditate and visualize the same things, you know, Dr. Dispenza has done some of this work and Heart Math has done it, and many others.

And so if you can imagine hundreds of millions of people visualizing the environment, healing and shifting weather patterns and visualizing, you know, the earth without nuclear weapons, it really is a shift in consciousness or literally will make the conditions for the use of nuclear weapons untenable somehow. So I think another possibility is that you’re going to find a future generation who’s just going to find it so appalling. And they’re going to work together through the mind. You know, it’s not just action with their hands and their feet, but it’s through the mind, mind creates everything that creates the conditions that we see on this planet. The reason we have such violence on this planet is the collective negative mindset that has accrued over literally 1000 years, that’s projected out onto the world. And so if we can change that collective mindset to one that’s positive and inclusive, then you’ll start to see the outer environment change really quickly. That’s a very yogic point of view, but I believe it personally, it’s one of my missions to share that knowledge and to get other people to experience the truth of it for themselves.

Amy Jurkowitz 46:51
When you think how many years ago Patanjali wrote the sutras and 1000s and 1000s of years ago and there they remain very true and worth anybody taking a read.

Mark Divine 47:07
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Amy Jurkowitz 50:12
This is from a username. I can’t even pronounce this, I guess on heights. P flagger. Hey, Mark, I’m a nurse and Kochi cardiological station. And we have doctors in our emergency team that are yelling and blaming us for nonsense. Like where’s the defibrillator? That doesn’t sound like nonsense to me, but no, it doesn’t. And this user says we don’t have one during CPR. They’re asking that and the question is how can I support my team members in that moment without taking away the focus of the emergency?

Mark Divine 50:47
I mean, the best way to support in my perspectives to support team members in the situation is to teach them some basic skills of mental control so that they don’t allow the circumstances of an out of control leader to on balance them in a moment of crisis, I developed something called the worm process where we create a metacognitive partition in our mind. So we’re always able to watch both the input as well as what’s happening in our thinking mind. And anytime. So we call that witnessing or the W, anytime a little bomb is dropped, such as you know, what’s being described here, a doctor just going off on me or my team, or there’s an internal disrupt, such as suddenly I feel overly fatigued, or suddenly I feel negative thoughts.

So I see negative thought patterns rise, then that’s where the AI comes in of the worm. And that’s to interdict it to say, You know what, that’s negative, that’s not gonna support me right now. And you interdict it with a internal, contradictory thought pattern. So if I’m thinking negative, then I insert something radically positive. And you do that by literally overriding with a word saying, No, I’m not going to think that negative thought, or that’s not serving me. And then you do the IR, which is a redirect to something positive. And that might be, I’m a professional, I’m going to stay focused on doing my job. And I’m going to maintain control by breathing deeply and calmly and staying radically focused on just doing my task here. And then you maintain that calm breathing and continue this witnessing process.

Or even having a mantra that you just kind of see in the background, it’s a very, very powerful process of maintaining internal control and becoming nonreactive. And so in a situation like this, you’re trying to save someone’s life, and an individual is going off, you’re not going to get in a fight with the individual and forget about the patient. Right, nor can you allow yourself to break down and start bawling or to, you know, to get all mad, because then you lose focus. And so you develop this internal control. And ultimately, the more you practice this, you realize that that’s really the only thing you can control is your sense of internal equanimity, and calmness, which are great leadership skills, by the way, and you’re not going to let anything that happens outside of you, including a boss, or someone who’s a jerk, to rattle you.

Now, that’s what I was saying. But that takes a little bit of teaching, that’s a skill, it’s not something that you automatically just suddenly snap a finger and make a habit. And so you got to develop that in yourself. And with your team, another way to look at this is in that moment, if I don’t want to take the time, or I haven’t taken the time to develop the skill. And even if I have, doing a pattern interrupt is a good idea, right? And so if I have a individual screaming at me, and it’s very unproductive, and it might even jeopardize the mission, which in this moment is to save someone’s life, I might just pause, take a breath, and look at this individual and say, well, yelling at me isn’t going to help this patient recover from his heart attack, is it? And that’s just a shocking interrupt, and some verbiage like that doesn’t take much time. But just very calmly, point out the obvious to an individual who’s lost control. And oftentimes, first, they’re not respecting it. And second, they’re like, Oh, my God, you’re absolutely right. I’m sorry, let’s get back in focus. Or another interrupt would be take a big breath, calmly look at the doctor and say, Would you like me to handle this, since you’re so out of control, you know, something like that. And it’s just gonna be like, Whoa, I’m sorry, just like holding a mirror up. So the individual can see, you know, the craziness of what they’re doing. And so they can get back and focus on the mission, and then you can deal with it later. Right? In whatever way that makes sense for you.

Amy Jurkowitz 54:11
We had another person write in his name is John K. with a very sort of similar question. So I’m not going to read it. But he does make a really good point that we’ve been in such a stressful situation for the past two years. And now with everything that’s happening with Russia in the Ukraine, that people’s resilience is low, and the reactiveness is very high. Right? And I think you just explained what do you do? Like, how can you bring everything down a notch.

Mark Divine 54:38
There’s even another meta skill first, anytime something happens whether okay, you can look at this in long term, like Russia invades Ukraine, and all of a sudden, everyone’s all in arms, P is pause, and pause interrupts the information flowing into the amygdala, which is basically sniffing, and is feeling fear, and sending all this signals to your, you know, your autonomic nervous system, and it’s triggering your sympathetic nervous system, which is triggering fight or flight, and then it cascades from there, and then you breathe. And the breath then takes that interrupt, and turns it into a positive thing, because now you’re that deep diaphragmatic breathing through your nostrils, and it actually stimulates your vagus nerve, and releases the rest and calming hormones, which counteracts the fight or flight hormones, the adrenaline in the upper neck. So pause and breathe, that gets you back in control. Imagine the whole team doing this. And then think now, how do we analyze what’s going on? What mental models? Am I using my fear based reactionary and negative mental models? Or can I now that I have a little space? Can I look at this? Can I research, can I find out what other people are thinking? Am I going to look at this over the long term or the short term? What does it mean for me? So you think, and thinking is a whole skill that requires a lot of thought? And then only then after you’ve done those three steps, then you act and that action is a well thought out, well crafted response instead of an immediate knee jerk reaction.

Amy Jurkowitz 56:01
You can see that in the emergency room, you can see that if you’re in a time of war, you can see that if you’re in a crisis at work now and you feel attacked, we got a lot of questions about stress this time, because obviously, people are feeling it. And I think that advice, I think we should all put up on our bulletin board so we can write. This is a question. It’s not really having to do with leadership, but it’s out there. And I think people would appreciate your answer. It’s from Noah W. And he asked how to best handle sexual harassment and our assault within the workplace.

Mark Divine 56:36
I appreciate the question. This is one of those things that’s suddenly moved to it happens and you grumble about it, or you go to sexual harassment training, and nothing’s really done about it to non negotiable in workforces that allow this to happen, they’re not going to be around much longer, people are just going to refuse to work for them. And so if you’re in a situation, if you’re a victim of this, or it happens to you, it’s your time right now, to basically say, Hey, this is a non starter, and to publicly call out the perpetrator, whoever’s doing it. And it takes a lot of courage to do that. And it can be uncomfortable, but you’ll be the hero, you just can’t allow this behavior to happen any longer. Any type of extreme bias like that, that comes out in the form of negative sexual harassment, any type of serious racial bias, and those types of things. It’s just not negotiable anymore. In my opinion, you know, it’s time for when those things happen right then and right there. You call an all stop like an Audubon. You say, All right, hold it right there, right there, what you just did, what you just said, is not acceptable. And there’s two ways we’re gonna deal with it. One, you apologize right now we’ll deal with this, like humans, or I’m going to go right down to HR to the CEOs office, and we’re going to deal with this right now. It’s not time to brush this shit under the rug anymore.

Amy Jurkowitz 57:51
It makes so much sense. Of course, you say the words, but you imagine you’re a 26 year old young woman, and the CEO of the company is Yeah, nothing is worth being devalued and humiliated and treated wrongly.

Mark Divine 58:06
Yeah, people are voting with their feet as well. And so but you know, rather than vote with your feet, and just walk out the door, see if you can be the change, right you’d like to see in the organization. And if that doesn’t work, then leave. There’s plenty of great places that would like to have you, especially because of your courage and your stand.

Amy Jurkowitz 58:22
Okay, two more questions. One is, how do you personally drive important life decisions?

Mark Divine 58:27
You know, I love that question. Because in my world, all life decisions are important life decisions, you know, I don’t drive anything, I just pay attention to all the little decisions. If you pay attention to all the little decisions, all the little things that happen every day, then the big ones take care of themselves. You know, said another way, or the proof to this is kind of the opposite day approach is, if I ignore all the little decisions around my health, and fitness, and wake up someday and say, I want to be a Navy SEAL, well, that’s an important life decision. Yet, the chances of me being a Navy SEAL are nil, because I’ve ignored all the small little cool decisions, day to day life decisions about how I feed myself, my training, the quality of my thinking, the people I hang around with, and mentors and coaches and all that. Now, you could pan out, so yeah, but I’m facing a major life decision in terms of change of career or lack of clarity of you know, whether I’m doing the right thing or dealing with, you know, a health crisis. And I could say, okay, all of that exists, because of my point, because you haven’t paid attention, and made minor course corrections day in and day out all along. And now you’re at a point where it feels like a crisis. And so let’s deal with a crisis. And the only way you’re going to deal with that is to pause, press pause, to get out of your fear state, stop doing, stop trying to fix everything, pause and go into a meditation contemplation, period. This is what I did. You know, you knew me at Colgate. And then I went and became a CPA and MBA. But you know, it was sitting on the meditation bench when I pushed pause, that I was able to take the time to kind of like, really reflect upon my life and what was going well, and what wasn’t going well. And, and it was through that process that, you know, I literally discovered that I was just doing the wrong thing. I was a good person, but doing the wrong thing. And what I really needed to do is do the right thing for myself. And when I started to do that, my capacity as a human being just started to explode. I felt stronger. I felt smarter. I mean, I was a solid B student at Colgate. It was because I lacked confidence. Because I was studying something I wasn’t interested in. I wasn’t clear about my future. And as soon as I aligned with what was clear to be my purpose, and I was super excited and passionate about it, then, believe me, it seems like my intellect went up by 2030 points and all this creativity flowed out of me. You know, if you’re facing a crisis, then don’t meet that crisis with more activity because it might be the wrong activity. Press the Pause button, take a retreat, you know, spend some time in the meditation bench Just take some time to go inward and ask better questions and to find out where to point your arrow for the future.

Amy Jurkowitz 1:01:07
And follow your path because you did become a Navy SEAL. And I do have to add just in case people don’t know you very well. You are also a D1 competitive swimmer. Sure. And that gave you a leg up.

Mark Divine 1:01:19
Well as a breast jogger, he has a leg up ruined sideways.

Amy Jurkowitz 1:01:24
Because med on your stomach.

Mark Divine 1:01:25
Yeah, that’s a painful stroke, actually.

Amy Jurkowitz 1:01:29
Alright, our last question has to be from somebody, there’s no name attached to it, but they must know you. This is a really, really deep question. Do you still eat pizza?

Mark Divine 1:01:41
He says like it’s the universal food. I mean, who doesn’t love pizza? Now? Do I eat it every day? No. I mean, when I was a SEAL Team Three, man, we could eat anything back then it seemed and it didn’t matter. But I would get two medium pizzas at Domino’s, which had a two for one deal. I’d eat one for dinner, and I’d eat the next one for lunch the next day. And I would do that twice a week. Crazy, huh? I probably told that story before, this person probably heard. But that was back when I was 26. So now 80% of the time I eat whole foods, tons of veggies and fruits with a smoothie in the morning and lean meats and I don’t touch any bread, you know, or sugar and gave up alcohol because the sugar and you know, other reasons. You know, Pete says like soul food, you know, so once a week maybe or once every other week, I’ll get that medium pizza and I won’t eat the whole thing.

Amy Jurkowitz 1:02:35
Oh, now you only eat half of it for dinner and the other half for lunch. That’s what happens years later. Well, Mark, thank you. You know, again, this is such a treat and honor for me to to do these and to hear questions from everybody who admires you so much, and to hear your really deep and interesting and thoughtful answers.

Mark Divine 1:02:53
Thank you, Amy. You’re great doing this with me and I really appreciate it. All right, that was an incredible episode. Thanks so much for those questions if you submitted them. We’ve covered a lot of ground talking about leadership in general, talking about contrasting and comparing Putin versus Zelinskyy. There are different leadership styles, different models and ideas of leadership. And if you want to submit questions like that, or engage with me, you can find me at Mark Divine on YouTube, Mark Divine and Twitter at real Mark Divine on Instagram and Facebook. You can also hit me out on my LinkedIn profile.

Quick plug for our new newsletter called Divine Inspiration sent to you weekly. If you’re on the email list. If you’re not on the email list, and you want to get exclusive content, once a week, where I disseminate other inspirational people, habits, places, things that I come across that I think would help you lead a life of courage and compassion, then go to Mark Divine.com and subscribe.

And thanks again to Amy who helped out with this q&a Podcast. Also, my producer Jason Anderson, videographer Geoff Haskell newsletter Producer Jeff Torres, and writer Melinda Hershey. This amazing team helps produce this podcast, bring incredible guests and get it to you every week. If you haven’t rated or reviewed the show, please consider doing so; it helps other people find it and give it credibility. My goal is 500 5 star reviews this year, so it would be great if you could help me get there and refer it or send it to a friend if you think it’s valuable.

As we talked about in the show, we’re heading through a very dangerous time in human history, the world’s changing fast we’re in the exponential age. There’s a lot of chaos and crisis in the fourth turning, but we can make a difference through how we think and how we collaborate and how we become more world centric and inclusive, instead of separate and violent. So do your part. And I appreciate you doing that. So show up and be strong and courageous and compassionate, but also help others understand the importance of being inclusive instead of separate and being world centric instead of egocentric or ethnocentric. I hope that you stay strong and safe. And you don’t have any relatives or if you do have any friends or relatives in Ukraine, I’ll send them positive energy and good wishes for safety and health. Hoo-yah.

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