I think being alone is one of the most important practices that everyone should indulge in. The main reason I think most people don’t like this is that that’s when all distractions are gone. Our negative patterns come up and we start to think about the things that make us feel uncomfortable. It’s a lot easier to distract ourselves when someone else is there and we’re talking about the weather. I can tell you from my own experience that being alone has been one of the most difficult, most uncomfortable, most painful things that I have ever done for extended periods of time. But in turn, it has been one of the most rewarding, enlightening and one of the most incredible experiences because I’ve really gotten to know who I am.
When you get to know who you are, you start to be able to navigate the world a lot easier. When you know who you are, you know where your buttons are, so you know where your triggers are. You know what your likes are, you know what your dislikes are. The importance of being alone lies in the true beauty of learning how to connect with yourself. Because if you can be alone and you can be happy with your own company, then you are perfectly primed to be put into a healthy relationship where you’re not in need or looking for control.
As a part of my series about “Learning To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Kerwin Rae. Kerwin is one of Australia’s leading experts in business strategy, personal development, and high performance. With over 20 years of experience, Kerwin changes lives daily through his seminars, keynotes and online content, which has helped millions around the world. Despite having had six near-death experiences, including a near-fatal stroke, Kerwin believes nothing is impossible and is unstoppable in his mission to empower as many people as he can to push the limits of human potential to be the best they can be. His life-changing content and more can be found at this website: https://www.kerwinrae.com/
Thank you so much for joining us Kerwin! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.
Well, I’ve always had a passion for business and I was drawn to it from an early age. Even before I was old enough to work I figured out a way to sell horse manure door to door.
Between then and now, I’ve had over 40 jobs, maybe 50. I’ve done everything from working in menswear, fitness equipment, as a waiter, and in the security business.
When I was in my early 20s I attended a fundraiser where they were auctioning off a book called Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins. I got my hands on the book and basically treated it like a manual.
I started to use everything in it to surgically change my brain and my life.
As things started to improve, I started teaching these concepts to those around me which ultimately led to an immense passion and interest in psychology and influence.
Over the years I was involved in many different partnerships and built a lot of businesses from the ground up and made a lot of money in the process. Sure it was satisfying, but what I really loved was helping people and showing struggling business owners how they could do the same.
I started asking the right questions. What do I love to do? What am I really good at? What if I could do this by myself?
I love helping people. I’m really good at business, I’m really good at marketing and I kill it at sales. I also really enjoy teaching people. I was driven by this. I connected the dots and created a commercial framework to do what I do now. I let intuition in and decided to back myself. I’d found my purpose — helping business owners succeed. Helping people succeed.
It’s in the pursuit of experiences that we uncover what we love.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?
A few months ago my team and I launched a podcast called Unstoppable, where I talk to top specialists and experts from all around the world on topics such as parenting, business, endurance, peak performance, meditation, fitness, health, relationships and so on…
Unstoppable is ultimately for anyone who wants to become a better human being.
I also spend a good chunk of my year touring around Australia and even the world with events that cover how to grow your business using social media, as well as other tools and strategies for fast and sustainable business growth. A lot of my work also centres around mindset psychology and human performance.
Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?
I’ve had a long journey with self-acceptance and self-love. The honest answer is, accept yourself for who you are but that’s often easier said than done.
There was a period of my life in my early 20s where I would look at myself in the mirror and I would slap myself or even punch myself in the face. I used to say the most horrible things to myself. The sad part is at the time I actually believed it was true.
At the time I was engaging in activities that brought out the worst in me and when that’s happening, it’s really easy to hate yourself and judge yourself and beat yourself up.
Something had to change. I ended up moving house without telling any of my friends. I then started engaging in behaviours that brought out the best in me and slowly but surely realised, maybe I’m not such a bad guy.
I had to learn to like myself before I could love myself. This sounds weird but I almost had to start dating myself. I had to get to know me in a different context because the context I knew myself in initially I didn’t like.
So I started to slowly fall in love with who I was becoming. What’s most interesting now on reflection is who I was becoming was who I was always, I had just forgotten.
According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?
To quote Theodore Roosevelt, “comparison is the thief of joy.”
I think one of the biggest challenges that we have in this day and age when it comes to how we look, is that once upon a time men and women-only felt bad about themselves when the latest issue of Cosmo came out. Whereas now we have the opportunity to feel bad a thousand times a day every time we open social media. So I think the greatest thieves of joy right now is that constant barrage of images that in most cases are either photoshopped, unrealistic or just not real.
When I say not real, I mean in the context of what is achievable for most people. Everyone’s got a different body type. Some people have a very thick-set body type, like me, so I’m never going to look like a Calvin Klein model, no matter how lean I get, no matter how hard I work on my abs. But if I think I’m never going to be happy until I look like a Calvin Klein model, I’m going to spend most of my life completely depressed and miserable no matter how hard I train, and it’ll probably end up causing other issues that will probably make me even unhealthier than what I would be otherwise.
Ultimately, we have to stop comparing ourselves to others.
As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?
There are two reasons.
- Number one is that to become the best version of yourself and work through the problems you need to accept where you are right now first. Before you can work on any problem, you must be willing to acknowledge it and accept it as reality. If you can’t accept where you are, you can’t accept yourself. We need to accept who we are to become the person we want to create.
- Number two is that in order to help others and accept others, you need to accept yourself. If you can’t accept self you will judge self and if you judge self you will judge others. If you learn how to master your relationship with self, it becomes so much easier to accept others. The pathway to accepting others is connecting with yourself.
So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?
I think being alone is one of the most important practices that everyone should indulge in.
The main reason I think most people don’t like this is that that’s when all distractions are gone. Our negative patterns come up and we start to think about the things that make us feel uncomfortable. It’s a lot easier to distract ourselves when someone else is there and we’re talking about the weather.
I can tell you from my own experience that being alone has been one of the most difficult, most uncomfortable, most painful things that I have ever done for extended periods of time. But in turn, it has been one of the most rewarding, enlightening and one of the most incredible experiences because I’ve really gotten to know who I am.
When you get to know who you are, you start to be able to navigate the world a lot easier. When you know who you are, you know where your buttons are, so you know where your triggers are. You know what your likes are, you know what your dislikes are.
The importance of being alone lies in the true beauty of learning how to connect with yourself. Because if you can be alone and you can be happy with your own company, then you are perfectly primed to be put into a healthy relationship where you’re not in need or looking for control.
What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?
- I spend time alone on a regular basis. And like I said before, it’s a powerful way to become more in tune with yourself.
- I meditate every single day. Some days I’ll meditate for two or three hours. If I wake up at 03:30 in the morning and can’t get back to sleep, I’ll meditate till my son wakes up. In some cases that’ll be till 6:00 or 7:30 in the morning. I do a lot of self-work and a lot of therapeutic work, and meditation plays a big part in that.
- Put yourself into situations where you’re experiencing high levels of stress and pressure because I think one of the things that people do is avoid stressful and high-pressure situations because they don’t like how they act. Whereas when you’re in a stressful or high-pressure situation all you’re doing is revealing aspects about yourself that you need to work on. Much like a relationship, when you’re in close intimate proximity with someone, it’s going to bring up the stuff, that makes us go, “Oh no, being with this person brings out the worst in me”. No, that’s just being in a relationship that brings out your stuff, but what that relationship serves is a cathartic instrument to bring your stuff to the surface.
- Know your body well. One of my clients said to me once, “Kerwin, stop trying to punish the body you hate, and start creating the body that you love”. And that was like zen for me.
I think one of the reasons that a lot of people don’t like training is because they use it as a form of self-abuse. They use it as a form of self-harm. Rather than using it as an opportunity to connect with themselves and find out more about themselves.
- Treat your body well. From a physical perspective and a mobility perspective. Treat your body like a fish tank because a fish tank is a very fragile environment and if you put the wrong thing in it, all the fish are going to die. I think the challenge for us as humans is we can put so much bad stuff into our fish tank and it takes like 30 years before the fish start to get sick.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?
In terms of podcasts, I love Joe Rogan. The diversity of the content, the diversity of his guests, the apparent vulnerability and there are just no limitations of where he’ll go. That’s the only podcast I really listen to — apart from my own of course!
In terms of books, I just love the aspects of understanding leadership in a high-pressure environment. In Jocko Willink’s book ‘Extreme Ownership’ It talks about high performers and understanding the importance of what leadership looks like in a functional way, not in a managerial way. And I just love the discipline, I love the structure, I love the place that he comes from which is very much no bullshit.
Another book that I really enjoy is Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler. It’s basically the last 20–30 years of the latest most cutting edge research into flow states and high performance. And it looks at three distinct areas.
It looks at technology and how we’re now using technology in a range of different ways to increase the potential to enter flow states, where we can effortlessly complete certain tasks.
They also look at certain aspects of mysticism. Everything from chanting, rituals, meditation, and things of a miraculous nature where when used consistently, increase the probability of people entering flow states and being able to achieve high levels of performance in what appears to be effortless.
And the last one is them looking at psychedelics, and how they’re using psychedelics as a way to alleviate consciousness to access the subconscious, to enter flow states in what would appear to be effortless without having to meditate for 10 years or use technology.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…
For me if there’s a movement that I’d like to create, it’s would be a movement of collaboration — to help one another.
We’re a collaborative species by nature. One of the number one intrinsic drivers of humans is collaboration. That’s why we operate so well in troops or herds, and I honestly believe we should get back to more of our primal instincts, not around accumulation and consumption but around collaboration and support.
So many issues that we’re dealing with at a global level will be so much easier to deal with because we wouldn’t be focusing on profit, we wouldn’t be focusing on consumption, we’ll be focusing on how can we help each other.
How can we find a mutually beneficial scenario where everybody wins, where I win, you win and the planet wins?
The second movement, that would be an adjunct to that, would be the movement of legacy where people stop focusing on what they’re just here to get right now and thinking about what they’re actually going to leave behind.
So if we can collaborate universally at a higher level to support everyone and everything and every being to get what it is that they need, and do that in the way where it’s being handed down to the next generation, yeah we’ve got a pretty good chance of survival.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?
“This too shall pass.”
We all have good stuff that goes on, we all have bad stuff that goes on. Some of us get dealt one or more than the other, but it is what it is.
I think it’s important to constantly remind each other that regardless of how good the situation is, it’s going to pass, so enjoy it while it lasts.
For me, this too shall pass to me is just a phrase that represents faith. It represents this undying, this knowing that everything is going to be okay. It’s just temporary, you know whether you’re in the gym and you’re in pain, you want to cry, and you want to vomit or whether you’re in the midst of an incredibly painful breakup with the person who you thought was the one, or your business is going down the toilet, and you’ve got people foreclosing.
You know, you will look back on that experience as being on the most rewarding experiences of your life if you have the right perspective and if you have faith that what you’re being given in that moment is exactly what you’ve asked for to get you where you want to go, ultimately.
But for most of us, we’re not conscious of the fact that our higher power has much, much, much bigger scope that what we’re doing. Our higher power, our higher self can see decades into the future when most of the times we’re lucky if we can look four hours into the future.
And in those painful moments we’ve got to just believe, we’ve got to have faith that this too shall pass, yes, but this is here for a reason and it’s only going to serve what my higher purpose is.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!