Lead with Love: tell the people in your life three times a day that you love them, and be sure to include a hug. As the anxiety crisis increases in America, there is growing evidence that the power of family and friends leading from the heart and sharing in healthy hugs is a very powerful and a 100% organic aid to preventing anxiety, depression, and other risks adding to the mental health crisis in our country.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. J Paul Rand.
Dr. J Paul Rand is the author of The Orchard and innovator of the Inspira program offered at The-Orchard.org. This program exclusively served combat veterans, special forces, and military leaders, with Rand conducting research as a performance psychologist but is now open to writers, scholars, and those seeking an organically dynamic well-being experience. Rand has been regularly featured, interviewed, and cited in leading publications including Forbes, Huffington Post outlets, and is a recognized expert in Organizational Learning & Leadership based on his “Culture-ROI” theory of creating life-work balance systems.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
In2009, after spending a decade in learning, training, and development, researching as a thought-leader how to improve human performance in over 1000 organizations, I became convinced that organizations claimed their most valuable asset — their people — was lacking the human. I endeavored to put the human back into the workforce.
So, I earned my doctorate in psychology rooted in the study of human wellbeing; the focus of my dissertation was a combination of my innovations in educational-technologies to create a framework called “learning to learn” which I first published in 2009. This system is rooted in the science of well-being but dedicated to helping individuals go beyond content, education, workplace situations to effectively guide them in understanding themselves and how they actively learn.
In other words, my expertise was in designing “adaptable textbooks” or what I like to call as “teaching textbooks” linking experience, process, and discovery of the organic experience — far more than just a traditional textbook or academic class, could deliver. This innovative research method literally captures the lived experience, not laboratory theory. It gives ownership, accountability, and performance back to the human lived perspective.
It’s been a unique journey researching well-being and putting the human back into the workplace (presently back into a digital era). But to test this I worked exclusively with veterans, special forces, and military leaders along, crime victims, athletes, children, and high-performance individuals as a coach, consultant, and personal advisor. I share the story in the publication The-Orchard — a story that covers my work in the trenches with combat veterans, to the halls and towers of some of the largest corporations in the world based in Seattle Washington, and it all relates back to a really dynamic and organically different discovery I made working at The-Orchard.org with K12 shooting victims the other year. I hope your followers check it out on the site!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I once learned a course in college about running political campaigns and thought — wow it would be really cool to run a campaign and see if what the books say is needed will work. In less than two years’ time, I was the youngest elected official in Washington State history in a non-partisan position.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I am still making them, in a desperate hope to remain relentlessly motivated in my work like it is day-one — a proven discipline of the Amazon Company, and name of their HQ based in Seattle!
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
Learning to Learn, my core method of personal performance, evolved into an educational system operated by several colleges. The system has been tested, vetted, awarded, and accredited by multiple state and federal agencies. The learning to learn method creates a process to customizing learning to each individual while focused on maximizing the application of knowledge to live, learn, and lead a dynamic life. This starts with recreation.
But, this system is completely contrarian to what most think of a performance psychologist would prescribe!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
In the publication The-Orchard, I share a story of a former combat veteran, whom I will only call “the psychologist” due to his role serving our nation over the years. I will tell you this, in all my research the greatest thought leaders are military combat veterans. They are real thought leaders that can help put a lot of trivial issues into a simple focused solution based on their unique experiences. I try to share their perspectives in several publications I have written over the years to capture their voice while demonstrating the standardized but customized approach to my organically-dynamic success-focused research at The-Orchard.org over the years.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
There is a mental health crisis in our nation, the root-cause is when fear/ego (two very human conditions) overpower our ability to live, learn, and lead a dynamic life. In the interest of my research and experience, I instead want to highlight three dynamic-success tips each person can take to help confront and resolve this crisis.
Awareness is important, but action speaks louder than words: It is time to stop talking about the stigma’s of mental health crisis plaguing our country, and focus on thinking, acting, and leading a solution (personally, in our families, and in our community). Focus on a solution, one that unlocks dynamic success for yourself (addressing our personal roles in being a friend, helping a friend, and being active in resolving this crisis which I enjoyed talking about in several prior interviews with your outlet).
Be Dynamic — no matter how small: in my 2020 publication The-Orchard: Creating Healthy Relationship with Technology, based on over a decade of research, teaching, and consulting, I suggestto balance process and experience of balancing dynamic and success psychology to overcome fear/ego inhibitions. Focus, as a concept, is unfortunately wrongly defined by many as being, doing, and excelling in just one thing. That is a complete misapplication of what it means to focus, especially as it relates to discovering the whole-self. In this interview, I will highlight some contrarian concepts to increase performance, focused on small and dynamic steps to discovering your whole-self.
Cultivate a Culture of Leadership: the better you develop your character, the focus of my system at The-Orchard.org, the sooner you will become a thought leader, an action leader, and cultivate a community of others that focus on solutions to mental health challenges to collectively make our communities better. I outline the relationship between “Creating a culture of leadership” and individual well-being in several publications, such as Culture-ROI if you or your audience wish to learn more.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
What a great question — I operate an applied research Think-Tank at a non-profit The-Orchard.org; the mission is organically different and dynamic research.
I hope these tips might be contrarian to your followers in terms of traditional well-being tweaks in optimized physical health and wellness:
- Learning to Learn: we were once told how to think, act, and learn but unfortunately, most of use were not told in a way that was relevant for ourselves. “Learning to Learn” (2009) is the discovery one’s strength based ability to go beyond the content, put pen to paper, and strength the power and diversity of our original thought and how we learn and interpret life events in a manner giving us positive control over our ability to cultivate a brighter future for ourselves.
- Lead with Love: tell the people in your life three times a day that you love them, and be sure to include a hug. As the anxiety crisis increases in America, there is growing evidence that the power of family and friends leading from the heart and sharing in healthy hugs is a very powerful and a 100% organic aid to preventing anxiety, depression, and other risks adding to the mental health crisis in our country.
- Focus on Basics, even if you are a pro: Breathing and stretching can give you the largest performance boost (mind, body, essence, and emotion). Often diets, fads, energy workouts, and even organized (youth) activities are quick to rush into physical activities; or take deep-dives into intensive yoga, meditation, and very complex activities. In reality, learning boxed breathing is one of the greatest tools to increase focus, and decreasing emotional responses to stress, just one of three breathing tools I have taught special force members at The-Orchard.org about for over a decade now.
- Stop It: I will say it again — stop it. 10 years ago, when I launched the learning to learn the system, I discovered significant levels of anxiety, arbitrary goals, and unrealistic expectations for most over 3000 participants in my psycho-educational programs struggled with anxiety. This predates the rates of the current crisis which are now even worse. The solution to the shared experience? STOP IT. We spend too much time creating perspectives (thoughts), actions (responses), and disappointment (random outcomes) because we allow ourselves to quell, consume, and obsess over trivial issues. Stop it. Live a significant life, curious to know how? Follow me.
- Stand-up straight: Put the technology down, as we are increasingly looking down more and more. Not only is research amounting about the physical perils of slouching over technology on the physical self, but the fact is also that the rapid increase in our national mental health crisis is being impacted by our newfound tendency to constantly “look down.”
Look-up. See the world. Breath fresh air. Lead with Love. Reach out to those who are significant in your life. Stop it with the unnecessary drama.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Newton said that a body in motion stays in motion. It takes very little motion to get positive feelings that are experienced from movement. The more you build a routine of staying in motion, the better energy you express, the better you will be able to rest (and heal), and the more you optimize your whole self. But remember, by motion I mean the basics. I outline some tips in a prior article in this outlet.
Daily exercise allows for focused thought– it is a great time to listen to music, search your essence (character), and develop the basics of thinking, acting, and leading by aligning your mind, essence, body and (positive) emotions that result from the chemical reaction of exercise. Be intentional so you combine a work-out of the whole person and not just the body.
When in motion daily, with an increased focus on what I define as Inspirain a program (at The-Orchard.org), you are able to develop (whole) person outcomes by learning how to work out not just for physical strength, but also for optimized well-being.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
Focus on the basics of my program at The-Orchard.org that I also detailed in a recent Medium interview, provided at The-Orchard.org that included my direct internship, residency and research with combat veterans, special forces, crime victims and executives alike (the work was endorsed by members of the VA, Dept of Defense, and awarded based on performance outcomes by multiple Federal and State agencies):
- Write by hand: create a baseline tracking of the workouts you already have and start to journal, jot, score, and rank impacts on mind, body, essence, and heart. Technology is great but the first BEST new exercise to put the human back into your life — putting pen to paper. Reach out to me if you need a significant pen, and I will send you my executive pen. A significant life requires a significant pen. Start there…
- Listen to positive music: the underlying truth is many people are constantly surrounded by noise. Enhancing your workout with socially negative (or derogatory) music is not necessary. In fact, it becomes an entirely new test of your physical abilities (especially for high performers in an established physical routine) to maximize workout performance while listening to alternate music — such as instrument only, flute, relaxation. It creates a challenge to enhance the strength of the mind, to drive optimization of the self-essence, emotional-regulation, and physical exertion.
- Unlock your organically-dynamic self with a Technology Time out: one of the most popular programs at The-Orchard.org is the organically-dynamic technology-time out. Can you workout without checking your social media? Without taking or posting a selfie? Without texting, calling, talking? By some accounts, people spend 2 to 8 hours (depending on age) online using social media. Take time out, discover your original-essence and organically dynamic self.Whether you visit me at The-Orchard.org — a short train ride from Seattle, that I call the “City of Companies” — or at home. Try it starting with 4-hour sets, increasing to 8 hours, and interact with me exclusively on LinkedIn when you take a full two-day timeout. Follow me in 2020 and learn about a year-long technology time out a research project.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
I am a performance psychologist and have worked with special forces, so I understand an element or two about high intensity and high-performance drive. But I say this in response to our rapid society: Slow down. Life is long. It is a journey- a ride to enjoy.
As for those new to exercise, spend the first three months doing basic whole-body stretches while also taking notes (journaling), listening to music, and the other non-obvious tips I have shared. As I say in my publication The-Orchard “speed to patience”, enjoy the journey (including the pain) focused on the whole-self basics and not hyper-focused on the challenges of the present moment trying to go too far, too fast, too soon. Slow down.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
I simply have learned to eat very little. This has been a diet that I have researched, tested, and created with the involvement of medical help. The diet you eat should be REAL — developed by you, for you, and with the support of medical, educational, physical, and emotional experts (coaches, counselors, doctors, educators). Own your diet and it’s no longer a diet but a whole person solution by you, for you. Work with a coach to be held accountable and remember the basics; a lifetime can last that long, slow and steady produces better performance especially when balanced to the whole-you and not one dynamic-focus of the self.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Man’s Search for Meaning by the great Dr. Viktor Frankl. I practice what I preach. In my case, I took a technology time-out. Traveled on a long ferry ride to enjoy the majestic Puget Sound; when I returned I was ready to face a class of literal rocket scientists at a leading organization that I was set to instruct on principles of performance leadership — my first class as a adjunct faculty member teaching adults much smarter and with more experience than myself.
Any concerns I had were gone when I consider the real issues Frankl tackled in his life and career.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Well, I appreciate your perspective on that, thank you!
I am working to launch the Dadjob and am excited by a recent interview with this outlet about the publication and program! It is a thought leadership movement: by dads, with dads, for kids and community.
For every 1 woman living in poverty, there are over three single fathers raising children in poverty because social support programs specifically disqualify men. I am working with a team to start a movement based on my research that has been accredited by several universities, regulatory agencies, and well endorsed and rooted in my intensive investigation of thought leadership as a performance psychologist. Be sure to check out my interviews by visiting me on my site or at The-Orchard that includes interviews with this outlet about this great opportunity.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Einstein states that not everything that can be counted, counts; and not everything that counts, can be counted. As a performance and research psychologist, I have lived, learned, and lead with this principle in all of my undertakings. Remember Inspira — Live. Learn. Lead a dynamic legacy. Consider joining me in an organically dynamic experience exclusive to the very few that join me at www.ipaulrand.com
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would really love to have lunch with Pete Carrol the Coach of the Seattle Seahawks. I researched him and his methods and reference him in the publication Dad-Job and would love to give him a copy. But, put me in a Green Bay Packer helmet and you will see why I have signed hundreds of autographs to random people that have approached me thinking I might be the living-MVP-legend Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers! Doppelgangers since 2011.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!