” Make it a priority”, JClay of JClay Cares and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

The best way to develop good habits is to start with just one habit. Put all of your focus on it. Make it a priority. Put reminders everywhere. Put it on your phone. Have a friend remind you. Find others that can join you in this habit. Add triggers in your daily routine that prompt […]

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The best way to develop good habits is to start with just one habit. Put all of your focus on it. Make it a priority. Put reminders everywhere. Put it on your phone. Have a friend remind you. Find others that can join you in this habit. Add triggers in your daily routine that prompt you do this habit.

As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing JClay.

JClay is a spiritual teacher and rap artist that makes music to heal even the most reluctant of minds. He exposes the false beliefs that limit our growth and frees us to be our true selves.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/2a7cd5a0e87e2deb6a2725b24ec3f805

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was a smart, happy, and silly kid. I’ve always been able to grasp complex topics easily and simplify them for others, but I never really saw that as a big deal. Also, I’ve always been drawn to the tough questions about why the world is how it is.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

It’s hard to say exactly what or who inspired me. The music part of my journey has always been with me. I played the piano as a kid. I played that saxophone in various churches and night clubs while in high school. In college, I started officially producing music for other artists.

A close friend of mine encouraged me to rap more, but I never felt I had anything useful to say. I proceeded to rap anyway and it led to more than I could ever realize.

The pursuit of “making it” in the music business led to many successes and failures. At the time, those failures felt like the worst things ever. And they always happened unexpectedly. Wanting to understand why led me on my spiritual journey, which is directly connected to understanding the world and humanity.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

It’s two people. The first I’m very close with, and the other I’ve never physically met.

My business partner, Troy Washington, is the first and is also the one that encouraged me to rap more. We share a similar love of music and are both dedicated to being our best selves. Because of this, in doubtful moments he’s been there to correct my perception and I’ve done the same for him. There have been many moments where we’ve come to realizations where we knew we had to immediately change. This is easier said than done, but it is also easier when you have a friend that’s just as committed to personal excellence as you.

I don’t mean to sound religious, but the second person is Jesus. Whether his biblical story is true or not, I learned many lessons from these stories. I perceived Jesus as a very laid back, helpful, inspiring person. Not only did he help to heal others, but he also affirmed that we all can heal each other too. Without this seed being planted, I never would’ve successfully made the healing music that I make today.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I really can’t see anything as a mistake because everything had its purpose that led to more greatness. If I had to choose one, it’s not believing in myself earlier. I always felt I needed more…more money, more influence, more team members, more etc. In reality, I’ve always had everything I ever needed. In a way, we all do. Yet we choose to focus on what’s lacking instead of what is abundant.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

I would tell that person, don’t. Copy what you need to copy from me, but follow your heart. It will lead you everywhere and give you everything worth having. The world already has me and it’s going to benefit from having me. It can also benefit from having you, but only if you choose to be you. My advice to you is to be you. What you have to give is needed, welcomed, and only you can give it.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The book is called Jesus: My Autobiography. I stumbled onto this from a YouTube video. The YouTuber was reading an excerpt from the book. These were my thoughts while listening.

“What? How is this possible? No way! Let me keep listening anyway.” *listens* “What? This sounds like the purest truth ever told. I cannot deny any of this. Let me buy this book to make sure.”

This book filled in the gaps in my lack of understanding of the world. I liken it to a puzzle. I already pieced together all of the ends and some of their connecting parts. But there was a gap in the middle missing where I could not fully know what the big picture is.

This book, which led to another, helped me to see clearer than I ever had.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Only the weak have enemies and the strong have inner peace.”

There’s so much in this quote. It really puts things into perspective and allows us to look at ourselves. Would we really rather have enemies if it destroys our peace? And how can we be our strongest when we believe there are people that can defeat us?

But by having that peace while extending it and extending love always, no one will ever be your enemy. In fact, they would be a loved one.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am getting ready to launch an album with the sole purpose of healing those with depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental illness.

I mean this in the humblest of ways…it’s a masterpiece!

I’ve gotten a few testimonials already. Dr. Nicole LePera, Holistic Psychologist and author of How to Do the Work said, “The way JClay is able to break down the mind-body-soul connection in song-form in reference to healing is truly remarkable.”

I’ve even had a few friends tell me that I’ve healed them. In which case I explain, all that I’m doing is showing you what’s in the way of your healing. Once that blockage is removed, healing is inevitable.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Yes. Habits aren’t exactly in our control. They are an effect of what we can control: repeated thoughts, words, and actions.

There’s an old saying:

  • Watch my thoughts for they become my words.
  • Watch my words for they become my actions.
  • Watch my actions for they become my habits.
  • Watch my habits for they become my character.
  • Watch my character for it becomes my destiny.

As you can see, habits have a direct effect on our character. If we want to be a certain type of person, we need to show that in our habits and well as in our thoughts and speech.

For example, basketball players are some of the most easily recognized athletes because of their height and body structure. Yet this isn’t a result of good genes because they are often the tallest in their family by many inches.

This height and body type are often a result of their habits. They have the habit of jumping and reaching for something higher multiple times a day. So their body either develops the muscles or height to help them reach that goal.

If you do anything repeatedly for long enough, it will become so automatic that you won’t have to think about it. There was a time when you thought about how to walk. Now you just walk.

Creating good habits allows you to put things on autopilot. Wouldn’t you love to have happiness be a habit?

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Here’s a simple habit that everyone can relate to. I used to be messy. Not dirty, but messy. My car, room, everything was disorganized. Somewhere along the way, I realized that when my space is clean, my mind is a lot clearer.

I started making the habit of always putting things in their place. I don’t exactly know how long it took, but now I have all kinds of people telling me how clean, neat, and organized I am.

I spend hardly any time cleaning. It’s so simple to maintain.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

The best way to develop good habits is to start with just one habit. Put all of your focus on it. Make it a priority. Put reminders everywhere. Put it on your phone. Have a friend remind you. Find others that can join you in this habit. Add triggers in your daily routine that prompt you do this habit.

The problem with stopping a bad habit is that when you focus on it, you strengthen it in your mind. So it’s better to remove the triggers that get you to think about and act on that habit.

As long as you focus on adding good habits, the bad will fall away on their own.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

There is one habit that covers all 3, letting go.

Every human already possesses great focus. The problem is that this focus is split amongst multiple things. Let’s say 100% percent represents your total focus. To focus on any two things at once is to lose 50%. Fifty percent is a lot! As the number of distractions increases, the amount you have to focus on your main item decreases.

The key is to remove all distractions and have a singular focus at any given time. To achieve this you would have to be willing to let go of the illusion that you can handle everything at once.

Even bad health practices are attributed to sticking to outdated habits from childhood, which has little to do with eating and exercising. Holding onto resentment, guilt, and shame is the cause of all illnesses. This is why the idea of forgiveness is taught heavily in spiritual practices. Forgiveness is a form of letting go.

When you aren’t stuck in your ways, you can easily let go and acquire new habits to fit the situation you’re in.

When you aren’t stuck in the past, you can fully let go and enjoy all of the gifts that exist in the present.

Many successful people have spoken about being “in the zone”. This is where they act without thought while showing displays of greatness. At this moment, those in the zone have completely let go of their identity, the mistake they made yesterday, and that does not have to do with this moment. They are fully present. By letting go of all, they have access to everything.

On the contrary, when you hold onto something, you only have access to what you’re holding on to.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Meditation and affirmations. Meditation allows you to clear your mind from all thoughts including those you didn’t create. Affirmations allow you to affirm your state of being.

I created a song that helps with both https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQoFUPLLU3o. It’s a reminder to let go. The reason it works so well is that music can replay in your mind like affirmations with ease. This is why we can often recall songs that we haven’t heard in years and recite them word for word and melody for melody.

If you feed your mind thoughts that attribute to your well-being, you will be well.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

It’s the same, but I’ll relate it specifically to sport.

When athletes are in a slump, it’s because they are dwelling on their mistakes. Letting go allows them to never let past mistakes affect their present.

Also, once a habit is solidified, letting go allows athletes to practice a new habit instead of repeating the same one to the same degree. It’s like melting an ice cube. Once it’s melted, you don’t have to keep applying heat to water … it’s already done.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Wow, this is what I meant by being “in the zone.” I had no idea this question would come up when I answered it above.

To reiterate, letting go of everything allows you the freedom to be what this moment needs from you.

As Bruce Lee said… “Be like water. You put water in a cup, it becomes the cup. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot…Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.”

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Lead with love always. Love needs no defenses. It’s how babies get us to do everything for them. In a culture that praises resources, a baby takes resources. They don’t produce anything tangible. Yet, their presence raises the vibration of all among them. They lead with love. They don’t have any past to hold on to and they see the glory in this moment and we are mesmerized by it.

We were all babies once and so we always possess this power to lead with love. We may have just forgotten about it. By extending love, you turn enemies into loved ones, mistakes into corrections, and nothing into something.

Lead with love, ALWAYS!

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, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Yes, Kanye West. He understands music. This may sound odd, but there are great rappers, singers, and even producers that don’t really understand music. This serves as proof that you don’t have to understand a thing to excel at it.

But Kanye is the real deal when it comes to music. Also based on his music and public conversations, I feel like he may be missing that one puzzle piece that will allow him to see the perfection that exists in all. I feel like he’s on that path to discovering this within anyway, but I would love to be one that helps. And I would also love to make some music with him.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Go to https://jclay.org. It has all of my music, quotes, blog posts, links to social media, and merchandise.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

Thank you as well. It is a pleasure and an honor.

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