Your Brain on Living Your Purpose

In this new series, we delve into the neuroscience of what we know about the brain and the impact work has on the brain as well as understanding particular areas of the brain and how they function to help us in different areas of life.

In this episode, we discuss the newest findings in neuroscience pertaining to purpose. Specifically, what is going on in the brain when we succeed or fail, are aligned with our purpose and when we are being of service to others.

Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.

Your Brain on Purpose & Success


Debra Maldonado  00:01

Hello, welcome to another episode of Soul Sessions with Creative Mind. This is a new series we’re doing on neuroscience. We’re going to be covering all parts of life, your brain on success, your brain on love, your brain on your body and health, and your brain on God. It’s going to be a juicy series. We hope you enjoyed our Buddhism series the last four weeks. If you haven’t listened to them yet, be sure to go back. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss an episode. Leave us some feedback. We love thumbs up and reviews, that helps us as well. Join us in our Facebook group Jungian Life Coaching with Creative Mind, if you want to experience some of our other bonus videos that we have, say hello to us and our recruiting team.

Robert Maldonado  01:00

I wanted to say thank you for the feedback on the Buddhist series. We really enjoyed the questions and comments. We appreciate it. 

Debra Maldonado  01:12 

Let’s talk about our approach to the brain and neuroscience, just to lay out the playing field for us. Then we’re going to talk about how we define success. 

Robert Maldonado  01:24 

We can think of it this way. There are bodies of literature, data of information that inform our work. There’s three major sources that inform our work. One of them is current neuroscience, we like to stay up to speed on what we’re finding out about the brain, all this beautiful neuro imaging of the brain and the nervous system. We’re finding out tons and tons of information. A lot of it hasn’t even been processed yet because there’s so much and it’s coming so quickly. But neuroscience definitely. The other one, of course, is Jungian psychology. Jungian theory gives us a good base for how we process that information. What do we do with it? What does it mean for our personal experience instead of just scientific geeking out. And then finally, the wisdom traditions that come from the Upanishads. We love all of them because they all have their unique perspective. But they all go back to that wisdom, it comes from the Upanishads.

Debra Maldonado  02:45

This episode we’re talking about success. When a lot of people hear neuroscience, they think I’m going to rewire my brain for success. That means just thinking positive, reprogramming myself. When I was a hypnotherapist I did a lot of that “I’m good enough. Success is coming. I’m a money magnet.” We’re going to talk about it in a slightly different way. But first, how do we define success? Is it a mansion in the hills of California? Is it making a certain amount of money? Is it getting fame and accolades and rewards? What is success?

Robert Maldonado  03:28

It’s when your parents give you the thumbs up.

Debra Maldonado  03:31

When everyone else thinks you’re great. When the world agrees that you’ve made it. We’re kidding obviously. I used to think success was about a certain number, that if I reached a certain level of income, first it was six figures, I can sustain myself running my own business and having income. Then everyone in the coaching industry is like “Become a seven figure coach, get to seven figures.” I was obsessed, that defined success. Then we get to seven figures, you’re like “Still not it.” You’re chasing this illusion of what success is based on what other people tell you it is. When you get there, you realize that’s not what it is. Jim Carrey famously said “I wish everyone had all the money in the world, all the fame in the world, and they realize that that’s not what life is about. That’s not what’s going to give you happiness.” How would you define success, Rob?

Robert Maldonado  04:32

I think every generation has to redefine success for themselves. If you notice, there’s this tendency to rebel against the parents, against what they want you to be. It’s a healthy rebellion, you should rebel. You should not accept what your parents want you to do, and find your own path. But this current generation, I don’t think has defined success for themselves yet because there’s so much confusion, so much noise, so many different ideas of what success is. A lot of it is dictated to people from the media, from social media, from observing what others are doing. It’s falling back on this materialistic perspective that it’s about getting money, it’s about getting fame, success.

Debra Maldonado  05:28

I think back in like 80s and 90s, early 90s especially, I’ve lived in Colorado, and everything was about getting that bigger house. I have 5000 square feet, I have 10,000 square feet of yard, I have the view, I have the car. My neighbor got this, I have to get the same thing. Keeping up with the Joneses, they had a movie about that. This hunger for defining ourselves successful based on external things.

Robert Maldonado  05:59

I would say that for us success is certainly being able to have those things if you need them, if you want them, if they’re part of your purpose. But having the purpose is the primary element, knowing what your purpose is. And then having the money, the success, the ability to communicate whatever skills and talents you have, serving that purpose, the money, the fame, that higher purpose that gives you real success, real satisfaction in life.

Debra Maldonado  06:38

I always define successes that I’m actively pursuing something bigger than I did before. You’re successful just by playing, being in the game, going for something. Because most people don’t even try, they don’t try to change their life. Those of you who feel that they’re waiting for that success to happen. If you’re actually actively doing something, getting trained in coaching or getting a degree in something or putting yourself out there, starting a business, having this small idea that maybe you’re doing on the weekends while you’re working in your corporate job. You’re already successful because you’re stepping out beyond the herd. You’re doing something that fills your soul. I think just the act of that is success. But let’s talk about the brain a little bit. How do we get to that place, what brings a person to the state where they’re willing to step out or they have the confidence to move forward?

Robert Maldonado  07:43

The brain is really a remarkable organ. As far as we know, it’s the most complex organism, or organ in the universe, there’s nothing that compact, like a three pound object, that contains so much power. We are only starting to find out its true power. It’s remarkable, it creates for us what we call our reality. It creates for us what we know as our technology. All these computers, internet, cell phone, communication apparatuses. They come from the brain. A lot of people think “The brain must be like a computer.” No, it’s the other way around. Computers reflect the way our brain works, and only a small part of how our brain works. It’s an information processing unit that works at remarkable speeds.

Debra Maldonado  08:57

Would you say it’s a tool that the mind uses versus the brain creating the mind?

Robert Maldonado  09:06

That’s definitely our perspective from Eastern philosophy that the brain, because it’s part of the body, and the human body arises from a fundamental consciousness, so it’s a different perspective than the typical neuroscientific perspective that sees consciousness or awareness arising from the brain. We know there’s a strong genetic component to the structure and function of the brain. If I want to know how smart you are and what you’re going to do with your life, and I don’t have any access to you, all I have to do is look at your parents. Because you are the combination, half of your father and half of your mothers genes, the combination created you. That genetic code we inherit from our parents creates the structural brain and the body. We know IQ is inherited. It’s a big part of our inheritance that we get our smart appearance.

Debra Maldonado  10:24

My parents weren’t educated, but they were really smart. My grandparents too, very smart.

Robert Maldonado  10:34

Of course, it goes back the lineage to your parents’ parents.

Debra Maldonado  10:39

Do smart people marry smart people too? Unless you’re a geek, and you’re marrying a supermodel.

Robert Maldonado  10:52

That’s a whole other podcast, because we tend to look for people that look like us, and are on the same intellectual levels as we are, of course. And then socioeconomic status.

Debra Maldonado  11:07

So we are born into something that’s fixed in a way, conditioned in a way in us. We got some factory settings with ourselves.

Robert Maldonado  11:23

When we think about success, we can certainly think in terms of how did this individual come to be successful? One of the big components, of course, is genetics. They got good genes. They got the success genes in a sense. But what we know about the brain from the accumulation of neuroscientific information is that it’s a brain-environment interaction that we’re talking about. The brain does not just create itself from the genetic code. It needs an environment on which to flourish.

Debra Maldonado  12:06

It’s a collaboration between the external and internal, the brain feeds off the external.

Robert Maldonado  12:12

We evolved in this world of nature. That’s why we love nature. That’s why it’s beautiful to us, it feels good to us. It’s restorative because that was our mother. We’ve evolved this brain in nature.

Debra Maldonado  12:31

That’s interesting. Because people say they get restored when they’re in nature. I was just telling you, we just moved to the east coast where there’s a lot more trees than in California, a lot of green. I said I feel like the trees are hugging me. It’s that mother archetype that we’re experiencing through that dynamic, it’s very nurturing and calming.

Robert Maldonado  12:52

You have a two good parents with good genes, they pass on these genes to the child. The environment has to be there to support the development of that brain and the potential of the brain. In neuroscience, they talk about enriched environments. What does that mean for a human being? It means an environment where you hear a lot of words as you’re developing. Parents or other people are reading stories to them. Of course, the child is observing people reading books, which is in itself a great lesson, where there is impoverished environments, meaning children that grew up in poverty or in neglect don’t see that, they don’t have those examples, they don’t have those environments that support their development. Even though they have great intelligence and potential, the environment is not there to kick in those skills and intelligences.

Debra Maldonado  14:06

So there’s intellectual skills in the environment, but what about the social skills? When we would have dinner at the house, the family dinner, we all had to sit down, we had the TV off, we had to have a conversation. Now you see families go out to dinner and the kids are on their iPads and playing their video games, no one’s really talking. It said that social intelligence as well happens with that enriched environment. To have conversation, to be able to talk to people I would think would be contributing to someone’s ability to succeed because success isn’t done in a bubble either. You have to basically work with people, money comes through people, so you have to be around people. I guess not if you’re a lab technician but eventually you have to work your way through the social structure.

Robert Maldonado  15:05

You’re talking about emotional intelligence and social intelligence. That’s definitely a big part of success.

Debra Maldonado  15:12

Would that be enriched environment as well? The enrichment of the child is to talk to the child, engage with the child?

Robert Maldonado  15:19

Yes. One of the areas that hasn’t really been developed that much is humor. The way I would gauge somebody’s intelligence just by interacting with them is do they have that sense of humor? Anybody that knows how to laugh is intelligent. They have that sense of irony, sarcasm, all that beautiful humor. But social intelligence is a big component of success. The question of technology hasn’t really been studied in depth. Most parents just assume that giving the kid technology is a good thing. But the research hasn’t really been done. We don’t really know what it’s doing to the brain.There’s a little bit of speculation as to what’s going on when kids are looking at screens for long periods of time, as they’re developing. I saw a baby the other day, still not talking, in diapers, looking at an iPhone and ignoring their social environment.

Debra Maldonado  16:40

There’s the emotional, logical building rationale. But success is really also being in touch with our own emotions and being able to relate to others. I always think of success as you’re putting something out in the world that people need. If you don’t have that social intelligence, you’re not going to know, you can’t put yourself in other people’s shoes because you’re isolated in your own world. And there’s an empathy and emotion, that compassion that gets developed through social interaction, ability to get along with others, to lead others. If you see that woman that is on trial right now, Theranos, everyone invested in her because of her look, but people say she was very cold and just didn’t have that social intelligence.

Robert Maldonado  17:45

With her, I think she had good intentions. But again, the environment has the potential to be corrupted as well, it can corrupt that intention and lead in different ways. But back to early development because this is important, especially for parents to understand. The first six years are really crucial. If you can give your kid an enriched environment during that early period, you’re giving them a big head start towards success, both in academic and social success. There’s this factor called neuroplasticity that’s very active during those early years. Kids are like sponges, we’re absorbing everything that’s going on in the environment, learning and hardwiring it into our system. Because that’s going to help us survive in the world. The more we learn from those experiences, the better we’re off. But of course, if we don’t get that stimulation early on, then that deficit is harder to overcome later on. There’s different periods of pruning, and some of them early on. But as far as the neuroplastic element, it seems to slow down after age 6-7-8, somewhere around there.

Debra Maldonado  19:39

So as an adult, is it hard to rewire yourself?

Robert Maldonado  19:42

You can look at language. If we try to learn a different language now, we can do it, our brain is still plastic, but it’s going to cost us a little bit more effort. Whereas if you expose children to the language, they’ll pick it up like that. Because their neural plasticity is still very open.

Debra Maldonado  20:04

It’s like their mindset is more open. After six it becomes more fixed, where their ability to learn new things gets harder to do. Like someone who goes back to school, maybe you’re a teenager and you don’t go to college, and you end up going back at 40. It’s just harder to learn because you’re not in that mode. It’s just a little harder to get back in the groove.

Robert Maldonado  20:30

One of the big factors that they’ve found in success is disability to postpone pleasure. Some of you might have seen the marshmallow experiment. They put the kid in a room and tell them “Here’s a marshmallow. You can either eat it now or wait until I come back, then I’ll give you two marshmallows.” They were gone for just five minutes. The kids that could not resist, they just gobbled it up. And the kids that were able to wait to get the bigger reward, they followed them into adulthood. And guess what happened. The kids that did not have that impulse control of “Let’s wait, I can wait until they come back and get a bigger reward”, they ended up doing poorly in school, and success and jobs and money.

Debra Maldonado  21:46

I see this too with people that want to be entrepreneurs, or people that want to change their business, or like we train a lot of coaches to leave the corporate world, become a coach and start their business. There’s some people that need that instant gratification, they put their toe in and it doesn’t work, and they want to back out right away. Then there’s other people that are like “I don’t care, I’m gonna do it.” I always say that one of the biggest things is, of course, postponing pleasure, because you know that if I put the effort in now, it’s going to pay off later, just that intelligence to do that. But I also think resilience is important too. Because if we don’t have the ability to pick ourselves up after a mistake or navigate through conflicts, because when you start something new, there’s conflicts and resistance that shows up externally, reflecting our internal resistance. It’s that intelligence, that ability to say and figure things out, and say “I’m resilient, I’m going to figure this out.” That’s what makes someone more successful, because they’re not just “I want the 1-2-3 plan and instant success without a lot of effort.” There are a lot of businesses, just do this one course, I made a million dollars. Everyone just wants that instant gratification, and then they realize I have to roll up my sleeves, I’m going to have some challenges. It’s worth it though. I find that things that come easy to me are not as fulfilling as something that you had to work through and postpone it. Like meeting you at 41. If I had met you at 23, I might not have been so— well, I probably would be so happy. But I’m saying that postponing, really waiting for what I really wanted versus just getting the next guy that comes along and wants to marry me was worth the weight and worth this the transformation that I needed to get there. I think that’s really important as well.

Robert Maldonado  24:03

That has to do with the ability to postpone pleasure. It has to do with the prefrontal cortex. It’s the front part of the brain. It accounts in humans for about a third of the brain. It’s a really big part compared to chimps and other animals. What that does, it’s like the executive in the brain, it’s the central control center of it all. It says “Look, you have this reward in front of you. But if you hold off, you’ll get a bigger reward.” It’s able to manage that impulse control. That’s a simple way of putting it. People that have poor impulse control might be very intelligent, might have a lot of skills, a lot of talents but they don’t have the impulse control, therefore, they sabotage their success.

Debra Maldonado  25:11

They react really quickly, they let their emotions, fears drive them. They don’t have that logic, the balance of the passion to do what they do. But you also need that intelligence and that logic to drive, plan and strategize, but you also need the passion. I see a lot of people that are very impulsive. They’re driven by their emotions, myself too. You get into those states where you let your emotions take over. You become brain dumb, not even seeing things straight, your mind gets confused. It’s the ability to have that prefrontal cortex focusing.

Robert Maldonado  25:52

Some meditation studies have found that the prefrontal cortex is actually strengthened by certain types of meditation.

Debra Maldonado  26:02

I have a really good one. Would you say that ADD and the inability to focus plays into that? Looking for the next thing, never satisfied, starting digging shallow holes, but never really going anywhere. A lot of people are like “I’m going to start this business. No, no, the first thing that shows up, I have to start this, I’m gonna change my mind.” Here’s a really good exercise. Think about your third eye, that’s where the frontal cortex is. If you could just imagine a spinning circle from your third eye, right in your forehead, and you could just focus on that, bring all your attention into that area and just hold it, even for five minutes. Just practice pulling that attention there, the energy goes where the attention goes. You’re focusing and the blood flow moving through that. When I did hypnotherapy, we did that meditation to improve focus. So that little tip there.

Robert Maldonado  26:59

Thank goodness, the brain is plastic enough for us to begin to work with it in a creative and directive way at any point in our life. It’s never too late. Whatever your past experience has been, if you learn this information now and start to apply it, it will help you, you can actively change the structure of your brain through meditation, through focusing, through just the knowledge itself to help us understand “What am I doing here? Am I understanding your emotions?” Controlling my impulses and understanding motivation. We can think of the genetics and the brain structure. The neural anatomy of it is the hardware. Like a computer. If you look at the process, the main processing unit is a box, it got wires and lights. It’s the hardware, that’s our brain. In neuroscience, they call it the wetware. The three pound brain in our skull. But the software is what we call the mind. The programs that we run in our mind is the stuff that we learn, the ideas that compel us, the ideas that inform our own brain about what is it that I’m experiencing? What is the nature of reality? What is the nature of its own self? The mind has this ability to self reflect which is very powerful. One of the psychologists that worked — he came right after Skinner — and the behaviors were very powerful in American psychology for a long time, in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Then Albert Bandura came along, and he brought along this self efficacy theory. He was a social psychologist and emphasized that behaviorism and neuroscience, the perspective that the brain is doing a lot of stuff is important. But let’s look at the social context. Again, because it’s a brain environment interaction, it’s not just that you inherit intelligence and the ability to succeed, but that the supporting mechanisms of society have to be there.

Debra Maldonado  29:58

And don’t you think in epigenetics too, we inherit our family’s environment, their brain’s interaction with their experiences?

Robert Maldonado  30:07

Absolutely. That’s another big component. But this self efficacy theory is really important for understanding success in individuals, because it has this locus of control idea. The locus of control simply means, where do you as an individual see the control of your life? Is it outside, external to you? Or is it a new internal locus of control? We’ve know that individuals that think “External powers have control over my life and there’s nothing I can do about it” do not succeed as much as individuals that have that internal locus of control, meaning “I am the one that decides my destiny, my level of income, the job I do, the way I live my life, etc.” It’s a really important key for success. If you want to be successful, you have to know this knowledge and be able to develop it consciously. The good news is that if you don’t have it, if you’ve been externalizing and thinking “There’s these powers outside of me that I have no control over”, you can start to draw it back, to internalize it and understand that you have the power to change your life to make decisions.

Debra Maldonado  31:43

You can just check with yourself that anytime you’re anxious about something, anytime you’re worried about something coming in, or what people are thinking, or money, where’s that money coming from, what we’re doing is we’re putting the locus of control somewhere out there. There’s something outside of me that’s going to control my destiny. We were conditioned in the beginning, interacting with the environment, then the environment has power. It does to basically create our conditioning. But when we get older, we need to create our own way. Like Jung said, the beginning part of life is to build up this conditioning to survive. But then if we want to be successful, to leave the herd, leave the conditioning of our family and the cult, the psycho socio economic structure that our family lived in, we want to go to another place, we want to do something different. We don’t want to follow that lineage of career. We want to be entrepreneurs, a lot of our people that do individuation want to become entrepreneurs because it’s such a perfect fit for it. We have to have that control within ourselves, we have to be the force in our life. We talked about this last week in Buddhism, the idea of how to create an enlightened society. People out in the world are trying to fix the world, like the world is bad, we got to fix it, we got to heal the world. But we don’t really think that we have the power within ourselves to start within to change the world. With success, if some obstacle comes up, are you going to give up and say “I have bad luck, or the economy’s going to stop me, or there’s not enough people that want my service or my products that I’m trying to sell, my boss isn’t going to give me a raise”, all that powerlessness that we’re waiting for the world to give us the success or to give us permission. But we have that fundamental inside, that really deep, profound knowing that we can direct it. That’s what brings success. When I left the corporate world, my friends were like “What are you gonna do?” I’m like “I’m going to be a hypnotherapist. I don’t know if I can do this. I never ran my own business, but I’m tired of just waiting for my life to change. I want to see what I’m made of.” That’s what I said. I did it to just see what resources I have within myself to change. That idea has given me everything I needed. It’s that seed of “I’m going to see what I made of, I’m not going to see if the world will accept me, if the economy’s going to participate, I’m going to see what I’m made of.” That’s what you’re talking about, that locus of control.

Robert Maldonado  34:44

I learned the hard way. I would listen to people and take their advice. I got burned a few times early on. Their advice was “Don’t do that. It’ll very be difficult, stick to what’s true or has been proven by others to work, just follow the rules.” In other words, follow the herd. That didn’t work for me. It wasn’t until I stopped listening to people and started trusting in my own internal locus of control that my ideas are good enough. That’s what you should be doing, the things that you love and are going to make you happy. They’re going to express the way you want to work.

Debra Maldonado  35:40

I remember my experience when I was starting to look for an agent for my book. I always wanted to write a book. All my friends, I was in networking groups, and a lot of them were therapists, and they had master’s degrees and PhDs and they were like “You don’t have a degree in psychology.” Everyone that I heard at the writing conferences was like “You have to have the credentials, no big publisher is going to buy your book, you’re crazy.” I kept thinking “This is something that needs to be out there. I want to share this idea of the subconscious and how the mind works and how we create our reality.” I’ve never read a book like this before, I need to write it. I did what you did, I didn’t listen to them, I ignored. I said “I’m gonna make this work.” I got a deal not only to get an advance for the publishing, which they said “You’re never going to get an advance, you should self publish.” But I got a deal with Wiley, which is one of the top non-fiction publishing companies in the world, and distributed internationally. After my book came out, all these people that had books published said “How did you do it? You don’t have a degree, you weren’t on Today’s Show, you didn’t have all these things to do that normal people would do to get this publishing.” I said “I just use the power of my mind, I use my own willingness and not knowing who was gonna stop me.” It took a while, I got lots of rejections. But it’s that resilience. It’s that “I know this book needs to be out there.” I kept going and going and going. I didn’t listen to people. You also said to me when that was happening. You were like “Don’t listen to people.”

Robert Maldonado  37:38

Just to be clear, you don’t want to not listen to anyone. Just the ordinary people or the people with their mindset on limitation.

Debra Maldonado  37:55

You know what I call those people? Dream stealers. If you look at the source of the people that are saying those things, they’re not really doing anything. People that are saying you can’t do that, or you should be careful, have never done anything like that before. Of course, they’re going to give you the advice from your old self versus who you’re becoming.

Robert Maldonado  38:16

We do want to listen to some people.

Debra Maldonado  38:19

People who have done what you want to do, someone who’s inspiring and moving you forward.

Robert Maldonado  38:25

Social learning theory also says that these mastery experiences is what builds our confidence. The confidence to succeed comes from trying and doing things that you’re not sure you can do. If you only do what you know is going to work for you, you’re pretty much staying in the same place, you’re just spinning your wheels. I know, I can do this, and I know it works because I’ve done it before. There’s nothing wrong with need to do that, perhaps. But if you want to experience success and express your full potential, you’re going to have to work with your mind a little bit. One of them is to create these mastery experiences for yourself. You’re going to have to try to do things you’re not sure you can do. Some people even do things that nobody has ever done before. Those are the real pioneers. Those are the people that create new ways of doing business, new technology, and new science.

Debra Maldonado  39:38

Remember we went to the Wright Brothers museum. I remember all the letters they wrote to people asking for money. They had 400 flights before they finally got that plane off the ground. Because of them we can go to the space. What they discovered was so profound, and everyone was like “They’re crazy. A bicycle shop is trying to make things fly, that’s unnatural.” It’s really breaking the boundaries of where other people have gone before.

Robert Maldonado  40:11

We know successful people have mentors. You need social modeling. You learn from others. Newton himself said “We’re standing on the shoulders of giants.” The people that came before us, that opened up the possibilities for us, did the hard work, did the research, wrote the books, tried experiments. They’re the ones that we’re now reaping the rewards from and are able to carry on that work.

Debra Maldonado  40:50

When you see someone who’s successful, they wake up that success within you, if they can do it, I can do it. What normally we do is “I’m not like them.” You have to identify with a mentor and say “I want what she has, I want what he has. Show me the way.” It’s really not about learning skills as much but about how to work with your mind, to be that resilience, to have that locus of control. Because definitely intelligence helps, you’re able to figure out problems. But it’s something that you can’t see on the outside. When you look at someone successful you think “They’re successful because they took these steps.” But what’s really making them a success is what’s going on inside of them, what’s the inner world that they created, the mind of success.

Robert Maldonado  41:49

So mentors, coaches, just people you admire that have come before you and left books or information, you can learn from these great people.

Debra Maldonado  42:00

Masterminds, people that are all growing, doing the same, the same goal, learning from each other, lifting each other up. It’s really wonderful.

Robert Maldonado  42:13

That’s another element of it, because mentors are individuals. But you have social support networks, mastermind groups, communities of like-minded people that are really enriching for success. If you surround yourself with people that are actively doing the things that you want to attain and to be doing, you’re much more likely to succeed than if you hang out with your buddies from the bar.

Debra Maldonado  42:49

When I first started, I left the corporate world, I was in a corporate world for almost 20 years. The corporate people are different. Everything’s about the family and vacations — not everyone — I was always the guru in the group that people came to for advice. When I left and started doing the hypnotherapy and later coaching, I started hanging out with these networking groups. It was a different type of person, we had different conversations, they were talking about different possibilities than I would have in the corporate world. The corporate mindset is very different. It’s about climbing the ladder, maybe even competition, proving yourself and your worth, where in the entrepreneurial state it’s a different kind of success. There’s nothing wrong with being in the corporate world. But that environment breeds a certain amount of mindset of a worker, you’re relying on someone else to approve of you moving forward. Where an entrepreneur, you’re owner, you’re in charge of your own success. It’s a different type of conversation you’re having with people. We could talk about spiritual stuff with these people and personal growth, it was just so different. We want to be around those communities of people that can talk our language and be where we’re going, not where we were.

Robert Maldonado  44:23

I guarantee if you look at any successful person and study their past, there’s mentors and community behind that success. No one creates success on their own, that myth about the self-made billionaire or millionaire, that’s a false assumption. It takes a community. It takes mentors, coaches, a lot of support.

Debra Maldonado  44:55

When I think of masterminds, I think in Jungian psychology and Eastern philosophy everyone is you. They’re the shadow parts of us. Our mentors are our shadow or our future self, our potential. They’re reflective of that potential and that wisdom that we already have within us. You’re not getting it from them, what you’re really doing is you’re wakening your own wisdom by being around mentors. Someone who has a talent in a certain area, they’re all parts of you. Tapping into different aspects of yourself through a community, you see yourself reflected in all those people. It awakens the things in your unconscious that you weren’t aware of, that you have the skills maybe you didn’t know you had.

Robert Maldonado  45:47

We’ve gone through the biology, the brain, how it sets us up for failure or success.

Debra Maldonado  45:59

I wouldn’t call it failure, more like mediocrity. It can set us up for mediocrity. That’s the default. Just stay safe, stay protected, stay alive, go for those quick pleasures.

Robert Maldonado  46:12

The social learning theory tells us about what needs to be there in the environment to support that intelligence so that you’re able to create success. Because ultimately, we create success in a social setting. We have to be part of the community, part of the world. But then there’s this third element, which we call purpose, or higher purpose, which is more intangible. It’s harder to wrap our minds around. But definitely important because what purpose does is it coordinates the biology, the social psychology of it, and makes it into something even bigger, something grander, something that transcends these ideas of success, because we know, you can line up all these things, and success is not guaranteed. We’ve seen it over and over, people have everything they need, and most people’d say there’s no reason for them to fail. They should be very successful, but they’re not. Because they lack purpose. Purpose is the transcendent element in all this.

Debra Maldonado  47:40

Would you say that purpose — going back to the marshmallow — is what gives you the ability to delay, because you know there’s a bigger purpose than just a quick satisfaction, you’re not going for that lower desire, which is I want to feel good right away, I want to make money right away, I want to do this to make money or to get security versus I want to do this because there’s something in my soul that needs to be expressed.

Robert Maldonado  48:10

We think simply in terms of rewards and punishments. Reward is getting the money, getting the success, getting the fame. That’s rewarding for most human beings. Money itself is a strong reinforcer. That itself is not success for us. Because when you operate at the level of just going for the money, for the fame, for the prestige, you’re conditioned by those things. Even if you get those things in abundance, they own you. They’re not serving your higher purpose. They’re not serving you. You’re serving it basically, you’re indebted to those things. It keeps you going and working continuously, of course, until they start to disappear, or you lose your health, or you get old and can’t work anymore, then you’re in trouble because you’re depending on this externalized success to make you happy.

Debra Maldonado  49:24

Also the idea of delay is that if you think your success is about the six figures, seven figures, that external reward, you’re not going to enjoy doing what you love, it’s going to be another job to you. That’s what I found that when I would lose that sense of my purpose again, you get lost in it because you get success, you get a taste of it, you want to get more. You enjoy the money that you never had before. Then you get lost in it, especially if you’re surrounded by people that aren’t aligned spiritually, they’re just money-minded people, money is the goal. You start to feel like a job, I gotta work really hard. People get burnt out all the time. A lot of my friends that have been really successful are just burnt out. They’re just like “I can’t do this, I’m working seven days a week.” What are you working for? They’re not even in it purposely, they start out, especially with coaches, I see a lot of them start out wanting to do personal development and growth. Then they see all these business coaches making all this money, and they’re like “That’s what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna be a business coach now.” They let go of all that passion that really drove them to be successful. They’re exhausted, they’re not fulfilled, they’re making money but there’s an emptiness to it. They end up going back to “I want to do spiritual work. I’m done with the business stuff, I want to teach more empowerment. I want to go back to that.” It’s natural to get caught up in the shiny objects. The purpose is really what gives us that fulfillment now in the moment without any external reward. Then you don’t feel like you’re working, you feel like it’s just what you do. A lot of people say to us, you’re always busy, you have so much going on, you have a lot of different classes and courses, and things you’re doing live. I never think of it as work. I think of it as we love what we do. We love our purpose. That’s the difference, you can work, spend a lot of time doing your purpose, it can feel like work or it can feel exhilarating and powering.

Robert Maldonado  51:43

If we go back to the marshmallow, the ability to postpone that satisfaction, that instant gratification. If you’re working for the money, and the money is not there temporarily, most people will quit because they’re depending on that reward to keep them going. Whereas when you’re working from your higher purpose, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the business, you’re going to continue. Because that purpose is driving you, not the external reward system.

Debra Maldonado  52:22

I hear a lot of people say, and I’ve said this myself — if I could just help one person, my work will be worth it. I’ll hear a lot of people say that they just get to help one person. That’s what we want to do. We want to help one person at a time. Every person you talk to is your focus. Every time someone interacts with you online, and you’re sharing your wisdom, and they’re responding, that’s your purpose. It’s not to sell them into something right away. We talk about this a lot too. In consultations, a lot of people get nervous asking, selling their services. It’s because if you’re in your purpose, it’s easy. People can feel your passion for what you do, they can feel your love for what you do. They want to be a part of it. It’s really getting inside and connecting to what that is. Your purpose isn’t a job. It’s not a career.

Robert Maldonado  53:21

Not at all. It is the reason that you do this. Again, looking at the social learning model, it has to be internalized. It has to come from within you. That’s your purpose. If you’re depending on externalizing forces, you’re being manipulated, controlled, conditioned by external forces, you’re more likely to quit.

Debra Maldonado  53:53

A lot of artists say they love doing their art until they start selling it. Then they lose that love of it because it becomes a job. It’s okay to receive money. It’s just that you don’t want to flip it and make the money the goal. You want to think every day I’m so lucky, I get to do what I love. I wake up every day thinking I’m so happy that I get to do what I love. Whatever shows up today, I’m doing what I love, and I could deal with everything else. Do you feel that way too?

Robert Maldonado  54:27

Absolutely. As long as the money serves your higher purpose it doesn’t have that power over you.

Debra Maldonado  54:36

The money becomes a servant to you. It’s helping you live your purpose more because if we both had jobs that we had to work at and only can do this a couple days a week, we wouldn’t be able to help as many people. We’d feel maybe exhausted after a job and drained. The abundance helps you do your best job, but you don’t want to do it for the money, you want to do it for your purpose.

Robert Maldonado  55:05

This is the new model of success.

Debra Maldonado  55:09

The Maldonado motto is success.

Robert Maldonado  55:11

Of course, you’re happy doing your work. It doesn’t feel like drudgery, it doesn’t feel like it’s something you had to force yourself to do. You’re doing it out of love, out of service, your natural talents and skills.

Debra Maldonado  55:30

Then also your abundance. It’s nice to have abundance so you can help others, you can do good with the money. It’s not about not caring about the money, but you make it a part of the whole system versus just the top of the mountain. Because you’re gonna have lean times and abundant times. Are you only going to be happy when there’s abundant times? You want to be able to have your purpose as your rock to carry you through and not grab that marshmallow. Because I remember, you feel that you have to have that instant gratification. When you make decisions from that fear, you’re not aligned.

Robert Maldonado  56:12

I bet you as a kid, you would have grabbed the marshmallow.

Debra Maldonado  56:19

No, I was very patient. I was harshly disciplined as a child. I was good at holding back.

Robert Maldonado  56:27

I was bad. I probably would have stolen the marshmallow bag and run off with it.

Debra Maldonado  56:31

Anyway, we hope you enjoyed this segment on the brain on success and living your purpose. Next week, we’re going to talk about everyone’s favorite topic — love. We’re talking about what happens in the brain with love and how we sync up with other people and what’s creating that chemistry.

Robert Maldonado  57:09

When you’re under the influence of love.

Debra Maldonado  57:11

When you’re under the influence of infatuation, and a little bit about the neuroscience of love, with a twist. Hope you come back next week. Don’t forget to subscribe to Soul Sessions with Creative Mind on Spotify, iTunes, all the wonderful podcasts.

Robert Maldonado 57:31

Leave a review if you have time. 

Debra Maldonado  57:35 

And we’ll see you next week for another show. 

Robert Maldonado 57:38 

Stay well. 

Debra Maldonado  57:39 

Bye bye.

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