October 27, 2019 (Damascus, VA)
Today the Tim Ferris Show featured a fascinating interview with Jonathan Davis, a servant leader who not only proclaims, but has demonstrated that a Living a Life of Liberty and Legacy is possible for anyone.
The Tim Ferris show is generally the #1 business podcast on all of iTunes, and it’s been ranked #1 (of all podcasts) on many occasions. In recent months, downloads have shot past 80,000,000 downloads. In each episode, Tim deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.
A transcript of the interview with Jonathan follows – enjoy!
TF: Jonathan, welcome to the show!
JD: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be on the show.
TF: And, I feel we must thank you for hosting us here today for this interview at Sleeping Oak, your family retreat here in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Folks, I wish you could see this. We’re located on the deck of Jonathan’s modern home, and I must tell you the views here are simply stunning!
JD: Thank you! I agree! I do a lot of my sitting and thinking here – it’s a place of great beauty and inspiration.
TF: I’d like to start on the subject of your home as it leads to my first question – the name Sleeping Oak – is a bit unusual. How did you arrive at that?
JD: Well, Tim, the name Sleeping Oak implies not only a philosophy but also an affirmation of that philosophy. In fact, you could say it’s the essence of my personal journey and message to the world. A little more than 3 years ago, I was engaged in a concentrated study – an experience really – of Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich. And there I came across a quote by James Allen that said;
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of reality…”
The oak sleeps in the acorn – that was it! The oak – this family legacy property where we’re now sitting – was at that time sleeping in the acorn (my thoughts, dream and vision) and now it is a reality. Thoughts are things.
TF: Wow, I’ve never heard that before but now it makes perfect sense!
JD: Yes, taking the same quote, I suppose we could have gone with Waiting Bird or Stirring Angel, but Sleeping Oak just felt better! (Laughter)
TF: You mentioned your personal journey and message to the world, so I’d like to get in to that. What initiated your journey and now your mission?
JD: We may not have time in this interview to cover that entirely! So, let me summarize it in this way. I had had a full and fruitful career in public service – very successful and rewarding by all accounts in the eyes of the world. But something within my core knew I wasn’t done. In fact, at my retirement luncheon, I remarked that I viewed this life event not as “retirement” but rather as “half-time!” So, going into the second half of life, I felt a yearning, or a calling, to find and know who I truly was and what I was really meant to do. That yearning increased my awareness which led to discovery – discovery of guides and mentors who appeared in business, books, and seminars. Basically, I was fully open and aware to whatever life wanted me to learn.
TF: Awareness is the beginning of change?
JD: You’ve got it! Most people, myself previous included, are so busy being busy that they are totally unaware of their true purpose in life – consequently we’re carried along in the mass current of mediocrity, living as Thoreau said, “lives of quiet desperation.” I realized that was me, and I earnestly desired to discover myself.
TF: Fascinating! So, now having this awareness, what did you do with it and how did you use it to change your life?
JD: Again, Tim, that’s a vast question with many facets to a complete answer. But, I’ll share a verse of Scripture that I believe encapsulates it well: Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
TF: Whoa now, I’m first to admit I’m no Bible scholar, so I won’t even try! What does this verse say to you?
JD: To me, not being conformed to this world means no longer adhering to its superficial values and customs and being attached to other people’s idea of what is right for my life. I realized I had lived a substantial portion of my life out of expectation, obligation and reaction, rather than intention. I was not living as my authentic self – the person God intended me to be.
TF: So how did you deal with that – how did you change it?
JD: I did it as we’re instructed in the next portion of the verse; I “transformed” myself. As I mentioned earlier, through books, helpers, mentors, guides, business experiences, meditation, etc. I earnestly embarked on a journey of personal discovery and progressively changed and matured spiritually by the “renewing of my mind.” Tim, I discovered that the most marvelous power we have been given is the ability to think. We get to choose and implant our conscious and subconscious minds with new ideals and attitudes. Isn’t that exciting! By doing so, we create a new mind, or mindset. In my case, it was a mind of authenticity focused on Godly values and ethical attitudes – regardless of whether or not they aligned with the outside world. In other words, I became attuned to and directed by my “inner world” (my thoughts, which are cause) rather than the “outer world” (my environment or conditions, which are effects). Does that make sense?
TF: Sure, it does to me, but some people might want to know what proof do you have of that? What have been the results of this inner world direction?
JD: Well, we’re sitting here at Sleeping Oak aren’t we? Over 3 years ago, this incredible place was but a thought in my mind. The conditions I had at the time (namely financial) would have said this was not possible. But I kept feeding my mind with the thoughts and intentions and it went to work on the causes that eventually brought Sleeping Oak into a reality. But, I want to point out, the results have been much beyond physical and financial manifestations. I’m experiencing a peace and contentment – more an assurance than anything – that I’m living my life on purpose and with purpose. Because of the help I’ve received, I’ve help mentor and guide thousands of other people who are searching, like me, for their definite major purpose in life. The legacy of memories I have with family and friends travelling the world and spreading the hope for joy, affluence, kindness, and love is beyond anything I could have imagined before! I’ve been blessed to improve the physical and financial condition of people across the globe – amazing! I’m eternally grateful for the liberty I have in terms of time and financial resources, and it’s this very liberty that enables me to give more to others.
TF: Yes, I would have to agree! Those are profound results and they seem to me the kind that continue to have a ripple effect. Is that what you were going for?
JD: That’s the legacy part, Tim. Let’s go back once more to Romans 12:2, the last part of the verse says “that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” I believe that the “ripple effect” or legacy of my life is proof for myself of what the will of God is – that which is good and acceptable and perfect in His plan and purpose for me. From a passage in Charles Haanel’s Master Key System I came to understand that I am a channel whereby God expresses activity, doing the most good, and seeking to be of the greatest service to mankind.
TF: Wow, Jonathan, I want to thank you for being our guest today! I don’t know that we’ve ever had an interview quite like this. As our listeners know, I deconstruct world-class performers to reveal tactics, tools, and routines they employ – all seemingly “action” or externally oriented. However, the thrust of your message seemed to emphasize the internal. Again, thank you for being with us. What parting words of wisdom would you share?
JD: Thought is cause. Condition is effect. The oak sleeps in the acorn.
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