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-My name is Clay Clark, and I'm the CEO of Thive15.com and one of the business mentors on the website. Today I'm honored to be joined by the living legend, an NBA hall of famer, David Robinson, one of our business mentors, and he's going to be teaching us a little bit about how to find our sense of peace and purpose. You see, David's done just as well off the court as he did on the court, and he's an NBA hall of famer. And it's exciting because he's a great father. He's a great husband, and he's a guy who is a great businessman. And he's going to be teaching us a little bit about how to find that elusive sense of peace and purpose that we all struggle to find.
Remember, at Thrive15.com, we all believe that knowledge without application is meaningless. So as you're watching today's episode, make sure that you look for specific applicable action steps that you can put in your own life and business. Otherwise, today's episode may just be more meaningless less than a boomerang in space.
David, good to see you, sir.
-Clay, good to see you.
-Hey, we're here to talking today about finding financial peace and purpose, and I know that a lot of people watching this, regardless of their income level-- as humans, we find it very easy to spend everything we make and then a little bit more because we have credit in America. So we tend to borrow, too.
DAVID ROBINSON: We do.
-Now, during your first year in the league, though, you were all NBA. You had a great rookie season. You had endorsements, but you still didn't necessarily have peace. Not necessarily, let's say, financial peace, but peace.
-Right, that's true.
-Why didn't you have peace or what was kind of going on in your mind at that point?
-Well, I think I just spent most of my time trying to please everyone around me. Everyone always puts these expectations on you, and if you're gullible, you go for it. You try to please them all, and I just didn't really know who I was and what I wanted. I came into the league, and I thought I was this halfway intelligent guy who kind of knew what I wanted, and then all of a sudden, I want to be like Michael Jordan. I want to be this. I want to have this, and everything started to change. And so I wasn't at peace.
It took me about a year and a half before I realized this should be the pinnacle. I'm at the top. If this doesn't make me happy right now, if all of this money, all of this fame, and attention, and opportunity-- if this doesn't make me happy, I'm not really sure what will make me happy.
-Did you feel like that you chased the rainbow, and you sort of got to the end of that pot of gold, and it wasn't there? Is that kind of how you felt?
-Well, for me, it was the end. I felt like, as a child, I never thought about being rich, or famous, or anything, but I got to this place where I'm one of the best players in the world, and I'm doing very well, and still I'm not at peace. I don't understand this, so I had to reevaluate my priorities. I had to decide what is going to make me happy. If the world has nothing to offer me, they could give me another million dollars, and it still wouldn't make me happy. Then what is actually going to make me happy?
-So if I'm watching this and I am struggling to find peace, if I'm somebody who-- maybe I even have financial success, and I'm watching this, and I had success, or maybe I'm somebody who's believing that, if I just could have financial success, then I'm going to have that peace. But either way, if I don't have peace, what would you say to me if I'm struggling to find my sense of peace and purpose? What would you tell me?
-Well, for me, I would tell you that having faith in God is the answer to your peace, because that's the only thing that's solid, that doesn't change. We change every day. The environment around us changes every day, but the word of God doesn't change. It's a rock, and so that's really the only place that you'll find peace, but a lot of people don't think that that's relevant to their lives, and I would argue that it is, very much so. In everything that you do, we have a worldview. We either think we're the center of the world or not, and most of us like to think we are the center of the world. And if you live that way, you're going to find yourself in that restless place with no peace at all, but once you understand there is a center and it's not me-- that God is the center of the world-- and you start arranging your world around that, you'll find that everything fits perfectly.
-Do you remember when it happened-- when you found peace?
-I remember the day it happened. It was June 8, 1991. It was an amazing day. I got a chance to sit down and talk to a guy who was a minister who came and talked to me and said-- hey. I'd love to chat with you a little bit. I'm the minister.
And I thought-- oh, my gosh. Look at the time. I've got to go. I have no time for this. But I actually did end up sitting down with him that day, and he asked me-- do you love God?
And I said-- I suppose. I mean, wouldn't I be stupid not to? Didn't he create everything?
And then he proceeded to ask me-- well, how much time do you spend reading your Bible or praying?
And I said-- well, you know, I pray a little bit. I have a Bible. I don't really read it that much.
But he said-- in the Old Testament, God asked the nation of Israel to honor him one day a week, the Sabbath day. When was last time you took one day-- not one day a week, but one day-- to honor God and thank him for all that he's given you?
I said-- well, I am pretty blessed. I don't know. I had never taken a whole day. I don't even know what I would do for a whole day praising God.
And he said-- well, when you love somebody, when you really love them, don't you honor them and want to spend all your time with them?
And that really hit me, because I had been dating my girlfriend for a long time, and I really said I loved her, but I didn't really back that up with any actions. So I felt like that day I was telling God despite all you've done for me, I don't have time for you. I don't really care. That day, I fell on my knees, and I said, "God, everything I have is yours. Wherever you want me to go, I'll go. Whatever you want me to do, I'll do."
That changed my whole purpose. Instead of getting the bigger contract and being the best player in the league, all of a sudden I realized-- this is all about you. Everything I do is about you. My marriage is about you. It's about honoring you.
When we make the vow, a lot of times, in our marriage, we make a vow before God. But we forget that he's a partner in this relationship, right? He's the one we're vowing to. And when we vow to each other, we're going to let each other down. There's no question. If I'm trusting you, you're going to let me down. As great as you are, Clay, you're going to let me down. And I'm going to let you down. But when I put my trust in him, we can continue to grow with each other.
-You just said something to me that's super-profound. You just said as great as something may be, they're always going to let you down.
DAVID ROBINSON: Absolutely
-I know you try to hold yourself to a very high standard, but you're also very self-aware. We all occasionally miss the mark. I love that about you, that you're not full of yourself, and do you believe you're not a perfect human. But you're saying-- hey, I'm going to let you down at some point, so you shouldn't put your faith in me.
-I guess for somebody who is watching this, and they say if I could just make enough money-- if I could just make enough money-- I'm going to be happy. What would you say to that person?
I would say that's a slight delusion. I don't know if I was there. I wasn't really so focused on the money. But I did get to a place where I had enough money. If where I was at that point, my second year in the NBA and with a pretty good contract, was not enough for me, what could the world give me that would satisfy that emptiness inside? And my conclusion was nothing. There's nothing more that they have for me out there. So I had to start looking in the right directions. And that's when God answered that said hey-- I've got it for you. I have a plan for your life-- a purpose for your life. I'm the one that created you. I know what to do with you.
-What was your process like once you discovered-- OK, this is how I'm going to find this sense of peace? Did you become a super-intense reader of the Bible? How did you educate yourself?
-That was my change. From that first day, when I sat down and administer and I prayed "God, come into my heart-- take over my life"-- from that day, I started reading my Bible. My mom thought I was crazy. I'd read my Bible four or five hours a day, because I didn't know anything about it. I had heard all of these things, but I really didn't know what it said. So I just sat down, and I started reading, reading, reading.
My mom came home, and she's like-- what's wrong with you? Have you joined a cult or something? I'm going-- no, Mom, no! Really, God just became real to me. I'm reading my Bible, and I'm thinking-- wow, this thing has been here the whole time, and I've never really read it. It's actually pretty good, Mom. I got excited about it.
Everybody in my life thought it was a phase. They're like-- oh, he's just picked something up, and he's going to put it down. But here we are, 22 years later, and my marriage, my children-- everything reflects my faith now. And God just keeps blessing me and blessing me. so I think some people are starting to believe it's real now.
-It's interesting, though, because you've been a happy guy for a long time. Your brother is now a minister, and your father is serving the Lord. It's been sort of like you have one great big happy family.
-It wasn't always like that. My brother was not saved. He went to the Naval Academy after me-- smart kid. I remember when I first got saved, I sat him down, and I said, "Chuck, you have to know this. Let's go through the scriptures." And he said, "Wait a second. You're kind of scaring me. I've never heard you talk like this."
And I said, "No, no-- you don't understand. This is real. This is what life is all about."
And he said, "No, no-- I heard you. I'm not ready for this. I'm enjoying my life. I want to go out and party and have fun and do all this stuff."
It really broke my heart when I first talked to him, because I thought-- how can you see this stuff and not believe it, not understand it? But everybody comes in their own time. No matter what I say, I can't convince him. God has to bring him to himself. So I just was faithful and loved on him, and whenever he asked me questions, I would answer the questions. And about a year and a half later, two years later, he calls me up, and he says, "Hey, David. I went to this church today, and I knew it was my time. I couldn't run anymore."
Now he's 16 years as a pastor. He has a beautiful wife and a beautiful daughter. His life has just been ridiculous, blessed beyond measure. I've watched him do that in my brother's life, my sister's life, my father's life-- it's been a real blessing for all of us.
-Well, you said-- there was a quote where you'd said that, "Pursuing success is like chasing your tail. You can never win. Proving yourself to others is like trying to catch the wind. No matter what you do someone always raises the bar, or they start tearing you down. And I realized that's where I was going. I was in a lot of trouble. But that's a road to nowhere. It's like running after a rainbow. The world's idea of success is never going to fulfill me. There really has to be another way."
-Yeah. Well, that was the thing that triggered me. I mean, I was actually sitting at a TV one day, and I was watching Michael Jordan when he won his first championship. And I don't know, it was '91 or something like. But I was sitting there watching, and I was thinking, well, that's really what I want, right. I want to get there.
But he was sitting there hugging that trophy. And to me, you know, people always kiss that trophy. And it just seemed like such an empty picture to me. That trophy, they're going to hand that to somebody else next year. You've been chasing that thing your whole life.
And now people are going to tell you-- now that you've accomplished your goal, people are going to tell you, oh, Magic's got five. So now you've got to jump a little higher. It's like, when does it stop? It never stops. So for me, that was a kind of an eye opening experience, understanding that I'll never please all of these people out here.
-I want mine into this, though, because you're one of the more competitive people out there. People who know you say, David's very competitive. He wants to win. You actually had the goal of being the best player in the NBA.
-Yet, you didn't put your sense of value in that. And so you actually had said at one point that winning the championship in no way defined you as a person.
-Right. No, absolutely not. For me, understanding who I was and that-- striving for that excellence, the journey is the whole deal. As you go along, you can't miss that part of the journey. Yeah, I'd like to have great kids. My goal is to have my kids become president someday-- maybe not. But my goal is to have them be very prosperous and successful.
But if I miss the journey then I've missed the whole thing. And so I've kind of learned that the end result, just because you find the wealth or you find the success that you thought you wanted, that's not going to change who you are as a person. You're still going to be the same stressed out, miserable person you were yesterday and tomorrow. So you might well find your piece today so that when you have good success, you can really enjoy it.
-I know that I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, and I see people that it's kind of a tough bounce. Because you have to work hard to make a business grow. And to be successful in basketball, I mean, you had in the weight room all the time.
-All the time.
-You had to eat right. You had to run all the time. You're always working out. So you have to be dedicated to your craft.
But at the same time, you can't be so intense about it that you kind of miss the journey, like you said. And I think it's all about finding that balance. And it seems like you are able to do that, or at least get closer to it than most people?
-Yeah. And I think he goes a lot back to just knowing what your priorities are. My family was very important to me, and I vowed not to lose my family. I was going to take care of it, and enjoy it, and enjoy my wife, and enjoy my children.
And I've been able to do that over these 22 years we've been married. And I've been able to enjoy my children. So all of that, if you don't leave the things behind that are also important-- your goals are important, but your family's also important. And so you can't leave things out of balance. And I think that's a big part of real success and real peace.
-And if I'm looking at this objectively-- let's just say I have a logic hat on and I'm totally taking any bias out of it. And I just say, if you look at a group of people who are happy and another group of people who are not happy, I would rather be going with the happy team.
-Yeah, well, that'd be nice, yeah.
-So I guess what I'm saying is I really appreciate you sharing your journeys. I know it kind of puts you out there when you share where you were and how you've gotten to where you're at today. But if I'm an entrepreneur and I'm watching this, and I feel like I am just stuck in the cycle--
-I'll put my business hat on, OK.
-Yeah. If I am stuck in this cycle of just striving for the next goal, if I feel like if I can just improve sales by 10% this quarter, what would you tell me, what would be your advice to me in terms of finding that that peace and that financial peace. I mean, what would you recommend? Is it live with less? Is it live within my means? What would you recommend that I do to find a sense of peace and purpose?
-Now, I wouldn't you to live with less. What I would tell you is is you better find your joy right now, today. If what you have today is not enough for you, then you will never find enough. The Bible says he who desires money never has money enough.
So you've got to change your desires. You've got to understand, hey, how do I find joy in who I am today, in what I have today? And then every day is going to be more of a blessing as you reach those wonderful goals that you're striving for.
-Find joy today.
-Find joy today. How do you find that today? How do you find the peace at home, be able to go home and have a house where, hey, you know what? I love coming home. I love seeing my wife. I love seeing my children. You find that joy and the rest of that stuff will all be gravy.
Whether you get that promotion or you don't know, whether you make that sales number or you don't, you're still going to find joy. And you're then understand, hey, I'm learning something from even the failure. I'm going to keep pushing.
-David, I appreciate you so much for sharing. I love the idea of finding your joy today. And I haven't known you. You are all consistently joyful. So I appreciate you setting an example of what means to be a joyful person who's a successful entrepreneur, and a successful basketball player, and a successful father, and as a successful husband. So I appreciate you so much.
-Ah, well, thanks.
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