We recently spoke with Stuart Knight, motivational speaker, award winning entrepreneur and author about staying positive and motivated.
Q: How do you stay positive when things get tough?
A: As a professional speaker people often make the mistake of thinking that I spring out of bed every morning yelling the words, “Today is going to be a great day!” Although that may be true for some speakers, it isn’t the way I start my day. Most days begin with optimistic thoughts, but some days definitely find you feeling discouraged and frustrated with life. For me, I have specific coping mechanisms. The best thing that gets me out of a funk is playing the tuba! Ha! Kidding. Seriously, the best thing for me is journaling. Writing in a journal allows me to get the things that are bothering me out on paper. It allows me to express some of my sadness, hurt and disappointment. It isn’t long until I find myself putting things into perspective and realizing that things are never as bad as they seem. Especially when you see them laid out in front of you on paper. This “aerial” view helps me fly again.
Q: If there was one thing that you could change in the world what would that be?
A: Without a second thought I would want to entice the world to start having powerful conversations that go well above and beyond talking about the traffic and the weather. I truly believe that we are facing an epidemic, where people have stopped talking to each other about meaningful subjects and in the process are missing the chance to learn about the world and themselves. It’s also making people stupid.
Q: What was the most shocking thing you learnt about yourself and others working in this industry?
A: The most shocking thing I’ve learned about myself is that I had been suffering as an “impostor” for years thinking that I didn’t belong in my industry. Who was I to be standing in front of thousands of people giving them suggestions on how to live a better life? It was incredible to delve into that and discover where that belief system came from.
The most shocking thing I discovered about people is that the majority of human beings on planet earth have conditioned themselves to make decisions based on worst case scenarios as opposed to best case scenarios.
Q: What is your take on the human ego?
A: Oh boy, this is a subject that I could talk on for hours. To me the human ego became fascinating the second I realized that I wasn’t my name. For the first few months of my life, people used to look at me as say this word “Stuart”. Eventually there came a point when I looked back at those people and had my first ego driven thought. I thought to myself, “Ohhhhh, I get it, that word Stuart those people keep repeating is me!” It was the first time that I thought I was something, but let’s not kid ourselves, those people could have repeated the word “shoe” and I would have thought that “shoe” was who I was. Once you get that concept, you can apply it to anything else you want. If you’re not your name, then you are not your job, relationship, house or cool jacket that you are wearing. You are something much greater than the ego, and unfortunately most people go their entire lives and never experience it.
My battle with the ego is constant. Every day I find myself reacting to things while intellectually understanding that my true self isn’t reacting, but in fact it is the person I think I am who is reacting.
Q: If you could do any other profession what would that be?
A: The one thing I love about my job is that people tell me their secrets. I think human beings are the most fascinating thing on planet earth and I love learning everything I can about them. Being someone who talks about the big subjects of life such as love, sex, religion, fear, risk, etc opens people up to feeling comfortable in talking to me about things they wouldn’t even share with their best friend. I feel privileged to be in that position. With that in mind, if I wasn’t a professional speaker, I would want to be a doctor, therapist or psychiatrist so that I could continue understanding the unbelievable layers to the conscious mind.
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!