Doctor John Demartini is the world’s leading human behavior expert, researcher, educator, and best-selling author. He’s also the founder of the Demartini method, a revolutionary tool that aims to help individuals transform polarized emotions into feelings of authenticity, presence, and love. More specifically, Dr. Demartini builds on five decades of research in a variety of disciplines to empower others to live their lives in line with their highest values.
Over the years, Dr. Demartini has penned over 40 books, which have been translated into 40 languages, and has presented his insights alongside some of the world’s most influential thinkers, including Sir Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra.
Rhonda Swan: When we met in Las Vegas years ago, you highlighted something about the way we were parenting Hanalei, who is actually co-hosting this show today. In particular, you mentioned that the way we were parenting her was in line with our highest values. Can you go a little bit into that?
Dr. John Demartini: I’ve been blessed to teach for five decades now and 45 years of that have revolved around what drives human beings and the human values underlying that. And every human being has a set of priorities, a set of values, things that are most to least important in their life, that determine how they perceive and act in the world.
And whatever is highest on that list of values, they are spontaneously inspired from within to act upon. But to act upon whatever is lower on the list of values requires extrinsic motivation. So they’re disciplined, reliable, and focused in relation to their highest values. So when anybody sets a goal, if it is aligned and congruent with what they value most, they have an increased probability of achieving it. And they tend to walk their talk, live aligned and congruent, and wake up their leadership skills. When they are not living by their highest values and attempting to subordinate to others, trying to be somebody they’re not and be inauthentic, they require external motivation and they’re transiently stimulated but not sustainable in their drive.
Now, when we met in Las Vegas, I noticed that there was a high degree of congruence in Hanalei. And that was very inspiring and heart-opening to see. And that’s why I believe she’s excelled. When you’re walking your talk and you’re not distracting yourself, you’re more focused and you build momentum. You become momentum-building and unstoppable.
Rhonda Swan: This brings us right back to the way Hanalei has evolved. Hanalei, can you highlight how you have tapped into your authenticity and your purest intentions since you have last seen Dr. John Demartini?
Hanalei Swan: For me growing up has always been about living by my highest values. This is just something that was instilled in me by my parents from a really young age. And I remember after meeting with you, I realized even more that I really had the power to be able to empower myself and follow what brings me the most happiness. And I felt like that was the biggest takeaway; realizing the potential to be what I really wanted to be. Believing that when I put my mind to something, I can create so much. And for me, my values have been working, creating, learning, growing, and art and fashion — creative things.
When we met at London Fashion Week, I remember feeling very self-conscious at times, walking around feeling like I wasn’t as good as the other designers. And I remember the advice you gave me. I remember you asking me, “Do you see perfection in others?” and I said yes. Then asking me again, “Do you see flaws in others?” and me responding, “Yeah, I can see where the flaws can be.” Then you told me, “All those things you can see in others, you can see in yourself. If you can see flaws in yourself, you can also see perfection.” And that was a huge piece of advice that made me realize how I do have the potential to grow. And so I wanted to ask you, is there any advice you have for my generation or younger teens who are trying to figure out what their values might be?
Dr. John Demartini: Well, first of all, John Milton once said that one man’s heaven is another man’s hell. Sometimes when a young man meets a beautiful girl and he’s infatuated, he’s conscious of all the upsides and unconscious of the downsides. But over time, he eventually discovers that some of the traits and actions that she demonstrates come with some challenges. And the same thing can happen when a girl meets a guy. She may think that he’s very intelligent. But then you find out that intelligence comes with arguments and them thinking that they’re always right. So the very traits that we think are flaws have perfection. And the very things we think of as perfection also have so-called flaws. And there’s a hidden order in both of them. And you don’t want to be without both. And these are artificial labels we put on things until we see both sides and realize that there’s nothing to get rid of.
There’s nothing to seek, everything is already present. At the level of the essence of the soul – our authentic self, nothing is missing in us. But at the level of the existence of the senses, things sometimes appear to be missing. And the only things that appear to be missing in us are all the things we’re too proud or too humble to admit that we see in others inside ourselves.
So reflective awareness is about digging deeper with introspection and discovering inside us whatever we see in others. When we do, we level the playing field. And we don’t label it one way or the other, we just see that they’re a reflection of us. And it’s making sure that we leave nothing unloved in ourselves. And we utilize them as our teachers to wake us up to anything we might have judged.
So, for young people, who are sometimes wiser than older people, they’re there to go and discover what their life demonstrates that they spontaneously do, that they’re committed to, and not disturb that or filter that by trying to fit into the herd around them. Because how are we going to make a difference and stand out if we’re fitting in, we have to be willing and courageous enough to be our authentic selves, and give ourselves permission to shine as an authentic self, instead of cloud ourselves, trying to be all these other people.
As Einstein said, if you’re a cat, expecting to swim like a fish, you’ll beat yourself up. If you’re a fish, expecting to climb a tree, you’re gonna beat yourself up. But if you honor yourself as a fish or a cat, you’re going to shine. So whatever the age, sometimes people have yet to understand that principle. I’m not a nice person. I’m not a mean person. I’m a human being that has the capacity to be nice if you support my values and be mean if you don’t. I’m all of the above. And one is not good and the other bad. One is not the right one and the other is wrong. They’re both necessary in order for us to fulfill our mission. And so you want to be able to love all parts of yourself. As the Buddha says, the desire to obtain and to seek that which is unobtainable. And the desire to avoid that which is unavoidable is a source of human suffering. But when we are inclusive and embrace our whole nature, and living congruently with what’s really intrinsically calling us, we end up loving ourselves and then exemplifying that love for other people.
Rhonda Swan: How can we continue to help a society where everyone is a little scared despite there being so much personal development? How do you see where we are going and what can we do to bring us back into that love where we are able to really see in each other what our truest essence is?
Dr. John Demartini: The Olympian Phelps, who holds 28 medals, said, “When I’m standing and about to dive into the water. If I look left or right at my competitors, I’ve lost the race. Instead, I look straight ahead on my mission, and don’t get distracted by comparison through judgment, which disempowers me.”
If I am infatuated with somebody, I’m too humble to admit what I see in them is what is inside me and I lose my power. If I resent somebody, I’m too proud to admit that what I see in them is inside me, and I lose my power. But if I love them, and have equanimity within me, and equity between myself and them, I don’t lose my power and I’m not distracted by them. We’re all working together towards our objectives. And so my job is to not necessarily try to judge the world or fix the world. My job is to exemplify authenticity, and congruency with a sustainable, fair exchange in an equitable manner and demonstrate what’s possible as a human being. And the ripple effect of that is unstoppable.
Rhonda Swan: So how do you work with or deal with those who don’t quite get this? How do we exemplify who we are and accept that there’re those gaps and allow people to be themselves without judging? How do we show up for those — especially teens — who are working through this process?
Dr. John Demartini: You can lead people to water, but you can’t make them drink. And so you do your best to learn as many diverse skills of communicating what you know will be of value to people in terms of their values. I’ll give an example. A young boy of around 13 was brought into my clinic many years ago by his mom. And he was running back and forth from one wall to the other in a 10-foot room. He was labeled hyperactive and diagnosed with ADHD. And he was just running back and forth, talking to himself. And the mother was oblivious to it because she was so used to it.
I ended up asking the boy’s mother, “What does your son love to do that he doesn’t have to be reminded to do? What makes him engaged and focused?” And she said, “He loves trains. He makes model trains, he reads about trains, and he has posters of trains. When he’s doing that, he seems to be just really present.” I responded, “So he has a concentrated value system. And trains are very high on the list of his values. And it’s obvious that trains are important to him.” So I asked him, “What’s the longest train you’ve ever seen? How many cars did it have?” And I started asking him more in-depth questions about trains. And as long as I kept asking him questions about trains, he wasn’t running, he was present, and he was engaged.
All the teachers and the counselors, and the psychologist and the psychiatrists promoting drugs labeled him as having ADHD, instead of caring enough to find out what his highest value was, and then communicating all his classes in terms of it. I told his mom, “If he wants to learn math, let’s do all the ratios of all the cars, the widths, the depth, the height, let’s go and measure all those on a stationary train. And then let’s look at all the languages of the countries where these trains are coming from.” And we looked at all of his classes and started linking them to trains and his level of engagement in school increased and his ADHD decreased. I asked his mom to go to a teacher and have her son do presentations on trains for the class to help him excel and become a leader. And this young boy started to excel and started to lead naturally because we all want to lean into what we value the most.
And he started to have a full presence. And this brought blood glucose and oxygen into his forebrain, into the executive center, which was overruling his amygdala and making it run all over the place. And he became centered. And the label that was given to him was due to not knowing how to communicate and respect his values. So whoever you’re interacting with, no matter their age, if you find out what’s really important to them and help them engage in what’s important to them, they will become more mature.
I actually think that some of the steps that Piaget and these other psychologists said that children have to go through are erroneous. Those are the averages for unengaged children that we’re measuring their behavior and making as a standard. People who find out what’s important to them at a young age and focus on it excel over those who are just sitting there, having to go to school, and generally not loving what they do.
So that’s the advantage that Hanalei has. She’s already ahead of the game because she already knows herself, and is already taking action towards fulfilling what’s important to her. And she cares about humanity, which is a sign of high congruency. Whenever you’re doing something in line with your highest values, you become philanthropic. Whenever you’re doing something in relation to your lower values, you become debaucherous. So, teenagers who are unengaged, they’ll go out and drink and party excessively. But the ones who are engaged, they’ll go out and see how they can make a difference in the world. As Seneca said, we measure an individual by their most distant ends. Do they think about what they want to do over the next five years, 10 years, 50 years, or over the next century? How big is their vision? The more they’re congruent, the bigger that vision becomes.
Rhonda Swan: That’s really brilliant. Does that resonate with you Hanalei?
Hanalei Swan: It’s really interesting to pull from some of my experiences. I remember at school, I always had a really difficult time. And I remember feeling like I was constantly held back. And I remember really disliking writing and I remember having a lot of trouble with math. And I remember because of this, I used to say to myself, “Oh, I’m dumb. I’m not smart.” Because this is what I was getting told in my class. And only once I stepped out of that school, I realized that all of these things I thought were my weakest points actually became my strongest.
I remember hating everything to do with writing, I never liked it at all. And right when I stepped out of school, my mentor told me to start working on something that involved writing. And I remember getting a really cool idea for a story. And I had this sudden burst to create. And over the last two years, I’ve fallen in love with writing so much that it has become one of the biggest parts of my day. I’ve dedicated time to writing a novel for the past two years. And it’s a crazy shift, right? When you start to take action on something that incorporates your highest values or what you love, which for me, it was storytelling, incorporating that into writing, I realized that I’m a great writer. And I never thought about it, other than in terms of school and at school I was a terrible writer. And after actually taking the time to try writing in a different way, I realized how much I loved it. So I think that’s really powerful.
Dr. John Demartini: We spontaneously write from our heart when we’re doing something we love. Poetry comes out spontaneously, inspired messages come out when we’re pursuing what’s meaningful.
Rhonda Swan: We are so grateful for not only just being able to study under you and learn from you but for you being in Hanalei’s life. And it’s so interesting, especially the part about teens going either into chaos and debauchery or tapping into humanitarian work, which Hanalei has done. If people really got this part, their kids’ lives and the world would be different.
Hanalei Swan: So one of my biggest values has always been painting and art. And recently, I’ve been working on a project, painting an entire surfboard for Stand for Ocean Health. I am also a surfer. So having those two things collide is great. I remember saying, “I am going to be an artist, I’m going to create artwork that’s meaningful to me.” And every morning, I would write down my affirmations to attract new opportunities and things that are aligned with my values.
After creating a surfboard painting, someone reached out to me about collaborating on a painting all about ocean health, and about helping to save our oceans from a dump that’s going to happen, most likely in 2025, by a power plant by the TEPCO Electric Power Company. They’re planning on releasing 100 million tonnes of radioactive contaminated wastewater into our ocean. And so when I heard this, I realized that I have the power to help to save our ocean. I’m empowered to help share this information with people and teach people that this is something that we shouldn’t be doing to our environment. And I realize that I can do this by creating art, something that I love the most in this world. So yesterday I was painting for about six hours just with my headset on and just creating a surfboard and I realized that this is what brings me the most happiness.
Dr. John Demartini: Yeah, you sent me a video or a little clip about her standing with a surfboard with art. I saw that. I’m a surfer too. So that’s extra special. Creating art on a surfboard to help keep the sea pure. Those are great causes, particularly for a surfer.
Hanalei Swan: I definitely believe that certain things have influenced my values. Being able to stand in the ocean for up to five hours without any thought of time. Just enjoying things. I think that’s where surfing has helped me connect with myself. And it’s a part of learning about myself internally.
Dr. John Demartini: Well, I love surfing. I surfed three times this year. I have my board on my ship. So wherever we go and there’re some waves, I head out. I really believe that giving ourselves permission to authentically walk our unique path of contribution, guided by intuitive feedback, and the heart of inspiration, gives permission for other people to do the same. And that’s the way we make a difference in the world. I think it was Margaret Mead who said, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to make difference in the world.” Even one individual with a vision or a handful of people can make a difference. And this can create a secondary effect that makes the mission unstoppable.
I started in Hawaii in 1972, almost dying. And I had a dream, when I met Paul Bragg, to someday learn how to read and write and communicate and be a teacher. And now 50 years later, I read, I write, I communicate, and I’m a teacher. So I just never gave up on my dream. And now we’ve reached a lot of people because of that. If you stay with something and you’re doing something that’s meaningful, and you’re just willing to embrace the pains and pleasures of the pursuit of something that inspires you, this builds up a momentum that nobody can stop. I often say that if you keep doing something long enough, everybody else will die out, and you’ll be at the top, just stay with it.
People ask me, “What does my day consist of?” And I say, “I teach, I research, I write, and I travel. Everything else is delegated.” I delegate everything else and only do the things where I’m excellent. And I delegate all the other things to people who love to do them. So I’m free to just be able to engage in doing things that inspire me. I was the least likely individual to be able to do that when I was young. But I just learned the skills, the principles, and the methods that enable me to do that. And anybody can learn this. If we exemplify it, people become inspired to do it too. I get letters from around the world every day. And this feedback is so inspiring. It brings tears to the eyes, to know that just doing what you love doing can make a difference in people’s lives. Just being true to yourself.
Hanalei Swan: I believe that leading by example is the most powerful way to inspire others. And this is something I realized from just wanting to create. I do my best to not pull myself back and realize that whatever I’m doing that makes me happy, whatever brings me the most joy, also affects others and inspires them.
Dr. John Demartini: I believe that innately every human being, regardless of age, gender, or culture, yearns to be authentic. I believe that every physical symptom, every psychological symptom, every sociological symptom, every business symptom, and everything that goes on in our lives is actually a feedback system to guide us to that state. And any time anybody exemplifies that, people around them respect that. And it inspires them and gives them permission to follow their own missions and a ripple effect takes off.
Rhonda Swan: Can you share a bit about the Demartini Value Determination process? Because I think that’s a really good one to close with to help people really find and determine where they are in this conversation.
Dr. John Demartini: If people are interested, they can go to drdemartini.com. There is a free, private methodology. That’s 13 questions that most ages can handle. And if they answer those questions and follow the steps, which will take about 30 minutes, they’ll end up with a beautiful printout, looking at what you’re really intending and what you’re spontaneously doing and demonstrating in your life. Not the fantasies you may be walking around with that can undermine your life but what you spontaneously do daily that demonstrates what is important to you. You know, how you fill your time? And how you fill your space? And what energizes you and where you spend your money? And where you must be organized and where you must be disciplined? What is it that inspires you or brings tears to your eyes? What is it that’s most consistent in your goals? And what do you spontaneously want to learn? These are the types of questions that can give you an insight into what’s really important. And then you can start structuring your life and prioritizing and asking, “What is the highest priority action I can do today that can help me serve the greatest number of people in the most effective and efficient way?” And if you do that every day, you’ll build momentum and become a leader in the process.
Rhonda Swan: These are really great tools. Even for companies and employees, it’s important that people feel like they’re actually working in line with their highest values.
Dr. John Demartini: What’s interesting is that nobody goes to work for the sake of a company, they go to work to fulfill what they value most. And the company is the vehicle of expression. And if they can see how their job responsibilities and duties are helping them fulfill their highest values, they’ll be engaged. They won’t need to be motivated or micromanaged, they’ll just do it. But if they are not feeling this, you’re going to constantly have to be reminding them and retraining them and pushing them and motivating them. And you can’t compete in today’s marketplaces if you have people who are disengaged.
There’s a whole system on how to do that in my book, “The Values Factor.” I go through how to empower all areas of your life. And there’s also my new book, “The Seven Secret Treasures,” which just came out today. So if people read those two books, they can make a difference, because they will help them master and maximize the potential in all areas of their life, their spiritual quest, their intellectual pursuits, their business, their wealth, and their family — how to empower all those areas by living congruently. And there’s a science to it. It’s not rocket science, it’s not too difficult. But if an individual starts applying it, it will give them a competitive advantage.
Rhonda Swan: I didn’t know that “The Seven Secret Treasures” came out today. It’s so special that we get to be here with you and be a part of that. I’m really excited to read it.
Dr. John Demartini: I just finished another book that I sent off to the publisher two days ago called “The Resilient Mind.” So that’ll be coming out in between six and eight weeks. But I’ve got 10 books that are in the making right now. And I’m constantly researching, writing, teaching, and traveling. And I believe that people deserve to be able to do what they love and love what they do. As Peter Lynch said in the 1990s, “If you see a company where the people are grateful for their job, they’re loving what they’re doing, they’re inspired by the vision, they’re enthusiastic, they’re present, and they’re certain about their skills, you have a company that cannot do anything but grow and go up in value.”
Rhonda Swan: Thank you so much for all the work you do. And how you show up, give, and inspire us to continue to cultivate what we love. And the more we love what we love, the more we love life, the better the world gets, our kids get better, our relationships get better, and our businesses get better. Hanalei, do you have any closing words for Dr. John?
Hanalei Swan: Thank you so much. It was so great to speak with you and hear your insights.
And I’m very excited to read your books. They’re definitely on my reading list.
Click the link below to see the full episode of The Rhonda Swan Show with Dr. John Demartini: