Managing your beliefs is such an important thing to do when determining your future. If you believe that you’ll succeed as an entrepreneur, you will. You just need to know how to shift your mindset so that you can put your mind to that goal. Stop living in your lies. And stop listening to people that tell you what you can or can’t do. Find your own purpose in life.
Join Gary Schoeniger as he talks to Myron Pierce for the start of season two. Myron is an entrepreneur and community leader based in Omaha, Nebraska. He’s the Founder of Village Social and is one of the Co-founders of Shift Omaha, where he helps the next generation of entrepreneurs succeed.
Listen to today’s episode as Myron shares more about his struggles growing up. Learn more about why hope is the best strategy. And discover all about the power of managing your beliefs. Listen to his inspiring story of changing his mindset to succeed.
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Read the transcript below.
Belief Management With Myron Pierce
I’m speaking with Myron Pierce, a former felon who became an unlikely entrepreneur. Like many of the entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed, Myron got a rough start in life. With his father in prison and his mother addicted to drugs, he learned to grow up fast. Like so many others, he began to emulate the behavior that would ultimately land him behind bars. He had a change of mindset, which eventually set him free. As Myron himself put it, “I became a free man waiting to be released.”
In this episode, we cover a lot of ground, from the shift in mindset that ultimately set him free to raising entrepreneurial children, belief management, and dealing with the highs and lows of everyday life. We also discussed the groundbreaking work he is doing in urban communities to empower others through entrepreneurship. Without any further ado, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Myron Pierce.
Myron, welcome to the show.
It’s good to be here.
I’m looking forward to this conversation. We met a few years ago in St. Charles, Southside of St. Louis, Missouri. You came to an Ice House training. I immediately recognized that you got the entrepreneurial spirit and that you are onto it. I have been dying to learn more about what you are doing. We will shift to Omaha, the efforts you are doing in Omaha to bring entrepreneurship to your community, which I love. Let’s start with this question that I always ask people, what puts you on this entrepreneurial path? Did you feel you were born that way? Did something intervene in your life? How did you get on this?
As far back as I can remember, I have been entrepreneurial. I have always had this knack for either creating problems or solving them. That has been my journey with it. I grew up in a home where my mama was on crack cocaine. My daddy was on heroin. He was ultimately never around. He was in and out of prison. His dad was in and out of prison. This cycle of trauma, crime, and poverty has ultimately been instrumental in developing resiliency in me. The resiliency has eventually led me to what we are doing in Omaha and trying to do in different parts of the country.
You have a knack for creating and solving problems. I had never heard that before. Will you elaborate a little bit on creating problems?
When I looked back over my life and saw the horrible decision I made, I was trying to emulate the culture around me. I would create problems by selling crack cocaine.
You didn’t see it as creating a problem at the time, did you?
Having a business divorce is almost like having a real divorce. Everything's so interconnected. It's not just business; it's friendship. Click To Tweet
I saw it as I was trying to survive. That’s how I saw it. It’s either sink or swim. My mama can’t take care of me. She’s incapacitated. She’s in and out of treatments, and my dad is gone. I have to fend for myself. I’m the oldest of five. At an early age, I took on a responsibility that I probably shouldn’t have, doing a parental role many times when mom was in jail or trying to go to school and be a parent to my younger siblings.
I hear that a lot, Myron. This early experience forces you to grow up fast. I’m not trying to put words in your mouth but I wonder because I’ve got the benefit of hearing a lot of stories of entrepreneurs to start with nothing to come from, difficult backgrounds, and so forth. I can’t help but think that you have to be an adult at an early age before you are an adult. Did you learn how to develop some confidence from that, some ability to bring about change?
We are all born with certain gifts. Out of that, we have experienced. Those experiences that I have prepared me for where I’m at. There are the skills that we have that we developed over the years. To your point, yes, when I think about being forced to grow up. I was referencing my son and how my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three.
As an 11-year-old, he’s in his mind like a 15-year-old. I look back at the things that he’s had to endure, having to change his blood sugar meters, having to do all these things that a regular 3-year-old, 4-year-old, and 5-year-old didn’t have to do. It’s worked in his favor because he’s the MVP on his football team. He’s an entrepreneur. He comes and talks about wanting to learn, “Dad, I want a new entrepreneurship course. He has certain things in his mindset that has already set him up to be an entrepreneur because of the problems and the challenges of having Type 1 diabetes.
It goes back to the resilience thing. I’ve looked at some psychology papers around resilience. Where it comes from is what psychologists call our explanatory style. It’s a fancy way of saying, “What’s the story you tell about yourself?” We tell ourselves stories that we don’t even know that voice is going in our heads. The literature says that people who learn to optimistically interpret adversity become stronger, healthier, and happier than people who have never suffered adversity in the first place.
There was a book written several years ago called Cradles of Eminence. They looked at 400 people who have made great contributions to the twentieth century. They found that 75% of them came from sustained childhood adversity. It’s the way you interpret that that determines whether you get back up, whether you get knocked out. If you are telling yourself a beatdown story, you get back down, and you aren’t going to get back up.
I see that clearly in my life. Let me give you a prime example of something going on. I get a call, and it’s my maintenance guy. He maintenances my rental properties. He says, “You need a new furnace in this house.” It’s $3,000 with minimal costs. My car gets shot up with a BB gun, me, and a couple of other neighbors. The window is shattered. One tenant hasn’t paid me in a couple of months. All of these problems are crewing at the same time.
I’m looking at the larger story of my life when I’m going through things. The story I had to retell myself is number one, “Myron, you have been at the top and the bottom but the principle that I want you to embrace is the principle of contentment.” I’m being content with my circumstances, yet I’m optimistic. I like to say “hopetimistic” about what I can and can’t change. The reason why this self-talk is so powerful is you notice when you grew up in an inner-city, you are born into trauma. You are born into a war zone.
That’s your normal, is what you are saying. That level sets you.
For me, this is key, what you are saying, what’s the story you are telling yourself. For a long time, the story I told myself when I was in a lot of trouble was, “I will be lucky to make it past eighteen.” I accepted it. Consequently, it took me down a pathway which I’m thankful that I have been able to come back from.
There’s so much to unpack there, Myron. Self-talk is an important thing that we don’t realize we are doing. There’s a hereditary component to optimism versus pessimism. It’s also well-known that, even if you are a natural-born pessimistic person, you can teach yourself to intervene on irrationally pessimistic beliefs. “This always happens to me. I have bad luck. I wouldn’t have any luck at all.” That’s a beat down. That undermines your ability to keep going. People don’t get that. You have been at highs and highs and lows and lows. Can you talk about both of those?
In 2017, I came outside and looked up at the sky. Money was falling from the sky. It’s the weirdest thing I have never seen before. I called my friend and said, “Money is falling from the sky.” He said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “You wouldn’t believe it but hell is coming down. I see it as money that needs to fall into my pocket. Let’s help homeowners get to a place of peace again by providing them with what they need, a roof. Every homeowner needs the peace of mind that when they go to sleep, they are going to wake up, and everything’s going to be fine without mother nature intervenes. Let’s help them.”
I have no previous experience in roofing. We start this company. In a few months, we will bring in about $500,000 in revenue. The next year is about $1 million. The next year after that, it was $2.5 million in revenue. That was my high-high. We were able to help a lot of people. We were able to fund our work in our entrepreneurship incubator. What I did not see coming was that I would end up in a business divorce. That almost derailed me. Having to bounce back and go through that is like almost going through a real divorce. You are so connected. Everything is interconnected. It’s not just business, it’s friendship.
I’m still recovering from that. I learned so many lessons. That was a high-high. First time in my life, Gary, we have been able to help so many people in that regard and create a revenue stream that I had never touched in my life. People kill to make that money. People rob for that. When I was a kid, that’s what I was chasing. I was tasting the bag. Now here I am helping people. I got in a situation where this did not work out, and my worst nightmare happened.
Coming out of that, I’ve learned a lot. I’m destined to get back on the horse. In fact, I’m on the horse. That’s what I mean. There are many stories like that in my life where it’s not just business, it’s just life. I’ve accepted that there are going to be some good and bad times. What I need to be centered on is who I am, why I am, and what I need to do to continue to be helpful to people that aren’t called to serve my family, etc.
There’s a lot there. We talked before, and you told me a story about how you learned to be an entrepreneur by doing hair. I would like to get to that story if you don’t mind. There was something in your language I wanted to bring out. You are unusual in this way that you are very consciously aware that it’s about serving others. It’s not just about making money for yourself. That’s an important point that’s easy to get lost in the conversation.
A lot of people want to become an entrepreneur so they can make themselves rich. They got the logic backward. I don’t want to tie this to something you said. We all come here with some gifts. We’ve got to figure out how to use our gifts to help other people. That’s where the flourishing happens. When you figure out what you are good at and what you like to do, you can use that in ways other humans are like. That’s where the flourishing occurs.
I was in Florida, speaking at a conference. I had one of my mentees with me. After the conference, we were riding together, and I had this moment. Maybe I have had his moment before but this idea reinforced what I believe about serving people. What I thought about this is, “I am more committed to his success in mind.” It’s not even a culturally acceptable thought. We know it’s all about me. There’s selfishness that every single one of us has to wrestle with.
Inspire hope in every single person you meet. Leave them knowing that they have more hope in their heart than ever before. Click To Tweet
It was not only a thought. It was a commitment I made at that moment. It was a recommitment because this guy who I was mentoring, we started a clothing brand together. It’s more than a clothing brand. It’s a message for the world. He also has his own cleaning company. I’ve made it a point that I’m going to be so committed to his success. I’m not going to do it for him. I’m not going to want it for him. I will be committed to what he’s willing to contribute to his own future when it comes to serving people.
When that is first in somebody’s life, when our why is bigger than how much money we are chasing, that’s frivolous. In my opinion, it’s futile. I have had a lot of money. That didn’t pacify me. What pacifies me is the fact that somebody’s life is changing. I qualify by saying, “Does this person have more hope in their life before they met me?” That’s what I’m living for. My personal mission is to inspire hope in every single person that I meet. I want to leave conversations knowing that person has more hope in their heart about their future than ever before because they encounter somebody who cares enough to think about their future.
That’s so powerful. It gets to the essence of entrepreneurship. When you are pursuing what you are interested in and good at in ways that help other people, you become intrinsically motivated. You don’t need to be coerced, not thinking, “Thank God, it’s Friday.” You are thinking, “Thank God, it’s Monday.”
It’s a whole different thing. This is what I’m trying to explain to people. Most people never go through their lives. They never experienced that in their lives. They don’t know why. They go to work. They get to collect a paycheck. They come home. They feel like they are beaten down. They want to recuperate by watching TV and drinking a few beers or whatever they are doing.
I think about this all the time. We take two individuals that are identical twins with identical capabilities. One of them perceives the learning and work as drudgery, as something to be endured. The other one looks at learning and work as a source of joy, growth, and meaning. What’s the trajectory of those two individuals over time? It’s a thought experiment but you understand it. Your son is an example of it. That desire to learn is in there. Once that light bulb comes on, once the genius comes out in the bottle, it’s hard to stop that.
In this illustration, what you are saying, is to take two inmates and put them in the same prison and look at the trajectory over 8 to 10 years where they go. That happened to me. There were guys where I’m from, same street but we are in prison together. This was a mindset when I was in prison, and I tell people, “I’m a free man, waiting to be released.” In the same situations with all these other knuckleheads but in their minds, they are thinking, “I’m not a free man, and I’m waiting to get released.” That small, simple mind shift changed my daily routine.
Did you ever read for Victor Frankl?
I didn’t read Viktor Frankl until I got out of prison.
That’s what you are talking about. He said what you just said, “I had more freedom than my Nazi captors. They had liberty but I had more freedom.”
That was one thing that I learned. The other thing that got me going entrepreneurially is a book I read by Rick Warren. It’s the number two bestseller of all time on purpose, The Purpose Driven Life. I read that book. I don’t remember what day I was on but the thought struck me, “Your purpose is bigger than your prison. ” You couldn’t persuade me otherwise. Do you know what I started doing? I would get up and get my brown khakis. I would go on my brown khakis because I was a legal aid in prison. I make sure I was all creased up. I would set my schedule.
I had a briefcase. We were using eBay back then. I ordered a briefcase off at eBay. I had somewhere to be because I had discovered what my purpose was. I had discovered that it didn’t matter where I was, my location or geography. What matter is I found the reason why Myron Pierce exists. I became a man on a mission. I find myself having to go back again, having to revisit. I may not be in prison, but now, I’m dealing with pain. I’m dealing with the pain of friendships. I’m dealing with the pain of setbacks in business. I have to remind myself, “Myron, your purpose why you are here is greater than your current pain level. Embrace the pain and identify what you can learn.”
Where’s the lesson? It’s in the pain. I interviewed a guy on a webinar, Steve Mariotti created a nifty course, which is the first entrepreneurship course. He got mugged in the ’80s in New York. He was a Wall Street guy. He created a nifty program. He went to see a psychiatrist because he was ruminating about this. He was with his girlfriend, and these kids mugged them. He fell down. He wasn’t able to defend them. He felt emasculated in some way.
He came to his therapist. The therapist said, “Sit down and rewrite that story until you have a positive outcome.” He said, “I kept writing a story. I didn’t explain it.” It finally dawned on him. Nobody got hurt. Nobody got killed. He retold the same story with a positive outcome. What you are saying is a powerful thing. People need to read that message.
I have had the thought or question, “What new skill do I want to learn?” I love learning. If you are familiar with Clifton StrengthsFinders, my number one theme is futuristic. I wanted to hone in on that skill. I’m taking a course in Futures Strategic Foresight. I’m learning from a guy named Dr. Sohail from Pakistan. One of the things he talks about is a used a future versus a preferred future. A used future is a future when you are unwilling to change in your situation because you love the comfort so much. That’s called a used future versus a preferred future.
He said, “The shift in a preferred future begins with assigning a narrative to your story. You have to create a new story so that the future that you desire and long for or that’s preferred ends up happening. In other words, if I don’t change my narrative, I end up staying in a used future position. Not only do we need a new story to change our preferred future. We need a new metaphor.”
I didn’t have that language when I was in prison. What I was giving myself was a new story and metaphor. What was the new metaphor for me? “I’m a free man waiting to be released.” That metaphor kept me focused. It kept me not falling into the temptation of what I hear the other guys say, “This is all I know. Nothing is ever going to change.” That’s false, work for always.
There’s a paper published by Martin Seligman, who’s the Founder of the Positive Psychology Movement. He’s at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s driven by the past or navigating the future.” In this paper, one of the things he wrote that blew me away is that when our brains are oriented toward a positive future, we are able to access problem-solving abilities that are not otherwise available to us.
One of the examples he gave is that they put rats in a T-shaped maze. The rat learns you got to go to the left. You can get to the T, which is the decision point, and the left is where the reward is. They ablate the right hemisphere of the rat either electronically or comically. The rat can no longer turn left because the right hemisphere has passed away. The rat gets to the T, charged 270 degrees to the right to go left. The rat never saw another rat doing that. He never read that in a rat maze book. He just pulled that out of thin air.
When people say, hope is not a strategy. They're wrong. Hope is the cornerstone of all strategies. Click To Tweet
Here’s my theory. The thing that distinguishes an entrepreneur from a non-entrepreneur is a compelling goal. The goal is acting on you. It’s pulling you. It is a magnetic force. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book called Flow said we’d become autotelic. It’s future-oriented. When you’re autotelic, you’re not distractible. That’s what you were talking about.
You are not manipulatable if you are focused on something that’s positive in the future. I ask people all the time, “Do you have a compelling goal? If not, why not?” Let’s talk about that. The greatest obstacle to growth is out of the belief that opportunities don’t exist or that one is not capable. That’s what you are doing with hope. You are showing people. Opportunities are right here, ambient environment. They are everywhere. If you have not been trained to see them, you are going to trip over them every minute of every day. It’s not that they are hard to find, it’s just easy to overlook.
It’s because of the external factors that are limiting us or perceivably limiting us. I’ve heard a couple of people say this, and it rubbed me the wrong way. It’s pretty demeaning, “Hope is not a strategy.” I’ve always wrestled with that. I don’t agree with it. Hope is the cornerstone of all strategies. Hope has to do with the preferred future.
I hope it is the bedrock of strategy. It’s the foundation.
The reason why I bring that up is that it messed with my inner narrative. I’m like, “My whole redemptive life has been about hope. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t imagine a future that’s greater than the current situation that I’m in.”
There’s a distinction. Hope researchers make a distinction between active hope and passive hope. That’s the difference. There’s a book on a shelf behind me called The Hope Circuit written by Martin Seligman, the Positive Psychology guy. There are about 6 or 7 pages in there I read 7 or 8 times. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. There is what he calls the Hope Circuit in our brain. He lays it out with the neurological terminology.
What happens is when you are faced with a challenge, our brains reach into our unconscious memory and decide whether this is escapable or inescapable, and a circuit flips in the brain. I don’t have committed to memory like the neurological circuitry that he mentioned. This is all happening without your conscious awareness. If you reach into your brain and decides, “This is inescapable,” it shuts down or flight. It shuts it down. It elicits passivity, and helplessness, which is an evolutionary thing. The predators got you, and its clutches stop fighting your energy.
If your brain decides, “This is escapable,” the hope circuit opens, and you get energized. I think about it when you’re thinking about an opportunity, you feel energized by that opportunity. You have the same physiological response that you are to a threat. You are facing an imminent threat. Your heart starts speeding, and you have shortness of breath. That’s your body getting ready to fight or flight. When you face an opportunity, the same thing happens but your body is getting ready to approach, not avoid. It’s not in your control.
The universe tells you, “Go forward.” You start to feel that you are supposed to go. If your history is telling you a beatdown story, that hopes circuit is going to shut down. I love what you are saying. Hope is not a strategy. That’s worth one of those platitudes that are not helpful. There is a difference between active hope and passive hope.
I liked the way that you made a clear line of demarcation in that. That’s much more helpful to say, “There is such thing as active hope and passive hope. How you approach any one of those will determine your future, what you do or what you won’t do. I can get behind that because I have seen both. I have seen passive hope. Passive hope is refusing to take responsibility for your future. You are leaving it up to chance. “Somebody else could do it for me.”
It’s a form of helplessness.
You are speaking my language.
Let’s go there. That’s also Seligman stuff. You read about learning helplessness. When Seligman figured it out, he lays out in that book that helplessness is not learned. He had it backwards. In the late ’60s, Seligman was the first guy who started doing these experiments. Are you familiar with the Learned Helplessness Shock in the dogs?
I heard you talk about this before.
It might have been from our training. He’s very apologetic. It’s a time that there is sensitivity around animal cruelty. He wasn’t shocked. In many ways, it is going to harm him. He put dogs in a cage. The floor was shocked. There was some apparatus they could manipulate out of with their nose or with their paw that would stop the shock. He took one group of dogs, put them in a cage, administer the shock, and the dogs figure out to move the lever, and it stopped the shock. This first group of dogs incorporates the adversity controllable.
He put another group of dogs in the same cage with the same shock and the lever, only the lever doesn’t do anything to stop the shock. Those dogs perceive it as uncontrollable. He put these dogs in a cage. He called it a shuttle box, a larger cage with a little tiny divider, maybe 6 inches high between the sides of the cage. He put the dog on one side and administered a shock to see if they jumped over the little divider.
The dogs from the first group that perceived the shock as escapable jumped right over the divider. The dogs that perceived it as inescapable just lay down and whimpered. They didn’t even try. Even though they are watching the other dogs jump out of the thing. One of the takeaways from this Seligman points out, is the insidious effects of helplessness. It’s the inability to recognize a solution even when someone hands it to you on a silver platter. It will work for everybody else but it isn’t going to work for me for reasons I’m not even aware of. I can’t articulate.
I’m thinking about this, Myron. There’s no such thing as laziness. All there is helplessness. Human beings are no different than any other organism. The innate desire to self-actualizes in every living thing. The desire to become all you can become is in all of us, that’s not in some of us. That desire can be easily sorted by cognitive, motivational situational factors of which we are not aware. Anyway, the helplessness thing is a deeply held, mostly unconscious belief that, “Nothing I do will matter.”
Your purpose is bigger than your prison. Click To Tweet
That’s the point right there. Two things that keep people from living an entrepreneurial life are what I believe and how I see my situation. Depending on that will determine whether or not I can become more helpful or helpless. You hit those two things right there. When I look at my life over the last several years that I have been walking the straight and narrow and living an entrepreneurial life, I have had to manage belief management. I don’t even know if that’s a thing or not but I’m making it a thing now.
I will tell you the name of this show, Belief Management.
The crazy thing is belief is a powerful force. If I focus my belief on what is false or what is true will determine the outcome. For a long time, I lived a lie or believed the lie. Here’s the lie. “I’m not going to make it past eighteen because of the evidence.” The evidence suggests that all my friends didn’t make it out. They were my social models. All social models were dying around me. It led me to conclude that I was going to die next. That’s the cycle.
It’s the maladaptive mindset. A mindset in motion tends to stay in motion until it’s acted upon by an outside force. A mindset is to the individual, and what culture is to a group. The unarticulated, the underlying values and assumptions that we assumed to be the correct way to think, feel, and act. A way people talk about culture is like you got what’s on the surface like an iceberg. That’s what you can see and touch, visible artifacts, observable behavior.
Level two beneath the surface is espoused values and conscious beliefs. “This is what I say I value and what I know that I know.” What shows up on the surface is more likely to be the result of our deeply held values and unconsciously taken for granted beliefs and assumptions. The level two beliefs and values are often like cognitive distortions, that mental gymnastics we do. The real point I want to make is a mindset is a belief system that is perfectly designed to create the outcomes that it’s creating.
The unconscious nature of our mindset causes us to become maladaptive. Your mindset works fine when the future looks like the past. You want to hit an adaptive challenge. We respond inappropriately because we don’t see the correlation between our level three values and assumptions and the outcomes that it is creating. We responded inappropriately. We blame. We become angry. We want to go backward. We doubled down.
The most important thing about belief management is to first recognize a stop and recognize we are looking at the world through the lens. Stop and look at the doggone lens itself. The Scottish psychiatrist, RD Laing, said, “The range of what we think or do is limited by what we fail to notice. It’s because we’ve failed to notice that we failed to notice, there’s nothing we can do until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.” That’s why I’m so into the mindset. Mindset is where it’s at.
We are not here to talk about this per se but that was the reason why I went and took the Ice House training. I had looked at other entrepreneurial platforms and things like that. What got me was when I saw the message that this is about mindset. I watched the video that was done years ago and thought, “That’s what my people need.” For the most part, we understand strategic planning. I’m the chief of sinners when it comes to strategic planning in the wrong way. I could plan a crime front and back. Who needs to be involved? How much money is it going to take? What’s the risk assessment and all that. What I needed was a mindset shift.
You had the mechanics down.
I had the mechanics but my mindset was shaped by my history, the way my mom and dad raised me. I needed hurdles. I needed a disruption.
The adaptive challenge is what I’m saying. You don’t need to change your mindset. If what you are doing is working, keep doing it. You boom when change has to be made. Here’s the kicker. The more successful you have been with your mindset, the harder it’s going to be to change and the more cognitive entrenchment you are going to suffer from.
That’s how come a sixteen-year-old kid named Bill Gates can see something all the brain trust at IBM can’t see. Here’s how I think about mindset. There are two important things people understand about mindset. One is your mindset is this apparatus that regulates the output you get from the capabilities you got like a governor on an engine.
Warren Buffett said it like this. “You got a guy over here with a 400-horsepower engine but he only knows how to get 100-horsepower output. You’ve got a guy over here with a 200-horsepower engine but he knows how to get all 200 horsepower out of the engine. He’s better off than the first guy.” That’s one aspect of a mindset. It will help you optimize whatever capabilities you have been given, whatever your virtues are. There’s another aspect of it. It doesn’t matter how smart or successful you are. Your mindset probably got to prevent you from adapting in a face of a challenge.
This is so powerful. When I look at my life, it was about midnight when I was in prison, and I was up. This is so good. I had a chessboard on my TV. I started playing chess. All of a sudden, I had this inspired thought, “The moves I’ve made have led to my own checkmate.” I started playing chess that year, and it hit me that I was making these moves. Have you ever watched the Queen’s Gambit?
I started watching. I haven’t gotten too far into it yet.
It is a powerful message on mindset. I concluded that when two chess players sit down, for the most part, there’s already a winner. The winner is the one who can think forward the furthest and anticipate every move that the opposition is going to make. Ironic enough, my son has just picked up chess. What I’m teaching him through playing with him is that you have to have a mindset. I have been beating the crap out of them every game. It’s interesting. I want to confront him on this because he sat down the other day and he’s like, “Dad is going to win.”
In the last game, he started moving the pieces. I’m like, “Have you been looking at YouTube?” He said, Yes, I have been trying to learn so I can beat you.” His mindset is shifting. I’m learning all these principles about mindset, about the choices that I’ve made. Now I’m being able to marry what I’m learning in real practice, in real experience with the next generation, namely my son, that’s setting him up.
It’s cool that I have a mindset shift, and I want to be helpful. In this season of my life, I’m trying to, as much as possible, position my sons and my kids and those that are mentoring to lean into this mindset shift and make a difference not only in their lives but in the lives of those around them. It is beautiful and messy. I feel like I’m a novice all over again.
Passive hope is refusing to take responsibility for your future. Click To Tweet
There’s this interpretation being made in your son’s mind when he’s losing. Some people would say, “I’m losing because of deficits. There are things I can’t do anything about. I’m not smart enough. I’m not capable,” versus somebody else interprets the same losses, “I got to learn some stuff.” They attributed the losses. The attribution theory is like, “What are you attributing the loss to?” Social deficiency is like, “There’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not smart enough,” versus, “I got to learn some stuff.” That interpretation happens in our brains so quickly and shoddily. We don’t know what happens but that’s what makes all the difference. That’s the mindset.
Your son is so lucky. He’s benefiting so much, not only from you as an entrepreneur but from your struggles. That’s a gift. What you are helping your son is important. We all try to help our kids. I don’t want them to feel pain. We don’t want them to suffer the way we did. We try to eliminate all the barriers and obstacles. We don’t realize how we are raising a dog that can’t hunt. You need the struggle. It’s everywhere in nature. Without the struggle, there’s nothing.
It’s the classic chicken egg. If I, from the outside, try to crack that egg and let that chick out, I will kill it.
It’s going to die prematurely.
As parents, we try to remove the barriers but the barriers were the things that made us.
You are putting the barriers there, which is so counterintuitive.
I’m a believer in daily putting things in front of me that are hard or I struggle with. For example, on our iPhones, you have Siri on there. You have a map. On the map, you can enter an address, and it will tell you where you’re going. I had this thought, “I’m not going to use the mat. I’m going to use my mind to navigate my next appointment. ” Do you know how stinking hard that was? If we create struggle exercises, it helps shift the way that we think. It grows the muscle.
Let’s go back. Let’s tie that back to the mindset for a second. In that same paper, I was talking to you about driven by the past versus navigating the future, the purpose of a mindset is to enable us to think without thinking. Our brains are inundated with 11 billion bits of data that pour in through our 5 senses every second. Our brains can only process five. We got to rely on these filtering systems, habit formation, rules of thumb, and coping strategies to navigate life because we would be innovated and shutdown.
What happens is you are learning something. Let’s use the navigation thing. Here’s how the brain works. You are learning how to go from point A to point B. You made up your mind, “I’m going to figure out how to navigate this.” By the third time you do it, you are not going to have to think about it too much. The tenth time you do it, you are not going to have to think about it at all. Here is why.
The way the brain works is we are learning something new. This is the consciousness competency matrix. We are unconscious and incompetent and then we become aware. We become conscious that we are incompetent. We learn it and become consciously competent. That’s like the second time you drive there. You are conscious of your competence. The tenth time, you become unconsciously competent.
Our brains relegate that schema to habitual control to reduce the cognitive load. It now lapses beneath your conscious awareness. Here’s the killer. Once our brains relegate a particular belief, a schema or something to habitual control, our brains aren’t very good at recognizing the degradation of outcomes of that schema.
We’ve doubled down on it. We lose that cause-and-effect correlation. The aggregate of this conversation is you need these mental habits to navigate your life. To your point about living to eighteen and what you saw growing up, and so forth, we acquire these beliefs consciously or unconsciously, then we claim them mindlessly.
I could listen to you all day.
It’s a mindset. You are so fun to talk to because you get it. You are living it. Tell me a little bit about your entrepreneurial mindset. We are going to have a continued conversation. Talk to me a little bit about Shift Omaha. What are you doing with Shift Omaha?
Here’s the problem. The problem is that inner-city communities are inundated with systems, structures, and mindsets that are preventing people from entering into entrepreneurship and creating assets for their lives. It has culminated in endless generational cycles of trauma, crime, and family structures that are bombarded with toxicity. Consequently, the next generation is dying. They are going to jail and prison. They are becoming gangbangers. They are living a helpless life without any amount of hope. That’s frustrating for communities like mine.
That’s why Shift Omaha exists, to shift 10% of North Omaha into an entrepreneurial mindset. We believe that if we can shift 10% of the population, it will impact the rest. How we do it is we provide a platform through Ice House to train. We do that with the sixteen weeks. Those sixteen weeks are led by those who have already graduated. The one leading Shift Omaha is a Black African American woman who went through Shift and got certified with Ice House.
That’s when I transitioned her after she took into leadership. The whole team is led by people who have gone through Ice House. There’s the training and then the mentoring piece. This is where we then outsourced to friends of mine who are in business, whether it’s CPAs, LinkedIn or marketing. We take the mechanics and connect them to mentors for two reasons, social capital, and net worth. If I can introduce them to people who don’t look like them, I have risked their lives because they know somebody.
This cross-cultural learning has been helpful for not only our Shifters but our mentors. Our mentors’ lives have been changed. They’ve changed the way they see Black people. They’ve changed the way that they see philanthropy versus empowerment. Real friendships are taking place between Black people and White people. They are learning in the process. They are learning about customer value journeys and customer avatars.
Belief is a powerful force. Your belief on what is false or what is true will determine the outcome. If you believe that you won't live past 18, you won't. So stop living in that lie. Click To Tweet
Those things are on the canvas. We do about 8 to 10 minutes of group mentoring sessions on top of the sixteen-week training. In the resource piece, we said, “Number one, let’s create a website where our Shifters can access resources, everything from how to create a shift analysis.” We took the SWAT analysis and created a shift analysis. We are trying to conceptualize everything. We wanted to be a resource base for all things entrepreneurship, and that’s still growing. We are still growing that.
Secondly, we said, “Let’s do some micro granting that can help them get off the ground.” We give them access to a MacBook or Chromebook. We give them access to a business networking group that is for us, by us, with them. We take people like us in our community, and then people like them in their community and bring them into a business networking group.
The reason why this has been helpful is people in the inner-cities, specifically Black people, only spend 2% of their disposable income with one another. We wonder why communities of color in inner-cities are impoverished, struggling, and behind technologically. What we are doing in shifting 10% of the population is the hope is some of those outputs is that we begin to spend our money with one another.
Our hope is that we see the value in that dollar circulating a little longer than six hours. The dollars circulate in the Jewish community for 21 days and the White community for 17 days. You could see why shift becomes an asset or a tool along with other organizations that are making things happen but ours is unique. It’s unique because it’s indigenously led. Other organizations and programs are led by people outside the community.
My older brother, John, has been working at a CDFI in Detroit, trying to loan money to Black-Brown people, start a business, and buy homes in Detroit. He’s having a, “Come to Jesus moment.” He said, “I’m at the end of my career. We believe we moved the needle. I’m bothered by the fact that I go to these conferences, and these programs are all led by elite, educated White males wearing tortoiseshell glasses.” What you said is interesting.
My friend, Stephen Post, who created the Center for Unlimited Love is the grandson of Emily Post. He calls it the wounded healer. That’s what I learned in the Twelve Steps. The doctor can’t help you. The counselor can’t help you. The jailer can’t help you. The psychiatrist can help you. The only person that’s going to be able to help you is someone who came from where you came from and overcome it. That’s the basis of Ice House right there.
I have people from all over the country. They are like, “We would love to have Shift Omaha.” It’s so cool because I say, “I need to create some content in the course to help people referring what they think about incubation.” We are in the phase of saying, “What’s the next city?” We are looking at Kansas City. We are looking at St. Louis, Tampa, Florida. There are about 500 inner cities in America. The last I checked, there are probably more that I’ve targeted. We are on an insatiable hunt to find indigenous leaders and partner with them, resource them, point them to the Ice House for the training portion and get it going. That’s what we are doing.
That gets me excited beyond belief. You are on that model. You got the power. That’s how come I created Ice House. I was teaching entrepreneurship in a little high school as a volunteer. I saw the impact. My first impulse was, “I’m going to come back next year and do this again. I need to create a program that empowers people all over the world to do this.” I don’t want to impact 25 kids a year. I want to impact 250,000 kids a year.
There is a book called Blue Zones, written by a guy named Dan Buettner. He was a journalist for National Geographic. He became interested in Blue Zones, which are populations, places in the world where there is an unusually high rate of people living to be over 100 years ago. What’s common? Now people are paying him millions of dollars to come into their community and make it into a Blue Zone. That’s the model I would love to see you guys emulate. The world needs this stuff. Myron, where can people find you?
People can find meet MyronPierce.com or they can find my message at OwnThePondApparel.com. I all end with this. For a long time, Gary, people have told us, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.” That pacifies the heart of the person, being generous more than helps the person who needs to be fed. Secondly, they tell us, “It’s a bait and switch.” They tell us, “Teach a man to fish, and you can feed them for life.” It hit me one day they are not telling us the whole truth.
What’s the whole truth? The whole truth isn’t to give a man a fish or teach him how to fish. The whole truth is to show them how to own the pond. We should introduce a new metaphor. Do you know what I did? I said, “This message of owning a pond needs to go viral. Every inner city, every community that wants to become a Blue Zone has to embrace the fact that there’s always more. When you own the pond, you are talking legacy, asset, creating an ecosystem that works in your favor versus against you.”
What I did with one of the guys who came out of our Shift entrepreneurship program, I say, “Let’s launch this brand. Let’s launch this message that communities like ours can own the pond.” We did, and it is resounding in our community. We launched this brand months ago, and it is going viral in our city. People are starting to recognize that maybe we have been duped into not getting the full story of ownership because that’s what it’s about.
That’s what Nassim Taleb said, “We are in the business of lecturing birds on how to fly.” Myron, let me help however I can help with that. Do not hesitate to reach out. That’s so powerful. My heart is palpitating knowing about that vision. That feels so right. It’s needed right here and now. That’s needed in Cleveland. That’s needed in Detroit. You are on to something bigger than you may even understand. Maybe you do.
I’m so happy to have had this conversation with you. We got to get you back on here because we barely even touched the surface. We haven’t even started yet. Thanks for joining us, Myron. Let me end by saying thank you for sharing your experience and journey on this show. I can’t wait to dig in and learn more.
I’m looking forward to it.
- Myron Pierce
- Ice House
- Cradles of Eminence
- The Purpose Driven Life
- Steve Mariotti – YouTube
- Positive Psychology Movement – Article
- The Hope Circuit
- Shift Omaha
- Center for Unlimited Love
- Blue Zones
About Myron Pierce
Hey there! I’m Myron Pierce, a follower of Jesus, husband, father, pastor, church planter, author and entrepreneur.
At the age of 18, I was facing a life sentence in prison for his life of gang banging, drugs, and crime. I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus and while leaving the courtroom I heard God whisper, “I’m going to get you out of prison to plant churches.” Through a series of miracles, the prison doors opened for me after eight years.
The call of Mission Church (where I pastor) is to unleash unprecedented hope in every inner city around the world. I’m currently attending Crown College to obtain my Master’s of Arts in Global Leadership. My wife (Kristin) and I live in the heart of North Omaha with our three sons and daughter.