If the world says “you’re enough” and you don’t believe it, it doesn’t matter.
If you are the only person in the world who says “I am enough,” that’s all you need.
How you finish the phrase “I am” will change your entire life. Saying “I am worthless” or “I am stupid” speaks those words into existence.
If you don’t finish the phrase “I am,” someone else will fill it in for you. It could be your parents, your partner, or even your critics.
The truth is, you are special. You are loved. You are enough.
On this episode, I discuss this idea with a powerful and polarizing media personality: Glenn Beck.
Glenn Beck is founder of TheBlaze, a news and entertainment network, where he hosts The Glenn Beck Show. He’s a renowned American media personality, political commentator, and author.
Glenn has lived through a lot of tragedy in his life.
He has chosen to use all that he’s been through to get to where he is today. He’s not perfect nor does he expect anyone else to be.
Glenn makes the argument that we should stop making people into heroes or villains.
Learn all about Glenn’s journey and how he thinks about the bigger picture instead of getting outraged on Episode 698.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 698, with #1 New York Times bestselling author, Glenn Beck.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
Albert Einstein said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”
And, boy! Do we have someone on today’s episode who has a wealth of experience and who is going to reveal some very powerful insights in today’s interview. Glenn Beck is on, and this one may shock you in some ways, some of the things that Glenn talks about. I’ll talk about that in a second, but he really opened up in ways I’ve never seen him open up before, so stay tuned for that.
But, for me, the only source of knowledge is experience. And I want to let you guys know that The Summit of Greatness is a week away! That’s right! In seven days, we’ll be in Columbus, Ohio, with some of the biggest speakers in the world.
We’ve got Dr Eric Thomas, Dr Shefali, Jay Shetty, Amy Purdy, Dr Mark Hyman, Shaun T, Dr Tererai Trent, Lindsey Stirling, all coming to speak. We’ve got Wyclef Jean doing the closing party, it’s going to be a performance you will want to be at!
So, make sure to check out summitofgreatness.com, this is all about taking your life to the next level with some experience, some wisdom, and some knowledge for you to take home for yourself. So, check it out at summitofgreatness.com.
Now, Glenn Beck is an American Conservative political commentator, radio host and television producer. He is the CEO, founder and owner of Mercury Radio Arts, the parent company of his television/radio network, TheBlaze.
He hosts the Glenn Beck radio program, which is a popular talk radio show, nationally syndicated on Premier Radio Networks. Glenn also hosts the Glenn Beck television program which ran from January 2006 to 2008 on HLN, from January 2009 to 2011 on the Fox News channel, and currently airs on TheBlaze.
He’s also written six New York Times bestselling books, and today we talk about incredible insights of his life. Going from being one of the most celebrated people on the planet, to one of the most hated people in the world, in just one year, and what that was like, and the eye-opening experience that he felt internally from that.
Also, what it’s like for Glenn, recovering from being an alcoholic, and how that changed his life and his perspectives. Also, why the two most important words in any language are, “I am,” and talking more about that. His relationship with his father’s emotional distance, his mother’s suicide, and growing up in an emotionally abusive household and how that impacted his life.
Also, what it was like going to college at thirty, right after his divorce, how he got into doing radio at only thirteen years old and, by twenty, was making a quarter of a million dollars. There are some fascinating stories in this interview.
And, no matter what your political views are, or what you’ve thought about Glenn in the past, I would love for you to listen to this with an open mind and an open heart, to hear the stories that Glenn shares and how it can impact and open up your life, as well. I think you’ll find it very insightful.
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Again, a big thank you to our sponsors, and I am so excited about this episode. We’ve had some massive guests on lately, and Glenn is going to reveal some things you’ve never heard before. Hopefully you’ll look at him and his insights in a powerful way.
So, without further ado, let’s give it up for the one, the only, Glenn Beck.
* * *
Glenn Beck: What almost killed me, was certitude.
Lewis Howes: What do you mean by certitude?
Glenn Beck: Being absolutely certain.
Lewis Howes: About one idea.
Glenn Beck: One idea, yeah, that this is what is happening.
Lewis Howes: This is the way.
Glenn Beck: This is the way. And so when people, my audience, started to say, “No, Trump,” I’m like, “Have you listened to my show ever? This is what I warned about! This is the kind of guy that we’ve talked about. He just as an R after his name, but this is the guy!”
And so, I just, I unfortunately spent about eighteen months lecturing them, which didn’t make me real popular.
Lewis Howes: You probably lost a lot of your audience.
Glenn Beck: Oh, yeah! Tons. So then, when I fall into, like, “Okay, I’m just done. I can’t do this any more,” I realised I’ve always had a good relationship with my audience, I love my audience. I love them, I’ve always respected them. They’re voracious readers and they didn’t know who they were.
And then I realised my mistake. I was so certain, and so arrogant, that here’s a group of people that I’ve respected and I like them, and instead of doing what I would have done to my family, or my friends, that I really know one-on-one, if you and I are friends and you start doing stuff that you’re like, “What the…? What are you doing? You’re my friend!” I say, “What the hell’s happening in your life? What’s wrong? What happened?”
I wouldn’t come to you and say, “You’re wrong! You’re wrong! You’re wrong!” I would say, “What’s happening in your life?”
Lewis Howes: “What’s going on?”
Glenn Beck: Right! “What’s going on?” So, I started asking that, on both sides.
Lewis Howes: To your audience?
Glenn Beck: Yeah. My audience, I went on the air, I started going to – I was invited to a big VC thing here, by a guy who was just curious about me. He was watching and listening, and he’s like, “I don’t know who he is, but he’s not who I thought he was,” and so he invited me to his big L.A. summit, or silicon valley VC.
And I started with, “How many people in the room, right now, are convinced you hate me?” Ninety-five percent, okay? I said, “Don’t be shy.” Nobody was. They were just like, “Me, I hate you.”
Lewis Howes: Everyone in the room said that they hate you?
Glenn Beck: Yeah, there were a thousand people there, and I will bet you 950 of them raised their hands.
Lewis Howes: When you asked, publicly, “How many of you hate me?”
Glenn Beck: “How many think you hate me?” And I said, give me twenty minutes, and I want to ask you that again. I started just baring my soul.
Lewis Howes: What did you share?
Glenn Beck: I stared with, “Boy, I was stupid! I really, on so many levels, I was stupid. I misjudged almost everything. And with good intent, but…”
Lewis Howes: You mean in your life, or just in this period?
Glenn Beck: No, in my time, in my career, you know? I was, in 2005 or 2006, I don’t know, sometime when I was at CNN, I was on vacation, it was Christmastime, and my wife comes into the room, and she’s laughing. I said, “What?” She’s got her iPad or whatever, and she said, “Let me read this, this is from the AP.”
And it was the annual list of the Most Admired Men in the World. I was number four, just behind Nelson Mandela, and tied with the Pope. Okay? So, I understood why my life was laughing. And we were, like, “This is how screwed up America is.”
Lewis Howes: What year was this?
Glenn Beck: 2006/7, somewhere in that area.
Lewis Howes: Most admired men?
Glenn Beck: In the world! You know that survey they come out with every year, okay? And it was insane! It was insane! I don’t belong on that list! That’s nuts!
A year later, I’m hated! Like, I go to South Africa, and they hate me! And I’m on the other side of the planet! I’m like, “How do you even know enough about me to hate me?”
Lewis Howes: Why did they hate you?
Glenn Beck: I think the media, you know, sound byte culture, and a lot of stuff that I said, that I address here. Like, I give somebody a pass on calling Donald Trump a racist, because I truly understand why they said it, and it is what I pondered after I said that about Obama.
And it, all of a sudden, all made sense to me. And now, here we are, as a country, and everybody’s turned into the worst cartoon of me! And I’m like, “No! Stop! Stop! Both sides! Remember how you felt, when I said that? Do you remember how you felt when they said that? Stop doing that!”
It’s great to get your teeth kicked in, really good. It’s really good!
Lewis Howes: What’s the greatest thing about having that happen to you?
Glenn Beck: You learn. You learn. You either crumble, or you get up. I mean, I would not wish this on anyone, but I was thinking about this today, as I was listening to one of your podcasts, I was listening to the podcast about you, on your friends”s podcast, I can’t remember what it is.
Lewis Howes: Work Hard Play Hard.
Glenn Beck: Yeah. We have a lot in common.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, I realised that when you interviewed me a year ago. I could really feel you, you know?
Glenn Beck: Yeah, and so I was trying to think, “What are the best things that ever happened to me?” My mother’s suicide.
Lewis Howes: You were fifteen, right?
Glenn Beck: Yeah. My mother’s suicide. Having half the country hate my guts. My business failures here and there. Those are probably my top three. No, sorry, number one: alcoholism.
Lewis Howes: Addicted, right?
Glenn Beck: Yeah. Best thing that ever happened to me.
Lewis Howes: How long were you addicted for?
Glenn Beck: I started smoking pot when I was fifteen, every single day.
Lewis Howes: For fifteen years, right? Is that how long it was?
Glenn Beck: Yeah, just over fifteen years. And drinking, easy, a gallon of Jack Daniels a week. Easy, with my eyes closed. And only because I wasn’t an alcoholic, because alcoholics drink before five. So I would only drink from 5pm. I would literally, literally stand in my kitchen and I would watch the clock.
Lewis Howes: No way!
Glenn Beck: I really would.
Lewis Howes: Why was that? Because you didn’t want to be known as an alcoholic?
Glenn Beck: I wasn’t an alcoholic. “Alcoholics are drunk all day, they drink in the morning, they’re drunk at work, they’re lying in the gutter, they’ve lost everything. I’m not an alcoholic.” And my problem was, I was a very high functioning alcoholic.
Lewis Howes: How did you go on camera?
Glenn Beck: This is before camera, and I was never drunk at work.
Lewis Howes: Oh. Really? So you would wake up and somehow sober yourself?
Glenn Beck: Yeah, I’d be sober enough to go on the air, and I would go through the whole day and, a five o’clock – I still have a blue tumbler, it’s about that big, about that tall, I used to fill it with Jack, and I’d have at least three of those between 5:00pm and 6:00pm.
Lewis Howes: Oh my gosh! Why were you drinking so much? What was the purpose for it?
Glenn Beck: I hated me. I mean, in a nutshell, I hated me.
Lewis Howes: What did you hate about yourself?
Glenn Beck: Oh, gosh, I don’t think we have enough time.
Lewis Howes: Was there anything you liked about yourself?
Glenn Beck: So, at thirteen years old, I get into radio, and I was awful! But, for a thirteen-year-old, not bad, you know? By sixteen, I’m working at the biggest station in Seattle, and the guy who, the name is Michael O’Shea, he was the programmer of the decade in the 70’s, the 80’s, and many years in a row in the 60’s.
And he was the general manager and, for some reason, he took me under his wing. He really taught me a lot and treated me like an adult. And I remember hearing conversations with people who are really quite good – that they didn’t know I could hear – saying, “This kid is fifteen! Can you imagine what he’s going to be like when he’s twenty-five?”
Lewis Howes: Ooh!
Glenn Beck: Horrible!
Lewis Howes: Why is that? Because it’s kind of feeding your ego?
Glenn Beck: Because I absolutely believed it.
Lewis Howes: “I’m going to be the greatest thing in the world.”
Glenn Beck: Oh, yeah! And I am a wunderkind!
Lewis Howes: The chosen one.
Glenn Beck: Right! And I became convinced of my success, which, in a way, good and bad.
Lewis Howes: It got you there!
Glenn Beck: It got me there, but I could never truly break through to big success. I mean, I’m twenty and I’m making a quarter of a million dollars a year.
Lewis Howes: Pretty good, back then.
Glenn Beck: In the 80’s.
Lewis Howes: That’s really good!
Glenn Beck: Yeah, but I never could break through in gigantic success, and I couldn’t figure out why, and the reason why is, it wasn’t me. It was a formula. I didn’t go to parties in high school, I didn’t have a lot of friends, I was interested in the craft.
And so, I knew, “There’s no one that can beat me.” I think even today, I know how to use a camera and I know how to use a microphone. I study my craft. First day I was at CNN, I freaked the president of CNN out.
There was this door in the hallway, and it just said, “Shading”. Do you know what shading is for television?
Lewis Howes: No.
Glenn Beck: Shading is the colour bars that they show?
Lewis Howes: Yeah.
Glenn Beck: You have to tell the camera what colour is what colour, and so, by changing the yellow, it will change the other colours, okay?
Lewis Howes: Got it.
Glenn Beck: So shading is this wonderful toolbox in television. If you can ever watch all three cable news networks, you will see shading in play, and you will see the richness of the colours of MSNBC and NBC. It’s just beautiful when there are colours.
I didn’t know anything about it. My first day on the job, I see this door, it says, “Shading.” Knock on the door, and this guy comes out, and he’s almost like a mole. Like he hasn’t seen the daylight in, you know, and he’s just like, “What?”
And there’s a bunch of guys in there, and nobody ever talks to the shaders. I mean, you know, they’re the guys who work on the colours. Nobody’s talking to them. And I said, “Hey, I’m new. What’s shading?”
And, you know, you ask somebody who is never asked, what their job is, they’re excited!
Lewis Howes: Yeah, “Here, let me show you everything!”
Glenn Beck: Right! Right! So, I’m in there and we’re talking and I’m learning all this stuff, and he takes me out on the floor and he opens up the side of one of the cameras, and I’m just learning all this great stuff. And here comes Ken Jautz, he’s the head of CNN.
He sees the shading and the camera opened up, and he’s like, “What are you doing to the shader?” I see Ken and I’m like, “Ken! I just discovered shading! This is the greatest thing ever! They can change and make my eyes bluer than they are!”
And he was like, “Oh, dear God!”
Lewis Howes: You understood the formula. You started to master the craft.
Glenn Beck: I studied the craft.
Lewis Howes: Day one. Like, “I’m going to sharpen this and pop that and…”
Glenn Beck: Right! Why not? Why not?
Lewis Howes: Optimise it.
Glenn Beck: Right! So I was not successful, because I was a formula. My father and I were never close, and then, in my thirties, when I started to sober up, we became very close. I mean, he was my best friend. And then, about five years before his death, we had a bad falling out. We didn’t ever talk again.
Lewis Howes: Why is that?
Glenn Beck: I come from a family of abuse.
Lewis Howes: Physical? Sexual? Verbal? Emotional?
Glenn Beck: Verbal, emotional. I was not a target. Nobody in my family had ever had this conversation with my dad before. My dad was always distant. He worked really hard. That’s one thing I got from him, but he was really brilliant.
I didn’t know it. I just thought he was a baker, you know? He’s my dad. And so, when he came out, I was thirty and I was starting to sober up, and I said, “Dad, I don’t know how to be your son. I want to be a good son.”
And he said, “I don’t know how to be your dad. But I want to be your dad.” He said, “So, if you will sit through the uncomfortable silence, while I am searching for something to say, I will do the same with you, and we’ll find our way.” So we did.
Lewis Howes: Wow. And you were thirty at this time?
Glenn Beck: Yeah. And we became very close, because my father – I didn’t realise this – my father ran away from home at sixteen, because his father was abusive to, not only him, but also to his mom, my grandmother, and he was a dirtbag. He was a really bad guy.
My grandfather had a stroke, so I only remember I was terrified of him, growing up, because I could see that he was in there. My earliest memory of my grandfather was looking in his eyes and, somehow or another knowing he’s fully in there. He’s trapped.
And I remember he started to say something, and he couldn’t, and a tear ran down his cheek. It scared the hell out of me, but I didn’t know anything about my dad. So, he runs away to Los Angeles, sixteen, he stays at the [YMCA], he’s raped repeatedly.
He has this horrible, horrible life, or early childhood. He goes and he finds a church, he becomes close to the pastor in the church, and he shows up one day, and the pastor is being taken out in handcuffs, because he’s been stealing from the church.
And my dad was, like, “Okay, alright. I’m done, I’m done.”
Lewis Howes: Yeah, and the pastor is going to jail.
Glenn Beck: The pastor’s going to jail. He meets this guy here in L.A. who, if you don’t know him, you should, you should read is his stuff. He’s dead. His name is Earnest Holmes. He started a church, it’s very California, it’s like, “Alright! Listen to this one!” It’s called the Church of Religious Science.
And it’s non-denominational. In fact, it has no doctrine to it, it’s just, “Here’s how the engine of the universe works,” okay? You can put it in anything, it could be a sports car, it could be a bus, but this is the engine, and it drives everything.
And it’s main principle revolves around, ‘I am’. And my father used to say to me, all the time, as a kid, “What are the two most important words in any language?”
“I know, Dad, ‘I am’.”
And I didn’t really, I mean, I was rote, and I could tell it, but I didn’t connect with it, until I was thirty, in my early thirties, and I was reading part of the Bible where Moses was up on the mountain, and he says, “Who shall I say sent me?”
Moses is, in today’s telling, he’s loser, he stutters, he’s not the guy. If you’re God, you’re like, “Okay, come on, I’m God, I can get somebody better than this.” And he says, “Who shall I say sent me?” Most powerful part of the Bible, “I AM that I AM.” Now, that’s where my father left that with me.
In my thirties I start to ponder it. And I start really reading that, and I start thinking, “Why is I AM, throughout the scriptures, always capitalised? Always!” Name of God. “Wait a minute, that changes things. If I go back now to the Ten Commandments, ‘Thou shalt not take the Lord, thy God’s name in vain,” well, His name is not God, it’s not Jesus, it’s not Yahweh. That’s what we gave Him.”
He said, “I AM.” So, taking His name in vain is when we say, “I am worthless. I am incapable. I am stupid.”
Lewis Howes: “I am ugly.”
Glenn Beck: “I am ugly,” because, as you know, as you think, it becomes, all thought is creative. And so, if you’re thinking these things, you will create that. And we all say it, all the time. And so, I had spent my life…
Lewis Howes: What were you saying after, “I am…”?
Glenn Beck: At the beginning, “I am the greatest,” which turned me into a monster. No humility! At twenty, making a quarter of a million dollars, you do not want to meet me. I fired a guy for bringing me the wrong pen one day.
I was signing autographs. I’m twenty-five, I’m signing autographs – by the way, we’re good friends now, the two of us, we laugh about this all the time – but he was my producer and I signed with a Sharpie, and he brought me a regular pen to the signing.
And I said, “Hey, next time, bring me a Sharpie, will you? I only want to sign with Sharpies.” He’s like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, sorry!” Next time I’m out, he brings me a regular pen. I fired him. And the guy I worked with said, “Hey, where’s Tom?” and I said, “Oh, I fired him! What an incompetent guy!” and he went, “What? He’s great! What are you talking about? You didn’t fire him.”
I said, “Yes! He’s incompetent.” He said, “What did he do?”
Lewis Howes: “He brought me the wrong pen!”
Glenn Beck: Saying it like, “You’re not going to believe this! He brought me the wrong pen! What a monster!” Okay, so thinking, “I am the greatest,” bad. Bad! Then, that was followed by, “I am a monster.”
Lewis Howes: Really? At what age?
Glenn Beck: Probably, I mean, die-hard, twenty-eight. It was always there. I was always conflicted.
Lewis Howes: Back and forth. “I am the greatest. I am a monster.”
Glenn Beck: Back and forth. You know the song that Billy Joel wrote, it’s a song called, ‘I Go To Extremes.’
Lewis Howes: That was you.
Glenn Beck: It was me.
Lewis Howes: Depending on the day or the mood.
Glenn Beck: I am perfectly right, or wrong every time.
Lewis Howes: Wow! What do you say now? I am what?
Glenn Beck: I am happy. I am kind. I am curious. I am better today than I was yesterday. My father, when I was trying to first get a handle on my sobriety, if I called my dad – and there’s two important lessons right at the beginning with my father – I’m feeling bad for myself, and I’m trying to figure out what I can do.
My father said, “I want you to do something for me tomorrow,” he said, “I want you to, right now, tonight, go get a yellow notepad or a small notepad. I want you to draw a line down the middle, and I just want you to put, ‘Positive, Negative’.”
He said, “When you get up tomorrow, there are your bedstand, when you get up tomorrow, the first thought you have, no matter what it is, don’t judge it, don’t think, just ask, ‘Positive or negative?’”
He said, “And keep that, all day. And then, let’s talk about it tomorrow night.”
I remember I got up, because I was doing mornings at the time, got up at about 4:30am.
Lewis Howes: You were living in New York City at the time? Washington D.C.?
Glenn Beck: No, I was in Connecticut. Get up at 4:30, maybe 4:45. By 5:30 I was done with the experiment. I will never forget.
Lewis Howes: It was all negative.
Glenn Beck: All negative. By that time I was at a stoplight in Cheshire, Connecticut, and I can tell you right where it was, by Sleeping Giant park, you know, pivot points in your life. And I’m sitting there and I have a thought, I don’t even remember what it was, but I remember putting another hash mark and looking and there were, like, 35 negatives, no positives.
Lewis Howes: Before you even got to work!
Glenn Beck: I was just still waking up, basically. I had gotten up, taken a shower, thrown my clothes on, got in the car, and was halfway to work. All negative. I called my dad that morning and I said, “We’ll talk tonight, but I got it.”
Lewis Howes: Yeah. I got the lesson.
Glenn Beck: Right, I got the lesson. And his philosophy has always been, “Change your thinking, change your life.”
Lewis Howes: Wow! He’s a wise man.
Glenn Beck: A very wise man. So, let me go back to the story about my dad. My dad struggles, he’s a kid, he’s having all kinds of problems, he runs into this guy, Earnest Holmes, and he finds this philosophy. But it’s cold. There’s no spiritual aspect to it, it’s just the mathematics of how the universe works. The power of the mind.
But it’s not meant to be anything but that. You go find whatever it is you want to dress it up as. And my father decides, “I am not going to be my father.”
Lewis Howes: Abusive, yeah.
Glenn Beck: This is key, “I am not going to be my father.” It doesn’t work! And what he did, because if you don’t fill in the ‘I am’, it will be filled in through life, or worse, there’s always somebody that wants to fill it in for you.
And somebody filled it in for my dad, and it was my mom. And it’s in the 1960’s, women’s roles are changing, she’s caught in this place to where she’s not a women’s libber, burn-your-bra, but she’s not a stay-at-home mom. But the culture where she lived, and all of the people, she was a stay-at-home mom, even though that’s not who she was.
And everything was so early, and changing so rapidly, and my dad was owning his own bakery and they were working so hard that, he told me later, he said, “Glenn, I feel so stupid. I never even thought of it. Your mom should have,” – she always wanted to own her own flower shop, she was very artistic, and she was Martha Stewart – and he said, “She should have had her own thing! We could have had a bakery, and her right next door!” or whatever.
And he said, “But it was just a different time then. We didn’t even think that way.” So she started to resent my sisters, because they had opportunities in front of them.
Lewis Howes: Your mom resented your sisters? Wow!
Glenn Beck: M-hm. And she started taking her missed opportunities and the things she missed, that she thought, “I’ll never be able to do,” started taking those out on my sisters, and she started to just rip my father apart. She could be a very cruel person. I was the one in the family lucky enough, I was the family jester, I guess. I was the one who could make everybody laugh, and who was, like, “Hey! Let’s just not notice that somebody’s just got a knife in their back! Isn’t this funny?”
You know, just keep things moving. And he didnt’ realise, really, I think, until the end of his life, what he had done. And he just became his mom. He wasn’t his dad. He was his mom. And he did his best. Then my mom dies, he marries somebody else, she’s even worse!
Lewis Howes: Really? Ah, man!
Glenn Beck: Yeah, and when my [mom] dies, we move in with my father, we’re not allowed to talk about my mother, at all. Like, a week after her death, no one can talk about it.
Lewis Howes: That’s horrible!
Glenn Beck: Yeah. Yeah.
Lewis Howes: You can’t grieve.
Glenn Beck: Horrible. Horrible.
Lewis Howes: It’s like she was never there.
Glenn Beck: Yes. And that just feels, I mean, and she’s even worse to my sisters. This time I get it, too, but she’s horrible.
Lewis Howes: Wow. Why did your father put up with that?
Glenn Beck: I think because he thought that’s all he deserved. He was so intent on not being the abuser, he was so focussed on, “I will never do that to my children.” That caused the separation, because he was always awkward.
I remember we went fishing once. I begged him to go fishing with me, and I’m, I don’t know, ten. It was the worst experience with my father ever.
Lewis Howes: Why?
Glenn Beck: He used to get beaten by his father on fishing trips. I didn’t know that. And so, he was just – he told me later – he was just freaking out the whole time, just, that trauma. And it was horrible, and I didn’t know why it was horrible, I just knew dad was not fun, and not having fun, and I felt completely alone. And that’s where I kind of gave up on my dad, and, you know, “Oh, my dad’s just weird.”
But he never abused us. And I think that was his very narrow goal.
Lewis Howes: But in some ways, never abusing you kind of abused you.
Glenn Beck: He said to me, one time, two things. I was probably eight. And I have no idea why he said this, but I remember him saying it, and he was sitting in a chair, and he said, “Son, come here for a second.” I came over and I stood right in front of him, and he said, “Do you know what the job is of a son?”
And I’m like, “No.” And he said, “The job of a son, and this includes me, with my dad, because I’m a son, too.” He said, “The job of a son is to look at what the father has done and which direction he’s taking the football, and he picks that football up from his father, because his father will eventually put it down, and he has to ask himself, ‘Is my dad running in the right direction?’”
Lewis Howes: Wow.
Glenn Beck: “If your dad’s running in the right direction, it’s now your job to take that football, and move it down the field, knowing you’ll never score the point. You’re just trying to move it further down the field in the right direction. Pick it up, and when you’re done, and can do no more, you put it down, and your son evaluates and picks it up.”
Lewis Howes: Wow.
Glenn Beck: It never made sense to me, until, towards the end of his life. And he gets into this place where now he’s seventy-five, and I’m sober, and we’re good friends, and my middle sister is hit by my step-mother.
Lewis Howes: Hit?
Glenn Beck: Hit, yeah. Hit.
Lewis Howes: She hit her? Punched her?
Glenn Beck: Yeah. There was plenty of verbal abuse, but there had not been physical violence.
Lewis Howes: How old was she?
Glenn Beck: Thirty-five. And my sister, my sisters, I just love them so much, they’re still dealing with a lifetime of being told they are awful, they are worthless. Both of them married abusive men. The day my mother killed herself, the night before ended with a serious fight with my middle sister, and my middle sister went to bed thinking to herself, “I wish you were dead.” Imagine that.
Lewis Howes: Oh, man. Oh, man.
Glenn Beck: Because she had a fight, the next morning we wake up, mom’s not there, and I knew something was wrong. Michelle knew something was wrong. I didn’t even remember this but, apparently, fifteen-year-old boy, you know, remembering the fight that they had, I said, “If something is wrong…” Okay?
Lewis Howes: Oh, man. Oh. And then she doesn’t come back.
Glenn Beck: She didn’t come back, she’s dead. We as children, have to go identify her in the morgue.
Lewis Howes: You had to go see her?
Glenn Beck: Yeah.
Lewis Howes: All together?
Glenn Beck: It was just me and my sister, at that point. My older sister had moved away, my dad was in Alaska.
Lewis Howes: And you had just told your sister five hours before, ten hours before…
Glenn Beck: “Something happened.” Now, I wasn’t thinking that any more, and we’re such a dysfunctional family we don’t ever talk, we didn’t talk. Years later, I sober up, I’m thirties, and I call my sisters and my brother and I said, “Okay, we need to get together. Can we just get together this weekend?”
“Sure, what do you want to talk about?”
“I think we should talk about some things that we really haven’t talked about,” not even willing to say that, because I’m afraid somebody’s going to say, “No, I’m not going to talk about that.”
So they all get together, and we’re sitting in my elder sister’s house, in her living room, and it’s bone quiet, and my elder sister said, “So, what do you want to talk about?”
Lewis Howes: To you.
Glenn Beck: To me. And I said, “I think we should talk about mom.”
Lewis Howes: Because no one ever talked about her.
Glenn Beck: Never! Never. And my middle sister, Michelle, jumps up out of the chair and she comes across the room and she points her finger in my chest, and she says, “I did not kill mom!” I don’t even remember, okay, I don’t remember what I said.
And I said, “Of course you didn’t! What are you talking about?” She said, “You said to me, the morning that we found out about mom, if something’s wrong…”
I’m like, “Oh, my gosh!” My sisters have been living, one sister had been living that hell, my other sister is living the same kind of hell with an abusive who also had just killed himself.
Lewis Howes: No way!
Glenn Beck: My sister, ready for this one? It’s a shipwreck. My middle sister, she marries an abusive guy, they have a horrible fight, she goes to bed, and she thinks, “It would be better if he were dead.” The next day he goes scuba diving, in the same water where my mother was, and dies, has a heart attack.
Lewis Howes: No. No he doesn’t, no way!
Glenn Beck: So they’re just, they’re broken. They’re just broken, and we’re not a family that talks about anything, so all of that is just crushing them, just crushing them.
And yet, somehow or another, they’re both still wonderful, they’re just wonderful, but they just want somebody to love them. They just want somebody to say, “You’re good. You’re special. You are! You’re worthy! You’re worth it!” I can’t imagine the ‘I ams’ that they had said to themselves.
Lewis Howes: How did that family session end? She’s yelling at you, pointing at you?
Glenn Beck: We begin the long process of healing. My sister, that particular sister, Michelle, and I, we never spoke. We never spoke. After my mother died, I mean, it’s not like we said, “I’m never talking to you again!” We just never did.
And we were not close, and now I talk to her as much as I possibly can. We text each other all the time, and she is one of my favourite women on earth. She overcompensates, she will almost smother that puppy with love, but she’s grown to be so strong. I’m so proud of her.
Because she’s just strong now. She was going through abuse, and I called her up and I said, “I’m getting on a plane right now, and I’m coming for you, and we’re going to pack up your stuff and you’re coming, I don’t care if you have to live with me, but you’re not living this way another day.”
And, at the time, she wouldn’t move and pack up. She packed a suitcase, and she came and stayed with me for a few weeks. And I tried to convince her to move, and she said, “I won’t. I won’t.” For the children and all of that garbage, but her better point was, “On my terms. On my terms.”
And she started saving money, she started working, she became herself, where she was a little lamb being led to slaughter, do not screw with my sister now. And it’s good, it’s good.
Lewis Howes: Wow. What do you think is the greatest adversity you’ve faced? Because it sounds like you’ve gone through a lot of different challenges from a very young age. What’s been the most challenging adversity and what was the lesson that adversity taught you?
Glenn Beck: I don’t know, they all are so different and so good in the end, you know?
Lewis Howes: Where do you think you’d be if your mom was still alive?
Glenn Beck: So, I call my dad, thirty-two, thirty-three, and I’m still whining. I’m a dry drunk. I’m not drinking, but I’m barely holding on. And I’m not willing to really face, I was not willing yet to even talk about my mom. Because, I’m at the place where I’m like, “Oh, no, no, no, I’m fine. It doesn’t bother me. Weak people that bothers, I’m totally fine.”
I call my dad and I’m whining, and he’s a baker, and he says, without any indication that he’s mocking me, he says, “Oh my gosh, you are so right, son. You’ve had such a hard life,” with me not knowing yet about his life, “You are so right.”
He said, “You know what? I have some bread in the oven, I have to get it out. Would you do me a favour? Would you write a list of all of the bad things that happened to you? And rank them. I want you to really think about it and rank them. What’s the worst, and then will you call me tonight?”
I said, “Yeah!” and I’m all empowered, “Yeah, somebody, finally, is listening to me!” I hang up the phone and I start making a list. I get about three into it. Top of my list is my mother’s suicide. And I’m starting to think, “Okay, so what else can I complain about? What else is really horrible for me?”
And then as I’m looking at that list I’m like, “You know, if my mom hadn’t have killed herself, then I wouldn’t have moved in with my dad, which would mean that I wouldn’t have started my job here.”
Lewis Howes: At the radio station, yeah.
Glenn Beck: The whole thing, my whole life starts to unravel.
Lewis Howes: You wouldn’t be making a quarter of a million as a twenty-year-old.
Glenn Beck: Right! And I start to then look at all of the things I had written. Maybe I had five of them down. And I’m like, “Oh! That SOB!” And I call my dad, phone rings, “City Bakery!” I said, “You don’t have any bread in the oven, do you?” He just laughed and he said, “You are quicker than I thought!”
He said, “What did you discover?” And I said, “Something that I suddenly remember you saying to me all the time as a kid: ‘There is no bad, unless you don’t do anything with it.’” It’s what you do with it that matters. Isn’t that great?
Lewis Howes: I like that one, yeah, it’s great. Wow! So you started to reflect on all these challenges and bad things that happened, but how they set you up for a greater life.
Glenn Beck: Right, so it’s one of the reasons in our society we are now saying, “Don’t say that, that’s a trigger. Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t!” We can’t talk about rape in colleges, because what if someone was raped? Let me take it out of that emotional thing.
I had to pay for my own college, it wasn’t until I was thirty, and I could only afford one class at the end, because it turned out, my first day at class was the day my wife and I decided to get a divorce, so I had no money.
So I had one semester, and one class that I could afford, and it’s interesting to go to college, as an undergraduate, at thirty, because they don’t really care. They’re not there to learn anything, I wanted every dime out of that dollar!
Lewis Howes: It was Yale, right?
Glenn Beck: Yeah. And the best professor, ever, Wayne Meeks, changed my life! For half of the class, I swore he believed X. For the next half, I swore he believed Y, and he had fought me on both sides.
He said to me one time – I asked a question – and he said, “Mr Beck, what are you reading right now?” and I said, “I’m reading Dominic Crossan.” Now, Dominic Crossan is a Catholic theologian who has some pretty wild thoughts, and he said, “Oh, don’t read Dominic Crossan. Don’t read him,” he said, “He’ll screw you up. I want you to read this.”
And I said, “Okay.” Next week comes, I raise my hand. He said, “Yes, Mr Beck,” and I said, “Back to my original question,” and he said, “Are you still reading Dominic Crossan?” and I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “What did I tell you last week?”
I said, “You told me to read this. I did, and we can talk about that, I’ve read all that. I don’t want you to tell me why I shouldn’t read Dominic Crossan, or I don’t want you to tell me not to read it. I want to know why you think he’s so dangerous. I want to know what it is he’s actually saying. I’ll decide whether or not it’s worth reading.”
Anybody tells you not to read something, read that book. He said, “Can I see you after class?” Like, “Yes.” He takes me to the professors’ lounge or whatever it was, and we’re having lunch. He said, “Why are you here, Mr Beck?” I said, “Because my life is out of control and I need answers. I don’t thing I actually know anything.”
And he said, “So, what have you been reading?” And I told him this long list, I was reading a manual college mix. Your eyes bleed! And he said, “Who’s guiding you through that?” And I said, “Nobody? Me?” And he said, “You’re reading this collection of books and you’re doing it by yourself? And I said, “Yeah! And I can’t make heads or tails of it.”
And he said, “Of course not!” And I just kind of looked down, game changing, game changing pivot point! I had my hands here on the table, and he reaches across the table and he grabs my hand, and he said, “Look at me,” and I said, “Okay,” and I’m looking him in the eyes, and he said, “You know you belong here, right?”
And I said, “I don’t know…” and he said, “Listen to me. Look at me. You belong here. You’re smart enough. Do you know that?” I didn’t. I didn’t, but it was fascinating to me how somebody I could respect, who I respected, who had the credentials, could change my life so quickly.
Lewis Howes: Really? You didn’t think you belonged in school or in life?
Glenn Beck: I didn’t think I was smart. I had convinced myself that I was a dummy, and I had others around me, if you don’t know, if you don’t fill that blank in, then others will fill it in for you. When I got my transcripts, I think I was a C or D student in high school.
I remember somebody said, “You should try to go to Yale. You’re living here, why not go to Yale?” And I’m like, “I could never get into Yale.” I get my transcripts back, I’m a straight-A student, I’m a really good student.
I was shocked by that. I was shocked by that. I didn’t feel I was capable of doing those things, because I had filled in, and had others fill in, the ‘I am’ blank. And, to have just one person say, “You’re good enough. You’re worthy. You’re smart.”
Lewis Howes: We all need that.
Glenn Beck: You need it. And it can game-change everything.
Lewis Howes: Isn’t it interesting that if the world says you’re enough, and you don’t believe it, it doesn’t matter? It can spark it in you, but you have to believe in yourself. But you could also be the only person in the world that says, “I am enough,” and that would be enough.
Glenn Beck: You know what’s strange? The opposite is true as well. Go back to, think of this, “I am the fourth greatest man in the world!” There are no other men anywhere else, it’s the universe!
Lewis Howes: “I come close to God!”
Glenn Beck: Right! “I’m tied with the Pope, man!” And yet…
Lewis Howes: It can be destructive.
Glenn Beck: It could be. It wasn’t, at that time, because I had crashed with alcoholism, and I knew who I was enough to be able to handle it. If that would have come out in my twenties, I would have been the evil scientist, you know what I mean? I would have been building bombs in my basement.
Lewis Howes: Destroyed everything, yeah. Wow.
Glenn Beck: So, if your head is on straight, you can dismiss the glories, the fake glories of the world, and, on the other side, I took my kids – my kids are going to need so much therapy – I took my kids, one vacation about six, seven years ago, to Auschwitz, and I had them, they could pick anybody, but I want you to pick a hero that saved Jews, or anybody, from the concentration camp.
So, everybody had to pick a Righteous Among The Nations, and read it, and then we went over and we discussed what did they have in common and then we went to Auschwitz. And I stood just around the corner from the gates – have you ever been there?
Lewis Howes: No. Crazy?
Glenn Beck: It’s a must. It’s a must. It’s very clarifying. And I stood there with my family and I said, “This is the time that we all decide who we are. If the world should ever slide into trouble, like we are now, you will not make it. The first time you think, ‘What do I do?’ is when there’s trouble.”
Because courage is a muscle. And this stuff doesn’t happen quickly, overnight. This stuff happens like it is now. Are you willing to say something and lose your job? Are you willing to stand up and be different, just because that’s who you are? Or are you going to kowtow?
If you’re not standing up, if you’re quietly taking it, now – and I’m not saying, ‘Go march in the streets and start a revolution, I’m just saying, “I will not comply. In my own personal life, no!”- you’re not going to make it.
We meet this woman, I arranged to meet one of the Righteous Among The Nations, she saved a hundred Jews, she was sixteen years old, she saved a hundred Jews. Sixteen! We have this conversation, and everybody starts to leave and I said, “Paulina, I feel such a burden. I see the world going into horrible, it doesn’t mean we’re going to get there, but it’s repeating itself, the beginnings of it.”
Lewis Howes: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Glenn Beck: It’s crazy. And I said, “I believe everyone has the tree of righteousness in them. That’s who we are all built to be. But we lose our way and the tree withers and dies. How do I water the tree of righteousness?”
She looked at me like I was from a different planet, and she said – and it’s so strange, here’s this woman, saved a hundred Jews, risked her life, the Nazis, then couldn’t tell anybody because she was on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, so she could never tell anybody until the Soviet Union came down.
Think of her life! Okay? So she looks at me, I’m looking at her as a hero, and she shakes her head, and almost dismisses it in a way of, like, “Are you crazy? You think I’m a hero?” And she said, “You completely misunderstand.” And I said, “What?”
She said, “The righteous didn’t become righteous suddenly.”
Lewis Howes: We were always that way.
Glenn Beck: She said, “We just refused to go over the cliff with the rest of humanity.” That changes everything! That means, you know what’s right. You know, you get on Facebook or Twitter, you know what’s right. You know what your mother would say. You know what I mean? You were raised better than that.
Whatever it is you’re doing, society is going off a cliff, there’s no truth, there’s no facts, everything’s fair game, to win play any way you want. Don’t! The rest of humanity will go over the cliff. To be a hero in tomorrow’s world, all you have to do is remain who you always have been, the best side of who you’ve always been.
That’s not that hard.
Lewis Howes: Why is it so hard for so many people, and why are we going all over the place, as a country and as a society?
Glenn Beck: We’re afraid. We’re afraid.
Lewis Howes: And how do we start to heal?
Glenn Beck: So, let me give you one example. When I was at Fox, I didn’t understand the things that were happening at first, you know, in society. I didn’t understand – without judgement here, try to listen to this without judgement – I didn’t understand Barack Obama’s upbringing of anti-colonialism.
Now, I do now. For instance, Winston Churchill. Was he a good guy or a bad guy?
Lewis Howes: Good guy.
Glenn Beck: Really? If you’d been in India, he’s a monster. Ghandi.
Lewis Howes: It depends how you look at it, yeah.
Glenn Beck: It depends on who he was. He was an oppressor in India. He was a liberator for Europe. Those two men do not match each other.
Ghandi. Was he a racist? If you go to South Africa, he was an ugly racist. His problem when he was in Africa was, “How dare you treat the Indians like these blacks!” But who was he in India?
Lewis Howes: A hero.
Glenn Beck: We live in a world, right now, that forces you to choose, he’s either a villain or a hero. No. They’re both. Life is always about becoming. Are you getting better than you were the day before? What path are you on? We’re all going to make mistakes, all of us, and some of them are going to be pretty bad, especially in retrospect and the privilege of watching it eighty years in advance.
So, here we are, looking at this, and we don’t know who we are, we’re most of us uneducated on everything about our country. Truly uneducated. The Conservatives refuse to learn – and I shouldn’t say refuse – are not interested in learning about the horrific things this country has done and is responsible for. And that list is very long.
Because, when a Conservative starts hearing that, all they hear is, “I hate America. America is worthless,” because many of the people who point those things out, do believe America is worthless. But that’s because they’ve had to make that choice. Winston Churchill, which one is he? America, which one is he?
Liberals, when they hear Conservatives talk about the good things of America, what they hear is, “We never did anything bad.” And so, neither one of us know what America is. Neither one. Some are great, some are bad.
My daughter went to college, and she went to Fordham, and she was going to take History. And I was so happy, because I was like, “Oh my gosh! We need great history professors! American History professors!” And she just gets all quiet, I’ll never forget, we were standing in my kitchen. And she just gets quiet and she kind of looks down, and I’m like, “Wait, what? What’s happening?”
And she said, “I’m not going to take American History, Dad.” And I said, “What? American History is great!” And she said, “You don’t know it, Dad. It’s bloody. It’s awful,” and she said, “You have this Pollyanna…” look, and at the time I kind of did, this is about, I don’t know, 2005 or 2006, something like that, and I kind of did. I knew some of the bad stuff, but I hadn’t really studied it.
And I said, “So what are you going to take?” She said, “I’m going to take ancient Rome and Greece.”
“Oh, well that’s completely bloodless!” So I said to her, “Listen, I’m going to take you at your word, that I don’t know American History. Here’s what I’d like to offer: I want you to study the good things about America, and I promise you, I will study the bad things about America.”
Lewis Howes: Interesting.
Glenn Beck: I now have a fairly large collection of the worst things in American History. I could take any college professor on, who just focuses on the bad, and I can guarantee you, they’re rookies, compared to me, okay?
Lewis Howes: You know way more about things.
Glenn Beck: Right! Because that’s where we get screwed up. We are only focused on the good, and we refuse to look at the bad, and so our kids are shaped by us, as parents, they go out into the world, and they hear a bunch of people that are saying good things or bad things depending on which, and they’re confused, they don’t know, and they’re forced to pick!
No. It’s who are we going to be? Can we learn from the mistakes? Can we learn from the things when we did it right? Can we put it into context? Because if you can’t put it into context, if you can’t see, that 320 million people, they’ll create both the good and the bad, what chance do you have of finding any kind of peace in your life?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, just constant chaos playing out from both sides, yeah.
Glenn Beck: But how you judge yourself!
Lewis Howes: Who am I?
Glenn Beck: Who am I? If this country is either all bad, or all good, then what are you? When you make a mistake, and you start doing things, you have a spell in your life – I don’t know about you, but I’ve done stuff, I know you stole from your father.
Lewis Howes: Oh, yeah.
Glenn Beck: So did I, so let’s not talk about that. You could focus, that one thing could say, “I am a bad person.”
Lewis Howes: All the time, yeah.
Glenn Beck: All the time.
Lewis Howes: Because I did this thing, yeah.
Glenn Beck: And you’d never forgive it. That’s what we’re doing to ourselves, our country, the West; we are not willing to forgive it’s mistakes, and see it in context and validate, “That happened, let’s learn from it. Let’s not round people up again. Let’s not do that. That is bad.”
Lewis Howes: Yeah, “Let’s not repeat that.”
Glenn Beck: Right. What led to that? Let’s learn that, so when we see that sprout, we immediately go, “Hehehe! Remember?”
Lewis Howes: “Don’t do that again.”
Glenn Beck: And you pluck that before it can grow. If you can’t do that with a country, you have no chance of doing that with yourself.
Lewis Howes: And vice versa.
Glenn Beck: Right! Right!
Lewis Howes: You can’t do it with yourself…
Glenn Beck: You can’t do it to the country, right!
Lewis Howes: So it’s both, yeah.
Glenn Beck: Right! So, that leads you to certitude. “I am certain this country is good! I am certain this country is bad!” And if you disagree with me, you are no different! What chance do we have?
Lewis Howes: Yeah, “If you’re questioning my beliefs and my certitude, then you’re bad or you’re wrong.”
Glenn Beck: Right. And we’re now in a society that you must comply 100%, on both sides. If you’re not on the Trump Train, God help you! If you’re not on the anti-Trump Train, God help you! And it’s got to be everything.
No, wait, wait, wait, wait. “There’s some things that that person does that I like, and things that I don’t like. Things that I think are really bad, but what about that?” You know what I mean?
Lewis Howes: What’s the spiritual prescription you would give, from a recovering addict, to the country, and humanity? Since you can’t prescribe medicine, what would be the philosophical meditative spiritual steps you would give? On how to heal.
Glenn Beck: I am just beginning to learn. I am excited about discoveries that take me into new directions. I am fascinated by the complexity of man and our history. Fill that blank in with everything that you can that brings you to humility.
I wish I could, for 24 hours, I wish I could give everyone the experience of being the fourth most admired man in the world.
Lewis Howes: And that feeling.
Glenn Beck: And 50% of the country hates you! There’s nothing that will, if you’re an introspective person at all, if you’re a human, that affects you and it drives you to your knees, and you’re like, “I don’t know.” Because there’s a 170 million people who think I am a monster.
Now, I know I’m not on that list. But what have I done? Most people aren’t willing, they’ll say, and I did for a while, “That’s just these people, they’re twisting my words.” I don’t know. They did do that. But I also played a role.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. Taking responsibility and ownership and everything, yeah. Wow! So what can we learn from this book?
Glenn Beck: None of that c**p that I just told you! This comes from, really, me saying, “I don’t know the country, I don’t have anything to offer. Have I wasted my life?” Going back and saying, “Okay, let me learn what people are actually saying. What are they really afraid of? Is there a group of people,” and there is, there’s a small group, “is there a group of people who want to destroy us? Who want to take the bill of rights, and the constitution and say it’s outdated, and it’s horrible, and we need to not exist any more.”
Yeah, there are, there are. But it’s not 50%. I don’t even think it’s 30%, quite honestly, 15%. It’s just that they’re powerful voices because we’re being used and manipulated on both sides. Fear is powerful, and this outrage is – there’s outrage on both sides that is justified – but, what was it, a couple of days ago, reading Twitter is crazy!
The argument of whether Bert and Ernie are gay. You know they’re felt puppets, right? I mean their eyes have been glued on! If they have genitals, they’re felt too! And the people that were truly outraged on both sides. What is that going to do?
If you read what Frank Oz said, “I designed them. I know who they are.” Now, listen to this: As you’re reading about the outrage about Bert and Ernie, he says, “I designed them to teach kids a lesson.” Now, think of Bert and Ernie. One is orange, one is yellow. One is short, one is tall. One is laughing all the time, and the other one is dead serious and grumpy.
Everything about them is different. What is the point of Bert and Ernie? Not sexuality. That we can be completely different, still be friends, and live with one another. We’ve completely missed that! Proven by the argument that’s going on.
And we are going to kill each other if we don’t stop. We have to stop! And start looking at the bigger picture. People came over here for a reason. They came to the United States for a reason. What was the reason?
Lewis Howes: To start a new life, to get away from war, to get away from conflict, to have a better life.
Glenn Beck: What’s the statue of Liberty? What’s the poem on it?
Lewis Howes: Freedom. Right?
Glenn Beck: Hmm. Kind of.
Lewis Howes: What’s the poem? What’s it say?
Glenn Beck: You know, the Emma Lazarus poem. See if you can look it up for a second. It’s so freakin’ fantastic, and we’ve all misread it. So the Statue of Liberty is built… Have you ever thought what a stupid gift the Statue of Liberty is?
Lewis Howes: It was from the French? Or who was it from?
Glenn Beck: The French. First of all, the French don’t give gifts like that, they don’t like anybody. So, why are they giving us this giant statue? And that’s pretty ballsy gift, you know? Like, they’ve got to put it up! You know, you can’t give somebody a giant statue and then that country not put it up!
Because the French are going to come over and be, like, “Hey! What happened to the statue we gave you?” and it’s like, “Oh, I lost it!” You know? You’ve got to put that damn thing up. The French give it to us, and they give it to us in boxes. And literally, they just dump it on our docks.
The Statue of Liberty is in broken pieces, or in separate pieces, in the park, for a long time. We don’t know how to put this damn thing together. And they were like, “Oh, and by the way, batteries not included, neither is the base.”
So that big stone base, we didn’t know anyone who could put it together. So, it turns out, the guy we hired is a guy that is the first guy to protect Abraham Lincoln. He’s a guy who is a hero, in my eyes, a villain at the time, a hero because he will not demonize the people of the North and the South. He fights for the North, but he says, “They’re Americans, too.” And he won’t get into that hatred.
Long story short, they try him, without his testimony, he’s not even allowed to show up, they try him in congress, they throw him in prison. But they couldn’t come to a verdict, he was never given charges, so he sits in prison until Abraham Lincoln finds out about it and says, “Release the guy.” They wait two more months and Lincoln says, “Is he out yet?”
So he’s released, but he can’t find a job anywhere. He goes over to Egypt. The French are there, so he’s helping the French with all their stuff, so he can speak French. He’s learning their mindset and everything else!
He comes back to America, years later, we’ve got the Statue of Liberty in pieces, the government actually knocks on his door, and says, “You were just working with the French, right? Can you read instructions in French?” and he’s like, “Yeah. Why?”
This is the guy who builds the Statue of Liberty! This guy who was betrayed by his nation, wrongly betrayed by his nation. There’s no love, really, for the nation, it’s a love for the idea of the nation. So the French build this, not for us, they build it because they’re trying to convince the French no to go down the road of Marx.
The Spring of Nations is happening in about 1850 or so. We have a civil war at the same time, all kinds of problems in England. The Marxists, because of the printing of the manifesto, they stir everything up, they try to flip all of Europe. It goes horribly, then it starts again, and it starts in the Paris communes and it starts to really heat up.
The same time this is happening, the ‘Washington Crosses the Delaware’ painting is made – try this one on for size – this is in the book, I love this story. I’m standing in the Met with my kids, and I’m taking them to show them art.
And so, I come around the corner – I’ve been there a hundred times – and I come around the corner and there’s supposed to be Washington Crossing the Delaware, and I said to the security guard, “Have they moved Washington Crossing the Delaware?” And he said, “Yeah, it’s in the warehouse.”
And I said, “Really? It’s in the warehouse?” And he said, “Yeah, well, you know, it’s not the original anyway.”
“Wait, what? It’s not the original? What do you mean, it’s not the original?”
Did you know that? There are three copies. Two of them still exist. The original was destroyed in the Allied bombing of Berlin! What the hell is that painting doing in a museum in Germany under Nazi rule? How did that happen?
It wasn’t painted for us. We asked for a copy. It was painted by a guy who had lived in America, but was German. He had come to America, lived for a while, came back, Marx starts in, they start to talk about socialism and everything else, and he’s like, “No, no, no, you’ve got it all wrong!” Go back and look at the picture of Washington Crossing the Delaware.
There’s African-Americans, there’s native Americans, there’s white, there’s a farmer, there’s a woodsman, there’s a woman in the boat. Did you know that? There’s a woman in the boat! What this painter was saying to Germans, “No, look at the American experiment! If everyone, no matter who they are, gets into the same boat, going in the same direction, miracles happen.”
That’s the story of the Statue of Liberty, that’s what France was doing, okay? And it gave them a chance to talk about this American system that they were trying to do. So it comes, Emma Lazarus is asked to write a poem, it’s called, ‘The New Colossus.’ Have you ever heard of the Colossus of Rhodes?
Lewis Howes: No.
Glenn Beck: Okay, Colossus of Rhodes, one of the wonders of the ancient world, is this giant statue and it’s in the harbour and it’s so amazing, you have to look this picture up. One foot is on one little island kind of area, and the other foot is on the other island.
And it’s standing up, and it’s wearing a skirt, it’s a guy, a warrior, and he’s wearing a skirt, and it’s enormous! And he’s standing like this. And I think he has a spear, or a sword, I can’t remember, and it was a message, when you went to come there on a boat, you actually, your boat went in between his legs.
I don’t know what you saw when you looked up, but you went underneath him, in between his legs, and it was a message: Don’t screw with us. Okay? One of the wonders of the world. So now, listen to this poem. When you think of the “poor, huddled masses”, what do you think? You know, “bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,” what does that message say to you?
Lewis Howes: Your sad people. Depressed, sad people.
Glenn Beck: Right, okay. We’re a hospital, we’re a refugee camp, okay? Listen to the poem.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land
Here, at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch
Whose flame is the imprisoned lightning
And her name: Mother of Exiles.
Okay, already, completely different. “Here’s a mom, here’s a woman, okay? And she’s standing at our gates, where you’ve got a warrior.”
From her beaconed hand glows worldwide welcome
Her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbour
That twin cities frame
“Keep your ancient lands and your storied pomp!” cries she
Think of this: “Keep your pomp and keep all your kings and your princes and your castles and your titles, keep all that c**p! We don’t want any of it!”
“Keep your ancient lands and your storied pomp!”
Cries she with silent lips.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,
Yearning to breathe free!
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, the tempest tossed,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
This Statue of Liberty is saying, “You keep telling people they can’t. You keep telling people they have to be a title, a Lord or a Lady. You keep telling people, who are living in some serfdom role, that, ‘You can go ahead and create that, but you don’t even have a copyright, or a trademark or a patent. You go ahead and create that, but the lord of the manor, he’s going to take that, and he has the money, he’s going to do it.’”
And Europe kept saying, “You can’t do it! You cannot change your station.” She’s saying, “Send the people you say are the worst. I’m going to protect them from people like you. I’m going to give them freedom. You watch what they build.”
That’s great! That’s the story of America! That’s what we have to remember! All of the problems, all of the circumstances, let them keep it. Recognise our problems, most people don’t know, they’ve never seen the feet of the Statue of Liberty, there’s chains and a shackle around her foot. They’re broken, because through our laws, through a hard-fought war, we freed slaves.
We conquered it! We freed people, with flaws, warts and all! But if we just stick together, and realise, I’m no better than you. I have no more rights than you do. Go, create, dream, build!
Lewis Howes: Wow! I’m inspired! That’s amazing, man! And I’m sure you’ll learn many more things in this book as well. You guys can get the book right now, it’s called, ‘Addicted To Outrage.’ Check it out – ‘How Thinking Like A Recovering Addict Can Heal The Country.’
I’ve got two final questions for you. And they can get this on your website, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, everywhere.
Glenn Beck: Yeah.
Lewis Howes: This question is called The Three Truths.
Glenn Beck: Oh, boy!
Lewis Howes: So, I’d love for you to imagine it’s your last day, and you get to choose your last day, many years from now. You live as long as you want, you achieve everything you want. All of your dreams come true.
But, for whatever reason, all the work that you’ve put out in the world, you have to take it with you. So, no one has access to your books, your audio, nothing.
Glenn Beck: My children? I leave my children behind?
Lewis Howes: Your children are here, yes, yes. But your written word, your videos, your audio, it’s all one with you. But you get to leave behind a message of your Three Truths, the three things you know to be true from all of your experiences in life, that you would leave behind to everyone else to remember.
These could be your three lessons, or Three Truths. What would you say are your Three Truths?
Glenn Beck: Well, I’d have to have four, and I would say that they are Mary, Hannah, Raphe and Cheyenne. I have learned, recently, that everything I have done is worthless and meaningless and is going to be gone. The world doesn’t stop when you die. It doesn’t even blink when you die.
What difference did you make? Only in your kids. The things I want my kids to testify to through their life, how they’re living their life, is each of us has the unlimited creative power of God Himself, in us. And you can use it for good or bad. Choose wisely. Truth number one.
Truth number two. The world will lie to you and tell you… Life is easier than it is. Now, let me explain that. Anything of value in my life, I earned it, the hard way. And I don’t mean work. By failing over and over again, and it seems that everyone will want to take all of your struggles away, and if you’re poor, or disadvantaged, the world will try to tell you, “You’ll never make it.”
If you’re wealthy, beautiful, successful, they will tell you, “Nothing matters. Don’t worry, you’re great!” Both of them are lies. You have to work for it, and it’s worth it!
And I think that would be the third truth, is, life is worth it. It is worth it. I’ve struggled with suicide, myself, my mother, my brother. The moment was Christmas Eve in the 90’s, I’m totally broken. I do not know how to make it, I am all by myself, I cannot afford a gift, even at CVS. My daughter, all she wanted was this little Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer thing, and I couldn’t afford it.
I am a worthless human being in my eyes. I’m a horrible father, I’m over! And I’m feeling horrible for myself, and I’m lying on the carpet in my living room, and I know, at that moment, it’s live or die. It’s continue down this road, and you will die, most likely at your own hand. Or you got to get up right now, and just move!
And I made that choice that night, and I wish I could say, “And the next morning the sun came out.” It’s bullc**p! It was five to eight years after that, of just do it, just do it, just endure. But I can tell you, I’ve seen the darkest of life, oh my gosh! It’s so warm on the other side. It’s so worth it! Every second is worth it!
Lewis Howes: Yeah, wow. Before I ask the final question, I want to acknowledge you for a moment, Glenn, for your warmth, because when we first met, I just felt like you have such a big heart. And I remember people coming to me and saying, “You’re going on Glenn Beck? Why are you going on Glen Beck’s show?”
I’d just been on Ellen the day before, and someone said to me, “I doubt there’s any other guests that have been on Glen Beck, and Ellen DeGeneres’ show in 24 hours.” And so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but connecting with you, you were so welcoming, you had such a great heart.
And I really appreciate and acknowledge your curiosity, your generosity and your constant willingness to learn and grow and improve and impact others. So I acknowledge you for all that you’re doing.
Glenn Beck: Thank you. Thank you. May I say, very much the same thing to you? Just here, you greeted me at the door with a hug and a smile and kindness, and you were like that when you were at my studio and in listening to you, you’re doing the things I wish, I wish I could have done when I was your age.
You’re putting so much good and truth out. I’m a fan.
Lewis Howes: Thank you. I appreciate it. I’m doing my best.
Glenn Beck: Thank you.
Lewis Howes: Make sure you guys get the book, check it out, we’ll have it linked up on the show notes. And the final question is, “What’s your definition of greatness?
Glenn Beck: I saw somebody, recently, and I don’t want to make this about politics, so I won’t describe the scene or what they said, but somebody stood up in front of a crowd and got an outrageous, long, standing ovation. For saying something to a crowd that embraced this person already, and they said something that could have been written by that crowd.
And people said, “They’re so brave!” A great person, a great man, a great woman, is one who has the courage to speak the truth to their own friends and tribe. It doesn’t take a lot of courage to say the popular things to the people who love you.
My son was probably ten, and he was taking karate, Taekwondo, he corrects me, and he didn’t realise that when he was going to get his first belt, that there were going to be parents there, that there was going to be a crowd. Here’s my son who’s grown up around me, he’s terrified of crowds.
Probably for good reason! He terrified of crowds, at this time. And we start walking in and he sees people, he’s like, “I’m not doing this, Dad. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” And this is the first time I saw my son like that.
And I said, “Son, it’s no big deal, it’s just parents.” He said, “I can’t do this.” It’s like, “Okay, let’s get in the car.” So we get in the car, we’re driving back, and I’m thinking, “How am I going to teach him this lesson?” He said, “Are you mad?” I said, “No, I’m not. I’m just trying to figure out how I can help you.”
We get back to the house, I take him into my office, and in my office – you have to come to my house sometime.
Lewis Howes: I would love to.
Glenn Beck: All over my walls in the office, it’s kind of layered. The pictures and the things are all just layered on top of each other. And they’re all people from history and moments, you know, anywhere from one of the guys who was the guy in Vietnam who was in the Hanoi Hilton, who blinked his eyes, to say…
I’ve got the stuff he wrote all framed in there, next to Winston Churchill, next to Ghandi, and Rosa Parks and all of them. And I sat there and I’m trying to think, “What do I say to my son?” And I looked up at all these people and I said, “Why do I have all of these pictures and all of these items from history, on my walls in my office?”
And he said, “Because they’re all heroes.” And I said, “Yeah, they are, but that’s not why I have them.” And he said, “Because they weren’t afraid.” And I said, “Oh, son,” and I started with Wallenburg, Raoul Wallenberg, who is one of the greatest heroes in history.
And I said, “I’m guessing he was terrified. I’m guessing,” and I know enough, because I’ve read his own words, “I know that Winston Churchill was terrified. I know that George Washington was terrified. I know the guy who was having his arms pulled out of his sockets in a Vietnamese prison camp, was terrified! But they did it! They did it!”
That’s a great man. That’s a great man.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. Wow! Thank you.
Glenn Beck: Thank you, brother.
Lewis Howes: Appreciate it, Glenn.
Glenn Beck: Thank you.
Lewis Howes: There you have it, my friends! I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, make sure to share it with your friends right now! Shoot them a text with this link on the podcast, take a screenshot of your phone, listening to this, and post it on your Instagram story, lewishowes.com/698, you can send people to, or directly to the link on Spotify or iTunes or Soundcloud, wherever you are listening to this episode.
I was blown away by the vulnerability, the presence, the mindfulness, and the forward thinking that Glenn has, so I hope you guys enjoyed this one. And, again, make sure to share it with your friends. Check out his new book, Addicted To Outrage. You can get the book anywhere books are sold. You can also check it out on the show notes, lewishowes.com/698.
Tag Glenn over on Twitter as well. Let him know that you’re listening to this, and share with him the most powerful part about this episode, that you enjoyed.
Again, a big thank you to our sponsor, skillshare.com/greatness. If you are looking to get ongoing education, like I do, I’m constantly learning, I’m constantly looking for new skills, check out their new classes. You get over 20,000 classes for just 99c, for the first two months of unlimited access!
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Go to summitofgreatness.com right now! Check it out, check out the speakers, the performers, the closing party with Wyclef Jean. It is going to be off the chain, my friends! I hope to see you there, because I can’t wait to see you in person. And to continue to see you grow in your personal life, and in the vision you have for your dreams.
So make sure to check it out, summitofgreatness.com. Yes!
Also, Albert Einstein, what did he say? He said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Are you living your life with multiple experiences every single day and week, to expand your horizons, to expand your perspective? Or are you staying stuck in a one track mind, a one belief system. If so, you’re limiting yourself to experience and knowledge.
So, continue to grow, continue to try new things, continue to have open conversations with people that you don’t agree with, and try to see things from a different perspective. That’s the only source of knowledge, is through experience.
I love you guys so very much. We’ve got some big episodes coming soon. We’re almost at episode 700! Unbelievable! We’re at 700 episodes coming next week, guys! This is crazy!
I’ve been so appreciative of all your support, we’re growing stronger and stronger as a community together, the Greatness Community is one of the most powerful communities that I know, the most passionate people that are constantly elevating to improve their lives.
So, thank you guys so much, I love you so very much. And you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!
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