“You may have nothing, but if you have happy, you got a whole bunch of something.” – Dr. Pele Raymond


We may have different dreams but in the end, we are all wishing for happiness. Some people live their lives knowing what that means while some didn’t recognize it when it passed. In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Pele Raymond to expound on the topic of happiness. What is it? Where do we find it? How do we get it? We all have that shot at happiness; we just need to make that choice and hold it tight. We’re also getting a bonus tip on making a great story and a good dose of soul-healing through music. Don’t miss out on today’s episode!


Listen to the podcast here:


01:19 Songs That Tell A Lifetime
10:45 The H-A-R-D Model and 6 Must-Read Books
19:29 Influence In Becoming A Great Storyteller
22:10 5 C’s To Make A Great Story
32:10 Choose Happiness
40:41 Passion In Music
47:04 All Of Us Is A Hero
51:26 Profitable Happiness





HAPPY- a word easy to spell but hard to feel. Join the conversation with @myexpectation and @drpeleraymond to catch that elusive happiness. #expectations#music#songs#happiness#storyteller#hope#dreams#H-A-R-D#You’reAHero Share on X



03:35 “You may have nothing, but if you have happy, you got a whole bunch of something.” – Dr. Pele Raymond

08:02 “The purpose of music is to give hope and to give life.”  – Dr. Pele Raymond

11:22 “People like to say that life is hard. But I like to say that life is H-A-R-D, How Adversity Reveals Destiny.”  – Dr. Pele Raymond

12:21 “Failure doesn’t really matter to us. We don’t fail…we learn…learning is what life is really about.” -Art Costello

15:19 “You’ve got to practice something so many times before you get any good about it.”   – Dr. Pele Raymond

17:23 “Money can’t make you happy, but happy can make you money.”  – Dr. Pele Raymond

35:48 “Happiness is something you do. Happiness is something you take, you possess, you own it.”  – Dr. Pele Raymond

49:28 “The greatest lessons we learn are from the stories of other people.”   – Dr. Pele Raymond

50:42 “In the absence of dreams and hope, we really have nothing.”  – Dr. Pele Raymond

Meet Dr. Pele:

Born and raised in a war-torn African refugee village, he was named after Pelé of Brazil, the greatest soccer player on earth, whose influence was so great that it stopped a bloody civil war. Dr. Pelè internalized his namesake’s simple, yet powerful secret of success- practice. He later transformed it, developing his unique skills in music, coaching, and inspirational speaking. He turned his attention to the world of business, where he created Big-Ticket Clients, a signature process for helping coaches, consultants, and advisors bridge the gaps between goals and greatness. Over the years, he has authored several books, major-label songs, and has spoken to diverse business audiences. In 2006, he became the Toastmasters District Six Champion of Public Speaking. Dr. Pelè is the best-selling author of ‘The 7 Songs Of A Successful Team’, a leadership parable for developing efficient and profitable organizational teams.




Art Costello: Welcome to the Shower Epiphanies Podcast. Today, I am honored, thrilled, excited to have Dr. Pele Raymond as our guest. He is an incredible human being. I’ve been on his show and really enjoyed it, and he and I have spoken some. He’s an author with five books and multiple song compositions, holds an MBA and PhD in organization and management. Today, he captures the attention of audiences around the world as a singer, songwriter, author, inspirational speaker, a podcast host, Dr. Pele artfully blends his passion for music and his purpose to educate and liberate the minds and hearts of professional audiences around the world. Man, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to do this with you.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Same here.

Art Costello: Can you tell us how this all started? The journey began with you.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Wow. Well, the answer I usually give to that question is, how much time do we have?

Art Costello: We got as much time as you need.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Just as you know, these are such circuitous stories, but I will say that I appreciate your introduction in terms of showing that I’m someone who wants to use my God given talents and passion, and to really put that in the purpose of serving other people. Otherwise for me it’s like, what’s the point? Where this all started for me was really, I’d have to take you back to the jungles of an African war zone. I know that that may seem a little extreme to some people, but back in the 60’s, the country I come from, Nigeria, was fighting his civil war with Biafra. And I think they had millions of people dying at the time, and I was about three years old, and bombs were exploding all over the place, and we were all hungry. In fact, if you’ve ever seen those pictures of young children with their stomachs protruding, little black and white pictures of hungry African kids in war zones, that was me. I know it’s hard to believe. I’ve got a little bit more skin on my bones these days, but I was one of those kids, and the trauma was so amazing. But you see, something happened in all of that pain that changed my life for good. My mother, in the absence of food, when we were all hungry, nowhere to get any sustenance and always afraid of dying, she would consistently do the strangest thing. She would sing songs, and the songs were about food. She would sing songs about soup, she would make up songs with my name in it. So I still know the songs till today, there was one called belelele, arrogancy, ababa, [inaudible], it’s like, where do you get these songs from? And she was singing about food, and we would chant along with her, and somehow, magically, we were no longer hungry. Magically, we were no longer afraid to die every second because we had music, and we had storytelling that was filling us up. So in my mind, wherever, I don’t know how things happen in this world where a parable happens and then a point is made in my mind, the parable of that situation taught me a lesson and it was this, ‘you may have nothing, but if you have happy, you got a whole bunch of something.’ And somehow that happiness has driven me. So I’ve been a lifelong musician, lifelong storyteller, and someone who wants to use those tools regardless of what happens in my life to help other people because that’s what helped me. So that’s kind of where it all started for me is just music and storytelling.

“You may have nothing, but if you have happy, you got a whole bunch of something.” - Dr. Pele Raymond Share on X

Art Costello: Yeah. One of my thoughts was, in hearing your story, do you think that the songs created hope? And when we have hope, it keeps us satisfied in a lot of ways and it keeps us safe. Because I’ve been working a lot with suicide and what happens with suicidal people is that they lose hope, they lose all hope and have nothing left. And you had a situation where all this death and destruction is all around, no food, I mean, you painted the picture and we’ve all seen it. It’s just dawned on me that the hope that your mom created you is such a gift, they kept you going. And that’s where hope is, where happiness lies.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Absolutely. Absolutely. The reality is that it’s really a metaphor for anyone’s life, because there are things we all need, at that time, what we needed was food. I remember my great grandfather, so my grandfather’s father, of all the people in the village, said he was not going to run away into the different refugee camps and all that. He was going to stay in his compound, which his father, and his father, and his father’s father had built, and he was going to die there. And when we were all preparing to run away from our compound in our village, my great grandfather called me aside, and he gave me a little box of sugar. They’re little blue boxes, and they have cubes, sugar, I’ll never forget that. A full box of sugar is like someone giving you a brand new BMW, that’s something we needed. So he said: “I have been saving this all my life. You are my great grandson. I give you this box of sugar so that can eat, and you can be satisfied.” And I remember running and giving it to my mother and she was like, wow. And she asked me, so he’s not going to come, he’s not going to run away with us. Nope, he’s going to stay here, and he’s going to die here. But he’s given us this food, you know? So when you talk about music, and songs, and stories giving us hope, absolutely. And wraps up the metaphor of the things we need, and the things we want, and the hope that we will get them into this positive little thing that we keep running and remembering in our minds, and it just keeps us sustained until we get those things.

Art Costello: Yeah. This is going to be a strange question, how much of your heritage, like that transfers into your music and composition that you write today?

Dr. Pele Raymond: Oh, my goodness. The funny thing is that, and we talked about career a little bit, but the funny thing is that I had this really sort of circuitous career, and I’ve done so many different things, many of which have failed because I’ve been a serial entrepreneur, got the PHD, got the six figure job and quit, and got fired in another one. I’ve just gotten so many things, but throughout my entire lifetime, only one thing has been consistent. And that is, I’ve always written songs, and I’ve always written books. I mean, that’s why I have six books now, and that’s why I have tons of songs. And if you look at every single song I’ve written, I don’t write songs about, Hey, baby, I love you. Can we go dancing tonight? All of my songs are songs of hope, songs of joy, I have songs like I got happy, or a song like thank you, showing gratitude, or another song called we shall not be broken. If you look at my songs, they’re always ME giving hope to myself. So to your question, somehow in that moment, back in the civil war when the bombs were falling, I was taught that the purpose of music is to give hope and to give life. Hey, it’s fine to sing about things like marriage and all that, we do that occasionally, but the greatest song I can ever write is a song that brings joy and hope to a heart so that that heart wakes up and wants to really go for it, and do the best they can do I think culturally that is a blessing, because people of color have tremendous rhythm and they’re very tone aware and all that, and Caucasian people can’t dance. I mean, I think it’s a gift, and I think that it’s a gift that God has given you to get you through the struggles that you’ve had to get through, and it’s awakened the world. I think music awakens the world, dance awakens the world to so many different things. Not about difference, but about being one.

“The purpose of music is to give hope and to give life.” - Dr. Pele Raymond Share on X

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yeah, I think you make a good point about the cultural aspect of it. Because my culture has made an art form, out of singing about pain. When you go into your pain and you come out with beauty, that is the cultural gift. I mean, there’s Beethoven, there’s beautiful music all over the world, but some music is born from pain, and that music wants to get you as far away from the pain as possible. And that’s the purpose of that music. And that I think is what you’re referring to, which my music happens to be about.

Art Costello: Yeah. And I think it’s just really beautiful. Because out of adversity, adversity seems to always create this platform for catapulting human kind to greater heights of understanding and greater heights of awareness, and that’s a good thing. I mean, I just think it’s a great thing to have that happen.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yeah. I have actually a model that I built for the book I’m currently writing, which is called Profitable Happiness. And I have a model regarding that. People like to say that life is hard, but I like to say that life is H-A-R-D, How Adversity Reveals Destiny.

“People like to say that life is hard. But I like to say that life is H-A-R-D, How Adversity Reveals Destiny.” - Dr. Pele Raymond Share on X

Art Costello: Ah, that’s great.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yeah. So that model, H-A-R-D is a model that I use to help people dispute the thinking in their own mind. When things go wrong, are you optimistic? Or are you a pessimistic person? How do you respond? So if you can say, Hey, how do I feel? What’s the adversity that happened? What has it revealed in my life? And what am I going to do about it that will lead me to my destiny? Those four steps can help you dispute in your own mind what’s going wrong so that you can actually challenge your own negative thoughts.

Art Costello: Yeah, definitely. Can you kind of tell us what your writing is like other than the musical end, but I know that you’ve done a lot of diverse things like I have, I mean, we’re both serial entrepreneurs and not afraid to try things because failure doesn’t really matter to us. We don’t fail because we learn.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yeah.

Art Costello: Learning is what life is really about.

“Failure doesn't really matter to us. We don't fail...we learn...learning is what life is really about.” -Art Costello Share on X

Dr. Pele Raymond: It’s interesting, I think not only do we not fail, we actually bounce, you and I bounce because he’s like, okay, Oh, alright, you think I would stop? I’m going right back up further than I came before. So let me show right here, actually, I always keep behind me all of my books that I’ve currently written, and the very first one to show you what I’ve done is called The Legacy, and it was a novel. The interesting thing about this novel is that I wrote so many things that actually came true in my life, in my family’s life. So it’s almost like a prophecy. But this is about the story of an African American young man who finds out that he’s actually Nigerian. And he goes back to Nigeria to discover his heritage, and his rich father, and he finds out there’s a whole bunch of trouble to deal with. So that was sort of story number one, I never marketed it. In fact, there’s something interesting that goes through all of my books except the current one. I wrote all of them just because I did not market them. I didn’t know how to market them, I just wrote them and then moved on to the next project, but not anymore.

But anyway, the next book I wrote is called Parable Point Presentations. And this is my first nonfiction book, of course. This was a book in rebellion against PowerPoint presentations. I felt that instead of Bullet Point and PowerPoint presentations, we got to start telling stories, that’s what the parable is for, stories that make points. And if you can build a presentation based on one story and one point, or two stories in two points, you’re golden, that’s all you need, so that was that book.

The third book was called The Story Of You. And you can see me here, I’m holding a soccer ball. And this book was designed for people who need to learn about themselves, and how learning about your own history can help power your future, design your new life by looking backwards at what you’ve been through. And the reason I’m carrying the soccer ball is because I was named after Pele, the greatest soccer player on earth. And the interesting thing is that I do not know how to play soccer, I can’t play soccer to save my life. But the fact that, back in that same civil war, Pele announced that he was going to do a world soccer match, he was going to do an exhibition match. So different countries were inviting it. Now, believe it or not, the Nigerian civil war, the people running that war decided to stop killing each other for 48 hours, two days, so that they could have Pele come safely into the country and play soccer. That’s just how amazing his power and his influence was. And that’s why he’s such a hero to so many of us. And my father gave me that name. But the interesting thing is I can’t play soccer, but I translated the idea of influence and practice that you’ve got to practice something so many times before you get any good about it. And so this book is about, how do you practice things till you’re so good that it becomes a muscle memory and you can use those things to create your new life.

“You've got to practice something so many times before you get any good about it.” - Dr. Pele Raymond Share on X

Anyway, one more book to go, or actually two more. This one is called The Three Gaps Between Goals And Greatness. Now this was after I got my PhD, and I was really focused now on organization management. And it’s actually a leadership parable, so it’s a story about leadership, and how leadership can go wrong, and what you can do to fix it. What are the three gaps? Those three gaps are behavior, habits and community.

And then the most recent book is called Big-Ticket Clients. This is when I shifted from leadership development. I just ran away from all of that and went into marketing. And I have spent a few years now becoming pretty much a marketing expert, about how to help consultants and coaches get into big companies. So this book was about, the subtitle is You Can’t Catch A Whale With A Worm! And you’ll see a quote by Marshall Goldsmith up here, he says that I teach in a way that is a, it’s kind of story-based, but anyway, he says: “Dr. Pele’s teaching’s style is so enjoyable, you won’t even know you’re learning.” So I always cherish when Dr. Marshall Goldsmith’s say that. But this book, Big-Ticket Clients was all about, how do you as a coach or a consultant in any industry get into big companies? How do you do that? Well, the way you do it is by not doing all the small ticket marketing strategies like email, and spamming people, and doing all that stuff. But the way you actually do it, it says You Can’t Catch A Whale With A Worm. The way you actually do catch a whale is by becoming a center of influence. So when people look and see you as the sort of the center of influence, the place, the hub of activity, and knowledge about a certain topic, they’ll come to you instead of you having to go to them. Those are the books I’ve written.

The one I’m currently writing, it’s called Profitable Happiness. Money can’t make you happy, but happiness can make you money. And this is closer to us because the happiness I’m talking about is the wellness industry, the happiness industry, the corporate, you know, workplace wellness industry, it’s a huge billion dollar industry with a lot of consultants and coaches who are trying to go in and help people become more mindful, helping them become happy and so on. And the problem they have marketing, the number one problem they have is, how do I become a center of influence, which is exactly what I’m solving here. So I’m not solving the problem of how do you become better mindful, or be better had to be, happiness, I’m not solving that problem. There’s a solution for that, everybody’s got that. The problem is how do you get into that HR department and have them actually pay you $10,000 for your program so you can help out.

Art Costello: I need to read it.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Well, that’s why I’ve called Profitable Happiness. Because we all can do happiness, but the best happiness is when you are actually profitable from doing it. You’re getting good feedback that people are actually improving and it’s helping.

Art Costello: You’re an expert storyteller and it goes through your books. I mean, that theme of telling stories. Did your mom influence you to make you a great storyteller?

Dr. Pele Raymond: Well, thank you for that compliment. First of all, I really appreciate when people actually do, see those things and care, but I would actually have to say yes, and it’s one of those, yes. My father was actually the bigger storyteller between my mother and father, because both of them had PhD’s, but at the time in that civil war, my father was gone. He was in America getting his degree at the University of Minnesota, but my father was, he came back to Africa and became the first professor of mass communication at the university of Lagos. It’s kind of a prestigious university from my village, a very successful storyteller in the media, he was a journalist. He’s written several books, he was a big deal before he died in 1987. But I’ve definitely followed his footsteps in terms of wanting to stick close to a career that allows me to tell stories. And boy, marketing is that career, marketing is these storytelling careers.

Art Costello: Yeah. A lot of people don’t think about it in that sense, but it’s true. Yeah. I heard something that peaked my interest. You said your mom and dad had both had PhD’s?

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yeah.

Art Costello: So education has been huge in your background.

Dr. Pele Raymond: It has. It’s been THE thing to do. Although I have a love hate relationship with education because I think that a lot of people think that getting a PhD is going to make you a lot of money. And I’m sorry to tell you that it’s not necessarily going to do that for you, but it does give you a strong foothold in how to learn and how to teach others. It helps you understand how to do research, and how it helps you understand critical thinking and design thinking. Because if you’re going to do a graduate degree in dissertation and all that, you’re going to have to figure out how to tell a story no one else has actually told before. That’s the whole point.

Art Costello: That is the truth. That is the truth. Yeah, we keep falling back on the storytelling and it’s so darn important to be able to tell a good story. Are there any tips you can give people how to tell a story? What makes a good storyteller? Do you think that we’re born into it? Or do you think it’s a learned skill? I mean, there’s some people that are better at it than others, and there’s some people that are downright bad at it.

Dr. Pele Raymond: So the truth is that, it is a learned skill, and know that a lot of people have charisma and some people know how to really act out a story and all those things, but that’s all secondary. Storytelling is probably one of the few skills that human beings all share and can do very well. Even children wake up as good storytellers. If you ask my daughter who’s very young, what she did today, just sit down and take a seat because she’d go tell you for a while what you did today. They just keep going. But yes, it is learned and I do have a model for it. In my book, The Story Of You, I actually created a five step model, I call the 5C’s. Now I did not invent it, but I created the model. And basically if you go back there, there are some huge people in the world of storytelling like Joseph Campbell who talks about The Hero’s Journey. So if you look at his books, what I did was I looked at his books and a lot of his writings, and I came up with a model that is similar to what he calls The Hero’s Journey, but much simplified, and it’s the 5C’s. So the very first C is, what is the context? What is the context that you find yourself in today? So if you’re going to tell a story, you have to start with, okay, the world was happy, here’s where we were, the sun was shining, that’s the context. If you don’t start with the context, it is not a story. If you don’t tell us the time, and the place, and the where, and the why, it is not a story, it’s just a rattling of words. So context is really what helps you know if something is a story. And when I used to teach storytelling, I would actually have students take a look at a phrase and say, okay, is this a story or not? And the one that starts with something like, 1985, I saw a person walking down the road. The sun was shining, that’s a story. I got my time, I got my place. But the one that starts with John, hi, how are you doing, with no context, it loses me. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is the needs to be a challenge, right? Something has to go wrong or not be quite right, and it has to perk our interest. If there’s no challenge, if nothing went wrong in the world, then there’s nothing for us to fix. There’s nowhere for us to go. A goal has to be set, a gap has to be created, and once you create a gap, then we want to fill that gap, we want to close that gap, and that’s what a challenge does. So the second C is we need a challenge. In that same timeframe of finding the challenge, we also meet the character, because the character is the person that challenge happened too. So any of the movies you’ve ever watched, they follow these same five steps that I’m sharing right now. The challenge takes us into the character of the person, and we now have the person in his problem, and we’re ready to pursue the future. So the third C is changed. You have to bring change. I actually used this same model when I talked to consultants and coaches because this is how I help them tell their story, and how I help them tell the story of their customers. You know, it’s all a story. Everything in life is a story. So the change you bring is the answer to the challenges that were created for that character. And the change could be, Oh, he learned that he had to become a kinder person and to walk a little bit slower, and therefore you change that way, and therefore. Then the next thing is the climax. What is the celebration? The success, when did we actually see evidence that life has become better for the hero? And once you see that, then the next thing you see, and this is universal storytelling, every culture has this in some form or the other. The last C after the climax is the close or the circumstance, sorry, the consequence, the circumstances that we see after everything has happened, how did the world return to normal? Did they walk away into the sunset and live together forever and ever? Or did the man slowly but surely die and close his eyes? What happened next? So those are the five C’s of a great story. If you can sit down on a piece of paper and say, okay, I’m about to tell a story. What are my five C’s? What’s my context? What’s my character? My challenge? My climax? What’s my change before that? Then the climax, and then what’s my close? The close is always the point of the parable. It is the why we’ve been listening for so long. And you need all those elements or else you have a story.

Art Costello: Yeah, I mean, that’s a fundamental truth to storytelling right there. So if you wanna craft a story, there’s the formula for it.

Dr. Pele Raymond: There’s the formula.

Art Costello: And speaking of stories, I want to hear your story of how you came to the United States.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Oh, wow. That’s a good one. Well, luckily, I didn’t come on a boat. I know that’s a deep thing to say. I actually, my father died in 1987, he had an intention for me to come to the States to study because my mother, his wife at the time, my stepmother, mymy, I call her, and my siblings, my little ones from their marriage, they had already relocated to the US, and so my father had always said, if I do well in my education and I do this and do that, he was going to send me to America, but then he died. And when he died, I was alone in Nigeria. When I say alone, the rest of my family, my mom and the kids were all in the US, and I had no support system, and I was barely 20 plus years old. So the question for me was, I gotta get outta here. I have to go stay with my mom where I have someone who can take care of me and so on and so forth. So I sold the very last few things my father had left, which wasn’t much, and I had about a hundred dollars in my name after buying my ticket to the US, and I called my mom and she was going to sign a form for me that said she was my mom, and that’s all I needed. I didn’t need to come here illegally or anything like that, I just came because my mom was here. And my mom is an American, and just so there’s no confusion. The mother I spoke about when I first started is my biological mother, but my father remarried when he came to the States in the 60s, so I had a stepmother who raised me actually. So I came here, showed up here in the States with my $100, and promptly went and bought a guitar, because that’s what you do when you have $100 in America. You’re broke, but you got your music, you got to get that music so you can survive. And I was here, and then I went and did architecture school because that’s what I was doing back in Nigeria, finished that degree and then went on from there. So that’s how I came to the US.

Art Costello: So you have a degree in architecture?

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yup. My first, my bachelor is a bachelor of architecture, my masters is a masters of business, and then my PhD is in organization and management. So I finished architecture and then I promptly said to myself, I am not an architect. Sorry, I’m a musician. So I started doing my music and I realized, wait a second, my dad would have wanted me to do this education thing so I went back into that.

Art Costello: They’re both creative though. I mean, they’re both creative things. One, you create buildings and plans and all that, and the other one you create beautiful music and writing and all that kind of stuff. I think there’s something to be said about the creative mind. When you feed the creative mind, we talk about the possibility of everything, and you don’t let things discourage you, and you just really, really flourish. Do you think you had an economic advantage because your parents had PhDs? Do you think that there was any advantage to you versus other Nigerian young men growing up?

Dr. Pele Raymond: I had an educational advantage, not an economical one. In fact, I can tell you for sure that I felt very oppressed as a young man because the people and my classmates, many of them were sons and daughters of presidents and ministers and they had big things, lots of money. And I had none because my father was not a rich man, but my father was very educated and that put me and gave me opportunities. But this thing you say about creative minds, if I could just touch on that real quick, one of the things I really love about your show is the free form creativity of it. Because what you call Shower Epiphanies, I think I mentioned this to you, it’s so dear to me because I get my most creative ideas in this hour. I can’t tell you the psychology of it, but I love it. I think you’re right, there’s something to be said about creativity, but you can’t do it unless you’re free and you know your mind is free.

Art Costello: I want to address one thing about Shower Epiphanies, I think that is what it is, and I want your thoughts on this. When we’re in the shower, we’re standing there naked, we’re totally exposed to the world, the elements to everything. And when water goes over your body, there’s a cleansing to it, and our mind cleanses, it clears, you put your head, your face up into that water and let it flow over you, and it washes all the troubles away and you feel clean. And when you do that, it releases, I think, into our bodies, endorphins that just let us become, I mean, I daydream in the shower. I mean, my best thoughts come in the shower that’s why I called it Shower Epiphany show. But that’s me, and it’s not that way for everybody. I talked to a guy a few weeks ago that tells me that he drives long distances in the car. He’ll go to Oklahoma, and Kansas, and California, and drive in his car all the time. And he goes from point A to point B in New Mexico somewhere, and he can’t remember driving.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Oh, my gosh.

Art Costello: Because his mind goes, but his senses obviously still are in driving because he doesn’t have crashes. And one of my questions was, how many times have you crashed? Never.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Or maybe he can’t remember it.

Art Costello: But he just goes into this state, this mental state where he daydreams, but yet he’s conscious of his driving and stuff. So everybody’s different, and that’s what’s so beautiful about people is they’re all different. We all have different ways of learning, and we have all different things that we can learn from each other. I was just trying to, in my head, in the beginning of the show you talked about starving children and all that, and we think about that, and when you’re starving and you’re hungry like that, it’s hard to see the brighter sides of life. It’s about survival. It’s all those survival instincts kicking in and wanting us to survive, and just survive however we can, gotta be hard to learn under those circumstances.

Dr. Pele Raymond: I actually, in my experience, I have come to challenge that ocean. And I’ll tell you why. Because you would be shocked at the happiness of these impoverished young children running around, playing games, tagging themselves and just being so happy even though they had nothing. They seem like they should be unhappy, but they’re very happy.

Art Costello: You actually read my mind because in my mind, I’m trying to go through, when we see villages dancing and when we know that they’re not only hungry, they’re thirsty for water and all of those things, but yet we see them dancing and happy.

“Happiness is something you do. Happiness is something you take, you possess, you own it.” - Dr. Pele Raymond Share on X

Dr. Pele Raymond: I wrote a song called I GOT HAPPY, and the words were intentionally chosen. So it’s not, I am happy, it is I GOT IT, I have it. I possess because I chose it, and I’ve taken it in. When we think of happiness as a feeling that we have, we lose the opportunity that is really there, which is happiness is something you do. Happiness is something you take, you possess, you own it. And those children that you’re referring to, in Africa for example, they’ve grabbed onto the things that make them happy and they’re holding tight. They’re not focusing on the things that they don’t have. As you know, whatever we feed, grows, right? If you feed the plants on this side and you don’t feed the plants on this side, you’ll see the difference in a day or two. So they feed the things that make them happy, so they keep singing songs, they keep dancing, they keep doing happiness, and by doing happiness, they feel happiness. And then it’s like the doing leads to the feeling. I love the study of happiness because it’s the one thing everybody would say they really, truly want. And yet it’s so out of reach for people, even though they have money. That’s why the subtitle of my book is Money Can’t Make You HAPPY, But HAPPY Can Make You Money.

“Money can't make you happy, but happy can make you money.” - Dr. Pele Raymond Share on X

Art Costello: Yeah. You’d be really interested in this. When I was young and starting out in the psychology field, I worked with Dr. Stuart Brown, who is one of the world’s renowned researchers in play, and play is so essential to the development of children. And we always see kids playing. But what we found is when children don’t play, they have really stunted developmental growth. What Dr. Brown started researching was serial killers, mass murderers, mass killers. And mass killers, the one thing that they all have in common, they did not play as children.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Wow.

Art Costello: That was the synopsis of years of researching people. Dr. Brown has an organization called the National Foundation For Play, in LA Jolla, California, San Diego. And he’s a huge proponent of having children play. And it is so important. But we see that impoverished places sometimes all they have is the song and the play. And that’s why they’re so healthy.

Dr. Pele Raymond: And sometimes we’re so good at soccer like Pele, because they would play with sticks on the street, I mean, literally, if they didn’t have a ball. And as you say, play, it’s gotta be one of the things that evolution has built into our lives to allow us to survive.

Art Costello: Yeah. And what I think is play creates dreams. When we play as children, we start to dream, because I can remember being a little boy and playing baseball, and my dreams were huge about being a Major League baseball player and star. And then when I was nine, that was all yanked away from me because my parents moved to a very remote area in Upstate New York where we had no kids to play with. Our nearest neighbors were three miles away and they were in their 90’s, and I just had nothing, and I became very depressed. It absolutely depressed me, but I always hung onto that dream. And when I got into my 20’s, and when I went into the Marine Corps and escaped my environment, one of the things I did in the Marine Corps was play baseball.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Oh, wow.

Art Costello: And then when I went to college, I played baseball. And then when I got out of college, I played baseball. And it was the thing that brought me the most joy.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Wow.

Art Costello: And then I transitioned into the music industry because of an opportunity that arose with having a roommate that was built on harpsichords and wrote classical music, rock music and all that. But it was the dream. I’ve always dreamt about doing things that I never let things stop me. Did you ever let anything stop you? How did you handle obstacles?

Dr. Pele Raymond: Well, with respect to music or playing of anything, I think I’m kind of like you. Nothing has been able to stop me. In fact, I remember once I had a guitar and a keyboard that I’d gotten from my biological mother, and he had found out, and he came in and broke all my instruments and told me they didn’t want me to play this silly music. Music is for people who don’t have jobs or something like that, I remember that. And now if you come to my house, where you know Art, we live in the same city, so we may have an opportunity to do that. You will see that I have about 12 guitars, six keyboards at grand piano. I mean, it’s ridiculous how I have survived with the music regardless of being STOPPED literally by my dad. So nothing stops us because it puts us in that flow, as you said, that dream state. When we do the thing that we love to do, nothing stops us.

Art Costello: Passion. It becomes your passion, and things that you’re passionate about, you will always, you’ll give up anything. I mean, some people, it’s love. I mean, some people it’s music, some people it’s business. But when you’re passionate about it, you’ll overcome all obstacles. That’s one of the things that I think is so important about what I do when I work with people about identifying, I really want to identify what they’re passionate about and what they want to do with it. Because once you can get somebody into that frame of mindfulness, it really becomes very simple. About creating a happy life.

Dr. Pele Raymond: I agree. Because in fact, not only do I agree with that, I’ve struggled with this question of passion all my life, I’ve always been confronted with two types of passion. I’ve always sought feedback about my passion. And if I put something out into the world that I’m passionate about and the external feedback is not positive or doesn’t make me feel like I’ve done a great thing, then I feel bad. And then there’s another kind of feedback that comes to you that doesn’t come from the outside world, it comes from inside. So after trying so many different things, I’ve finally landed at the things where I get my feedback from myself. When I play my guitar, I don’t need anybody to listen to it. I am really truly in that moment, and inside that guitar, inside my own fingers, and I’m getting all the feedback I need. So that external feedback passion is dangerous, because when the feedback stops, you might stop or you may just lose interest and move on. But when the feedback you’re getting is actually internal about that passion, that’s the one you want to stick with, in my opinion.

Art Costello: No, I agree. Because when it comes internally, because I address internal expectations versus external. External expectations really have no effect on us, it’s the internal expectations we have and set for ourselves that set the course of our life. But I wanted to address one more thing about what you were saying. Do you know what the two things that every man, woman and child on this earth needs?

Dr. Pele Raymond: Okay. Am I supposed to save food and shelter, and yet it’s more like love and happiness, or something.

Art Costello: You are very close. But you made me think of it when you were talking, it’s love and validation. We are required to be loved, and we require what we do say has validation that it has meaning in this world.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yes.

Art Costello: Those are the things, you can do that through music, you can create validation through music. That’s why when you say about having self validation and all that, the two things that every man, woman, and child, not only desires but they SEEK continuously. Because when you were listening to people, what they were giving you feedback, that’s a form of validation. Sometimes it’s incorrect, people can be brutal. Sometimes they can tell you non-truths about that. But when you do the internal validation, that when you know that people are resonating with what you’re saying with your books, with your thoughts and words that you’ve written, your music that you’ve written, and your poetry and all that, those are validated. That validates who you are.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yeah. And in fact, we’ve all heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and a lot of people talk about how you’ve got the physiological needs, the food, and the shelter, and then social needs, and then you’ve got the happiness, things like self actualization, and love, and all those things at the very top. And Maslow’s stating that those things happen in a sequence. Meaning, you need to first get the house, shelter, and all those things before your mind opens up to the other ones, and so on. I challenged that in my book. I am proposing that Maslow was not wrong, but he was misunderstood. Because Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has contributed to this faulty belief system in society, that success is what makes us happy, that we have to first achieve these things before we can start being happy. And what I’m saying is that we all know from common sense actually, because as we said, those children in Africa, they choose their happiness first. They start from happiness, they have none of the food, and the shelter, and the things of sustenance, but they choose happiness and they start from there. And because you do happiness, it can actually lead you to those tangible benefits that we want. And that’s the whole point of profitable happiness, when you flip Maslow’s hierarchy upside down and you say, you know what, I may not have the best car or the best house that I want in my life, but I got happy, and I have it right here in my guitar, and so I’m going to play this guitar. As George Benson once said, you know, George Benson once said in his song, actually that I can play this heir guitar. I can’t remember, it’s like dat, dat, dat, dat, on Broadway, that song, for anybody who likes George Benson, he said in that song, I’m gonna play this heir guitar because I can play it and that’s what’s going to take me to Broadway. So I think for all of us, we have to figure out what it is. What is it that really makes you happy? And can you stick with that thing long enough for that thing to actually bear fruit for you, because that is your thing. That’s what I should do.

Art Costello: I’m going to ask you a question that I don’t know if you’ve ever been asked this before, but it’ll be interesting. You brought up Campbell’s Journey Of Hero’s. Are you on a hero’s journey?

Dr. Pele Raymond: No one has asked me that before, I love that question. And you know what? I have two answers. One is arrogant and one is not. The arrogant one is, heck yes, I’m on a hero’s journey. Hey, yeah, Oh yeah, everybody. But my real answer is we are all on a hero’s journey. All of us, every single one of us is a hero. And the simple reason is because we all have a problem to solve. We have a context, we have a challenge, we have to create change in our lives. And then we have to get to the climax and the conclusion of our stories. So that makes us a hero. We don’t have to be the president of the United States. We don’t have to be Mother Teresa, we can just be a guy like me down the street you’ve never heard of, who’s living a complete life with a complete story. And that makes he or she a hero?

Art Costello: Very well said. I mean, very, very well said, because we all are on hero’s journeys. That’s something I wish more people would read The Hero’s Journey because it would really open up a lot of eyes and a lot of minds to what life is about, it’s an incredible book.

Dr. Pele Raymond: I think his greatest contribution from those books that he wrote is that everybody’s story is the same. Like the stories of creation for example in different cultures are astonishingly similar. From the Bible, to the Koran, to the religions in my village, to Buddhism, I mean, when you start to look at the characters in those stories, they’re very similar. So what does that tell us? We’re all the same somewhere.

Art Costello: Well, and that’s one thing that I’ve always thought is that we have more similarities than we do differences, we just choose not to see him because of government, religion, politics, all of these exterior things. I did an interview yesterday with a man who’s a quantum physicist, and really, really brought it to mind for me. He wants to create a group of people like you and I who just can steer away from all the differences there are and focus on the similarities that we have and what we can do, because it will change the world when we realize that we are all the same, that we’re all seeking the same things, that we’re all really caring people.

Dr. Pele Raymond: And also when we realize that sometimes the greatest lessons we learn are from the stories of other people, not our own stories. Even though we all have our own stories, sometimes you hear the story of some guy from Alaska or something, I’m just thinking of a place that’s so far away. And his story can change your life. So if we can just be open to listening to each other, as you said.

“The greatest lessons we learn are from the stories of other people.” - Dr. Pele Raymond Share on X

Art Costello: When I tell my story, I always think other people’s stories are more important than my story. It’s just part of how I am, because I’m just so moved by other people’s stories. Maybe it’s just because I live my story and I know that the ending is so beautiful and so great. I want that for other people, and I mean, that’s what I’ve done with my life. We all have trials, and tribulations, and we all have challenges. What really matters is the here and now and how we came to be there, and helping other people get there to see that no matter whatever happens to you, keep the hope and the dreams alive. Because when we do that, we get a chance of making this world a better place.

Dr. Pele Raymond: I don’t remember, my wife likes to tell me a little parable or not a parable. A little saying about, if we no longer have dreams, then what do we have? I can’t remember how she says it. I’ll have to see if I can remember, but yeah, in the absence of dreams and hope, we really have nothing, we have nothing. If you ain’t got that, you ain’t got nothing.

“In the absence of dreams and hope, we really have nothing.” - Dr. Pele Raymond Share on X

Art Costello: It sounds like the title book of a song.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Well, actually I have a song where I say, if you ain’t got love, you ain’t got nothing, if you ain’t got love.

Art Costello: That’s the truth. We’re heading out to nearly an hour, I want to give you time to let people know where they can get ahold of you, how they can get ahold of you, and any good things that you’ve got coming up, and I have a large audience here in Austin so you can plug anything you got going on in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Pele Raymond: I appreciate that. Well, the best way to get ahold of me is to go to my website, which is drpele.com, and that is D-R-P-E-L-E. So if you want to use a www, it would be W-W-W-D-R-P-E-L-E.C-O-M. There I have stuff about me, my music, my speaking, my keynotes, my podcast is there. What I’m very excited about right now though that I’m launching is my podcasts. I’ve recently switched my podcast, the name is PROFITABLE HAPPINESS, and I’m really excited about my podcast because I feel like I finally got it now, I’ve got the name that I was looking for. The point that I want to make in this world and that is happiness can actually be profitable. So my podcast, I featured guests who can talk about the happiness and wellness industry, and how they create happiness for others, how the love of what they do has led them to their own success and so on. So I’m doing, in February, I’m going to be doing an online virtual summit where I’m going to be inviting some of the world’s top happiness experts and top executive coaching experts who will come together and talk about happiness in the workplace, and how happy employees make profitable companies, what’s the mechanics of that? And then as a consultant, how do you use marketing tools to actually get jobs that will allow you to help people become happier in the workplace? So that’s what I’m really excited about is it’s going to be called the profitable happiness summit online.

Art Costello: That’s going to be great. I can’t wait to have that happen. Like I said in the beginning of the show, we need so much happiness in this world, and in corporate America they need a lot.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yes.

Art Costello: Maybe we can really guide it to a political happiness in Washington DC.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Well, Art, you’re going to be a part of that because I’ve already invited you. You’re one of our speakers, so I’m looking forward to that.

Art Costello: Well, I’m looking forward to it too. So anyway, we’ve about run out of time, and I wanted to let you know that I appreciate you so much and you’ve given us so much valuable information to the audience, and I’m going to encourage the audience to go to your website, to support you in any way they can because I know you’re a difference maker, and difference makers make a big difference in this world.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Thank you so much Art. I really appreciate you, and it’s been fun being on your show. Thanks.

Art Costello: Yep. Everybody knows where they can get a hold of me, and they know that in the show notes will be everything that Dr. Pele’s put out here, that we can contact him in the show notes. So with that being said, I’m going to let Heather White take us out of here for this day. I always hate saying goodbye to people that I care about so much, and you’ve meant so much, and you and I will get together now that we know that we’re both in Austin.

Dr. Pele Raymond: Yes, yes, yes. All right.

Art Costello: All right. With that being said, goodbye folks.




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