The Choice Effect

The Awakening of Sean Kanan: A Tale of Redemption and Empowerment

September 27, 2023 Sonny Von Cleveland Season 1 Episode 10
The Choice Effect
The Awakening of Sean Kanan: A Tale of Redemption and Empowerment
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What defining moment could shift your perspective and fuel you with a fiery determination to reach your goals? Actor Sean Kanan, best remembered for his role in Karate Kid 3, shares a captivating personal transformation ignited by just such an encounter with death's door. His story of triumph over addiction, the inner work of self-discovery, and the power of marriage in steering him toward a healthier path is a beacon of hope and resilience.

Sean enlightens us with the magic that springs from changing our perspectives, tapping into the power of self-talk, and harnessing kindness in our relationships. We traverse through his morning routine of gratitude, hydration, meditation, and journaling, which sets the tone for better days and instills in him a healthier lifestyle. We also delve into the impact of personal stories on our destiny, the beauty of overcoming victimhood, and the will to win that we can all tap into. 

This is a conversation dotted with Sean's wisdom on the power of motivation and manifestation. We tap into the value of mentorship and how pivotal it has been in Sean's life. Finally, we discuss the faith in manifestation and how we can rewrite our personal narratives to empower ourselves. This isn’t just a simple chat but a road trip through Sean Canaan’s life, his struggles, and his victories, an inspirational journey that holds the promise to transform lives and perspectives.

Detailing the promotion of Hey White Boy - Conversations Of Redemption

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Thank you for joining us on the Choice Effect Podcast. This is Sonny Von Cleveland, reminding you that every challenge is an opportunity for transformation. Your past doesn't define you; your choices do. Let's keep inspiring, healing, and choosing paths that lead to our best selves. Until next time, stay empowered and remember: You have the power to change your story.

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Sonny Von Cleveland:

What's up everybody. Welcome to a very special edition of the Choice Effect podcast Today. My guest needs no introduction. Well known for his iconic role in Karate Kid 3 as the badass of karate, mike Barnes, also AJ Quarterman in General Hospital, deacon and the Bold and the Beautiful, but there's so much more to Sean Kanan that we're gonna decipher right now and find out a pivotal choice in his life that he's made to live his best life. Sean, welcome to the show. So good to see you, brother. Thank you for having me. Those that may not know you Karate Kid 3 was 80s. Yep, I conic 80s. I grew up on it, me too. And so these people that might not know tell them a little bit of your history, about acting, what you've done and how you've gotten to this point.

Sean Kanan:

So I came from a small western Pennsylvania steel town called Newcastle, pennsylvania, and when I was in my early years in high school I really decided that I wanted to be an actor, knew that I would have to leave my small town and either go to New York or go to Los Angeles. So I went to school in Boston University for two years and then I transferred out to UCLA to finish my degree in political science and started knocking on doors right away and I found out about an open call for the new bad guy for the Karate Kid 3, and I went and stood in line with probably 2,000 people and John Abelson, who had directed Rocky, won the Academy Award for that and directed the Karate Kid, karate Kid 2, a lot of other things picked me out of line and brought me inside to screen test with Ralph Maccio and I eventually got the role and it's changed the trajectory of my life in so many ways.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And if you have to get his book Way of the Cobra because he went through something very traumatic the Christmas of the year that you were shooting this and you almost died.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, we'd been filming for about two weeks and I started having some pain in my left thigh, which I attributed to all the martial arts I was doing, and so I was taking a lot of aspirin. And we broke for Christmas and I went to Las Vegas and Christmas Day 1988 I passed out in the Dunes Casino and they took me to Humana Sunrise Hospital and the pain in my leg really was blood dripping on my femoral artery because I had injured myself internally and the blood exacerbated. The bleeding, made it worse. I lost a tremendous amount of blood and was almost going into shock and they had to perform life-saving surgery on me and it was, to date, probably the scariest thing that's ever happened to me and you had like a week to get back into.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, about two weeks, two weeks to, you know, I had myself discharged from the hospital against medical advice and I made it back to the set and I started training with a guy from the Rams and long story short. I wound up doing all my own martial arts stunts in the film and you know I always joke. There was a good thing that I had a black gi on, because if I had a white one you probably would have seen the blood coming through.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, I mean, the wound wasn't completely healed, you know. But it's amazing how something that in the moment seems like it's ostensibly a catastrophe, something really bad and negative, but with the expansion of time you learn that things that might initially seem to be one way morph into something that's very positive, and I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone, but I wouldn't trade it for anything because it had such a profound effect on my life and I think one of the the most pivotal things about that experience is perspective.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Some people can look at that and think this is it, I'm toast, and they give up. And you took that and used it as fuel and motivation and that seems like it's been a constant in your life since then.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, you know, I think I think your why, whatever it is in life is so important. It's that driving force. Yeah, and you know, initially I was really angry, I was pissed off, I thought it was so unfair that this had happened to me. I thought it was unfair the way I was being treated by the studio. You know, there were no balloons, no flowers, it was just. You know, get back to work in two weeks or you're fired and we're gonna have to replace you. And I understand that. You know they were making a movie and there's a lot of money online. But very quickly, that that rage and anger gave way to a fierce sense of determination, sure, and that's what fueled me and allowed me to, you know, make it to the finish line in the film, and so this is the beginning of Sean's career, yeah, and we're gonna jump way forward.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

We know that you've had a really good and successful career Emmy Awards, daytime shows, movies producing but you're also an author and a speaker and a motivational coach, and this is where I really want to get to, because there was a choice in your life, and a lot of people might not know this, but let's, let's talk about this monumental decision that you made. There's actually two of them quitting drinking and getting married. Yeah, can you walk us through the series of events that led you to this life changing choice and its subsequent impact on your life?

Sean Kanan:

You know, I had struggled with a drinking issue for a really long time. I I would be able to put together long periods of sobriety, but I always felt like I was just kind of, you know, fingers in the dashboard sort of thing, and I think ultimately it was because I hadn't done the work that I needed to do on myself internally, and so I could, out of sheer force of will, I could hang on for a while, but it was always the same merry-go-round cycle that I would, I would hang on for a while. Invariably, you know, I'd start drinking again, I would cause some kind of calamity in my life, you know that would then spur me to start another bout of sobriety. I would hang on as long as I can, you know, and it was a never-ending process and during the time that I was writing Way of the Cobra, I just, you know, actually started before before that, it started around the time of my 50th birthday. I got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame here in Palm Springs. It's my 50th birthday. You know they, the mayor, came, people came from Hollywood and spoke.

Sean Kanan:

It was, it was a big day, and when the smoke had lifted and the five-day party had ended, I really was left with the feeling that I felt like a fraud. You know, I was looking in the mirror wondering what was next, and the scary part was I had no idea. To make matters worse, I was 30 some pounds overweight. You know, my, my career was really teetering on just trying to keep it together with, you know, bailing wire and chewing gum, and I realized that I was gonna have to save myself and no one else was gonna do it, and I decided there was gonna be no more of this waiting for my ship to come in crap. I was gonna build the damn ship, that's right. I just had to figure out how to do it, and I'd like to tell you that I figured it out quickly, but I didn't. But I figured out eventually, and the strategies and the philosophy that I used to change my life are, you know, all all encapsulated in Way of the Cobra and the sequel.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Welcome to the Kumate what were the sources of inspiration that you used to define that path? Because I imagine that you didn't just sit down one day and we're like, okay, let me go into Zen mode and I have figured out the formula. Were there inspirational figures that you looked at and we're like, okay, if I take some of this and I take some of this and I take some of this, here's the way I'm gonna do this yeah, that's.

Sean Kanan:

That's an interesting point that you raise. It wasn't one specific thing. There were several prongs that all were poking me in the ass getting me to to do this. The first is I love acting and I knew that being overweight and struggling with alcohol was keeping me from having the career that I really knew I could have. And when I got really honest and was instead of saying you know how come I'm not getting hired for the jobs I want to get hired for, I said well, hey, sean, let me tell you why you're not getting hired. You know, because you're acting like an asshole and you know you're not taking your fitness seriously and you know you don't deserve those jobs. And I decided to get serious.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I really it sounds like that was a moment you were just real with yourself.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, yeah, you know you talk about these moments of clarity. Another really profound moment was I heard somebody say something which sounds so simple, but they said wouldn't you give up one thing to have everything?

Sean Kanan:

it just resonated with me, it was so simple I was because I knew I could get everything like. I know what I'm capable of. You know, I don't know that that would resonate with somebody who didn't have a firm belief in themselves that you know they would say well, if I give this up, you know, I'm not gonna be as fun or as interesting or I'm not gonna be as good an actor. You know, I think artists a lot of times feel the drugs and alcohol somehow give them an edge that spins into creativity. Sure, and I'm not gonna say that that's impossible, but I my most creative years have been while I've been sober. The other really profound thing that I think was the final catalyst was you know, my wife Never threatened to leave me. She was always supportive, she was always loving. But she said to me one time she said you know I've put everything into this relationship.

Sean Kanan:

Please don't tell me I back the wrong horse and I just Just found it was like a harpoon into my heart and I was like this woman has given me Everything and I am not gonna take her down because I can't get my shit together. You know, and, and I really started working on myself and I also, as I was writing Wade the cobra, I simply couldn't put that book out without Walking, walking, you know, walking it like I was talking it. Sure, I couldn't be a fraud anymore. You, 100%, and that'll eat it. You eat it, you. And I can honestly say that I live my life in accordance with you know, what I wrote in the book and my perfect all the time, no, but you know, the book for me Represents the very best of who I am. It gives me kind of a north star.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

That's also you don't expect perfection of yourself. No, strive for it, yeah. But you also are kind to yourself when you fail and you realize that failure is a stepping stone to success. It is you think writing the book became a therapeutic process for you to Make the the process a habit?

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, I think it did. You know, I had to be very reflective while I was writing the book. I wanted the book to be Conversational, like you were sitting and talking with me. I didn't want it to be like some kind of elevated preaching. I didn't want it to be like, you know, a cheerleader going rah, rah, you can do it.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, I wanted to say listen, I have made every mistake in this book, 12 times over. You know, I am not Levitating on a mountain somewhere in Kathmandu contemplating my navel, I'm just another guy trying to figure it out, like the rest of us. This is what I've done and I'm a huge fan of Bruce Lee and, and aside from his martial arts master, he was a brilliant philosopher and he created Jeet Kune Do, which is really an amalgamation of a lot of different martial arts, and he would say take what works for you, leave the rest. Well, it doesn't take. Take what works for you out of my book, leave the rest, put your own spin on it, pass it on. You know, this is just what's worked for me.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Well, I think you really nailed it in your book, the way that you come across with it. It feels very much like a conversation, thank you, and as I'm reading it I find myself Sean can ins my sensei now.

Sean Kanan:

Thank you when you're happy to be certain spots, like no, knock it off.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

You're like yeah, yes, sir, like yeah, it's. It's so dynamic in the way that you wrote it, it's just so relatable. I've read a lot of books in my life, yeah, and most of them come off very preachy. Yeah, and you have nailed that 100. You know one of the things I really enjoyed about your book was I.

Sean Kanan:

As I was reading it, I was smiling to myself because our journeys have been very different, but a lot of the stuff that we both talk about is identical, because I believe that there are certain Truths and realities in the universe okay universal truth, but the thing is a lot of times it's.

Sean Kanan:

It's not the message with the messenger. You know, it's sort of like that deal when a lot of young guys are, you know, 1415, 16 and they're beefing with their father and it doesn't matter how good the advice dad's given is, you can't hear it because you're, you're in that closed, asserting you know you're serving your growing, you know adulthood and all that sort of stuff. I guarantee what I'm saying is not Reinventing the wheel. A lot in a lot of cases it's. It's stuff You've probably heard before, but it's repackaged in a way that's digestible and so I'm a huge Victor Frankel fan.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Yeah, and one of the key phrases in his book that book is very academic Mm-hmm, the man search for meaning, it's and it's. I think the message gets lost on a lot of people who find it difficult to interpret what he's saying, because he does speak very academically. And I noticed a certain part in your book. Victor Frankel says when we can no longer control our environment, we have to control our attitude. Yeah, and I noticed in your book there was a very layman spin on that. That said, when we can no longer control what's happening, we have to challenge ourselves To control the way we respond to what's happening. Yeah, that's where your power is. Yeah, and that was more profound for me than what I read before, because it's like there's an easy way to interpret this and you have a masterful way of putting those messages across and I think it's amazing.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Your marriage I want to talk a little bit about how that works to. How is getting married Complimented or challenged? Your journey towards sobriety in overall personal growth, because I know that just by reading the book I know how profound I mean. You quote your wife a couple of times. Yeah, and it's, it's, it's a beautiful thing. How? How is that compliment of her challenge to?

Sean Kanan:

journey. My wife is a very, very wise woman. She's taught me a tremendous amount and she said something to me once which also really resonated. She said if you would spend less time Trying to make yourself feel happy, make yourself feeling good, and more time on Feeling good from the inside, it'd be way better. For you know, we use things like drugs and alcohol and you know Sort of anonymous sex and shopping and gambling and all these things, and I call it feeding the whole, the whole E, because you're trying to feel whole, right, but you, the more you put in, the emptier you feel, and that's when we do things like self-sabotage, because you feel like you're not worthy of it. Okay, and and so I did what she said.

Sean Kanan:

I I went to work on myself and I Found that, you know, my career is wonderful now and I Can have a lot of the very nice things that I would like to have and they don't really mean nearly as much to me as as they used to. It's just simply not something that you know I don't. I don't need to look for external things, like, like you know, material things that To make me feel good about myself doesn't mean I don't like it as much as the next guy. You know I like a nice car, I like a nice watch, I like all that stuff. But they are no longer extensions of who I am. You know I'm no longer like the guy that I have to have a fancy car so that your first, you know I, you know impulse when you see that is, oh, this guy must be important. I convey that from who I am. No longer need that.

Sean Kanan:

And then you know the funny thing, sonny's when you no longer need that, the universe gives it to you.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

100, because it's vibrational when you're right and it's I think it's it's it's giving over To yourself. Yeah, it's almost like I am no longer pursuing external validation. I accept me for me. Yeah, who I am, this is who I am, and I know that I'm good enough and I'm worthy and I love and you feel worthy of the the nice little toys and things you get.

Sean Kanan:

So you don't self sabotage yourself until you lose them, so that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and you say, there, I didn't deserve it anyway.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And of course it's gone and you call it the little critic. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you got that. Even Timmy, little Timmy.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, the inner critic. You know that repetitive voice that we all have that says you know, you're too fat, you're not good enough, you'll never be loved. Here's it. Here's the interesting Irony about the internal critic. The internal critic actually means well, the internal, but it's a horrible communicator. In other words, the internal critics job is to keep you from getting hurt in in its eyes. Okay, and it's court protect, its courts protecting you. But it's just so Ineffective at the way that it voices that. And so you know, I gave a name to my Intercretic Timmy and Timmy's, like this little four-year-old boy wearing Oshkosh Pagash overalls and stamps his feet, and it sounds ridiculous. Right, but the reason I made it ridiculous is so when that starts, and then I visualize this little kid you know Telling me, I laugh at it and then I send him to his room and in laughing at it, it changes your state, and when you change your state, it no longer has power over you right, and I think again it goes back to a perspective shift.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

When you change the way you see something, you can look at things as losses or lessons, yeah, and even when it comes to the little critic, that little inner guy, you can look at him as somebody that's trying to berate you or beat your down or hold you back, and that's a negative aspect. Or you can flip it around and see it from your perspective. He's somebody that's trying to help you, just communication.

Sean Kanan:

You know, you can be your. You can be the heckler in your life or you can be the cheerleader. Right, and I choose to be the cheerleader, and it's so true, it's. You know, the way we talk to ourselves has such a profound effect and you know, sometimes I have to go into being my own cheerleader mode and when there are things that I'm facing that are challenging Maybe it's a scene and I have, you know, and I'm having trouble with the scene I'm not getting to the emotional level I did I literally will look at myself and go you're Sean fucking Canaan. Well, now go out there and do it. Right, you've done it. You've done it a thousand times before. You're gonna do it again, yeah, and I will get myself into a state where I believe it and once you start believing it, you're at least halfway there.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I think there's an unfortunate Aspect of society that has tried to voice something on you that says, well, that's just cocky and conceited, and I think we allow that to come in and that's what prevents a lot of people from being their own cheerleader. They stop and say, well, I can't do that, because then people are gonna think I'm conceited or I'm yeah, I'm a narcissist. But feeding that, that positive side of your ego, is what puts you in the best position to perform your best.

Sean Kanan:

I think, people that are Narcissistic, which is different than being a clinical narcissist. We use the term narcissistic pop culture society it's. It's different than being a clinical narcissist, which is, you know, something that is in the you know the diagnostic statistical manual. But I Think that when you're talking to yourself, you know, screw everyone else. That's your conversation with yourself. How you treat other people, I believe, is where narcissism comes into play. I and there's times I'll say that some of my clients you know I talked to my clients in a very Frank way and you know when, when they're making excuses and being babies, you know they get called on it and but it comes from a place of caring and kindness. And you know I'm a big proponent of the difference between being nice and being kind. Nice is accurate, you know. Nice is conforming to social mores, it's being civil and polite. Kind comes from the heart. I'll give you an example.

Sean Kanan:

Parent has a child the child's, at a party. The parents suspect possibly that they're doing drugs at the party. Text the kid. The kid doesn't respond. Parent calls the kid. Kid doesn't respond. Parent drives over to the party and text the kid one more time. I'm sitting outside, come in now. Kid doesn't come out. Parent walks through the door, sees the kid, grabs him by the back of their collar and Marches the mountain for another friends. Now that might not be nice, but that's kind.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Okay and protective place.

Sean Kanan:

Kind isn't always nice, but kind doesn't come from A place of manipulation, it doesn't come from a place of self-serving and and it comes from a place from the heart. So I try to always be kind and I concern myself less with nice and I find that when you're consistently kind, nice doesn't matter, because people, people will appreciate and connect with the authenticity of kindness much more than the superficiality Sometimes it being nice. There's nothing wrong with being nice. You know, that's the social lubricant that allows us to not all kill each other. Right, you know, respect and civility is important, but when you, when you substantiate it with kindness behind, that's how you build rapport with someone. And when you build rapport with someone, that's the beginning of building a relationship with them.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Sure, and that's it's really profound because I never thought about the difference. Because I talk all the time about nice, yeah, and kind, yeah, and I've never really thought about that, that difference in the dynamic. But you're right, you're very right, being nice is just, it's kind of superficial, yeah. Being kind is more heartfelt, yeah, it's actually caring, yeah, and at the end of the day, I believe kindness is all you need. Kindness is all you ever seen? The lost horizon, this space movie, 1930s? No, oh no, no, no, I'm a chengarala.

Sean Kanan:

Oh, okay, oh, you got to see. Okay, I will now. Yeah, you have to watch it, but at the end of the day, kindness, it's all you need at the end of the day, and that's such an amazing thing that you just said there.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Let's talk about the effects on your career. Yeah, quitting drinking and being married have, because I think quitting drinking gave you more Confidence and gave you more clarity, and then double that with a happy marriage has given you more perspective and more confidence. How is that impacted your career? So my first marriage was a real disaster.

Sean Kanan:

It was largely my fault, largely my ex-wife's fault, and I just couldn't be the guy that I am now in that marriage. But I wasn't that guy either and for a while I thought, well, you know, maybe I'm just that guy, you know, and and I don't know if I'm gonna wind up being the kind of guy that can be a great husband. And Very quickly, when I met my wife, I realized I wanted to marry her and I realized that I could be that guy. I just had to have the right kind of support and love and connection. Authenticity when you are able to be married, when you are able to be a part of something bigger than yourself and in my case it's a marriage and To show up every single day, even when it's difficult sometimes every relationship is but still show up and know you have someone who shows up for you. I think that it deepens us as human beings. Quitting drinking Was the single hardest thing I've ever done in my life. There's, there's simply nothing else. That was that difficult because it's physical.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

It's not.

Sean Kanan:

Didn't know if I could do it. I had tried so many times only to burn, you know, to burn the village down again, and I was like I don't know if I'm gonna ever get this and I had a Metamorphosis, a paradigm shift. I, you know, I Couldn't do it myself, and I do believe that that there was a divine intervention for me, that that God was responsible for doing this and and it allowed me to change fundamentally who I am as a person, which has changed me fundamentally as an actor. You know, having been able to overcome this huge challenge that I didn't think I was gonna be able to do, and Everything that I learned in the process of doing that has allowed me to bring all of that to my acting. And and I Feel, I know now that I've got a depth and a profoundness to my acting that I never had before.

Sean Kanan:

Like I said, you know, a lot of times I would fool myself and think well, you know, I gotta kind of live on the edge, I gotta kind of fly by the seat of my pants, and it helps me become a more interesting actor? Absolutely not. I always had that guy that was an interesting actor. But now, you know, I was equated to this. When you're a professional in something, it's the difference between being a bar room brawler and a train boxer. Nine out of ten times, maybe, maybe 90 out of a hundred times, the train boxer is gonna beat the bar room brawler and anyone can get a wild punch and knock you out. But can you summon your talents at will again and again, as opposed to just being lightning in a bottle? And and you know now, as an actor, I know that I can summon it again and again Because I've done the work and I know that the emotional reservoir is in there.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, you know and I can draw from it and and also, look, I mean, like I said, I lost a bunch of weight, I conduct myself extremely professionally and all of that has had a positive effect on how I'm viewed in the industry. I mean, you know, I used to be viewed as a guy that was, you know, could be difficult, could be problematic, and now I'm I think I mean viewed as a guy that's a stand-up guy, you know, doing time.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Yeah, you watch a lot of TV, right. So I remember when AJ quarter made was kind of getting a little heavy, yeah, like Fuck you, seeing this man, look at AJ quarter me, yeah, got some weight on it, yeah, and so that would have been that time, because look at you know, you're in phenomenal shape. Yeah, it was really hard for me, do you? Did you implement routines in your morning?

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And we just talk about routines because, for people that are listening, routines are so important and I personally think morning routines are key Absolutely. If you master your morning, you'll master your day, that's right.

Sean Kanan:

Talk a little bit about your routines, so one of the one of the biggest things that most people that are Very successful have as a common denominator is they've got a morning routine right.

Sean Kanan:

Generally, they wake up early 5 am Club which was something I didn't used to do and now I do. But you have to. It's more than just waking up early, because if it was only waking up early, every kid who wakes up to watch Saturday morning Cartoons need a bowl of cereal would be a captain of industry, right? And so for me, I list my morning routine in the book and, like I say, this is what works for me. I don't do all of it every day, but these are tools I have at my disposal when I need to implement them.

Sean Kanan:

First thing I do is I get on my knees and I thank my creator, for I Figure out five things I'm thankful for. And if I can't think of it, I'm thankful for having another day to be better than I was yesterday. Right, I look at my wife still sleeping and I thank God for her. I think I thank God for my relationship with God, that I walk in his grace and love, and how many times you know I have been saved and spared when I didn't even know about it. You know when I was being carried and looked after you. After that, I drink a big bottle of water, eight ounces of water. You've been sleeping for eight hours. Your brain fires on electrical synapse. You know water.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Don't go straight for the coffee. Yeah, water first.

Sean Kanan:

Water first. Drinks some water also helps with the dragon breath. It does. Then I'll do some meditation. Meditation is really important.

Sean Kanan:

People get very intimidated by it. All it is is taking the time, the silence, that bombastic inner monologue, that monkey chatter in your head which distracts you. I only do it for like five minutes. I use Alexa, so give me five minutes. I have a mantra that I've memorized. It's from the Bhagavad Gita, but you don't have to do that. You can literally just box breathe, which is something the Navy SEALs do.

Sean Kanan:

Four, four, four. You can just repeat something and say you know what? I'm happy to be alive. This is going to be a great day. It's going to be better than yesterday. I don't know whatever.

Sean Kanan:

It is just calming your mind, journaling. I don't do it every day. Journaling will not immediately transform you into a seventh grade schoolgirl writing in her diary. It's a way of getting crap out of your head onto the paper and you can throw it away or you can keep it. It's a great way. When you've got something that's an emotional trigger for you, that you're not ready to talk to somebody else about it, you can at least have the conversation with yourself about it.

Sean Kanan:

Sometimes I write. I don't want to do this. I want another cup of coffee. This sucks da-da-da-da, but I force myself to do it. Other times I'll write stuff that becomes the impetus for a book or something like that.

Sean Kanan:

What else do I do? Read. You know this. I always say reading is the great equalizer, whether you are wealthy or socioeconomically challenged, whether you are incarcerated or in a state of physical Perry in some schools.

Sean Kanan:

A journey might take you a lot of time, but it's great if you can. But you have to have a physical routine too. You know I work out fortunate, I work out with a trainer, and I talk a lot about the difference between discipline and self-discipline. Discipline is the guy that goes and meets his trainer a couple times a week. Self-discipline is the guy that wakes up at 5.30 in the morning and goes to the gym. I tend to need discipline with certain things in my life, but I'm fortunate enough that I can recognize it and outsource it Okay. But when push comes to shove and I have to be self-disciplined, I can do it. But if you recognize the areas of your life where you need an external force helping you to do what you know you need to do, get the help to do it, and you don't have to have the money to get a trainer.

Sean Kanan:

You can just have a buddy and say you know what? You're gonna call me. I'm gonna call you. We're gonna have coffee and we're gonna go to the gym.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And, at the end of the day, youtube is free.

Sean Kanan:

YouTube is free.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

yeah, and there's so many good trainers on there that will show you what to do. And I mean there's really no excuse, right? No, at the end of the day, in today's day and age of technology, do you really have no excuse to fail? And I think what was so good about your routines which I have a pretty similar routine, except mine's very hard line I'll put five AM, 10 minutes. The first thing I do is grab my coffee and I go out on the porch and I soak in the sun for 10 minutes. I think about nothing, just 10 minutes, right. And people are always like why are you so happy all the time? Yeah, if you've been where I'm at and I get to walk outside every morning.

Sean Kanan:

And that's because you're living gratitude. Gratitude and gratitude are gratitude and you live in the present. And when you live in the present, what it does is it keeps you from becoming anxious because you're not projecting into the future, which is unknown, allowing your mind to spiral into oh my God, this could happen, or that you just do the next right thing.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Yeah, and I think one of the reasons why not much bothers me my wife calls me the accidental Buddhist. What a great title, right, nothing bothers me, right, like the whole world will fall apart. Five minutes later I'm like, hey, yeah, and I always one of the things that I use is worst case scenarios. When something bad happens, I look at and be like what's the worst thing that could have happened here, and at least that didn't happen, right, and then that makes me feel so much better. I wanna talk about your motivational speaking a little bit Sure. What is the core messages that you try to convey when you do some speaking, and what is it that you hope to garner from the motivational career? Because it's not something you need. This is clearly a purpose-driven platform that you're embarking on.

Sean Kanan:

Well, there's a couple things. I speak about bullying sometimes and I usually preface my speaking by showing the iconic scene of Karate Kid 3, when Mike Barnes is bullying and torturing Daniel LaRusso and I say, would you guys believe that scary guy used to get bullied? And the kids are like what? No way.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Until I read your book.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I was like yeah, that was happening, yeah.

Sean Kanan:

Well, not then, but when I was younger, and it was severe and it was palpable and it was significant, and it left lasting scars that have taken a long time to heal, and so I wanna give people hope that they're not alone. That's the first thing. I also talk a lot that it's like the Zen riddle. How did the ship get in the bottle? It was always there. Everything you need is already inside of you. You just need to get out of your own way to get it. And in order to do that, you have to acknowledge a couple of truths, and the first truth is your life is your fault. Okay, your life where you are at this moment, is the sum total of all the decisions you've made, both the good ones and the questionable ones. It's not your dad's fault, who puts you down in front of his friends. It's not your mom's fault for not telling you she loves you enough, and it's not the world's fault for not seeing what a special snowflake you are.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Right.

Sean Kanan:

Okay, it's yours. By the way, everybody is special in one way or another. That's the first thing. The second thing is I tell people that the universe wants you to win. How do I know that? Well, we are hardwired in our DNA for survival. Survival is the very first rung of success. If you're not here, you can't succeed, right? How do I know that? Well, for 200,000 years, homo sapiens were not the apex predators. We were running away from saber toothed tigers and loincloths holding sticks. We're still here. Those ferocious felines are a footnote in anthropology books. How does a baby know to hold its head under water when it goes? It knows the universe wants us to win.

Sean Kanan:

And I also talk about another truth that you have to accept Life is not fair, life is an unfair, life is just life. And the sooner you accept that, and you also accept that control is an illusion. You can't control anything, anything other than your reaction to external stimuli, people's places and things. Don't you know that Every time we try and assert our will and personality on another person, they recoil. You get the exact opposite reaction that you want. And if you don't believe me that we're not in control, all you have to do is think about the sun, which is a dying star. It's gonna someday go supernova, become a black hole and it's gonna devour the earth and there is no force other than God Almighty, that can change that. So if you still think you're in control, you're not. You're not. And I talk a lot about not being a victim. Victimhood's a choice, you know that better than anybody.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

My God, that's like my biggest speaking.

Sean Kanan:

You know we're all dealt cards, so we get some good ones, we get some shitty ones, and it's how you play them, and I talk about it in my book. I say let me tell you about a woman who has dealt the very difficult and challenging trifecta of cards that she was born into abject poverty. She was sexually assaulted by family members multiple times. She wanted more than anything to have a career in television and, by her own admission, she wasn't exactly what you would call ready for prime time. And she could have looked up at the heavens and said why Lord, why this isn't fair and she would have been justified. And instead she went out and built a multi-billion dollar media company, oprah Winfrey. Right, okay, so you know, the choice of perpetuating victimhood is just that. It's a choice. And the other thing I talk about is I talk about the importance of winning. You know, we live in a society where they have a lot of people have gotten it twisted.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Just come to the game. The winning doesn't matter.

Sean Kanan:

And I will tell you right now that you know what winners do is they adapt and they overcome. And Charles Darwin, who was a brilliant biologist, said that it's not the strongest of the species that survives, it's not the most intelligent of the species that survives, it's the one that is most adaptable that survives. You have to be willing to change internally and change, you know, with regard to what's going on externally. We all remember fax machines. There was a fax store on every single corner of every city. Where the hell are they now? Right, obsolete those are. You know, those are businesses that probably didn't recognize that. You know the internet was the wave of the future.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

They didn't adapt. Well, who made the fax machines?

Sean Kanan:

I thought it was IBM and they're still around. And they are still around, but they changed their core business Right, and you have to adapt. You have to adapt right. You have to be like water, and I talk about the fact that winning is important. You know, when you get out in the real world, six-place trophies and participation medals and being mediocre and average doesn't get you far.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

So I'm getting rewarded for being mediocre, yeah. And that's psychologically so damaging to somebody, people are so concerned.

Sean Kanan:

Oh, it's not inclusive if somebody's a winner. Well, you know, here's the thing People are afraid of shaming other people. There's two types of shame. There's toxic shame, which is when you humiliate someone and make them feel badly and bully them and whatever. But there's the kind of shame that comes that we subject ourselves to when we don't know we tried our very best, and that kind of shame can be motivating 100% Exactly.

Sean Kanan:

Okay, and as far as inclusive, you're right. You know, the vast amount of people that are not winners in life is way more inclusive than the people that are willing to grind and work hard and be humble and subordinate their ego and stay out of the results.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And you can't tell me that you don't have the opportunity. I think one of the things that burns my ass the most is when people say we didn't have the opportunity. I just saw a man with no arms and no legs on a TEDx stage giving a motivational speech about opportunity. Yeah, it's a choice, staying in that victimhood, accepting mediocrity. When I used to lose it stuff, it would just make me so pissed off that I would fight harder. I never got a trophy Never and just for showing up. I think it's psychologically damaging because it makes people accept mediocrity. And of course, that goes into a conspiracy theory that we can trudge into for hours about how people wanna keep people mediocre because too many winners on the ball field becomes a problem.

Sean Kanan:

I don't know if that's true or not but I think there's probably a pretty strong argument that there's some reality in that. I'll tell you.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Well, when you have so many winners, then you have ego, and then the competitiveness keeps going. And I mean, at the end of the day, there's only one person on the top of the mountain. Yeah Right, because there's only room for one.

Sean Kanan:

You know, when we lower the bar to accommodate the people that are only capable of doing the least, you know, I think that's a really damaging precedent and I can guarantee you that young Chinese kids in elementary school they ain't lower in the bar for them, because they're trying to figure out who's the next genius to come up with an algorithm to dominate AI.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I'm not saying that anybody should be left behind and that they shouldn't be given opportunity, but don't clip the wings of the people that are going to be the next Albert Einstein, because also the problem here when you, when you make everybody on a level playing field and in you, disregard talent, you then put someone in a leadership position that is not qualified to be there. Yes, who then?

Sean Kanan:

takes the whole ship down. Yeah, and I don't remember anywhere in the Constitution where it says that everybody should have the same things right. Everybody should have the Opportunity to get the same quality of opportunity, quality about, not a quality of outcome.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Right, you want to succeed. Win yeah, eric Thomas said it best. I love to succeed as bad as you want to breathe. Then you win yeah absolutely Spend five hours a day playing video games, five hours chatting with your friends on social media and five hours screwing off, and it's like wow, I have seven hours left to do, or nine hours, eight hours, yeah, whatever left to go in the day and you're gonna sleep, though You've literally just wasted a whole day and you haven't done nothing, so you can't expect it.

Sean Kanan:

Well, yesterday was successful you know and and Unfortunately, I think, a lot of times, society Reaffirms a lot of the bullshit excuses that people use 100%. There's more to life than the money. Well, that's true, but there's also more to life than struggling to pay your bills every month right you know I don't have enough time.

Sean Kanan:

Well, you got the same number of hours in a day that Einstein had, right, okay, but he gets the same, you know. Well, you know I don't have the right connections. Well, guess what? Now, more than any time on the planet, through social media, do you have the opportunity to make a connection with somebody that you never in a million years could have met. And you can do it all yourself.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

You can do it all yourself. You don't need anybody got the? Independent artists that are coming out. Yes and they're. They're killing the game because they realized that. Just put yourself out there. If you believe in what you're doing, yeah, you can accomplish anything. On that note, manifestation yeah, where does? Sean stand on manifestation.

Sean Kanan:

I'm a huge proponent of it, of being a rainmaker of manifesting. I strongly believe in the 12 universal laws, of which the law of vibration is one of them, and you know Einstein had this brilliant Quote and I'm gonna definitely mangle and paraphrase it, but he said something to the effect of when you focus on what you want and you match its vibration, the universe Will match that vibration, and he said. He said this is physics and there can be no other truth. You know this isn't woo woo, maybe it's gonna happen. This is the guy that created the, the general theory of relativity, who said that Vibration is real, and I believe that.

Sean Kanan:

I believe that when you vibrate and put out a certain Energy, the universe matches that energy. When you're living in scarcity, saying things like I'm always broke, I'm never gonna get a job, the universe it gives you more of that because it thinks that's what you want, because you're putting that vibration out. But when you live in abundance and gratitude and presence, man, I can only speak for my life, but the heavens have opened up and I have been. It's been a deluge.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

So I was recently on a podcast called is manifesting bullshit? And the wife is pro manifestation and the husband is anti Manifestation, doesn't believe in it. And and I broke it down as this, simple as this if you don't believe in the power of manifestation, it's not real and it never will amen, you're right if you don't believe it. You're right, it won't. You know. It's like never will.

Sean Kanan:

It's it's all. It's like what Henry Ford said whether you can or you can't, you're right, right, and but here's the thing, though, don't make the mistake of believing that Positive thoughts and the desire to manifest is enough. It has to be matched for with action 100%.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

It takes action, but you also you. It also takes Seriousness. It takes, yes, yes, faith right you can't.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Well, I want to manifest a million dollars. Well, go earn a million dollars. Yeah, you can't manifest something that you can do by yourself. It was also the way we I approach supplication prayer. Why am I going to go to God and ask him for something that I can do myself? Yeah, I'm not going to waste a super beings time. Yeah, right, and so I think with manifestation is the same thing is funny that you said rainmaker, because one of the things I said to them is that's the same thing as Manifesting rain in the, never opening the front door to see if it's raining outside.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And most people Don't believe in manifestation because you don't believe in yourself. It has nothing to do with the external world or make materializing something. Yeah, you just don't believe in yourself and the, the universal power, when you believe in yourself, is Astronomical. I am here seven years after being in prison for most of my life. Yeah, and my life is beautiful and I've manifested it. Yeah, 100% right. And because I believe in myself, I looked at my life and said I get to either live a life of pity, sucking off the government, ptsd, I need checks, I need help, I need so psychologists or I've just lived this amazing story of survival. Yeah, that will inspire people, yeah.

Sean Kanan:

Yeah, you know that's really interesting. You say that because, getting back to my story about almost losing my life when I had my surgery for karate kid three, you know I could have attached the story to it that Hollywood is a place of Heartless people. Your only value is, you know, if you're a cog in the you know machinery and blah, blah, blah and become very jaded. And that would have been the story I carried around with me, but instead the story that I chose to attach to. That is when the chips were down and my back was against the wall, I discovered a part of my character that I never knew existed and I Overcame.

Sean Kanan:

And now, when things get difficult in my life, I say, well, is it as difficult as being told that they don't know? That? You're gonna say they can save your life. And so you know, stories place such a fundamental and important part of our destiny and you can either attach stories that are disempowering, that you carry around like heavy chains, or ones that are Empowering. And you can also relearn stories. You know you can. You can re Format the stories in your life if they're not serving you.

Sean Kanan:

You know humans are Terrible historians anyway because, we can rarely see the thirty thousand foot view. Each one of us looks at Relationships and events through a multifaceted prism comprised of Thousands of variables. Are you a man or a woman? Do you live in the United States? Do you live in sub-saharan Africa? Do you? Are you wealthy, are you poor? Are you Ba ba ba ba in at that infinitum right. So we all already see every event in a specialized Way that that has to do with our lives.

Sean Kanan:

We don't really see it as what the truth is. I mean, if I said you, I don't have to say because I read your book, but take me through an event that had a profound effect in your life. I want to know the who, what's, when's, wears, wise, the smells, the taste, everything. And you walked me through it with Absolute honesty, as you remembered it. And then I said okay, sonny, I'm gonna take you into a Movie theater and you're gonna watch what really happened. Probably, at best, you'd be about 65% accurate. And it's not because you're lying to me, it's because there's things that influence how you remember it right. So if we agree that we're not great historians anyway, why not at least create stories? And you talked about failures. You know you don't look at miss failures. You, you, you reformat the story that you attach to an unsuccessful, successful, attempted something, so it becomes something that empowers you for the next time that you do it.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

You've learned what not to do. Yeah, yeah, try something different. Yep, right, and I think it's incredible. Tell us about some upcoming projects. Man, what's coming up? And Sean Kenan's?

Sean Kanan:

upcoming projects. Well, you know fingers crossed that the WGA and and sag strike and soon season 6 of Cobra Kai is coming up. I I can't say whether or not I'm gonna be on it, but I think that everyone is gonna really enjoy it. You can catch me on the bold and the beautiful, which is the number one daytime show in the world. What else have? A sci-fi film that just came out about two months ago. It's called Colonials really terrific, fun film. You can find it on all the video on demands. And, like I said, I'm gonna be coming to Stellar con, which is in Bella Maryland, and it's at the let me see if I get this right. It's at the a APG FCU arena in in Bella Maryland, october Eighth and ninth I think it is, and and that's that's about it. And you know I urge everybody please go out and get a copy of my book, sure.

Sean Kanan:

I do podcasts because I want to sell books. Of course I do. But, honest to God, I believe that this has the power to change your life. It's way the cobra and welcome to the kumite. You can get them at. Way the cobra calm. And I'm also still doing my, my one-on-one coaching, which I'm so impassioned by. I learn as much from my clients as, hopefully, I Teach them and if you're interested in that, you go to shan cannon dot actor and check out some of those opportunities and I will be Giving out a ton of his books.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I believe it wholeheartedly in what you've written. Thank you, my foundation is going to purchase some of these.

Sean Kanan:

Thank, you we're gonna work.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I just I had what I deemed was a godsent messenger, our mentor, in in the Muslim man in prison and I Thought that, okay, now I'm gonna become the mentor. I didn't think that I would look at it Finding another one. Well, back at you, bro. You have inspired me. I like I can't even tell you and it's, it's. I'm so looking forward to the future, me too, because I'm growing as I read your book. I'm growing and I love it, and thank you so much for everything. Thank you for taking the time. My pleasure. Thank you. We'll see you soon. Yes, sir, see what comes up in the future, I can't wait. All right, bro, right.

Sean Canaan's Journey
Marriage, Sobriety, and Self-Validation
The Power of Kindness and Authenticity
Overcoming Addiction and Establishing Healthy Routines
Motivational Speaking and the Importance
Power of Manifestation and Personal Stories
Inspirational Book and Mentorship

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