Episode #18- Narco Mindset Podcast - Materialism and the American Dream

Author: Dr. Jorge L. Valdés | | Categories: addiction , author , biography , cocaine , Colombia , crime , depression , inspirational , Medellin , motivational , reform , rehab , CARTEL , CHRISTIAN , drugs , JORGEVALDESPHD , NARCO , NARCOMINDSET , prison


Episode #18

Materialism and the American Dream

May 27, 2020

Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and You Tuber 

Co-Host: Anthony Petrucci


In this episode, Dr. Valdes talks about the impact of materialism and what he labels a pseudo-American dream.  A lie sold to us by society and media that once you have enough money, lots of money, women, lots of women, cars, mansions, jets, and yachts, then you have achieved the American dream.  Yet, Dr. Valdes relates how he had it all that at the age of 21. All this wealth and power was supposed to make him happy, yet all he wanted to do was die.  Dr. Valdes talks about the real American dream of the WWII Greatest Generation. In this exciting podcast, he details how family members often fall victim to our selfish pursuits.  

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INTRO:              Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.

Jorge:               Today in the Narco Mindset podcast; that day I have that car, I’m going to mean something and be somebody. The wealthiest person is not the one that has the most but is the one that needs the least. But I’m going to overcome every obstacle that there is. We are conditioned that the more we have, the more we need. We need to find joy in relationships. Rejoice at the confiscation of your goods, I’ve got greater riches for you in heaven. But our priorities must be straight before our material desires.

Thanks for joining us today. I am your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes with my co-host, Anthony Petrucci. Anthony, today we’re going to talk a little bit about what was the beginning or really, what was the real lie that I chase finding meaning to my life as you have edited my book, you have seen me talk for many years. What are your thoughts on what we want to discuss today? I call it the pseudo-American dream.

Anthony:          Absolutely. I think the American dream has evolved over the decades but rooted in it, really, for now, is materialism. I think a lot of people see it as instant gratification. That instant gratification is a way of life for them. However, what I think a lot of people don’t realize is the profit motive behind it. There’s so much commercialism that shapes society. Companies that are trying to make money and they're using people’s weakness for instant gratification to basically make money but it also puts people in a hole. They're chasing something at the cost of other things, at the cost of relationships. I see it as that they're even believing a lie, that the materialism and the pseudo-American dream is going to somehow fulfill them, it’s somehow going to make their lives so much better and if they achieve or get just enough stuff, they’ll be happy. There’s a lack of depth there. I don’t think they see the big picture. One question I have for you, Jorge, is what was your experience with materialism and the American dream before you had your awakening to what I would call the fake reality?

Jorge:               I talked a little bit about what was the beginning and what was really the lie that I chased finding meaning to my life. One of the things that we covered in the podcast before about the opioid crisis is something that I have identified for myself and many people say the same but really for myself is that emptiness. The emptiness within us where we’d like to find meaning for it, so to some people in opioids, others in alcohol or pornography. To me it was coming from Cuba, losing everything and then buying into what I call the pseudo-American dream. That second day from Cuba, when I saw my cousin come in that beautiful candy apple red GTO, and I’d never seen a car that beautiful in my life. I was 10 years old and I said, “The day I’ll have that car, I’m going to be a happy man. The day I’ll have that car, I’m going to mean something and be somebody.” As you have edited my books, and you and I have been talking for years about this thought, what are you thinking about this pseudo-American dream that is so different from the World War II generation that created what we really call the American dream?

Anthony:          Some people are listening though might ask like, “Well, is it bad to buy stuff? Should you feel guilty if you buy a nice car for yourself, or a nice house, or nice clothes or that kind of stuff?” Maybe this is a little bit kind of like a “devil’s advocate” kind of argument. But can you put it in perspective a little bit more in terms of it’s not the buying of something that is so-called bad, it’s more the heart of materialism when it grips a person and it takes over the mindset? Can you talk a little bit about the difference so that it’s not like saying if you buy something, it’s automatically bad?

Jorge:               That’s a really, really good question, and you’ve brought up some very, very interesting points. I can identify so clearly with just about every point you’ve brought up. How society, how industries maneuver people’s emotions. When I came from Cuba, it was that car, that GTO. But it didn’t stop there. If you remember going back then we started seeing billboards. We didn’t have as many television commercials as we have now. We didn’t have as much social media, any of this stuff but it was those billboards that were very erotic and they were very, very sexy. You felt like, wow, whenever I have that pair of pants or whenever I buy that shirt, or whatever it was, I’m going to be happy. For me, it was cars. That was my dream. I just knew that I would be happy.  

I was going to school at the University of Miami full-time, and I was working full-time at the Federal Reserve Bank. I remember, on Friday nights and Saturday nights was the only nights that I was able to go out just for a couple of hours with this girlfriend I had. I drove a beat-up Chevrolet Vega. It rusted out, it had holes in it. I tried to fix it one time and rust just ate through that compound. I remember telling my colleagues at the bank, I’m like, “Look, I live in a bad neighborhood. I’ve been shot up just to remind me how lucky I am to be alive. I’m just never going to fix this hole.” Truth was, I just couldn’t keep fixing it. I remember our date would consist of just driving to [inaudible 00:06:05] estates and parking outside and seeing all the beautiful cars come out. Seeing those beautiful mansions. I told my girlfriend, I was like, Nettie, you know, one day, I’m going to have that. The day I have that, we’re going to be happy.”

Truth of the matter was, the happiest days in my life was coming from Cuba not having anything. When my mother used to cook meals on a Friday night after coming from the factory and all three of us, my brother and I and my father working, we brought this little Coleman stove, and we took road trips on Saturdays and come back Sunday. We had no money for a hotel but we slept in the car, brushed our teeth and washed our face at rest stops but we were happy. We didn’t need much. I like the way we say that the wealthiest person is not the one that has the most but is the one that needs the least. We look at people that are so behind on everything they just can’t make it. We blame minimum wage, and truthfully, the minimum wage is a disaster. It’s an embarrassment that our country people cannot live on minimum wage. The truth of the matter, I believe that even when we double minimum wage to $15 even $25 an hour, people are still not be going to be able to live. Why?  

My mother and father, they saved enough. They both earned minimum wage. In 1966 it was 85 cents an hour but they saved enough to buy a little, bitty house. It was a little two-bedroom, probably about 800, 900 square feet. It was five of us, one bathroom. They saved enough to get a down payment. Eventually, it took us two, three years to get a car. We didn’t have a cellphone, and I look at people today and the money they spend. The money they spend on cellphones, on buying new cars every two, three years and don’t even own a home.

I was told recently to a friend of mine that in the cartel, one of the things that I made sure was that my people were taken care of. The biggest challenge, one big challenge was unbelievable. I get these guys that I’ve grown up with. They have no money. I’m making a million dollars a month now. I never had employees. I always had associates. Why? Because I knew that if I went ahead and paid them if this guy’s collecting $100 million a month for me, even though I’m only making only $1-2 million, all of a sudden if he’s getting paid $5,000 which was an unbelievable amount of money in 1976, he should be happy, right? But no, not really because human nature is, “Wow, I’m taking all the risk and Jorge is getting rich.”

What I did is I shared my wealth. I made sure that if I made the money, everybody made money. Here is the challenge referring to what you just said. These kids didn’t even have a house, and when they made $100,000, $200,000, the first thing they would think about buying is a car. $100,000 car. I would look at them and say, “Are you freaking out of your mind? You don’t even own a house. You live in your parents’ house, which is lower middle class or middle class, and you're going to show up in that neighborhood in a $100,000 car? Why don’t you have a different mindset? A mindset that says, hey, I’m going to invest because this is going to run out sooner or later.”

As I coach certain people and I talk to them about a narco mindset, the narco mindset is when we have the mindset that listens, things don’t last forever but I’m going to overcome every obstacle that there is, and giving them principles that would make them successful in life. But what happens is that now, today if you go on Facebook, and let’s say that for whatever reason, you’ve looked for a recorder on Amazon. How it happens, I’ve got no clue. But the minute you go on Facebook, you start getting hit by recorders and all the advertisements for what you are looking for.

We’re constantly being marketed, and we are being marketed to the point that we’re constantly believing, “Hey, when I buy that car or when I buy that fancy suit, or when I buy that boat or whatever it is that I buy, materialism, I’m going to be happy and you're not.” I’m here to tell people right now, I don’t give a damn how much money you make. I’ve talked to ballplayers that make millions. I’ve talked to billionaires. At the age of 21, I was making 1-3 million in 1977 which is to say, I don’t know, 10 million right now a month. No matter how much I made, I spent that much because that’s where we’re conditioned. We are conditioned that the more we have, the more we need instead of being conditioned that the less we have, the less we need. I try to teach my children there’s a difference between wants and needs. We struggle with that. My wife and I both came from poverty.

I remember one Christmas, we opened the closet and there were toys that our children had not even opened. From that day forth, we made a pact. We said, “Here’s a deal, Jesus got three gifts and that’s all you get. You're going to get three gifts and it’s going to add up to 100. Now, the three gifts that you get, you need to give one back from whatever gifts you’ve had in the past so that you can give it to someone that is really in need.”

You won’t believe this but my kids now are in their twenties ... well, I have some in their forties and thirties, they don’t expect anymore because that’s how they were conditioned from little kids. Another thing that’s really, really important to break this cycle of materialism, Anthony, is that we’ve got to teach our children to give. Look, there are just two types of people, takers, and givers.

Unfortunately, especially those of us that come from nothing, we want to give our children what we didn’t have, but the truth of the matter is that what we really need to give them is what we had, which was what? The presence of our parents, the love of our parents. Our joy was to be in our unity. Our joy was not to be in something new. A new car. I see parents giving children brand new cars, and I’m like, “My God.” We made a rule with our son, whatever you save by the age of 18, whatever you save, we will match, and that’s the car you are going to buy. Our son saved $5,000 throughout his whole time, we ended up buying him a $10,000 Volvo, and he was happy and full of joy. I could have bought him a brand-new Mercedes, a brand-new BMW but you know what? The truth is, what favor are we doing him?

This generation as a whole has an entitled mentality. They feel that the world owes them something, and it begins in the home. When that child is born, he doesn’t know whether the world owes him something or not. We teach him that or we let society, media, pressure teach him and then we are nothing but a society that’s materialistic. Because we’re materialistic, we’re never going to be happy. We need to find joy in relationships. We need to find joy ... Remember, Anthony, I’m a bit much older than you but you are not too far when we played on the streets and we made up toys, and we were happy. We were creative and we had conflict resolution on the streets. These kids don’t have any conflict resolution. They're glued to an iPad or a computer or an iPhone or an android. We don’t mention androids in our house. We call that the dark side. They're glued to that and they don’t know how to handle conflict. When they go into the workplace later in life then what happens? All of a sudden, things just don’t work out the way you think they need to work out, then it becomes very conflicting.

We do need to stop the cycle of materialism and go back to really what made this country the greatest country on earth. The World War II generation. That generation that worked hard. Children the minute they were able to work, they contributed to the family. They saved their money. They didn’t go on fancy vacations every six months. They didn’t have that summer home or that winter cabin. They had one house, and they retired, and they had one pension. They educated their children and they gave them principles. They gave them morals. It was a generation that had marital problems. Divorce was not an option. They hated the war but guess what, to serve in the war was to them an honor. Their yes was yes, their no was no, and rather be an hour early than one minute late. How did these people get this principle? Because there were parents that taught them that. When we look at our children and we say you're materialistic, you’re that, we just need to look at ourselves and say, “Why have we allowed this to happen?” I always say there’s no out of control children, a lot of out of control parents.

Anthony:          As someone who had it all, you have a very unique perspective because you lived the life of a one-percenter potentially. 98 or 99% of Americans may feel, not everyone, but many may feel that if they just had a little bit more, or if they had this thing or that house or that yacht then they'd be happy. You talked about actually having all the Corvettes and sports cars you wanted and you were not happy. Can you talk a little bit about that realization that you came to when for years, you had this idea of the American dream, you wanted these material things and maybe for you at that time, it seemed like it was hope like it was motivating you but then when you got all those things, can you talk about that experience of shifting that so many people don’t have. The United States is a prosperous country but not everyone has like multiple Corvettes in their garage. Can you talk about what you experienced at that time, and what people can learn from that?

Jorge:               No, no, if you buy something, it’s not bad. But if you buy something and you're in debt to the point that you don’t know how to pay for that something, yes, it becomes very, very, very bad. The action of buying or purchasing an item, a nice item ... Look, I’m a great believer. If you work hard and you sacrifice and you become wealthy, you deserve it. Look, I’m very capitalist. I lived in a communist country. I know what works and doesn’t work. I know that when I was young, I wanted to be a communist. I read Karl Marx, Das Kapital, I read everything about him, and I realized wow, what a great system. Everybody is equal, everybody had the same but the truth of the matter is that human nature does not allow that. I sit back. Why should I bust my ass when you're sitting over there and you're going to get the same as me? Well, then what happens is we lose that incentive. We lose that creativity. We lose that desire to go forward.

When we buy things, why shouldn’t we ... If we work hard, why shouldn’t we have a nice car? If we work hard, why should we not change our car every two, three years? Well, the truth of the matter is, you should, if you can. Now, how many people are car rich and cash poor or house rich and cash poor? When a tragedy comes, number one, can they handle it? Here’s another thing that’s very important to me. Look, I’m going to tell you, I drive a Rolls Royce but here is what’s more important for my wife and I. It’s what we give. To us, if driving a fancy car means we can’t give, if driving a fancy car means that we can’t help people, we’re not going to do it. We built our company and it was very, very successful because we gave 10% right off the top. I’m telling you, I [inaudible 00:16:55] being in Louisiana when all the jobs were about to be over, and all of a sudden, I get this feeling inside that I needed to help build this church inside this prison.

Well, think about it, I could’ve bought a yacht with what it cost to build that yacht but to me, it was the thought that this was going to help people that were hopeless. People that were in a prison where they were never going to go home. This church where they could meet and sit there and meditate. For me as a Christian, they could be and have a relationship with God and with Christ, and for those that are not Christians, they just could find peace in that sanctuary. Well, to us, it was more important to build that church than to buy a yacht. So, what you're saying is correct. There is nothing wrong with having as long as you can afford it. But there’s a lot of wrongs when your children are doing without when your priorities are so wrong. I’m talking about, I need to make this very clear, constantly I need to make this very clear. Listen, talking about Jorge Valdes.

What you hear is what I’m saying applies to me. It doesn’t even apply to Anthony. I know Anthony and I share the same values but when I say something, please understand it applies to Jorge Valdes. Now, if the shoe fits, wear it. If not, just get another pair of shoes.

The truth of the matter is, for us, we had a priority, my wife and I.  Number one, we had to give. Period. We had to give 10% of our income. Period. No matter what. Listen, there were times when I was a professor at Wheaton College. That 10% meant we went without going out to dinner. But it was fine. We made do and it worked for us. That was priority number one. Priority number two was we had to educate our children. For us, we wanted to send them to the best private schools that we could afford to. Listen, I’m a great believer in the public school system. There are great public schools but there’s a certain factor that if you can afford a private school provides that you might not be able to find in a lot of public schools. But listen, my daughter teaches at a public school, and I am a great advocate of the public school system. I don’t believe in vouchers. I believe that if you’ve got the money to put your kid through school, it shouldn’t come from your tax dollars to provide for the local school. That’s one thing that was critical to us. Number three, to have a roof over our shoulder and to have a roof over our shoulder that we could as hard as we could to pay off even if it was just a little, bitty house.

My first house, when I came from Wheaton when I left prison was 750 square feet. It was tiny but I kept it so clean and so pretty that it looked like a dollhouse, and I was happy there, much happier there than when I lived in a $15,000 mansion in a $15 million ranch. I rang my attorney to buy me a little Chevrolet Blazer. That car to me was the world. I had a million dollars’ worth of cars and I was miserable. I couldn’t stand any of them. To us, those were the priorities. Number one, we give. Listen, I gave when I was not a Christian. I gave when I was the devil. We find great joy in helping those that are in need. Giving is critical to us. Number two, our children’s education is critical to us. Number three, a roof over our shoulder, something that we can afford and that we could pay off as quickly as we can in just 10, 15, 20 years, that was critical to us because like I told my wife if the world goes to hell, and we’ve got no money, no one’s going to take our house. We might not be able to afford the light bill but no one’s going to take the house.

Those three were our number one priority, then food in our table. If we had those three and we had money to buy a nice car, and it would not take away from any of those, we would do it. I tell anyone, just buy it. It’s nice to buy a new car. Now, when you buy a car every two or three years because you don’t need one but because you think it’s going to make you happy and yet you’ve got these car payments, and you're robbing Peter to pay Paul, that’s totally wrong. You’ve got to find happiness and joy in yourself. I find tremendous joy in being with my wife and children. Now, I’ve got two left only. Four of them are gone. I’m madly in love with my wife of 25 years. I go away, I went to Atlanta the other day, I did a whirlwind Atlanta, Louisiana in literally 20 hours. Hardly slept but I couldn’t wait to get back because my joy is not in my car, is not in my house, it’s to be with my family and to see them succeed, to see that I gave them a good education, a good principle, a good foundation. That’s to me where the value lies.

Again, I love Corvettes. I thought the minute I had one I’d be happy. I remember eventually when I had money and I found out that the brand-new Corvettes came out, I went to a dealership knowing that now I’m going to be happy. This is that moment in my life where I’m just going to be happy. When I get there, they made more than one color and I’m like, “Holy crap! What am I going to do? How am I going to risk my joy in picking the wrong color?” So, I bought one of each color. People used to ask me, “Well, Jorge, what’s the hardest decision you make every day?” I say, “Well, listen you, idiot, what car am I going to drive?” That [inaudible 00:21:44] is something that’s funny. I bought myself a brand new Rolls Royce Corniche and it was beautiful. I was 22 years old. Miami was pretty dangerous during this time. I was 22 but I looked like I was 19. I had braces. I looked like a perfect nerd, and I realized that the only way I could go out in my Rolls Royce was if I would put on a chauffer’s hat. A lot of times, most of the time, with millions of dollars in my garage of cars, I would go out in a cheap old rental car because that’s how dangerous it was. I owned a lot of stuff, made a lot of money.

I remember one time my maid saying she wanted to clean behind the sofa that we had in my office, so I moved the sofa out of the way. The sofa was like in a catty-corner, and when I moved it, I find this grocery bag, I opened it up, it had $750,000. Think about it, this is 1978. I didn’t even know that money was there because you get to a point where you sacrifice everything in your life finding that meaning, and when you get there, it’s not there then you know what it ends up becoming? Tragedy. I tell this to people and people didn’t believe me back then. If you were intimate with me, I would tell you. Everybody looked at me and wanted to be Jorge Valdes. I had the most beautiful women in America. I dated every movie star, celebrity, I had jets, yachts. I had mansions all over, every country that I visited in every major city. I had everything a person dreamed of, and every day, the more I got, the more miserable I became.

Looking back now as I was editing Narco Mindset, I realized one thing. The reason I did some of the crazy things that I did was that I wanted to die. I didn’t know that back then but that’s what it was because I got to a point where if all this is going to make me happy, now that I have it, what is more, to get? I had one each of the most exotic cars, Lamborghini. I had them all. Ferraris, Mercedes. I had the first Gemballa, which was a very exotic Porsche that was $150,000 back in the early ‘80s. I was so miserable that the only answer to me as if somebody would kill me. When I would hear the news that there was a contract on my life, it didn’t even faze me because psychologically inside I wanted to die. I reached that zenith. I risked everything in my life climbing that mountain, and when I opened up that door, you know, it’s almost like Al Capone’s safe when Geraldo Rivera made a big deal, they were going to open Al Capone’s safe in Miami Beach, in that house. It was a big thing for months and then they opened it, and it was empty. There was nothing there. That’s how I felt when I reached the zenith of my life. When I had it all.

The reason today that I can tell you this is because I can tell you when I found joy in my life. I remember the day. Three years, I walked away from the cartel one time when I decided one day that I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I walked away. My desperation was so much because I just couldn’t find meaning in my life. Nothing had meaning. I would go ahead and I went to bed with every woman, every movie star. They were gorgeous and I was miserable. I couldn’t even stand to spend the night with them. I realized I am so desperate that I just don’t care about living. Anyway, I walked away thinking I was going to get killed in two months, turned my life around. People say, “Well when you change, how do you change?” I say, “Well, for me it was going north, I started going south. Going south, I started going north. If I was going east, I go west.”

I walked away and I moved to my ranch, and I was there for three years breeding my horses, and I was making a lot of money. Still, to a certain extent, empty. I was divorced. A guy that saw his parents never get divorced, I got divorced twice. I stayed married for six months with my first wife. My second wife a couple of years. I cheated on her when she was ... the baby shower for my second daughter. Nobody or nothing. I adore my mum. I just could not understand it. Why I treated women the way I did when the most sacred person in my life was my mother. Anyway, I had a guy coming to teach me Karate, and for three years, he started to witness to me about something very interesting. I never told me to convert to no religion. Never told me, “Hey, Jorge, you’ve got to be a Christian. You’ve got to be this. You’ve got to go to church.” None of that.

I was living a pretty heathen life. But I saw this guy in this bitty little world, Anthony, and I’m like, “How the hell can this guy be freaking happy? Impossible.” His house is half my guest house. He’s married to the same woman for twenty-somewhat years. She’s forty-something years old. Today, to me, she’s gorgeous but to me, I was like, “How can he be happy with her when I hate all these gorgeous supermodels?” And all he could say to me, something very interesting. Finally, I started, “Tim, what the hell’s wrong with you? Why are you content with what you’ve got? Why don’t you strive for more?” His response was weird. He said, “Jorge, I have an intimate relationship with Jesus.” I’m like, “What the hell does that mean?” I’ve got people that would die for me, and I don’t know about an intimate relationship with anybody short of my father and mother.

That’s all he would say. What happened is, over three years, I saw the joy in this man. I would do horrible things so that he would tell me, “You're a heathen and you're going to go to hell and blah, blah, blah.” I just couldn’t take it anymore. When I saw my ex-wife drag my little daughter away, I just went in there, and I’m like, “God if you're real, I know you are probably… first of all, I don’t think you're real, to begin with but if you are, change me. I want what this man has got. He’s got nothing to buy it with, I’ve got everything to buy it with yet I can’t buy it.” My life went, literally right after that, three months, to hell. I was arrested because the government wanted all the money that I had. They just couldn’t stand it that I was retired, a multi-millionaire.

I found out my ex-wife disappeared with my children, my two daughters, which was my life. For two and a half years, I didn’t find them. I was told my dad had a year to live and he was dying of cancer, and then my attorney gave me the wonderful news that “Hey, Jorge, they want to charge you with eight life sentences.” Here is when I really realized, for the first moment in my life, where true joy and happiness was. I walked to the US attorney’s office and they were like, “Well, lots of money, little time, little money lots of time.” I said, “Do you know how much I got?” [Inaudible 00:27:58] was an amazing person, opened up the door and she’s like, “No, but I know who does.” These agents came out. They knew how much toilet paper I spent. I tell people, “Do you know how long it takes to go from being a multi-millionaire to being dead broke? About a minute and a half.” That’s how long it took for me to sign off everything that I owned. Millions and millions of dollars. Houses on the ocean. Houses in the mountains. Horses, cars, everything you can imagine.

I went into my cell after that realizing that I might die in a federal prison. I’m laying there, I’ve got nothing, and I hear this guy say, “Milky Way, Milky Way, Milky Way,” and I’m like, “Milky Way? What is that all about?” I was so hungry. I had not eaten for two days because I was arrested in St. Louis and brought to Atlanta and then from Atlanta, I was taken to Mobile, Alabama where I had never been in my life. He’s like, “A dollar, a dollar,” and I wanted a Milky Way so freaking bad because I was so hungry, and I realized damn, man, three hours ago I was worth 60 million bucks, and I don’t have a dollar to buy a Milky Way.

I lay in that steel bunk bed, and I had this Bible verse that just dropped in my chest, God is my witness: Rejoice at the confiscation of your goods. I’ve got greater riches for you in heaven. But here is the key to it all. For whatever reason, Anthony, for the first time in my life, the only thing I owned at that moment was the pair of underwear I had on because everything else had been taken away from me. I started to find joy for me. I started to find meaning and to realize that you know what, I was created for something much greater than what I had sold out to. And then I started to find joy in reading and learning.

Like I tell my children, the minute you open a book when you close it, you are damn much smarter. I started to find meaning to my life is nothing but in myself and the joy started to fill. For me, of course, it was I began to seek a relationship with Jesus. I have a problem with Christianity. I have a hell of a bad problem with Christians but I’m going to tell you this, nobody has got a problem with the love of Jesus. I don’t care if you're Jewish if you’re a Muslim if you're an atheist. Whatever you are, the love that I learned and that I acquired from my relationship with a Jewish carpenter, not a religious figure, just a Jewish carpenter, filled my life and transformed my life, and made me start to think differently. Guess what, I didn’t need those cars. I didn’t need those mansions. A guy that went to bed with two, three women every day all of a sudden started to be celibate. Celibate for seven years to the day I got married to my wife now of 25 years.

You can remember my wife coming to me when we thought that we would have a relationship and she’s like, “I don’t have anything. My dad is a waiter, my mum cleans houses. All I’ve got is what God gave me to give to my husband on our wedding night.” We waited for two years, and I prayed. I prayed like hell every day, “God, do you think that I can have an intimate relationship with a woman, just one woman? One that doesn’t know anything about sex or anything?” I used to go to bed with all these porn actresses. My mind was so decrepit and horrific. But you know, like the old saying, garbage in, garbage out, I started to read. I started to change my mindset. For me first was, I didn’t even look at it as a religious book. I started to read the Bible as a historical book. I wanted to learn about what happened in the old times. I wanted to learn about communities. I wanted to learn about how western civilization was impacted through this message of love.

The more I read, the more hungry I become, and I’d get up at 5 o’clock in the morning. In prison, we have a saying, listen, you need to sleep at least 12 hours, preferably 18. If you sleep 12 hours, you sleep half of your sentence. If you sleep 18, you sleep three-fourths of your sentence. Well, I only slept six because I’d get up at 5:00 when nobody was screaming, and I would read and read and read because every minute I read, I would start putting in new information. I’d start to create a new different mindset. An old preacher said to me, it’s like if you watch Bugs Bunny all day long, every time you talk to someone, the first thing you're going to say is, “What’s up, doc?”

Well, the first computer principle I learned way back when they used to teach us programming with those big old cards was GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. You put garbage into a computer, you are going to get garbage out. Well, the same thing works for your mind, and the same thing works for your body. If we put garbage in our mind, if we watch garbage TV, if we listen at work and our friends are telling dirty stories or they are telling us about the affairs that they had, and we laugh about it, and we participate in it, well that’s what we become.

That’s a little deviation from materialism but that’s what materialism is. The more we allow our joy and our happiness to be filled with goods, the more miserable we become. Now, if we find meaning to our lives in ourselves and in our relationships, let’s say with a superior being or relationship with our parents or with our spouses or with our friends, and we find the joy that way, then you know what, it’s okay to have a great car. It’s okay to own a beautiful home. It’s okay to have wonderful clothes. But listen, when I wore beat-up tennis shoes made by JC Penney trying to copy Chuck Taylors, I was just a lot happier than when I began to wear $200 and $300 shoes. It goes down to, there’s nothing wrong with material things. They just become really, really wrong when they become your God and they become the source of your joy and happiness.

It’s a fine line but it’s a distinction. Yes, we should enjoy this world. That’s why God’s put it all here. That’s why there's money. That’s why we work and we sacrifice. But we can’t enjoy that extra summer home at the cost that our children never see us because we’re working all the time. Our priorities must be straight before our material desires are in line.

Anthony:          That’s a great discussion point that you brought up but I know we are just out of time, so I want to thank you for all that insight. I’m sure our listeners enjoyed that as well.

Jorge:               You know, there’s just so much that we can talk about and there’s so much more we’re going to talk about. I thank you for your questions. I want our listeners to know that I have no idea what Anthony is going to ask me, so it makes it more interesting. Sometimes, I’m going to go out off the deep end and hopefully my wife who edits our work will catch it. At the same time, we’re going to talk about real subjects and delve into hard things. I have one way of teaching and one way of talking. I start with me. I’m just as broken as anybody out there. I was just as miserable as anybody listening but I’m telling you there is hope. You can find hope in the Narco Mindset podcast.

If you’ve enjoyed this episode, share it with your friends. We’re trying to create a community. We’re trying to change the world, one person, at a time. Listen, if you make your neighbor better, if you make your family better, if you make your marriage better, you are already part of changing the world. We don’t have to be complacent. We can do things. We don’t have to sit back and cry and bitch and moan about how things are. We can do a lot about making things be the way they need to be. If you enjoyed our show again, subscribe, share it with your friends, tell them about it. Go to our webpage at www.jorgevaldesphd.com, and you’ll get an automatic PDF of my latest book, Narco Mindset: The Freedom Edition. I’ll be sharing some very, very exciting news with you in the very, very near future. God bless you, and see you next time.

OUTRO:            We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.