“The most important thing that we could ever focus on is cleaning up our own consciousness and having an open heart.”
How do you feel about the current state of our world? Personally, I’ve got mixed feelings. On one hand, this is a crazy time in human history. People are dying, millions are unemployed, and many of our freedoms are being threatened or altogether taken away. All of this saddens me.
However, on the other hand, people from all walks of life are uniting and working together to incite change. Protests are happening around the world, corrupt police officers are being held accountable, and people are courageously speaking up against injustice. All of this gives me hope.
The cause that has been at the forefront of my mind is racial equality. This is a topic that is new to me, so I’m listening and learning as much as I can. I’ve realized that racism is more than just words, beliefs and actions. It includes all the barriers that prevent people from enjoying dignity and equality because of their race.
Joining me today, to talk about this and much more, is my good friend Preston Smiles. Preston is the author of Love Louder, and he is a wise, courageous leader who has been unafraid to stand up for what he believes in. He has a uniquely modern, love-based approach to living, and today you’ll gain his insights on everything from the “four levels of consciousness” to Preston’s experiences as a black person in America, and ultimately how we can all elevate our consciousness to be better and live well as we do difficult, necessary work within ourselves, our families, and our communities.
Every time I talk with Preston, I walk away feeling inspired, empowered, and equipped to be a better version of myself, and I believe that you will as well.
- The four levels of consciousness and how each impacts your life.
- How Preston reconciles his blessed life with the profound suffering and pain in the world.
- The four aspects of what it means to be human.
- How to look at, unpack, and dismantle your own biases.
- The difference between saying “I’m not racist” and being actively anti-racist – and how to call out sexism and racism to help others be heard.
- And a lot more, including resources for you.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal Elrod: Preston Smiles, my man.
Preston Smiles: What’s up?
Hal Elrod: Good to see you.
Preston Smiles: You too, man.
Hal Elrod: It's been a minute. It's been a while since we saw each other. Yeah. How's it going? How's life right now for you? How are you? How's life? I know you got a lot of majors. You just had twins. You guys are planning a big move. What's it like to be Preston Smiles right now?
Preston Smiles: Yeah, man. It's actually really interesting and beautiful for a few reasons. Number one, it's like this amazing paradox where I am simultaneously holding and knowing that all my needs are met and not just met but beyond that, while also understanding the gravity of what is currently happening on our planet and the necessary portal and opening that here and being with from compassion, the suffering, and pain that millions upon millions of people are experiencing, especially people of color. And so, it's this interesting, beautiful, like divine dichotomy where I'm sitting right in the middle with a smile on my heart but also, with my warrior in the space, and the king and the lover all present at the same time saying, “Let's get this.”
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Let me ask you, at times, is that easier said than done? Meaning is there certain times where and even maybe a period when it was newer, all this stuff going on? I'm just curious because I know for me, like, I feel like I'm in that space right now but there was a few months where I was like, "Dude, the world's falling apart.” And there's a lot of things happening at a high level of control, government, that like I can do what I can do for my family but some of the things down the pipe, can I affect these? Yeah. So, for me, it's been kind of an up and down and trying to navigate my way to find that space that you just ride. How's it been for you?
Preston Smiles: Yeah, man. it's been interesting because I have had moments of that but for the most part, I trust in the participatory universe that we live in. I know that for me, and this is just my opinion, that God is one gigantic yes button and it's always saying yes. And so, the same power that Hitler tapped into is the same power that Gandhi tapped into, is the same power that Martin Luther King, is the same power that any other person who's ever walked the face of this earth has tapped into. And so, as long as I'm keeping my vibration high and my intention and attention on what I actually seek to see and experience in this world and I am participating, I am co-creating with the creator that which I would like to experience and the first place it has to happen is inside me because there are only two games in the world. There's the outside in-game and the inside out-game. The outside in-game is likes, followers, government X, Y, and Z makes it to where I feel good. If you tell me I'm pretty then I feel good. If you tell me I'm ugly, then I feel bad. That is a powerless type of living and for me, I'm constantly and I have literally alarms that go off on my phone, and I signed all my clients to do the same. I call them joy alarms and God goggles. So, the joy alarms, joy alarm goes off, you just lose it and just reasonless joy.
Hal Elrod: Sing, just feel it.
Preston Smiles: Feel it, right? For the sake of it because there's life, and we're here and the birds are still singing and the trees are still like, yes, there's a lot of uncertainty but there's always been uncertainty and how you can attest to this because we're basically the same age, never in my life, my lifetime, have I experienced so much awareness around what's going on on our planet and the willingness to step forward the courageousness that people are stepping forward with, like yourself, myself, people, how do I say this, have a lot of opinions. And oftentimes, if you don't go with the herd mentality, you can be shamed and things of that nature and even down to and I have no problems talking about this, not circumcising our son, not shooting them up with a bunch of vaccines that would not do anything until he even turned six months and things of that nature which really piss people off just the courageousness to say, "Here I am. It's okay. You can see and you can ask me and we can have a conversation but I'm not going to make a stupid choice. I'm educated in my choices.”
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And you're entitled to your choices and to your opinion but don't force them down my throat with your agenda or with hate. Yeah. So, originally, I texted you the other day. I followed you on Instagram and I follow you and I've been watching a lot of what you've been talking about with racial injustice and racism and Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd killing and the light that that shed out in our country, all of the things and a lot of influencers. I talked to Jon Vroman yesterday, the founder of Front Row Dads, which by the way, I told him I go, “You should reach out to Preston, get him on the podcast. He needs it.” He's a multiple-time award-winning dad now. But for white influencers, it was like I care. I don't know what to say. Right? It’s not just for influence. I think that’s for all of us, right? It's like, should I say something? Should I post something?
Preston Smiles: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: And so, I texted you and, yeah, I'd love to have Preston. I'd love to have you on and someone that is smarter than me, someone that's lived as a black person in America to share your knowledge, your wisdom, your voice with my audience, my platform. And I want to share with you, this morning I did something I've never done before. I'm usually very limited in my prep. I'm embarrassed to admit I'm limited in my prep for guests. I spend like an hour, right before prepping for the guests. And this morning I woke up, did my Miracle Morning at 5 AM, right when I sat down to meditate like you entered my consciousness and I went, “I'm going to dedicate my entire three-hour Miracle Morning to Preston,” like I'm just going to think about Preston. I'm going to pray about Preston. I'm going to meditate on Preston. I’m reading the book if you're watching, Love Louder. I got Preston's book off the shelf and started rereading that. You were on my walk this morning. I was listening to a friend JP Sears on the walk, talk about racial justice.
Anyway, here's the point. What came up for me this morning is that who you are is so much more than those topics and I want to dive into those topics. I really do because that was what prompted this conversation. But I think that what would be the highest value for me selfishly, and for everybody listening to this is a glimpse into the heart, mind, and soul of Preston just to experience how you think, how you feel, how you show up in the world. And if a little bit of that rubs off on us, I think that we'll all be better human beings as a result. So, yeah, man, so that’s what came over this morning. I'm like, all right, yes, I want to dive into these topics but Preston is more than a topic or a handout. So, I do believe you're a divine messenger and, yeah, man. So, where this goes, I don't know. I don't know exactly where we’re going. If you thought that I do these questions.
Let's start with what's on your heart right now, man, and then we can start with what's going on in the world and what you've been talking a lot about on social media. You've really been a leader and you've been courageous and you haven't been afraid to offend, to stand up for what you believe in. So, whatever's on your heart, let's start there.
Preston Smiles: Okay. So, as we know, anybody who's ever had a plant medicine ceremony or demanded meditation or got the Holy Ghost or had Molly at a festival or whatever the case may be, wherever you are, for those of you who never really dropped in, you know that there's only one of us. You know that everything is touching everything and everything is informing everything. And so, I want to start by breaking down the four levels of consciousness because it's very important and it's something that I'm consciously aware of daily is there's four levels of consciousness. The first level or stage would be to-me consciousness where the world is happening to me. I'm at the effect of the world. It's the government. It's the black people. It's the Mexicans. It's the ball and chain. It's my wife. It's my husband. It's always something over there happening to me. This is called first stage victim consciousness thinking.
Second stage would be by me. This is the Gary Vee, Grant Cardone hustle hard, I create my own reality, I will will this into existence consciousness. When one is operating from by-me, they are clear that they can create the reality and they're going to make that happen. Everybody following so far? Third stage or level is through-me consciousness. This is where we open up the channel, the space, and allow spirit Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Allah, whatever is most potent for you to use you as a vessel for something greater than oneself. Fourth stage is as-me consciousness. When we are in as-me, this is the Buddha nature. This is the Christ consciousness. This is the moment that the mushrooms, the Molly, the ayahuasca, whatever it is hits and you realize there is only truly actually one and you have nothing to say and nothing to do because it's already done in the heart-mind of God. These are the four stages of consciousness.
Now, from my experience, a large portion of the world is operating from stage one, stage two. Mainly stage one, all of us visit all of these at different points sometimes throughout the day, sometimes throughout our lives. However, the vast majority of the people I come in contact that I coach that I support that come into my containers, even if their coaches are operating unconsciously from to-me consciousness where their power, their God is over there in the amount of likes or followers for the breast implants or the boobs or anything. It's always over there. When I have that, then I'll be pretty enough. When I have the car, then I'll be good enough. I'm a victim to not having enough money, enough fame, enough XY&Z. Now, then there's this point where people realize that our thoughts become things and we create our reality and we go through this buy-me consciousness where we're hustling and we're trying to get things but we're still slaves in that mentality because we think the things that we're going to get will fulfill us. And I'm adding myself in this conversation because I get roped into this every once in a while.
For me, just giving you sort of like a window into my world, like I don't prep for anything because my whole life is a preparation. I do this all day, every day. I have no other job other than to pull apart the magic that is me and also look at the human condition in nature and allow it to inform how I experience this beautiful miracle called life. And so, that through-me consciousness, which is what I'm truly aiming for. And I tell my coaches because I also coach coaches, high intention, low attachment. We enter the space with a high intention and a low attachment. And anything I tell them I'm saying for myself as well and so I move about my world daily saying how can I be used, “Spirit, use me to remind somebody of who they really are. Spirit, use me to tap somebody on the shoulder and give them that extra push. Spirit, use me to trigger somebody to have them rethink and have to look at their own stuff and question some of the things that they have taken as an ‘of course.’”
Because the power is in the question. Quest, we're going to quest to unearth some of the social and historical programming that each of us has received. Now, I'm just going to dive over here really quickly and then I'm going to let you in a similar area.
Hal Elrod: I love it. Keep going.
Preston Smiles: Four aspects to what it means to be human. We are biological. We are linguistic beings, which means we build worlds with our language. We need distinctions to understand the world. Third aspect of what it means to be human is we are social and historical beings, which means we were born into beliefs and interpretations. If my mother and father said that money is the root of all evil, I was born into that belief and interpretation, and more than likely because my nervous system is forming from zero to nine, I will inherit that. I will think like them, walk like them, talk like them, and therefore get the same diseases, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. If they are Republican, I am Republican. If they are Democrat, I am a Democrat. If they are Christian, I am Christian. All of this goes sort of unchecked for many people.
And so, fourth level is we are quantum beings, which we'll get into that later. But the social-historical programming, this ties to what's happening in our world right now. I mentioned in one of my videos, which beautifully went viral a couple of weeks ago, that there's a doll test. Are you familiar with the doll test?
Hal Elrod: I watched that video this morning and, yeah, I’m familiar but talk about it.
Preston Smiles: So, in the 1940s, they did a test because they knew it's hard not to know but they did a test called the doll test where they took little children from different ages and backgrounds and all of the above, and they put them in front of two dolls and they asked them a series of questions. They did this in 1940s and they did this in 2000. They did it in 2013, 2015, and 2016. People have just kept doing this test just to see. And so, 1940s they sat these children in front and they said, "Which one is the pretty doll?” And no matter if the kid was black, or white, or Mexican or anything, they always said that the white doll, the blond-haired blue-eyed doll was the pretty doll. They say, "Okay, which doll is the ugly doll?” and across the board, they chose the black doll. Which doll is the good doll? Across the board, it shows the white doll. Which doll is the bad doll? Across the board, they choose the black doll. Now, this is 1940s and 2014, right? Just nothing changed from the 1940s to here. And we have to ask ourselves, why?
Where have we been socially and historically programmed to believe that white is better, is pretty, is good, is all of those things and black is bad and dirty and ugly and rapists and killer and drug addict and all of those things? And I have been speaking about this for many years. I've said this on stage. I've said this in a million places. I know that underneath all of this, underneath gay, straight, white, black, Christian, Muslim, underneath all of it, there was only one truth which is love. I know that. And I incarnated as this Afro amazing, beautiful human with this sexy dark chocolate skin and a part of that has given me the opportunity. I'm a millionaire. And in my own neighborhood, pre-COVID-19, people across the street when they see me. In my own neighborhood, people clench up when I get in the elevator. In my own neighborhood, and this has been happening for years, I've been called a monkey and a nigger probably over 60 to 70 times.
These are things I don't necessarily fully talk about. I've been chased down. I've been kicked by the police at 12 years old with a gun to my face. And that's just the top layer. It doesn't help us understand that everything we've ever seen and I want to know from you, what were your childhood favorite cartoons and characters?
Hal Elrod: I honestly don't remember. He-Man. I remember He-Man. That was a big one.
Preston Smiles: Same.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, nice. Yeah. Power of Grayskull. So, He-Man was one, and then who else? I mean, I went into Ninja Turtles when I was a little bit older. So, those are the green skin. Yeah. Honestly, I can't remember all of them.
Preston Smiles: So, He-Man was one for me. GI-Joe, Santa Claus, the fake Jesus that's painted everywhere. Every movie, Dirty Harry, every Western, every Gilligan's Island, everything that has ever been good, if you really peel the onion back and I'm just going to tell you a brief story so you guys understand like how long this has been happening. Previous to this career, I was a model and an actor. And this had happened to me so many times that I sort of knew it was coming but I was hoping that it wasn't. I was doing a job and this may get me in trouble later but I got to tell the truth. I was doing a job for Target to be one of those guys on a big poster in Target. And we're in the desert and they hired me, token black guy, an Asian girl, five white people, men and women, and a Hispanic girl. And we're all messing around. We're all young. I believe I was like 25, 26. We're running around, doing the thing in the desert and this particular blonde, blue-haired white girl kept like being in my space. Maybe she had a crush on me whatever it was but we kept like laughing and like arms over and they kept taking pictures.
“Alright, guys, again do the thing.” And in my mind, I was going, “Okay, this has happened before. I know what probably is going to happen but hopefully not.” Because the white guy always has to be the hero. I already knew that because every movie I've ever seen, every TV show, unless it's an all-black TV show, the black guy is stupid, the rapist, the bad guy, drug dealer, the XY&Z is like textbook. Just think about every movie or TV show you've ever seen, why is it set up that way? Same way that Asians are portrayed, the same way that women are portrayed to very particular institutional system that is embedded into everything that we see and experience. And so, I'm going to end the story and then just open the space to see what comes through. I see the client say to the photographer, “Hey, stop for a second.” So, they call the photographer over and everybody else is young and innocent and just 25, 26 talking and laughing.
And I'm looking over my shoulder because I can see it, I can feel it. So, the client calls the photographer over. They whisper a little bit and look up over at me. I put my head down like I'm not looking. And then photographer comes back and says, “Hey, Preston, come here.” I say, “Yeah. Sure.” I know what’s coming. “Hey, man. How about you just don't touch Haley at all like just don't even be like around her. We're going to have you like on the outside over there. Is that cool, man?” Like, "It's all good, bro.” “Just like hang maybe more around like the Hispanic girl,” I forget her name, “and just stay on the edge. Cool, man. Thanks.” Now, this may seem like nothing to anybody but this is a humiliating experience. And it is one of hundreds that have happened throughout my life that remind me that I'm not seen as an equal that I am not. And I get it, everybody has a bottom line and Target wanted to make sure that their racist customers still walked in the store.
But that's a part of what we as people of color are asking of those who happen to be Caucasian and own businesses and etcetera, etcetera is to look at your own biases and be brave enough to have those who hate us come out of the woodworks and be mad at you for a second instead of you acquiescing like Target did in that moment to make sure that they kept their bottom line the right way. That scenario has happened hundreds of times for me.
Hal Elrod: So, Preston, let me ask you, in terms of one of the things that's come up a lot recently is the difference between I'm not racist and anti-racism, and for me, I think that I often I don't get engaged in a lot of really controversial stuff. I just kind of like, I’m like I'm not part of the problem at least that's my thought and I think it's for a lot of us like I'm not racist. I'm cool. I don't need to have a come to Jesus moment because I'm like I'm cool. And then I've heard that that's not enough that it's anti-racism that is needed right now. And the way that in my head, I was like, "Well, what's like an analogy that I could draw?” and I thought, "Well, like if it was bully,” right? If you go, "Well, I don't bully kids. So, I'm cool.” It's like, well, no, no but kids are getting bullied like they're getting bullied. You can't just be like, "Well I don't bully kids.” It's like we have to all be anti-bully, right? So, that was for me like that's how I kind of made sense in my mind but if you could speak on that just why is, “I'm not racist,” not enough if that's the case? And then what is the anti-racism and what does that look like for people that don't consider themselves racist but need to really step up a little more to support?
Preston Smiles: Yeah. I don't even necessarily like the word anti. I lean towards pro-education and pro-courage, pro-humanity. What we're really asking is for you to be human enough that when your friend or your uncle does that thing or says that sexist or racist joke that you're human enough to say that that doesn't work here. Because what happens is it weigh with a lot of stuff and they say, “Well, it's not me. It's not my issue.” I use the example and I want to put this into space because a lot of people are like, "Oh, racism doesn't still exist,” and I just want to sort of like add something to the space. If Jews were living in Germany and the Holocaust ended but for years and years, there was this seething, unconscious deep hatred for Jewish people inside of the country called Germany. Just because the Holocaust ended, it didn't mean that they didn't try to find new ways or laws or things and ways in which they could keep the same thing going.
And so, when black people are saying, "Just hear us,” because what we hear and one of the reasons why I'm vocal but I haven't been extremely vocal is because what we hear is, "Oh, you're pulling the black card again,” and they go and they pull these statistics as if stats can't be lied or skewed to fit a narrative and there's a larger game happening here and I've talked about this the other day. My wife and I were saying when the Me Too movement came forward, it wasn't enough to just say, “Well, I didn't do anything to any women so it's not my problem,” where the Me Too movement messed up, in my opinion, is they made it about a couple of men and not about a system, not about a paradigm that makes that okay where the boys club and the rape culture sort of mentality is okay. We got Weinstein, we got Epstein, done. We got Cosby, done. No, not done. And that's what we're saying here. This isn't about just a couple of bad cops. This is about an entire insight, literally an entire setup that is supposed to be this way. It's not like, oh, it accidentally just happened. This is exactly how it was designed across the board.
And my request of anybody who happens to be Caucasian is just be courageous enough to be human and think about if it were your kids or if it were you. And now I was teaching yesterday on a live about the distinction between first thought and the 13th thought. Our first thought is usually the truest. I've been places and seen somebody crying and my first thought was, “Wow. Go give them a hug or ask them if they're okay.” By the time I got to the seventh thought, it was like, ah, but they don't know you and they're scared of you X, Y, and Z, and you don't want to bother them.” By that time, nothing is said and I leave. So, the first thought, if your first thought was, "Wow, this is happening again. There's got to be something to it.” And then somebody handed you a video from a black woman that told you, “Oh it’s okay. Be complacent. Don't worry about it.” Ask yourself, “Did my heart really feel that way? And which one do I want to listen to, somebody who's paid by people to parrot certain narratives or what's actually present on my heart?” Because this is a humanitarian issue, in my opinion.
Hal Elrod: It is. And it's something you said. When you said the first thought what came up for me right there is a child's first thought isn't racism. A child’s first thought is look at this other human that's loving me. I don't know what color they are. I don't know what gender they are. I don't know what sexuality they are. I don't know. I just feel the love. And that's been your message for over a decade, it's just love, right? I mean, it's just love. That’s it. That's the fundamental that's what matters in life. My daughter, we had this conversation with her, which again, it's like, "Well, how do I bring this to my kids?” At dinner about a week ago, we talked about what was going on in the country right now and about ready racism and what it was. My daughter who's 10, my son is seven, he was just kind of oblivious, my daughter's 10 and she goes, she's like, "Well, that's wrong. Like all people are equal like why would that even matter?” Like she didn't even comprehend.
Like how could you hate someone because they were born as they were born and different, like it doesn't make sense. So, she goes, she's like, "What can I do? What can I do to help?” And I said, "Sweetheart, it's a great question.” I don't know if this was laziness or empowerment but I said, “I would love for you to go research it and come back to us and tell us what you find.” And like 30 minutes later, I went into her bedroom. I didn't even know. I thought I figured she'd be reading a comic and, on her whiteboard, it said at the top, Black Lives Matter. It said, "Racism,” and she had written the definition of racism. And then on the right, it said, “What can I do to help?” and it said, "Talk to my friends and get them involved. Donate moolah. Donate moolah to causes. Learn more about this.” And then at the bottom, she drew like three fists in the air and it said, “Every life is equal no matter what,” like, this was unprompted. I'm like, "You just did this in the last 30 minutes since we had dinner?”
And what that did, a couple of things. Number one, of course, I was proud of my baby but there were a couple of things that came up for me. Number one is that racism is taught, right? So, you think about it. So, therefore, it is not real. Meaning it's very real. Don't get me wrong but it is not inherent.
Preston Smiles: It's a virus of the mind.
Hal Elrod: It's a virus. What's inherent is love and acceptance and connection where there's one race as a human race. That's it. That's it. There's only one. And it also was empowering for me as I wrote a post about it, I said, “I have hope,” that especially with what's going on with this George Floyd death cause, this racial revolution where people, I've never seen people so woken up about this and of all races, and it gives me hope thinking that, man, because racism is taught and because someone like my daughter doesn't even get like doesn't even understand it, I literally could see one day in the future, I don't know how long, but where we look back at this primitive society that we're in right now, we are a primitive society. We're a bunch of babies on the scale of evolution. And I thought we're looking back and going, "Man, remember when we were racist?” like looking back I could see an end to it.
And I looked at being gay right now. My daughter and I, we’re watching the show, oh, it's the show on Netflix called the Flower Fight where they make these flower sculptures but a few of the characters are gay, and this these two men are partners and I said, "Sweetheart, when I was a kid, you would have never seen that on TV. Never.”
Preston Smiles: True. Yes.
Hal Elrod: Right? And now it's very much accepted as part of our culture. And so, anyway, that's my optimism and hope for racial equality that I think we're heading in the right direction and so…
Preston Smiles: 1,000%. And what's cool about you and so many other parents like you is you've woken up to the subtle tricks and ways that we've been sort of lied to. When I think about even and I don't know if you got taught this song but, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean.” This is deep programming without sharing that there were Native Americans already there that they gave them blankets and things to kill them that there's a paragraph about slavery like all of this history is being written in a very particular direction and they're trying to create robots in the schooling system. And what's beautiful is that there's a lot of parents who know that and are helping them unlearn and relearn what's true. And I'm really proud of you, man, like thank you for that. That means a lot because truthfully, one, I do all of this for my kids because I want them to live in a world, I'm committed to them living in a world where they don't have to have the same experiences that I have.
And that we don't even need to be in these kinds of conversations because there's a bigger conversation at hand, which is how can we serve each other, period, and have fun doing it? But what's going to make this world like that is parents like yourself and parents like myself, saying, "Okay, I can't get to every kid but the ones I can get to, can get to their friends and their friends could get to their friends and their friends can get to their friends,” and all it's going to do is just ripple out and have this beautiful effect where we stop allowing ourselves to be bamboozled. That thing about gays on TV, absolutely, bro. I never saw anything like it and the way that gay people were held and seen like, "Don't be a faggot,” like all of that sort of like weak macho stuff is crumbling and it's all connected.
This is why I told to my white friends the other day, I'm like, "You know how women don't have equal pay? You know how there's all of this sort of uproar about gays and trans and all of these things? You know how the top 1% kind of everything in the world? It's all connected. You know how a dude like Jeffrey Epstein could have sex and hurt like probably over 100 women and get away with it? That's connected to the same system that we're talking about, reworking on. So, this isn't just about like systemic racism. It's all the same thing that we get to have a new look at and a new thought about and vote and change and transform from the inside out.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. When you say it's part of a big system, I mean, a simple way I would say that is it's a small group of people that have been pushing their values, the Rockefellers, the Carnegie's, for a long, long, long time, and they've shaped the education system. It was all founded by those few wealthy families, that top 1%, and then we're living in the world that they created. And what's interesting is it's hard for people, for some reason I think that the majority of society, we don't think people in power, people that we've elected would be corrupt even though we see it all the time, right? We're like they're looking out, the government's looking out for us. You talked about it. I've been pledging allegiance to these, but they're all like Jon Vroman says, he's like, "Dude, they're just human beings and they all have their own faults and flaws and biases, and a lot of them are prejudiced and racist and sexist, and they just got elected to power.” You know what I mean?
So, one of the things you mentioned earlier and I forgot what it was but it sparked a thought like I kept hearing systemic racism and I didn't get it. I'm uneducated. I don’t understand. And one of the resources, a buddy of mine, Mike McCarthy, he said, “You've got to watch this film, 13th, on Netflix. Have you seen it?
Preston Smiles: Yes.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. For anybody listening to this, I posted this the other day online. Watch that film, 13th, and what you see is that would, oh, I remember what you said. You talked about Nazi Germany ended but there's still going to be a deep-seated, the core, the majority of people still hate the Jews, right? Well, in 13th what you saw for me what was like eye-opening is that when slavery ended, there were all these racists, the majority was like, “Whoa, well what do we do now? We can't enslave.” And then they're like, "Oh, in the 13th amendment, there's a loophole. It says that you can't enslave someone unless they are a criminal.”
Preston Smiles: Yes.
Hal Elrod: So, if we criminalize the black people, now we get to enslave them and that's why you saw these African-American males in jail with the chains on their ankles just doing the work, just plowing the fields because there was that loophole. And so, yeah, that was an eye-opening and you just see how it's like we’re still in it.
Preston Smiles: 100%.
Hal Elrod: What was created a long time ago and is it getting better? Yeah, infinitely better I would imagine. But better isn’t, you know, if you only beat one of your kids, that's not okay, right? You got to be none of the kids. So, man, beautiful. All right, so where do we go from here, man? Where do we go from here? Anything else that you want to share before we wrap up?
Preston Smiles: You know, Hal, I just want to remind this that spirit, law, God, Jesus, whatever name source, whatever name you have for it can only do for us what it can do through us. And so, I want to remind each and every one of us that the most important thing that we could ever focus on is cleaning up our own consciousness and having an open heart, stepping back in the room. I know that we're in a time where there's a lot to hold and be with and it feels heavy and interesting but it's not the load that breaks us down but the way we carry it. And if you carry the load different aka you keep your consciousness and your conversation upstairs and you do not, if you enter the attic and those places, you keep walking back upstairs, you keep your vibration high and your heart open.
I've been married for almost four years now and we've been together for seven years and one of my promises to her and to myself is to keep stepping back in the room. And not just physically but emotionally because there are these moments where I want to disconnect. I want to pull away. It's too much, it's too heavy. This is too much. And I just keep reentering the room with my heart open and that is my challenge to each and every one of us. If we're doing that, a lot will transform over the next five to 10 years and that will be the catalyst for the world that we all know is possible. We asked for this. A lot of us asked for a big life. When you ask for a big life, you're going to have big challenges. And so, God is always saying yes and make sure that that yes is from love.
Hal Elrod: Be the change, right? Be the change.
Preston Smiles: Yes, sir.
Hal Elrod: Beautiful. Well, Preston, man I wouldn't even mention that you're moving to Austin, Texas. We're going to be neighbors in a few months. Man, I am so pumped about that. And I was showing the video of you and the twins to my wife and kids or mostly, well, my wife and then my kids. And I said, "You guys, this my friend, Preston, and his kids. They're moving to Austin. These are going to be your new friends.” They're like, “Oh, they're so cute.” Well, you got three and one boy or two boys. But the most recent is twins, a boy and a girl. Right? So, how old are your kids?
Preston Smiles: They are three months now and we have a two-year-old. They're all…
Hal Elrod: I've always said as much as I love children, I thought twins would be the hardest thing in the world.
Preston Smiles: It is.
Hal Elrod: Because having one baby is like crazy. Having two at the same time like I can't even…
Preston Smiles: Bro, it's absolutely nuts. It's pure chaos and we were already pretty good parents but it's gone to a whole another level because we have no other choice. You know, there's no other choice and the thing that I like and I figured out with our first child, which is it takes a village. The reason why a lot of people burn out and do stupid things with their kids is because they're trying to do everything themselves and her and I have been going back and forth to Yeah. Alexi and I have figured out with our first kid that it takes a village and going back and forth to Tanzania, Africa and building clean water wells and seeing how they do it in the cities and in the bush that they have the entire family and friends involved so that they aren't as holding as much because there's wisdom to be learned from each person in the village. And so, we have gotten smart enough to bring in my mom and we have a nanny who's quarantining with us from her house and two different babysitters, so we have a team of people helping us do this but it's a lot, bro. It is a lot.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. One of my best friends, Matt Recor has twins and so I get the inside scoop from him and same thing, and he's like, "Thank goodness, I've worked hard,” because we need the nannies that we have like it would be really hard. So, for those that are doing it without that help, oh, man. Yeah, that's where doubling down on your self-care as important it is for all of us, it's like you got to quadruple down. Take care of yourself so you can take care of other people. So, Preston, man, I love you. It's been awesome to have you on so that we connected and until next time. I'll see you soon, brother.
Preston Smiles: Absolutely. Much love, brother.
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