mm hmm Blossom. Your awesome podcast episode # 47 Today on the show. Doug Noll is here with us and I am so excited after more than two decades as a trial attorney, he turned peacemaker and mediator. He helps people solve deep and intractable conflicts. He is also an adjunct professor of Law at Pepperdine School of Law. He is the co founder of the award winning prison of Peace project in which he teaches murderers in maximum security prisons to be peacemakers and mediators. Mr Noel has trained mediators and leaders in europe, the Middle East and Asia And has personally mediated over 1500 disputes. He is the author of four books including de escalate how to calm an angry person in 90 seconds or less and there's more.
Mr Noel is a jazz violinist aircraft and helicopter pilot, ski instructor, second degree black belt tai chi master and white water rafter. I am so honored and delighted to have dug here with us. Thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the show. Oh you're welcome Sue. I love the name of your podcast blossom. You're awesome. I just love that. Thank you so much. Well I'm just so excited to have you here. You have such an amazing background and um your bio is just out of this world. So let's talk about some of this. I know you were a practicing attorney for many years and then you kind of um you know rerouted so tell us about that. Well I grew up in southern California and ended up going to Dartmouth college from my undergraduate work and graduated with a degree in english. And in those days if you weren't going to medical school, you went to law school.
So that's what I did. I came back to California, Enter Law School in 1974. Yeah, I graduated in 77 and I had a choice. I had a bunch of job offers and I decided to move to central California where I live now. Actually I live in the mountains south of Yosemite National Park because I love the mountains and I was hired by a firm as a young associate after working for a year for an appellate judge and they groomed me to be a trial order so much so that six weeks after I joined the firm and I tried my first jury trial, which is kind of unheard of in those days. And my second trial started a couple of a month after that in san Diego California and the federal court in san Diego where I was co chairing of The defense of a $36 million dollars securities fraud case, so which we won. Uh and that's how my career started. So for the next 22 years I was a pretty hardcore business trial lawyer trying very complex cases, usually involving a lot of money tried over 250 different kinds of cases, arbitrations, contested hearings of all different kinds.
And then along the way I picked up the martial arts and eventually I earned my second degree black belt and my teacher fired me is that you're an asshole. You're too arrogant, I'm not teaching you anymore until you master tai chi. So I started studying tai chi and tai chi has to really interesting paradoxes. One is, the softer you are, the stronger you are and the other is the more vulnerable you are, the more powerful you are. Well, I didn't get these paradoxes. Uh, but I kept practicing and eventually they crept into my soul until one day I was in a courtroom and the thought came to me out of the blue in the middle of a trial. What the heck am I doing in here? And after that trial, I had a river trip planned up and I'd go with a bunch of friends and I spent the week think on my raft going through these big rapids on the mean salmon in central lido, thinking about how many people have really served as a trial lawyer and I could only count five people and I said, you know that that's just not going to work for me.
So I didn't know what I was gonna do. I came back to town driving down out of the mountains into my office. I heard uh, what turned out to be the one of the only public service announcement for a new master's degree in peacemaking and conflict studies being offered at President Pacific University And ultimately I enrolled and changed completely changed everything in my life and I had a lot of discussions with our partners about what I was learning and what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do a problem solving practice, not a trial practice, They weren't happy about that because that was the second highest earner in the firm and eventually I quit. I gave one week's notice and walked out, left $10 million dollars on the table and just walked away and started my own peacemaking and mediation practice In November of 2000 and um, so that's kind of how it all started, wow, that is amazing. Now, let me ask you, you know when you heard this public service announcement, I mean what was their like conflict or stuff? I'm getting kind of personal hair, but I'm just curious like why you were so drawn to that.
Like it seems like it was very kind of instantaneous, right? You were just like, hey, this sounds amazing, there's something here. Well, it was, I was more curious than anything else and I took a long time, not a long time, but I took some time to study the program and decide whether or not it was something that I could really benefit and I looked at the curriculum, I interviewed the, my future mentors, they interviewed me, they weren't sure they wanted the hardcore trial lawyers as a potential peacemaker. I wasn't sure I wanted to be educated at a, that the school that today is extremely fundamentalist in its christian beliefs, I wasn't sure I wanted that. Um, but after thinking about it, I thought this would even that even studying a christian perspective on peacemaking, even though I don't consider myself a christian, I'm a follower of jesus, that I um I decided I'd do it and it was the best decision I made in my career.
I mean what I learned was amazing, absolutely amazing, wow, this is just so, it really is amazing to me and now this is help me understand for you, what did this do for you on a personal level, what kind of insights, you know, around some of the, because we all have these certain myths around certain ideals and philosophies. So what was kind of the first big aha for you as you're learning this other more powerful way? I think I learned that human conflict is extremely complex and far more nuanced than the way the law looks at conflict. And I, and I began to see why the law was so limiting and why so many people hated lawyers and the legal system. And it became obvious to me that what was happening was that our society does not have any really good way to resolve interpersonal conflicts except through the legal system and the legal system was being asked to resolve conflicts, it was never designed to resolve and that was leading to all kinds of social problems And it's even true today.
Of course. That was my first big insight. And then my second big insight was that all peace and conflict starts in the brain. And that got me started on a track of studying neuroscience Back in 1998 when nobody knew what neuroscience was. And that led me to My 3rd big insight which is human beings are 98% emotional And only two rational. And this whole myth of rationality that's Been around for over 4000 years is wrong. It's a lie and it's caused more human abuse and suffering than any other single human thought or idea. Wow, okay, so now let's go deeper with this. I have so many questions so like help us understand the emotional component to us. Like I know this very much to be the case but how do we kind of make sense of this? Well we don't, I mean when I say we I'm talking culturally we don't because we are told from the time we were start forming, emotions were not born with emotions by the way we create them their cognitive constructs.
Um but we're told from a very young age that emotions are bad, emotions are weak, emotions are evil, they're irrational. To be emotional is to be less than human, especially for men and it's all a big lie. Ah and the problem is that we are as I said, what neuroscientists are teaching is that well you can't make any decision without being emotional first. You can't do anything without being emotional because emotions make us pay attention to what's going on around us to our environment. And so to say that we're all mr Spock. You know, Vulcan's is insane because we're not. And and So the the secret to me to living a happy and fulfilled life is learning how to master that 98% of who we are, that our culture denies existence to. And that's the real secret. And once you once you get that insight and start seeing the people are emotional, not rational. Everything changes now. Their behaviors make perfect sense.
Mm hmm. And now and you know, again, like you said Doug I think it's so beautiful and powerful that you as a man with all of the stigma that especially for men, around showing expressing emotions and vulnerability and all of that. So for you, what has this been like for you on a personal level to you know, kind of be here at the forefront. I mean, you've been doing this for a couple of decades now, right? When it wasn't like now we're kind of turning a corner, it's cool to be vulnerable or we're starting to see it in a different way. But you were like, you know, at the early I mean when this wasn't cool. Well, i it's it's with the it's difficult to really describe my process is is evolutionary not not a sudden gigantic insight and everything changed for me? I didn't have an enlightenment experience. Uh so it's it's been a growth from its just been steady growth there when I was I first became a peacemaker, professional peacemaker.
And I was introduced to a lot of so authenticity. People who thought they were authentic but really weren't. I didn't understand it and I was still pretty much in trial lawyer mode. So it took me a while to to grow out of it. Um and but I learned that that's this is where the paradoxes of tai chi come in, the softer you are, the stronger you are, the more vulnerable you are, the more powerful you are. I I learned that being emotionally authentic and being emotionally self aware allowed me to self regulate. And of course I developed cognitive empathy and effective empathy. So and when you get to the place where you do have these emotional competencies, emotions are not scary. It's what gives you power and working and the authenticity just it's I don't even think about it. It's just who you are. You just you know, you you just be who you are and you don't have to hide anything and you feel emotionally safe.
So there's no defensive barriers around you and it it's really quite a interesting way of being. And unfortunately there are many people out there that are like that mm hmm. Okay, so now what is that guidance for someone particularly men or women. But you know where does someone start? You know someone who has been kind of raised culturally to not express and show emotions and you know you've got to have this tough exterior but that's not working out for you. So where do we kind of start to turn the corner in that shift? You're exactly right. And you know we were fed this bs about how we have to be tough and mean and ornery and be aggressive and it's not who we are as people. So that's why I developed the emotional competency courses. Um And so these are two courses that teach you everything that I've learned about how to be authentic, How to be, how to have emotional competency.
And and it's not like somebody waves a magic wand over you or sprinkles fairy dust over you. And all of a sudden now you're emotionally authentic. It's a it's a learned set of skills and they're counterintuitive. And I learned that the hard way because I didn't have anybody that could teach me but I developed them over years just by by experimentation and observation and developed some of these skills are extremely powerful and the transformations that occur within you when you start learning these skills occurs very rapidly. I'm talking 4 to 6 weeks. I'm not talking years of slogging up a mountain to find a guru in a cave somewhere I'm talking literally two months and your life changes completely if once you start learning these skills and practicing them and I've seen this over and over and over again um which is, and that's that's how you do it. I've gone out and I've looked at all these emotional competency courses and life coaching and all these people out there promoting, you know, a lot of this stuff, but none of them really know what they're talking about and worse, none of them are practicing what they teach.
If you're gonna learn emotional complexity, you learn it from somebody who's emotionally competent. If you're going to learn emotional intelligence, learn it from somebody who's emotionally intelligent, you know, and and most most of these people are not, and you can tell by looking at their curriculums, their curriculum is telling you what this is all about, but there's not one of them that tells you how to do it, okay, and that's the secret. So for anybody out there who's, who's looking around thinking God, I gotta change my life. I want to, I want to become more in touch with who I am unleashed This 98% of me, that's my hidden genius, my emotions then you need to find teachers and coaches who can walk to talk and I'm sad to say there are very few of them that I found. Yes, and now let me ask you, So, you know, I'm hearing something here and I really jive with this because I have the same philosophy in life. Like I truly, you know, you hear people kind of say, oh people can't change or someone has conflict with somebody and they just cannot figure out a more powerful way.
You know, it's someone you can't divorce or leave or whatever, like you're stuck with them and you've got to learn a powerful way, but people just kind of you know, go back and forth in that same cycle right of just abuse or whatever. I believe that people can all learn and find a better way. So is your affirming that? Yes. I mean there's a simple set, I won't say simple, but there's a set of skills that I teach that I developed uh that work the first time every time and and to calm people down. And as you are calming other people down emotionally, you are reprogramming your own brain to become emotionally more self aware. So it's a two for you get you know, you by serving others, you serve yourself in this very powerful way, right? And like I said, I've trained thousands, 10s of thousands of people in this. And you know the transformations are amazing, especially in the prison project.
Yes. Yeah. I want to get into this with you. I do want to ask you another quick question on this right here. So help us understand because I think there's a lot of kind of um you know, people are not always clear what exactly what does emotional intelligence look like. Well emotional intelligence is a test. It's a measurement. So you can't learn emotional intelligence is, it's like me saying Sue, I'm gonna teach you I. Q. You know you just can't do that because the stanford Binet test is a test or of of intelligence. So anybody that says they can teach you emotional intelligence or is they don't know what they're talking about. Um What you can learn are three basic emotional competencies which emotional intelligence assessments or tests measure. And those competencies are one emotional self awareness. What emotion and I am I experiencing right now in this very moment and not just one emotion, There are almost always six or 7 emotions coming in in packs like wolves.
You know, can you name all the emotions that you're experiencing right now? Number two emotional self regulation. So you have a set of emotions that you're experiencing that may compel you to a behavior that's not optimal. Can you act against your emotions to choose a better path so that you're not reactive your deliberative. And then the third competency is learning learning emotional empathy with two kinds of cognitive and affective empathy. And here's the thing that's really backwards. What I've learned is that if I can teach people how to be cognitively empathic. If I can teach them cognitive empathy eventually they will develop effective empathy. And more importantly they will develop emotional self awareness and emotional self regulation without me having to teach them anything. It just happens. So all I have to do is teach you how to read the emotions of another person and everything else falls into place.
And That's why it only takes 46 weeks to to see really dramatic changes. Mm wow, okay. This sounds just really so amazing. So now Doug. What about people who are resistant? Like just in general, you know, people who are not open well, you know, you can take you can you can you can bring the horse to water but you can't make the worst drink. Usually people who are resistant or afraid. You know, there are 98% of all families are emotionally dysfunctional and and emotionally dysfunctional family is going to raise an emotionally dysfunctional adult who has who is who we you know, everybody uses the term baggage. Well you're carrying around a lot of emotional harm that we all suffer as Children because our parents didn't know any better. And because we did not grow up in emotionally safe environments or with parents or caregivers who were good emotional coaches to teach us how to be emotionally competent. We end up putting up huge barriers around us defensive barriers to protect ourselves from emotional hurt.
And inside this wall that we build around ourselves is the real us who is it. And it's almost always a shame based real us who's who's who's a tiny little thing and full of shame and embarrassment. And but on the outside we show ourselves being tough, macho successful, hyper cool people. But on the inside we know that we're frauds and fakes and we and so the resistance to learning is the fear of unleashing all of the emotional pain that we have experienced throughout life, that we keep buried inside us. Because there's a fear that that paint that emotion and that pain will be overwhelming and will annihilate us. And that's what keeps people from getting past all of that. And learning to take the walls down, Learning how to create emotional safety for themselves and for others and and thereby lead more emotionally authentic lives.
Mm hmm, wow. Okay. And now is there and I know a lot of this is going to, you know, is part of your training. But is there kind of like just a simple tip that you can offer people who don't feel emotionally safe in their space or situation or whatever struggle is there just a simple I can I can give you the core of my training and three simple steps, I can describe them in three simple steps. It takes a little bit more to master it. But the first step is, is to ignore the words. If you're dealing with an emotional person, somebody who's angry for example, you you the first thing you have to learn how to do is ignore their words. And when you do that, uh, you be you become less prone to reactivity yourself because it's just white noise and you're not you're not processing the words and it gives you bandwidth in your brain To do the next two steps. The second step is to just be in silence for a moment and let your brain read the emotional data fields of this angry person.
We can do this naturally automatically effortlessly and extremely accurately. One of the things that I've studied the evolutionary biology of of hominids and humans and one of the really interesting things that I've learned is that humans only had the ability and only homo sapiens had the ability to speak With language only developed 230,000 years ago with the advent of the mastery of fire because once once we could master fire we could eat animal fats and animal proteins which expanded our caloric intake and allowed our brains to expand greatly over a period of 10,000 years. And that along with that expansion came an expansion of the hipaa Gossel nerve and the ferengi, your muscles and the pharyngeal nerve all which control or vocal apparatus. So but before that the hominids before us, the neanderthals and um all of the predecessors did not have that ability. And so how did they communicate?
They did communicate, but how they do it, they did it through emotional expression. All the communication was emotional body language which is You know Miss Arabian, a psychologist in the 1970s I think did came out with a really radical paper that said all communication is of any given communicative utterance, 90 four 93% is nonverbal and only 7% is verbal. And of that, 93 1%, the vast bulk of it is facial expression, body language and tonality. So we were really, really good at picking up on other people's emotions. And that's the second step. Read the emotional data fields. Just allow your brain to do what it's designed to do really simple. And the 3rd step, this is where it gets tricky. The third step is to reflect back the emotions you're picking up from this angry person with a very simple use statement. So it would sound something like this a soup. Let's assume you're angry, Sue, You're really angry. You're really piste off, nobody's listening to you.
You feel completely disrespected, You feel ignored and unappreciated and unsupported and it makes you angry and you're worried and anxious and you feel sad and you feel like you've been betrayed, you feel all alone and completely abandoned and nobody loves you. So I know you're not angry, but what what do you feel as I labeled your emotional experience? Um sorry for myself. I feel like a victim and I'm like, yeah, you're right. Yeah. So a lot of people say, yeah, you're really right. But they also feel a peace come over them or a calming uh, and for the angry person when you reflect back these emotions using a using statement, a magic thing with magic, we'll use this in a colloquial sense. There's a magical thing that happens in the brain. And that is that as you label somebody else's emotional experiences. The emotional centers of the brain primarily with the amygdala lee and other limbic regions are inhibited.
Well, at the same time, the ventral lateral prefrontal cortex, which is our executive function comes back online. So as and and the reason for this, I think although there hasn't been any real deep research on this yet is I think what we're doing is when we are labeling somebody else's emotions, we are providing them were literally lending them our prefrontal cortex for the time. It takes their prefrontal cortex to come back online and access emotional information in the brain which is known as an emotional database that we all have. And it actually Takes less than 90 seconds to calm anybody down from a two year old to a 100 year old. You can literally calm anybody down in 90 seconds. And they're about 17 Or 18 brain scanning studies that show what happens in the brain when this process is utilized. Unlike any other skill that I'm aware of. Uh a lot of which is taught in the therapeutic world and in the mediation world is just plain wrong. Ah It's still taught for reasons that I can't fathom.
But so it's these three simple steps, ignore the words, read the emotional data field, repeat back the emotions with the simple use statement. You do those three things now. The way you start this is you practice it in the very low risk social situations so you're not gonna go and confront an angry person. What you're gonna do is go into Starbucks and when you're when you come up in line to the barista to take your order, you're going to say something like hey you're really happy today because you can it works with positive and negative emotions and say you're really happy today just like that and of course they are happy being Starbucks people unless they're trying to unionize and and all of a sudden just watch what happens, observe and what you will see is this person will light up, they'll smile and say yeah and then we'll start start to start talking to you because you're the first person in the day, if not the week it's not the month that has validated them as a human being and you practice this over and over and over again For a period of two weeks, do it at Starbucks, do it at you know if you go to a restaurant and do it to your server, do it to the checkout person at the supermarket, perfect strangers and you will see the same reaction every single time.
And over that two or three week period you will start to gain confidence that hey, what this guy Noel was talking about really works, then you can start trying it out on your friends or if you've got Children, 4-4 To eight years old is a good age to practice it on the Children and watch how they or grandchildren and watch how they react to it. And then you'll start to get the confidence that hey, this really works and now you can start going into deeper water so you can start using it in your business or professional life. You can use it with colleagues and then only after you really got a lot of confidence, do you start bringing it into your intimate relationships, your marriage or partnership? And because there are a bunch of reasons why you don't want to bring it in right away, but eventually you can and like I said, if you're diligent in the practice, it's 4-6 weeks, you should see some really remarkable changes, wow. Yeah, I love this. Um doug you know, this all just resonates for me as you know, and I think we're on the same page with this.
I mean I'm an energy worker. So are you, you're a pranic healer and just kind of really uh being able to connect with people in that way. You just see, you know energy is cyclical, it's moving, it's what we put out there comes back to us and I'm always um kind of puzzled at how difficult some people find that concept. You know, like when you're nice to people, they're nice back when you're just, you know, happy, you light up a room and um yeah, it is the same way with negative stuff. So that's really beautiful. Um now talk to us about, you know, I want to hear about this um, other work you're doing, I mean on the same page, but this is so beautiful the impact you're having on so many different people with, you know, your students and people you teach and train. But this the prison of Peace project. I mean how where did what made you want to do this? Like or how did this come about? Uh in August of 2009, I received a phone call from my dear friend and colleague laurel Kaufer who liked me as a mediator and peacemaker and like me was an adjunct professor at at the Strauss Institute of dispute resolution at Pepperdine University in Malibu.
And she called me at her mailbox and said you got a 2nd. I said yeah. And she said, well let me read you this letter I got and the letter was from a woman named Susan Russo who is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole at what was then the largest most violent women's prison in the world Valley state prison for women in California. And Susan asked if laurel would be interested in coming in and teaching a group of women called the network, all of them lifers and long term interest how to be peacemakers and mediators because they wanted to stop the prison violence because they were going to live there their whole lives and they just didn't want the violence. So laurel read the letter to me and she said, what do you think? And I said, you know, I think we should do this. So I since I lived about an hour from the prison, I got tasked with trying to get his permission to start and we did, we did get permission to start and then laurel and I developed the curriculum and we both as trainers and professors. We've had a lot of experience in teaching people how to be mediators.
But we knew that working with the prison population and incarcerated population, that we had to do something very different. And so we put together a very rigorous and thorough curriculum of 80 hours of training and we started Training our 1st cohort of women, 15 women In April of 2010. And the results were astounding. By the time we're five weeks into the training, we had a waiting List of 300 women, almost A 3rd of the popular more than a 3rd of the population now, about a little less than a third of the population in the prison wanting to get into prison of peace because they heard how amazing it was and that's how it started. And Today We're, we're in 15, 15 or 16 of course the pandemic stopped all internal programming but we pivoted to uh, we pivoted to distance learning and we've taken the time to put our entire curriculum on film.
So, and we're in post production right now. So well by the mid summer we'll be able to offer prison of peace anywhere in the world. But we're in 15 California prisons, 12 prisons in Greece, a prison in Connecticut and we've got startups in Northern Italy and in Nairobi kenya and we've trained over in California. We've trained, we are our trainers have trained Over 20,000 inmates about three 1000 or so have been released on parole. None of our students has ever re offended. Mm, wow. Okay. So this is the rehabilitation that we hear about. That's not really happening. But it is happening now through your organization. That is amazing. That's so amazing. And we don't, we don't intend it to be a rehabilitation program. We don't intend it to be a self help program. As I said earlier. A lot of what happens to an individual happens automatically as you do the work in the process of serving others. You serve yourself. And so our tagline for prisoner pieces from a life sentence to a life of service and uh, you know, it's the transformations and the stories we have are just, I mean, they're uncountable and amazing and beautiful, wow.
And now what is this doing for your soul? Well, it's it's it's amazing service work. I mean it's not easy let let me I know that it sounds like going in and teaching and incarcerated population, especially life prison long termers. Oh that sounds cool. It's extremely hard work. Uh and and the department of corrections and rehabilitation in California is pivoting to virtual training. So we will be doing a lot of training in the next three years, will be virtual with quarterly visits in person visits to the prisoners, which is good and bad. Ah but it feeds your soul. I mean the stories, we hear the transformations and then talking to people who have been released and how prisoner piece has changed their lives and how they're going out. Many of them have become community organizers and peacemakers in their own communities with the skills we've taught them and the gratitude that people feel that we are offering a program of deep substance.
Ah and we treat everybody, all of our students with great dignity and respect regardless of why they're in prison. You know, it's it's life changing for them and it's life changing for us to do the teaching Now. Doug let me ask you this, this is just all, it's so amazing. I'm just so blown away by the work you're doing and you're how you kind of pivoted from this one line of work in the this other work here? Was there a part of you when that happened? That was because I can just sense and feel that you're, you know, you're at peace, you're happy, you're fulfilled. So was there a part of you that was like, that's what you were looking for when you kind of pivoted, you needed some deeper inner fulfillment? Hmm. Well, that's an interesting question, I would say yes, but I did not expect that the path of the peacemaker would lead to the happiness and fulfillment that I experienced today.
Um for the first half of my life, I was leading two lives. I had my inner life which was deeply spiritual and contemplative and meditative and seeking spiritual enlightenment and the outside life, which was at first being a student and then a graduate student and then a lawyer, We're always in conflict with each other and I could never figure out how to reconcile it. And of course that conflict, that conflict between the inner and the outer is debilitating. Ultimately, you know, when I left the practice of law to become a full time peacemaker and mediator and teacher and visionary. All of a sudden my life reintegrated. Now I didn't wake up on November 1, 2000 when I walked out of the law firm and started my own business, I didn't wake up feeling completely different. It was an evolving process, but the fact that the incongruity and the inconsistency between Inner and Outer was now resolved allowed me over the years too um to grow in ways that I had never been able to grow before and until today, and today, you're right, I'm extremely happy and satisfied and fulfilled.
I don't own, I used to own a big house in a big car and fancy this and fancy that I don't own any of that now, but I'm, my Wife and I are extremely comfortable. We have 10 acres in a beautiful part of the central Sierra Nevada. We work from our homes, we have a perfect life and we both served people every single day and that's that's what gives us our fulfillment. So, but it's evolutionary, it's not something that just happens. Mhm. Do you feel any part of that? I mean, do you feel there's a part of the work you're now doing on such a large scale, Do you feel divinely guided or that it was really very faithful? Do you, does any of that come into play for you? No, But what does come into play is, is the idea and this really comes from a lot of different teachers who talk about inward your inward journey through contemplative practice of meditating and things like tai chi and learning to be a healer, that's all inward, but what I also learned was that the path to happiness and enlightenment also requires you to go outward and to serve others and that's the phase that I'm in right now in my life.
So it's all it's all on a grand spiritual path. But but now I don't meditate right now. I don't I haven't practiced tai chi in a while. Um you know my life is devoted to service to others and that has its own learning and ex experiential practice that it makes me even more spiritual and I think that's important to understand. Mm That is so beautiful. I just I love what you just said. That's so amazing. It's that you know going inward to really inevitably come out so you can serve and be outward. That's so beautiful. I love that. And now Okay Doug. So what about some kind of pointers? Hair on. You know this emotional empathy component like how can we or do you have any tips on how people can learn to kind of lean into that more?
Well it's the foundational skill of all of this is what I described earlier. Ethnic labeling, ignore the words, Read the emotional data fields reflect back the emotions for the use statement that by definition is cognitive empathy. When you when you engage in that practice with another person it's cognitive empathy. You can also do it to yourself. So if you're upset you can you can ignore your ugly thoughts, reflect back or read, just interpret your own emotions what emotions am I experiencing right now and then and state those emotions to yourself. I am feeling X, Y and Z. Whatever it is and that will have the same effect. It will actually calm you down. Um so you learn when you learn cognitive empathy through the process of affect labeling. That's when everything else starts to develop inside you in very powerful ways. It's so simple. People make such a big deal of all of this and it's really it's very very simple practice. What is the myth?
What is the thing that you find in your work with people? What is that kind of biggest myth around this? Well, let's Just talk about practices rather. 1st of all, of course the big myth, the big lie is that we're rational beings and not emotional. That's that's a big huge myth that a lot of people, a lot of people believe that their rational when they're and they're just kidding themselves, They're they're totally emotional. So that's a and that can be a barrier. Once you gain that insight, then everything. A lot of other things changed quickly. The epic thing that's interesting is that many people have learned active listening, the skill of active listening, which was the term active listening was developed by psychologist thomas Gordon in the late 19 fifties and first comes up in a chapter that he contributed to carl Rogers. The great humanist psychologist, his last book and In 1958 I think anyways Gordon's work was picked up by the human potential movement and completely misconstrued and misunderstood and MS taught to this day.
It's miss taught. So you'll hear people talking about ice statements, what I hear you saying is X. That is it doesn't work. It never has worked, it never will work. And yet it's still taught today in the therapeutic world, in the mediation world and in the human potential movement, people think this is, this is the way that you show empathy. And it's not, it shows a complete lack of empathy. So that's a real problem that we've got Misguided teaching out there. That's been around for 70 years. That has not or 60 years. That's not been corrected. Even though the science shows that it's completely wrong. In fact there's no science to support any of that stuff. Whereas there was lots of science to support the concept of ethic label. So that's that and that's hard to overcome. And of course, you know, the other problem that we've talked about is that we've got this huge cultural bias against emotions um against mastering emotions which has led to a lots of abuse.
Mm hmm. And now can you kind of just briefly explain this uh you know, prior to this, what you just said with the eye? I mean what is that kind of misconception there? Well, we are taught from a very young age that communication occurs through language when we start to verbalize it about 18 months of age. But what, what we're not taught is that 94, 93, 94 percent of all that communication is done nonverbally. And we're expected to pick up on this and just and and and get it without anybody ever teaching us what it really is. Well, you know, we, to some degree people do pick up on nonverbal communication but not to the exquisite degree that we have the capacity for. And once you start picking up on, once you pick up on the idea that you have this exquisitely refined capacity for understanding people at an emotional level without words. Just by looking at their facial expressions and listening to the tonality of their voices and the speed and volume that you can, you know so much more about people then if you just listen to the words, that's one of the reasons why you can ignore the words.
Because it doesn't have enough information for you to be able to ascertain what people are experiencing in that moment. Mm hmm. And you know and this is so counter to what we're taught. And yeah, it's just um so I opening I mean the Neurosciences is really quite remarkable. I mean why is it that facial expressions and eye expressions and all that? Why is that convey emotionality? It turns out it's all connected through a system in our body is called the poly vagal system which is separate from the central nervous system and the policy legal system connects all of the viscera. All of the facial expressions are voice, all the muscles that control our voice, control, our eyes control our faces. It's all connected to the political system and the poly vagal system connects directly into the emotional centers of the brain, through to through primary networks and the Myelin aided and Ian Myelin ated polly bagel systems, probably vagal nerves. And so that's how that's how it is that emotions are communicated from the brain to the rest of our body almost instantaneously.
And that's and so the, you know, people say the eyes are the, you know, the what surprised the eyes or there's something in the soul. Yeah. Um Yeah, there's a certain amount of truth to that because everything is connected through a very complex neural network that that our eyes are literally expressing what our brains are experiencing at the moment and yet we're not taught to pay attention to that stuff. Which is crazy. It's crazy, wow. Yeah. I this is just so fascinating and so amazing. And um oh my God, Doug, you have been so insightful. I have so many questions still and I feel like we're gonna have to circle back if you're open to it and do this again and go deeper, it's just oh my God, I'm so just blown away by this. I really I want to just thank you so very much for your insights and wisdom and your time today, you're welcome.
If people are interested in learning more about what I do. I've created a web page for your audience. For anybody who's listening and the U. R. L. Is doug Noll dot c o slash blossom dash your dash awesome blossom. You're awesome. I don't know dot co slash blossom. You're awesome. Okay. And I'm going to have links to all of that for people. So I will include that link so people will be able to easily access it. And now in closing Doug, I want to ask you what is your message? If there was one message you would want to get out to everyone, to people. Words of wisdom, love whatever that you would like to leave us with. I would say that that you've got a hidden genius in your emotions that that Constitutes 98% of who you are as a human being. Take the time to learn how to unlock your hidden genius and your life will change in ways that you never thought possible before. Oh my God, I love it.
That was amazing. Doug. You've been awesome. I thank you so much. You're welcome. Yeah. Mm hmm.