Let me say this up front: I want to prevent Veteran suicides as much as anyone. It's a huge reason why this show exists.
But I won't do 22 pushups. I won't wear tee shirts or clothing with the number 22 on it, and I don't want anything to do with events that incorporate the number 22.
That's because I believe that it contributes to the problem.
I posted about this last week on Instagram and most people understood where I was coming from.
But I also got people accusing me of not talking about suicide because it makes me "uncomfortable." I also had people telling me that "no one will commit suicide because of a number."
That's not how it works.
Social proof is well studied. It states that when a group of people shares similarities with each other, those people are likely to mimic each other.
This concept has been used to great effect by marketers, psychologists, and the United States Military.
Social proof has also been shown to be linked to the increased likelihood of suicide.
Most famously, this link was discussed in Robert Cialdini's book Influence.
Cialdini's book is considered the seminal book on human persuasion. There is also other research to suggest a link between publicizing suicides and suicide rates.
Look, contrary to popular opinion, science never proves anything. Especially in social science, where variables are often questionable, statistical analyses can only tell us so much.
This has never been directly studied in terms of the Veteran Community, but the potential link has been shown over and over again in the civilian population.
So here's my point: if there's even a possibility that plastering the numer "22" everywhere could increase the likelihood that one of our brothers or sisters in arms would commit suicide, why would we continue to do it?
Does that mean we should turn our back on the issue? Absolutely not.
We still need to fight suicide, but we should do it by inspiring and teaching Veterans to truly live.
The more we hear about Veterans who are building businesses, becoming leaders in their communities, and running for office, the more we will turn social proof in our favor.
The more Veterans charities that switch their focus from creating "awareness" to building comradery, civic responsibility, leadership, and skillsets in our community, the more we will benefit.
No one kills themselves just because they heard someone else do it. There are many factors that go into that decision. But having it plastered everywhere makes it more of a possibility.
You are free to have your own opinions. What I've done here is present evidence for you to evaluate. I am not the lord and keeper of the Veteran Community.
But I do love this community with all of my heart, and for that reason, I will not be propagating the number 22 for any reason.
Vincent "Rocco" Vargas is a US Army Ranger Veteran, Entrepreneur, Actor, and Podcaster. He is currently playing Gilberto "Gilly" Lopez on the FX Series Mayans MC.
Vincent "Rocco" Vargas has a lot to say about the state of affairs in the US Military Veteran Community, and we should be listening.
He's been through the struggles that many Veterans have faced: the sleepless nights, the nightmares, the addictions, and divorce. He's spoken to thousands of Veterans about these struggles.
In the past, he dealt with these issues like many of us have: with humor. As an influencer, Vinny played the character "Rocco" on Matt Best's YouTube Channel. He was known as the "funny" guy.
But as Vinny says during this interview "dick and fart" jokes weren't cutting it anymore. Over the past two years, he's worked to cultivate a more serious image. Not for fame or fortune, but because he believes that it's what the Veteran Community needs.
He still loves humor. It takes the edge off of things. He still considers Matt Best and the rest of the guys great friends and he has the deepest of respect for what they've done together.
But now he's also working for a larger vision: to teach the Veteran Community that they are not victims and that they are capable of fostering strength, resilience, and prosperity in their civilian lives.
The Warrior Soul Podcast is sponsored by FBOMB Nutrition.
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Rob Jones is a US Marine Corps Veteran. He's ridden across country in the dead of winter on a bicycle. He's also run 31 marathons in 31 days.
Rob is a double above the knee amputee who lost both of his legs while serving in Afghanistan. In addition to the accomplishments listed above, Rob also earned the bronze medal in rowing for the US Paralympic Team.
Now Rob is running for a congressional seat to represent Virginia's 10th district in the US House of Representatives. We brought Rob on for the second time to speak about his life, his campaign, and where he sees this country going.
The Warrior Soul Podcast is sponsored by FBOMB Nutrition, makers of delicious high-fat low carb snacks. Get 20% off of your first order when you use the code WARRIORSOUL at checkout.
You can live in this world, you can just exist in it.
When you're just existing with no real purpose in mind, that's when you're aimless.
Contrary to popular belief, being aimless isn't something that just happens. You actually choose to be aimless.
That choice comes when you decide to take the easy road. In this episode, Chris discusses aimlessness and how you can avoid it by living a life of purpose and meaning.
This episode is brought to you by FBOMB Nutrition: Get 20% off of your first order of Fbombs by using the code WARRIORSOUL at checkout at www.dropanfbomb.com.
Dr. Kirk Parsley is a US Navy Seal and Medical Doctor.
Doc Parsley has been there and done that. Serving as an enlisted Navy Seal, he burned the candle at both ends for a long time. Like many who've served in the military, he was used to surviving on much less than the 7.5-9 hours of sleep that's recommended for health and vitality.
After his time in the Seal Teams, Doc Parsley chose yet another profession where sleep depravation was common: medicine. It was par for the course, and like most of us, Doc Parsley drove himself to tough it out.
Then Doc Parsley came back to the Seal Teams to serve as the Medical Officer for Naval Special Warfare Group One. That's when it hit him. The warriors he was caring for were often falling apart with hormone deficiencies, chronic injuries, and constant fatigue.
Being Seals, they "embraced the suck" and wore their sleep depravation like a red badge of courage, but it was heavily affecting their performance, health, and longevity in the teams.
Doc Parsley knew that the answer to most of their issues was adequate restorative sleep. Since then, he's become one of the world's foremost experts on sleep and performance. After leaving the Navy, he set up his own practice where he coaches high performers from around the world. He also invented a Sleep Remedy that provides the body with the raw materials it needs to induce restorative sleep.
In this interview, Doc Parsley delivers his advice to our community of military Veterans. We discuss why sleep is essential to performance and why you're fooling yourself if you think you're fine with less than 7.5 hours. In truth, you're creating lasting damage to your brain and your body.
To learn more about Doc Parsley, visit his web site at http://www.docparsley.com.
G. Michael Hopf is an apocalyptic author and Marine Corps Veteran. Much of his life before he began writing was an adventure. In addition to his time as a US Marine, G. Michael Hopf was a commercial diver and an executive protection agent who once guarded members of the Saudi Royal Family.
Today, his books have a massive following amongst apocalyptic fiction readers. He's authored close to 30 books including his best-selling New World Series.
In this episode we discuss his amazing story and how he went from the Marine Corp to becoming a best-selling novelist.
To follow G. Michael Hopf and keep up with his work head over to his web site at: https://www.gmichaelhopf.com
Your past doesn't make you special, whether you're a veteran or not. Serving in the military should be but one of the great things you do in your life, and if you haven't served, the great things in your past should be stepping stones to greener pastures.
Similarly, the bad things you've experienced in your life don't make you special either. This is life. At some point everyone experiences tragedy, hardship, and eventually, death.
What does make you special? How you choose to respond to the things that have happened to you. When you allow your experiences to make you stronger rather than break you.
This episode will help you start.
Nick Koumalatsos is a modern renaissance man.
He currently runs seven businesses. These include:
And he's seeing absolutely ridiculous growth, especially with Johnny Slicks, the hair grooming company he owns along side fellow Marine Corps Veteran Johnny Slicks.
In addition to that, Nick has authored several books about prep for Marine Corps Bootcamp, Recon selection, and MARSOC. His latest book, Excommunicated Warrior, is a guidebook for anyone going through transition in their lives.
On top of all this, he's a dedicated family man, devoted to his wife Alison, his daughters, and he's trying to have another baby.
In looking at Nick now, you might be fooled into thinking that everything came easy to him. That's definitely not the case.
After a wayward period in his youth, Nick had to fight to get into the Marine Corps. He also had to fight to regain control of his life after his discharge.
Like many Veterans, Nick went through problems with alcohol, depression, traumatic brain injury, and self-destructive and suicidal tendencies.
His book, Excommunicated Warrior, details how he slowly regained control of his life.
Nick came onto the show to discuss his life as a business and family man. This was an absolutely awesome conversation and you'll be sure to get a lot of motivation and hope if you're going through your own transition.
To learn more about Nick's businesses click any of the links above.
To keep up with everything Nick is doing, check out his website at https://www.nickkoumalatsos.com
It doesn't matter who you are: at some point in your life, you're going to have to embrace the suck.
What's the suck? It's the hard times, when the world seems like it's working against you. Those times when you try something big and life get's really difficult. Those times when you face tragedy, hardship, and bad luck.
It's the suck, and you have to embrace it. Embrace the suck.
Why? Because it's those times that will make you or break you. When you embrace the suck, you're not just allowing bad times to happen to you, you're allowing them to make you stronger, smarter, and more resilient.
The more you can embrace the suck, the more success you'll have in life.
In this episode, I go into what I'm reading at the moment:
In this book, Robert Greene explores the path to power that the great masters of the world took. It's the perfect book for those who are trying to find their way in life toward a significant goal.
To get your copy of Mastery: https://amzn.to/2oBfTmv
The Warrior Soul Podcast is sponsored by FBOMB Nutrition. Get 20% off of your first order of FBOMBs by heading over to http://www.dropanfbomb.com.
Bing West is an author, former Reagan Administration Undersecretary of Defense, and US Marine Corps Veteran of the Vietnam War. Recently, Mr. West coauthored Call Sign Chaos along with General Jim Mattis.
General Jim Mattis's recently released memoir, Call Sign Chaos, didn't cause the stir that the media hoped it would.
Rather than a tell-all about the Trump Administration, General Mattis and his co-author Bing West, decided to make the book the culmination of General Mattis's long career of service, and rightfully so.
This book is probably the most important memoir of a military leader of the past half-century, and it is a gold mine of information for those who want to learn how to lead effectively.
This week, I had the honor of having Bing West on the show to discuss the book, it's place in history, and what readers should take from it.
To get your copy of Call Sign Chaos by Jim Mattis and Bing West, click the image.
To learn more about Bing West and his other books, head to https://westauthors.com/
Staying on the path to your goals isn't easy. The world presents countless shiny objects that can take you far away from where you ever wanted to end up.
Moving forward takes drive, focus, and a clear vision of where you want to go.
This episode will give steps for determining what your ultimate destination is, and how you can pursue that desired state without distraction.
Call Sign Chaos, is an outstanding book, but you wouldn't know it from the media response. In fact, most of the major news outlets seemed disappointed that General Mattis didn't give a "tell all" of his time as Secretary of Defense in the Trump Administration.
Despite the flat media response, Call Sign Chaos by General Jim Mattis and Bing West delivers on a much more important purpose: to provide a chronicle of the life of one of the United States' most important military leaders in history, along with the lessons he learned over his long career.
In a few weeks, we'll be bringing co-author Bing West onto the show to discuss the book. In preparation for that event, I thought it appropriate to cover six leadership lessons I learned from my first reading of it in this episode:
If you've read the book, be sure to let me know what you think of the episode on the Facebook post for this page.
If you haven't then be sure to get your copy at the link below: