GAIN THE PASSION
GAIN THE PASSION
April 1, 2022

Doug Noll - The Transformation of Inmates Serving Life Sentences into Peacemakers, Mediators, and Trainers.

Doug Noll - The Transformation of Inmates Serving Life Sentences into Peacemakers, Mediators, and Trainers.

Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA left a successful career as a trial lawyer to become a peacemaker. His calling is to serve humanity, and he executes his calling at many levels. He is an award-winning author, teacher, and trainer. He is a highly experienced mediator. Doug’s work carries him from international work to helping people resolve deep interpersonal and ideological conflicts.

In today’s episode, Doug discusses his work as a mediator and peacemaker, forcing him to confront human emotion straight on. After all, conflict is all about emotion. He discovered how to listen to others into existence. This led him to training inmates serving life sentences on how to be peacemakers in maximum security prisons who then teach his skills to other inmates.

Episode Transcript
https://www.gainthepassion.com/doug-noll-the-transformation-of-inmates-serving-life-sentences-into-peacemakers-mediators-and-trainers/#transcript

Find out more about Doug
https://dougnoll.com/
Learn more about Prison of Peace
https://www.prisonofpeace.org/
Purchase Doug's Book "De-Escalate: How to Calm An Angry Person in 90 Seconds or Less"
https://www.deescalate.dougnoll.com/order-1584980818236966
Access the Resources mention in this episode
https://dougnoll.com/podcast/success-coaching/

Find out more about GAIN THE PASSION Coaching
https://www.gainthepassion.com
Access past episodes and more of the GAIN THE PASSION Podcast
https://www.gainthepassionpodcast.com

Transcript
Voiceover:

Welcome to GAIN THE PASSION with hosts Todd Foster, Alyssa Stanley and Kelley Skar.

Alyssa Stanley:

Today we get to sit down with Doug Noll who has an incredible story. He was born nearly deaf, blind, crippled with to club feet any often mentions that he was also left handed. But despite this, he learned how to read any ultimately became a lawyer, then turned Peacemaker. He's a best selling author of four books, speaker, visionary and educator. He is the co founder of prison of peace, which trains murders in maximum security prisons, how to be peacemakers and meditators in their prison communities are super excited to sit and talk about this because this is a conversation I don't know that any of us have ever had. Thank you for sitting with us today.

Doug Noll:

Hey, guys, thanks for having me. This is gonna be a lot of fun.

Kelley Skar:

Yeah, absolutely. Doug, well, again, thank you for agreeing to be of you know, sitting down with the three of us crazies here today. Really want to get some insight as to who you are what you about. So maybe you could give us kind of break it down for us, you know, give us the Coles Notes version of Doug Noll.

Doug Noll:

Well, alright, I'll try to keep this as short as possible. I've been living for 71 years and a lot, a lot of a lot of road under the wheels. I grew up in Southern California and affluence. And unfortunately, I was born with a lot of disabilities. I was born nearly blind, partially deaf to club feet, left handed, bad teeth. I got on the wrong line for everything except intellect. And I was a pretty smart kid. The problem was that because I was blind, or almost blind that I was way behind in school until the fourth grade when some school nurse had the bright idea to test my vision. And they figured out that my vision was 2400 got me coke lens glasses, which in the 1950s of course was a buzzkill big, thick plastic glasses. You know, I mean really thick. But that that first summer after I got my glasses, I advanced three grade levels. And I'll never forget the headlight verandas, our city library called my mom and said he was in the adult section to get I can't have him in here. And she said, though the heck can you let him go wherever he wants to go, and read whatever he wants to read. So that's how it started. My problem with all my disabilities was that in the 1950s people, I wasn't so disabled that, you know, I needed special care, but I didn't need emotional support. And my parents had no idea how to how to do that. And so I had a pretty miserable childhood. But I did well in school, and ended up going to Dartmouth College. And then came back from New in New Hampshire and then went back after college, I took a year off and entered law school in California, and graduated from law school in 1977. Law Review, Honor Society, all that stuff. And then I ended up working for a judge and appellate judge in central California. And then in 1978, I joined a commercial litigation and bankruptcy firm as a young associate, and they hired me and groomed me to be a trial lawyer. And that's exactly what happened. Two months later, I tried my first jury trial. And two months after that, I found myself in San Diego, California code sharing the defense of a $36 million securities fraud case in federal court. And for the next 22 years. That's what I did. I tried cases. In the 1980s. I picked up the martial arts, which I was really bad at for a long time. But I that is really kind of my stories. And I'm really bad. It's not if I if I decide to do something. I'm going to be really bad at it for a long time. And then one day, I'll wake up and I'll have it mastered. And that's what happened in the martial arts. I was really bad at it for a long time. But ultimately, I got my black belt. And then I got my secondary black belt. And after I got my second degree, my teacher fired me too arrogant, too much of an asshole. Too dangerous, though trial lawyer, secondary blackbelt five guys with knives, not a problem. And he said go learn Tai Chi. And that was really probably the pivotal event of my life. At that time I was in my early 40s started studying Tai Chi. And there were two paradoxes that I had to master. The first is the softer you are, the stronger you are. And the second is, the more vulnerable you are, the more powerful you are. So it was soft to be strong vulnerability be powerful, completely antithetical to everything that I believed in as a trial lawyer in martial artist. But I kept studying Tai Chi as a martial art and learn that number one is the oldest martial art and two it's very vicious, extremely vicious, but even more vicious than the first art I was schooled in And then one day, a couple of some years later, I was in a courtroom trying a case and the thought came to me what the heck am I doing in here. And after that trial, I was on a had a vacation planned on a whitewater trip up in Idaho with friends and I was sat for 10 days is sitting on my raft or powering my all by myself on my rap powering through these Big Rapids or going through these rapids, thinking about how many people that really served as a trial lawyer, they could only come up with five people, after I'd done hundreds of cases. And I said, Now, I'm not going to do this anymore. I don't want to go another 30 years, and only serve 20 or 30 people. My calling is bigger than that. So didn't know what I was gonna do, came back home, drove out of the mountains to my office. And as I was driving in, I heard, what turned out to be the only public service announcement, the one of the only public service announcement for a new master's degree program in peacemaking and conflict studies being offered at Fresno Pacific University, and it caught my attention. And ultimately, I enrolled, and for a period of three years, as a full time master's degree student in my late 40s. Yeah, in my late 40s, a three quarters time law professor and a full time trial lawyer, it was pretty crazy. But I, I ultimately graduated, and my partners and I could never agree on what a new practice would look like with this idea of being peacemaking and problem solving. And so I just walked out, I gave a week's notice left $10 million on the table and just walked out of the firm. And in November 1 2000, started my peacemaking and mediation business. And since that time, I've been I've been a basically, in our world, we would call it an ADR professional, I'm a neutral, so I arbitrate mediate. Of course, I do a lot of teaching and training, I've written four books. And we can get into the prison of Peace Project, which was another major project of mine. And I developed a unique set of de escalation skills, where I can teach people how to call many angry person in 90 seconds or less. And that, of course, is the title of my fourth book.

Kelley Skar:

Amazing. I can't I'm just so looking forward to this conversation. This is going to be just awesome. I do want to back up for one second and ask you a question about your self awareness. Like, you know, where did that come from? Was it developed early on? Did it take you 40 years to to become self aware and understand what your strengths and weaknesses were and and get that you know, Pivotal, understanding that you knew that you were going to suck at something for a long period of time before you mastered it? Was this something that was just always in you? Or was it something that you that you consciously developed in yourself?

Doug Noll:

Evolved over decades, I was fortunate that my parents exposed me to a lot of really cool things. As a kid I we started backpacking in 1956. before anybody knew what backpacking was, I learned how to ski in 1958, even though my legs were a mess. And obviously, I wasn't I was way behind in athleticism. But I was also stubborn and tenacious. And the doctor said, You'll never be able to do this. And I say, yeah. So whenever anybody said in my life, that you can't do this, it was like putting a red flag in front of a bull, right. And I would go out and do it just to prove them wrong. And in the beginning, it was compensation, of course, psychological compensation for all of the disability. But eventually I learned how to learn and I really loved learning and I learned something pretty early on. And that was to always be a beginner at something. Because that keeps you humble, myself awareness developed later in life. And I really, because because I was really arrogant, I had a lot of insecurities. I was an emotional mess. Like most people, and I didn't really, even though I had a deep spiritual practice, you know, I was searching for the wrong thing in the wrong way. And, and it wasn't until I started really focusing on emotions, that I started developing emotional self awareness, self regulation, and empathy. And it was that and it was that process over a period of probably 10 years that allowed me to grow out of my emotional disabilities, as well as my physical disabilities. And I learned how to do it. And that allowed me to be able to teach other people to do what I did without having to go through everything I went through. I shortcut the process.

Todd Foster:

So let me go back to fourth grade you're a fourth grader club feet, left handed coke bottle glasses. You probably were like the ladies band back then. Like I wish those one right now I think a man that had that chance and I didn't take it yet. Have you looked back on that experience? And you said almost like you're a bully, right? You are a bully. They're sound like you're egotistical. You're kind of hateful just because of everything that's been had happened to you in life. Do you believe that at any time you felt like a prisoner in your own body? Oh, and that's why you're going towards the prisoner peace route?

Doug Noll:

No, I don't think so. I was never a bully. I was never I was never violent or, or push people around, I was arrogant and full of myself and knew everything, and nobody could tell me anything, right. So I had that problem. I never felt like I was a prisoner in my own body, the prison of Peace Project started as something different. And that is, one, it sounded like a really deep test of who I was, as a human being to teach murderers, to be peacemakers. And to it was going to offer me an opportunity to acid test some of these de escalation skills that I had been developing. And, you know, I, we started the prison at Peace project when I was six years old. So I was no spring chicken, going into this thing. And it you know, it's turned out to be an amazing project. Amazing. beyond amazing.

Todd Foster:

Do you feel like you found happiness finally, at the age of 60? Or were you happy before then?

Doug Noll:

I think I found happiness at about age 54, 55 Finally, took me that long, five and a half decades to find true happiness. And for those who are seeking happiness, and are really unhappy in their lives, I'll tell you what it is, it's not about the money. It's about service to others, learning how to serve others in a meaningful way. And that doesn't mean you have to do something big, like the Mother Teresa, you can learn how to serve one person at a time. So what I call listening people into existence. And once you learn that, you get this sense of pure joy in life, because your life has meaning. What did Viktor Frankl say is that the meaning of life is to serve others is true. And that is absolutely true.

Alyssa Stanley:

I find this absolutely fascinating because especially in the coaching practice, a lot of times it's a misconception that you somewhat Listen, but you essentially tell the recipient what they should do and give them all kinds of advice. And the last practice is actually listening to those that are sitting across the table. Because the more you allow someone to speak, the more self discovery happens. And when self discovery happens, that's when real change actually occurs. It's not necessarily the recommendations that we give, or what we tell them that they should do. It's them being able to speak in us truly listening on a deeper level. So being able to listen on a deeper level takes a lot of time and development, that's really not something that you're taught in school, right. So

Doug Noll:

It doesn't take a lot of time and effort to learn how to listen deeply. I can teach anybody how to do this in about four weeks, if they're willing to put in a couple of hours of practice a week, they can totally master deep listening in four to six weeks. It's knowing what to listen for, and how to reflect. That's the secret. And it's all based on brain science. It's a process known as effect, labeling. And what you're what you're actually it's a three step process. Number one, ignore the words. Number two, read the emotional data fields. And number three, reflect back the emotional experience or reflect that emotional data back to the speaker with a use statement, no I statements. And it's that simple. Now, it's easy to talk about, it takes a little bit of courage to do this, because it's so counter normative and counter intuitive to what we think we know about each other. However, I'm here to tell you how you feel is that weird? Or maybe a little or patronizing or rude. It's not. It's not brain science. There's a not 15 brain scanning studies from 2007 forward that demonstrate that when you listen to people's emotions, you are literally lending them your prefrontal cortex. And during that 30 to 90 seconds, their emotional centers or their emotional neural networks are being inhibited and ventral lateral prefrontal cortex, the executive function in our brains is being activated. And very briefly, the science behind this is that when people are getting emotional, it overwhelms their prefrontal cortex, they can no longer think clearly we've all had this experience. We know this. And for reasons that are still not clear, although we can see it on in the fMRI studies, that when we label somebody else's feelings or label their emotions for them, we tell them what they're feeling. It helps their brain regain equilibrium. And it happens very quickly. 30 To 90 seconds. Now, when I first discovered this in 2005, I was sort of blown away by what I saw, I had no idea what was really going on, knew what I did, and there was a 2007 and when Lieberman's first study came out I got a lot of skepticism. And that's why one of the reasons why I wanted to do the prison of Peace project with my dear friend Laurel coffer is because we're gonna walk into the most violent women's prison in the world and teach murderers, how to be peacemakers. And the first thing we're going to teach him is how to listen to other people into existence. And it works beyond our wildest dreams.

Alyssa Stanley:

How do you actually listen to someone's emotions? Because we are so our psyches trained to listen to words, listen to directions, how do you listen to emotions?

Doug Noll:

We have an innate ability to accurately efficiently and quickly read each other's emotions. This is something that evolved in hominids over millions of years. Remember that we've only had language or the vocabulary for only less than 230,000 years. And there was a huge evolutionary, it occurred at about the same time that hominids mastered fire because when when fire was mastered, then animal protein and animal fat could be consumed. And that added a huge bunch of calories to the diets which allowed for a rapid expansion of the brain and a super rapid expansion of the pharyngeal nerves and muscles, which control the tongue and face. And that's when all of a sudden now we had we developed from an evolutionary perspective, the ability to speak. Before that, for millions of years, there was no vocabulary, there was no speech. So how do humans communicate, they communicated through their emotions, through emotional expressions through grunts, sub vocalizations, or our brains are hardwired to read that data. Because that's the only way we communicated and survive for millions of years. And most people don't know that. And of course, for 4000 years, we've been taught that emotions are bad, they're evil. They're irrational. We've been taught by theologians and philosophers that what separates men from other animals is rationality, totally false. There's not one ounce of truth to that we are not rational, we are emotional, we're not 8% emotional, and 2% rational, we can't even be rational, unless we're emotional first. And this is all what neuroscience is teaching us over the last 20 years. It's an it's taking classical economic theory, for example, and turned it on its head. Although there were, you know, people like Kahneman Tversky, where we're figuring this all out back in the 80s, and 90s. But it would took neuroscience to figure out what's going on here. And so the whole concept of rationality as it was developed by von Neumann and Morgenstern in 1944, and their classical postulations, of economic theory, turns out to be completely false. And today, so today, in economics, for example, you've got behavioral economics, you've got neuro economics, you've got people who are looking at how people really make decisions, not how they should make decisions, it's the way we're looking at is descriptive versus normative practice. And once you understand that, once you get the insight that we're not 8% emotional than listening to emotions becomes a very normal, essential thing to do. But if we continue to focus on the words and think that people are rational in their decision making and in their processing, then all we're going to do is hit our heads against the wall. Because we're going to be time and time and time again, we'll give advice that will help people elicit information for themselves like you were talking about Alyssa, and they won't do it, they'll do something completely different opposite. And you shake your head, what's wrong with these people. But once you start recognizing that their emotional and not rational, then their behaviors become completely predictable. And your interventions as a coach become much, much more effective. Because you're reaching them where they really are, not where we think they are. And that's the difference.

Kelley Skar:

So is this the foundation of the latest book, of which I actually just downloaded the Kindle? from Amazon, by the way? Yes. deescalate how to calm an angry person in 90 seconds or less. So can you kind of, you know, maybe expand on that just a little bit for us?

Doug Noll:

Sure. So the book came about as a request from my incarcerated students. Hundreds of I knew that I was an author. I've written three books. And they asked me to write a book about these, this process that we were teaching, so they can share it with their families. So I did and the book was I wrote it in six weeks. My agent we we sold it to Simon and Schuster got a term sheet from Simon and Schuster beyond words a trail and see it was that would have been November or November of 2017. I give them the final manuscript at the end of Thanksgiving. I have it my agent gets a call in February of 2018, and the President of atria read the manuscript and as to what's, how fast can we get this book out, and he got it out and For less than seven months, but the book the book talks about the skills, it talks about the neuroscience, it and talks about this concept of ethic labeling and emotional invalidation. And then it takes us to the arc of life. How do we use these skills in wherever we are in, in our life. And what I learned since writing the book is that it's not just about calming people down. It's about creating emotional safety for people in really deep and profound ways. And when you deeply validate somebody in the way that I teach, they feel deeply heard. They to feel deeply validated, and feel deeply understood in ways that they have never experienced before, most people have never experienced before in their lives. And this is not only my personal experience, but the experience of the 1000s and 1000s of people that I've taught and coached how to do this, including people in incarcerated.

Todd Foster:

So with the prisoner of Peace project, you're speaking these people, and they're realizing that most of the things we all do in life, are based on emotions. And those people unfortunately, took an emotion and went a different way with it, then most people do, at this point at all, over the time we've been doing this, have people come clean about their murders, or whatever they're in prison for? Or have they seen a light at the end of the tunnel? Or how are they reacting and once they discover all this?

Unknown:

We made, we made the conscious decision going in that we would we would never talk about what crimes they committed. Although we knew working with a life or a population that it was homicide of some kind or another, somebody died. And as we got more and more experienced, we started going into darker and darker places. And and before the pandemic hit, I was working at Corcoran State Prison in California, which is the highest security prison in California, I was teaching 100 feet away from Charles Manson sell, working with men who were coming out of gangs, and they were all tatted up brutal murderers and but they were rejecting gangs. What happens to a couple of couple of observations, one, I observe that the real one, murderers are bred not born, for the most part. So if you if you grew up in a emotionally, extremely emotional, dysfunctional family with nothing but anger and no emotional support animal, then the likelihood of you becoming a criminal is very high. I'll never forget when we were talking about family of origin, with my with these guys. And I said, Well, what was your what was the what were what were the dominant emotions in your family. And then one guy said, the only emotion my family is violent anger. That's the only thing I knew from the time I could begin to understand. And of course, if that's what you're, you're learning, that's what you're going to become. But what happens is, as we teach them the skills, not only we teach them over 250 skills in the prison, the peace project to turn turn them into powerful peacemakers. The mediators is that they regain their humanity. They learned that violence is one choice for resolving conflict. But there are a lot of other choices as well. They learn that listening deeply to somebody is probably the go to skill to solve just about every problem that arises in a prison community. They learn, they get in touch with their own emotions, they become emotionally competent. And as they become emotionally competent, they automatically turn away from their way of thinking to a new way of thinking. And amazingly enough, many of them who never thought they would get out of prison had been released because of the transformations they made in their own lives. And the other thing I can say with a lot of pride is of the 1000s of inmates that we've trained that had been released on parole. There was no one report that we're aware of that anybody has re-offended Zero recidivism. That's how powerful it is amazing. And that's why the Department of Correction of rehabilitation gives us a lot of funding because IT department recognizes that we're expensive, but we're effective.

Todd Foster:

Has the prison population experience and culture shifts since then? Are there less internal activities?

Unknown:

Yeah, yes. Now when we go into when we go into an institution, it depends. You know, every in California, there were over 660 Different prison facilities of one kind or another. Typically, they're divided into yards typical typical prison, a typical men's prison will have four different yards. And each yard will contain anywhere between 900 and 1000. Men will go in and only work in one yard at a time and we're working. We're working yards. We're welcome, for example, at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California. The administration to offer prison a piece to one yard and the gang leader said no they didn't want it because they were afraid that we will usurp their power. So we want to know a difference. yard and what we have found is that it takes it has taken it takes us generally three years to build a sustainable program where we got people who are inmates who are trainers, and they train other people, and so they don't need our presence anymore. We find, however, that when we have trained about three to 4% of the population in a yard, the yard culture changes and it becomes less violent. Not to say that eliminates all violence, but it becomes much, much less violent. In fact, we got that first prison, we worked in Valley State Prison for Women. We got a letter from the warden two years in saying that they could no longer call this the largest, most violent women's prison in the world they've placed it completely quieted down as a result of the work that the women serving life sentences who became leaders and peacemakers had done. The quiet to quiet the yard down stop the violence.

Kelley Skar:

Do you see a difference in adoption between the men's prisons and the women's prisons? Is it do women's prisons adopt this rather quickly and stick with it or there's no difference whatsoever.

Doug Noll:

There's the only difference is the men are easier to train than the women. And that's not. That's not because of a gender difference. That's because of the men's prisons tend to be more homogenous, in terms of the type of person that's in a prison. In the women's prisons, there are only two women's prisons are two and a half really in California. And so a woman who is in prison for a life sentence for three strikes because she still Twinkies to feed her baby could be bunking with a serial murderer. That would not happen in a men's prison. And so So the men that are easier to teach not because of gender based, but because we see the same kind of population. So if I'm in corporate and I'm working in, in the in for yard, which is the secured housing unit, deepest security, you know, that you can imagine, and I'm dealing with gangbangers, they're all gangbangers so I know what I got, you know, if I'm working in a level two yard in a men's prison, which is a much less secure place, the security precaution is much less I know where they got, I got the mineral basically, I mean, they're very, very diverse, I think in every way you can imagine except that their their, their propensity for violence and so forth is going to be is pretty, pretty much the same with a woman's prayers, you don't get that. So you can have mentally ill women, in the ER you can have with cognitive deficits, with with educational deficits, all kinds of stuff. They're all mixed together, which makes teaching them much more challenging.

Kelley Skar:

Is there is there commonality in the, in the way that they were, that they were brought up between the men and the women? You had mentioned something about, you know, violent, violence in the home and that sort of thing. And those types of emotions is that is that kind of a common theme, a common theme between the between the genders?

Unknown:

Universal, we have one young woman who told us her story, I'll just very briefly repeat it. She told us that she was raped by her uncle's when she was four years old. She was addicted to heroin by her mother when she was seven. Her mother started prostituting or when she was 12, she crawled killed her first man at 13 killer, second man at 14. And then was as a juvenile was sentenced to prison for life without possibility of parole and said prisons the safest place she's ever been in their life. That's a very common story that is a very, very common story.

Alyssa Stanley:

Have you considered or is are there plans to move this into maybe juvenile facilities or maybe even high school so that you can catch catch it before it explodes?

Doug Noll:

We tried both. We we Laurel, we got a grant to try to work in a juvenile facility in Los Angeles County, it was complete failure. It was a complete failure for a lot of reasons, not because of our curriculum, but because we did not have the support of the institution. The institution itself was completely dysfunctional, and trying to teach this to 17 year old boys who are only as drugs and when they're going to get laid next. And you know, when they're going to be with their when they're going to get out and be with their gang. Again, that's all they're interested in. It's 17 Very difficult to teach. And we have no support from the institution. And in fact, one of the things that has to happen, especially in a juvenile facility is that the the adults have to be able to practice what we teach and they were absolutely unwilling to teach us any of the skills that were reteaching so that didn't work. I taught I get ended up working with a school district. Fresno Unified the fifth largest school district in California as they were adopting a restorative practices, philosophy for their discipline and I ended up working at a high school teaching the faculty these skills and then ended up teaching the faculty of all the feeder middle schools, and I got phenomenal results. Teachers are writing me saying this is the most amazing thing ever ever seen in my life? My discipline problems have all gone away. So I worked for an academic year, and I never heard from the school district again. I don't know what happened. All I know is I got amazing results, at least as it was reported to me. And then district eight they ghosted me. And, and it's so school districts are very difficult to work with, because they are under all kinds of constraints, both time and financial, they're being pulled and tugged a million different ways, especially in this politically polarized world. Everything is political. And, you know, getting a best practices into the classroom is extremely difficult. So it works in high schools and middle schools. But it's going to take a really enlightened school board, superintendent, and principals of the middle and high schools to be a ticket behind this and really train their faculty and parents how to do this. But I'm with you Alyssa. If this happened, we would see magic happening in our schools.

Voiceover:

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Alyssa Stanley:

Yeah, it baffles me that you've reached, you know, such such boulders trying to get this into the youth. Because if we could get this into the hands in the minds of youth, this world could be a different place.

Doug Noll:

That's right, if we could teach parents, young parents how to do how to do all of this, which is not difficult. Like I said, it takes four to six weeks to master this at most. We wouldn't have prisons in 20 years. They go away, we would need them. But you know, I've also tried, I've tried talking to parents about this thing. Most parents young parents have no interest in this.

Alyssa Stanley:

So So if their parents or listeners who are interested in this, do you have online class options where they can take this? Where would they find more information on that?

Unknown:

So I've created a page for your audience. And the URL is doug noll.co/success-coaching. And on that page, you can get free a free a free book that describes everything that I'm talking about tell you how to do it, you can buy my book de escalate, you can buy a video course on how to de escalate. It's a video course on how to calm people down. And then if you want to go deep, you can get my basic, my basic and advanced emotional competency course, which I give half off to listeners. And that really teaches the skills that I'm talking about in a very deep way. And anybody can benefit from this parents, teachers, coaches. Yeah. Anybody.

Alyssa Stanley:

Well, thank you for that, because I think this is a huge tool.

Doug Noll:

Yeah, oh, it's amazing. It's life transforming. Thank you for that. I mean, it's the foundational skill of life. And it's new. The part of the reason people haven't heard about this is because, you know, the Lieberman's I discovered this in 2005, Lieberman study came out 2007. And it hasn't even been 14 years. So it's still brand new. And as far as I know, I'm the only one talking about it and teaching it.

Todd Foster:

Yeah, it looks like it's being embraced just out in California. I was on your Facebook page for your organization. And it looks like you were in Italy, or someone was in Italy.

Doug Noll:

Oh, yeah, we're all over the world. We have a startup in Italy, we have 12, we have a colleague who's got prison piece going in 12 prisons in Greece, another colleague who's starting prison a piece in Nairobi. And because of the pandemic, of course, our improved prison programming shut down. But we took all of last year and we filmed our entire curriculum. And right now we're in post production. We expected the entire curriculum to be available worldwide subtitled in any language, probably in another 60 to 90 days. So anybody who has an interest of starting prison apiece wherever they are, and, and where we would be targeting prisons, or other detention facilities, as well as reentry programs, for people coming out of prison, and, and anybody can learn how to facilitate. All you have to do is facilitate the video lessons we teach. We do all the heavy lifting in the video lessons. And what's really cool is that my trainers are all people that we trained in prison, who have now been released. They're all they're all former former incarcerated students, and they are brilliant. They're brilliant.

Alyssa Stanley:

You are making such an impact in a part of our society that tends to be forgotten.

Doug Noll:

That's correct.

Alyssa Stanley:

That's incredible.

Unknown:

And that you know, the thing that and this is even something that I've Republican friends can understand. They want to be tough on crime. But whether or not understand is, at least in California, we spend more money in our prison system, not our court system, that law enforcement, just the prison system, we spend more money on our prison system than we spend on our universities. And that's true for just about every state. So there's a cost to being tough on crime, we should be smart on crime, not tough on crime. And there's an unintended cost that that people don't realize they complain about tax dollars being spent, and well, they don't realize it 10% of the budget goes to the prison system, which is scary, and nobody talks about, nobody can get anybody to talk about it. So it's very hard to have a conversation around around the politics and the policies of Penal Reform.

Todd Foster:

I'd like to go back to something you said about the lady who shared her story, that tragic story when she was young. And I'm, I've never been in prison, and I trust I never will be, that's one of my biggest fears is going to prison for something I didn't do. Like finding a body and touching it. And there I go. That's why I don't jog, because they always find the dead bodies. Yet, I like go back to the point where you said she felt safer in the prison than on the streets or at home? And do you see, maybe that's possibly why we have these repeat, repeat offenders? Will you ever be able to break the chain of that?

Unknown:

Well, recidivism is caused by a lot of different things. The Some people become institutionalized. And the only place where they really feel comfortable is being in a penal institution. They call they've been institutionalized, and they can never, they'll never be able to live effectively anywhere else. Some people never get out of the criminal mind. And so they get just get back out and go right back to the way they were thinking. Some people, you know, are not given proper support. You know, I mean, we got so many laws that prohibit formerly incarcerated people from getting all kinds of different jobs and licenses. I mean, it's like we it's a double whammy. And so if they can't support themselves, what are they gonna do? How do you make a living if you if you can't get a job? If you've got it on your resume? I've been in prison for 25 years. I mean, what do you do? And the state gives them no support. So there are a lot of different reasons why recidivism occurs, and they're all preventable, provided you want to spend the money, but politically, people don't want to spend the money. So we suffer from that problem.

Todd Foster:

Do you see Charles Manson working with this at all? Would you like to get in the mind of him?

Unknown:

You know, I never met the man obviously, even though I was working not very far away from where he was before he died. There are it's just it's really hard for me to say whether or not working for somebody that notorious would be would be an effective student in prison apiece the the the peep. Our students in the prisons are called to our program. They don't know why. Sometimes they hear about it. And they hear how it's very rigorous and difficult and tough, and we hold people accountable, which is the first time any of them have ever been held accountable for anything. And we teach them we teach them and my graduate students, Laura and I are both adjuncts at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. And we we treat them the same way we treat our graduate students and and but once they, once they get into course, if assuming we get through the first workshop, typically they become fanatically loyal, because they see the power of the change that occurs within them. And I mean, I've got some amazing stories about transformations that have occurred. So we have had some, I mean, we trained we trained, one of my best students, was a guy who started the Aryan Brotherhood, he founded the Aryan Brotherhood back in the 1960s. He had been in prison almost his whole life. And he's got two PhDs, and just an amazing human being, and a very powerful media super smart guy. So people like that you can work with, but if you work with somebody who's emotionally or mentally dysfunctional, that got a dysfunction of the brain. I think that would be tough. We haven't we didn't see we haven't seen too much of that.

Todd Foster:

You said you were called to their program. So is the prison selecting these people handpicking them or what's the process?

Doug Noll:

They self select in and we go into a prison and we set up, we have set up an announcement that there's going to be an orientation meeting now? Well, it's a little it's a little stricter now than it used to be. But the way we used to do it was we would have people sign up to come to an orientation meeting, they come to the meeting, we would try it we get maybe 100 people in the room, usually in a gym, we do everything we could to dissuade them. We tell them how tough it is now, meaning we are because we only wanted people who are really committed. And out of that 100 We would in the first orientation. The first time we're in a prison we we had about 25 students and it would whittle down to about 15 and then those things too. ultimately became our trainers. And, and then once, once the word got out about what prison the piece was really all about, then we would typically have a waiting list of two or 300 people waiting to get into the course.

Todd Foster:

So you are giving these people the chance to make a difference in life and change your life. It's it goes almost back to what you were doing your you know, you'd want every reward known to man and woman, as a lawyer, you on the outside look like you're really happy and say it looks like you weren't that happy. And it shows. Yeah, but we definitely have said that. And it shows that you're never too old, or too young to ever make a change when you feel it in your heart. Right? It's all about emotions. And this is a prime example of how it works. I mean, you are definitely successful in your in your law job. And, and look how successful you are now, not just financially yet, the difference you're making in so many people's lives.

Doug Noll:

That's right, I'm at my life really started after 50. I mean, I really see after I got my master's degree and then left the practice, a lot of my life really started took me 50 years to grow up. And, and my life's never been better. And I mean, like I said, we started printing a piece when I was 16 years old. Most people are thinking about retirement, I was just getting started.

Kelley Skar:

Can you talk a little bit about how how these principles can work into negotiation? I mean, you know, we talked a little bit about who our audiences in the preamble, you know, we're talking about entrepreneurship and you know, salespeople and that sort of thing. So, maybe let's shift gears a little bit as much as I find, you know, the the, I'm like Todd, one of my biggest fears is going to prison for something that I you know, crime I didn't commit or something. So.

Unknown:

I'll just say one of our students who were one of our top trainers, was released after serving 26 years on a 30 year to life sentence and the Innocence Project completely exonerated him. He was he was sentenced to prison at 14 years old. He was in the right, he was the southeast and the barrios and Los Angeles, Long place long time. Cops framed him. He's got he got a million multi million dollar settlements from the state and now he's suing the LAPD and it'll get a multi million dollar settlement from them. And um, but I mean, he spent most of his adult life in prison as a result of being wrongfully convicted. And that is a story that happens far more often than it should. But yeah, let's talk about let's bring this grounding back to reality. First of all, I teach an advanced negotiation course it for lawyers, most lawyers don't know how to negotiate. And so I have been training lawyers in advanced legal negotiation since about 2010. We're here we and I also teach a course at Pepperdine, called decision making under uncertainty and conflict. So in stress, so what do we do when we have to make a decision quickly? That is monumental. And how do we make decisions when all we have in front of us are bad choices?And what are all the things that get in the way of making good decisions? So when we look in the business world, the things I, the thing that I teach people is forget about rationality. Yes, there are things called critical thinking, critical reasoning, linear processes. You know, we can do stuff like cat and PERT charts for program management, project management, those are all important. But at the end of the day, when if you're leading people, you have to leave them from a place of emotional competency, not from a place of rationality. People will never respond to rational argument. That's, that just does not motivate people. Never has never will.

Kelley Skar:

Yeah, I think we're seeing a lot of that right now in the world, actually, you know, certain certainly here in Canada, certainly in the United States, certainly North America yet, the rationality, it seems like that the rational argument just is completely ignored.

Unknown:

It is right now. And that's because we are emotional beings. That Well, there are a lot of reasons why it's gotten really bad. The polarization has gotten bad, mostly in my opinion, it's because of the collapse of our educational system over the last 30 years. Right now, for example, in California, 80% of the college students are women. Men are not going to college. Why is that? Well, everybody's scratching their heads because our educational system has failed young men. So but but now you're in business, you you've got your own business, you've got to start up or you're you're leading a small company, or maybe you're leading a large company, or maybe you're a divisional vice president or something like that. And you and you're wondering, why is my team dysfunctional? How do I manage this remote team? I've got these 20 Somethings and I'm having a hell of a time hurting them. It's like I can't get motivated. I can't get anything done. And, you know, there's absent as they are present. Thinking about them as emotional beings, not as rational beings and start thinking about what are their emotional experiences? Are they frustrated? Are they bored or this you know, in during the pandemic, when we're isolated in, you know, we're closed in a can't go out and can't socialize, think about the emotional stresses that are on your people, and start thinking at them at them as emotional people, and then think be thinking about, alright, I've got to relate to them at an emotional level, not at a logical rational business level. And a lot of business people that I run across that I coach say, I don't want to do that. And I said, then you're gonna fail. It remember being a leader is not about doing, being a leader is about being it's your beingness that makes you a leader, not who you are not how you became a leader, not your education, not your MBA or PhD, or what have you got, it's about how you are as a human being is what makes you a leader. And leaders provides three fundamental psychological things to a group, focus, direction and safety. And to the degree that people who are entrepreneurs don't get that. And they believe in the old command and control stuff, you do it because I write, the paychecks are on the Dyess from the guy that created this, they're gonna fail, pure and simple. And they, you know, with the Harvard Business Review came out with a study some couple of items a month ago, very recently that that two out of five leaders, CEOs fail within 18 months of taking their job. Why? Because they're not being trained in the right things. And you won't get this training business school, because business professors just like professors of education, are there under this academic structure of publish or perish. And it's very difficult to publish articles about emotions, and emotional development and emotional competency. And you can do a lot of research around it, because now you're going outside your area of the answer quantitative analysis, wandering into social psychology and neuroscience, which is forbidden in academia, heaven forbid, we'd be multidisciplinary experts. You know, I mean, so again, it's a failure of our educational system.

Kelley Skar:

So obviously, you think that emotional intelligence can be taught?

Doug Noll:

Actually, no, I make, I claim that emotional intelligence can't be taught. And this is a big myth, perpetrated by Daniel Goleman and his people. And because emotional intelligence is a test, just like IQ, or watching Glaser Critical Thinking test, it's a test, you can't teach a test. What you teach are the competencies that allow somebody to score high on an emotional intelligence test. So you got to learn the competencies, you can learn the competencies, but you can't learn the test. So when people are out there saying, come take our emotional intelligence scores, I just shake my head. These people obviously, did not study the literature, and don't understand this stuff. And and I've, you know, I last time I looked, I think there were 340 different online organizations offering some kind of emotional intelligence training. And I just as I skim through them, their teachers who were not, did not have any significant credentials, and there was nothing in any of their in on any of the websites that I visited, that showed that the teachers themselves were emotionally competent. How can you teach something you're not? And then this is another we've all heard of core curriculum and part of core curriculum, the core curriculum, movement is socio emotional learning in the classroom. How can a teacher teach socio emotional learning, but the teachers themselves are emotionally incompetent? You know, people don't even think about these basic foundational things. But yes, you can, you can increase your ability to score high on an emotional intelligence test by learning how to be emotionally self aware, learn how to emotionally self regulate, and learn cognitive and affective empathy. And these are all skills that can be taught and learned and mastered. It's not

Kelley Skar:

So then these are the these would then be the skills that you would coach, top level CEO that is on the on the cusp of potentially failing out as that CEO?

Unknown:

That's right. And I would make it even easier than that. Because if I can, if I teach you cognitive empathy, one skill ethic labeling, then you will automatically develop emotional self awareness, and emotional self regulation. All you have to do is be able to read somebody else's emotions and label them and you will automatically increase your own emotional competency, and it happens every single time without fail. I mean, again, look at the Prison Project. Look what we're able to do there with people who were so far gone, that society gave up on them, and yet they have turned out to be some of the most powerful brilliant peacemakers I've ever experienced. It's the same thing in business.

Todd Foster:

So reading someone's emotional level is different than reading their body language. Correct?

Doug Noll:

Reading their emotions is different than?

Todd Foster:

Reading their body language.

Unknown:

Oh, yeah. Well, he yes and no. When we read emotional data, think about think about emotions as being data, it's no different than what you see on a spreadsheet. It's just a different form of data 50% of the data emotional data is communicated through the face facial expressions primarily through through eye movements, about roughly 38% is communicated through nonverbal tonality, volume, speed, and Tambour of your voice. And only 7% of emotional information is communicated by content, the words themselves. So our brains are hardwired to read facial expressions, and listen to nonverbal sound. And from that in, breed, assimilate, interpret, and correctly understand the emotional experience of another human being. Now the problem is that most families are emotionally dysfunctional. 95%, according to Virginia, Satir. And that means that they're developing emotionally incompetent adults. So, so these skills are not of course, they're not taught or learned in families, because families don't know how to do this. In fact, the opposite happens. Children are learned are emotionally invalidated. Let me give you a quick example. Remember, when you all of you, you remember when you're two years old, or three years old, and you're out running around having a good time you fall over skinny your knee, then you start to cry, it hurts. Scared, what do you told, suck it up, suck it up, rub dirt on it, it doesn't hurt him, put on your big girl panties. Don't be a girly girl. Don't be big man Don't cry. We were told this throughout childhood and all the way through adults. That to have emotions is evil, weak and bad. So we actually it's called Emotional invalidation. And in my opinion, is the most insidious, pervasive form of emotional abuse that exists, it's everywhere. And it destroy research shows that it destroys the proper development of a human brain. And yet, we do this all the time. And so if we want Emotionally Healthy People, then we have to learn how to validate emotions, not invalidate them, we have to learn how to be present with other people's emotionality, which means we have to learn how to manage our own anxiety that naturally arises when other people are upset, angry, or intensely emotional. And these are all skills that we have to learn. Fortunately, it's very easy to master this stuff. But we just have to have the right teacher and the right information. And then we can do it. Again, can train a murderer to be a peacemaker. Imagine what I could do with you.

Todd Foster:

Where do you see this going? In the future? Do you see it becoming something that isn't taught in schools and colleges, a curriculum?

Doug Noll:

I hope that I can reach enough people with what time I have remaining in my life to create enough of a ripple that this just continues to grow and grow and grow and grow and more research is done in the area. There's more science to support this work, that we get away from the old pop psychology BS that is in slowed us for so many years, and we really start doing empirically based work. And as more and more people become in touch with their emotions become emotionally competent. They become stronger thinkers, they become better decision makers, they become better human beings overall. And this just spreads.

Alyssa Stanley:

Thank you so much for the website that you gave us if you could repeat that for us one time and then one more time. And then also tell us where else we can get more information and where your books are available. Because this podcast is fascinating. I think more people need to dig further into what you're trying to create for future generations.

Unknown:

Yes, dougnoll.co/success-coaching, that will also get you on to the rest of my website, which is dougnoll.com, not CO and on that website, I've got over 100 blogs that discuss all of these topics in great detail. And I also have a YouTube channel if you just do Douglas know YouTube, you get on my YouTube channel and you'll see me talking about a lot of this stuff on a lot of different topics. And there's another channel that my wife and I have called empaths that help that YouTube channel and if you go to that channel and you happen to be if you know what if you don't know what I'm talking about if you if you hear this if you're empathically sensitive or you're a highly sensitive person, we have videos there that can be a useful and there's also a lot of good stuff for people who want to get in Insights into working with working with themselves. And we talk a lot about emotions in on on those in those youtubes. My books are available in all the usual places. And mainstream, they're all made. Well, yeah, they're all mainstream. So. But the book that I think would be of most interest to people is my fourth book de escalate, the other books are more academic. And you can find me, you know, easily find me on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or wherever good books are sold, you'll find the books.

Kelley Skar:

Okay, I'm totally I'm ordering paperback. So the books that's required reading now in my house, get off the bloody devices!

Todd Foster:

Can you ever create empathy if you lack it in your life?

Doug Noll:

Sure. It's a skill.

Todd Foster:

I've been working on forever. And I,

Unknown:

That's because nobody has ever told you what empathy really is. It think of it this way, when we're talking about empathy is it's we're given empathy as a caring point of view, we got to care about people, which I do. Of course, we all do. But that doesn't give you a skill set that allows you to actually be empathic. And in business, it's even tougher, because you're gonna run across people that you really don't like, and how do you care for somebody you really don't like and if you're a leader, or entrepreneur and a business, and you've got an organization, you can't possibly care for everybody. Because if you do, you're going to come across as inauthentic and fake. So this caring point of view makes no sense whatsoever, it's wrong. The right way to think about empathy, as is from an informational point of view, think of empathy, as the ability to read, assimilate, interpret, and reflect back the emotions of another human being accurately, effectively and quickly. And when you are able to do that, that's the definition of cognitive empathy. When you are able to do that, you can touch that person at a very deep level, demonstrating from the speaker's frame of reference that you understand exactly what their emotional experiences and you can do for a group, as well as for individuals. And that is a skill that can be taught and mastered. So when you think about empathy, as simply learning how to manage the data of emotions, emotional data, then it becomes something that we can get our head around. And it's something that we can learn to master and measure. But as long as we stay in this old pop psychology crap, it just, it's just fuzzy, which is why business people don't like it, it's too touchy feely, you know, I mean, there have a lot of thoughts around that, but, but it just becomes too, it's too, it's too incoherent and difficult to understand. But once you crystallize it down to the science, it becomes very manageable and very usable as a skill.

Todd Foster:

I just love what you're doing. I mean, it's, it's great to finally see something good. Unfortunately, it seems like many people may be threatened by how good it is. And it's going to possibly change the entire educational system, the entire prison system. And I think it's a lot of fear based the what ifs, this does take off and it changeswhat we've done before.

Doug Noll:

Well, I appreciate being here, especially with talented people like the three of you, because you influence a lot of people, your clientele, you know, are highly influential people and as coaches, you master these skills and then start teaching these skills to your clients. And that's the ripple effect. It's not going to come from some massive big movement. It's going to come from people learning these skills one by one experiencing what they will experience without a doubt and then becoming motivated to teach the skills to the people they know. And it just and it just spreads outward like a ripple and that's that that's that's why I do so many podcasts is every now and then I hope I get on a show where somebody listens to what I'm talking about. And the light bulb goes on and they take it and run with it and that's that's how we're going to get this out there.

Todd Foster:

Oh you got me sold him Kelley apparently has already bought like 14 courses already during this podcast.

Kelley Skar:

Maybe

Todd Foster:

It's in Canadian dollar so he's gonna have to like remortgage the entire house.

Kelley Skar:

Yeah, I already did. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Amazing.

Voiceover:

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