Sometimes, the secret to the joy of living is as simple as sharing a smile. For Barry Shore, a SMILE means Seeing Miracles In Life Everyday. Barry is The Joy of Living podcast host and author of The JOY of Living: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy. He joins Dr. Gary Sanchez to enlighten us on the power of words and the simple secret to living life to the fullest. Barry also shares personal anecdotes of overcoming challenges life has thrown his way and helping others do the same. Your words matter. When you recognize that and extend that power, you will be unstoppable, and you can go MAD (Make A Difference). Learn more of Barry’s fun and inspiring acronyms and understand his WHY of Simplify by tuning in!
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Simplifying The Joy Of Living With Barry Shore
We go beyond talking about your Why, helping you discover and live your Why. If you’re a regular reader, you know that every episode, we talk about one of the nine Whys and we bring on somebody with that Why so you can see how their Why has played out in their life. We’re going to be talking about a very rare Why, the Why of simplify.
If you have this Why, you are one of the people that makes everyone else’s life easier. You break things down to their essence, which allows others to understand each other better and see things from the same perspective. You are constantly looking for ways to simplify, from recipes you’re making at home to business systems you’re implementing at work. You feel successful when you eliminate complexity and remove unnecessary steps.
I’ve got a great guest for you. He is known as the Ambassador of JOY. Barry Shore is a mental health activist, philanthropist, multi-patent, holding entrepreneur, speaker, author, podcaster and former quadriplegic who is swimming around the world. The Joy of Living is heard globally by hundreds of thousands and has over 3 million downloads. His latest book, The JOY of LIVING: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy is available on Amazon and Apple Books.
After a rare disease paralyzed Barry from the neck down, he created the Joy of Living Institute, a platform that teaches people to live in joy, no matter the situation. The Keep Smiling Movement has reached multiple celebrities and distributed millions of Keep Smiling cards worldwide. ChangeBowl is a philanthropic platform featured in Oprah’s Magazine. Barry, welcome to the show.
Good day, beautiful, bountiful, beloved mortal beings and good-looking people. Gary, how can I make the categorical statement that all the tens of thousands and not hundreds of thousands of people that will be reading this are all good-looking? If they tuned in to your session of Why then by definition, they’re always looking for and finding the good. That’s a definition of a good-looking person, looking for and finding the good.
That’s a great way to define that. Barry, for our audience, there was a lot to unpack there. Where are you?
We can talk about geographically, physically, mentally and spiritually. Geographically, my wife and I have decamped on Venice Beach, California, right by the water. After years of living here, we moved to Henderson, Nevada. Anybody scratching the head would say, “You left Venice Beach to move to Henderson, Nevada, outside of Las Vegas. Why?”SMILE: Seeing Miracles In Life Everyday Click To Tweet
I can tell you three things. Number one, the entire structure of where we lived in the Los Angeles area, especially Venice Beach, has changed because of politics. There are hundreds of people living on the streets and the beach within yards of our multimillion-dollar homes. After all of this happened, I said to my wife, “Why be here?” In addition to that fact, my son and wonderful daughter-in-law and two young grandsons moved to Henderson, Nevada, the previous year.
We had every Why to move so we did. I made a completely new place, which is fascinating. We’re talking about being in one place for decades with all our family and friends around. We decided to decamp because the new Why was far more entrancing. At the age of 73, I said, “How wonderful. Let’s move.” Isn’t that a great way of getting a new perspective on life? Physically, we’re here. Mentally, I and my wife would agree that I’m in the best place mentally than I’ve ever been in my life. That happens on a daily basis. I’m better now than the day before because that’s what I live with. I live with growth.
Spiritually, it is the same thing. I am oriented towards making sure I’m ever striving forward in my spiritual life which, God-willing and thank God, touches hundreds of thousands of people and millions of people around the globe with our Joy of Living Program, our podcast, our books, our Keep Smiling cards and the things that we do.
I’ve been blessed to be a conduit of good, what I call a COG or a Child Of God. Thank you for asking. I also want to mention that in everything we do, we work with the three fundamentals of life. The three fundamentals are, number one, life has a purpose. When you live a purpose-driven life, you can have good number two. Number two is good. You can go MAD. MAD is an acronym that stands for Make A Difference. If you lead a purpose-driven life, you make a difference in the world, Gary.
Number three is to unlock the power and the secrets of everyday words in terms. The simplest example. Your show with me is being carried over the internet, that magical, mystical, mythical platform that’s touched by everybody around the world. If you ask anybody, what does www stand for? Variably, it has to do with the internet.
In our world, the world of the positive, purposeful, powerful and pleasant www stands for What a Wonderful World. What is a word? Everybody reading, when you see www, you’d think, “What did he say? What a wonderful world.” You have a whole different outlook. You have a smile on your face. You say, “Where did I hear that? Dr. Gary Sanchez’s show about Why. He had this crazy guy on, Barry Shore. He is talking about joy in life.”
Whenever you hear www, what a wonderful world, right away, you think of that song. Remember that song by Louis Armstrong? You hear the opening bars of that great song, What a Wonderful World and what do you do right away? You smile. You can’t help it. Smile is one of the most important words you could ever internalize, utilize and leverage in life because SMILE stands for Seeing Miracles In Life Every Day. What a way to live. How do you like that, Gary?
I love it. I love your energy and I love the way you simplified things down to three things. Let’s go back, Barry. Take us back in your life. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? What were you like as a kid? Let us learn about you.
As fascinating, interesting and robust as I am now. At least my mother would say that. She’s the one who writes all my introductions and she’s in heaven. She passes them down through the heavenly host. Thank God I was raised in a place called Boston, Massachusetts. I’ll even fall into a Boston accent at some point. I was raised outside of Boston called Brookline, Massachusetts in a very wonderful, loving home.
Thank God I had a father who worked hard and a mother who was loving. I’m the oldest in the family. I have two younger sisters. We’re all close. Both my parents have passed away. It was a wonderful existence. I share with you the best part because most of my life has been involved with the business. I want to use this time to talk about business because it is part of my Why.
I have certain very important beliefs about business that is critical for people to understand. Number one, the word business is fascinating. How do you spell business? I was taught this when I was twelve years old. In the word business, the U comes before the I. Business is built on service. Most people don’t learn this until their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s.Business is built on service. Service is the key to life. Click To Tweet
Service is the key of life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist, a lawyer or an Indian Chief. Service is the key to life. Business, the word itself, shows us. The U comes before the I. I learned this at the age of 9, 10 or 11, growing up in Boston. Anybody can google it, look it up. It’s in the Northeast part of the United States of America. In the wintertime, it snows. Sometimes you have real deep snow.
When I was growing up, we didn’t have internet. You listen to the radio and say, “No school.” We didn’t sit around and play video games. We didn’t have them. We play and say, “I’m going to wait and sleep the rest of the day.” It was a time to go out, shovel snow and make money. What a wonderful way to live because you get exercise.
It was instructive for me because here’s what we needed to do. Ages 9, 10, 11, you go up and down the street with your boots on and get warm inside and a snow shovel. You knock on your neighbors’ doors, your neighbors. What are you going to do? You’re going to negotiate. Imagine being a 9, 10 or 11-year-old, negotiating with a householder, “I want $10.” He wants to give $5 and we settle somewhere, say $7 or $8, depending. You shovel and you’re working hard and good. Every once in a while, they give you a cup of hot chocolate. You made money.
Here’s what gets fun, Gary. I realized, “I could shovel maybe 7, 8 driveways before I get tired and go home. I can make $50, $60.” That’s a lot of money to a kid, especially in the 1950s but it got even better. My father said, “You have a lot of friends. Why don’t you get 2 or 3 of your friends and you go and get the jobs? If you get them, say, an $8 job, you give them $5 or $6, you make $2 or $3 and you’re leveraging your time.”
The bane of existence for most people is your time is limited. I don’t care if you’re charging $1,000 an hour as a lawyer, it doesn’t matter. You’re only able to negotiate your time. That’s why lawyers raise their rates. If you can leverage other people’s activities so that everybody wins, I did that. I had five friends and I got them the jobs. They had to do anything other than a shovel.
It ended up getting up to $10 for a driveway. I gave them $7, while I made $3. We’re shoveling another 30 driveways and I’m still shoveling some myself. I’m making real money, $120 sometimes. It didn’t snow every single day. When it did, it was delightful because I had money that I could choose to do what I wanted with.
That’s the whole essence for me about business. I’ve kept it going for 60-plus years. It’s finding more simple, direct ways of utilizing and leveraging time and energy so that everyone wins. This is the key. Everyone wins. It wasn’t that I got $10 and I gave them $2. It was the ability to create win-win situations. The householder won because they got their driveway and stairs shoveled. My friends won because they got money. They didn’t have to do anything. They don’t have to knock on doors and negotiate. I won because I’m helping them and making money. That’s real WWW, What a Wonderful World.
For the audience, Barry went through and did the WHY.os Discovery instead of the WHY Discovery. He came up with his Why to simplify things so that they’re easy to understand. How he does that was by finding better ways. Ultimately, what he brings is a way to contribute and add value to people around him. We saw that perfectly in that story. You simplified it down to a few things. You found a better way by getting your friends to participate with you and leverage your time. What you brought was a way for everyone to win.
May I share another story? Anybody who knows anything about America, look up Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox. I grew up in Boston. Where we lived, I could walk to Fenway Park. It was 3 miles. As a kid, a friend of mine’s family ran the concession for selling scorecards outside of Fenway Park. At the ages of 12, 13 and 14, I was selling scorecards in front of Fenway Park. You got pictures in 1960, 1961, 1962. The Red Sox weren’t what they are now. People didn’t go. Maybe this stadium is only half full.
Here’s where it gets fun. I’m selling a newspaper with a scorecard in the front and it sells for $0.08. People are busy going into the game. They give you a dime. Most of the time, they didn’t ask for the two pennies back. I made $0.02 for the paper and another $0.02. I’m vocal, selling, “Scorecards.” I have this great corner because I was out there.
There was this amazing guy who was probably 72, 73 at the time and I’m 12, 13. He’s sitting there with a large cart, about 6 feet long, 4 feet wide with roasted peanuts in bags on it. He’s sitting on a milk crate. He is an old black guy and I’m standing, doing things. He said, “Kid, come over here.” I come over. I said, “Yes, sir,” because that’s how I was raised.The best way to learn something is to teach it. Click To Tweet
He said, “Let me hear what you’re talking.” I said, “Scorecards.” He said, “That’s very nice. You have a good voice. I like what you do but where’s the value? You’re not telling people what you do. Let me show you.” He said, “Peanuts a dime, 3 for a quarter, $0.15 in the ballpark.” He said, “I want you to tell them. How much is the scorecard in the ballpark?” I said, “$0.15.”
He goes, “Scorecard. Get your scorecard here. $0.08 here, $0.15 in the ballpark. You’re giving value and people will be attracted to you.” This is the word he used. “People will be attracted to you. You were running after people. They’re going to come to you.” His name was Elijah. I like that. He was a prophet and he helped me. We went together for almost three years.
I owned that corner because I was the best. It was the best corner. In two hours of selling, I would make over $40. I was having fun. All the people at the ballpark knew me so I got to go to most of the games for free. I saw dozens, if not hundreds, of Red Sox games. It was great.
Here is where it gets fun. I told my father the story and he said, “That’s great. Wonderful. Let’s add value. When people get your scorecard, how do they keep score?” I said, “They write down.” He said, “Do they always carry a pencil with them?” “I don’t know.” “Let’s do this.” We went out. We bought a bunch of pencils. We bought 20, 30 pencils and they’re regular long. He cut them in half like the little pencils you had at miniature golf courses.
He took a pencil, cut it in half and the pencil cost a nickel. We sold each half for a nickel. He turned a nickel into a dime but it wasn’t just that we turned a nickel into a dime. He told me about the gross margin, which is 50%. You didn’t make 100%. You made a 50% gross margin. What did you do? You gave real value. I said, “Get your scorecard, $0.08 here, $0.15 in the ballpark and a pen. Would you like a pencil with that?” “Yeah. How much is it?” “$0.10 here.” “Here’s a quarter or $0.20.”
We were using the leverage of value. How do you find the value that you can add? As Elijah told me, show people the value. You attract them. It’s called the law of attraction. Add value wherever you can, as my father did with, “Let’s give them pencils.” How wonderful. Everybody wins, the person who’s using it, me and what a wonderful world, www. Those are lessons I learned from the ages of 9 to 14 and it stood me in good steps.
I’ve done many businesses throughout my career. Some of them are spectacular successes and some of them hello, human. It’s the ability to always simplify. What can you do to make it as easy as possible for people to work with you? As we say in the sophisticated, how do you remove barriers to entry, not for your competition but for people who want to work with you?
Even in competition, I’ve learned a great lesson much later in life. It’s called co-opetition. I learned this at the University of Hard Knocks. You oftentimes will compete with people and those same people, you should look as collaborators. When you were a dentist, I don’t know if you did general dentistry but maybe there was another dentist that 1 mile away who was a specialist in pediatrics. Together, you can channel business to each other. Sometimes you collaborate sometimes you compete but it’s the ability to be open to it called co-opetition.
You grew up and went to high school in Boston. Did you go off to college?
I was a very good, young Jewish guy. I went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Here’s where it gets fun. After my junior year, I was a college dropout.
You and Steve Jobs.
College is interesting, nice and fun but I have wanderlust. I wanted to do something. This was 1969, 1970, around that era. It was the era of the hippies, things and growing on. I got a one-way ticket to Europe. You could do that in those days. I got landed in London. They let me in for only 30 days. They said, “We don’t want you here. Get out.”
I went to a place called Amsterdam, which was the crossroads of the world in those days. All over the world, people were coming through Amsterdam, from the Orient, from Africa, from Latin America, everywhere. I was in the middle of it. I got involved with a nice group of people. We had a little commune. How do you survive?
I had very little money and so did everybody else. We got together. We thought of things to do and we did. Out of that came a business three years later when I went back to the United States. An interesting thriving business. I’ll describe it very quickly. Imagine, let’s say a 9×12 Oriental Belgian rug that had a huge stain in someplace in it. It was sold at the flea markets. They had hundreds of these things. We would buy them for pennies. You buy a big 9×12 rug for $1 or $2, bring it back to our little commune.
We had eleven people. One of the people there was this interesting woman. She was skilled and said, “We cut this, do this. We put a back on it and make a pillow.” Imagine a carpet pillow. How about a carpet bag? How about a coat? How about a hat? We sold it there in Amsterdam. We made money so we could all live, do what we do and travel around and all over Europe for a year.It’s choice, not chance, that determines your destiny. Click To Tweet
It was amazing. I said, “I feel like going back to America.” I bought a big container full of these things. I went back to Boston. Through a friend of a friend, I found somebody who also was a genius at doing this. She was a wonderful woman. She hired people and we started making bags, coats and pillows. We hung out a great sign on a place called Newbury Street in Boston.
It is a great story. Newbury Street, look it up. It is the most fashionable street in Boston for shopping. Even then, it was the hip place. Within a couple of months, I was written up in Boston Magazine and this stuff, carpet bag, carpet pillows. We had this little shop which was all Oriental rugs everywhere. It was fun. It was truly wonderful. Anybody who was a celebrity in those days who came to Boston came to the shop.
Cheech & Chong were famous at the time. They bought stuff for all their Hollywood friends and people who were ordering. We were part of this whole trend in America called the boutique business. This was where we went. We had a boutique. We were invited to do a booth in a boutique show in New York City. I said, “Yeah, of course.” They have a $3,000 booth but they gave it to her for $1,000.
We’re going to go. Myself and this nice lady, my head seamstress, we loaded up two cars. We were driving from Boston down to New York. It was a Saturday night in June 1972. We’re cruising down, getting ready to go to Manhattan for the big boutique show. Macy’s was going to be there. They have already expressed interest. A lot of them. Real people.
It was about midnight. We were traveling 60 miles an hour in the Volkswagen Beatle. Somebody fell asleep at the wheel of their big Buick car. The car hurdled over the median and smashed the Volkswagen Bug I was in and squashed it like a bug. I’m still here but it was touch and go for that night and the next day.
Thank God I didn’t pass away. My femur, my thigh bone, the hardest bone on the body to break, was smashed in many places. My leg was swinging like a gate. I didn’t pass out, thank God. The police and the fire department were amazing. They showed us pictures weeks later of what the car looked like. It’s not possible to survive but I did.
I’ll make the story very short. There was an operation that was done to put in special titanium plates and titanium screws into my thigh bone to put everything together. Over the next two and a half years, I had 2 more operations to remove a plate and 10 screws. I used that time to do what I call PTL, which saved my life. Prayer, Therapy and Love.
A lot of prayer, a lot of therapy, 2, 3 sometimes 4 hours a day of half a yoga and massage. I had friends that came by and love that was showered upon me. It took time. It was a process, not an event but looking at me, you can’t even see scars. They were picking glass out of my face for two days. I never limped. I did not limp after that.
I was, in a true sense, reborn. People call it near-death experience but I call it near life because when you get that close to not being here, I call it near life. You taste the essence of what it means to live exuberantly. Due to that, I made a renewed dedication to living life to the full in the most positive, purposeful, powerful, pleasant way that I could. That’s one story.
We’ll do another one. This show is very little about Barry Shore, nice guy that he is and even very little about Gary Sanchez, great guy that he is. This show is about you. It’s all about you becoming the best you. If these stories help or the information helps, everybody should be doing the Why.os because when you are the best you, you make the world a better place. You build more bridges of harmony. You create more joy, happiness, peace and love in the world. We need you. You make a difference. You are a MAD man or woman, Make A Difference.
You went through all the therapy, the PTL. You got yourself healthy again. Where did you go from there? Did you continue in that business? Did you end up selling it and doing something different?
That business, unfortunately, couldn’t be on because for the next two and a half years, I was out of business essentially. I said, “What do you want to do?” “I want to close loops.” I said, “I have time.” The good Lord said, “Mr. Shore, you got two and a half years. Do something with the time.” I went back to university. I only had one more year to go. I said, “I’ll go back. I’ll graduate.”
While I was in Amsterdam, I did attend a place called the Vrije University, which is very famous in Europe. There’s a number of them in Germany, as I’ve been in Amsterdam. It’s a great school and was free. I also studied while I was there. I went back and I got a double degree from the University of Massachusetts, which had opened up their first satellite campus in Boston. Before, it was always in Amherst. The University of Massachusetts is a very well-respected prestigious university of the United States of America with multiple old campuses and medical schools.
The first year they opened in Boston, I went and graduated double degree high in my class. I was looking to see, “What am I going to do?” Thank God I had a wonderful, loving family who tolerated me. I was taking the time to think about what I wanted to do. My mother had worked for a diamond dealer before she was married and even after she married for the first year before they had me. We were close to that family. My mother said, “Why don’t you think of doing something in diamonds?” I went to speak to her former employer, Mr. Guinness. He said, “You should go to a place called the GIA.”
GIA means nothing to most people. GIA stands for the Gemological Institute of America. It is the most famous school of its kind in the world. Everybody who’s anybody in the giant diamond or gem business goes to the GIA. When I went there in 1977, it was a small school. It was known only to insiders in the diamond business and some of the gem businesses.
They accepted me because I graduated college. I took the program. The program was very intensive. It was 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 6 months at a time but I wanted to do it. I was good enough, great at what I did and they said, “Barry Shore, we love you. We’d like you to teach the program. You’d be 1 of 2 instructors.” The best way to learn something is to teach it.
As I learned from Elijah and my father in leveraging and shoveling snow, you teach and learn more. It was wonderful. While I was there, two wonderful things happened to me in my life that changed me entirely. One was I became close friends was my best friend of the world at the time. His name was Frank Bonham. Together, we had decided we were going to leave the Institute after a few years.HEALTH: Helping Everyone Achieve Life Through Happiness Click To Tweet
We were both there for almost three years. We decided to go out on our own and become diamond dealers. While I was there, I met and married the true diamond and jewel of my life, my wife, Naomi. It was the greatest possible move. It moved me from Boston where it snowed in the winter. You’re in your twenties. Who needs cold? You didn’t need a visa to come to Los Angeles.
I lived in Beverly Hills and the school was a couple of hours away. I drove across the country in my Volkswagen bus, which is not the same one but similar to what I used traveling around Europe. I’m living in Los Angeles and warm and loving and close friends and getting married. We’re going to go into business. I’ll make it short because from 1979 to 1981, Frank and I because of my personality and our skills, the market was booming. We bought and sold over $100 million dollars worth of diamonds in less than three years.
We made a lot of money, had a lot of fun and it was amazing. Before anybody gets jealous in any way whatsoever and say, “Look at these guys.” At the end of 1980 and by the middle of 1981, at least 80% of everything we made, we lost. It’s not because we made mistakes. The market crashed. An example, a diamond that would cost $50,000 for a 1-carat diamond in January of 1980 and we were buying and selling. By the end of 1980, it was down to $8,000.
We had a lot of inventory because we were moving. We made a lot of money. We’re selling. Things happened. You need to go through stuff in order to learn real lessons of when to buy, when to sell, when to lead, like a famous song by Kenny Rogers. It was fabulous. My wife’s still with me. My best friend, Frank, is still around. We ended up not having our business anymore because we didn’t have sufficient funds to keep going. The market was down for many years but it was quite the ride. We went through a lot of experiences and I learned a lot.
You went to the top and ended up back at the bottom.
We continue to move up. While we were doing that ride of $100 million, we had built the first and only limited partnership in California that allowed people to buy gemstones and put them in the partnership. We did some very creative things. As you said, simplify. We took an arcane idea, simplified it and said, “Look what you can do.” People say, “That’s interesting.” It was great.
When you have skills, it doesn’t matter what’s going on because markets move all the time. It’s the nature of life, the nature of business. It’s all about service and that’s why we’re here. Was there stress? Yes but part of wonderful living is how do you deal with stress. I had been through a deadly automobile accident. That was real stress. This is just money.
How did you end up paralyzed?
Let’s go on to this. Here’s the story. Let’s fast forward from the 1980s. I tried a couple of businesses. Some of them were moderately successful. Imagine the following. Standing up in the morning, hale and hearty, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and that evening, being in the hospital, totally completely paralyzed. It was not from an automobile accident. It was not a spinal injury.
It was a rare disease that I had never heard of the day before that took over my body and rendered me a quadriplegic. That’s what it’s called. I was completely, totally paralyzed. I was 144 days in the hospital. I was two years in a hospital bed in my own home. I couldn’t turn over by myself. Four years in a wheelchair. I had braces on both my legs, my hips to my ankles. Think of Forrest Gump completely with those big braces. That was progress.
Thank God, now I’m able to be vertical and ambulatory with the help of a seven-foot walking wand. I’m a triped, not a biped. I still can’t walk up a stair or a curb by myself. I have help 12 hours a day, 7 days a week but you hear my voice, positive, purposeful, powerful and pleasant. It’s all because of that one word I told you, SMILE.
SMILE stands for Seeing Miracles In Life Every day. I have to tell you a quick story. My eight-year-old niece comes over to me and says, “Uncle Barry, can we spell smile? SMIEL.” I thought about it. It sounds the same. I said, “Why not?” I asked her, “How come?” She says, “It would stand for Seeing Miracles In Everyday Life.” Out of the mouth of babes.
What was she doing, Gary? She was creating the world she wanted to live in. CREATE is a wonderful acronym. We love working with words and acronyms. CREATE stands for Causing Rethinking, Enabling All To Excel. This is what you excel at. What you built with the WHY.os is enabling people to rethink and understand that you are in charge of your own programming. We call it normal linguistic programming. You’re in charge of your own thoughts.
When you do that, you can understand the six most important words that I teach people whenever they listen. These are choice, not chance, that determines your destiny. It’s how you respond to any given situation. Do you think it was easy being paralyzed for years? No. Did I respond by being bitter and angry? No. Did I think I’d ever even move again? In the two years, I was in a hospital bed, unable to move by myself or turn over, my vision and abilities were all focused on sitting up and putting my feet over the side of the bed. That was it. That’s what I wanted. It took me years but I did it.
How did you do it?
I call upon PTL, Prayer, Therapy and Love. I’m talking about deep prayer for myself, people that cared about me, still care about me and still say prayers for me. To other people, I look like I’m “handicapped” and therapy. We hired therapists to come to the house who would move my legs and my arms, massage this, push and try everything and anything to find mechanisms to get things happening again.
Eventually, the therapy and love paid off. Personally, it’s much easier for me to give love than receive enormous amounts of love. When people tell me by the dozen, by the hundreds, when they heard and came visiting, “We love you,” it makes you feel truly humble. It’s much easier for me to say, “I love you,” to receive it, incorporate it and allow their honest, caring feelings to suffuse my physical being and energize it. I am not just a believer. I know for a fact that love creates healing.
I have an acronym for HEALTH, which is Helping Everyone Achieve Life Through Happiness. That’s real health when you have that flow. Bitter and angry are constricting. Love is expansive. This is for me. I’ve been in lots of stuff. I’ll tell you another thing about therapy because you might find it of interest. I have a friend. We have help 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When I was back home after the hospital, 144 days, sometimes, they get me into a wheelchair and take me out for a stroll on the street. One of my neighbors, who we’ve known for years, comes over and says, “I heard what happened. It’s okay. I got to tell you something. I’ll have you up and walking within a year.” I’m listening to anybody. I’m still a quad at this point. He said, “I am the best aquatic therapist in America.”Life and death are in the hands of the tongue. You can hurt so deeply with words, and you can rise up. Click To Tweet
How do I know that was true? It’s because he told me. I love people who are confident in what they do. Gary, you were a dentist for a long while. You didn’t go and say, “I’m an okay dentist.” You didn’t ever think that. You’re the best dentist. If you’re not, you’re not going to work on my teeth. I can tell you that.
He’s the best aquatic therapist. I’m in Southern California. We did a lot of outdoors well as indoors but pools in America have a Hoyer lift. It’s a special lift for people that are in wheelchairs, going from the wheelchair into this lift and the lift will pick you up and mechanically move you and put you in the water. Vince, the aquatic therapist, had four people working on me in the water sometimes for an hour and hour and a half at a time, with a flotation device on my legs, belly and arm so I wouldn’t sink and die and kept moving.
We did this 3, 4 times a week because I wanted something to happen. I wanted nerves to be triggered again. After about a year and a half, one day, I was in the water with people helping. I moved my arms over my head and they didn’t move my arms away. I started moving. I moved and interestingly enough, I hit my head against the side of the pool, which was great because that means I moved on my own. I said, “Let me keep doing this.”
I kept going back and forth in the pool. I was able to swim 98 minutes without stopping. They were timing me. I was in ecstasy. I swam 1 mile in 98 minutes and that was a breakthrough moment. That was not just a-ha. That was, “I couldn’t do it but I was jumping out of the water.” Imagine the whale breaching and going up high. That’s how I felt. I said, “If I could do it once, I could do it again.”
I started doing it twice a week and then 3 times a week then 4 times, 5 times a week, 6 times because I’m persevering. I am not going to let anything stop me from doing this. Over the course of the next year, it was becoming my routine. I was well-known at the pool. One day, one of my friends I swim with told me about a program. It’s a great form of swimming. I contacted the person who was responsible for it. We saw videos. I’m able to turn on my belly.
I still have flotation devices on my legs because otherwise, I’d stay sink. I was able to turn on my tummy. I have paddles on my hands. Gary, you can see my fingers don’t close. I use a snorkel. I swim on my back. I do backstroke and crawl. I swim 2 miles a day, 6 days a week. I’ve been doing this for more than a dozen years. I have over 8,400 miles that record every half-mile, mile, 2 miles, 3 miles sometimes 4 miles in a day because I’m that dedicated.
My goal is to swim around the world. I’m a mental health activist. The goal is to raise money for mental health situations. We call it Stop the Stigma. Make people aware that mental health is not something you hide from, that you can get help and it can be either cured or work with it. It’s something to be worked on and talked about.
I’m attracting Michael Phelps into my life as my swimming buddy. Together, I’ll swim 2 miles a day, he’ll swim 2 miles a day and we’ll swim 1,000 miles in a year. People will kick in their $0.02 worth. Do you know how you say, “This is my $0.02 worth of something?” I’m in for $0.02, 1,000 miles, $20. We’ll have hundreds of thousands of people giving $20 to raise millions of dollars for mental health situations.
We’ll attract more celebrities to do this and create a whole revolution so that we’re swimming around the world. It’s 24,901 miles around the world. I have 8,400 already but I got 16,000 more to go. We’ll raise awareness. We’ll raise money and have a lot of fun. Barry Shore is swimming around the world. From quadriplegic to swimming around the world. You can do something in your life also. Go MAD. Go make a difference.
Tell us about your book, The JOY of Living. How and when did that come about?
This is something for me. It came about because of lying in bed as a quadriplegic for years and thinking about it. Prior to being paralyzed, I was in business. I created two companies that I sold to other public companies, multimillion-dollar exits at the beginning of the internet, 1997, 1998. I had three US patents. I’m doing stuff.
Due to research into the human condition and being in a human condition, paralyzed, I had a lot of time to think about it. I formulated the 11 Strategies for Learning How to Live, Enjoy Daily, No Matter the Situation. The subtitle is How to Slay Stress and Be Happy. As an example of something deep, I put all of this into my mind. I’m making an analogy. Think of somebody who’s in prison. You don’t have the ability to write things down because they didn’t give you the time about real stuff.
You think about it. You dwell on it. You formulate it and you can see it. You see my hands, Gary. I thank God I can write and type out with two fingers to put it on paper or on-screen what I was thinking about. These eleven strategies are so good because they work like what you do with WHY.os. The reason people flock to you is because WHY.os works. It’s that simple. It’s something that works. That is a benefit to me.
To everybody reading, this show is about you. That’s who you care about. That’s great. You tune in because you care the most in the whole world about you. That’s wonderful. Self-enlightened interest is wonderful. What happened is that I was asked to speak to people because of the story. It’s a great story. I was articulating and writing down. People say I should write a book. I was thinking about it.
After a certain amount of years, I made the time to put onto the paper what it is we want you to do, got an editor. Some of the stories I’ve already told you like the story about Elijah, about shoveling snow. They are in the book because the book is not just read about Barry Shore’s life. The first two chapters are about stress, the debilitating aspects of stress and how to leverage stress. You can use stress to your advantage.
How do you build muscle? You need the stress. You’re a doctor, Gary. It’s the ability to understand the stress and then work with the eleven strategies. One of them is SMILE, Seeing Miracles In Life Every Day. I’ll tell you one great story. Here I am at the pool and getting the Hoyer lift into the water. I’m swimming in this special lane they call the handicapped lane, special needs lane.
Next to me is a woman who’s walking in the water. Her name is Aita. At the time, she was 95. I rest once in a while and we’re talking. Over the course of a couple of weeks, she said, “Barry, I love your energy. I’m 95. I’m happy I’m alive but I want to be like you. I want to be happy as you.” I said, “You want to be me?” She said, “Yes. I want to be the best me. Will you work with me?” I said, “I’d be honored to.”
I’m going to tell you two stories. Of the eleven strategies, one of them is called Get Uncomfortable. Barry, I don’t like being uncomfortable. Get uncomfortable. We’re not talking about walking around with a pebble in your shoe all day. We’re talking about talking to Gary Sanchez as a dentist. I teach people how to brush their teeth with their non-dominant hand.
When you brush your teeth, you should do at least two minutes without stopping. When you do it with your dominant hand, it becomes a mindless activity. I don’t mean electric, even though I use electric. It’s good to do it. For me, my left hand’s non-dominant. You got to think about it, especially when you don’t do electric. Even if you do electric, you have to think about it because it’s uncomfortable. That’s the purpose, being mindful.
The strategy Aita liked the most was get uncomfortable. We worked with all eleven but this is the one that resonated with her. You should applaud this because it’s not me. It’s about her. I had the opportunity to sing. I sing to her whenever we see each other. She said, “Barry, sing me a song,” whether we’re in the pool or other places. I sang happy birthday to Aita on her 109th birthday. She’ll tell anybody who listens and say, “He’s the guy who didn’t just keep me alive. He kept me alive and happy.” Don’t take it from me. These strategies work from this book, The JOY of LIVING: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy.
Gary, with your permission, we’re going to do something amazing. To anybody who wants the book, we’re going to give 22% off if you go to BarryShore.com/book. It sells at $15.95 on Amazon. You get it from our site. It’ll be 22% off as a physical or eBook either way. That will include shipping and handling and sales tax because we want everybody to have the book. It sells very well but it’s not just a book of stories. At the end of each chapter, it has simplified takeaways and things to do for your benefit. This is all about you.
The book is a handbook, a guidebook. Don’t take it from me. Take it from Aita. Take it from the story about David. Take the story about Heather. These Keep Smiling cards that we give out are another one of the strategies that saves lives. Dozens of people have not committed suicide. They’ve told me. I’ve gotten emails because they got to a Keep Smiling card from somebody. There was a human touch. I’m going to leave you with one last story if I may because you wanted me to speak about the best advice you’ve ever had, right?
I was about to ask you for the best advice you’ve ever been given or given.Go forth, live exuberantly, spread the seeds of joy, happiness, peace, and love. Go MAD: Make A Difference. Click To Tweet
Here we go. Everybody put on your seatbelt. Here it is. Learn to love dog poop. Did Barry Shore say, “Learn to love dog poop?” Yes. Remember three things, three fundamentals. Life has a purpose, go MAD. Make a difference and unlock the power and the sequence of everyday words in terms. DOG POOP stands for Doing The Good, Power Of One Person.
One of the strategies is your words matter. You recognize the power that you have. When you think, speak and do good, that energy can never dissipate. It can never be stopped. It goes around the world. It will touch you, your family, your friends and all living beings. We need you more than ever. You need me. You need Gary. Every single one of us.
When you recognize that you have that power, the power of one person reaching out to another, that’s it, doing of good, power of one person. Next time you see dog poop, you say, “I love dog poop.” They’ll say, “What are you talking about?” “I heard Barry Shore and Gary Sanchez. He said you’ve got to love dog poop.” It opens up the ability to have a conversation, doesn’t it, Gary?
For sure. I was waiting to ask you the question that you answered without me asking. While you answered the question I hadn’t yet asked, you brought up something that I had written on my paper here and put a big box around it. That was the power of word choices. I’m curious, have you always focused on the words that bring you energy? Tell us what you believe about word choices.
I have been involved with words since I was below the age of 9, probably even the ages of 4 and 5. I was already involved with books. I was a conversationalist, a storyteller. I was around storytellers. My mother was a great storyteller. My father, Les, I’ll be told some stories and the people they associated with something called the Gin Club.
That doesn’t mean they drank gin. They played gin rummy. They were 5 or 6 couples. They would play cards but the cards were their way of being together as 10 or 12 people and telling stories. Listening to adults or people who were older kids tell stories is always fascinating. When I see the word, words, I look at that and I say, “What is that?” Look at that. Words are so powerful.
In Proverbs, ancient wisdom text, which is the acronym for AWE. AWE stands for Ancient Wisdom Educates. That’s what you say, AWE. Proverbs says, “Life and death are in the hands of the tongue.” That is so important. You can hurt so deeply with words. You can raise up, as I have been benefited by people telling me, “I love you,” when I was from the car accident and paralyzed. Those words penetrated.
If you look at the word, words, if you move the S from the end of the words to the front, it spells a sword. A sword is a very interesting item because a sword can do several things. It cuts. It can be used as an offensive weapon. It can be used as a defensive weapon. A small sword can be called a scalpel. It can be used to heal. It’s the ability to look at this thing called words and understand their power of them.
I’ll leave you with one story. I speak to groups sometimes as few as 50 sometimes as many as 5,200. People ask me, “Where did you find the strength to do this stuff and get through and not be bitter, not be angry and feel power positive, purposeful, powerful and pleasant?” It’s because of my mother. My mother was born more than 100 years ago with a large red wine stain through three-quarters of her face.
Imagine kids in school nowadays. Is bullying something? Yes. We’re cognizant of it, all that stuff. A hundred years ago, bullies were bullies. Kids are kids. It’s amazing to say this. My mother didn’t get through the process that she had this and lived with it. She was beyond it. She learned at some age that the people who made fun of her, that was their problem, not hers.
How adult is that for a kid? How do we know some of this? It’s because as kids, we were growing up so she still kept a lot of friends. She always made friends from high school. Her high school friends would come to the house. We knew them. They say, “This is your mother. This is Frances. What do you want?” That’s who she was.
My mother always wore heavy pancake makeup and stuff because she didn’t want to have it. It was also pockmarked but it’s my mother. When she didn’t have the makeup on, it’s my mother. It wasn’t that she carried a chip. She was free from that. She lived life so fully that it was beside the point. She had the regular stresses of life, family and income but it wasn’t that. I learned very early on, this is my model for living in joy daily, no matter the circumstances.
Barry, if there are people that want to get a hold of you, follow you, learn more about you, how should they best connect with you?
Everybody should. That’s number one, Gary. The best way is to go to www.BarryShore.com. Go there and you’ll see that there’s a free mini-class that we give. The videos are fabulous. Thousands of people tell me this. I’m not saying it. People tell me, “This makes a difference in people’s life.” That’s free. We have a free newsletter. We’re here to serve. We’re here to grow.
We’re building a community called The Joy of Living Community. We’re making it virtually with no barrier to entry. We charge $10 a month, a very small amount because you need to charge something to be able to have people have value but the value of $10 a month, $120 a year. The value is in the thousands because you get a webinar with me. You get the full course, a $197 value. You get a copy of the book for free, a joy package. It’s thousands and thousands of dollars worth of value.
We want people to be in the community because then you learn about dog poop and share it with other people in the community. It’s not limited to the United States. We live in an interconnected global environment that everybody wants to learn how to reduce, mitigate, maybe even eliminate debilitating stress and live in joy daily. Who doesn’t want that in their life? That’s how to contact. www.BarryShore.com. Do it. You’ll be happy. Thank Gary.
Barry, thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I’m looking forward to staying connected as we go on our journeys. I love what you’re doing. Count me in. I’m going to go over there and sign up. Thank you so much for being here and we’ll stay connected.
Can we leave everybody with a blessing? Our blessing from Gary and Barry is to go forth, live exuberantly, spread the seeds of joy, happiness, peace and love. Go MAD. Go make a difference.
I love it. That is so awesome.
- Barry Shore
- The Joy of Living – podcast
- The JOY of LIVING: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy
- Amazon – The JOY of LIVING: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy
- Apple Books – The JOY of LIVING: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy
- The Keep Smiling Movement
- WHY.os Discovery
- WHY Discovery
About Barry Shore
Known as the “Ambassador of JOY,” Barry Shore is a mental health activist, philanthropist, multi-patent holding entrepreneur, speaker, author, podcaster, and former quadriplegic who is now swimming around the world! Barry’s podcast, The JOY of LIVING, is heard globally by hundreds of thousands and has over three million downloads.His latest book, The Joy of Living: How to Slay Stress and Be Happy is available on Amazon and Apple Books.
After a rare disease paralyzed Barry from the neck down, he created the JOY of LIVING Institute™ (a platform that teaches people to live in joy, no matter the situation), The Keep Smiling movement that has reached multiple celebrities and distributed millions of “Keep Smiling” cards worldwide, and Changebowl which is a philanthropic platform featured in Oprah’s Magazine.