#30: Secrets of Transformation Revealed
with Julio Olalla
June 1, 2023 | 81 Minutes
On "Inside-Out Career Design" this week, hosts Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell speak with Julio Olalla
Tune into this conversation with our friend and teacher Julio Olalla, who is the visionary founder and president of the Newfield Network School of Ontological Coaching that we went to. The secret of transformation is what so many of us are longing for. Julio teaches about the power of language and how it can create transformation. By realizing how you view yourself and others, you realize most of your assumptions are wrong, and in that realization lies freedom.
In our conversation, we talk about…
- the collective challenges we face and how the crisis of our modern age leads to a collapse of a worldview of modernity,
- why breaking our unconscious assumptions that are at the core of everything we do is liberating,
- how wisdom is completely different from knowledge,
- how you can shift the observer you are to see a very different world that makes room for magic to happen,
- how escaping the negative imprints from our family history can help us shift the observer we are to create a new and sustainable future,
- how the experiences of his early life in Chile and having to escape political oppression shaped his future life,
- how a chance meeting with Humberto Maturana the Chilean Biologist and Philosopher changed his world view forever,
- what true love means,
- and a profound lesson about gratitude that he learned from his father.
About Julio Olalla
Julio was born in Chile, his father was a refugee from the civil war in Spain and his mother was the daughter of two immigrants from Spain.
As a trained lawyer Julio worked for the Chilean government that was overthrown by the military in 1973 which is when he, just like his father, became a refugee. He left Chile with his family and went to Argentina.
Only four years later and again due to political turmoil he had to leave Argentina when the government was overthrown and Chilean refugees there were not welcome any longer. He then settled in California.
He studied philosophy of language and other disciplines for over 30 years, Julio has trained thousands of individuals and worked with many different organizations, CEOs, and government leaders to challenge traditional thinking and generate a new learning that enables them to navigate the anxiety and turbulence facing our global community.
He has taught his programs in 14 countries but is now focused on the US and Latin America, where participants from all over the world attend. As the founder of Newfield Network, Julio is one of the pioneers of the ontological coaching and transformational learning fields.
Julio is a sought-after guest and motivational speaker addressing audiences worldwide on the topics of leadership, coaching, transformational learning, education, and emotion. His message inspires audiences to review, not only the content of what they are thinking and learning but their interpretation of learning itself and its practices. His appeal is his dedication to generating a healthier, more sustainable way to inhabit the planet.
Since 2003 he lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife Nicole.
- Website: https://newfieldnetwork.com/
- Website: Personal & Professional Mastery Certified Coach Training
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Books, resources, and people mentioned in this episode
- Richard Tarnas: Cosmos and Psyche – Intimations of a New World View
- Newfield School of Coaching – https://newfieldnetwork.com/
- Humberto Maturana – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humberto_Maturana
- Fernando Flores – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Flores
- Albert Einstein – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein
- Nelson Mandela – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela
About the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast
This podcast is obsessed with answering a single question: Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career?
Join Nicola Vetter and Peter Axtell, co-founders of the WhatsNext.com Career Insights platform and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment, as they follow their obsession with answering this question by sharing their insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talking with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches -- anyone and everyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of “what’s next for me?” and “what should I do with my life?”
They seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers.
Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are and what you are meant to do with the time you’ve been given.
Julio Olalla 00:00
When you begin to observe that you are an observer, that other observers from different culture, different moment in history and so forth, they did see a very different world. When you begin to see that something magic begin to take place for instance, you begin to realize that there is a connection between the way you see the world you observe the world you, the observer that you are, and the actions that you take.
Nicola Vetter 00:34
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Inside-Out Career Design podcast. My name is Nicola Vetter, and I'm here with my co-host and husband Peter Axtell, and our guest today is Julio Olalla. Julio is a thought leader, who is known as one of the great philosophers of our time, who leaves his audiences changed forever after hearing him speak. As a trained lawyer, he worked for the Chilean government before he made a big shift and moved to the US.
Peter Axtell 01:15
And Julio is the visionary founder of the Newfield School of Ontological Coaching, that we went to, and one of the pioneers in the Ontological Coaching and transformational learning field. He challenges traditional thinking and learning and generates a new way of learning that helps us navigate the anxiety and turbulence facing our global community.
Nicola Vetter 01:42
That's why we were so excited to talk with Julio because it's an essential skill to have in this day and age. And in our conversation, we talk about the collective challenges we face, and how the crisis of our modern age leads to a collapse of a worldview of modernity. Why breaking our unconscious assumptions that are at the core of everything we do is so liberating. How wisdom is completely different from knowledge. How you can shift the observer you are to see a very different world that makes room for magic to happen. How escaping the negative imprints from our family history, can help us shift the observer we are to create a new and sustainable future. We also talk about what true love means, and a profound lesson about gratitude that he learned from his father. And now it's time to listen and learn from Julio. Welcome, Julio, we are so happy to have you with us today. You know, you have a very dear place in our hearts, as it was the Newfield School of Coaching that brought Peter and I together. And it was a place of healing for my soul. So in 2013, as novice filmmakers, we interviewed you about your purpose in the world, and captured the essence of your being. And today, we'd like to bring some of that magic back and take it a step further.
Julio Olalla 03:44
Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for the invitation. I'm so glad to be with you.
Nicola Vetter 03:50
Yeah. So but first, in your 20s, you've had several defining moments in your life, what we would call the what's next moments, when you had to flee Chile, then Argentina, then arriving in the US and your meeting with Humberto Maturana and Fernando Flores that changed your view of the world forever. Please take us on that journey back in time.
Julio Olalla 04:26
Just to give you a little background, there are other moments before the 20s in my life that are so present. Let me tell you a little bit about them. For instance, my father was a civil war from Spain's refugee, and he was in my life very important. But he taught me in many different ways, something that is, for me, critical in life, gratitude. And I remember so well from him so many times so many occasions. But there's one that if you allow me, I can tell you a little bit about it. My father was one day, having lunch by himself, for whatever reason, my mother may be out doing whatever, and he was by himself. And in front of him, there was a tomato salad. And he called me. I was playing somewhere. I was at that time, eight years old. He said, Julio, come here. So what do you want, Daddy? And he said, What is this, that I have here? And I laughed, of course, Daddy, I know that is a tomato salad. And he said, No, my son. This is a miracle. He went through so much. He was so hungry through the whole war in Spain. I'm telling you month, eating rats and leaves and whatever. That for him, he learned to appreciate so much little things. And through years and years in my life, his message of gratitude was growing, and growing and growing, and has been so much of a gift from him, I can never forget that. Well, then, my parents divorced, and I went to live in Santiago. I was not living in the capital city until I was leaving the southern city where we moved. And those were very tough years. I missed my father, so so much, there were difficult times. But anyway, I went to school, I was living in a home of relatives of my mother and when I grew in the situation, Chile was living in very critical moments in Chilean history. There was a time when well, the whole world was immersed in the Cold War, right. And in Chile, there were clearly a division in politics between one side and the other side. And there was all of that. I studied law. And when I was at the University, also, this were moments also of enormous trembling, every corner of our existence in Chile that time. I got married, and I have a daughter of that time. And when the Chilean thing exploded, and we had the coup d'etat because I was working in a government department. And the situation was so ugly, it was so dangerous. I'm not going to go into details, but I decided to live Chile. Let's go my wife, let's go. We went to Argentina. My dear friends, it looks like a joke, but I lived the most difficult days in Argentinian history. In one side there was a coup d'etat. There was a lot, the president of Argentina died also. Well, there was dramatic dramatic issues and military government took over and on and on and on. And I saw so much violence. So much, it was so ugly, everything was happening was horror. And after living four years there, I decided with my wife to leave, and we came to the USA. That was in 1978. And then, as you said in the introduction, I was living in California where I met Fernando Flores, who had been a minister in the government in Chile, but I never met him personally. And I was in many occasions with Humberto Maturana. Such a wise human being my goodness, he died not too long ago as you know. And with them, the whole thing began the whole thing, I mean, what brought me to this place in which I have lived since then. I began to participate in programs in different programs and events of different sorts, learning from this gentleman plus other magnificent teachers of the time. But I realized little by little as I was going through that, that all my learning, all my knowledge was trapped in an invisible trap. Why I was learning what I was after, when I learned anything, and I realized that a lot of unconscious assumptions like all of us live under where are the core of everything I was doing. And when I was able to break that, there was a deliberation. Learning before was about having information, learning before was about control, prediction and control, learning was about productivity. And I suddenly discovered that learning is immensely bigger than that. And I realized also that every person that I began to see in those programs, that I began to even begin to lead some of them at that time. People were absolutely in a deep desire, even if sometimes they didn't even know that they had a desire to have a learning that has something to do with their inner being, with their souls. And I realized then, that and I said this, you have heard me many times saying this, the learning of our time is collapsing. The knowledge of our time is collapsing. Not that it is all bad, or anything like that. But we have arrived to be so sophisticated, technologically, so rich, in many ways. And this profound pain all over the land. Everywhere I go, since then, people say, I have this, I have that, I learned this, I learned that, but I need more. And I said, more of the same wouldn't do it. And this, the beginning of the work I have been doing for 35 years or something is listening to that deep longing, that we're not even aware of the longing we're having. So that will be in some way, a way of speaking about what you were asking me, Nicola.
Peter Axtell 13:33
So you told us that you had this realization, that you're responsible for the world, you see, and that you surrender to your love for the world. And Julio, this is so profound and beautiful. And it came along with the realization about the observer you are being. So for our audience, what does that mean, the observer you are being?
Julio Olalla 14:04
Well, one of the things that we, we observe the world. And also doesn't mean to see with eyes or ears or mouth with nothing. We are in touch with the world. But our view of the world, the way we see, we observe the world is transparent to us. We think that I see what is out there. What else? Well, everybody will see the same thing. But it's the story to realize that is not the case. And not only that, one of the big realization is this. When you begin to observe that you are an observer, that other observers from different culture, different moment in history and so forth, they did see a very different world. When you begin to see that something magic begin to take place, for instance, you begin to realize that there is a connection between the way you see the world, you observe the world, the observer that you are, and the actions that you take. And even if you are living in big pain, in an enormous trouble, in issues of different sort, if you keep observing the world the same way, you will be acting in the same way. How could you act any other way? And when we, therefore, in our programs, allow people to observe themselves observing. And that begins to be a new awareness. A new realm of actions and possibilities comes up.
Peter Axtell 16:05
So this, I mean, a lot of this is in line with our Buddha's teachings that the observer, what we will call witness consciousness, observing the world. And so I'm imagining that people who are trying to figure out what to do, what's next, they have gotten themselves into some sort of difficulties, where they're dissatisfied with their lives the way they are, or their job, or where they want to go next are trying to make these decisions, and have some wisdom and some kind of guidance to help them make these decisions. Because something inside of them wants to make some kind of a change. So can you extrapolate on that, on the observer of the world? You're going to teach me, okay, you're observing this and I'm kind of dissatisfied with my life or my job and how you can help me to see things in a little bit different way.
Julio Olalla 17:02
Well, the service is constituted in so many ways, but I want to point to three elements that are essential in the way that we observe reality. One is language. And very, very much within our language, allow me to say what is so, that's so obvious, right? That's the obvious lesson in which we're trapped. But he said, have you gone to see the sky in a starry night? By yourself? What do you see out there? Stars, stars, beautiful stars, that's what I say. OK, I've been watching the skies many times, and up to a time I saw that, just stars. But go there with an astronomer. And that person begins to tell you what's up there and then you will begin to see for instance, constellations, for instance, planets, and on and on and on. And then you will say, I never saw a constellation, but you weren't looking up there. How could you not see it? Well, language allow for a distinction to allow you to see something that otherwise you wouldn't. But basically, not just about seeing, that happens with listening. What happens when you go and listen to music? Lovely, but then you listen to the same music, and you have a few musician next to you that suddenly interrupted you and say, Did you hear that? Did you hear that? And I said, No, I didn't. But didn't you hear that? Play it again? Wow, I never heard that. You have the same ears. But you couldn't hear that because you didn't have the distinction. But it also happened with taste. How many times you eat? Hmmm, I like it and then the cook came to you and said, did you notice in the background, a little fable to almond? Oh no, I didn't. Or Yeah. And then suddenly, because you are now enriching the world of distinction, your seeing, your observing, your hearing, your taste, everything begins to enlarge. So the awareness that we are observers, amazingly, at least we see, right? Is that we observed the world but we don't observe how we have observed until something like this begins to happen. But look at this, besides language, you don't see the same world. You are in fear, or you are in enthusiasm. You are sad, or you engaged in a profound depression, you don't see the same reality. And I'm taking something very short in this case, but this is enormous territory that constitute the world we see. Look at different cultures. Have you noticed that the emotional wall in Japan is very different for instance than the one in America? I don't say the same, better wars or no, no, no. But if you go to South Africa, the emotional war of South Africa is very different than what they're facing in Mexico. But that is not trivial. Those different cultures see the world differently, and therefore, construct whatever they do in a different way.
Nicola Vetter 21:08
I heard you teach that it's important to understand ourselves as an ongoing history. And this comes back to the point of culture, and to the point of your inheritance, so that we are a product of our culture and family, but that we are not aware of our inheritance. And I think that is a really deep idea. How can we become aware of our inheritance? And once aware of what can we do with that knowledge in our daily life, Julio?
Julio Olalla 21:46
Let me tell you, my dear Nicola, that is a wonderful question. And I, I never abandoned that question in my life. I don't want to pretend that Oh, I have the whole... It's such a rich, what you asked, we are looking at right now. For instance, I learned to speak Spanish, I didn't choose it. Do you know that I didn't choose that? And when I learned to speak Spanish, I began to speak with a Chilean accent, did you know that? I didn't choose that either. And suddenly, I began to think with a particular accent. I didn't choose that either. What happened? Well, I began my life as part of a particular culture. And I'm not saying right or wrong, that has nothing to do with it. It's just a particular culture. And my whole view of the world, the observer was constituted, was constituted in that culture. Then when I went for the first time out of my country, and I went to visit someone in, it was in Panama. And then the plane landed, I was with my mother, then. I don't know what age, but I probably was 10 years old, 11. And the plane landed. And then people began to talk to me. And I couldn't understand why they spoke so weird Spanish because the only real way to speak Spanish was mine. So little by little, different experiences, and I traveled a lot in my life, began to show me this extraordinary phenomena, that different culture, different history manifests in different observers. This is magic when you look at it. This is extraordinary. Why didn't I see the world the same way that people in Singapore saw it? And then is what we see, they are wrong. And that's the whole thing we saw. They're weird, that's all we saw. So, instead of appreciating history, we began to leave history like right and wrong, you are wrong, because you speak and think a particular way, I'm right because whatever. But when you embrace history, respect for other human beings grows immensely. Immensely. Every culture has brought some gifts, some perspective. But if we respect that, this beauty there. You know that I lived 12 days with a tribe in the Amazon Forest in South America, and I respected these people deeply. Therefore, I listened to them deeply. I learned so much from them. Of course, I have a person that was translating me. But look, the way they relate to the trees, to the water, the way they relate to the animals, the way they argue with me, was so profoundly different and incomprehensible at the beginning to me. But fortunately, I had learned that time to have respect for other observers. So I was 12 days with them, deeply, respected, deeply, listening. And I discovered, imagine a world that I never imagined, never.
Nicola Vetter 25:55
I think it's so profound, Julio. Because I mean, I can feel that, as well as being German. And there is not such a huge difference. But there is quite a difference between the German, my German inheritance, and how people in the US act. So I can feel that definitely, as well. And I believe that it's so important, especially these days, to understand the observer that we are being and the observer that others are being in order to really get together and create and
Julio Olalla 26:52
Nicola Vetter 26:53
Be in a better place, respect each other. Thank you so much for this.
Peter Axtell 26:58
I think this is a rare idea, Julio. In this day and age, we tend to have this is my culture, I think this is the right way to be, I think this is the right culture. But you're flipping this whole thing on its head to say, I have my own culture, I embrace that. And because I embrace my own culture, now, I can embrace your culture as well. Would that not change the world, if we can get more people just to view that appreciation for each other's differences in their culture?
Julio Olalla 27:29
That's extraordinary to see. You know that, as a kid, I travel with... my mother remarried with a man that worked in airline and therefore I have free trips. I travel to wherever place over time. But when I listen, at the beginning, as I said, my surprise was huge, of course, but little by little when I arrived in the USA, and I began to work, as I said, with the people that you mentioned, Nicola, at the beginning, and others. And I began to listen to how the culture constituted us in a particular observer in so many profound ways, for instance, a German and a French living a different emotional wound, do know that? But then, they're weird, depends on who is speaking, right? They're weird, they're strange, why do they do that? Ah, those French or those German. And living in different emotional context, constitute a different one. If you are in Japan, some emotional things in Japan will be incomprehensible for someone in Latin America like me. And suddenly, when you put yourself in a place of learning from that, respect in that, before even beginning to learn respecting that the other human being belongs to a different history. And by the way, excuse me, Nicola. Anyway, not only now, historically in the sense of the culture, you also belong to another history. Within your culture is your family history. Your family history, the incidents within the family, a kid that in the family was mistreated or whatever, that history, boom, is in place. You may live your life, holding that, owning that, being formed by that history. And aware of that. On many occasions in our programs with people finally discovered they have been trapped in an emotional learning when there were kids, and they can move away from that place, a new one comes in front. And, and it's moving to me to see a human being that was trapped in a view, shift in the view, because for instance, emotionally, as I said, discovered, getting in touch with something bigger, different, usually a profound hope from humanity. Think of the kids that are growing up right now in Ukraine, you think that that history will not be with them and their children, and their grand great children?
Nicola Vetter 30:46
And history comes back to you in a way, I'm just, you know, I'm so grateful that my mom passed in 2019. And didn't need to live through that trauma of war in Europe again, because she experienced World War Two, which was horrendous for our family. But anyhow, Julio, I would just like to get back to knowledge. Because your approach to knowledge is not, as you say, an intellectual curiosity, but a matter of your heart and a healing of your soul. You suggest a new way of knowledge, instead of just gathering more information which you said at the beginning but speak a little more to this new way.
Julio Olalla 31:43
Well, there are so many things that we can engage, because this is such a topic that you present in front of me. Wow, it's such a topic. Let me begin with little things just to open the space that you're opening with your question. When I went to school, I got good grades, you know how? By having answers. Yeah. I had answers, I had good grades. That was great. Nobody in this school gave me a good grade for my questions. So I learned to believe that knowledge is having answers. And I discovered later in life that I was trapped there like most of us are trapped. Another thing in school, they taught me that the result of knowing was a place of certainty. You know, when you arrive to certainty you have arrived to now you know how things are. And in your life to that moment in life, you just stop learning. Truly, that moment, kill as the possibility to openings. Learning is infinite, is nonstop. Just that creates a completely different place for people, for instance, instead of looking for certainty, what if knowledge looks for wonder? Can you imagine moving to a different emotional context to hold learning? And then, well, there's infinite ways to go there, but that just that holding knowledge in a particular way, holding learning in a particular way is not a trivial matter, but it's completely transparent to us. Do you know what is learning? Of course, I know what is learning. Do you know what is knowing? Come on, of course, I know what is knowing, it's obvious. But if you asked the same question in the Middle Ages, you asked people, What is knowledge? What is knowing? They will give you a completely different answer. Also transparent to them. And when we have a different comprehension, not knowing, appreciation, or whatever, a relationship, definition of what is knowledge, we act very different in life, when it comes to learning. When we begin to be aware that we live in 1000s of unconscious assumptions. I say 1000, I could say maybe more than 1000, some freedom begins to be in front of us.
Nicola Vetter 34:58
How so? It Expand on that, the freedom.
Julio Olalla 35:03
For instance, we have just some sense of what is love. What is love? Well, of course I know what love it. Give me a break. Yeah, but the comprehension, the understanding that we were holding love in different moments in history has been different. And again, if we were able to go to the Middle Ages or the Roman Empire or some other times, and we ask what is love? The answer will be very different. But that's mostly with everything. What is work? What is war? What is fight? What is dignity? Doesn't matter what question we ask, we already have an unconscious assumption. We said that's the way it is. Give me a break. How? Of course, I know. That trap is powerful, Nicola. Yes, you wanted to say something.
Nicola Vetter 36:10
And that comes back to culture again because we don't even need to go back in time. We can just go to other cultures in this time and see how they have a different kind of knowing, they have a different kind of wisdom that they bring into the world. And so you say often that we don't learn from knowing if we lose the concern for wisdom. And I love one particular thing that you taught us, you recommended, falling in love with questions, again, as guides, because wisdom, and I quote you here is a love affair with questions. Whereas knowledge is a love affair with answers. I just love that distinction. And I would love to, for you to make this a little more actionable also for our audience to understand.
Julio Olalla 37:26
Knowledge in the way we hold it. When we think, I know, means I have an answer and therefore that's the way things are. And you know that you can live your life... Well, let me put it in a simple way. I've met people in my life that have so many answers, so many. And they know nothing. Literally, you will not like to live with them. But they have answers for everything. And I've known people, like some people in the Amazon, some people in the Eastern world, some people in the other places in the planet, different people. They didn't have so many answers, what a wisdom. What a joy. There, what a simple, simple way to embrace life. But there was a ferocity, there was appreciation, there was a profound desire to be of service. And that for me is already simply extraordinary. And you realize when I read people that I consider to be wise. I mean the books, for instance. And I'm full of questions, I'm now I need some my world group. Well, I have so much in front of me, suddenly, bigger than ever. But not only that, I begin to see people that I have next to me with a profound sense of belonging, or some surprise or wonder about them, rather than having to replace that I already know them. I know them. This, there's beauty there, just looking at that. But it's not strange that we in our language and not only in the Spanish language, all languages on Earth, how the distinction wisdom and knowledge is interesting.
Peter Axtell 39:49
You must have been reading my mind, Julio, because I wanted to circle back to one of the main things that we teach, that of course you taught us, that we learned at Newfield and that is this amazing concept that language is generative. Let's hear about... I want to hear everything you have to say, well, I can't, we only have a few hours here, but let's talk about language is generative. I'd like to hear from you again, please.
Julio Olalla 40:21
Well, just to begin, to remind that language generates distinctions and that already generates a worldview to wait to see. But think of this, let me give you a simple simple example. For us, the three of us, to be in this moment together having this conversation, how many conversations it took between us to arrive to this moment. If we hadn't been able to talk between us this will not be happening. To build a house, you know how many hundreds of 1000s of conversations need to take place for a house to be built? Without conversations, it wouldn't, without request, without promises, without offers, without assessments, assertions of different sorts, that will not be built. Even if you build it in silence, you are full of conversations to build house. Looks like the house is building it is a matter of time before this and that 1000s of propositions. Look at us right now, why are we talking? What is happening by talking? Somehow for me, somehow for you, something begins to go, flow in directions that may be desirable, whatever ways you want to put it. Some of them surprising. But language is magic.
Peter Axtell 42:12
When I talk about this ability to generate, because we know some of that language of offers and promises, but our audience does not know this. So we of course, believe that it is able to generate a future once it is spoken, that did not exist before it was spoken. I maybe better say that, again. It generates the possibility of a future that did not exist until you actually spoke it. This is a powerful idea, I think I want to build a house, I will build a house. And that puts in motion the idea that a house will be built. I think you can expand on that.
Julio Olalla 42:59
But the brutal part of this, the brutal sense of it, shit in our head is, that we constitute reality talking, engaging, meaning conversation. And by the way, not necessarily the verbal sounds. You can be mute but you are in conversations anyway. Is that clear? Language is a lot bigger than the sound of anything or any word. But the thing is this, that what is immediately at hand in the common sense in which we are beginning to look at is that that's the world, here I am. And I know how things are because I live here. And there's some stuff that comes from school. That came from a place where wonder was lost. But look at this. Please look at this. How come one day you fall in love, you find a friend, you get to someone that is a relative, doesn't matter. You go there. And one afternoon, one day, one morning, through some moment of conversation you will out incomplete. Wow. Wow. What happened, you were just talking? Yeah, we were just talking. But suddenly that conversation put in front of you something that was simply not there. How many times you have had those conversations when you go out and said, Oh shucks, I never saw that before. But you were in the same world? How come you didn't see it? Well, if we like some conversations, we were lacking some words. Language is magic. It's absolutely magic, is extraordinary. And by the way, just since this came to me, you know that in history, we have been separated for millennials. I mean, a group of people live in the mountains of South America, people live in some places in Africa. Some people live in places in North America, in Asia. But we're so far away because we didn't have ways to meet. Guess what, we engage in different conversation through time, we follow some conversational path, some thinking path, and we constituted what was called a civilization. Why didn't we build the same thing altogether? Why not if we see the world the same way, we should be doing the same thing. We're not, but not only that, look into the example of French and German. They're next door, now they are next door. Some time they were very far away. And they build different realities that spin in the other side, and other different reality, a different way of speaking, etc, etc, etc. All that magic has been out of ourselves all our magic. And is, for instance, this issue, let me go back a little bit of distinguishing, having distinctions. How many times for instance, you go to the woods, and you see trees. And then you go to the woods with someone that is an arborist. And that person begins to show you with distinction trees that you never saw, just walk around trees. And suddenly, you see one and the other different birds. All that was just bearing before. So those distinctions create for us this capacity to observe to see. And you know what? Time goes and we create new distinctions and the possibility to see, observe different reality. But that is so transparent, is so invisible in the working in life. If I think of the students in our programs when I see them going out with the eyes big and the amazement, the joy has to be with they see a new road. Something life was like this. I am like that. That's the path. That's it. What the heck?
Nicola Vetter 48:35
That new road, Julio, brings me to the question that we are trying to answer here on the Inside-Out Career Design podcast, one of the big questions is, what's next? What's next for my life, for my career, or even the bigger question, what should I do with my life? What road, what path should I take? And it's really an age-old question that Shari Putra, one of the top disciples of the Buddha already asked when he said, How shall I live? So what is the question you suggest and how can we approach that?
Julio Olalla 49:26
Is a lovely question, my dear. The one you are asking is a lovely question. But there's one place to begin for instance, that road is how can I do things the way I do things? Just did you ask that question? And how come this guy in front of them does it very different? You look so simple. Well, because it's different, but what is sort of what is happening that we constant. The word conversation means changing together. Versation has to do with versatility, change. Now you show up in this world in a particular moment in history. Therefore, there is already a view of reality and erodes for people who are born in that moment. But there are moments in history, moments in history, my belief is that we're living one of those moments, when a particular view of the world doesn't serve us anymore. Doesn't serve us anymore. Now, we don't say that. We don't say this view of the world doesn't help enough. We don't say that. You know how every time that humankind in history has changed, a worldview, a perspective of reality has happened because some collapse took place. The previous worldview was insufficient to deal with a crisis created with our worldview. Therefore, collapse happened, like after 1000 years, the Middle Ages boom, collapse, and a new worldview. We are in that worldview called modernism. Now, what happened today? And I'm going to quote what I love in my life, Einstein, the crisis we have created with this worldview with this level of consciousness, cannot be resolved with a same worldview, with the same level of consciousness. Therefore, humanity today is extraordinary effective, technologically, in so many ways, economically, we have produced in now a year which before took us hundreds of years, and on and on and on. So we have exploded in some direction. But their worldview has created islands of plastic in the ocean, the destruction of forest, even if we care about that, we keep doing the same thing. What's happening as a couple, we have crisis, and we keep in the same crisis, the same kind of fight, the same issues. How come? Well, that crisis that we created with this particular perspective, reality cannot be resolved with the same perspective, because in that same perspective, comes the same actions. So suddenly, suddenly, and this is for the first time in human history, we can aim to a shift in our worldview in our consciousness consciously. This is new. And this is this profession.
Peter Axtell 53:34
So how do you suggest people get on a path to a more fulfilling, you know, a more meaningful life?
Julio Olalla 53:46
Well, a lot has to do with many of the things we have touched here. First of all, we produce crisis, for instance, let me go to the ecological crisis, we produce it not because we don't care. In the sense that it simply, well, I need the wood because I need to build things. And I need the ocean because the secure, and I need plastic for whatever that thing is damaging this and what can we know about? What can we do? So in other words, in the logic in which we live, yes, it's sorry that is happening, but what else can we do? The same thing, then, then, we begin to say, begin to see what would it take to change a worldview? By the way, I have that question, and believe me, I don't think I'm close to an answer.
Nicola Vetter 54:56
I think one of the answers and I don't want to jump into answers, but it's from my own experience here is really taking action. So about how long ago was that? 12 years ago or something, I was fighting in Germany against the big Bayer Corporation, because they were putting into the earth CO pipelines, which, if they got destroyed, would kill in a matter of minutes tons and tons of people that were living in that area. So coming back to everything you taught us here now, I think it is a matter of seeing and a matter of really understanding with different eyes, understanding what might be happening here. And what is it that I, as the small individual, could eventually do about it? Get into action, do something that might heal. And up to this day, I can say that this pipeline has not, it's in the earth, but it's not been used. For over 12 years they are doing this fight there.
Julio Olalla 56:30
Look at the beauty of what you're saying. Look at the beauty of that. Suddenly, you say, it's obvious that this is a potential damage. But then, the obviousness in the other side is that yeah, that could have happened. But look at the benefits for us, the economy, and blah, blah, blah. So for that observer, could be not necessarily that they're evil. That's not the point. It's in their view, their view, they don't see what you're seeing. Now, at the moment, we were giving the example of plastic in the ocean, look at it in any other territory, look at the level of depression that exists today on a planetary level, the growth of depression in the last 50 years, amazing. Look at the growth of depression among American teenagers. How are they depressed? They have so many things to do. Look, the economy is great. The country is big. They should be so happy. Well, they're not. How come? How come? Because one of the crisis of every moment that the whole worldview is beginning to collapse is that meaning, purpose disappears. And that's the time, what does it mean to create meaning again?
Peter Axtell 58:10
So a term you use is negative self-assessment? What is a negative self-assessment? Where does it come from? And what can we do about it?
Julio Olalla 58:24
Well, there are so many sources. But one thing is that in our particular understanding of self, or I, or being, it's ontology behind that particular concept of that. The ontology of our times, understand ourselves, separated from the rest, I am these, this is a plan to this that everything is separate, the stars. When you look at yourself, in our times, you look at yourself as an island. I am here, therefore anything that doesn't work is so easy to say, is my fault. I'm wrong. This is it. We don't realize sometimes, and I cannot say that at some point you can do or come up with that assessment is a particular moment is valid. But when that is the place you go constantly, why? Why I am so depressed? Why am I so sad? Well, something is wrong with me. I've had this conversation with students in a university some time ago, when they began to, after a moment of care and trust, they began to point I'm so so depressed I'm so blah, blah, blah. And then when we continue the conversation, they begin to say, well, this is because something's wrong with me. Something's wrong with me. And I pointed to that, and I said, I don't think so. I have a different way to see that. I think you are depressed precisely because you're seeing things at other times we couldn't see.
Peter Axtell 1:00:08
Do you think that it is having an energy inside of you that is blocked, that you're holding on to, that is causing, you know, the flow in your body, that is keeping you depressed and generating these negative thoughts? That's actually energy blockage in your body?
Julio Olalla 1:00:26
Yeah, well, there are so many ways in which we can see because I don't think there's only one cause. But depression is directly for me and I don't think that will be the only reason, there could be other reasons given in the realm of chemistry. But when a human being takes a look at the world, and doesn't find sense for it, meaning for it, depression is right there. Look at this. Because homology of our times, you know that in other times, people saw the stars, the planet, people saw the skies, and they were living, they had meaning, they had purpose, you know that Pluto means something, and the moon something and the sun, anyway. In the way you want, it doesn't matter. But there was life everywhere. Look at the way we see today, what we call the universe, completely meaningless, purposeless, and it's not my world, and other prizes and I don't have the quotes right here in front of me, but Nobel Prizes, many of them, good people, intelligent people, but they say the more we know, the universe, the more we realize that is meaningless. Literally, I have the quote. One is a Nobel Prize from biochemistry, the other... anyway, I have those quotes. Meaningless, the universe. Because if you look at the universe, only from the perspective of science, matter and particles and things and physical phenomena, so forth, meaning cannot be found there. But is the universe in which we live meaningless? And it's in our common sense beyond even if you never read any of those Nobl Prizes, of course. But when we live in a society that look around this universe, and it's meaningless. How can you find meaning?
Peter Axtell 1:02:43
Wow. I don't think I have heard that, Julio. You're saying that there are people that're saying it's determinism almost, that it's just meaningless. So what is anybody supposed to do with that? I mean, where is optimism? Where is faith?
Julio Olalla 1:03:04
Now, they don't say that, like, it's a particular perspective that they have no, no, they say that's the way this is, it's scientifically proven that this is just a matter of particles and doing things in a particular way. And by the way, those people who say that they're not bad people, they're really good people. But they are they, in a particular view reality.
Nicola Vetter 1:03:26
I think that's also one of the reasons why out there, people nowadays are longing to find some kind of meaning, some kind of belonging. And you would say, also real conversations that help us change together. And so that, coming back to what we said at the beginning, so that the differences between us rather become assets, right? So can you give us an example of someone, a student probably, that really touched your heart of when you witnessed how these differences became assets?
Julio Olalla 1:04:23
Well, Oh, my goodness, when I think of the people I've met, and the things that I've seen, my dear, you touched my heart, because it's truly... Life gave me such a privilege in that matter. But I want to tell you a few stories. One story, for some reason, I think is very associated with what we're talking here. We were in the third day of a conference in Latin America. I don't recall exactly where we were, but among the participants was a man who is one of the richer people in Latin America. I am talking, rich, rich beyond belief. But anyway, the course went, the program went on. And we were having conversation not too far from what we're having here in many ways. And then the third day, this man raised his hand, stood up. I didn't know him, I didn't know that he was the rich man that he was. And he stood up and I could see he was completely touched, moved. And he said, You know, I'm telling everybody here that I am one of the richest men in this continent. And he was, I said, moved. You know, that I have any measurable things, I could do things in my life that I understand for most people are unimaginable, I can do anything I want. The only thing I don't have is joy. I was a star since I was a kid, you can reach, you have it all. Bingo, you did it, you make it. I truly believed that completely. I didn't ever think that it was a perspective, a worldview or particular interpretation. I thought that that was it. I hold it that way. Until now. Well, that man today created a huge foundation. He's serving many, many, many people. He also learned to play guitar. He is amazing. He got in contact with art, with music, but serving many people. And when I've seen him occasionally after, he always says, I found meaning. That for me... because it's not only his transformation around the universe what he's doing, he's touching the life of many, many people. And that for me, is a sign of let's say for now hope. I have another conversation that I recall giving your question, Nicola, is this: There was an engineer from the country of Latin America, a young man could have been 35 years old, something like that. And he raised his hand I could see that he was very bold. Then started talking about different things he was seeing in the programs and then someone said, may I ask you something? He said yes. I have the sense that what you're saying is not the main thing you want to say. He was in silence. And I said to him, You may choose not to say and it's fine with me. But look at this. That silence of yours. My interpretation and I don't know what it is, I'm telling you has to do with a pain I see in you. And then he started crying, trembling. So I let him cry. He almost, he went down on his knees he was completely taken. So I let him cry. The room was in complete silence listening to him. So he stood up late and I said, anything you want to say? Or you remain silent is up to you. So he came to me close to me, he said, when I was a kid, between two and five years old, I was sexually abused brutally by an uncle of mine. I never said this to anyone. But I don't know how to live with that shame. And I asked him shame on what? What shameful thing did you do? Of course, what would I do? You did that? And I said, I don't think you did it. It was done to you. But he was silent for a moment. And suddenly another man raced his hand, he said, may I speak right now? And I asked, the engineer is okay, if he speaks? He said yes. He said, I can tell you the same story that you lived, I lived it. He said, listening to you right now. I'm healing myself. And those two men saw each other, they were totally moved of course. But you see, the whole room, all the participants at that time, there were probably 130 people or something in the room, looking at them. And you could see, they were embracing them, even if they were not physically doing it, but I could see it, feel it. Those guys, in that moment, had a shift in their lives, but dramatically, and it's impossible to even conceive. They finally were able to say something, they finally were able to see that they have been living in a permanent self-accusation. Self-accusation of something that happened to them when they were 2, 3, 4 years old. And for me, when I am with them, is not just witnessing from somewhere, but I am in seeing them I have a profound, profound hope that the same way that I saw these individually, could be the healing for humanity later.
Nicola Vetter 1:12:38
I can really feel that it is a matter of your heart. And I remember as it was today, the healing that I felt myself when I went, 10 years ago, when I went through the Newfield Coaching School. And what I witnessed so many students alongside me who had this healing happening. And that's what I would say makes Newfield so special. And such an immense value in this world. And I'm so grateful to have you as the founder be with us today and just give a little glimpse into what it's like to be there and to being able to speak your truth and give room for healing. Beautiful, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Julio Olalla 1:14:00
Thank you, Nicola, I appreciate it.
Peter Axtell 1:14:03
Julio, out of curiosity, who do you consider good role models today?
Julio Olalla 1:14:16
There are some people that for me, for instance, Mandela for me was extraordinary, I admire that man. That man, you know, his presence, his words. At the brink of a civil war that would be brutal in South Africa. And I don't know if you know the story, what I'm telling you but if you allow me I will repeat what happened. I will tell you.
Peter Axtell 1:14:46
Julio Olalla 1:14:47
You know that he was in jail for 27 and a half years, in jail. You know what that is, a full life right? 27 half years in jail. You know that the guards, the people that were in the jail taking care of while he will be there, they have to change it regularly because they start talking with him, and they love him. Well, but anyway, Mandela at that time, after 27 years, was finally free. Political situation, whatever it was, he was immediately taken to the TV. And look at this, what happened then. Mandela was there. The journalist, you need to understand what was happening in South Africa at that time. They were at the edge of a horrendous civil war. And Mandela was asked, Mr. Mandela, do you hate white people? Mandela looked at him, and he said, No, I don't hate white people. I hate racism. You know that that sentence changed the history of South Africa? Many, many black people said, Of course, I hate white people, because this is what the white people have done to us. Mandela said, this is not the issue, the issue is that I don't hate white people. I hate racism. That distinction produced a new reality. This is power of language, by the way. But even more than that is the power of love, the power of new vision. And that was created by a human being. And that, for me is part of the magic that we can exercise in life. And I could tell you other people that for me, are fascinating people in so many ways. But that, for me is a story that since I was in touch with that has never left me. One sentence, that means a whole new reality.
Nicola Vetter 1:17:24
Julio, a reality for us is that we are coming to an end of this wonderful conversation. And it would be my wish that we could at some point, have a continuation. And I would love to give a last quote from you. Because you said if you don't find meaning, in the second half of life, you can easily walk right into depression and hatred and anger. And it's a lot of what we are seeing these days unfortunately.
Julio Olalla 1:18:06
Nicola Vetter 1:18:07
And we have talked about some ways of healing that, approaching that. But is there something that you would like to leave our audience with, for people who are desperately trying to find meaning in their lives? Probably just one seed of wisdom. One thing that they can put into action.
Julio Olalla 1:18:43
Wow, what a question, my dear Nicola. The first thing that comes to me immediately is to say that give yourself room to understand that your pain is our pain. And nothing is wrong with you. It's the pain of the world today in a particular moment, a historical moment for humanity. A whole worldview is collapsing. Please listen carefully. Your culture, your history, therefore all these things are touching you. But also you have the power to realize that the history that's owning you, you have the power to be part of a change of that history instead of beating yourself.
Peter Axtell 1:20:03
Thank you, Julio.
Nicola Vetter 1:20:06
Thank you so much.
Julio Olalla 1:20:09
Thank you for the invitation.
Peter Axtell 1:20:12
We hope you enjoyed this interview. To learn more about Julio, head to whatsnext.com/30, where we share links and more. Again, that's whatsnext.com/30.
Nicola Vetter 1:20:29
And if you like what you've heard, share it with someone you care about. And subscribe, rate, and review our Inside-Out Career Design podcast wherever you get your podcasts, or watch it on our YouTube channel, whatsnext.com and subscribe so you'll never miss an episode. That's where you can also leave your questions about this week's episode or a topic you'd like us to cover in a future episode. We'd love to hear from you.
Peter Axtell 1:21:03
And if you're trying to figure out what's next for you, join us for one of our live and completely free online workshops, where we teach how to successfully reinvent your career in midlife.
Nicola Vetter 1:21:16
To save your spot in our next live workshop go to whatsnext.com/workshops. Thanks for joining us today. We'll see you next week for another episode. Same time, same place.