It’s no secret that the media today slants far more toward the bad news than the good. Combined with the fact that we are more technologically connected than ever before, but at the same time far less connected in human ways, it can be easy to fall under the belief that the American dream is dead.
Craig Sewing, host of the American Dream and the CEO of a media empire, couldn’t disagree more. In fact, he has built an entire media career around proving otherwise, combating negative media by growing a positive media network.
In his new book, The American Dream 2.0: Sewing Together Old-School Techniques with New-School Technology, Craig, who considers himself a born entrepreneur at heart, talks about why there has never been a better time to be alive and to be in business in America.
Nikki Van Noy: Craig, thank you so much for joining us today to talk about The American Dream 2.0. You have a really interesting background. You went from MTV to finance, to starting a television show and now you’re the CEO of a media empire. Tell me about that trajectory.
Craig Sewing: Well, you left out an important point right before the MTV thing, which is I’m a college dropout. That happened first and then all the other things happened. No, that’s probably a bad place to start here. I don’t want to encourage that by anyone. It really is what prompted a lot of this stuff.
I think that I’ve been one of those delusional entrepreneurs since I was mowing lawns in St. Louis, Missouri where I was born and raised during the winters shoveling snow. As things progressed, I had the opportunity in 2001 to work as an intern in New York City for MTV. That was a cool experience for me at that time. I was 21 years old.
When I came back, I still had some school left and I tripped and stumbled into this opportunity to get into real estate and finance business. Really, I was just dead broke. I got into it and did really well. I just said, “Mom, Dad, I’m not going to finish school,” which they are still probably upset about. We moved on and ultimately, I had this weird opportunity to host a radio show in 2009 at 7:00 in the mornings on Sundays that nobody listened to. Somehow that turned into a Saturday afternoon show and to a daily two-hour show that spread across the country and into a TV show.
Then we launched our media company in 2016, which has been a cool thing because we’re not owned by a network. We’re commercial-free on the shows that we create. We produce all of our own content. It’s very positive by nature, when I think the world really needs it. We have this mission to combat negative media. Our main show, our pilot show, is the American Dream and that’s what we’re really proud of.
Nikki Van Noy: That is incredible, especially coming from St. Louis, where, not to stereotype, but I’m assuming there weren’t a ton of media opportunities for you there. What do you think it is about you that’s allowed you to take all of these leaps and try different things along the way? That’s really impressive to me.
Craig Sewing: A lot of people throw that word entrepreneur around these days a lot. There’s a lot of these online businesses that I call one-trepreneurs. The truth is that really is what got me here. When you’re delusionally passionate like I am, or anyone might be about something that they care a lot about, then you’re going to hit some roadblocks along the way. You’re going to have a lot of failures along the way.
The way that we’ve been able to really succeed is finding our way to the next failure. From St. Louis, yeah, it wasn’t exactly a place where you launched a media company, but my parents still live in the house I was raised and it is a great place to be raised, great family, great people there. I feel I have those Midwest values of a work ethic.
Relationships are very much a key ingredient to some of the things that we do with our company. I came out to California because it’s warm and sunny and fun out here. I came out here in 2003 and really never looked back. It’s not because I’m here that I tripped and stumbled into this media opportunity. I think when we think of big media cities, we think of New York City, we think of LA, which our show is in both of those markets, but I’m in San Diego. It’s not like this is a media capital. It was really just having a passion project, which again started in radio and then just evolved into TV and then into what’s now gone across the country with our show, The American Dream, which is now in 51 cities, and millions of views every month. It’s pretty exciting what’s happened there.
It’s been about putting one foot in front of the other. There have been no major aha moments that have happened along the way or any big news that came at any one time. We just put one foot in front of the other. We had a purpose behind what we’re doing. Here we are now. If we keep doing that in a year from now, five years, ten years, hopefully we can look back and say we’ve built even more equity in this purpose.
One Foot in Front of the Other
Nikki Van Noy: I love that, because it’s so accessible. We can all put one foot in front of the other. That’s really powerful actually.
Craig Sewing: You have to be passionate about what you’re doing, right? The other day, somebody asked me my five-year goal for the show and our media company. I said, “If you would have asked me that five years ago, it wouldn’t look like this. This is not what it would have turned out to be if you had asked me five years ago.” I can’t tell you where things are going to be in five or ten years from now.
You’re right, the real actionable advice for anyone who is building a business, or an entrepreneur, or even if you’re not, even if you’re starting a charity, or you have a purpose that you really believe in–sometimes I think people get caught up in all these big goals and aspirations. I think that the expression is, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. You have to just put one foot in front of the other, but it’s got to be fueled by something that is a burning desire. Ours is a purpose to combat negative media and bring stories alive that inspire people and bring people together when our country really needs it.
Nikki Van Noy: Let’s talk about a little bit of that. Let’s talk about the state of the media today, why you think it is where it is and most importantly, it seems to me the impact of that on the general population.
Craig Sewing: Well, it’s garbage. The why to your question was, I think it’s easy. The Kardashians sell because they’re easy to sell. If you’re watching local news, the car wreck gets your attention. The 24/7 news cycle manufactures news and it’s divisive, it is negative, and it’s polarizing, and that’s what sells. Unfortunately, the reason that it works is because that’s what advertisers pay for.
If you click that mouse, go to cnn.com right now–I mean, you can do this right now. If you look at all the hyperlinks on cnn.com or any news network, I’d be willing to bet anyone tuned in to this, I guarantee you 90% plus of those articles are negative. It’s because we click those articles and they measure that. I believe that we’ve let the tail wag the dog on what we really want to see. I believe positive stories could do the same exact thing.
Somehow as a country, we feed it, we breathe oxygen into it. As a result, this is the content that gets put out there, this is the news, this is pop culture. Unfortunately, I think it’s really bad for everybody. That’s where we are, it’s because it’s easy.
Nikki Van Noy: It occurred to me as you were talking, I’m wondering if it’s a little bit of chicken and egg here because there is so much negative stuff out there. I wonder if that’s part of the reason why people are clicking on it because that is what’s primarily being presented to them. There aren’t a lot of options like yours that are available.
Craig Sewing: Fear sells. That’s the truth. When you’re scared of something, or when someone, whether it be an article on something like CNN, or on the news, or on your local news, it causes you to watch it. It’s tapping into that subconscious and what is your subconscious there to do? It’s there to protect you.
We have these monkey brains and those things we look at. In many cases, now they sensationalize it even. I mean, I think this is why a lot of people turn the news off. I think this is why Donald Trump is president, to be honest with you, whether you like the guy or not. He was the ultimate FU on the way things worked–political correctness, media, things like that. I don’t like Trump. I don’t not like Trump. I don’t care about Trump. Our show is bipartisan. I don’t get into politics. It just doesn’t matter to me.
As we look at what’s the why behind it, people are fed up about this. I think a lot of the successes we’ve had with the show called the American Dream is it’s a blue ocean strategy. It’s going against the grain of the stuff that people are fed up about. As a result of that, I feel we’ve been able to create something pretty unique with our show and ultimately, the book that I wrote.
Even if I just talk about me personally for a second, I’m one of those people that was fed up. If we really look at what we consume every day, if you Nikki or I consumed ice cream every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, by the end of the week, maybe the day, we’re probably not going to be feeling too good. Eventually, we’re not going to be looking too good. That’s because it’s just not healthy, right?
When you only put negative information in your head, when you turn on the news, it’s just negative, or even pop culture, even sports these days the storylines are pretty negative, what is that going to do for you individually? What is that going to do for us and what is that going to do for us collectively, right? These are some of the ills that we face as a country down to the individual.
I don’t believe that people really want to live that way. I don’t believe people want to feel gross. It does cause you to be more negative, more cynical, more argumentative and in reality, I don’t think people want to live that life.
I do believe that we live in the greatest country on the planet. That’s not a biased–well, I mean, it is a biased statement. If I lived in Mexico, I’d say I live in the greatest country, I’d call my show the Mexican Dream. The reality is there are certain things you’re allowed to be biased about. I say I have the best mom in the world too, so call that a biased opinion. I hope everybody says that about their mom.
There’s a reason that millions of people want into this country, not out of it. Whatever your political beliefs, whatever you think about a border, or whatever policy is being talked about in the news right now, the fact remains, millions of people want into this country, not out of it. You can be on unemployment, you can be retired, you could be a veteran and the government has a check for you. You get paid more as an unemployed person than a doctor in other parts of the world.
Right now, as we have this interview, Nikki, there are military men and women who volunteer to die for our freedoms. Find me another country that provides that opportunity for you.
This is not a time for excuses and this is not a time to bitch and moan about how it should be, or would be. It’s like, get out there and do it. Put one foot in front of the other. I believe now–this is really the premise of the book–is the greatest opportunity in the history of mankind to be an innovator, whether it be your business, your charity, your purpose, whatever that might be, that is a great time to be alive. Probably the best time ever to achieve.
Nikki Van Noy: I mean, that is good news right there. I think a lot of us are not feeling like that. I mean, I think you’ve nailed all this on the head. It really resonates with my own personal experience, which was during the election of 2004, which 15 years ago now, I was an avid news reader before then. I got pretty fed up and started checking out, which is not the appropriate response, but it just felt daunting. 2004, in retrospect, was not daunting compared to today.
Craig Sewing: Well, think about this, Nikki, I hosted a daily radio show. It was on AM radio and then we created a model that went into other cities. At that time, it was called the Craig Sewing Show, which is how radio works, as you know. Sometimes it’s self-branded. There was a lot of politics involved in our show at that time, as a political time and this was 2009 to 2013 or 2014-ish, it really was at the prime of what we were doing.
I found myself watching a lot of news to acquire what I call, or what I thought at the time was knowledge. I would watch stuff all the way to the right in Fox News. I’d watch stuff all the way to the left in MSNBC and I’d watch guys like John Stewart somewhere in the middle left-leaning, who is funny. I watched all the stuff and I consumed all this stuff. Ultimately, when I went and I did my show, I became the filter of all of that nonsense combined into one.
If people listen to my show, I had people who thought I was a conservative. I had people who thought I was a liberal and they didn’t know. I got complaints from both sides with people, funny just saying it. I’m neither. What I found myself doing was just bringing in all this information and being a filter. That’s why at the time the best compliment I ever got was that we were different because the mainstream media on either side and again, we’re talking politics back at this time, was so polarized and it still is today.
Like you Nikki, I found myself disgusted with how I felt. I became more argumentative. I became more cynical. I was like, it’s back to my ice cream metaphor. I felt I was consuming bad information. I made a decision to unplug from it. At first, it’s like, “Oh, I’m going to be uninformed.” You’re not uninformed. There are just better things to pay attention to.
How about your family, your friends, your hobbies? Walk outside. You live in the greatest country on the planet. Why get sucked into 24/7 news and negative stuff when there’s so much life has to offer? We can’t forget we only get one life to live.
Let’s be positive and let’s be inspired, not argumentative and cynical, which is really what the news causes us to be.
Sewing Together a New Inspiration
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah. I love that viewpoint. You could have written a book about many different topics, it seems to me. Explain to me why this was your topic, this idea of living in such an incredible time when we can merge together this old-school and new-school way of doing things.
Craig Sewing: Yeah. Funny, everything we’re talking about really has nothing to do with the book. Let’s talk about the book–
Nikki Van Noy: It’s interesting.
Craig Sewing: Yeah. Well, I think that’s part of my journey. Ultimately, my journey led me to eventually writing a book, which if we got back to the very beginning of this interview, I talked about being an entrepreneur and a businessperson.
What the book is really about, and I do reference the media and how it’s gone negative and the fact that I happen to be the CEO of a media company is my story. I hope that people that read the book, it doesn’t matter what you do. The idea is to inspire you in that purpose of life.
It’s a book that is tailored for that entrepreneurial spirit, the businessperson, but it could also be someone who’s starting a charity, or maybe an online business, whatever it might be. The whole goal of the book is to inspire. Really, the premise of it is, where do we sit today? I feel when it comes to succeeding, that there are a lot of people that are old dogs that aren’t learning new tricks. They think social media is just a fad.
I understand why people are nauseated by social media. There’s a lot of garbage on there, but you can unfollow people you don’t like. It’s not that hard to cleanse your social media palates, so to speak. There are old dogs that won’t learn new tricks. They don’t understand that it is the greatest opportunity in the history of mankind to aggregate attention, to build a brand, to be an entrepreneur. It is the best time ever and there are old-school ways of thinking that are inhibiting people from being able to do that.
Then on the flip side, I don’t want to attack the Millennial generation, but there are people and I do think in many cases, Millennials, that they don’t recognize the old-school stuff that got us here. They think that being on social media and messaging someone is the same thing as creating a real relationship. It’s not.
The premise of the book is if you combine old-school work ethic, relationship building, and building social capital with the new school of connectivity, if you bring those worlds together, all that connectivity can still lead back to handshakes and hugs and whatever your purpose is to drive more value to it. My last name is Sewing, there’s a cute pun in it. Sewing old-school with new school. It’s basically bringing both those worlds together as your recipe for success in what I believe is the greatest opportunity ever to achieve.
Nikki Van Noy: I am guessing just based on when you were working at MTV, that you are either Gen X, or at the very cusp of Millennial, is that right?
Craig Sewing: Yeah. I don’t even know what I am. I think I’m one year removed from being a Millennial. I don’t know. I’m 39. How old is a Millennial? I’m right there. I straddle the line a bit. It depends what setting I’m in. If I’m in front of a bunch of Millennials, I get the crowd going say I’m Millennial. If I’m not with them, with a bunch of Baby Boomers, I make fun of Millennials. I don’t know. Who knows?
Nikki Van Noy: Well, the reason I’m asking you that is, first of all, it is interestingly very unclear where one ends and the other begins, so now there’s this thing called Exennial. I’m a little older than you. I’m 42. The reason I ask that is because, in my personal experience, this era in which we grew up is a really interesting time because we were old enough to see a little bit of both. I’m not trying to turn this into a generational divide. I’m talking about this in the context of old school and new school, how you’re looking at it in your book.
I think it’s a really interesting position to see how both of those worlds mix. Everyone, it seems like has forgotten about that mid-range. It’s mainly about Boomers and about Millennials. I guess, what I’m trying to say in a very rambling way here is this idea really resonates with me because I don’t think it is one or the other. There seems to be a lot of taking sides on which way to do things. I love this idea of merging them because there’s so much to be said for both ways of doing business.
Craig Sewing: Yeah. No, I think that makes a lot of sense. The Millennial generation was born with a mouse in their hand, right? Do you remember when AOL, that weird sound that AOL made when you got on? I mean, that was the neatest thing in the world at that time. Now we bitch if our Uber is five minutes late. The car that automatically picks us up, we don’t have to take taxis. We’ve become spoiled by our own technology and some of that technology is a good thing. In many ways, it’s actually a bad thing.
We’re the most connected-disconnected people in the history of mankind. That’s a weird place that we find ourselves in. I think probably forever you have older generations that gripe about younger generations. Younger generations that look up to older generations and think they just don’t get it, or they’re outdated. For some reason though, I feel now it’s a little bit clearer and maybe even a little more exaggerated than in the past, because of technology.
With just a click of a mouse and you can get anything. There’s an app for anything. I mean, who understands even how it works? It is a fascinating time.
My dad ran a cafeteria in St. Louis, Missouri called The Salad Bowl. My parents still live in the house I was raised in and my dad had work ethic. He worked hard. He ate lunch with all of his customers. I mean, that’s relationships.
The very key ingredient and the premise of the book is based upon the importance of relationships. Now you can have relationships with thousands of people all out there, but I don’t know. If you have a few thousand friends on Facebook, do you really need a few thousand friends? My friends, I eat dinner with, I go have a drink with. You don’t need that many friends, but there is an opportunity in connectivity.
The way of the neighborhood has changed. In the past, mom-and-pop shops, people would tell your story, because they knew the neighbor, they knew the neighborhood and they talked about the story. Now that neighborhood lives online. There’s Yelp and there’s Facebook and your brand lives online. People are googling you.
It’s a very, very fascinating time. In all of it, I think it’s so important for the next generation to not forget what got us here in that old-school work ethic and relationship building. If we remember that, then I think that’s just such a key ingredient for anyone to succeed in today’s crazy, fast-paced 2020 world.
Old School and New School
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah, absolutely. Just speaking to what you were just talking about, it changed so quickly. I mean, we went from zero to a thousand. It’s like we went from portable telephones being technology to technology being pervasive in our lives so quickly, really in the matter of a few years. I think that we’re still learning that balance.
Craig Sewing: It’s going to go faster. It’s going to keep going, right? Technology is only going to go exponentially faster. If we’re talking about things like business and entrepreneurship, if you don’t stay on the leading edge of those things, you can become outdated really quickly, right? That’s the other side of it as well. I just was complimenting old school hard work and relationships. Those things are always important.
Today, it’s going to go faster. I mean, we got artificial intelligence coming in, and virtual reality. If you think it’s crazy now, in 5-10 years, it’s going to be even crazier than it is now. It’s fascinating though, right? What a great time to be alive.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah. I mean, it really is. I know that you are a storyteller. Can you share with listeners one of your favorite stories, whether it’s something you share in the book or something you’ve got in your head about what this merging can look like in business and how it can really work to entrepreneurs’ benefit?
Craig Sewing: Sure. Let’s think. Let’s give you an authentic answer here. I have a lot of good stories. I got to think of the era of my life that I would even want to hear publicly, right?
Nikki Van Noy: Right. Not to put you on the spot or anything.
Craig Sewing: Why don’t I tell a story that’s not even about me. I’ll tell a story about my dad that I just referenced a moment ago. My dad’s name is David Sewing. He ran a cafeteria in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri called The Salad Bowl. This restaurant was opened in 1948 by his dad Elmer Sewing and was left to my dad his brothers. This was in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, a very African-American community. I’m white, but it was an African-American community and that was most of their customer base.
Well, think about it, racism still exists today. Well, think about in 1950, 1960, 1970, pre-Dr. Martin Luther King, that was the thick of racism. Now these men, they would serve their customer base and, in some cases, got shunned for it. Because again, it’s gross, it’s hard to even imagine now, but that’s what it was like back then. They would still serve.
There’s a point in time where Elmer Sewing, my grandpa who I never got to meet because he had already passed, but was referenced as saying, “We don’t see people’s color. We will eat a hot meal with anyone who wants it.” These men became beloved in that African-American community. They employed people in this cafeteria. They served thought leaders at that time in those communities. They had disabled people that worked for them.
As the story pertains to me, there was a time when my mom was growing up, and she would take me into the heart of St. Louis Missouri to The Salad Bowl, which by the way didn’t even serve salad, so don’t even ask me why.
My mom would take me to The Salad Bowl and drop me off so my dad could take me to the Cardinals game. I was just a young guy and my dad could have thrown me in his back office, put some food on the plate, told me to eat, wait for him to finish up, and then we could go to the game. He would make me go through the line and not jump ahead but go through the line and talk to the people and the cooks on the other side of the cafeteria line.
Millie, their cashier, worked there 50 years. I mean, you want to talk about a mom-and-pop shop, she worked there 50 years. I would go and I would eat with his customers and then would go to the game.
Now at that time, my dad wouldn’t say anything about it. He was teaching me lessons without using any words. It was actions. Later I’ve been able to reflect upon. This was what he and his brothers did every single day. They ate with their customers every single day. Because of that, these men developed a legacy in that little community.
The Salad Bowl doesn’t even exist anymore. It’s been wrecked 20 years ago. It’s now a hotel chain. If you walked in that community and you asked someone of that community if they’ve heard of The Salad Bowl, there’s a really good chance they’re going to say yes, with a big smile on their face. It’s because they had a great story and because they built relationships. That was old-school.
Today’s day and age, there are no mom-and-pops. They got crushed by the retailers and then the retailers got crushed by the Internet because the Internet made things quicker and easier.
Now we have a social digital world where people are blogging about you, they’re Facebooking, there’s Yelp. The neighborhood just got a lot bigger. Now more than ever, your story now matters more than it ever has. It exists in a bigger environment, in a more connected environment.
If you don’t lead it back to connectivity and building real relationships, then you’re missing one of the most important elements of success. That’s not even my story. It’s my dad’s story, but I learned so much from him. Success for him, it wasn’t buying the fanciest car. Like I said, he still lives in the house I was raised in. Success can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people.
When it comes to things like the American Dream, he had a family, is still married to his wife, has grandkids and he’s happy. He’s happy. I think that to me is the essence of the American Dream if you can wake up every day happy.
As it pertains to that story, I just think that does a great job of illustrating how important relationships are. It really is the premise of this book, even though it’s modern-day stuff and technology and connectivity, it’s saying how important old-school relationship-building truly is.
That’s the story of The Salad Bowl, which by the way, even though they didn’t serve salad, I ended up learning that the reason that Elmer Sewing in 1948 called it The Salad Bowl is because just like a mixed salad has a lot of ingredients, the culture of their restaurant had all different cultures of people and it was like a mixed salad. Brilliant.
Nikki Van Noy: Wow. Elmer was way ahead of his time. That is amazing.
Craig Sewing: Yeah, I didn’t know it until the end of the book. That was shared and I thought, “Man, that’s absolutely brilliant.”
Nikki Van Noy: That’s one of the cool things about writing books is you go on your own journey with them. It’s like a scavenger hunt. It’s amazing what you can pull up in that process.
Craig Sewing: I guess so. It’s my first book. That was one of the cool aha moments for me and I really enjoyed the process of writing it. It was fun and I hope it can positively impact a lot of people.
Your American Dream
Nikki Van Noy: Amazing. One thing that stood out to me at the end of that story when you were talking about the American Dream and your dad’s life, you mentioned the word happy a couple of times. It occurred to me, I wonder if when people think about the American Dream at this point, happy is one of the first words that come to mind? Do you have any thoughts about that, since obviously, this is a phrase that you’re associated with?
Craig Sewing: On 9/11 last year, I was on a radio show and the host asked me, “Is the American Dream dead?” That was on 9/11, of all times. I just replied back to him, “Are you dead?” He looked at me with a blank stare. I know you’re not supposed to answer a question with a question, but the moment we stop dreaming is the moment you might as well be dead.
I don’t care where you are. I don’t care if you’re in this country, or Mexico, or Canada, or in the Middle East. The moment we stop dreaming as human beings is the moment we are having limited beliefs. The American Dream is never dead. I don’t care if the market crashes. I don’t care what we go through. The moment we stop dreaming, we’re dead individually, and we’re dead collectively as a country. This is stuff that the media spews out there and it’ll get mentioned in political debates, going up into the next election.
You see it everywhere–is the American Dream dead? Why would you put out that self-fulfilling prophecy? No, it’s not dead. You get to choose what that means to you and that could be anything. Some people want to be billionaires. God bless you, you have a country that you might be able to do that. Some people could care less about money and just want to have something that they wake up and they’re happy, and that happiness could come from having kids and a family. It could be you’re a schoolteacher and you just love educating and raising our next generation. Maybe you have a charity that you’re very passionate about.
It’s not a money thing. The American Dream is about having the opportunity to do what you want when you want and have big goals. To be able to dream, but have a realistic opportunity to achieve those goals. Until this country stops having millions of people who want into it, instead of out of it, I’m going to believe this is the greatest place to do that.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah. You just really spoke to freedom in an everyday way right there. I mean, that is what freedom is. You’re right. It’s something we can take for granted living here very easily because it’s our birthright.
Craig Sewing: We have become a bit spoiled. I mean, you can order your groceries to your house today. I need toothpaste. It could show up at my house today by clicking something on my phone. If my Uber is a couple of minutes late, I’m upset about it. This is what happened to us. In some cases, it’s true. We have become spoiled. You have to make sure that you always take moments to step away.
A big piece of the book is about mindfulness and being present. My discovery of meditation was one of my most important discoveries, personally and professionally. When you live in a fast-paced world like we do today, everybody’s got anxiety, everybody’s depressed, there’s a pill for everything, shootings are happening because people are losing their minds.
If you don’t take a moment to step away from the fast-paced society that we’re in and enjoy just the sounds happening around you, the smells and just being present, if you don’t take that moment for yourself every day, then you are going to miss, no matter what you accomplish, no matter what you think your measure of success, you’re going to miss the quality and beauty of life that really is there for everybody right now.
You have it right now. It’s easy in a world like we are in today to get overwhelmed with the technology. It can become stressful. Mindfulness, I think in all of it is a big, big, big ingredient to happiness.
Nikki Van Noy: Yeah. It’s interesting. I talk to authors across all categories and mindfulness pops up everywhere now, regardless of the category of book. In places that you would never think it would be. That tells me that we are in the process of adapting to technology. I have to imagine for all of the reasons that you just cited, that’s why people are coming to that in business and health, everywhere. It’s really interesting to watch.
Craig Sewing: Well, it’s been around forever, right? This is eastern philosophy. Western medicine specifically is something that has its place, right? I don’t know. I throw my back out about once a year and thank God for a muscle relaxer. Whether you’re trying to solve everything with a pill, it’s a shortcut that I think is very detrimental to society. I mean, look at the opioid crisis that we have. People are dying right now. People are losing their minds now.
I mean, we talk about guns and things like that. We’re shooting each other. It really has become so fast-paced that if you don’t recognize that there is a systemic epidemic and issue that’s happening, it’s not just here, it’s everywhere, that we need to do something about, but it comes down to what you do individually. When we talk about things like mindfulness, the pendulum has swung back to something that’s been there forever.
Eastern philosophy has been there forever. Mindfulness is nothing new. I think that people are recognizing when they watch the news and they see some of these horrific stories, but also they realize, “You know what? Man, I’m more stressed out than I’ve ever been. I am less patient, more argumentative. I’m not as happy as I was when I was younger. What happened?” You might be having your best month in business and financially super successful, but you’re not happy. There’s a breakdown there.
I believe that mindfulness, it gives you the tools to be present and to just enjoy every moment, enjoy the deep breath you just took, enjoy the apple you took a bite out of. I’m not trying to preach this, but I do think for me it’s been a major self-discovery that has rippled into everything in my life. It’s helped me with relationships, my most important personal relationships, my friendship, my business. It’s helped me in so many different ways.
When I forget to practice mindfulness, when I forget to do that morning meditation, I see a difference. This has been my truth. It might not be right for everybody, but I do believe it’s something that we’re all becoming privy to because there needs to be a pendulum shift back in the other direction and it’s happening. It’s a cool thing to see as well. I think it’s good for everyone. I think it should be taught in elementary schools and maybe it’s starting to.
Nikki Van Noy: It’s getting there. Yeah, it is. Not just here, in the UK too and probably other places also. It’s really becoming mainstream, which is I agree, very cool to watch. Even all over the place in this interview.
Craig Sewing: You sure have. I think I have undiagnosed ADD. I hate to bring that to your show.
American Dream 2.0
Nikki Van Noy: It’s me. You have so many interesting things to say. I keep chasing different threads, no pun intended, Craig Sewing. My last question for you, the book again is called The American Dream 2.0. Talk to me a little bit about the 2.0 part of that. Do you see a delineation in what the American dream was and what it’s becoming, or is that more a reference to the technology that you’re talking about?
Craig Sewing: It’s just a cute way of saying the next generation. I think when people hear 2.0, they feel it’s a software advancement of some sort. Everybody’s heard of the American Dream, when you add 2.0 on the end of it, it’s really just saying look, it’s the American Dream in modern-day society. It’s the American Dream, but for today’s business or professional or salesperson or charity. Again, when you write books like this, you try and have your demographic. You try and have an audience that you’re speaking to, but I go the other way.
I want the single mother raising kids to read this book and find value and inspiration. I want the hard-charge entrepreneur that’s trying to grow his business to be able to read it. I want the guy who’s 60-years-old and trying to restart and reinvent himself. I don’t want anybody to feel this book isn’t for them.
It really is about where are we today. What is the American Dream today? Because it’s not your grandparents’ world. It’s not just about grow up, marry your high school sweetheart, go to college, have debt, get that thing paid off, have a mortgage paid off with a 30-year fixed note, white picket fence. It’s not that thing.
That was the story of my dad and God bless him for it, but that old saying like father, like son–not my path. It’s not like father, not like son. My path has been very different. I’ve lived in a lot of different homes. I’ve owned multiple pieces of real estate. I’ve been in massive amounts of debt. 2008 crushed me. My journey has been different. To each his own, whether it’s my dad or me, or anyone today, you get to choose. You’re going to choose your path. Now more than ever, you have an environment in a landscape that gives you more opportunity to do that.
My hope with the book is to provide the tools and resources through stories and things that I’ve experienced to anyone that has some ambition that can help them to accomplish it.
Nikki Van Noy: Beautiful. Again, the book is The American Dream 2.0: Sewing Together Old-School Technologies with New-School Technology. Craig, where else can listeners find you?
Craig Sewing: I don’t know. Instagram seems to be the place.
Nikki Van Noy: Everywhere.
Craig Sewing: Yeah. We have a show called The American Dream. It’s on Amazon Prime. Check it out. Certainly, my social media handle on Instagram is @CraigSewingMedia. Sewing spelled like a sewing machine. Then you can find me on Facebook and all that fun stuff as well and then craigsewing.com. I don’t know. Figure it out. You’re smart. You got a mouse, phone, smartphone, you’ll find me. That’s probably the best. I’d love to see people follow on Instagram. That’s one of the platforms I actually like.
Nikki Van Noy: Great. I think that was my favorite answer to that question ever. You know how to do it. Go find me.