A shaman taught me 3 difficult life lessons and changed my life

Four years ago I was living in New York City and was a lonely and frustrated individual.

I didn’t realize it at the time. Back then, I was “thinking big” with my dreams. We had just launched the first version of Ideapod’s social network. The press were writing about us. We had investors backing us. It was exciting.

But the external indicators of success were hiding a deeper sense of frustration growing within me.

This was when I first met the shaman Rudá Iandé. He started teaching me what he knew about living a life connected deeply with my true nature. It’s changed my life and how I see myself.

While it’s easy to see myself as a different person, it would be more accurate to say that Rudá has helped me to connect more deeply with my who I really am.

In the video below, I share three of the more counter-intuitive and difficult life lessons I learned from Rudá Iandé. I believe these are relevant to all of us in the modern age. I would love to know what you think in the comments below.

If you can’t watch the video right now, keep on reading. I’ve summarized the three difficult lessons below.

Making Rudá Iandé’s teachings available to a wider audience

At the end of last year I approached Rudá and told him I would like to make his teachings available to a wider audience. He only takes on ten new clients per year, and I felt we had an opportunity to reach more people through the Ideapod platform.

Ideapod has a few million monthly readers and thousands of email subscribers. I also have had plans in place for some time now to launch the Ideapod Academy, our platform for delivering online education programs.

Rudá and I decided to join forces. Rudá created Out of the Box, incorporating three decades of experience in helping people to connect deeply with their deeper nature. I created the Ideapod Academy to deliver Out of the Box.

The result:

On October 4th, 2018, we’re launching Out of the Box on the Ideapod Academy for a small group of 30 people.

Out of the Box is a 12 week program. Every week, participants receive a new video lecture by Rudá as well as a number of shorter bonus videos. There’s in-depth reading material, video and audio exercises to integrate the knowledge you’re learning, and group exercises to have a collaborative learning experience.

All of this happens inside Ideapod’s new learning platform in a private social network. The 30 participants get the chance to be part of a cyber-tribe.

If you feel inspired by the following three lessons I learned and also wanted to be taught by Rudá Iandé, check out Out of the Box by clicking here. When you get to this page, put in your email address and you’ll instantly be in touch with me. You can ask questions by email and I can let you know more about the 12 week program.

Here are three of the many lessons I have learned along the way.

1) Goals aren’t about the destination; it’s about the journey

This is the kind of insight that is easy to say but very difficult to live out in practice.

Years ago, I was so driven by my goals. I even embraced the “law of attraction” to visualize what life would be like when I achieved my dreams.

The problem was this:

The more I visualized and focused on my goals, the more aware I became that the way I was living my life was far from where I wanted to get to.

I stopped enjoying the process. The journey wasn’t fun anymore.

This contributed to a deeper sense of frustration I was feeling.

Rudá Iandé helped me to see that while goals are important, what matters the most is enjoying the journey.

This wasn’t a simple practice of letting go of my goals. Rather, Rudá helped me to design goals that were more authentic to the life I wanted to live day by day.

Now, my goals for Ideapod are very different. I’m not aiming to create the “next Instagram for ideas” or anything like this. I don’t compare Ideapod (or anything else I’m doing) against external indicators of success.

Ideapod is a simple media and education platform. We’re growing slowly but surely. The fact that you’re reading this right now is our key indicator of success.

2) You don’t need to be perfect all of the time; what does “perfection” even mean?

This was a lesson that was very difficult for me to learn.

My whole life up to that point had been about trying to be perfect at everything I did.

I had achieved academic success with a number of fellowships and lecturing engagements at prestigious universities around the world. As a management consultant I traveled the world on large-scale projects.

I was a classic “high-achiever”. Yet trying to achieve my goals of “thinking big” for Ideapod were making me very unhappy.

I constantly compared what I was trying to achieve with the success of others all around me.

Then I came upon the realization that I was defining “perfection” according to other people’s standards. Who gets to define what “perfection” even means?

Rudá helped me to see this, and continually guided me on my journey of looking within for my own standards of success.

I started to embrace my imperfections. I even enjoyed making mistakes.

Now, I know my limitations. I’m not a “super-entrepreneur” and never will be. I’m just me, a pretty simple Australia guy building a platform where people get together around ideas.

I’m much happier for it.

3) I’m not special and unique, and neither are you

This was a bitter pill to swallow as well.

Western civilization seems to be built around the notion that we are all unique individuals. This has been necessary to grant people individual rights.

However, in the process I feel like the constant message that we are special and unique has some unintended consequences.

When I believed I was so unique, I felt like the challenges I faced were unique to me. This created an immense feeling of loneliness. There was no-one around me to share in my struggle.

When I started to let go of this idea, with the help of Rudá, I noticed how incredible the people around me really were. I saw that we share our struggles. I started to more deeply connect with others.

My connection with other people comes from a realization that we are all quite insignificant in the journey. As an individual, I don’t have the capability to change the world.

However, when we join forces together from a place of humility, a groundswell of momentum is created. As a collective we create social movements far more powerful than any individual mind can ever conceive.

When I let go of the notion that I am unique and special, I managed to get out of my own way. Now I’m just happy to be connected with my own deeper nature, and to connect with others from this place.

What do you think of the three difficult lessons I learned from Rudá Iandé? Would you like to also be taught by Rudá? Let me know your email address on this page and I’ll send you some more information about the Out of the Box online workshop. It starts on October 4th, 2018, and places are filling up fast.

To see more videos like the one above, subscribe to me on YouTube by clicking the button below.

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 surprising lessons I’ve learned from moving to the other side of the world


We're tired of media that amplifies fear and negativity, without expanding your perspective.

This is why we're creating a new kind of media model. One where people come together around new ways of thinking and living.

Your voice is important in this media revolution. Your free thought is important. Make no mistake, you are the key to promoting new ways of thinking.

We need your support now more than ever. Become an Ideapod Prime member for only $4 per month, with a free 14 day trial.

When you join, you get immediate access to all of Ideapod's eBooks and webinars (worth hundreds of dollars - you get it as part of our free trial).

Learn more about our Prime membership program clicking the button below. Thank you!

Become an Ideapod Prime member


  1. Robert B Farrell

    I have been to Thailand many times.
    And I am just a nicer and better person when I am there.
    I live in Southern California weather is great beaches are great.
    People are self absorbed and materialist.

  2. Red

    I was and still am suffering from my major depression and major anxiety but the improvements had changed so much for my suicidal ideations and actual attempts (hence being admitted to different hospital emergency wards) are now things of the past. Although, I am still taking my medications for I was told by my psychiatrist that these will be for life. These three points that you mentioned here Justin have touched me to the core because I used to be like these that you pointed out above. I read most of your emails and they constantly help me in my endeavours to feel completely as normal as others around me eventhough I can’t be as 100% normal because probably of the ailments I have mentioned.

    I used to be a succesful laboratory technologist with a Science degree to back it up but now I am unemployed for a few years now. I feel that I am unemployable because I lost 99% of my confidence to be in the research and any laboratory environment again. The remaining 1% within myself is that great hope that one day I will be able to go back into where I left before. I am trying now to apply again for the same job I used to do and hoping that through “confidence-building” and positive outcomes will keep me on pursuing… not goals or dreams but a life of simplicity that I already embraced and enjoy…

  3. Bob Copeland

    Goals, dreams & ambition have to be commensurate with our abilities. Sometimes we don’t have the natural wherewithal to learn what is required in the time allotted in our education system. Sometimes we’re not born with the dexterity to become a mechanic, dentist or surgeon. Sometimes our brain is not naturally wired for writing, mathematics or mechanical logic. Most journeys are fun if we have the reasonable ability to go down that path. For instance I don’t have the ability to become a brain surgeon nor am I able to climb mountains. We also don’t live in a perfect world. Things naturally deteriorate (entropy) & require repairs. You & I are subject to the same problem (read aging here or our own personal entropy). We’re all basically constructed using the same basic diagram, parts & our internal functions run the same. Thus none of us is particularly unique except our abilities are different. Unfortunately, we also have the habit of B.S.ing each other for advantage. It is only when we become old when ambition, career & energy are almost gone that we cheerfully admit to each other over beers that we never had a clue & fumbled our way through life.

  4. George

    1. Alan Watts posited that life should not be thought of as a journey (where are you journeying to exactly?!) but better conceived as being a dance. Enjoying the dance of life is such a beautiful way to approach our existence I think.
    2. Does anyone really try to be perfect? As don Miguel Ruiz frames it in “The Four Agreements” (one of the best self-help books ever IMHO) simply try to do your best each day. Some days your best will be better than others based on your health, circumstances etc.
    3. Yes we ARE each unique. That doesn’t mean we don’t face similar challenges as millions of other people and shouldn’t have a support group to help us (friends, family, teammates, colleagues, physicians / healers, teachers, therapists) etc.

  5. Ron Ari's

    Thank you .It’s a real eye-opening . The truth is always sets someone free.
    Thank you for sharing . It unleashes a sense of pride & freedom -as if it releases someone from a chain of prison.
    In visiting other Asian countries, if I could suggest ,try to visit the Philippines .Despite the severe hardship of most Filipinos have back there you’ll feel & experience the wonder of a sincere & genuine smile.

    Thank you again.

  6. Anna

    Hi Justin,

    Thank you for writing this article. I have just recently found you and would like to thank you for sharing your journey – personal experiences, discoveries and growth with us. It is so refreshing, honest and authentic. It has really helped challenge my mindset, and to understand how we could be viewing life and its challenges in a different way.

    I love watching and listening to your video clips, you are a clear communicator and presenter and able to hold our attention. I also love how you include transcript/summary in the article, so we can review and ingrain into our minds – the concepts. Please continue sharing your thoughts and insights with us.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *