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N: It's an absolute pleasure to have you here. Actually, I was introduce to Benny through email. We were doing some work volunteering and helping some people, some homeless people in skid row, but that's only a small portion of what you do, why don't we start first, Benny with your story and background.
B: Sure, sure. I'm originally from Alabama. Me and my mother, we moved to Los Angeles in 2008. It was just me and her, she had fallen ill a few months prior and one day literally, out of the blue, actually it was a Monday, my mother just said, you know what Benny let's just move to the California and I was like, okay, I was like, we lived in a small area, Alabama, where my pets, I had a pet possoon, I had a pet racoon, I had a pet dog, a turkey, you know, we came from that type of country-ness, and one day she just popped and say let's move. And literally, from Monday to Friday, I was in Alabama on Monday, packing up on Wednesday, and we were here on Friday. Out of the clear blue, no preparation, no time to think, no time to really process what happened, we were here. It was, I couldn't quite understand why we moved so quickly but I remember on the plane trip here, my mother said, you know what Bennie, I was born out here in LA, and you know what I want to go home in LA. And literally, did I not know was that within two weeks, well actually three weeks when we got here, my mother passed. I was faced with the enormous task of literally starting over. I didn't have anyone, no family out here, well I had a little family but I was never raised by them, so I didn't know them. I didn't have no friends. I didn't have no support system. I was just barely out of college, so I don't have a career, my career hasn't started yet, and literally was going through all that including the grieving process. And for the first two years that I was here in California, it was a complete blur. And I was wondering who I was, why I was here, when I was taking care of a sick parent, sometimes the sick parent can almost become your child and without her in my life I felt like, oh my gosh, what am I here for? And I went to this whole 2-year process of finding myself, until probably in 2010 and 2011, I started to go through a great transformation within myself and from that process land this wonderful community group that I started to call positive minded people.
N: Exactly. That's how I got to meet you actually. So, what was the inspiration behind starting the group?
B: Sure, you know, California is not Alabama. In Alabama, everyone is your neighbour. Everyone knows your name, everyone sees you on a daily, they know your family, they know your friends and (3:59) know your social security number too, they know so much about you but I'm here in California, the stereo-typical, you know, lifestyle out here. Everyone is really to their self. There isn't a lot of outreach. Everyone is doing their own thing. Everyone has their own set of people. And for transplants over here, it's hard to get connected not just with friends but also with people who are doing great and empowering, inspiring stuff. So when I moved, when I first moved here then Orange county, and then when I moved to Hollywood, I felt like it was time for me to really branch out and start meeting great and positive people. So I found out about meetup.com and then I started a group positive minded people, and so the whole basis was, let's just see if I can get some people to gather and we do some positive things, and I said, oh we all love to go hiking, in Los Angeles it's kind of the thing to do is go hiking in Los Angeles. So I said, why don't we go hiking. We can do a little motivation at the top, it could be all about positivity and motivation, just see what happens, just see what happens. And literally, with no marketing, little telling people about it, I get to the park, literally there were 125 people there, they're saying let's go. We went up the mountain, it was a great and inspiring time, a great motivation at the top. And I left literally with a whole new set of friends, and I said to myself, wow, you know, it was really kicking in and so I decided to keep that to a monthly and grow it and expand to what it is today.
N: Right. Just like what I said, we, you got the hikes and we met through the volunteering for the homeless. What are some of the activities that you do through the group?
B: Sure. We do 4 to 6 events a month. And they are all centered-around core different things. We either do something positive, which is where we host social events where positive people come together, make new friends, make new connections and really find a community here in LA. We learn something positive, so once or twice a month we do a study group or workshop or we do book reading, anything that has to do with inspiration, motivation, self-empowerment and we get to study these things so we can grow up as individuals. We support something positive, so, we have a lot of people in our hood and it's always somebody doing something great in the community. So we mobilize members and support them, and one of the most popular things that we do is we contribute something positive, so we do works with the homeless, we do works with the elderly and the mothers (6:55), we do works with mothers in transitions, we are now starting and working with children and we're working out another organization to start up doing things for kids who are in foster system. And so, this has collectively turn into 4 to 6 events a month, our membership is over a thousand now and we are really just making an impact here in LA.
N: Yeah. Now, I know you have a much bigger division than just LA. So can you share a little bit about how you see this is morphing into the future?
B: Sure. Well, there's two things here, our community while we do so many events a month, my dream has always been a physical home for the positive minded community. So, we recently rented out an old jewish synagogue, literally, two blocks from the staple center here in downtown LA, and if you know LA, that's a prime real estate, if you want to call it. We rented a building, an old Jewish synagogue, and we turned it into a community centre, and every single Monday night, we're going to host inspirational speakers, musicians, artists, poets and all people all different types and we're calling it the gathering, where we're gathering from LA, all types of motivational people, people who are into self-development, and people who just need a home and a community, so they can grow and inspire from and we're bringing all these together every Monday night. We're having pot luck, we're going to have music, and all these community stuff in one spot and it's going to be our home. And not only that, we are going to bring all the community work that we do with the homeless, all those priors we're bringing them into that space and it's going to be literally like our headquarters and long term as we grow into this community face-to-face side, we're going to be starting positive minded groups all over the nation. So San Diego, positive minded people San Diego, positive minded people San Francisco, New York, Oregon, Portland, Miami, we already have people in those cities who are ready to start groups. And long term, I believe that we can impact every single community by just gathering like-minded individuals, so we can not only grow ourselves but we can have a positive impact in the community where they're at.
N: You know, I know that you're talking about nationwide but I can actually see this movement go worldwide.
B: Oh, yeah. (laughs) I think everybody, one thing I like about our group is, everybody wants to be around somebody positive. Everybody, nobody wants to be around negative people, it doesn't matter what religion you come from, it doesn't matter what background you come from, everybody want to be around things that are pushing them and progressing them forward. This is why we have a 'no one left behind' if you want to call it a policy. It doesn't matter your religion, it doesn't matter your race, it doesn't matter your colour, your cree, it doesn't matter any of that. Come together because we can make an impact, if we all just decide to gather and stand in unity, we fed over 700 people in the last 60 days. We have given out blankets, books and now we're creating a whole course to help rehabilitate homeless people to help them transition to a better life. We're planning out events for children and helping foster parents with another group I work with, we're doing so much and I believe we can carry the same effect in every city by using community as a tool to do it. This is not about me, this is not about somebody else. This is not about us having a platform, but it's really about us coming together so that we can make great things happen.
N: Yeah. You know what's really refreshing, most of the time I'm having this conversation about collaboration, community, I'm normally having it with a woman.
B: Oh okay.
N: So someone like yourself, who's really leading the charge here, representing the male population, it's refreshing, it's amazing, it's fantastic and you are really the epitome of the inspirational type of person I love to have on this show.
B: Oh! I really appreciate that. Definitely, men need to step up and we like to be the alpha male, we want to be in control, we want our names in lights and we want all of these, but at the end of the day, if you have no one standing behind you, you can't do any of that. I really feel a community come together to gather to do something that you can't do on your own. I can't go out on my own, on my own resources and feed at least a hundred people but together we can and not just a feast of a hundred but at least fourteen hundred or five thousand or ten thousand, if we collectively come together. One of my good friends, Preston Smiles, he has a great quote which is community is the new individuality. It's not about me, me, me, it's about we, we, we and when we come collectively together, when we let go of our egos and our own personal dreams, when we allow ourselves to be connected to our dreams that are even bigger than ourselves, then the collective dream becomes the collective goal in mind, collective dream becomes what we worked for. It's about us collectively affecting change and us collectively being the change. So it's not about me, it's about we. It's not about individuality, it's about being community as the new individuality. It's about us (12:38) all of our talents, all of our money, all of our resources, letting it all go and letting it all fall into one pot so we can do something together. Yes, many will take more challenge on that, I'd definitely say that.
N: Yeah, absolutely. And I know that you, hold so strong to this vision that you actually not just inside the community but you've actually got some corporate people stepping up to the plate, as well.
B: Oh yes, I've had (13:08) come and support us. We've had vital coco water. They came and they have helped us before. We had smaller organizations come. In fact, we're in the process now of doing a planning out an event next month. That's helping to raise awareness and funds for the community that we're starting. I can't say who exactly who that is now but we do have celebrity, we're hoping, we're getting celebrities in the mix. I come from the advertising world. I used to work with a lot of well-known TV works and all of that and I get support from those people because they love what I'm doing and so we're raising all of that together to again, make a community effort to do something positive, to make a positive impact.
N: Yeah. Now this is the reason I wanted to share you with our community and to share you with the world because it's been an absolute pleasure to be connected with you and collaborating with you and doing this work as well, because I agree, I come from a small town as well, not that I've been there for a long time but I've lived there for a long time, but when we as a community and as a group to really get together, it's amazing the change that we can facilitate in the world. So Benny, I wanted to say thank you so much for joining us today. It's been an absolute pleasure having you here. I'm looking forward spending more time and facilitating more change with you as well.
B: Thank you so much and I'm looking forward for you to come down to our building downtown and give us your knowledge on all of the great things that you've been doing and we'll be sure to connect them and collab and make them happen.
N: Yeah, absolutely. Now guys, I encourage you to please share this video. Actually, before you do that, Benny where can we send people if they want to find out more about the group and all that kind of stuff as well.
B: You can look at positivemindedpeople.com, and that will also redirect you to our meet up group www.meetup.com/positivemindedpeople, there you will all of our upcoming events. We have our monthly kite coming up. We have a volunteer day at the World Harper's Food Bank and we have a few other events that you would really like, including the weekly gatherings that we're having. We're already doing that now, we just moved in our building on the 21st, so if you want to be a part of the gathering and be a part of downtown positive minded community, just go sign on the page and you will see all the details there. So that's meetup.com/positivemindedpeople or positivemindedpeople.com.
N: And if someone is sitting in a community outside of LA, they can also contact you through that website?
B: Oh, totally, we are, we have our San Diego community is starting up next month so for all of you there in San Diego, please just join our group and then we'll get you information on that and so anyone else, feel free to just reach out.
N: Wonderful. Wonderful. Thanks again, Benny. So guys, like I've said before I encourage you to share this video. Get the word out as much as you can, now you can do that by clicking on the Facebook and Tweeter share buttons on this page. Download the app if you haven't done so already, so you can start watching the shows on the go, you don't necessarily have to be in front of your computer and make sure you put your email on the box on this page as well because I would love to send you the manifesting with the masters video e-course. It includes masters like Bob Proctor, Joe Assaraff and Joe Vitale. It's valued at $87 and I would love to send it to you for free. So until next time, remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We'll see you soon.
B: Thank you.