Today’s guest shares a novel, innovative approach to accessing your spirituality and achieving that high-level transformation through playfulness. Thomas Edwards Jr. is the creator + author of The 1up Effect. He is a playfulness expert, coach, and innovative visionary in maximizing fulfillment in life, working with professionals, leaders, and businesses wanting to level up by gamifying the path to achieving purpose. In this episode, he shares his struggles with addiction and how he came to his journey towards realization and that higher purpose. As a conscious masculine soul, Thomas is here to make an impact and help others as much as possible. Be inspired by his story and moved by his methods by tuning in.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
An Innovative Approach With The 1Up Effect with Thomas Edwards Jr.
We have a special guest. He is the creator and author of The 1up Effect, a playfulness expert, coach and innovative visionary in maximizing fulfillment in life. Creator and author of The 1up Effect, he works with professionals, leaders and businesses wanting to level up their purpose, joy, passion and performance using his unique methodology for high-level transformation. Welcome, Thomas Edwards Jr., to the show. How are you doing?
I’m doing well, Liza. Thank you for having me.
It is a pleasure. I want to let the audience know. I’m going to put this as a spoiler. This is the real-life Hitch.
Yes, in a previous life.
Thomas has quite the story and I’m super excited to bring such a conscious, masculine soul to season five. Now, I think the women outnumbered you gentlemen, but the ones that I have brought on are at a different level of consciousness. It’s such an honor to be able to share your story.
Thanks. This is great too. I want to congratulate you for having a platform, at least creating the platform to bring it out into the world. This is amazing. To be a part of it, it’s a privilege.
No, thank you so much. It’s had its phasing. You’ll be able to tell how I did in my spiritual life in conjunction to the seasons.
We gravitate towards a lot of our mirrors. It’s easy to see the evolution over time with who you surround yourself or who you call into your life. I’m sure it’s been quite the experience for you.
It has been quite the experience for me. I always say this with almost all of the episodes that I’ve recorded. It’s truly an honor to be able to put guests like this. It is going to be an energetic release once this comes out. It is a season packed with some of the most incredible people on this planet. It’s neat to be able to share their story. Everyone’s mission is almost the same at its core. It’s anchoring in love. Thomas, could you share with us a little bit of your past life, which led you into the life you live now. I’d love for you to share a little bit of that story with the readers.
Liza was referring to as being the real-life Hitch. Back in 2009, I created a company called The Professional Wingman. The Professional Wingman wanted to help singles find relationships. What I did was I went out to social venues ranging from bars to networking events to public areas and showed people and gave real-time feedback on what prevented them from making romantic connections happen in real-time.
In 2009, we were talking the idea of location-based dating and having videos. In correspondence to dating, those were anomalies that didn’t exist. Online dating was becoming more acceptable as a way of meeting people. I use that as an opportunity to allow people to hone in on those skill sets that can allow them to be able to meet people whenever they want, particularly in person.
I thought it was something that was going to be cool. I didn’t have a big vision except that I wanted to be the best and I wanted to be successful. I was driven based on what my parents wanted for me. They wanted to be educated, to be secure financially and to then be able to build whatever life I wanted. Driven by that, I hustled and I did the classic driven-by-success methodology.
I created a lot of success in a very short period of time. I was only 22 years old when I first started the company. Within a few months, I was featured in The Wall Street Journal and I went from working with a few clients locally to working with clients around the world overnight. I was soliciting emails from people from Sierra Leone and Shanghai and New York and Miami and South America. It was a lot of people. It looked overnight, but, for me, it was a fast, huge avalanche that took place.
It’s only you that could be there and do this.
Yes. I was being flown around the country to work with clients in their city, cities that I had never been in. My parents weren’t big travelers. Even the idea of me going cross country was ridiculous to them, but that was because no one in my family ever did that. I went to cities that I didn’t know and showed people who lived in their cities for years. Sometimes even for decades how they can socialize and meet people. It was amazing.
I got to live the life that I thought I wanted for so long. I started to create more success. I started to be more recognized as one of the best in the world at what I did. It all peaked, so to speak, when I was asked by Steve Harvey to be on his show to help him with a guest that needed support in dating. For me, I thought that was a huge privilege to have someone like him look for someone like me to be on his show. That was a big deal. I thought I made it at that point.
I totally crushed the segment. He was even impressed. He shook my hand at the end of the segment and said, “Well done, son.” I was on my way and I went to celebrate in a rooftop bar in Chicago because they flew me out to Chicago to do the segment. I remember sitting there surrounded by people that I didn’t know, praising and cheering me and loving and showing such adoration and praise for me. I thought to myself, “I made it. I’m the best. I’m successful.”
I’m getting a lot of press. Fame was starting to build up for me. There were times when I was in New York and couldn’t go to certain places because people would recognize me. It was getting to that level and I felt accomplished in that moment that I did what I had set out to do. I achieved the dream that I thought I had.
I remember looking at myself in the reflection of the table that I was at the bar and having this overwhelming feeling of emptiness and lack of fulfillment. It completely caught me off guard. I didn’t know where it came from. It was so heavy and I was confused. I was like, “Why am I feeling this way? I have everything.” I have a great business. I’m making a lot of money. I have a lot of social statuses. I, even in that time, found my partner and we got married earlier that year. I have the life that most people would kill for. Why am I feeling this unhappy?I have everything. I have the life that most people would kill for. Why am I feeling this unhappy? Click To Tweet
Realizing that I was surrounded by people, I didn’t want to be that exposed. I chugged my drink and then went to look to fix another one. That was the coping mechanism that I started to ingrain in myself of trying to hide and run away from these feelings of being empty, lost, alone and scared and not even understanding how to process these emotions and talk about them. I didn’t know who to talk to about them. I didn’t know how to manage them. It wasn’t a part of my upbringing. I didn’t learn any of these things.
What ended up happening was it was a steady and deep decline into depression. Being someone who was super social and drinking a lot, drinking became my vice when it came to escapism. I would escape my feelings, my emotions or my life circumstances. I would go to the bar where I felt safe. I could hide in public. Put on this facade that I had all my stuff together and yet drink myself into oblivion. That repeated itself over and over again. I got into drug abuse and it was a very dark place in my life. It continued in that direction. My wife and I decided we were going to move from New York to LA.
I thought it’d be great to get a fresh start. Not realizing that your troubles come with you, I went to LA, discovered that the access to all the things that could allow me to escape even more was more available to me. I dove into that. A few months later, my wife came into the room and told me that she was pregnant. I always remember this day as the best-worst day of my life because it was the best day.
I remember, as young as I was a teenager, I always intuitively knew that I wanted to be a dad. I knew I was going to be a great dad. That moment was special for me. It finally happened and it was the worst day of my life because the identity that I created for myself known as the Wingman died that day and this identity was meaning to die for a long period of time. That moment, for some reason, made it clear that that identity was dead. I couldn’t handle it.
I didn’t know how to deal with it. I spent the next year and a half actively mourning the death of that very identity. Not realizing I was killing myself in the process. Destroying my marriage. Destroying the internal parts of my business. From an external standpoint, my business was still thriving. Clients were still successful. The Professional Wingman has been responsible for almost 400 marriages and engagements to this day. In spite of how I was feeling and how I was behaving behind the scenes. I was struggling and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t stop escaping. I couldn’t stop drinking. I couldn’t stop the process.
I was getting to this lost state where I didn’t know who I was. The person showing up every day was not the person my wife wanted and not whom I wanted to be as a representative as a father to my daughter. One day, my wife came out of the bedroom. I’m paraphrasing here. She said, “I love you. This is not the marriage that I want to be in. Something inside of this needs to change or I’m going to have to make a change.” I remember phrasing it in some type of way like that. Not to point the finger at me as being the direct cause of our marriage falling apart. I internally took that as, like, “I’m the problem here. I need to do something and I don’t know how.”
It may not look like I’ve been trying to find a solution, but I have. Every time I’ve looked, it’s led me to wanting to escape it because I could not handle my life or the emotions that came with it. It was the first moment where I realized all the things that I knew or I thought I knew got me to where I was in that moment, in the darkest area of the deepest pit that I’ve ever experienced in my life. I don’t think that what I know and the tools I have will allow me to get out of this place. I need to start looking outside of myself for some support and some resources. It was the first time I called this my moment of getting that extra life.
If you’re someone who enjoys games, that was my extra life, my extra chance. I said, “I need some help.” This is great being someone that is very like all-in and I have an addictive personality. I went all in on receiving support. I got not just one therapist. I got two therapists. One person for me. I got a couple’s therapists. I got a psychiatrist. I got an addiction doctor. I did leadership weekends and spiritual retreats. I had my own personal coach. I went all in on this and I’m someone who loves education, who loves to learn, who can take instruction and will go and apply it.
I’ve seen the results of what that can do and so I did. I started to see incremental results. Every 80 or 90 days or so, I would let my foot off the gas and something would catch me, blind spot me and I would find myself escaping and doing the same process over again. I was the epitome of what I would call an arsonist of my life. I would build this amazing momentum and when you think, “I think he’s going to get it.” Everything would crash and burn in a matter of 24 to 36 hours.
God bless my wife. My wife was taking it and taking it then eventually was like, “I don’t want to deal with this. I have to set some boundaries.” Bless her for coming to her own and putting these boundaries down. Like, “If you come home late another night, you’re not welcome back into this house.” I would do that and she would have to put her foot down and enforce that boundary. I was not getting it together the way that I thought I could and it went on for a few months.
I’m still holding on to this identity of the Wingman knowing that it’s dead. There’s nothing there. I’m now resenting my work, but at this point, I found the capacity to displace my emotions to not have it impact the work with my clients. I can internalize everything, but that was also unhealthy because when my clients were okay, I then went off into my own crazy experience of self-harm and self-pity.
One night, my wife and I were playing UNO and having a good time. I got called to go work with the client. I remember about to leave the house. I opened the door and I felt like my higher power did a little blow and pushed the door shut. I was like, “That’s weird.” I was saying out loud, “I feel like something is telling me not to go out.” My wife said, “No, go out. Do your job. Get that money and come back home.” I said, “All right.”
I remember walking into that bar and completely losing consciousness, like blacking out. I do have varying moments of knowing that there was alcohol, drugs, lying and texting to my wife saying, “I’m coming home,” but not doing that and then coming 2:00 in the morning. I’m standing outside of my apartment and I’m like, “What did I do? What happened?” Sure enough, she said, “You can’t come back in here. You’re not welcome.” What does anyone who’s feeling self-pity and complete dismay and shame do?
They go to the place where they think they’re the most safe. For me, it was the bar, so I went back to the bar. The best way I could describe it was an overly tantrum experience. I was a three-year-old in a 33-year-old’s body, crying and on any shoulder that had a space to go on and making a complete mess to myself and still drinking, thinking that that was the thing and having a friend meet up with me and care for me.
He was my caretaker that day. I even tried to get back into the apartment. That was a very ugly scene. It wasn’t great. She was screaming and that was the last thing I remember before blacking out for real now because I had too much alcohol. In reflection, this was January 13th, 2019 when that happened. Between that moment and when I woke up on January 14th, 2019, I felt like God came in and said, “You’ve had enough. It’s time to wake up,” and removed the obsession. Not to drink but to escape. The obsession to escape reality, my emotions, the stuff about how I cannot manage my emotions, how I can’t handle the responsibilities that I created in my life and I woke up literally in darkness.
It was representative of that deep dark pit that I had created for myself. I was super scared and went back to sleep, hoping that I could wake up and there’d be daylight. I end up being at a hotel around the corner from my house. I remember walking outside of this hotel. I’ve been at this corner hundreds of times. I recognized it. I know where things are, but I remember walking out that day and not recognizing at all.
The best way I can describe it is in the movie the Matrix, if you’ve seen it, Neo got unplugged and they’re working on his body. He’s asking all these questions to Morpheus and he asked, “Why do my eyes hurt?” Morpheus says, “You never used them before.” That was how I felt on January 14th, 2019. I was using a new pair of eyes I had never used before. Living in a world that I’d never lived in before. Knowing intuitively that I was going to live under new rules, which required me not to escape, not to drink and I didn’t know what that was going to look like.
A couple of days later, after finding couches to sleep on, I worked my way back into my house under some okay graces from my wife. I went back to therapy and I said, “What’s going on? Why am I crashing and burning every 80, 90 days?” It occurred to me when my doctor said, “Your life works when you’re not drinking, when you’re not choosing to escape reality. Is it worth the small percentage of times when you do drink to reduce your life to ashes?” I said, “No, it’s not worth it.”
He said, “What would you do if you considered that you can’t get your life to work drinking 100% of the time? If it can’t be 100%, it might as well be zero.” A light bulb switched on. It was like, I get rid of it. A few hours later, I ended up looking for recovery programs and I found a group. I started to go to those meetings and be a part of that community. It’s interesting. All the things that I learned prior to sobriety were helpful in my life, but the best way I can describe it is if you’re holding a hot cup of coffee in your hand.
The coffee represents all the tools and the resources and the guidance and the wisdom that I received from so many people in my support group that I was able to receive. My need to escape, my obsession to escape is the cover that continues to keep that coffee boiling. Keep it hot. Keeping it undrinkable and the moment that I chose, I needed to stop escaping and allow myself to stay in the experience and learn about myself.
It was like the cover came off, the steam came out and I could digest all the things I learned over that period of time when I finally started to ask for help. My life not only got better, it stayed getting better. It got better faster, too. To the point where I became unrecognizable to my wife. Someone who would see me wake up and get up every single day. I became unrecognizable to her 3 months in, 6 months in. I started to show up differently in how I viewed the world, how I viewed myself, focusing less on self-doubt, less on self-pity, practicing grace and love and acceptance and forgiveness of myself, my past and my present to give myself a better chance of creating a better future.
Things were incrementally getting better, but one thing was still missing. It’s interesting. I wasn’t having any fun. I was not enjoying my life getting better and the experiences that were coming from that. It didn’t make sense to me. I was like, “Why am I not enjoying this?” I’m so much healthier. I’m relatively like content. Things are getting better. I’m not causing a mess at home. I’m showing up as a great dad. I’m being able to pay the bills. I’m very responsible now, like what’s going on? I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I knew intuitively that I couldn’t figure out how to enjoy my life and the obligations and responsibilities I created for myself. They weren’t given to me. I chose to become a husband and a dad and a business person. If I can’t handle those things, it’s only going to be a matter of time before I go back and I want to escape it all and I may not come back from that. I didn’t want that to be my legacy for my daughter. I spent time thinking about what makes me happy. I was meditating and I got pulled to an experience that revolved around video games.
To bring this full circle, I went to school to be a video game producer. That is what I went to school for and I loved video games my whole life. Video games, for me, was not a tool to escape. It was a place where I could express my creativity. I could connect with other people. I could explore. I could play. I could push my competitive spirit. It was an amazing source of energy for me. I realized that I had let that not be a part of my life for the better part of a decade and it showed.
Thomas, let me ask you quickly. Thank you so much for sharing and being so open with the whole journey. That’s why we have you here. It’s because of where you are now. What I wanted to ask you is when you went through those different cycles, then you said you still weren’t happy. You were even meditating until you came up to this whole part of your life where you started to realize that the video games were a big part of your life. What type of healing modalities did you go through other than meditation? Did you tap into maybe going back to stories of childhood that had created that whole thing where you didn’t feel like there was always something more that you were looking for?
One of the first things that I did was I tapped into the experience of my inner child. If I remember correctly, his name’s John Bradshaw. He talks about the wonder child and how it’s so important to take care of the wonder child because they are the driving force of your entire existence. I spent time with specific meditation practices trying to reconnect with my wonder child. I remember the first time I did the meditation. I dropped into a jungle. I couldn’t make my way through the first few times.
Eventually, after maybe a dozen times, I finally found my wonder child and sure enough, he was sitting in front of a TV playing video games. I remember seeing him and trying to interact with him and he wouldn’t interact with me. It took over a month of daily meditated practices sitting there. I was getting emotional thinking about it because it was such an amazing experience of sitting there, shutting up, not trying to be so proactive and trying to fix something or getting to the solution and watching him play.
I remember after a month, he handed the controller over and asked me if I wanted to play. That was the beginning of my healing of understanding. I didn’t know at the time because it happened so far in between. There was so much that happened in between that moment, but I know that opened up the pathway for me to reconnect with what brought my inner joy and my peace. That was one methodology.
Another healing practice that I learned was through journaling. My therapist taught me a lot about cognitive behavioral therapy. One of the practices that he taught me was about this idea of thought errors. Thought errors are stories that we tell ourselves that we can find evidence to be true but from a holistic standpoint are not only not true. They can be harmful for the feelings and the behaviors of which follow.Thought errors are stories that we tell ourselves that we can find evidence to be true, but from a holistic standpoint are not only not true, but are harmful for the feelings and the behaviors which follow. Click To Tweet
He taught me ways of being able to think about identifying where those thought errors were and seeing if I can replace those thought errors with more proactive, more positive thoughts that could help lift my mood and my feelings to then turn it into more proactive and positive behaviors. I knew I needed to not only change the story but to find out, as you hinted at, where these stories come from. I took my experience of connecting to my wonder child because, at that point, we had a pretty great relationship. His name’s Tommy. I can go and I can talk to Tommy and find out what’s going on.
I would take these thought errors, these stories that I found out were programs that are basically running in my life. I would go to him and say, “Where did this come from?” He would tell me. He would sometimes pull up specific experiences that happened in my past, in my childhood that cemented this program. It would run automatically in my life. I would sit with him because he’s representative of my soul. I would sit with him and I would find out what happened. What were the feelings that came up? Is it true to break down the strength of that story?
Once we found a crack in that story’s armor, we were able to destroy it and then replace it with a more positive, proactive story based on how we wanted to live moving forward. It became so healing then I thought like, “What if I was able to apply the principle that I would learn from this experience and apply it to all areas of my life?” What if I took something that I learned about fatherhood that was representative of something that I experienced in my childhood and take that lesson and apply it to my relationship with my wife or my business or my personal wellness or my spiritual wellness? What would that look like?
That was when I started to see accelerated healing because I realized that in one area where I was feeling a lot of pain and trauma, I was having it triggered in other areas in of my life. Not as overtly. The healing became much more holistic, which then accelerated my growth. It is still painful to go through that experience because when you’re ascending, it completely rewires and upends your world physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I know from experience that the healing and the exponential impact, if you allow yourself to be open to being able to see it. Not just in one lens but being able to see it across multiple lenses. I can’t state it enough how significant and how gratifying the healing is when you go through things like that. Those are a couple of examples.
I wanted to ask you, though, could you sense anything? I know in the meeting that we had, you were talking about too simultaneously at the scene or maybe even prior to you waking up. Your wife started going through a spiritual journey. I’m sure that since both of you guys are walking this conscious journey as a couple and as individuals. I was curious to even ask this. Did you felt the big energetic shift that’s been happening in the last few weeks?
What’s the perspective from the masculine view? I have been wanting to ask this question.
It’s so interesting. I went through my own internal. What came out for me on the other side was more clarity. I felt it not just in my life but in other people’s lives too. I’ve had conversations with other guys about this. What I’m witnessing is there is a level of clarity that is coming up and I can only speak from a male side. There’s a level of clarity that’s showing up for guys, at least, this is my experience once again, that is forcing them. I want to use force as a light term. What I mean is giving them power to make the choices that they know that they’re meant to make and they’re claiming. They’re taking responsibility for those choices now.
We’re going to see it in layers over time, but I feel like people, at least people around me, have sensed it too. It’s not necessarily waking up. It is a claiming of their power and responsibility. They’re being open about it. There’s none of this more behind-the-scenes stuff that maybe you have seen in the past. More people are stepping up more.You’re gonna see a lot of restructuring of societal and personal perspectives. It needs to be messy before it gets clean and there’s so many people out there that’s going to take a lot of risks to push this initiative forward. Click To Tweet
We’re going to start seeing messiness around it too, where you’re not going to know.
We’re going to see idols fall. We’re going to see the idea of what it means to dehumanize and humanize someone. You’re going to see a lot of restructuring of societal and personal perspectives. I’m here for it. I think it needs to be messy before it gets clean. There are so many people out there that’s going to take a lot of risks to push this initiative forward.
I’m so glad I got to ask you this during this time because even those masculine who are going on a conscious journey have been going. What we were noticing from the feminine space was that there was some masculine. It was either one. If they didn’t move into their heart space, they would struggle with it more as the shifting of this timeframe happens, but everyone has to be in surrender now because the energies are shifting so fast.
On the opposite end, the ones that were not awake or conscious where you could feel a certain aggressiveness that was coming to the surface because everything has to come up to heal, that’s what you were talking about. It is the mixing of all these energies and you’re going to start seeing it within first yourself then maybe your family and all the extensions like society than the world. That’s what I think is coming up to the surface now.
When you think about the calibration of energy is to get to a place of power and to a higher level of consciousness, if you’re down in a place that’s below and I’m referencing David Hopkins here, who talks about the map of consciousness. If you’re down in a place of guilt or shame or fear, these energies will show up in reactive behaviors that society might deem inappropriate. When you’re at that vibrational level, you don’t know the choices that are available to you when you’re at a high level of consciousness.
You are only limited to the choices of how to react based on your vibrational level. When you get to that place, then an opening, an opportunity shows up. Do you allow yourself to surrender to the moment and heal and develop? Where in the map of consciousness, they describe that the place where things go from negative to positive is courage. You develop the courage to make that shift or do you stay down there? This is where we’re going to see even more diversion of timelines where people will still be resistant because that’s a part of the process. There’ll be people who will say, “Enough. I’m done. I’m ready.” You’ll see them rise above through courage and get to higher levels of consciousness.
It’s interesting, though, because now it’s perfect where we could start talking about the whole 1up Effect and you being able to show others what they can do from this space, even as a masculine. Thomas, we are scratching the surface of where this is all going. Now for the feminine because we are reclaiming our power like say, for instance, myself. I’m in a mastermind with women and it’s high energetics.
When you’re talking about the difference between, like when you’re talking about someone that’s in fear, guilt and shame as opposed to someone in creation. For us, what we’re doing is as we’re shedding anything or dissonance that’s coming through us, we’re constantly quantum leaping. That’s what it’s feeling like as for now in that level. For men, there’s not a lot of masculine in that space yet. I know for sure the impact that you want to make with that is going to be incredible where you’re at now.
It’s so interesting because when I think about my life and how it got me to where I am now, I didn’t realize that I would’ve ended up coming across what I think are the keys to higher levels of consciousness. I didn’t think of it that way, but I believe that the 1up Effect in the methodology that it represents is harnessing power, joy, and happiness.
We can even go as far as saying harnessing higher levels of consciousness through the art of playfulness gives us an opportunity to access parts of our human and parts of our being in ways that we have not been allowed to do due to ancestral and societal programming. I want the 1up Effect to be a different way of being that opens up that opportunity for people to see what they’re capable of. Not just from the human potential but also from as existential potential.
No, this is going to be incredible. Take me through the program if someone was interested in it. I know we didn’t get to talk about the video game, so I don’t know if you wanted to briefly go through that so you could give an idea of how you came up with the 1up Effect. I wanted to share with the audience what it would be like to be a part of your coaching and your program.
I’ll be quick. When I decided to play, I allowed myself to play video games again and I picked up the controller for the first time. I don’t even know how long. I got this electrical charge that brought me right back to when I was a young teen in my room playing video games with so much joy. That was, for me, the moment where I was experiencing high levels of flow.
I was getting into what we know is the zone, which is an amazing state that we all strive to do, but we forced it a lot of times. In that situation, it was easy. I was in it more often than I wasn’t. I knew that I needed to find a way to keep this in my life. I needed some structure. I decided that I was going to pursue a career to be a semiprofessional gamer. Otherwise known as a professional eSports athlete.
Can you believe it? What is the live app? The one where they play games all day or they game all day?
Twitch, the live stream app.
When my son was telling me what they were doing, I was like, “Are you kidding me?”
This was something that I dreamed about back when I was in college, back in 2003. I wanted to do these things. My parents didn’t understand and so they were very resistant. I allowed external forces to tell me that I couldn’t do it, but this, I had an opportunity to, once again, reclaim that responsibility for myself.
I feel that in my heart.
I went for it. I picked one game. I picked one tournament. I trained and I remember going in. I went to the eSports Arena and I was like, “These are my people,” and having this unbelievably amazing time. This unadulterated joy came over me and I was such a new person to this experience. I didn’t even have the right controller to compete. I had to borrow someone else’s controller to play the game. I wasn’t even prepared in the way that I could have been. I ended up doing well. I was like at the upper third percentile, like 33rd. I was 33rd out of about 120 people, which was amazing.
More importantly, I had such a great time and it was the time that I had. I couldn’t remember the last time I had such a great time. I remember having dinner with my buddy. I was like, “I wish my entire life could be like this.” I can choose something. I can train for it, have fun, compete, not care about the outcome and lather, rinse, repeat. I wish my life was like a game. It knocked me on the head. It was like, boom. You got it. Make your life a game. Take all the things that you’ve learned from all your mentors and all the people who you’ve worked with. Structure that. Take your academic knowledge of what games are meant to be and put a design over it and make it a game.
I was like, “Wow. That could be amazing,” because whenever I’m playing, there’s no stress. I’m not burning out. I’m performing at a high level. I am fully open and vulnerable and connected. I’m not connected to myself. I’m connected to other people. I’m honing in on what it means to live a meaningful life when I’m having fun, doing whatever it is that I’m doing.The secret sauce that was missing from my life was allowing myself to have fun, giving myself permission, to have fun, and doing the things that I want to do. Click To Tweet
That, for me, was the secret sauce that was missing from my life. It was allowing myself to have fun, giving myself permission to have fun, doing the things that I want to do, that I enjoy doing. One of the facts came from a reference to Super Mario Brothers, where when you get your first green mushroom, which is representative of an extra life, how your psychology changes. You go from basically being on your last life and having this anxiety, stress-induced experience of trying to survive, which I believe is how a lot of people live their lives every single day, trying to avoid the pits.
That’s what it is. We’re in survival mode. I’m not anymore. I was like, “I’m not doing that again.”
You’re avoiding every pit, every Koopa. You’re trying to face any challenges. You’re just trying to get to the end of the level. You can do it all over again. That’s the daily experience. When you get that extra life, your psychology changes. Now, all of a sudden, you’re willing to take risks. You’re willing to take your time. You’re willing to face challenges because you know that if Mario falls in that pit or if he gets blasted by a Koopa. You have not only that extra life but you have feedback.
As with any game, because it’s fun, you’re going to play again. No one stops playing a game because they like it. People stop wanting to play a game because they don’t like it. What people forget is that games are not designed for us to win. We were programmed to think that we needed to win the game but games are designed for us to have fun and winning becomes a byproduct of that game.
It’s brilliant. Let’s say, Thomas, since the time when we had our meeting, there’s been so much that’s been happening in the collective. It’s so neat to have a few gentlemen on my platform that are moving into that space. Feminine space is love and compassion. It’s playing. It’s everything that’s creation and you’ve done that. You’re doing that. That’s what I’m saying. You’re teaching others to go back to that space.
For the masculine, the idea and the concept of the coaching is brilliant. I commend you for that because you’re going to get guys who are going to want to say, “I’ll go play a game,” as opposed to like, “You want to talk about your feelings first?” You’re like, “No.” It’s a great way to go down a path that will start opening up that space because they’re still going to have to go down and explore that place.
The idea is I want you to have so much fun that you know that you’ll have fun going down into that space. When I reference that, I love going into the dark now because I know that in the dark is where my greatest gifts exist. I’ve learned to have fun going into that darkness to see what light am I going to experience. What’s going to shine on me that’s going to completely change my life and have an opportunity to change other people’s lives?
Playfulness becomes this approachable, very digestible experience that anyone can adopt but opens up a world of possibilities for them to live a life beyond their wildest imaginations. It’s because their imaginations now is limited based on their way of being now compared to what it could be that they use playfulness to activate those parts of their mind, body and spirit.
That was me too. I knew I was going through another unraveling or unlayering, so to speak, with spirituality and ascension. I found myself at the beach so much and my cousin and my family, my friends were like, “That’s your employer.” I was like, “Yes.” Pulling in energy is no joke. It’s sometimes a full-time job because it takes a lot, as opposed to what we’ve been used to, which is like we become robots working that 9:00 to 5:00, but we are dying inside.
I was going to say we’re programmed to forget that from a physical standpoint, our energy of production is finite. We only have so much willpower. If we are not feeding ourselves in such a way that allows our willpower to stay at a healthy point, we will get past a certain threshold and it’s different for every person but there’s a threshold that we will meet where it becomes impossible to make reasonable decisions.
It becomes impossible to take care of ourselves. In that situation, you are the most vulnerable to all different energies, programs, and things out there to take you. I mean that from a physical, mental, spiritual standpoint. The news is there for you to be in your vulnerable state and be sucked into the fear of what they’re projecting on you. There could be that person in your life who is there to take from you because that’s who they are. No judgment, that’s who they are, but they’re waiting for you to be at your most vulnerable so they can do that.
Your job could be one of those people that wants you to put in your energy there and not care too much about where you’re putting your energy elsewhere and how you’re taking care of your energy. I’m bringing these three specific things up because I know that people see that this isn’t good for them and are making conscious decisions to make changes. This is why people are leaving their jobs, even if they don’t know where they’re going because they know that their situation is worse to stay there than not having a job at all.
This is why people are becoming more divisive. They’re trying to figure out how they can find their people and relieve themselves of energies. All these things are happening because people are trying to figure themselves out. I’m not saying it’s maybe the best way for them to do it, but it’s part of the human experience that they’re trying to figure that out and whether we like the actions or not. The 1up Effect is designed to do is to create a shift to your perspective on what it means to create success, fulfillment and happiness in your life.What the 1Up Effect is designed to do is shift your perspective on what it means to create success, fulfillment and happiness in your life. Click To Tweet
It’s very interesting. If you search Google, how to be productive? You’ll see probably, I don’t know the exact number, but my guess would be that you’re going to see at least twice as many search results than there would be to how to be happy. We’re going to see a lot of more content around how to be happy but what I’ve been noticing out there because I’m one of those people who talks about how to be happy.
There’s a lot of research and science and studies that show you can do certain things to be happy, but there isn’t a real structure like a whole methodologist designed to help you. Not be happy in one moment but lead a life that prolongs happiness that makes the idea of happiness, fulfillment, and meaning sustainable in your life.
The 1up Effect is designed to be that structure. You can go in and you can literally implement this into your life. It’s designed to be this way forever. It’s something that you get to keep and actively use every single day of your life and be able to reap the benefits of the results no matter where you want to go in your life. No matter what aspirations that you desire. You can be able to implement a clear structure that allows you to basically play the game of life on your term and have winning become a byproduct of that experience.
I break it down into four simple principles, so to answer your question about what would be the experience of working with me? I break it down into four principles. One is accept your character. You are the main character playing the game of your life. If you don’t accept who you are as the character, then you’re not going to have the power nor the will to be able to change the game so to speak, to make it the game that you want to play.
That requires you to be accepting of what got you here. What were the past things that happened in your life that got you to where you are? To accept the reality that you live in now, the truth. Accept not just your strengths and try to hide your weaknesses. Accept those too. If you didn’t have weaknesses, you wouldn’t be aware of what your strengths are. Your mirrors, your blind spots, your shadows, all of the stuff that tries to tell you that you should be avoiding them and all that stuff is nonsense. All of it comes together and creates what I believe is people’s superpower. The first part.
The second part is know what game you’re playing. The best way I can describe it is if you feel like you’re winning the game, but you’re not happy. Your chances are you’re playing someone else’s game and they’re happy. Understand that it’s not about winning. Winning comes as a result of. I always say that winning comes as a result of playing the game.
The third thing is learn how to play. You’re going to be learning a new way of being. You got to think about what are the things that I can do every single day that’s going to impact my life in other people’s lives. How can I take care of myself in such a way that puts me in a position to show up in any given situation, no matter what happens and be okay? There are daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly practices that you can implement that allow you to do that.
The fourth and I think the most important principle, which is why it’s last, is to play than when because playing once again is at the core of all this. When you play, you open up different parts of your brain. Your cognitive performance increases. Your stress reduces. The chances of burnout virtually go away. You become more vulnerable and open to a spiritual experience or connection, which you can call it all different kinds of things. Some people call it purpose. Some people call it to their higher power to God, but you feel something different that is beyond yourself when you open up the world of play but then it’s also innovation. There’s creativity. It boosts your immune system. It’s a mood booster.
It can create more social experiences for yourself, even for those who might experience social anxiety. I can go on and on. The benefits are so key in such a way that it’s very difficult to experience in other mindfulness practices. I call playfulness the elite, an elite version of mindfulness, because you’re actively engaged. When you are so actively engaged and your flow, your energy gets to a certain level, this is what can drop you into that zone. Everyone wants to be in the zone and when you’re in the zone.
That’s it. You reached it and we’re going there. Thomas, thank you so much for sharing all that you have, your wisdom, your knowledge, your playfulness and where you are taking this. I know you were talking about wanting to impact 5 million lives. I know you’re on your way. I know that Eight Billion is there to support so many people with such a big vision. That’s why I think we were brought together energetically for me to share your story. Very quick, how can people find out about your program? I’m going to have it in any of the social media, but if people would like to get ahold of you, what are the best?
I’m going to give two links. One is go and learn about me and reach out to me. Let’s get on the phone and have a conversation. You can go to ThomasEdwardsJr.com/podcast and you can get all the information there. If you want to pre-order a copy of my book, The 1up Effect, it’s under the publishing house of Morgan James. You can go to 1upEffect.com and you can pre-order your copy. That’s it.
Thank you so much for being a part of the Eight Billion show. You will always have a voice here. We will always be here to support you and the organization.
I appreciate it. Thanks so much for having me on. It’s such a joy to connect with you and have this conversation.
No, thank you. The pleasure’s been all mine. To the readers who joined us for this episode with Thomas Edward Jr, thank you so much for this episode and we will catch you on the next episode.
About Thomas Edwards
Thomas Edwards is the creator + author of The 1up Effect, a playfulness expert, coach, and innovative visionary in maximizing fulfillment in life. Creator and Author of The 1up Effect, he works with professionals, leaders, and businesses wanting to level up their purpose, joy, passion, and performance, using his unique methodology for high-level transformation.