“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back?” ~ W. Clement Stone

When not being the dashing man of spiritual thought, I have the cool title of Fight Director. I have been choreographing stage combat for more than two decades and find it fun and exciting. On a very rare occasion I get to combine my two loves. I recently have been working on a summer arts program for high school kids interested in the Arts. For six weeks I have taken twelve kids and taught them the fine and fashionable art of creating dramatic illusions of violence. What makes this program interesting for me personally is I get to work with kids from all backgrounds and the story I would like to tell is of a young man named "Tyrone" (pseudonym).

On day one of the program I noticed that Tyrone had a really bad attitude. He was the tough guy and had to keep everyone else in their place. His attitude was judgmental and at time cruel to the other kids. He is fifteen years old with a forty year old chip on his shoulder. Being the type who wants to be a positive force in the world my inclination was to find the root cause and help Tyrone work through his issue. I slowly began working through the mire in his head.

One day I decided to try a new tactic. I had each of the children tell me their most painful memory. We went around the circle and I was amazed at the horror stories that were told by these very young children. When it came to Tyrone his story started with, “My step dad knocked me out with his gun.” The story was that his step dad got mad and pulled out his pistol and hit Tyrone with the butt of his gun repeatedly. I then asked each of the kids to show me how, in real life, a fight begins. Several got up and showed how a fight starts. As a fight director everything is about the story. Each story has to be told physically and verbally to then be able to choreograph the scene honestly. It became very clear very early that Tyrone had been in plenty of fights. Usually he was the instigator of them as well.

“Man is a child of his environment”~ Shinichi Suzuki

After seeing his scene I asked him outright, “In your neighborhood do you have to be a tough guy?” “Yes,” was his wide eyed response. “So you have to fight to save face?” I asked. He continued telling me if he wasn’t tough he would be a target. “That must be hard.” I followed. His face grew serious and his eyes welled with tears, “Real real hard,” he answered. This young man who has a natural acting talent, has because of his environment become a mean hardened punk, because his environment says that he has to be that or be a victim. Over the next few weeks of the program Tyrone has come to trust me and I have been able to make some serious headway towards helping him surpass his environment.

The pivotal moment, however, did not happen when he was working with me. Early one day I walked off as the group was playing a warm up game called Murder Ball. I came back to Tyrone and Rachel (yup, another pseudonym) arguing. I pulled each one aside and had a talk finding out each side evenly. I talked to Tyrone first and his story made sense in that it was a miscommunication. Rachel’s also conceded that it was a miscommunication and then she asked if she could talk to him privately. I asked what about and she replied, “I want to share with him that I am from the same kind of neighborhood and am making different choices and moving forward in my life.” I called Tyrone over to meet with Rachel and I walked away. I let them speak for about twenty minutes when I returned. As I walked up I overheard Rachel saying, “So you can leave you attitude there because here you're safe and because we care.”

Tyrone made a shift that day. He became a happy laughing kid who began to excel in acting and stage combat. He had a few relapses of bad attitude because of subconscious muscle memory, but he quickly adapted back. I tell this story for a few reasons. One, because Tyrone is just a product of his environment. His environment is the way he was treated. If you treat a person differently from what they are used to, then you are creating a different environment for them with you.

What Rachel did was allow Tyrone to put his guard down and be a fifteen year old boy because he was safe and un-judged. I took a great lesson from Rachel and told her how proud I was of her leaving the argument behind and helping someone in need. When confronted with someone with a bad attitude instead of judging them, I believe we should give them the benefit of the doubt that their environment is different from yours and become a different environment of respect and love.

“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” ~Earl Nightingale

I am truly thankful to be able to witness wonderful works in the world.

Thank You
Thank You
Thank You

Author's Bio: 

John Davis (John of Peniel) is a Speaker, Author, and Teacher who has a unique story. The subject of the book ‘John of Old, John of New’ by Sharon Prince (which is endorsed by Hay House author Nick Bunick, subject of ‘the Messengers,’ and with a foreword by acclaimed intuitive Judy Goodman), John had (to date) nineteen psychic intuitives (many unsolicited) tell him of his past life as John the Beloved Apostle. This led him to find a past life regressionist. Under hypnosis John remembered meeting, walking with, and learning from Jesus (Jeshua). Soon after applying the teachings to his life John began witnessing miraculous events. To date hundreds of healings and life altering experiences have transpired through John’s assistance. John now travels teaching the same empowering message that each of the renowned teachers of old taught. The audience is awakened to their role in creation. Through modern day parables from his own life John has his audiences laughing and crying as they reach profound realizations that propel them toward the life of their desires.

As a former professional entertainer with over four thousand live performances in over sixteen countries worldwide, John Davis brings a wealth of performing knowledge to your presentation. John began his performance career as a comedy sword-fighter. After the tragic events of Sept. 11th, 2001, John dedicated a month a year to entertaining soldiers in the field. With more than one hundred performances overseas including the most remote regions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, John’s comedy style and easy approach brought a great comfort to the soldiers away from their homes and families.

As a professional Fight Director, John has had the honor of becoming one of forty fight directors invited to teach with the International Order of the Sword and Pen (IOSP). This honor cast him along side of fight directors from The Folger Shakespeare Theater and The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and from films such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and The Highlander. Add to this unusual set of qualifications a repeat client list that includes Unity churches, The Ohio Metaphysical Society, The International Hypnosis Federation, holistic centers, The Association for Research and Enlightenment (Edgar Cayce’s A.R. E.), and new age expos, and you will begin realize the breadth of John Davis’ inspirational message.

Today, John takes joy in imparting this simple yet life changing message to others. Although one book about John is currently on the market, another book written by John is available: Signs Along the Path, a Guide to An Inspired Life is a collection of John’s teachings from his very popular blog. Another is forthcoming, known as ‘The Simple Path’. John is an adjunct professor in the theatre program at Oberlin College where he teaches Stage Combat, is a professional fight director, and the proud father of his son Kynan.