Q: I remember seeing something about how during your previous years you didn't enjoy being around people. If that is true what made you change your mindset? How do you stay positive so much?
A: Great question. Part of the issue was that I was not happy with myself or in my own life so I isolated myself. The other part of the situation was that I cared for people so much, just as I do now, that when I saw them make decisions that were detrimental to their life or lifestyle I allowed those actions hurt me as well. Meaning that I would get emotional, sad and/or angry, at the potentially dangerous or hazardous decisions & actions others were participating in. I felt as if they weren’t appreciating themselves or the life they had, which caused me to retreat even more. Oddly, this is a pot calling the kettle black type of situation. I was doing the same by pushing others away and putting negativity into the world.
Hitting the absolute bottom was the catalyst for me to change my mindset. I want depreciating life to appreciating life, my own included. I concluded that if I could not get any lower than I was at that moment, then I could do anything, even if I failed at it, and would not be lower than I was then. This is when I started climbing. How do you stay positive so much? See the first part of Ask Anything Pt.1!
Q: Who have been your 3 biggest inspirations in life and why?
A: Oddly I would not say that any of my inspirations are my heroes but they certainly impacted my life greatly. Nikki Sixx (writer, photographer, musician) is why I am into tattoos and very entrepreneurial, Philip Anselmo & Henry Rollins gave me the harder edge & control needed for speaking (not to mention the early DIY/Hardcore ideals that still resonate deeply with me) and Sir Richard Branson, because he doesn't mess around with making ideas actionable. It gets done! No dream is too big and I can appreciate that greatly. Apparently there are four! lol
I will also say that my family is a huge driver for me and is truly what makes me seek the best in life.
Q: Here's my question: if you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be, why would you wish to meet them, and what would you ask them
A: This is a big one. I have had the pleasure to meet all of my childhood heroes in my short time on Earth so most of those are out. That leaves many deceased historical figures and family. I would probably choose any individual who had to make tough decisions in their life yet stood by them regardless of the consequences. I would want to know what Abraham Lincoln was thinking when he decided to emancipate slaves or what it was like for Neil Armstrong to decide that he would head into space not fully knowing if he would return. I want to know why these men chose to not only make these hard decisions but also fully carry them out…and then I would want to apply those common threads to my life wherever possible.
Q: How do I get the anger out?
A: I am not sure I have a definitive answer for how to release anger. I used to focus on writing, listening to music etc. but this only quieted the anger. It took me facing the source of that anger to really let it go. I had to get to the very bottom of that dark pit and look the issues in the eyes in order to let them go. The freedom was worth all the pain I endured to get to where I am now and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Q: How did you realize you needed to let the anger out?
A: I knew I had to let my past go when I started to repeat the cycle. I didn’t have a drink for 27 years because of alcoholism in my family. I had my first drink of alcohol to prove to myself that I did not have to be an addict, that I didn’t have to let alcohol control my life like others close to me did, and that I could face my worst fears. Up to that point in my life, and for a couple years after, I was on a much more positive track than before. Sadly, it took a turn for the worse and for a short time I began to rely on alcohol much the same way others in my family had. It was then that I knew that I had to face all of the demons I had left in me…and then I had to leave them behind.
Also of note, I have never admitted that I had to address my own alcohol issues to anyone but my Wife. It was also my Wife that recognized the last of my demons, which was the relationship with my Father.
Q: I have a 6th sense, I can feel, see, and know when people are around, dead, alive, and in the future, it’s not always exact, but close to. Really it used to freak me out, now I'm somewhat OK knowing what others don't. How do you deal with something like this? I know this questioning is a bit off topic, but I could use a little less pain on these heart strings. Please........think on it. I wouldn't ask anyone else.
A: This is a very intense question I am not fully equipped to answer. I am not sure how I would, or one should, deal with a 6th sense. I am not sure what this means for you or how it feels but you alluded to sadness because of this additional sense and that your heart strings could use a bit less pain. I wish I could assist you is alleviating some of these feelings; however, I am not sure I am able. My only thought is that maybe this isn’t a burden, but instead a gift you can use to better the lives of others.
Q: How do you drop the walls you surround yourself with?
A: One brick at a time. I had to understand that hurt is a part of life and, sadly, sometimes the ones we trust the most cause us the most pain. I have few walls at this point in my life and it is because I am less afraid of being hurt and more open to giving love. My joy comes from giving to others and the more you give, the more you get, the more you get the more bricks are taken out of those walls. When I am hurt I assume that the individual either misunderstood my communications or chose to ignore them. If I was ignored and not considered, there is hurt, there is a lesson, but there is also joy that I am now stronger & smarter for having endured. Not only that, but now I have more room in my life for those who wish to be a part of it.
Q: You have an amazing family now, how does it feel to be a Dad to some wonderful kiddos?
A: The feeling is mind blowing and beyond all expectation. I never anticipated, nor wanted, kids in my personal life. When I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the life of two wonderful children I took it and the experience has taught me more about myself and life than anything else before it. I cannot imagine my life without them in it.
Q: Do you plan to have any more children?
A: No more children. The two we have are the perfect two for my family and I.
Q: Do you believe that you will leave living in the small town to go to the big city life with all the changes you are making in the world?
A: At this point, not matter where I choose to live, it is likely to be in a smaller or more rural area. I can travel anywhere in the world and experience any culture I wish but in any small town in America you have wonderful, caring people, ready to assist you with a smile. That is something I never want to lose.
Q: OK fine I'll ask for your opinion since no one else has...which came first? Chicken or the egg?
A: Quite the conundrum. I am going to go with the chicken for the sake of evolution but the egg for the sake of creation.
Q: What do you see with be the next venture in your journey on Earth? Or do you take it as it comes and go with it?
A: There is always a plan and I do my best to follow it, though things don’t always go according to it. My next venture, well, I am already on it actually. I have a lot of projects going on at one time; it is just a matter of when they are ready for the public. I can tell you that Manners & Motivation will continue to grow, that Inspiration on Demand is just beginning, and #ihelpedchangealife is not dead.
It should be worth mentioning that opportunities that present themselves are evaluated and addressed. I always try to roll with the punches.
Q: Who inspires YOU?
A: YOU inspire me, all of you. Seeing people create, bring ideas to life, and have their eyes light up when excitement enters their mind is what inspires me beyond belief. It is the interaction with people that make life worth living!
Q: I know you've said it before, but I can’t remember...what do the 3 dots mean?
A: The represent the body, the mind, and the environment. All which are influencers on the self. The circles are infinite, as are the effect of each of these elements on us, and they are also varying in sizes which denote their varied effect on us at any given time. These three dots are the direct representation of who I am.
Q: Do you remember the exact moment that you decided to write Inspiration on Demand?
A: I do! I was lying flat on my back in bed, very late, thinking about the requests I had received to compile my daily quotes into some sort of pocket book. I was thinking about the pressure of the process of book creation. A process I wasn’t ready to address at that time. It was then that I realized that if individuals were requesting a book, they should create it. I had all the quotes written but compiling another book didn’t sound appealing until this moment. I knew we could make it something special, something of the people, for the people. Inspiration on Demand is as much mine as it is everyone else’s and that is a massive honor.
Q: I have thought about this all day and the only question I need to know the answer to is how many licks does it take it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
A: Three according to a little tootsie pop eating owl.
Q: Where is all of your family in this, meaning brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins? Were they on your first journey, are they on this journey do you know what I mean? I could ask you a million questions and blow up your page but I will be nice and quit. I am always interested in other people and their life, ways, transformations, beliefs, beginnings, journeys, etc.
A: My immediate family is supportive in my journey and present when time allows. You can occasionally find them at speaking engagements locally and always referenced in the form of tattoos on my left arm. Extended family has always been fairly distant though not a real positive or negative influence. To my family I have always just been Joshua, no more, no less. I am just the same kid I’ve always been and that is the perfect situation for me. My family has a major role in my story and someday it is likely that those tales will be told eventually.
Q: Do you prefer yams, or beets? Take your pick.
A: Neither, I actually prefer a large pizza, sushi, or bowl of fruity pebbles cereal over those two options.
Q: How come you decided to not go out for sports in school when you were a very good athlete?
A: This was a sore subject for me for years because of the terrible things that the parents of my potential teammates said to me regarding my decision not to play sports. I was called a disappointment to the school, to other students, and to them. It took me several years to get over those words and forgive those individuals who have probably long forgotten then had ever spoken to me on the subject.
On to the question at hand…I had little desire to play sports after I reached some of the specific goals I had set for myself in sports. I had reached, or surpassed, some various records in either practice or official game play and that was that. I had no desire for a trophy, I just wanted to satisfy my personal goals and move on. I had other things I preferred to learn such as business management, customer service, & teamwork. All of which I learned from my years at the great Seaton’s Jack & Jill. I still use a lot of what I learned from my time at the store and am grateful for my decision to work instead of play sports.
Q: Do you ever regret growing up in a small town where people didn't understand being your own self?
A: Not in the least. There was a time that I had issues with my hometown but I have come to terms with my past and accept it fully. The long and short of it is that others chose to communicate to one another rather than get to know me and I am guilty of the same. The best part of the story is that there were a lot of lessons learned in those years and they are still a good part of my life today. You can read the full story of my coming to terms with growing up in Brooklyn, Iowa HERE if you’d like.
Q: I have a rhetorical question...why wasn't there anybody like you speaking at my high school when I was a kid?
A: I am aware that the question was rhetorical; however, I wanted to mention that I am not sure why there was no one like me speaking in high schools when you were a kid. Regardless, I am super excited that there was not anyone like me speaking in high schools or I may not have the opportunity to pave the way now.
Q: When will you be speaking at Monte school? I read your posts every morning before I get ready for my day and when I'm having just a downer day I go back to your post that day and then I just think more positive. So thank you.
A: Montezuma Schools are aware of the Manners & Motivation Tour but no dates have been established. The more students, parents, & staff suggest to the administration that they wish for the Manners & Motivation Tour to stop at their school the better. Most dates have been booked organically through student and parental requests. I would be honored to speak to the students & staff of Montezuma.
Q: I need to see you as I want to look at all your tattoos and hear why you got each one and what it means to you!! LOL!
A: That is a big undertaking lol. I have answered a similar question in Ask Anything Pt.1 which you can read HERE.
Q: What are people’s first impressions of you at first????
A: The phrase I hear most often is “You are not what I expected!” Those outside of the tattoo/modified community assume that since I am heavily tattooed/modified I am either A) uneducated or B) unsuccessful. However, after a few minutes the assumptions wash away. On the other side of the coin is the tattoo/modified community who often assumes I fit fully into that niche as well, which is also not 100% true. I am happy to blur the lines when it comes to whom & what I am and I am proud that I don’t have to fit into any specific social segment yet can mingle within all of them.
Q: Back when we worked together you were more on the dark side of things and that book you put out was (in my opinion ) in very disgusting gross humor, you then got married in a cemetery on Halloween night, so much on the dark side as most people would see it. AND now you are this terrific inspirational uplifting, positive, ''hey you look like you need a hug'' kind of guy. WHAT HAPPENED TO TRANSFORM YOU INTO THIS PERSON, and don't say it can happen to anyone, I've tried many times over the years, and someone always pushes me back into the pit.
A: Ah, a question from close to home! I would agree with your statement that I was much more on the darker side of life. I was largely focused on the anger of my past and was continually writing as a way to deal with the darkness. The result ultimately culminated in reaching a goal, which was the publishing of my first book. It just so happened that my mindset was very dark, I saw the world through dark lenses, and thought it interesting that I was often judged for being dark when top rated television at the time consisted of very dark, yet widely accepted, shows such as Law & Order and NYPD Blue.
To address the statement of getting married (to my first wife) in a cemetery, that is simply untrue. I was married outdoors on a deck under the mid-afternoon sun. The wedding date was near Halloween but not on the specific date and there was a costume themed reception following.
Those close to me are aware of my love for late 70’s-mid 80’s B-grade horror films. The wedding reception was a fun homage to that. Very simple.
I did answer the second portion of your question within Ask Anything Pt.1 which you can read HERE.
Lastly, I won’t say it can happen to anyone. I will say that anyone who is willing to choose happiness every single morning, to choose to stand up no matter how many times they are knocked down, and to choose to take responsibility & accountability for their feelings/actions in life will MAKE it happen for themselves. Happiness doesn’t just happen, happiness takes the hardest work you can imagine but the payoff is beyond all comprehension.
Q: That would be my question, what got you from gothic to hugging?
A: Interesting that I was viewed as gothic. I did have long black hair (and yes occasionally sported some sweet guyliner) but I was not into any period of dress nor specific style of music that would correlate with the gothic period. See above for what caused my transformation and Ask Anything Pt.1 for a much more elaborate explanation.
I hope you all enjoyed asking your questions as much as I enjoyed answering them! Thank you all so much for your interest in me and all that I have going on. I cannot thank you enough for taking time out of your busy lives for anything I have to offer. Take care and talk soon. -Joshua Coburn