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Escaping Sudan's War to Build Dreams in the USA - Jany Deng’s Life Story
58:10
The Optimistic American

Escaping Sudan's War to Build Dreams in the USA - Jany Deng’s Life Story

Join us in an inspiring conversation with Jany Deng, one of the original Lost Boys of Sudan, as he shares his harrowing journey from the war-torn villages of Sudan to the bustling streets of Phoenix, Arizona. In this episode of The Optimistic American, host Paul Johnson and Jany delve into the realities of civil war, the challenges of life in refugee camps, and the transformative experience of becoming an American citizen. This story is not just about survival; it's about the power of hope and the unyielding human spirit in the face of adversity. Topics Discussed in the Video: - Early Life in Sudan: Jany recounts his early childhood in Sudan, marked by a sudden transition from normal village life to the chaos of civil war. Learn about the cultural and societal structure of Jany's community before the conflict began. - The Journey of the Lost Boys: Discover the incredible story of thousands of young boys, including Jany, who embarked on a perilous journey across Africa to escape the violence, facing hunger, danger, and uncertainty with remarkable courage. - Life in Refugee Camps: Jany shares insights into the daily struggles and realities of living in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, highlighting the resilience of the human spirit amid dire conditions. - Resettlement in America: The journey from being a refugee to becoming an American citizen is fraught with challenges and new beginnings. Jany discusses his assimilation into American society, the cultural adjustments, and the opportunities that reshaped his life. - A Message of Hope and Resilience: Reflecting on his journey, Jany offers a message of hope, emphasizing the importance of resilience, community support, and the enduring pursuit of the American dream. You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts! Spotify: https://optamlink.com/spotify Apple Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/apple Google Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/google We post new content every week so make sure to subscribe to stay in the loop. Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website! https://www.optamerican.com Chapters: 00:00 - Introduction 00:52 - A Stolen Childhood 11:31 - The First Walk 13:42 - Arriving at Ethiopia 15:11 - The Second Walk 16:40 - A 3 Month Journey 18:51 - Arriving at Kenya 20:07 - Coming to the U.S. 29:34 - Becoming a U.S. Citizen 35:09 - Forming the Lost Boys Center 35:48 - Gratitude to America 36:34 - Everyone Has a Story 37:50 - A Connection to Help Someone 38:48 - Why is the U.S. Special? 40:13 - Going to ASU & Giving Back 41:18 - “If I Can Do It, You Can Do It” 42:54 - Opening the Biggest Education Center in Sudan 43:38 - Micro Loans 47:28 - Looking for Opportunities, Not Handouts 53:39 - What’s Your Life Goal? 55:29 - Final Remarks & Conclusion
The Anthem Girl: A Story of Music, Motivation, and American Pride
53:20
The Optimistic American

The Anthem Girl: A Story of Music, Motivation, and American Pride

Join Paul Johnson in an uplifting conversation with Janine Stange, known affectionately as the "Anthem Girl" for her unprecedented achievement of singing the National Anthem in all 50 states. Beyond her musical journey, Janine shares the personal adversities and losses that propelled her to find purpose, become a sought-after motivational speaker, and devote her time to supporting veterans. This episode delves into the power of setting ambitious goals, the importance of American history, and how individual resilience can inspire collective pride and progress. Topics Discussed in the Video: - Overcoming Personal Adversity: Janine opens up about the challenges and losses that reshaped her outlook on life and led her to set a unique goal that combined her passion for music with a deep sense of patriotism. - The National Anthem Journey: Discover the motivation behind Janine's ambitious goal to sing the National Anthem in every state, the obstacles she overcame, and the profound impact this mission had on her life and others. - Veterans Support: Janine shares her dedication to working with veterans, highlighting the importance of giving back to those who've served and the personal fulfillment derived from this service. - The Historical Significance of the National Anthem: Learn about the inspiring story of Francis Scott Key, the significance of Fort McHenry, and why the National Anthem holds a special place in Janine's heart and American culture - Motivational Speaking and Goal Setting: Janine discusses the transition to motivational speaking, including practical advice on goal setting, finding purpose, and the power of resilience in the face of adversity. You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts! Spotify: https://optamlink.com/spotify Apple Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/apple Google Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/google We post new content every week so make sure to subscribe to stay in the loop. Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website! https://www.optamerican.com Chapters: 00:00 - Introduction 01:21 - Singing In All 50 States 05:10 - Why The Song Matters 07:32 - Francis Scott Key 17:19 - PART OF THE GREATEST SUPERPOWER! 19:53 - A Motivational Speaker 24:29 - The 5 Step Motivation Mindset 30:18 - Happiness, Suffering, & Purpose 32:21 - Looking Back 34:51 - 100 Missions 40:26 - Lessons Learned & The Future Plans 43:00 - Connecting w/ People Through Personal Stories 45:13 - Optimistic or Losing Faith? 49:39 - Final Remarks & Conclusion 51:17 - National Anthem 50th Performance
From Blind Date to Fallen Hero: A Family's Story of Sacrifice and Service
01:02:50
The Optimistic American

From Blind Date to Fallen Hero: A Family's Story of Sacrifice and Service

Join us as we delve into the inspiring story of Jennie Taylor, widow of Major Brent Taylor, and their unwavering dedication to service, sacrifice, and patriotism. In this episode of The Optimistic American, Jennie and host Paul Johnson dig into the profound impact of Major Taylor's life and legacy, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs faced by military families and the importance of honoring those who serve. Topics Discussed in the Video: - A Blind Date: Jennie shares the journey of how she and Brent came together. Initially introduced on a blind date arranged by mutual friends, their first encounter didn't unfold as expected. Despite the rocky start, they crossed paths again and discovered a deep connection rooted in their shared love for their country. Their relationship flourished, leading to marriage and the joy of having seven children together. - Mayors: Jennie discusses her husband, Mayor Brent Taylor, and his experience as a mayor. She mentions that Brent was born for politics and leadership. After serving on the city council for four years, he decided to run for mayor and did a great job. Paul shares his insights on being a mayor. He mentions a set of principles he had come across during his time as a mayor and the experience both his family and him went through during the time he was mayor. - The Fateful Mission: Jennie talks about her husband Brent Taylor's fateful mission. Brent served in Iraq twice before deploying to Afghanistan with the National Guard. He also served on the city council and as the mayor while being a soldier in the National Guard. Despite being older and having a family, Brent volunteered for a deployment with a ranger battalion from Georgia. During a routine hike with Afghan soldiers on November 3rd, 2018, one of the Afghan soldiers he was training turned hostile and shot and killed him. - Grief and Resilience: Jennie shares her journey of grief and resilience following her husband’s death in combat. Despite facing financial struggles and emotional turmoil, Jennie found solace in her faith and a deep belief in the values of freedom and sacrifice. Her establishment of a foundation in Brent's honor reflects her unwavering commitment to supporting military families and honoring his memory through impactful initiatives. - Inspiring Patriotism: Jennie and Paul underscore the importance of understanding history, appreciating the sacrifices made for freedom, and inspiring patriotism. Jennie's mission to educate and bridge the gap between civilian and military communities through her foundation embodies a profound dedication to upholding the values of the United States and honoring the legacy of Major Brent Taylor. You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts! Spotify: https://optamlink.com/spotify Apple Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/apple Google Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/google We post new content every week so make sure to subscribe to stay in the loop. Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website! https://www.optamerican.com Chapters: 00:00 - Introduction 01:07 - A Blind Date 03:39 - Lots of Kids 05:32 - Mayors 15:05 - The Fateful Mission 20:28 - An Awful Experience 25:06 - The First Rays of Light 31:20 - Starting the Foundation 37:29 - The 3 Principles 42:26 - Something Bigger Than Us 46:37 - America, a Beacon 49:03 - Hershey’s Chocolate 50:06 - Civics, Autonomy, & Freedom 52:43 - Making an Impact 55:49 - Jonathan 56:47 - Making an Impact cont.. 1:00:18 - Final Remarks & Conclusion
The Unspeakable Mission: The fighter pilot ordered to crash into flight 93 on 911
01:16:28
The Optimistic American

The Unspeakable Mission: The fighter pilot ordered to crash into flight 93 on 911

In this episode of the Optimistic American, Paul Johnson is joined by special guest, Heather Penny. Heather is known for her heroics on 9/11, when she and a fellow Air Force pilot were told to intercept United Flight 93 before it reached Washington D.C. Today she is a defense policy expert at the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies in Arlington, Virginia. Join us as we discuss the concepts of a three-front war, the evolution of aircraft technology, the challenges facing the U.S. political system in dealing with global threats, and much more! This episode is a thought-provoking conversation that delves into the past, present, and future of American defense and optimism. Topics Discussed in this Video: - 911: Heather Penny delves into the pivotal events of 9/11, from her engagement in the critical mission on that fateful day to the broader discussions on the evolving mission and purpose of the Air Force post-9/11. - The Mitchell Institute: Heather discusses her involvement with the Mitchell Institute, an independent think tank focused on defense and national security policy analysis. As a Senior Fellow, she conducts research on advanced operational concepts and future warfare to provide critical insights and recommendations to senior leaders within the Air Force and national security community. - A Three Front War: Paul expresses his belief about a significant strategic change taking place in the United States regarding a potential three front war. He mentions that the country has successfully fought against terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, but now faces different threats from near-peer nations like China and Russia. He suggests that these nations pose a challenge to the Western liberal democracy and the American world order, and emphasizes the importance of putting together the right steps to engage in this type of conflict effectively. - Airctafts: Heather discusses the premature termination of the F-22 program and the continued use of F-15s. She mentions the development of future sixth-generation air dominance fighters and the integration of unmanned aircraft to supplement manned aircraft. This is driven by budget constraints and the evolving strategic demands, emphasizing the coordination between humans and unmanned systems for operation effectiveness. - Politics & Threats: Paul and Heather discuss the American political system and its effectiveness in dealing with threats. Paul Johnson expresses the belief that the political system is not living up to the needs of the country. He mentions that when a large portion of the majority wants change, it eventually happens in a democracy. He acknowledges the severe risks faced by the U.S. both domestically and globally and compares these challenges to those posed by the Soviet Union and Axis powers in World War II. There is an optimistic view that if the American public engages and takes action, it can address and overcome these threats effectively. You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts! Spotify: https://optamlink.com/spotify Apple Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/apple Google Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/google We post new content every week so make sure to subscribe to stay in the loop. Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website! https://www.optamerican.com Chapters: 00:00 - Introduction 02:13 - 911 26:00 - What Goes Through the Mind? 29:35 - A Long Long Day 38:18 - The Air Force’s Mission 42:07 - The Mitchell Institute 43:03 - A Three Front War 48:39 - Fifth & Sixth Generation Aircrafts 52:15 - Unmanned Aircrafts 55:39 - The Budget for the Air Force 1:00:09 - U.S. vs China 1:01:51 - Dealing with Threat 1:06:33 - A Career in the Air Force 1:08:21 - An Undeserving System 1:14:19 - Final Remarks & Conclusion
10 Tips to 10X your Business - Dave Berg
01:15:38
The Optimistic American

10 Tips to 10X your Business - Dave Berg

In this episode of The Optimistic American, Paul Johnson is accompanied by Dr. David Berg, CEO and co-founder of Redirect Health. Paul and David have been business partners for over 20 years in both healthcare and real estate, and bring an abundance of tips and information for entrepreneurs. Join us as we explore topics such as mindset shifts and communication techniques for transforming challenging situations into success stories, and tips for improving efficiency in complex systems like healthcare. Topics Discussed in This Video: - Singular Focus or Mindset Shift: Find out how a singular focus or mindset shift can significantly impact both personal and business goals, and learn how to harness the power of clarity and direction to achieve success. - Fear and Lack of Confidence: Discover how fear and lack of confidence can act as barriers to reaching your full potential. Uncover strategies to overcome these obstacles and build self-assurance on your journey to success. - Middle Conversation: Understand how the "middle conversation" plays a crucial role in determining whether a situation can be turned around. Learn effective communication techniques to navigate challenges and initiate positive change. - Starting Conversations: Master the art of starting conversations by acknowledging difficulties while simultaneously casting a vision for success. Explore the transformative power of open dialogue and setting clear intentions in relationships and business interactions. - Complex Systems: Delve into the world of complex systems, such as healthcare, and discover the importance of simplification and streamlining for enhanced efficiency. Discover how to untangle intricate systems to improve outcomes and overall effectiveness. You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts! Spotify: https://optamlink.com/spotify Apple Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/apple Google Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/google We post new content every week so make sure to subscribe to stay in the loop. Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website! https://www.optamerican.com Chapters: 00:00 - Introduction 01:56 - Redirect Health & Healthcare 18:59 - Entrepreneurs Organizations 23:12 - Technology & Employees 24:47 - 10 Steps for Leadership 35:04 - The Ceiling of Complexity 37:29 - Be an Immigrant 48:01 - Victimhood & The Power of Ted 53:37 - Game Theory & Prisoners Dilemma 58:38 - The 3 Conversations 1:04:06 - Think, Plan, Act 1:08:54 - The Lazy Effective Leader 1:14:37 - Final Remarks & Conclusion
The Power of Music: Anna Wilson & Monty Powell on Inspiring Change Through Music
51:05
The Optimistic American

The Power of Music: Anna Wilson & Monty Powell on Inspiring Change Through Music

Join host Paul Johnson as we step into the world of modern music and sit down with acclaimed songwriters and performers, Anna Wilson and Monty Powell. Join us as we delve into the heart of Anna and Monty’s creative process, discussing the exploration of important and thought-provoking themes in country music. - Tackling the Tough Questions: Anna and Monty believe in going beyond surface-level topics and navigating the complexities of societal issues through their music. They share their experiences and challenges in crafting songs that provoke reflection and inspire change. - The Power of Music: In a world where politics and writing may fall short, music has the unique ability to connect deeply with people. Join us as we explore the ways in which Anna and Monty use their music to make a difference, sparking conversations and empowering listeners. - Introducing SongStars: Discover the inspiration behind their groundbreaking project, SongStars, where they have the vision of showcasing the talents and stories of songwriters on a theater stage. - The Importance of Artists in Society: Gain insights into Anna and Monty's perspectives on the role of artists in society. They share their belief in the responsibility of artists to provide a platform for diverse voices and contribute to larger conversations about social change. Get ready to be entertained and enlightened as we embark on this journey into the world of modern music. Don't miss out on this captivating episode! Remember to like, comment, and subscribe to our channel to stay updated on future episodes. You can listen to this episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts! Spotify: https://optamlink.com/spotify Apple Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/apple Google Podcasts: https://optamlink.com/google We post new content every week so make sure to subscribe to stay in the loop. Learn more about The Optimistic American by checking out our website! https://www.optamerican.com Chapters: 00:00 - Introduction 02:34 - Love at First Note 04:34 - Their Big Break 06:19 - The Creative Process 09:46 - A Low Point 11:18 - Memorable Moments 15:46 - A Bit of Politics 24:00 - Misinterpreted Lyrics 26:26 - Music’s Healing Power 28:17 - Impacting People Lives 33:01 - SongStars 36:53 - Concert # 1 40:53 - House a Home 42:35 - Exaggerations or Symbolic 45:35 - Concert # 2 48:16 - Final Remarks & Conclusion

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