Mind Over Matter With Kurek Ashley
As originally featured in See. Need. Want.
From A-List Hollywood Actor to one of the world's best self-development speakers and coaches. Kurek Ashley is a mighty force of nature empowering you to access your full potential.
Self-development has been Kurek’s mission since high school, however he pursued an acting career with an aim to use his fame to help others. And that he has done and continues to keep doing. For over 30 years, over 500 companies and major corporations around the world including Apple, Schwarzkopf, Westin Hotels, The Australian Royal Airforce and Carlton United Brewery, hire Kurek to teach them tactical success strategies that have produced inspirational results.
His list of private clients range from Hollywood film and TV stars, movie directors, producers and cinematographers, a quintuple platinum rock band, hit music composers, top business leaders, oil executives in Kuwait, Olympic Gold Medalists, professional athletes and sports teams.
He is the author of the #1 international best-selling book How would Love respond? Within four hours of the book being released it took the number 1 spot on Amazon.com and #4 on Barnes and Noble. He has a second book and a new TV show called The Transformer all in the works.
Below we chatted to Kurek all about his journey, his approach and what you need to do in order to start living the life you dream of.
Tell us a bit about your background and what led you into self-development?
I was an actor. I did 38 movies in Hollywood alongside the likes of Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Adam Sandler, always playing the bad guy, but I was also always coaching and speaking at gigs ever since high school. In 1989, I was involved in helicopter crash on a Chuck Norris film called Delta Force 2 where five of my friends died. It put my life into a wheel. Drugs, cigarettes and booze. I had a gun in my mouth every night. I wasn’t partying, I was just trying to kill myself. Luckily I’m not a success at everything in life.
I one day woke up and realised that my life is not my own, that there are other people that love and care about you and are responsible for. There are people that look up to you. So I unscrewed a broom, held it over my head like a samurai warrior in my backyard in California and just said I’m done. I gave up cocaine, cigarettes, alcohol abuse, I gave all my guns away.
My life since then has been a real passion about not only turning my own life around but teaching those key strategies to millions of people around the world. It’s all based on science and the laws of physics, the laws of cause and effect, and that everyone has equal potential. If you put in certain actions, you’re going to be guaranteed the results.
Was there a particular tool/person that triggered the turning point in your life?
The tool is called decision. Most people in life say I should do this or I should to that, they end up shoulding all over themselves. Should never be powerful enough to make change. We tell ourselves that we should do something but never did it. But when you actually make a decision, the universe starts to help you out and back up your decision. After you make a decision, it’s working on being consistent to that decision. I believe everything you are doing approximately right, you need to celebrate so that your brain starts waking up enjoyment and then it’s going to start wanting to do more and more and pretty soon you start creating momentum.
Aside from decision, what other tools do you use in transformation?
Wherever the head goes the body follows, so it’s always going to be a mind set and then it’s about development of new skill sets and they go hand in hand. Having a correct mind is also a skill set. Sometimes the challenges of life are our best gift. Any uncomfortable feelings in life such as sickness, pain, stress or anxiety is a call to action to do something different. Your system is working perfectly, you’re just on the inappropriate path. I use firewalking, physiology, your posture tells your brain about what emotion you’re in. But it’s always about getting your head right, to examine your thoughts. Are they helping you or hurting you?
What's your approach to becoming more aware of your thoughts and stepping back and witnessing them instead of always believing them?
I get it all the time from people. “You don’t understand my life, I have a job, and kids, I don’t have time for that stuff.” To me that’s like saying, I’m so busy flying my plane I don’t have time to put fuel in it. Well eventually you are going to crash. It’s creating the space in your mind for having the thoughts that are going to create your life. It could be meditating, just checking in with nature, exercising (without your phone). Giving yourself the space for creative thoughts every day is going to be far more valuable than standing toe-to-toe in your problems.
So it's a holistic life?
I’m not a purist. God put marijuana on the planet so if you want to smoke it that’s your call. I don’t smoke or drink alcohol anymore. That is because if you want something new in your life, you have to make room for it. I want to keep seeing what my true potential is. It’s all about balance. It’s a holistic life because how can you be happy if you’re sick? What’s the point of being wealthy if you’re lonely? It’s about being holistically successful.
What are your qualifications or do you teach from self-experience?
I’m an ongoing consistent student. I study from people in life. Everybody has some successful area of their lives, whether is exercise, business, relationships, it still comes down to the same formula about what they are putting in place. It’s about continually reinventing yourself, you can’t be who you used to be. In order for things to change, I must change. For example with people in business, there business used to be really good but now it’s struggling, the CEO needs to reinvent themselves but they don’t see that. We have to change, not wait for the market to change. It’s not the strongest or intelligent of species that win, it’s the ones that are most able to adapt and evolve.
What does the structure of your programs look like?
I always start with personal development. In business, in order to make money you have to work on yourself first. It’s then about what the outcomes are that you want because if you don’t know what you want, then it’s going to be hard to get there. There are a lot of different vehicles for what I do, I have retreats, we’re working on a new TV show, I do one-on-one coaching, group coaching, corporate coaching etc.
How are you different to other transformers?
I learnt a lot from those other people. I spent five years on the road with Anthony Robbins, I studied Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, Norman Vincent Peale and Napoleon Hill. We’re all teaching the same formula. It’s not my formula and so we can’t get too far off of that before it’s not the formula anymore. I always say if I’m not the person to help you, go find someone who is. Find someone you do connect with, but do it immediately so that you don’t get to the end of your life and look back with regret. Everybody has equal potential but not everybody will do it. It’s through doing that we develop. What makes me different is I’m not book taught, it’s that I went through hell and back to produce an amazing life.
Does it take getting to rock bottom to get people to change?
No, that’s not a good strategy. Learn from other people’s rock bottom experiences so that it doesn’t happen to you if it’s possible.
Why do you think so many people are even getting to that rock bottom place?
It’s nobody’s fault and there’s no blame, but I think it’s kind of a cultural thing that we hide that we need help. People are talking about their problems on Facebook, but they are not actually asking for help. If you don’t ask for it, you’re not going to get it. Or you’re asking the wrong people such as drama-filled friends. It’s the ability to get out there, be vulnerable and ask for help. That person that gives you help needs to give you the very first step and then you have to do it.
Who has been your biggest mentor and inspiration in your transformation journey?
Two people. One would be my father, a man of total integrity which is something I carry with me today. The other man is John Herzfeld, a Hollywood film director who took me under his wing when I was 18-years-old. John got me to read books, made me look at vocabulary every day, taught me about life and wisdom. I look up to him as he is an Emmy Award Winning movie director and still to this day he is one of my very best friends. He was someone I aspired to be because he was very successful but also a very loving and caring guy.
What's your favourite inspirational quote?
My own. “Most people wish really big and accept really little. In life you get what you expect so expect more out of yourself and live up to that expectation.”
Can you talk about love and how that comes into what you do?
In Mary Magdalen scriptures that were found in the dead sea scrolls, she doesn’t refer to Jesus as the messiah, she refers to him as the love. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. The bible also says if you don’t know love you don’t know God. God is love. If we identify ourselves as love, we would have everything we want in life. Love would not want us to be poor, it wouldn’t want you to smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol, be in an abusive relationship.
All the issues we have in this lifetime are self-love issues because if you really loved yourself, would you allow yourself to suffer? It’s about amplify the self-love. We are told it’s egotistical to love yourself, I think it’s egotistical not to love yourself. If you love yourself more, you will hold yourself to that higher standard of what you want for yourself and then you will share that. The more love you have and give, the more love you have again. Love is abundant. Love is the most powerful force in change.
Every single person in the universe knows the difference between right and wrong. Before we were born we were one with the universe and we knew everything. The spirit knows the different between right and wrong. We just have to learn how to listen to ourselves again. I like to say, we think to create, but we feel to decide. If you get yourself into a good emotional place and ask how to I feel about this, the answer is always there. Whenever we go against that, we go, why didn’t I just listen to myself. The inner voice or spirit. That spirit always knows the answer because it’s directly connected to source.
What are your top 3 tips for finding your truth?
1. Pretend you have a magic wand. Go back to your inner child, with no stories and no limitations and write down what you want.
2. Read those goals every day with passion and enthusiasm. You keep seeing it in your mind.
3. Then after reading it, ask yourself what actions will I take to create that. Then do whatever your voice tells you do.
All of a sudden you will notice that you are moving in that direction anyway. Acknowledge yourself for every little thing you’re doing right. If you lose 1g of weight, celebrate it. If you went to the gym for 10 minutes, celebrate it because that will send the message to your brain that you’re enjoying it. Pretty soon, you will start to feel better, then you start to feel amazing. Then you start to feel like yourself again.
Every day I wake up as if I’m born and go to sleep as if I die. I ask what am I going to do with my life. So if I wake up every day as if it’s my first day and last day, with that you are going to wake up with awe, and wonder, gratitude and appreciation for everything you do. Every morning I wake up and ask what do I love more about my life today than I did yesterday.
What next for you?
Keep doing what I do. When I tell people I quit Hollywood to do this, they turn around and say, that’s what you always did.
Tell us about your upcoming Find Your Fire Retreat?
It’s help on Stradbroke Island in Queensland, Australia over 4 days. We have 5-star catering, yoga, mindfulness, personal development, goal achieving and the fire walk. The fire walk is a metaphor for what you think is impossible, but isn’t. You see people take crazy steps towards their goals and dreams. Allowing yourself the time to do less but achieve more comes from having the space to create the thoughts and bring yourself back to peace. Teach your body and mind to be human and be back to nature. That’s what the retreat allows you access.
For more information, click here.