When you work on yourself and increase your self-worth, your network follows. John Solleder welcomes his good friend and first real mentor in network marketing, Tom Husted. Tom talks about how self-worth as true abundance and prosperity is a state of mind. It goes beyond money and wealth because there are millionaires, and even billionaires, who still don’t feel enough. Seek a higher state of consciousness, and you’ll find true and lasting security, happiness, and love within yourself. And everything else will follow. Tune in!
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Tom Husted, My Good Friend And Sponsor
People come into your life for different reasons. Many years ago, I met a guy. He may or may not remember this because he was already famous and I was just coming up the food chain in the sport of wrestling. The first time I ever met this gentleman was in Annapolis, Maryland at the Annapolis Wrestling Clinic. I’ll never forget that Tom finished a workout like everybody else. It was a July or August day. It was very humid there. We all finished the workout. Everybody was going to take a shower, get back to their room and sleep. Tom threw on his regular sneakers to go run.
I remember that’s the way that you achieve in life and learn so much from a distance from him. I was a little intimidated, to be honest. Tom Husted was already a New Jersey State wrestling champion at that point. He had a place in the states as a freshman and as a sophomore. He won the New Jersey State title as a junior. He was the MVP of the state tournament that year and went on to win it again his senior year. He was a record-setting guy.
Growing up in the same area, you would pick up the newspaper in those days. For those of you under 40, those are the things on paper that had words on them. Tom was always in the paper. It was always a story about Tom’s achievements. A few short years later, Tom had graduated from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. I was in my senior year of college at Seton Hall University.
I was working for a mutual friend of ours, a guy named Dave Burzynski. He was also a great wrestler. He had been the first American ever to win a medal in the sport of Sambo. Dave was a great judo player as well and tied to the great Dan Gable in the 1968 Olympic trials. I was working for Dave. It’s my first sales job. I was selling health club memberships in Westwood, New Jersey.
Tom came into the club one day and the next thing I know, he’s in my office. Dave was behind him and said, “John, you need to listen to what Tom has to say here.” This is Tom Husted. He is a royalty in my world of wrestling. It was like, “Tom Husted wants to talk to me. How cool is that?” We shook hands, sat down, and shared a couple of fast stories. I said, “Tom, what can I do for you?”
Tom started to tell me what he was doing for a living. He had joined a company called Herbalife that I had never heard of. It was in something called multi-level marketing, which I also had never heard of. During the course of the conversation, he shared with me some things about that company and the products. I said, “I got to start using those. It sounds great.”
I was still training myself and had gotten very involved in the sport of judo at that point. Long story short, because it was Tom Husted, I listened with both ears. Tom, I don’t know if you remember this or not but you said, “For $32, you could start your own business.” This story has become famous in multi-level because I said, “I can write you a check but I can’t cover it for a couple of days.” You were nice enough to say, “I can hold it until Friday if you want.”
I said, “Friday is fine. I won’t tell you which Friday it was but if you hold it until Friday, I can cover it.” I think it was the next week that I was able to cover the check. That’s how we got started. Welcome to the show, my long-term friend and my first real mentor in network marketing, and my good friend all these years later. He’s living over in Thailand. Tom, how are you?
I’m doing very good and you, John?
I’m great. This is so much fun for you and me to be together after all these years, talking about the beginning of our careers and my career in network marketing. Let’s stay on wrestling for a minute because I have such great respect for you as an athlete that I listened to you. In network marketing, a lot of times, it’s who approaches you. It’s not what they approach you about it. If you would come to me as some guy about Herbalife, I probably wouldn’t have listened.
I wasn’t looking for anything like that, but because it was somebody who I held in such high esteem and respect, I was all ears. It was Tom Husted, a state champion, Lehigh University wrestler, college graduate, great student, and great reputation in our community. I listened to you because of that. Once you segued into what it was, I got very interested. As one teaching point here, remember it’s how you approach people and the credibility that you use. Let’s talk about that.
The bottom line is the products work and you’ve lost weight. If it didn’t work and you didn’t lose weight, I don’t know if you would have gotten involved.
How did you get involved with Herbalife? I don’t remember.
I don’t think you know the whole story. This was 1983 when I got involved. I graduated from Lehigh University in 1982 and had a coaching assistant job at Bloomsburg State in Pennsylvania. I was going to go for my MBA. In 1983, I went there to do that. I only lasted one semester for my MBA because after one semester, I got so disillusioned with my MBA classes because all they were talking about was how to maximize short-term profits. I realized I wasn’t interested in that.
I was going for my MBA and I realized that’s not what I wanted to do. After a semester, I left and didn’t know quite sure what I was going to do. I went back to New Jersey. Within a very short period of time, I found out about Herbalife through an ad in the newspaper. I went to a business opportunity meeting and that’s where I met Ann Marie. I had a gut feeling even before I knew much about Herbalife that this was going to be big. It was confirmed by the products, the marketing system and everything I saw. I signed up immediately and started using the products. That’s how originally I started out in 1983. Shortly after that, you and I connected. I think you were one of the first people I sponsored back then.
What was remarkable about that was we were both so young. We thought because we graduated college that we knew it all. We would soon find out that we didn’t.A sponsor is so important. Make sure you resonate with your sponsor. Click To Tweet
How little did we know?
You were a good teacher because I remember sitting down at one of those little round tables that they had out in the foyer there at the health club and going through “tell, show, try, do,” which was the teaching philosophy of Herbalife developers, Mark Hughes and Larry Thompson. It was so logical. I think we probably talked about it then so long ago. I remember thinking, “Here I had gone to a great university. You had gone to a great university. We both had degrees. We were both good students. Yet neither one of us had any clue how to make money.”
Here we were going to learn from two guys who one had graduated high school and the other one hadn’t. We’re going to learn this business from these guys who didn’t go to school. There was a lesson in that, but I want you to comment on that because they had created such a wonderful, duplicatable, and easy to learn system that anybody, whether they’re educated or non-educated, could learn, do and succeed to some level depending on how hard they went for it.
They made it simple. First of all, the whole concept was ingenious with bringing Chinese herbs into the mainstream and doing it through a diet program initially. You became a walking advertisement when you lost 20 pounds. It was ingenious. Larry Thompson and Mark Hughes were both quite amazing people and believed in the products. They use it themselves and the marketing system. They pretty much built it from scratch. It was from Mark and Larry’s rags to riches story. It was a great American success story with their great determination.
You remember we met Mark Hughes twice. We met him once in Connecticut at a big meeting there. When you came out to California to visit me when I was living out there, we went to Culver City and stopped by the headquarters. Mark Hughes spent a little time talking with us even though he had a very busy day. He was very warm and welcoming as he always is. He was a special person that treated everybody as a big family.
He was. What was remarkable about those meetings and the subsequent meeting we had with Larry Thompson in Hartford was that Mark did not know what rank you were. He knew who his big distributors were at that point like any owner does. We were just two kids. I remember we went to that meeting. Afterward, he circled everybody who wanted to circle up. We sat in the circle with Mark Hughes. Here we are. I’m barely past being a teenager and you’re in your early twenties.
He treated us just like he did the guys who were 40 or 50 with great contacts and plenty of money to build the business. He treated us well. Besides the fact that you and I became such good friends was one part of it. The other part of it was I felt like I had a family with Herbalife. Mark was a remarkable human being. Tom, I don’t know if you remember that whole story or not, but we were living there in Long Beach. We took the bus and we went the wrong way. We wound up in the worst neighborhood.
It’s a good thing we could both wrestle a little bit. On the other hand, the rest of the guys seem to have guns and knives. I think by the time we got to see Mark, we were pretty relieved that we were still breathing. He was such a gentleman and cared about people. Unfortunately, that has gotten out of multi-level as it becomes such a business of corporate people buying companies and not having any idea what the field is like, not all of them but some of them. Unfortunately, the industry isn’t what it was when we joined. Maybe we were a little naive because we were young. I get it was a business, but you and I loved Herbalife. We loved that company and what it stood for.
We both have believed in the company and its products and everything. I think both of us initially did not get involved just to make money. It was about the product and the vision.
I learned a lot from you, Tom. I don’t give you credit for it all the time but I do in my books, Leave Nothing to Chance and Moving Up 2020, which I hope you’ve read. You can get them on Amazon and so can everybody else. I wrote Moving Up 2020 in 2019, not having any idea what 2020 was going to be like, and we know what happened. I talked about the story with Tom but it was interesting because as you recall, I graduated from Seton Hall. You were at my graduation party. I graduated and Ronald Reagan spoke that day about mentorship among other things.
I’m sitting there thinking, “I’m still trying to get a job.” That’s what you do when you get out of college. I’m thinking, “I’ve made more money in the last 30 days goofing around this Herbalife thing than some of my friends who had already taken jobs. I think what happened there was Reagan spoke. I graduated and went through all of that. That was in May of ’83. In June of ’83, you did a smart thing. I don’t know if you remember this or not but you probably do. Your father had lent you an old Station Wagon that he had in the driveway. I don’t think he drove it much. It was like a spare car.
You said, “We’re going to go to Hartford and hear this Larry Thompson guy talk.” I said, “Who was Larry Thompson?” You said, “He’s the vice president of a company.” We’ve met Mark Hughes and Larry Thompson within the first 45 days of being in this thing. We drove up there and a couple of things on the way. One was, it was you and I, and a girl I was dating who would join the business. It was the two other guys that I had sponsored. I think it was Peter and Eric. One was a roofer and the other guy was unemployed.
I remember all of them.
We’re making no money between the five of us. We’re kids. We shared a hotel room. I don’t know if you remember that or not.
Yeah, I think so. We all chipped in for the gas.
We go up to Hartford. To give people perspective on that, it’s about four hours north of where we were living at the time in New Jersey. Larry made that famous statement that day, “For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better, you have to get better.” I don’t remember what else happened that day. I remember meeting Larry and shaking hands. There were 3,000 or 4,000 people in the room. That was so smart of you to get not only me but also those other people there.We always fall in life. The most important thing is getting back up, brushing yourself off, learning your lesson, and moving on. Click To Tweet
You never know in a business who’s going to get it, who’s going to rise, who’s going to fail or who’s going to cry, but I’ve got it that day. I resonated with Thompson because he was in construction. My family was in construction. It was like, “If this guy can do it, maybe I can do it to some level as well,” but also that statement about, “For things to change,” which it turns out was from Jim Rohn before Larry and Jim were tied at the hip.
Larry eventually would bring Jim over to Herbalife. The final tail end of Jim’s career and life, he spent helping the Herbalife company, but that was smart on your part. Once again, it’s another teaching point, get your people in front of the best people that you possibly can. Here I am, about 45 or maybe 60 days in the business. Tom, you had already got me in front of the owner of the company and the founder who wasn’t that much older than us.
Mark was probably 27 or 28. We resonated with him. He was in our peer group. He was tapping on the company, but he wasn’t that much older than us. Larry Thompson, who was older but already super successful. It was smart on Tom’s part. Also, seeing all of those successful distributors walk across the stage to share their stories was smart. Let’s come back to that. Fast forward to that, I had come up to California for a bit.
Let me interject here. Let’s not fast forward yet. It was a rough road for us because what happened was I sponsored you. I had been sponsored by Anne Marie, who is a great and wonderful woman, into the products and everything. I don’t want to go into too many details about Richard, but her husband was involved with the business. I would not have signed up under them if I had met him initially. I met Ann Marie. I resonated with her but I did not resonate with Richard.
That’s a big thing for people. A sponsor is so important. Make sure you resonate with your sponsor. He has integrity on his track record. All those things, you want to check out because your sponsor is very important just like your mentor. Anne Marie was a great sponsor. Her husband wasn’t. Ultimately, we left Herbalife for a year. We dropped out because of the stuff that was going on. Connecting with Richard was very unethical. I don’t even want to go into it, but we got to the point where we both agreed to say, “John, let’s find a new sponsor. This has gotten too much.” I don’t want to go into detail but it was so much that we had to find somebody else.
We resigned but we had to sit out for one year. We could not do the business for one year. During that period, you went searching for a good sponsor. You wanted to find the best. Meanwhile, I had gotten disillusioned with things. I broke up with my girlfriend. I ran out to California to live out there for a while. At some point, you came out there to visit me to give me the good news. You found this great sponsor, Mark Zuckerbrod, who was amazing. He’s one of the top people with incredible integrity and everything. He was the best sponsor you could ask for.
It turns out he had gone to my high school. You came and told me. I was like, “I know him.” He was a few years older than me and had been a good tennis player and everything. I talked to him. I said, “He’s great. We would sign up under him.” I came back to New Jersey, and we started over again under Mark. It was great. It was night and day compared to what we had gone through before. That shows you that it’s very important who sponsored you and who is your upline in any multi-level marketing company. Make sure you have a good sponsor, a good upline, and good support. We learned that lesson the hard way.
We had this great sponsor. Herbalife was taking off. It was going to be the fastest company in the history of any company in the world to reach $1 billion in sales. I think that they were going to do it in their 4th or 5th year. I forget which year it was. We’re in the middle of this. Everything is going great. We’re like sponsoring people left and right and selling products. At the rate we’re going, it seems like by the time we’re 30, we could retire. The big problem was Herbalife was growing so quickly. They had a supply chain issue. We had all these orders. We had almost as much as $100,000 worth of orders that we couldn’t fill because we couldn’t get the product because there was a backlog for one month.
We then found out that if you go down to the Herbalife warehouse in Atlanta and you show up first thing in the morning, they will load up your truck. You and I went and rented a truck. We drove it down to Atlanta night and day. We got there first thing in the morning. They loaded up our truck with a huge number of products. We drove back nonstop to New Jersey. By the time we got up there, we were delirious. We had this huge truck full of products that we unloaded and sold within a few days.
From there, it was like a rocket ship. Things were going great. Unfortunately, like a torpedo hitting a ship, Herbalife was getting too successful. They were going to set marketing history. The pharmaceutical companies felt threatened by Herbalife. They pulled their political strings and got the Senate to do a nationally televised investigation into Herbalife. That was a bunch of BS trying to make the products look dangerous and all this nonsense, that it was some type of illegal pyramid scheme. None of that was true. All the charges were later dropped. It was just to make Herbalife look bad. Herbalife sales plummeted.
Some people thought they would possibly go out of business. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of Mark Hughes, Larry Thompson, a lot of the top distributors, and the people that were involved in Herbalife, they were able to steer the ship together, but the sales did plummet. They went down maybe by 50% after that but it slowly came back. They eventually hit $1 billion in sales, but it happened a few years later.
Herbalife had relatively come to the East Coast where we were. We did not have the credibility of the name brand yet on the East Coast, especially in the New York Metro area, where people were very skeptical, to begin with. It became very difficult for us to sponsor anybody to sell any products. For a while there, we had to go get regular jobs to survive. For me, my focus and dedication were to Herbalife. I don’t think I was as committed to multi-level marketing as you were. You were committed to it.
You did have this gift of sales, marketing and networking. I decided after all that stuff happened to go on a different path in my life. I did not continue in multi-level marketing after that. You did and built a hugely successful career out of it. If it wasn’t for that unfortunate thing that happened to Herbalife, we were on our way. I think we still would be involved with Herbalife at this point in our life. It was a very unfortunate thing that happened at that point, but that’s life. We always fall down in life. The most important thing is to get back up and keep going. Never ever let anything stop you. Get up again, brush yourself off, learn your lesson and move on.
Two points on that, Tom. I’m glad you brought that Atlanta story. That was crazy. I don’t know if you remember this or not, but people didn’t have credit cards in those days.
We were there in cash.
Tom and I didn’t have $100,000 to buy products. We had a little bit of money for our personal product. Everything was everybody else’s money in our downline.Focus, set your goals, achieve them, and never give up. Click To Tweet
I think Mark helped us out a little bit.
Mark helped us out. We flew to Charlotte where Mark was living. Christina, his wife of many years was like, “Do you guys want to sleep?” It’s like, “No, just let us rest up.” Christina made us a nice dinner at 1:00 in the morning. We picked up the truck and left. I don’t know if it was night when we got down into Atlanta. By the way, we were number 90 in line. I do remember that. We thought we were going to be there. I wouldn’t be able to be there. The staff wouldn’t even be there. We were number 90 in line to give you an idea of how well Herbalife was doing at that point. I want to say that was January 1985. I may be off on my timeframe a little bit here.
It’s probably around there.
It was insane. Think about that now. We’re flying down, two kids with $3,000 of cash. Nobody has any idea we’ve got that in a big envelope. That was crazy in itself and driving back.
Nowadays, if you get caught with all that cash, you’re going to be in big trouble.
The other part of that story is the fact that Herbalife had its problems, and yet what happened was a great teaching moment for me. Prior to that, we saw that success. You and I used to go to meetings in Saddlebrook, New Jersey at the Saddlebrook Marriott, which I haven’t been in Jersey in a few years. I assume it’s still there. Anyhow, we would go to our meetings. That was our local meeting place. You would go prior to the problem. It was Porsche and Mercedes and high-end cars. After that problem, you saw all those cars got traded in by the top distributors.
All of a sudden, they were in reality. What that taught me was financial prudence. What I mean by that is I did not make a lot of money in Herbalife in those days. I made a living and enough money to make it worthwhile, but I certainly wasn’t one of the top earners. What it taught me was eventually down the road by 1990, 1991, when I started being successful at another company in network marketing, I learned how to save my money.
I learned that this business is cyclical like all businesses are. There are highs and lows. When the highs happen, pay your taxes, pay your expenses and save some money. Put money away into your retirement account, etc. I was diligent about that because I had seen so many people who didn’t do that. That was one of the things Mark Zuckerbrod had preached to us. He didn’t spend all his money. He saved his money and he’s still a fairly successful guy now.
Here’s one other thing about that. Tom, I think you know this. For everybody else’s benefit, that ties that bind out of that. Tom and I have been friends now for many years. Mark Zuckerbrod and I still talk on a regular basis, probably 2 or 3 times a week. We’re still good friends. He lives out in San Diego now. Larry Thompson is my neighbor here in Dallas. During the bad times, we all kept our integrity and focus and remained humble by what we saw happen. Here we are still all friends after all these many years. To me, the greatest blessing of my early career in Herbalife is the relationships and the teaching. Let’s talk about teaching a little bit more.
Here’s the story. I was the first wrestler ever in New Jersey who had 100 wins. In my senior year, I hit 100 wins. I ended up having 116 wins when I graduated. Up to that point, there was never any New Jersey wrestler that had 100 wins or more. I did that for the first time. Since then, there had been a lot of wrestlers who had gone over my 116 wins. That was a record that I set then.
I think the guy who broke it is a guy named Mike Grey, if I remember right.
It was broken the next year by somebody who had 118 wins because they wrestled more and more matches. They had a better chance of breaking it. I was the first one to hit the 100th mark in 1977.
Let’s talk about wrestling a little bit. As one of our mentors, we certainly both respected the great Dan Gable. He used to say, “After you wrestle, everything else in life is easy.” Whether you are good, bad, or indifferent, the sport teaches you so much about independence. Tom Husted is a legendary wrestler. I still follow the sports down here in Dallas. We’ve had some good boys out of here. We’ve had some other kids.
We have Brandon Slay, who’s also become a friend of mine, 2000 Olympic champion. He wasn’t from Dallas. He was from Texas, though. I knew him through a connection here. We’ve had some good kids, but I’ve never seen a guy more dominant in high school than you were. You were flat-out unbeatable. Here we are now on the other end of life.
In my last two years, I didn’t lose a match. I didn’t have one close match in the last two years except one. It was at the semi-final match. I don’t know if you were there for that match. My senior year was a classic. I go into this match undefeated. I didn’t have a close match. Darryl Burley, nobody knew him then but he was undefeated. He was a junior. I was a senior. I had never heard of him before. I thought I would win pretty easily. It was an extremely close match that went into overtime. I won by one point.
A lot of people say even to this day that it may have been one of the greatest matches ever. They gave us both a standing ovation. It was a very close match. The big lesson is don’t underestimate the other person like Darryl. I didn’t know who he was. I did underestimate him. I think I won that through mental determination. It was like, “No way I’m going to lose this match. I have to win it one way or another.” I did. That was the only close one that I had in my last two years.Continue to grow well on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Click To Tweet
It’s that level of perseverance. To your point, maybe you’ve underestimated him a little bit. For everybody else that’s not a wrestling person, Darryl Burley went on to win the NCAA tournament as a freshman. Was he the first freshman to ever win?
He wasn’t the first one but I don’t think there has ever been, as far as I’m aware of, any wrestler in the history of NCAA wrestling that went from an unknown that year. He first got on the map and people started to notice him from that match with me. Up to that point, nobody knew much about him. He went from that match to two years later, winning the NCAA as a freshman and beating the undefeated defending NCAA double champion as a senior. I don’t think there was anybody that quite skyrocketed from nobody knew about him, then two years later, he won the NCAA as a freshman. That’s pretty unheard of even in this day and age.
It was unbelievable. You’re seeing guys do it now.
Not to that degree, usually, those guys winning as a freshman now have been on the radar for a long time. They have been successful for a long time and they’re known. Darryl Burley, up until two years before he did that, nobody knew much about him. He ended up becoming my teammate. We’re teammates at Lehigh and won Eastern National Championships together for Lehigh in the same Princeton gym that we had wrestled in four years before. We ended up being teammates and workout partners down the road. He was a very intelligent, nice and humble guy. He’s a great teammate and human being.
Let’s talk about this in a couple of ways. Let’s talk about your life overall. We are talking so much about wrestling. What couple of things did you learn from wrestling that you’ve used now? You’re a dad now. You’ve got one child. Your other daughter is bouncing around the internet. I can’t wait to get over there one of these days and meet my niece. Talk about that. What did wrestling teach you about parenting, life skill, or life in general?
It taught me a lot. In a lot of ways, wrestling probably saved my life. I’m sure a lot of other athletes can say something similar because I was getting into a lot of trouble. The direction I was headed in was not very good. I don’t think it would have ended up very good. Fortunately, wrestling came into my life. It gave me focus and discipline. I went from getting into a lot of trouble and fighting to become a successful athlete.
It taught me discipline, focus, set goals, achieve those goals, never give up, keep going, learn from your mistakes, and move on, especially in an individual sport. It’s also a team sport but you go out on the mat one-on-one. It teaches you to rely on and believe in yourself. When you’re out on that mat, it’s just you and the other person. It’s the same thing with judo or whatever, these one-on-one sports. You have to dig deep within yourself sometimes like I had to deal with that match with Darrell to come through, and that continues throughout your life.
We all have our ups and downs or challenges in life. It gives you those tools to do that. It was a great experience. I’m grateful for the experience. I had experiences in wrestling that I would have never had otherwise, traveling around New Jersey, the US, and around the world. I was competing and meeting all types of people from not only around the country but around the world, being exposed to different cultures and people. Where I got into traveling is through wrestling.
It opened me up beyond Montvale, New Jersey to suburban New York City. The people I met were such incredible high-quality people. When I was at Lehigh, one of the alumni was Mike Caruso. I had some contact with him. These people are super successful businesspeople too. For me, it got me into my health and nutrition for wrestling. I started to become more conscious of my diet, taking care of my body, exercising, all those things which continue to this day. I think a big factor of why I was so interested in Herbalife, nutrition, and all that had to do also with wrestling was when I started to train and realized I needed to have a good diet and take care of my health. Those are all aspects.
One of the things I’ve always admired about you, Tom, is not only through being a dear friend all these years. We haven’t seen each other since I moved to Dallas in 1992 or 1993. We’re still friends. One of the things that I’ve admired about you it’s not only the fact that we stay in touch and all that, but also the fact that you’ve grown as a person with all your life experiences. Share some of the places that you’ve lived, where you’re living now, what you’re doing now, and some of the things that you’ve learned living around the world.
A lot of it would be a very long story and try to make a long story short. I moved to Thailand several years ago. Before that, I lived mainly in California and also Hawaii. Trying to make a long story short, around 2008, during that financial crisis, I was affected by that. I had a choice whether I wanted to rebuild my life over again and do what I was doing then in the US or something I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to live and work in Thailand. I decided around 2009 or so to move to Thailand and start over there, which I did. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I also wanted to have a simpler life. Part of having a simpler life is it’s less expensive to live here.
Thailand is a great place because it’s a high quality of living with a low cost of living. Some places have a low cost of living but the quality of living isn’t so great. Here in Thailand, you got both, which is quite good. It’s also why it’s such a popular place for tourists and people who come to retire. I had a feeling that ultimately, I would retire here too. I was able to have a simpler life. There’s less stress and pressure. I didn’t have to make that much money. Finally, I guess it was about a few years ago before my daughter was born that I retired. Soon after that, she was conceived and born. It was perfect timing that she came into our life. I started getting Social Security and she gets it too.
In the last few years, I’ve been fortunate and made some very good investments. As far as finances and money, I don’t have to think or worry about money for the rest of my life. My family is all set. That’s nice. That’s something I wouldn’t have to think about. In Thailand, so inexpensive to live here. I no longer work for money. My big focus is on my family, enjoying life and also my inner life and spiritual life, and continuing to grow on all levels, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
That’s making a long story short. It’s always challenging when you live in another country. It’s a different culture and different language. You have to adjust and learn. Things are different here. I’m very fortunate to have a beautiful little daughter. She’s a special little angel, and a wonderful and beautiful wife who’s a fantastic mother to our daughters. I feel very fortunate. We’re in the process of building a big beautiful house up north. Things are very good here. There have been times in many years. There have been the ups and downs, as there always are in life. I feel like I’ve learned and grown so much that it’s nothing much at this point. I can deal with it, whatever it is.
You had spent some time in Cambodia a few years ago. I remember you sending me pictures. My show is listened to by people here in the US, Canada, England and such. I’ve been to Thailand but Cambodia, tell me about that country and the experience that you had there.
I’ve been to most countries in Southeast Asia because it’s easy to go from here. I’ve been to Cambodia twice. The Angkor Wat is a very famous ancient temple complex. They’re quite amazing. As far as Cambodia, it’s a pretty poor country. There’s a lot of poverty there. It can be a little shocking because of what they went through during the Vietnam War with the Khmer Rouge and the massacre that occurred.Exercise, do yoga, meditate, and enjoy life. Click To Tweet
There’s still the underlining prom and effect from all that. Unfortunately, they have a very corrupt communist dictatorship. The people are beautiful, friendly and lovely people, but the country has been through a lot. There’s a lot of poverty. People were begging with their children. That’s very unfortunate for a country. Hundreds of years ago, the greatest and most powerful kingdom ever in this part of Asia was centered in Cambodia. Angkor Wat, which was the Khmer empire, originated from India originally hundreds of years ago.
They built these incredible Hindu temples. My wife is half Khmer. If you saw her, you would think she was from India. She looks like she’s from India. She was very exotic looking. She was born and raised here, but one side of her family is originally Khmer people. She speaks Khmer, the ancient language. They originated from India. It’s a very interesting culture in the history of Cambodia. She’s half Khmer and speaks Khmer, and that’s what the people in Cambodia speak. To be very honest, it’s not a place I would want to live. Thailand is the perfect place in Southeast Asia for me to live. It’s got the best of both worlds.
You spent some time in India way back too. Were you over there for a year?
Yeah. I’ve spent a lot of time coming and going from India. I have a spiritual teacher who passed at 69, Mera Baba, who was from India. India is very interesting. Have you been to India?
I’ve been all over. At one point, I traveled all over when I was younger. I wouldn’t do that again because I got very sick after that. If I go, I don’t see much, but it’s supposed to be very heavenly and very hellish. It’s all rolled into one. You’ve got very crowded and busy. It’s got everything. At the same time, there’s this very ancient amazing culture, the Hindu Vedic culture, which goes back thousands of years. They preserved it.
They have the most ancient spiritual scriptures in the world that go way back. They’ve got this amazing culture and Sanskrit, an ancient language that they’ve been able to maintain and preserve over thousands of years in spite of invasion and colonization. It has continued and unbroken. It’s very unusual. There are not too many places in the world where that has happened. Usually, the colonizers come and remove a lot of that. In India, they’ve been able to achieve it one way or another. It’s quite an unusual and amazing place.
It is. I forget whether it was Hyderabad or Ahmedabad because I was to both on business way back. This was in 2000, the year before 9/11. I was going to meet some engineers. I was trying to do a thing with a polyphony product with our partner from Los Angeles. It’s a non-multilevel business. I’ll never forget getting there. We rented a car and had a driver. We started in this very poor community where people are literally living in dirt and huts.
They’ve got garbage bags in their rooms where they sat. You start to wind up around this mountain and get to the top. Here’s this beautiful building that had been built by Microsoft and some of the high-tech companies and all of these engineers there. Bill Clinton had been there the week before. I’m wondering why all the American flags are here. Clinton was still the president in ’99. Nonetheless, I had remarkable experiences there.
Tell me this, Tom. You’re living in a part of the world that most Americans know little about. What would be the number one feature? I’ve been to Thailand but I haven’t been to see you. You weren’t there when I was there. As a matter of fact, that was that same trip. I stopped in Bangkok. I was there for a few days recharging, then I was off to India. It’s such a long flight. On the way back, we stopped again most of the time in Bangkok. I didn’t have an opportunity to get to where you are. Give me a normal day for you as an American guy brought up in New Jersey like I was, living in such a different part of the world than North America. What is it like?
I’m going to talk in general. First of all, it’s the language difference, but there are more and more in a lot of people that do speak English here. I usually don’t have too much of a problem with that. There can be challenges with language. The Thai people are very easy-going and peaceful. The day-to-day things are very relaxed, friendly and not stressful. Thai people are simple people. They can live on very little money. Even though people may not make a lot of money here, they live simply. Outside of Bangkok, there’s no homelessness because everybody has a family farm to go back to and live there if they have to. In the downturn in the economy because of COVID, lockdowns and all that, tourists were decreasing and a lot of people lost their jobs.
A lot of those people went back to the little house in their home village. They usually have a rice field or whatever and live simply. They survived. It can be a struggle, but they have a roof over their head and they got food. They always have that. For example, my partner has got a bunch of farmlands. She grew up in a small farming village up north in the first ten years of her life. We’re talking not even 40 years ago. In the first ten years of her life, no electricity, no water, no nothing. That was normal in the little villages up there back in the ’80s. Now, it’s different. They have all things. For the first ten years of her life, they do live pretty simple. They had a roof over their head.
They had their rice farming fields, and she still has those farm fields. They’ve been in the family for generations. They will never sell those rice farming fields. A lot of Thais can be land rich, maybe penny poor, but they got their land, and the roof over their head and they are okay. As a matter of fact, we’re building a nice home up there on one of her farm fields. They’re still rooted maybe like our grandparents were at one point in the US.
Quite a large percentage of people grew up on family farms and they still have their farms. That makes the cultural society very different. Don’t forget, Thailand has never been colonized. All the countries around Thailand were colonized. The reason they were never colonized was the king of Thailand at that time was a very wise person. He had been a monk before he became a king, well-educated, spoke English and French, and negotiated with the English and French.
He gave up some land in exchange that they would not be colonizing and taking over Thailand. Thailand has always kept its independence. Because of that, they have a very strong culture, religion with Buddhism, and everything. They’re very proud of that. At the same time, there has been a lot of tourism here. They used this earth. They used foreigners and were very accepting of foreigners. It’s not a problem.
For example, my daughter in the village up north where we live was building the house. She’s the only half Thai-half foreign child up there. She’s a little bit of a star in the village because of that. They consider her the most beautiful because they’re mixed blood. There have been some big movie stars in Thailand who were half foreign, half Thai.When we are in the present moment, we are truly empowered by the power of now. Click To Tweet
If you mix that blood together and get quite a beautiful and attractive combination. I’m retired now. My life is pretty basic and simple every day. I do pretty much what I want. I exercise, do yoga, meditate, and enjoy my life. I stay up to date with things. I’m not ignorant of what’s going on in the world. I still haven’t come investments. I stay up to date with things that are going on with that.
Two things, Tom, as we’re wrapping up here. A comment, by the way, your little girl is beautiful. I enjoy all the videos that you send me of her. She’s definitely a happy child. I don’t know your wife but I know you and that’s part of who you are. You’ve always been a happy guy, but you’ve always asked a lot of questions. Happy but inquisitive, not just happy-go-lucky. You’re like, “What makes people happy?”
That’s something that you always brought to everything that you’ve done. You have always been a blessing to our friendship and relationship, going back all those years. If there was one life lesson, whether as a parent now, as an American living in another part of the world. You’re a part of the community. You’ve lived there for the major part of your life. Whether it’s going back to your wrestling days, what would be that life lesson that you want to share? What’s one thing that you can tell our audience is that they can do maybe differently or think about differently than they did prior to our interview?
Is this one life lesson besides the three life lessons I’m going to give you at the end?
Let me rephrase the question. How to have a great life? You’ve had a great life, not an easy life but you’ve made it a great life. You’ve chosen to take the path of having a great life where you could have made decisions that would have resulted maybe in not such a great life and everything that you’ve done.
I thought about these three best life advice. I thought about them quite deeply. It’s not just going to be getting a good night’s sleep or having a good diet and exercise. It’s a little bit more than that. That’s not important. Number one is the future is a fantasy, a dream or a hope. The past is a memory. No one has been able to show me where the past or future is except in one’s own mind. The best way to deal with the past is to be in the present moment. The best way to manifest what you want by preparing for the future is also being in the present moment.
When we are in what is a term the zone, we are fully in the present moment and empowered by the power of now. Be here now by accepting what is now by letting go of our judgments and projection of the past and future. Do whatever you do and be here now. Don’t think too much about the future or the past, and enjoy whatever you’re doing.
Two, if you increase your self-worth, usually your net worth will increase, but an increase in your net worth will not necessarily lead to an increase in your self-worth. True abundance and prosperity are a state of mind and a state of one’s consciousness. There are millionaires and even billionaires who don’t feel they have enough because they don’t feel they are enough as they lack true self-worth, which goes beyond having money and wealth.
Work on your self-worth as much as, if not more than, your net worth. Help others increase their self-worth, which will eventually lead to an increase in their net worth because one usually leads to the other. I know this has been very true in my life. As my self-worth increases, my net worth seems to increase also.
Last but not the least, everyone and everything in the physical world are impermanent. It will not last forever. It has been said, “Seek first the kingdom of heaven, which dwells within, then all else should be added on.” By seeking and finding the kingdom of heaven within which is a higher state of consciousness, you’ll discover true and everlasting security, happiness, and love that can never be taken away from you.
It’s within you and who you are. We are not just finite limited human beings, but eternal, infinite, spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s like that popular rock and roll song from the 1980s that said, “We are spirits in the material world,” which I truly believe we are. One last thing that I remind myself of every single day is not to limit the unlimited one. That unlimited one can be what some call God, Jesus, Buddha, a true guru, avatar, your higher self, the universe or whatever.
Why limit what is unlimited? Be open to all possibilities. Let go of your limitations and allow the unlimited possibilities into your life. As I say, “Expect a miracle.” Remember, life itself is a miracle. No matter whatever may be going on in your life and the world around you, there’s a much greater power that’s running the show. That power is the same power that created the universe and created you. Tap into that power by being fully present in the present moment. In ending, I wish you, John, and all your audience good fortune. I believe we earn our good fortune through both effort and grace. I do not believe in luck, except if you happen to go into a casino and hit the jackpot.
Tom, it has been a pleasure. It’s so funny when you think about it. When we started a business together many years ago, there was no internet or cell phones. We used to call each other on the phone, leave a message and call back. This has been fun. Tom had a remarkable life, as you can probably tell. He’s been all over the world. He’s been a successful athlete, parent and husband. He’s had a great life because he’s focused on some of the principles we talked about here.
We’re going to every other week format for the show starting with this episode. I’m starting to travel again internationally. Sometimes it makes it difficult with my schedule to line up great guests like Tom and all the other great guests that you’ve heard on the show, their schedules with my schedule, etc. Keep that in mind. Tom, once again, thanks. I’ll give you the last word. What do you want to say?
Thank you, John, for inviting me to your show. It has been great reconnecting and connecting with you. It’s all good.
About Tom Husted
A 2-time NJ state champion who defeated Darryl Burley in the state finals, Tom transferred from the U. of Wisconsin to become of Lehigh most exciting and high scoring lightweights. At 14.1 points scored per bout, he was second only to Darryl Burley in this stat.
Tom was 18-4 in duals (30-7 overall for Lehigh) and a 2-time EIWA champion at 126 lbs.