Kamal Ravikant on the Transformative Power of Failure

Failure teaches and it can be transformative --- if you let it.

Kamal Ravikant, author of Rebirth: A Fable of Love, Forgiveness, and Following Your Heart, joined The Glenn Beck Program on Friday for a riveting conversation about his life experiences and the most important lesson he's ever learned --- how to love himself.

"What was the turning point?" Glenn asked.

Ravikant --- a self-made tech icon who served in the US Army, lost everything, trekked to one of the highest base camps in the Himalayas and walked 550 miles across Spain --- described how a message from Pastor Rick Warren motivated him during a very bleak time.

"I made a vow to myself that I was just going to figure out a way to get out," Ravikant said.

Glenn then asked how Ravikant changed things, if he'd bet on an investment.

"No, no, I bet on myself, on my inner self. And I just sat and worked on my inner self and to get myself out of it because ultimately, it's all inside," Ravikant said.

Enjoy this complimentary clip from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: I don't know why I'm having -- you're in Texas. We're going to call you Pete from here on out. Kamal is with us. Kamal is a friend of mine. We met about three years ago. I read a poem of yours on the air. I didn't remember this. You reminded me of this yesterday. Read a poem of yours on the air. And then, did you write to me or call?

KAMAL: No. Someone from your staff reached out.

GLENN: Really? So then you came town. Right?

KAMAL: Yes, sir.

GLENN: And you have a fascinating life. When you came down, did I know who your brother was or who you -- I don't think so.

KAMAL: I don't know.

GLENN: Yeah. Because you have -- if you're in Silicon Valley, you're very well-known. Your brother is very well-known. Like really well-known. And we'll talk about that here in a second. You've written a new book. It's called Rebirth, which is kind of your story.

KAMAL: Yes.

GLENN: I was telling guys when we first came in that, you know, your story is very much, in some ways my story. You know, you kind of go and you lose it all. And then -- what was it, Pat? What was the next part of the story? Oh, yeah. You get fat. He doesn't have the fat part of the story yet. So...

JEFFY: It's coming, my friend. It's coming.

GLENN: But your story is the quintessential American story because you came from India.

KAMAL: Yes, sir.

GLENN: Nine years old.

KAMAL: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Tell me about it.

KAMAL: Single mom. Came here with my brother --

GLENN: You were a single mom at the time?

KAMAL: Yeah, I started early.

Single mom. My brother and I, two little kids, left an abusive father.

GLENN: In India?

KAMAL: No.

GLENN: Here in America?

KAMAL: He was here. He was here. He was still abusive here. And she said, "You know, I'm not raising my boys with this example." And she took my brother and I and left.

And we went through everything: Homeless, food stamps, bouncing one place to the other, and her just working minimum wage jobs day in and day out.

And I got to see her go through some very hard stuff, and she raised my brother and I on nothing. In Jamaica, Queens. We had ten locks on our doors.

GLENN: Jamaica, Queens -- do you guys remember? Did you guys go to Jamaica, Queens, ever? Yeah, I mean that's --

KAMAL: I think Run-DMC and a lot of the original rappers came from there. That kind of place.

GLENN: That's a dicey, dicey place.

KAMAL: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, got jumped a bunch of times. You know, I was a skinny little shy kid.

And then when I graduated, I left and went to college for a year and then just said, "Screw this," and joined the Army, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I was a (inaudible) soldier and did that for three years. And then went to college after that. And moved out to Silicon Valley after that. Then started building companies.

GLENN: Would you join the Army now?

KAMAL: Yes.

GLENN: You would?

KAMAL: Yeah, of course.

GLENN: Without hesitation?

KAMAL: Of course.

GLENN: Would you have your son join the Army now?

KAMAL: Yes.

GLENN: Wow.

KAMAL: Of course.

GLENN: No hesitation.

KAMAL: Of course.

GLENN: We've had this conversation internally a lot of times. I'm not sure what we're doing anymore.

KAMAL: Oh, of course not. I mean, it's -- the mission is a mess, but the art -- the -- being a soldier is the best thing I ever gave myself as a boy to become a man.

GLENN: And what part of it made you a man?

KAMAL: Being challenged in boot camp every day. Most of my friends thought I wouldn't ever make it. You know, I didn't need to go to the Army. I had a scholarship to college. And I went on my own, and I was a skinny kid from the city. Like I never held a rifle, never shot at --

GLENN: You had never seen the woods before.

KAMAL: I had never seen the woods. You know, and all of a sudden, I'm with a shaped hat, different haircut than this.

GLENN: Yeah, I would imagine a lot different.

KAMAL: You know, like -- sharing bunks with guys from like gangbangers and basically guys who were from everywhere in the US.

And, you know, you had to gel together, to come together to serve one purpose. And there were a lot of -- we didn't get along well, but by the end, we were like a well-formed unit. We were on mission. So you really get to see what this country is about. That was a great gift.

GLENN: I think you were telling me yesterday that -- that the service -- we have -- how did you phrase it?

KAMAL: Gentleman soldiers.

GLENN: Gentleman soldiers. What do you mean by that?

KAMAL: Well, I'll give you an example. I have a friend of mine who is FA (inaudible). And he's getting out soon. So I'm kind of guiding him on an entrepreneurship. And he just came back from a tour. And he was -- you know, the guy was bombing ISIS. And he was actually showing me some of the unclassified footage of one of the major bombing runs he did. And he took out a lot of ISIS soldiers there. It was where their barracks were, in the middle of the city. And it was very surgical. In the middle of the city. And yet he was telling me, he thinks about the civilians around there, what they must go through. They're stuck with these guys. They have no choice. They're under terror rule. And all of a sudden, the whole place is blowing up. And so he went on YouTube, and so he could look and see the civilian's perspectives, the videos they took of his bombing.

But we have very thoughtful soldiers. You know, people -- you know, people talk about this cowboy -- we don't have that. We have people who really care.

GLENN: You're such an interesting guy. At nine years old, you come over -- you're here coming over to America. You've lived in some of the worst places in America for poverty and violence. You grew up in a violent home. Yet you are one of the most peaceful, gentle, kind men I know. I get the nicest emails from you. And you're so thoughtful.

I think the first time we met, I think one of the first things you said to me -- and it was genuine. Was something along the lines of, how can I serve you? How can I be helpful to you? Where did that come from? What happened?

KAMAL: Well, first of all, thank you. I'd say my mom. I think it comes from who raises you. You know, she was an example.

GLENN: You told me that you rarely saw -- I mean, there were times that your mom was gone because she was working all the time.

KAMAL: Commuted two hours a day.

GLENN: So how did she give you that example?

KAMAL: I think I saw what she had to go through to take care of my brother and I on nothing. And how strong she had to be, but I could see what she was going through and what it took. And she is the most loving, amazing human being.

GLENN: I'd love to meet her sometime.

KAMAL: She is. She volunteers for battered women's shelters. You know, she works with seniors. She just gives.

So like she was an example. I don't think she ever told me to be this way. But I watched her be that way. And ultimately, that's all we can be.

GLENN: Were you ever afraid you would be your dad?

KAMAL: Yeah, yeah. It's something I dealt with in my 20s, you know.

GLENN: Anger, or just the fear of anger?

KAMAL: Anger. The fear of anger. And, you know, honestly, when you take anger and you turn it in -- if you don't let it out and you -- it turns it into depression. You beat yourself up. So I dealt with that in my 20s.

And it was ultimately then coming to terms with his death, with him. I was able to just let it go and realize, I am not him. I will never be him. He was an example for me in ways of not to be. I also have other examples.

You know, I met amazing men in my life who have been mentors to me. Had a great mother. So use that and --

GLENN: You can have other examples. And it's amazing. My son-in-law grew up in a very -- with a very dicey situation with father figures. And to the point to where I hear some of the stories, and I was, you know, watching him very closely on --

KAMAL: Sure.

GLENN: Okay. So who are you? Because figure after figure after figure in his life was not good until recently. And then I came along and screwed it up.

But he is -- he made the choice, I'm not going to be that guy.

KAMAL: Yes. Yes, yes. That's ultimately what we come down to, who we want to be. And then we have to live it.

GLENN: Okay. So let's cut to the chase before the break because I want to talk to you about what you think America means, because you have a great perspective on it.

Are we losing it? Are we getting closer, farther away? What do we do? And then I want to talk to you a little bit about technology.

KAMAL: Sure.

GLENN: But -- so you -- you had this struggle. You gained everything. Then you lost everything.

You end up in Silicon Valley. Did you lose it in Silicon Valley the first time?

KAMAL: Yeah. I made -- built it in Silicon Valley, lost it in Silicon Valley, rebuilt.

GLENN: Okay. Okay. Tell us who -- you know, you and your brother are kind of royalty in Silicon Valley. Why?

KAMAL: Well, my brother is known as one of the most entrepreneur-friendly investors in Silicon Valley. So he's been a investor -- first investor in Uber. You know, one of the first investors in Twitter. And so forth. He's known for being a very, very helpful guy. And he knows what he's doing. Because at one point in his career, he got screwed over by VCs, and I was living with him then. And he had to go through a lawsuit to actually prove it, and he won. I remember him --

GLENN: Meaning that the venture capitalists are vultures -- they can be.

KAMAL: They used to be more. Yeah.

GLENN: Right. And they can come in and take you.

KAMAL: Yeah, they were the money guys. And you needed money. Entrepreneur, you're not thinking like that. You just want to build your business. You want to make your dream. You're not thinking what you just signed away, until it's time, and all of a sudden they come and they take it.

GLENN: Right. Right. Right.

KAMAL: So at that time, I remember when he was going through that, the genesis of what happened, he said, "I'm going to level the playing field. I'm going to give entrepreneurs a power."

So first he started by actually creating a blog called Venture Hacks, where he just shared everything. Deal terms. How to negotiate for entrepreneurs. Just how the whole things works.

And then an angle list for angels to sharing different ideas with them and then built this platform called AngelList, where any entrepreneur now raises money for startups. So you don't have to spend six months begging VCs. You can go there if it's a great thing -- individuals. You know, people with money will just jump in and fund you.

So, like, Uber raised their first round on AngelList.

GLENN: How much was it the first round?

KAMAL: Uber at that time was worth I think maybe less than 8 million dollars. And they raised maybe 1.2 or something.

GLENN: And how much are they worth now?

KAMAL: About 60 billion.

GLENN: Jeez. Holy cow. Did you get in on that first round?

KAMAL: You know, that's a whole different story.

(laughter)

But I have friends of mine who did.

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: And, you know, that one -- a 25,000 on investment at that point in Uber probably results, by the time we go public, at like 30 million, $40 million.

GLENN: Oh, my gosh.

KAMAL: That's Silicon Valley math for you.

GLENN: Yeah. That's crazy.

STU: That's when you need a flux capacitor.

GLENN: Yeah. And they're working on one, I think.

STU: Okay. Good.

GLENN: Okay. So we're going to come back, and I want to talk to you a little bit about your book and how you view America. Because we're an idea. And we're not talking about the idea of America anymore.

KAMAL: I think it's an ideal more than an idea. An ideal is something you uphold. You know, it's a principle. You know, that's what America --

GLENN: And are we -- we'll get into it here in a second.

[break]

GLENN: Kamal Ravikant. A Fable of Love, Forgiveness, and Following Your Heart. The name of the book is Rebirth.

I can't recommend it highly enough. Kamal has a way -- and I think I have read either Edgar Allan Poe, or what's his name? The other one? If. Rudyard Kipling on the air. I've read his. And his novel is, I believe -- and this is probably going to make you uncomfortable. But I believe it is as good anything McCormick McCarthy has ever written.

It's just -- to me at least, it's just -- there's an art to it that you have, that you rarely, rarely see. And the story is really, really great as well. And it's kind of -- it's kind of your story of -- when your dad died, you promised that you would take his ashes back to the Ganges. Right?

KAMAL: Correct.

GLENN: I mean, I don't know if you did this intentionally, but you brought him back --

KAMAL: No, it was given to me.

GLENN: Really?

KAMAL: In a red Marlboro lunchpack, which think of the irony on that, right?

GLENN: Right. It's just my dad's ashes in the Marlboro pack.

KAMAL: I mean, I don't know who thought of that.

GLENN: Right. So you went -- and you were supposed to be just gone for a couple of eight days. You spent eight months.

KAMAL: Spent eight months away.

GLENN: And you ended up doing a Christian pilgrimage in Spain.

KAMAL: Correct.

GLENN: And how?

KAMAL: It changed my life.

I -- first of all, walking -- it was 550 miles long from the French-Spanish Border, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

GLENN: And then back?

KAMAL: No. I took a plane.

GLENN: You took -- you're supposed to go back.

KAMAL: Well, in the old days, right. In the 11th century, there were no planes. But like -- millions of people had walked this. And so, you know, no matter who you are, you stop following the footsteps of millions of people, from their hopes and dreams, and following their beliefs -- and, just, many people died along the way, originally.

And you walk this, so the kind of people who come and walk it are interesting people, people who are all resolving things in their lives. And you start to share with each other stories of your lives. And when you share stories is how you actually learn and grow.

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: And so that's actually where I learned -- you know, I was in my mid-20s. I was lost. I was broke. My dad had died. I was trying to come to terms with the anger I had towards him. And I couldn't resolve it because he was gone. And so all these issues I was working through, actually got worked out by walking and being out in the middle of nowhere, sleeping in vineyards and wheat fields and castles and churches. And just talk about personal transformation.

GLENN: Were you religious or spiritual at the time? Because you went up to the Himalayas before this. And you did the thing with the Dalai Lama's monks, right?

KAMAL: Yes. Yes.

GLENN: He's -- have you ever met him?

KAMAL: I've listened to him, but I haven't shook hands with him or anything.

GLENN: Yeah, no, he is a really funny guy. In person, he's hysterical. But there's something about him. But, anyway --

KAMAL: There is.

I'm not religious, although when I was in the Army -- in boot camp, I was baptized Southern Baptist. Full-on immersion.

GLENN: Right. Right. Right. Okay.

KAMAL: So it's been a foundation of mine. But it's not something I talk much about. I just go live my own thing.

So -- and this was a Catholic pilgrimage too. And though these days pretty much anybody walks it.

GLENN: Right. The guy that you met -- or, the character meets in the book. Did that guy -- is he a collection of everybody that you met, or?

KAMAL: You know what I did was I took people I've known that I've loved and, like, created characters based on them. And some of them are based on people I met. But all served a story of the lessons he needs to learn. And so as he grows, he meets the right people.

GLENN: Biggest lesson from the book?

KAMAL: Forgiveness. Letting go. You know, that's where freedom is.

When we're hanging onto the past, we can't move forward. And in the story, moving forward, get up, walk west, day after day, towards Santiago de Compostela, which is the destination, where the tomb of St. James the apostle is. And you just get up, and you walk West.

And as you walk, you just -- there's growth that happens. And you got to -- you're leaving the past behind, literally. And so you learn to actually not just let it go physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. And so forgiveness is the biggest lesson. And that is the biggest lesson of this book.

GLENN: Did you crash before you went on that pilgrimage? You had not made your money yet?

KAMAL: No.

GLENN: Okay. When you crashed, did you have a hard the time letting go?

KAMAL: You know, I had no choice. I was incredibly sick. I was depressed. I was suicidal. I think if I had --

GLENN: It made you physically ill?

KAMAL: Yeah. I had been going two and a half years, no vacation. Lost everything. And, you know, thought I was a failure. And I swear like, if I had the strength, I would have walked and thrown myself off the Bay Bridge. Those days -- I'm actually glad I didn't have a firearm. You know, it worked in my favor there.

GLENN: It's funny because I've often said -- because I've gone through that -- you know, when I was younger, in my 20s, and I thought, "I'm glad I'm a coward." Because, you know, I could have pulled myself, you know, off of a bridge, but I know I would have gotten on the bridge and went, "Okay. All right. Okay. This is too -- you know, I'm not -- I'm too much of a scaredy cat to do that." And that, I think, is what saved my life.

KAMAL: I'm glad.

GLENN: Okay. So you pull yourself back from the brink.

What is the -- only got 30 seconds. So we'll come back. I want to know, what was the lesson you learned there? Because now you're about to turbo your life and change everybody's life. And I want to talk about that. And as somebody who came here with nothing, been homeless, and in one generation, you love America more than most Americans, what is the secret of America that maybe we're missing?

[break]

GLENN: Kamal Ravikant is with us. Rebirth: A Fable of Love, Forgiveness, and a Following of Your Heart.

A good friend of mine, a brilliant writer, and a brilliant man, and one of the more kind men I know as well. And really thoughtful on how you approach life.

So you bottomed out. You lost everything. You come over here -- for anybody who is joining us, you come over here from India at nine. Your father is abusive. Your mother says, "Not going to raise you here." You're homeless for a while. Tough, tough upbringing, but a loving mom.

You join the military. Your dad dies. You go over to India. You go to the Himalayas -- I mean, you're a movie.

(laughter)

You come back, you go to Silicon Valley, and you and your brother at the same time are hitting it?

KAMAL: My brother got their first.

GLENN: Okay.

And for anybody who doesn't know, Ravikant is kind of a royal name in Silicon Valley, if I can embarrass you a bit. And then you lose everything.

KAMAL: Uh-huh.

GLENN: You just said, "If I had the strength -- because you were so sick -- I would have thrown myself off the Bay Bridge."

KAMAL: Correct.

GLENN: What was the turning point?

KAMAL: Turning point was actually, I watched this talk -- TED talk by Rick Warren. I don't think I've told this publicly before.

And it's my favorite TED talk. And at the end, he goes -- he's sitting there, kind of just like giving a very casual talk, and he's talking about the purpose driven life, and he's talking about how -- he said, "You know, in the end, we're all betting on something. Find what you're betting on and go on." And I thought at that point, "Okay. I'm going to bet on something and either go all in or die trying." I was going to get better. I made a vow to myself that I was just going to figure out a way to get out.

GLENN: So did you bet on an investment?

KAMAL: No, no, I bet on myself. On my inner self. And I just sat and worked on my inner self and to get myself out of it. Because ultimately, it's all inside. You know, like everything, we're stuck in our head. So I just worked on this. And I got better.

But it was like the focus full-on vow. I'm a big believer in commitment. Because once you commit, the ships -- they don't burn, they explode behind you. Right? That's the only way.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

Once you can get to a place to where you can see it finished, you've done so much work that you're like -- it's not convincing yourself. It's just, all of a sudden, it just rings true. It's done.

KAMAL: Yes.

GLENN: And then your life changes.

KAMAL: It transforms.

GLENN: Transforms.

KAMAL: It really does. And my life changed. And I built myself back up. And I started writing these books to share what I learned. And they started doing very well.

And me being the real me. Not trying to be some hotshot Silicon Valley guy. Me just talking about my failures. And it's been amazing.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah. Most people who meet you, they have no idea you're a hotshot Silicon Valley kind of guy.

So let's talk a little bit about what is America. What is it? You say it's an ideal.

KAMAL: Uh-huh. I think ultimately, for me, you know, the gift Silicon Valley gave me is the fact that everyone there is doing something. Dreaming and building. Which is what America is for me. It's -- we're always trying to create something better and be better. And, you know, that's -- America was an experiment that could have very easily failed when it started. You know, the Founders could have been shot by the British, and that would have been it. You know, it's about taking risks. It's about falling flat on your face. And Silicon Valley, we don't punish failure. If you did your best, you really tried something, it didn't work, we'll invest in you again. That I think separates it. That's why Europe will never be able to create a Silicon Valley. Because every European entrepreneur I know is terrified of failing. They'll never be able to do anything ever again if they fail.

GLENN: Failure teaches -- if you're smart, failure teaches you really important lessons. Failure is just as important as success. In fact, success can be crippling.

KAMAL: Yeah. Having said, the worst thing that can happen to a writer is early success.

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: You know, like, I was writing and obsessively writing that book for over a decade.

GLENN: Holy cow.

KAMAL: Eight full drafts. Sending them to agents and publishers. Getting rejection letters. And those rejection letters are the best gifts I ever got. Because it made me become a better writer.

You know, I was writing very clever drivel, not from the heart.

GLENN: Yeah, yours is really on it. There's something -- have you ever heard someone say that about your writing? There is something completely unique about your writing. And it's not pretentious, ostentatious. It's not like -- it's not like clever, like you're trying to do something. It's just so authentic. Your sentence structure is different. I mean, it's really good. Really good.

KAMAL: Thank you.

GLENN: So where are we on the American life cycle?

KAMAL: Oh, that's a great question. We're in some interesting times, that's for sure. You know, I get to meet -- because I run a fund -- I invest in entrepreneurs. Even in Silicon Valley, people come from all over the world to be entrepreneurs there. So the American dream is very much alive. It's a matter of choosing who you want to be.

GLENN: You and I were talking yesterday off-air about this concept of -- that Silicon Valley is in its own bubble. And it doesn't relate to the rest of the country, in some ways. You invested in a company -- what is it? The RV --

KAMAL: RV Share. It's my favorite.

GLENN: Yeah. And what is it?

KAMAL: It's Airbnb for RVs. It's amazing. It's brilliant. It's a 12-man team, and they built it from scratch. And 12-man meaning there's a couple -- a few women and men team --

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: -- in Cleveland, Ohio, in this little office park. And they're changing people's lives.

You have an RV, and all of a sudden, you can make a living off it by just renting it out just to individuals. And make it stupid simple. People come find your RV. They rent it --

GLENN: Silicon Valley would have never thought of that.

KAMAL: They thought of Airbnb, but they didn't think of RVs, which is outside of Silicon Valley.

GLENN: Right. Right. This is -- would you compare this time in history to the War of the Currents? Of the Industrial Revolution --

KAMAL: Industrial Revolution. There's changes coming that are just going to transform society.

GLENN: What are people -- and this is something we've talked about working together on. Because I -- I talk to the people in Silicon Valley, and I'm both energized and -- and in a way, horrified because no one is talking about what's coming. And the change is so -- it is the difference between living in -- on a farm, with no telephone, no electricity, no plumbing, and ten years later, you're living in a city. I mean, it's profound change that is coming.

And nobody is explaining this to the center of the country. It's exciting and exhilarating. But it's going to change the way we think -- everybody is -- for instance, education is still preparing us for the 1950s.

KAMAL: Oh, gosh. Yeah, it's terrible. It's actually terrible. I would never hire someone just straight out of a traditional education. The best people I've ever met, I've hired, barely graduated high school, but they were doers.

You know, like traditional education these days does not prepare you to start companies.

GLENN: It doesn't. It doesn't. I think it actually hurts.

KAMAL: It hinders you.

GLENN: Yeah, it does. Because you think in that box.

KAMAL: You think that everything is taken care of. Whereas, if you start something from scratch, as you know, you do everything. You mop the floors. You make the sales calls. You take all the risk. But that is the American dream.

GLENN: Most exciting thing that you have seen that maybe others have missed. What's the most exciting trend line or idea that you have heard that you think is game-changing?

KAMAL: Well, I think ultimately the nearest term stuff is going to be like augmented reality. People talk about virtual reality. Augmented reality is just here. Like all these things, all these beautiful things you have here -- they didn't have to be here, but they'll just be projections that you put on glass that you just see there.

So that's actually coming -- that's actually even more interesting than virtual reality. Because then you can --

GLENN: Because it interacts with real --

KAMAL: Carbon reality.

GLENN: You have to wear glasses?

KAMAL: Glasses. Maybe contacts after a while. It's really interesting. And no one really knows where this is going to go. People can guess. Because ultimately as we talked about, technology is a tool.

GLENN: Yeah.

KAMAL: It's up to -- you know, I think one of the things that you mentioned that people on this side versus that side don't understand -- like, here's Silicon Valley. Here's somewhere on a farm. There's no one speaking a common language.

GLENN: Yes.

KAMAL: We speak a very different language in Silicon Valley and a very different language here, which I think is what we need. Like a middle ground.

GLENN: People don't know -- nobody is talking to the people in the center of the country from Silicon Valley. And so they're just seeing these products roll out, but it's not. It's about fully changing the way you think about everything. And I think the people in the center of the country, A, are going to be thrilled when they see it.

And they will find -- you know, the guy who did the original radio tube. I'm trying to remember his name. But he -- he made the radio tube. The amplifying tube. He didn't even know what it was for. He didn't have any idea what it was for.

Another guy comes along years later, named Armstrong, and he says, "Oh, my gosh. I can amplify sound so you don't have to have headphones anymore." The guy who invented that didn't even see that as the application. And that's what's going to happen when you include the rest of the country.

KAMAL: Yes. And, you know, the best inventors are the guys in the garage and playing with stuff. So there are so many out there.

I think if there is a closer collaboration of it, just language, you're going to create all these new entrepreneurs and new inventors out there that don't exist yet.

GLENN: Scariest thing you see on the horizon?

KAMAL: Virtual reality.

We talked about this before as well. It's amazing what it can be, but also it can be an amazing drug that will just pull you away from reality, which is what a drug does.

You know, just escape reality. And then we lose the incentive to go and change -- I think ultimately, we are all responsible for our lives. And we have to step up and take control and make a choice. Right?

If we're always escaping, that doesn't happen. And we lose -- I think we lose something fundamental as a human being in that process. So that, I'm concerned about.

PAT: How far are we from perfecting that? The virtual reality?

KAMAL: It's here. I mean, it's a matter of --

PAT: I know we actually have it.

GLENN: How long do we have the suit where you can feel the pressure --

PAT: Yeah, the tactile version.

KAMAL: They have that.

PAT: They do have that already? Wow.

KAMAL: To make it mass market, years. A few years.

GLENN: Like three years, five years, ten years?

KAMAL: Five years.

GLENN: Five years.

KAMAL: There's all these interesting things coming out, that, yeah, you can just lose yourself, which is the scary part.

GLENN: Really scary. Because there's a lot of people that want to lose themselves.

KAMAL: Yeah. And I think that could hold us back as human beings and as a society.

PAT: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

GLENN: How concerned are you with the -- the gathering of so much information? Not that anybody is doing it in a nefarious way now, but all you need is an excuse. And all of a sudden, the government can take this --

KAMAL: Yeah. Civil liberties are very easy to take away. You know, very hard to get. You know, we have them, and we've lost some of them, and we're going to lose more.

Everyone in Silicon Valley -- like most people -- we were talking about earlier. People I know, Silicon Valley, they don't use SMS. They use these secure messaging apps that are just -- you know, not that we have anything to hide. But if it tells you that people at the forefront are thinking this way --

GLENN: I use Confide. Is that the kind of thing you're talking about?

KAMAL: I use Signal.

GLENN: Signal?

KAMAL: Yeah. And really, like whenever I go through TSA, I always get pulled aside. Get patted. I don't care. I have nothing to hide. But still, you start thinking, like, if these things are happening, where is it going to go next?

As long as I don't lose due process, I don't mind being frisked. If I lose due process, then I'm in trouble.

Same thing with collecting information. It's very innocuous. But then everyone is being passive that we're being spied on, and then basically you have control over everyone. You know what they're doing.

GLENN: I only have a couple seconds left with you. But let me ask you this -- you know, we were talking about fake news. And the answer to that is everyone needs to be more responsible. And we've done it before. I mean, fake news has been around since the town criers, you know.

Ancient Rome, they had fake news. You can count on it. We have to be more responsible as human beings and more engaged and discerning.

I've talked to -- even Ted Koppel said to me in an interview, he said, "Don't you think that we need to license people who have these websites and blogs, and journalism?" And I said no. But that's where a lot of people will start heading, as things, you know, continue down this --

JEFFY: Well, they already are.

GLENN: Yeah, they already are.

So can you shut -- can people shut the internet and information down? Do you think that's possible at this point?

KAMAL: When you say people, do you mean...?

GLENN: Do you think a government can come in and really shut down the freedoms we have online on the air.

KAMAL: Sure. Look at China. They have entire, you know, full-time job. They're shutting it down. They do a pretty decent job. And you do it -- you know, all of it is done step by step. That's the scary part. You know, it's like when you put a frog, and you boil it slowly. That's what scares me. Right? So that's why I'm a big believer in civil liberties and due process, is that, you know, at least we have the system of law, where you can challenge them. When you can no longer challenge the secret courts, that's when we have problems.

GLENN: The name of the book is Rebirth. Kamal Ravikant. I can't recommend it highly enough. Grab it, read it, you'll love it. Rebirth. Kamal Ravikant. Thank you, Kamal. We'll see you again soon.

Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history.

The Allied invasion force included 5,000 ships and landing craft, 11,000 planes, and almost three million allied soldiers, airmen and sailors. Despite such numbers, the location and timing of the invasion was still an enormous gamble. The Nazis fully expected such an invasion, they just didn't know precisely when or where it would be.

Despite the enormous logistics involved, the gamble worked and by the end of June 6, 1944, 156,000 Allied troops were ashore in Normandy. The human cost was also enormous – over 4,900 American troops died on D-Day. That number doubled over the next month as they fought to establish a foothold in northern France.

There were five beach landing zones on the coast of northwestern France, divided among the Allies. They gave each landing zone a name. Canada was responsible for "Juno." Britain was responsible for "Gold" and "Sword." And the U.S. had "Utah" and "Omaha."

The Nazis were dug in with bunkers, machine guns, artillery, mines, barbed wire, and other obstacles to tangle any attempt to come ashore. Of the five beaches, Omaha was by far the most heavily defended. Over 2,500 U.S. soldiers were killed at Omaha – the beach so famously depicted in the opening battle sequence of the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan. The real-life assault on Omaha Beach included 34 men in that first wave of attack who came from the same small town of Bedford, Virginia. The first Americans to die on Omaha Beach were the men from Bedford.

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America has a national D-Day Memorial, but many people don't know about it.

America has a national D-Day Memorial, but many people don't know about it. Maybe that's because it wasn't a government project and it's not in Washington DC. It was initiated and financed by veterans and private citizens. It's tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the small town of Bedford, Virginia. Why is the memorial for one of the most famous days in modern world history in such a tiny town? Because, as a proportion of its population of just 3,200 at the time, no community in the U.S. sacrificed more men on D-Day than Bedford.

There were 34 men in Company A from Bedford. Of those thirty-four, 23 died in the first wave of attacks. Six weeks after D-Day, the town's young telegraph operator was overwhelmed when news of many of the first deaths clattered across the Western Union line on the same day. Name after name of men and families that she knew well. There were so many at once that she had to enlist the help of customers in the pharmacy's soda shop to help deliver them all.

Among those killed in action were brothers Bedford and Raymond Hoback. Bedford was the rambunctious older brother with a fiancée back home that he couldn't wait to return to. Raymond was the quieter, more disciplined younger brother who could often be found reading his Bible. He fell in love with a British woman during his two years in England training for D-Day. Like in that opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, Bedford and Raymond barely made it down the ramp of their Higgins Boat in the swarm of bullets and hot steel before they were cut down in the wet sand.

Bedford and Raymond Hoback's mother, Macie, learned of both their deaths from two separate telegrams, the first on a Sunday morning, the second the following day. Their younger sister, Lucille, remembered her mother's devastation, and her father walking out to the barn to cry.

The day after D-Day, the killing field of Omaha Beach was already transforming into the massive supply port that would help fuel the American drive all the way to Berlin over the next year. A soldier from West Virginia was walking along the beach when he saw something jutting out of the sand. He reached down and pulled it out. He was surprised to find it was a Bible. The inside cover was inscribed with: "Raymond S. Hoback, from mother, Christmas, 1938." The soldier wrote a letter and mailed it with the Bible to Raymond's mother. That Bible, which likely tumbled from Raymond's pack when he fell on D-Day, became Macie Hoback's most cherished possession – the only personal belonging of her son that was ever returned.

Of the 23 Bedford men who died on Omaha Beach, eleven were laid to rest in the American cemetery in Normandy.

These men, many of them barely out of their teens, didn't sign up to march to the slaughter of course. They had hopes and dreams just like you and I. Many of them signed up for adventure, or because of peer pressure, and yes, a sense of honor and duty. Many of the Bedford Boys first signed up for the National Guard just to make a few extra bucks per month, get to hang out with their buddies, and enjoy target practice. But someone had to be first at Omaha Beach and that responsibility fell to the men from Bedford.

Over the last several years, the D-Day anniversary gets increasingly sad. Because each year, there are fewer and fewer men alive who were actually in Normandy on June 6, 1944. The last of the surviving Bedford Boys died in 2009. Most of the remaining D-Day veterans who are still with us are too frail to make the pilgrimage to France for the anniversary ceremonies like they used to.

It's difficult to think about losing these World War II veterans, because once they're all gone, we'll lose that tether to a time when the nation figured out how to be a better version of itself.

Not that they were saints and did everything right. They were as human as we are, with all the fallibility that entails. But in some respects, they were better. Because they went, and they toughed it out, and they accomplished an incredibly daunting mission, with sickening hardship, heartbreak, and terror along the way.

So, what does the anniversary of D-Day mean in 2019?

In one sense, this anniversary is a reprimand that we've failed to tell our own story well enough.

In one sense, this anniversary is a reprimand that we've failed to tell our own story well enough. You can't learn about the logistics of the operation and above all, the human cost, and not be humbled. But as a society, we have not emphasized well enough the story of D-Day and all that it represents. How can I say that? Because of an example just last weekend, when common sense got booed by Democratic Socialists at the California Democrats' State Convention. When Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper said during his speech that "socialism is not the answer," the crowd booed loudly. When did telling the truth about socialism become controversial?

Sure, socialists, and communists and other anti-American factions have always been around. America certainly had socialists in 1944. But the current socialists trying to take over the Democratic Party like a virus don't believe in the D-Day sacrifices to preserve America, because they don't believe America is worth preserving. They are agitating to reform America using the authoritarian playbook that has only ended in death and destruction everywhere it is followed.

Ask a Venezuelan citizen, or an Iraqi Christian, or a North Korean peasant why D-Day still matters in 2019.

The further we move away from caring about pivotal events like June 6, 1944, the less chance of survival we have as a nation.

At the same time, the D-Day anniversary is a reminder that we're not done yet. It's an opportunity for us to remember and let that inform how we live.

Near the end of Saving Private Ryan, the fictional Captain Miller lays dying, and he gives one last instruction to Private Ryan, the young man that he and his unit have sacrificed their lives to rescue in Normandy. He says, "Earn it."

In other words, don't waste the sacrifices that were made so that your life could be saved. Live it well. The message to "earn it" extends to the viewer and the nation as well – can we say we're earning the sacrifices that were made by Americans on D-Day? I cringe to think how our few remaining World War II veterans might answer that.

Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Gratitude. Personal responsibility. These used to mean a lot more.

Honor. Duty. Sacrifice. Gratitude. Personal responsibility. These used to mean a lot more. I don't want to believe it's too late for us to rediscover those traits as a nation. I want to believe we can still earn it.

The challenge to "earn it" is a lot of pressure. Frankly, it's impossible. We can't fully earn the liberty that we inherited. But we can certainly try to earn it. Not trying is arrogant and immoral. And to tout socialism as the catch-all solution is naïve, and insulting to the men like those from Bedford who volunteered to go defend freedom. In truly striving to earn it, we help keep the flame of liberty aglow for future generations. It is necessary, honorable work if freedom is to survive.

The end of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is remarkably relevant for every anniversary of June 6, 1944. This is what D-Day still means in 2019:

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Letter from Corporal H.W. Crayton to Mr. and Mrs. Hoback – parents of Bedford and Raymond Hoback who were both killed in action on June 6, 1944

Álvaro Serrano/Unsplash

July 9, 1944 Somewhere in France

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Hoback:

I really don't know how to start this letter to you folks, but will attempt to do something in words of writing. I will try to explain in the letter what this is all about.

While walking along the Beach D-day Plus One, I came upon this Bible and as most any person would do I picked it up from the sand to keep it from being destroyed. I knew that most all Bibles have names & addresses within the cover so I made it my business to thumb through the pages until I came upon the name above. Knowing that you no doubt would want the Book returned I am sending it knowing that most Bibles are a book to be cherished. I would have sent it sooner but have been quite busy and thought it best if a short period of time elapsed before returning it.

You have by now received a letter from your son saying he is well. I sincerely hope so.

I imagine what has happened is that your son dropped the Book without any notice. Most everybody who landed on the Beach D-Day lost something. I for one as others did lost most of my personal belongings, so you see how easy it was to have dropped the book and not know about it.

Everything was in such a turmoil that we didn't have a chance until a day or so later to try and locate our belongings.

Since I have arrived here in France I have had occasion to see a little of the country and find it quite like parts of the U.S.A. It is a very beautiful country, more so in peace time. War does change everything as it has this country. One would hardly think there was a war going on today. Everything is peaceful & quiet. The birds have begun their daily practice, all the flowers and trees are in bloom, especially the poppies & tulips which are very beautiful at this time of the year.

Time goes by so quickly as it has today. I must close hoping to hear that you receive the Bible in good shape.

Yours very truly,

Cpl. H.W. Crayton

It's not as easy as it used to be for billion-dollar entertainment empires like The Walt Disney Company. It would be more streamlined for Disney to produce its major motion pictures in its own backyard. After all, abortion in California is readily available, as well as a protected, cherished right. And since abortion access is critical for movie production, right up there with lighting equipment and craft services, you would think California would be the common-sense choice for location shooting. Alas, even billion-dollar studios must pinch pennies these days. So, in recent years, Disney, among other major Hollywood studios, has been farming out production to backwater Southern lands like Georgia, and even Louisiana. Those states offer more generous tax breaks than Disney's native California. As a result, Georgia for example, played host to much of the shooting for the recent worldwide box office smash Avengers: Endgame.

But now it looks like it's Georgia's endgame. The state recently passed what is known as a "heartbeat" bill – a vicious, anti-woman law that would try to make pregnant women allow their babies to be born and actually live. It's a bridge too far for a major studio like Disney, which was largely built on creating family entertainment. How can Disney possibly go about making quality movies, often aimed at children, without access to unfettered abortion? It's unconscionable. Lack of abortion access makes it nearly impossible to shoot movies. So, what's a major studio to do? Disney might have considered migrating its business to Louisiana, but that state too has now signed a heartbeat bill into law. It's utter madness.

These monstrous anti-abortion bills, coupled with having to live under President Trump, has led Disney to seek a new home for its legendary movie magic. Last week, Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, announced that all future Disney movies will now be filmed on location in the Sub-Saharan African nation of Wakanda.

"Disney and Wakanda are a match made in heaven," Iger told reporters. "Wakanda was, until recently, a secret kingdom, much like our own Magic Kingdom. With this new partnership, we'll not only get to continue our legacy of making movies that parents and children everywhere enjoy together, but we'll get to do so in a safe space that reveres abortion as much as we do."

Wakanda is one of only four African countries (out of 55) that allow unrestricted abortion.

As home to the most advanced technology in the world – and with the planet's highest per-capita concentration of wokeness – Wakanda offers women painless, hassle-free abortion on demand. As the Wakandan health ministry website explains, the complete absence of any white-patriarchal-Judeo-Christian influence allows women in Wakanda to have complete control of their own bodies (with the exception of females who are still fetuses). As winner of the U.N.'s 2018 Golden Forceps award (the U.N.'s highest abortion honor) Wakanda continues its glowing record on abortion. That makes it an ideal location for Disney's next round of live-action remakes of its own animated movies in which the company plans to remove all male characters.

Iger says he hopes to convince Wakandan leadership to share their top-secret vibranium-based abortion procedure technology so that American women can enjoy the same convenient, spa-like abortion treatment that Wakandan women have enjoyed for years.

Wakanda is one of only four African countries (out of 55) that allow unrestricted abortion. Disney plans to boycott and/or retaliate against the other 51 African nations, as well as any U.S. states, that restrict abortion. Specific plans are being kept under wraps, but sources say Disney's potential retaliation may include beaming Beverly Hills Chihuahua into the offending territories on a continuous, indefinite loop.

When asked how Wakanda's futuristic capital city and distinctly African landscape would be able to double for American movie locations, Iger said, "I guess America will just have to look more like Wakanda from now on."

One potential wrinkle for the Left-leaning studio is the fact that Wakanda has an impenetrable border wall-shield-thing designed to keep out foreign invaders as well as illegal immigrants. Iger said he understands Wakanda's policy of exclusivity, adding, "After all, not everyone gets into Disneyland. You have to have a ticket to get in. Anyone is welcome, but you have to go through the process of getting a ticket." When one reporter pointed out that Iger's answer sounded like the conservative argument for legal immigration under the rule of law, Iger insisted that the reporter was "a moronic fascist."

What if the unthinkable happens and Florida also enacts its own "heartbeat" law? That would be problematic since Walt Disney World is located in Florida. Iger responded that Disney would "cross that bridge if we get to it" but that the most likely scenario would entail "dismantling Disney World piece-by-piece and relocating it to the actual happiest place on earth – Wakanda." As for whether Disney would ever open character-themed abortion clinics inside its theme parks, Iger remained coy, but said, "Well, it is the place where dreams come true."

With the Wakanda solution, Disney may have found a place where Minnie Mouse can finally follow her heart and have true freedom of choice.

When pressed about the cost of ramping up production in a secretive African kingdom that has no existing moviemaking infrastructure (which could easily end up being much more expensive than simply shooting in California) Iger said, "You can't put a price tag on abortion freedom. Wakanda Forever and Abortion Forever!"

With the Wakanda solution, Disney may have found a place where Minnie Mouse can finally follow her heart and have true freedom of choice. And that will be welcome relief to traditional families all over the world who keep the Walt Disney Company in business.

*Disclaimer: The preceding story is a parody. Bob Iger did not actually say any of the quotes in the story. Neither is Wakanda an actual nation on planet Earth.

"Journeys of Faith with Paula Faris," is a podcast featuring conversations about how faith has guided newsmakers and celebrities through their best and worst times. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a much maligned religion so Glenn joined the podcast and took the time to explain what it means to him and how it changed his life.

From his suicidal days and his battle with drugs and alcohol, it was his wife Tania and his faith that saved him. All his ups and downs have given him the gift of empathy and he says he now understands the "cry for mercy" — something he wishes he'd given out more of over the years.

You can catch the whole podcast on any of the platforms listed below.

- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- TuneIn
- Spotify
- Stitcher
- ABC News app

One of these times I'm going to go on vacation, and I'm just not going to come back. I learn so much on a farm.

You want to know how things work, go spend a summer on a farm. You're having problems with your son or daughter, go spend a summer on a farm.

My son changed. Over two weeks.

Getting him out of bed, getting him to do anything, is like insane. He's a 15-year-old kid. Going all through the normal 15-year-old boy stuff. Getting him on the farm, where he was getting up and actually accomplishing stuff, having to build or mend fences, was amazing. And it changed him.

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Our society does not allow our kids to grow up, ever. I am convinced that our 15-year-olds could be fixing all kinds of stuff. Could be actually really making an impact in a positive way in our society. And what's wrong with our society is, we have gotten away from how things actually work. We're living in this theoretical world. When you're out on a farm, there's no theory here. If it rains, the crops will grow. If it rains too much, the crops won't grow.

If there's no sun, they won't grow. If there's too much sun, they'll shrivel up and die. There's no theory. We were out mending fences. Now, when I say the phrase to you, mending fences, what does that mean? When you think of mending fences, you think of, what?

Coming together. Bringing people together. Repairing arguments.

I've never mended a fence before until I started stringing a fence and I was like, "I ain't doing this anymore! Where is it broken? Can't we just tie a piece of barbed wire together?"

Let's stop talking about building a wall. Because that has all kinds of negative imagery. Mending fences is what we need to do.

That's called mending fences.

And why do you mend fences? So your animals don't get out and start to graze on somebody else's land. When your fence goes down, your cow is now on somebody else's land. And your cow is now eating their food.

We look at the phrase, mending fences as saying, hey. You know, we were both wrong. Mending fences has nothing to do with that.

Mending fences means build a wall. My neighbors and I, we're going to get along fine, as long as my cows don't go and steal their food, or their cows don't come over and steal my cow's food.

We're perfectly neighborly with each other, until one of us needs to mend a fence, because, dude, you got to mend that, because your cows keep coming over and eating my food.

You know what we need to do with Mexico? Mend fences.

Now, that's a phrase. You hear build a wall. That's horrible.

No, no, no. We need to mend fences.

In a farming community, that means putting up an electric fence. That means putting up barbed wire.

So the cows — because the cows will — they'll stick their head through barbed wire. And they'll eat the grass close to the road. Or eat the grass close to the other side of the fence. And they'll get their heads in between those fences. And they can't get out sometimes. Because the grass is always greener on the other side. You look at these damn cows and say turn around, cow — there's plenty of stuff over here.

No. They want the grass on the other side of the fence.

So you mend it.

And if it's really bad, you do what we do. We had to put an electric fence up. Now, imagine putting an electric fence up. That seems pretty radical and expensive.

Does it really work? Does it shock them? What does that feel like to a cow?

The cows hit it once, and then they don't hit it again. They can actually hear the buzz of the electric fence. There's a warning. Don't do it. Don't do it. They hear the current and they hit it once and they're like, "I'm not going to do that again."

So you mend fences, which means, keep your stuff on your side. I like you. We're good neighbors. You keep your stuff on your side and I'll keep my stuff on my side and we'll get together at the town hall and we'll see each other at the grocery store. Because we're good neighbors. But what stops us from fighting is knowing that there is a fence there.

This is my stuff. That's your stuff. But we can still trade and we'll help each other. But let's stop talking about building a wall. Because that has all kinds of negative imagery. Mending fences is what we need to do.

You can have a tough fence. It could be a giant wall. It could be an electric fence. But you need one. And that's how you come together.

The side that's having the problem, mends the fence.