Episode 29: Dr. Ronda Beaman, Author Of the Book, You're Only Young Twice, Shares Her Secrets of Her Book to Awaken Your Inner Beauty - Part One
Dr. Ronda Beaman shares with Beauty Now her secrets to inner beauty. Dr. Beaman will make you laugh and think about your approach to your inner spirit. Beauty is not just botox and lipo. If your inner beauty is lacking and you feel down, then you need to listen to this podcast and get a lift from the inside out. You're Only Young Twice is an eye opening listen and is a two part podcast. Dr. Beaman is so inspiring and reminds us to really live, love and laugh. Reawaken your inner beauty today.
This is Part One of a Two Part Show.
Female Announcer: This is Part One of a two-part program.
Teri Struck: I’m Teri Struck, host of Beauty Now, a weekly podcast that gets the latest in all things from blazers, lashes, lips, hair, breast lifts, injectibles… But today, we’re blessed to have an expert on inner beauty, Dr. Ronda Beaman.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Find something that challenges you and is new and I’m telling you, you will grow young pretty fast!
The people that really retain their youth and really retain their ability to grow young are the people who practice what I found, the science called “Neoteny,” which is based on the idea of Ashley Montagu. I don’t know if you remember him. When I was…
Teri Struck: Thank you so much for joining us, Ronda.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Oh, thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here!
Teri Struck: Well, today we’re going to discuss your book, “You’re only young twice.”
Dr. Ronda Beaman: How about that?
Teri Struck: [laughs] Which actually, I love the name of the book and it’s quite surprising, it’s not really about anti-ageing, it’s about inner anti-ageing.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yeah, I prefer to call it, even before the Dove commercials came out, I prefer to call it, it’s about pro-ageing. It’s about the blessings of even having a chance to think about ageing and being a second part of your life and living it to the maximum.
Teri Struck: I like that, “pro-ageing.” And please tell our listeners about all the uplifting advice you have in there because there’s just too much to name. I think this should be on Oprah’s Book List, I really do.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: [laughs] From your mouth to God’s ears!
Teri Struck: No, it’s really true. It’s hard to explain because I read a lot of beauty books and I was just sitting down to read this one and I was just feeling all down and loaded. It just made me feel so good.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Oh, I’m so glad. Well, that’s one of the processes that makes a writer. They say, “How do you end up writing a book?” Well, a lot of what they call “behind glue,” you know what I mean? You have to sit down and be disciplined enough to do it and what makes you do that is hoping that what you believe or what you found out will help other people. So, that makes me feel really good.
When I turned 40, Teri, one of my best girlfriends got a major facelift and I volunteered to take her to the doctor and back. I watched what she went through and we talked all about it and it started me thinking about myself turning 40. And then, somebody else got one and then one of my guy friends dumped his wife, got a young girlfriend and a red sports car. I was just watching all of this outer stuff going on as people were trying to reclaim their youth, reclaim some meaning in their lives by going after the outside stuff.
I thought there’s just got to be more to it than that because you and I both know, no matter how much money you spend, no matter how many pills you take or doctors you see or nips and tucks, eventually, that model proves fatalistic. There’s only so much that model can do.
The people that really retain their youth and really retain their ability to grow young are the people who practice what I found, the science called “Neoteny,” which is based on the idea of Ashley Montagu. I don’t know if you remember him. When I was young, there used to be The Merv Griffin Show. Do you remember The Merv Griffin Show?
Teri Struck: I hate to say that I don’t remember The Merv Griffin Show. But also, you might want to explain the word “Neoteny” to a lot of our listeners.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Neoteny quite literally means “the science of growing young.” Ashley Montagu was this guy who discovered the Elephant Man and the importance of touch and all this kind of stuff. Well, as a university professor, I started looking into the reason why our generation, and really only our generation, has had this extended life.
For 99% of human history, the average lifespan was 18 years old. I mean, they didn’t even get a chance to be young once. So, we are the first ones that lived a good 50 years oftentimes, past the time we’ve raised our children. And so, why and what and what can we use it for and all this kind of stuff. So, Neoteny, according to Ashley Montagu, was the reason, anthropologically, that we even became human beings. It was just delay the growth process that let us develop our brains and things like that.
Well, that was all well and good and really thick science and nothing that interesting to the normal lay person. But it was in the second part of his research where he started talking about “Behavioral Neoteny.” So, if Neoteny is the science of growing young, he said there are behaviors and states of mind that keep people youthful all the days of their lives. The whole point being you should die young as late as possible.
And so, I started researching those traits and those ideas and those habits of mine that can keep a person’s spirit young beyond what their chronological age or the number of wrinkles they have may show. It’s about staying young from the inside out. So, that’s really what Neoteny means and that’s really the basis of You’re Only Young Twice. And what’s been really fun is during book signings or I give presentations all around the world about this, there are people who come up in the audience that go, “Can’t you be young three or four times?” [laughs]
Teri Struck: Yes, you can.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yes, you can!
Teri Struck: Well, why don’t you share some of your ideas in your book for staying young?
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Okay. One of the things that was really interesting to me is this research out of Harvard where they took men that were 60 to 70 to 80 years old. All right? So, they put them in a house and before they put them in a house, they measured things like their eyesight, their finger length, their muscle capacity, their memory, all that kind of stuff. And then, they put them in this house. This is so unbelievable, is that for 20 years ago, that’s the furniture, the magazines, the food, everything was like their lives would have been 20 years prior.
So, they lived there for three weeks, Teri, is all. And they finished the experiment, the television shows, music, everything. Come back in and redo the test. And I don’t need to tell you what happened. Their eyesight improved, things like their finger length, their fingers got longer! Stuff actually youthened in those three weeks simply because of the state of mind of believing they were living 20 years prior.
Teri Struck: And actually, that’s like a lot of the spiritual books right now. When you actually think about it, you can bring it to you.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Absolutely. So, one of the things they found was… And think about the concurrent, the opposite of that. Think how many times one of the things that I state in the book is this “Still Syndrome.” Are you still teaching aerobics? Are you still working? Are you still writing? Are you still playing guitar? Whatever it might be, you get to be a certain age and people feel compelled to ask you if you’re still participating and still [crosstalk].
Teri Struck: That’s so true.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: [laughs] And it’s like, “Well, yeah. Is there a reason I shouldn’t be?” Or, “Are you going to do that at your age?” Think about the language involved in this. So, how I define “old” in this book is outlook, language and drive. What is the lens at which you look at your life? What kind of language do you use to describe what’s possible? And what gets you up in the morning?
Like, right now, I’m at the age where I get up in the morning… I’m 55 years old. I get up in the morning and I go, “I’m back!”
Teri Struck: [laughs] Where do you go in the morning? That’s what I want to know.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: [laughs] I go…
Teri Struck: You have places to go.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: That’s right. I still have places to go. So, it’s all about, again, perceptions and lenses and language and making sure that you have something that gets you up in the morning. And so, one of the things that I would like to talk to with your listeners is about your outlook on life, if you would allow me to do that?
Teri Struck: Now, that would be great and I would suggest to people to get a pencil so that you could actually write some of these ideas down.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Oh great! The first thing to think about in your outlook is your level of resilience. When we’re young people, when we were first born even, nobody has to tell us to get back up again when we fall. It’s just in our being. This is why Ashley Montagu says all these traits, these youthful qualities are our first birthday presents. This is what we’re given to make us human, this optimism and resilience and joy and wonder and imagination and laughter, song, dance, all these things that you’re born with. They are part of your soul.
And I want you to think about those as like precious marbles in a bag and I call them “marvels” instead of marbles. And what happens in life is we start to lose our marvels, we either squander them, we trade them, we give them away and at a certain point in our life, which people used to call a “midlife crisis” or whatever, you look into that bag of marvels and it’s sort of empty, there’s one or two things left. And that’s where you start getting the red sports cars and trying to find outside in sort of replacements.
Teri Struck: The midlife crisis?
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yes. And one of the things that they’ve shown is in things like creativity and resilience and optimism by the fourth grade, Teri. Fourth grade, we start to lose these qualities. School beats it out of us, parenting doesn’t help sometimes, other people, peer pressure, those kinds of things. So, the first thing that your listeners should really think about is their own resilience. How capable are they at getting back up again? Whatever life may present to them, an ability to get back up, to bounce back. It is an inborn trait and what’s really fabulous is it can be reignited.
There’s a fabulous book out called “Adversity Quotient” and it measures what they call your “AQ.” It’s a fascinating piece of work because one of the things that it shows is that you can replenish and reframe and reinvigorate your own adversity quotient, your ability to use adversity as fuel instead of letting it cripple you when the bead things happen.
For instance, I was given a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis when I was 40 and a lot of people take that as a reason to go sit down and give up and all that kind of stuff. I think I was telling you at one point I was so glad it wasn’t a brain tumor that I was like, “OK!” [laughs]
Teri Struck: Oh, I shared that with my dad who also has multiple sclerosis and he has a really great attitude as well. He would jump an ocean and we’d all have to pull him back out because he didn’t know if he could get back out.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: [laughs] Hey, but he jumped in!
Teri Struck: He did, he jumped in. He’s a lot like you.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: And that’s the great metaphor about life, is jumping in. What happens is, throughout the resistance and the no’s and the failures and the sadnesses, we start to give up. And here is the deal, Teri, life doesn’t care if you give up. Life just keeps rolling along with or without you and you don’t have to decide. I get this one shot, I don’t get to come back to the party. And if I want to enjoy it, that’s going to be totally up to me, not my spouse, not my friends, not my job, it’s about how I look at it. It’s about what I choose to do with my days and my time and my hours.
So, resilience is really the bedrock of all of this, the being able to say, “I matter and I want more out of my life and I’m not going to let myself get worn down or worn out and I am going to try to replenish this natural resilience that I was born with, that will be keep trying, that keeps me in the game, that keeps me believing.
Another piece of research here your listeners might find interesting is they did a little bit of research on hope. They put rats in a big tank and let them swim to see how long it would take them to drown, which I know sounds very cruel, but…
Teri Struck: Horrible.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: [laughs]
Teri Struck: Horrible!
Dr. Ronda Beaman: This is how we find stuff out.
Teri Struck: Horrible.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: It took them seven hours before they finally gave up. So, they got another set of rats and put them in this tank and started letting them swim. But about five hours in, they pulled these rats out, kind of dried them off, give them terry cloth robes, a little dinner, some warm…
Teri Struck: That sounds better.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yeah. Some warm lights, all that kind of stuff and then they threw them back in the tank. They swam for another 21 hours because they believed in their minds that something good was going to happen here any moment, any moment. And that’s the power of hope, to keep you going, to keep you swimming up tide, to keep you trying. And that is really tied into your outlook about life and your resilience.
So, that’s the first thing about getting old. It’s making sure you don’t lose your resilience.
Teri Struck: But how do you make sure that you don’t lose your resilience or your hope when you’re feeling absolutely despondent?
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Well, it’s actually your response to it because everybody’s going to face those things, aren’t they?
Teri Struck: Yeah.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Nobody gets out of life unscathed. Nobody gets out of life alive. And so, the old saying about “stuff happens and no one’s immune.” So, what really is critical, and I talk about this in my book, it’s how you respond to the bad stuff.
Teri Struck: And I actually really want to keep talking about this, and I need to take a commercial break right now for Personal Life Media. And so, we’re going to be right back with Dr. Ronda Beaman in a moment.
Teri Struck: We’re back with Dr. Ronda Beaman, author of “You’re Only Young Twice.” We were just talking about how to be young from the inside out. Welcome back, Dr. Beaman.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Thank you. We were talking about how you respond, we were talking about resiliency, how your outlook on life determines your age and that the bedrock of that is your resilience and you were saying, “What happens? What do you do when the bad stuff happens?” Well, it’s actually how you respond to it. It’s not avoiding it and it’s not pretending it’s not there and it’s not pasting on a big smile and going, “I’m OK!” But it’s about finding ways to respond to it, in ways that strengthen your spirit and self rather than diminishing it.
So, I talk a lot in the book about your core response. How much control do you have over something? So, for instance, my mother was just diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer. How much control does she have over the cancer? Not a lot. But she has control over her response.
Here’s a better one… Have you heard about Randy Pausch? The professor who is…
Teri Struck: Yeah.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yeah, 45 years old with pancreatic cancer.
Teri Struck: Yeah. Tell our listeners about who he is. I mean, he is the one who was on the video.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yeah. He gave the last lecture which is a thing that all universities do, they ask their favorite professors to give what would be their last lecture. It turns out when they asked him, he really was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 46 years old with three very young babies. He has six months to live. He gave this amazing lecture. It’s on YouTube, if any of the listeners want to see it.
But the thing was he said this, and this is what I mean about adversity. It doesn’t get much worse than what happened to this young man.
Teri Struck: Right.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: It doesn’t get much sadder. And he said to the audience, “If I don’t seem as depressed as you think I should be, I’m sorry to disappoint you. But when I look back on my life, I realize I’ve made most of my dreams come true and I’ve had a great life.” Now, think of that as a response. Instead of “Why me? It’s unfair” and all this kind of stuff… And what he said to Diane Sawyer on a special was he could spend those six months bitter and mad and just angry at everybody and everything or he could spend those six months being remembered by his children, spending time with his wife and being thankful for the days that he has.
Gee! That’s what we’re talking about response. Everyone is capable of that, Teri. Everyone’s capable of that response, but you have to choose it. And again, I go back to my premise that life doesn’t care if you choose to let it beat you up. It just keeps going. Life wouldn’t care if Randy got angry. It would just take his six months and he would die anyway. But he’s going to get so much more quality out of those six months, have it be so much more sacred and special because of his choice to live it.
So, that’s what I’m talking about, your core response. What can you control? What do you own? How far is this adversity going to reach into your life and how long do you think it’s going to endure? And once you begin to answer those questions and you learn to answer them… Because your brain doesn’t know the difference between a real incident and something you’ve made up. It doesn’t.
Teri Struck: Really? Define that.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: It doesn’t know. So, if you lay in bed and you worry that tomorrow, your mother is going to die or you imagine that your mother is going to die tomorrow, your brain reacts as if it really happens. And so, you’re laying in bed with all these bad organisms going on in your bloodstream and that’s just because you’re feeling really bad about your mom dying because your brain thinks she did.
Teri Struck: Right.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: It doesn’t know that it hasn’t happened yet. You’re feeding your brain, sort of like if you’re angry… You know why they say don’t ever go to bed angry? Well, when you’re angry, all those bad drugs in your body and all that kind of stuff, you’re not going to sleep and you’re going to wake up sick and you’re going to catch that cold because all that stuff is still in your brain and your brain hasn’t gotten rid of it because you won’t let it, you’re holding on to it.
Teri Struck: Because it’s toxic?
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yup! And as soon as you let it go… Now, see, that’s the hard part and that’s what’s so important about this core response. So, that’s what’s so important about knowing how to respond to the tough stuff. Your brain then begins to go, “Oh, we feel better? Oh, we’re going to work through this? Oh, there’s some control I have over it?” And your brain starts to put out the non-toxic stuff. It’s very, very interesting. They will never create anything more interesting than the human brain or anything more powerful or anything more spectacular. But most of us don’t use it in the right way.
So, I go back again to my definition of old and old being the outlook. Number one is your resiliency and knowing how to respond when the tough stuff happens. Number two, an outlook would be your optimism, which is really tied into resilience. How do you be optimistic if you’re not resilient? The answer is you can’t. The answer is you drink a lot and put a smile on your face and go, “I’m doing fine!”
Teri Struck: [laughs] The phony face.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: That’s right. But that’s not optimism, that’s a whole other issue. But optimism, again, is the ability to see past the difficulty, to maintain… Like I said, when I get up in the morning, I’ve got a mass, I’ve had 18 skin cancer surgeries… Everybody’s got stuff. But to get up and go, “I’m back!” and be glad that you’re back and be glad that you have a chance.
A lot of people, because I’m small and I have a little voice and I’m blond and I’m a professor, a lot of my colleagues think I’m just a Pollyanna. I can’t be very bright because I’m so optimistic. You know how they think optimistic people gloat, you just don’t know how bad everything is.
Teri Struck: I know that very well.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Here’s what I would argue… That it takes more intelligence and fortitude and strength and intelligence to see everything that’s wrong and not be a pessimist. To say, “You know what? It could still be better, and I’m part of the solution, not part of the problem. And I could still, in my own corner of the world, make things wonderful and make things better and have people smile.”
It gets tiring, there’s no question about it, being the one that smiles at everyone and walks by and says, “Hello!” and people look at you like, “Do I know you?”
Teri Struck: [laughs] I mean, I’m always waving to everybody down the street.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yeah!
Teri Struck: And my husband’s like, “You don’t know them!” And I’m like, “Oh, I didn’t know.”
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Who cares? Who cares? Because what you put out, Teri… And you know this. What you put out is eventually what you’re going to get back.
Teri Struck: That’s true.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: And so, if you’re putting out optimism and joy, even on the days you don’t feel like it… Again, here’s another fabulous thing about your brain… You’ve read this. If you don’t feel very good at a certain day and you smile, by about two hours in after just smiling I’m like… When I was a young girl, I would see these beautiful cars that I knew cost so much money. And who is behind the wheel of these cars? These prunes… Prunes! These women that just look so ugly and mean and their little mouths are all tight and I thought, “Geez! I’d rather drive my little Volkswagen, if that’s what it’s going to cost me to get a BMW.” I mean, really!
And here is the deal… So, you drive around with a little smile on your face, no matter what’s going on in your life, because it’s a better look than a frown anyway. And pretty soon, your brain goes, “Are we happy? I don’t get it. I feel…” Because the smile muscles in your face release the endorphins and pretty soon it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that you start feeling better.
Amazing! The human person is amazing! So, anyway, optimism… Again, one of the first things we’re given as our birthday present, our very first birthday present, is this ability to hope and find joy and smile and look at the bright side because the glass, Teri, is always full. It is always full.
Teri Struck: Not even half full? Full?
Dr. Ronda Beaman: It’s always full if you let it be. If you let it be. And again, it has to be a choice. You have to matter enough to yourself. I’ve had a lot of girlfriends who have gone through some really nasty divorces and things like that and sometimes you don’t matter enough to yourself. In those kinds of cases, sometimes you have to matter enough to your kids. What kind of role model are you giving them?
Teri Struck: Exactly.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yes. Sometimes what you do for other people then turn around and you can then find the strength to do it for yourself.
Teri Struck: But you have to rise above it.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Absolutely.
Teri Struck: No matter how nasty.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: And it can get nasty.
Teri Struck: I’ve been there, done that!
Dr. Ronda Beaman: [laughs] People can get nasty!
Teri Struck: Yes, they can.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: So, the “O” part is your outlook. How do I choose to see the world? How do I choose to see what’s going on and what’s happening? And it’s not about being blind, but it’s about your reaction to it. I remember Beverly Sills, the opera singer, had a bracelet with the initials “BTDT,” Been There, Done That.
Teri Struck: I like that!
Dr. Ronda Beaman: But here was the problem with it… If you think about of that too long, then you begin to lose your wonder for things. It’s like, “Oh, I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I don’t want to do that again.” One of the other things about your outlook is maintaining a sense of wonder, about making yourself notice things. You know how long people can live in a place and not notice what kind of birds are around their house or what kind of trees they have or what the flowers look like or notice their neighbor next door just moved in, who is that? Just asking questions, being curious, not thinking that you know everything already.
A young mind is a flexible mind. A young mind is somebody that says to you, “You want to go and eat Indian food?” and you go, “No! I hate that!” Okay, now you’re on your way to being old because even if it’s not your preference, there might be something new you’ve never tried and never eaten, a new place you’ve never gone, a new song you’ve never sung. Whatever it might be, you begin to get old the first time you say “No” to a new adventure, a new possibility, a new way of thinking of things.
So, I would also urge your listeners not only to take a look at their resilience and their optimism, but also their sense of wonder. How many questions are they asking during the day? How many new things do they add to their repertoire? Jack Welch, the President of GE, used to walk down the hallways of GE and if he saw you, he’d ask you, “What have you added to your resume in the last year?” And as the person kind of went, “Aahhh… Nothing?” He fired them.
Teri Struck: Really?
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Yeah, right down the spot. And so, okay, I can’t fire you. But, what have you been adding to your life experiences? What new thing? Did you learn a language? Did you take on some sort of challenge? Did you climb Mount Kilimanjaro? What did you do that was new this year, this month, this week? That, again, keeps you flexible and young, and that’s part of growing young.
Teri Struck: Put that on your list of your things to do and do them.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Absolutely. Find something that challenges you and is new and I’m telling you, you will grow young pretty fast!
Teri Struck: Well, I knew that I was going to need a full two segments with you.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: [laughs]
Teri Struck: I was very smart about this when I read this book because we are out of time for our first segment, but we are going to return with Segment Two. So, if you’d like transcripts for the first segment, go to PersonalLifeMedia.com and we’re going to link you to Dr. Ronda Beaman so you can buy her book, “You’re Only Young Twice.” And we’re going to be taking a commercial break and we’re going to be back with Segment Two.
Thank you Dr. Beaman for being with us today and we’re going to have to come back. I knew we’d need a full hour with you.
Dr. Ronda Beaman: Thanks so much, Teri.
Teri Struck: All right, we’ll be right back.
Female Announcer: This concludes Part One. The interview will be continued in the next episode of this show.