Episode 58: Louis Venters
Play • 1 hr 16 min
Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode, I'm joined virtually by Dr. Louis Venters, an author and history professor who specializes in African American studies and the Baha'i Faith in South Carolina. Louis tells us how he became a Baha'i, and also explains how the Baha'i Faith became the second largest religion in South Carolina, sharing some of the history and the nuances that come with that, especially as a result of the Jim Crow era. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did!

To find out more about some of the things we covered in this episode, check out the following links:

* Louis Venters' website: https://www.louisventers.com/

* Louis Venters is a professor at Francis Marion University: https://www.fmarion.edu/

* Baha'i Communities in South Carolina: https://find.bahai.us/community/south-carolina

* Louis Gregory: https://bahaipedia.org/Louis_Gregory

* Who Were the Hands of the Cause?: https://www.bahaiblog.net/2014/06/hands-cause/

* Louis G. Gregory Baha'i Institute: https://www.lgbi.org/

* Louis Venters' book 'No Jum Crow Church': https://amzn.to/2UjTOWp

* Louis Venters' book 'A History of the Baha’i Faith in South Carolina': https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467117494

* Bahai Blog interview with Louis Venters about 'No Jim Crow Church': https://bit.ly/3eKJpMs

* Video news report by Mandy Noell about the Baha'i Faith in South Carolina: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t0F7HyFf1Y&feature=emb_logo

* Baha'i House of Worship for North America (also known as a temple) in Wilmette, USA: https://www.bahai.us/bahai-temple/

* Baha’i Temples: A Brief Introduction: https://www.bahaiblog.net/2018/07/bahai-temples-a-brief-introduction/

* Louis talks about not knowing what to do when he became a Baha'i, so we thought this article may be interesting: 'So you’ve become a Baha’i. Now what?': https://www.bahaiblog.net/2014/08/youve-become-bahai-now/

* Baha'i Year of Service: https://bahaipedia.org/Year_of_service

* Baha'i community in Togo: https://www.bahai.org/national-communities/togo

* The Nineteen Day Feast and Why it’s Important: https://www.bahaiblog.net/2012/11/the-nineteen-day-feast-and-why-its-important/

* The Universal House of Justice: https://universalhouseofjustice.bahai.org/

* Shoghi Effendi: https://www.bahaiblog.net/2013/11/shoghi-effendi-a-bridge-to-the-world/

* Abdu'l-Baha: https://www.bahai.org/abdul-baha/

* The Bab: https://www.bahai.org/the-bab/

* Baha'u'llah: https://www.bahai.org/bahaullah/

* Abdu'l-Baha in the United States: https://centenary.bahai.us/abdul-baha-in-america

* 'Century of Light' document commissioned by the Universal House of Justice: https://www.bahai.org/library/other-literature/official-statements-commentaries/century-light/

* The Training Institute: https://www.bahai.org/action/response-call-bahaullah/training-institute

* Ruhi sequence of courses: https://www.ruhi.org/materials/list.php

* Children's Classes: https://www.bahai.org/action/family-life-children/childrens-classes

* What is the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program?: https://www.bahaiblog.net/junior-youth/

* What is the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program? [VIDEO]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrfGBM0kGfc&feature=emb_logo

Be sure to subscribe to the Baha’i Blogcast for more episodes on:

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If you would like to find out more about the Baha'i Faith visit BAHAI.ORG, and for more great Baha'i-inspired content, check out BAHAIBLOG.NET: http://bahaiblog.net/

Thanks for listening!

-Rainn Wilson
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But, as you can imagine, there is much more to the story than that. You see, when I first started this business - with nothing more than a simple Udemy course recorded with a webcam, it was intended to be a fun “side project” - a way to give back and earn a living while I searched for “the next big thing.” I could have never anticipated that I would be where I am today, employing a full team, with over 300,000 students worldwide, bestselling books, a successful podcast, certified coaches all over the world, etc. What was intended to be a fun, lifestyle-oriented “side business” in many ways became a runaway success - and my main focus for the better part of 7 years. All of that is well and good - I have no regrets whatsoever, and of course I consider myself extremely blessed for everything this journey has done for me and for those I’ve touched along the way. But, in all truth, somewhere between then and now, I lost sight of what was important to me. I spent a few solid years mingling with and learning from the smartest minds in the business. And yes, there were amazing times where everything “clicked” and we were on top of the world. But since then, there have also been years of struggling - often uphill - towards endless growth and expansion, without considering whether or not it would bring me happiness (spoiler alert: it didn’t). Ultimately, for the second time in my life, I found myself in a prison of my own making: working more hours than I wanted to, to build something that wasn’t even my dream. As a result of this, I learned a number of very valuable life lessons: first, there’s no happiness in living other people’s dreams. And second, there’s nothing more important than happiness - nothing. That’s why, when COVID-19 struck, and a few key team members took it as an opportunity to resign and start their own businesses, rather than fighting tooth and nail to rebuild, I instead chose to view this as a huge moment of awakening - and a huge opportunity. It’s funny, you know? Day in and day out in my courses, podcast, and in interviews, I talk about designing the life that best suits you, about living “a la carte” instead of “prix fixe,” and about how you can create your own unique lifestyle where you work as much or as little as you want to. And sure, in many ways, my life today reflects those values and ideas. But sometimes our own advice is the easiest to forget - or, as they say in Hebrew, sometimes, the shoemaker goes barefoot. When the spell of “constant growth” wore off, I was forced to look at the plain facts: while I love this business, I love all of you, and I’m forever grateful for this entire experience… continuing to grow this business bigger and better isn’t what makes me happy anymore. It doesn’t challenge me or excite me like it used to. It’s not what I feel compelled to do. And no amount of impact, press recognition, or money is going to change that. Similarly, another reason for stopping is that I sense that I’ve done all I can with the podcast. Sure, I can continue finding great guests to interview every week, but the reality is that most of the guests I’ve wanted to interview have already been on the show at least once, and those who haven’t, I’ve come to realize probably never will be. While the show has grown to a respectable size, it will likely never grow any bigger or reach the next level. And so, after 6 years without missing a single episode, the hard truth is that I’m bored. Sure, there are occasional interviews that blow my mind and make me want to keep going, but if I’m honest with myself, my sincere enthusiasm for recording the show week after week waned a long, long time ago. What’s more, I’ve found that my overall enthusiasm for the personal development space has really waned along with it. You see, though I’m still a lifelong devotee of all that personal development has to offer, after 7 years of working in the space day in and day out, I need to take a step back and cleanse my palate for a while. I’m sure I still have plenty to learn - and that I haven’t heard it all just yet… but sometimes, it certainly feels that way. Not to mention that the marketing, the content creation, the collaborations, the webinars, and broadcasts… it’s all a lot more work than it seems, and quite frankly, I think I probably just need a break. People talk a lot about a “7-year itch,” and there’s really something to that. This same thing happened to me in my last business, a luxury car parts internet retailer that I grew to seven figures - and then sold after 7 years. Whereas I used to be obsessed with cars and learning everything there was to learn about them, towards the end, I was so burnt out that I wanted nothing to do with them. Only now, 9 years later, have I rediscovered that passion and enthusiasm I once had as a kid. So now, you must be wondering: What’s Next? I mean, from the sound of it, you might be worried that I’m going to pack up and leave, shut down or sell my website, and disappear into the sunset - much like I did when I left the aftermarket automotive industry. Not to worry. I’m not going anywhere - at least not right now. After all, a huge part of why I do all this is a feeling of responsibility. So many of the techniques, ideas, and strategies that I talk about in my courses and on this podcast fundamentally changed my life - and for that reason, I feel like it’s my moral obligation to continue sharing them with the world - even if my day-to-day involvement has been reduced to a minimum. This is why I spent the better part of the last year training over a dozen SuperLearner Certified Coaches, who will continue working hard to ensure that the worldwide impact of the SuperLearner methodology continues to grow. It’s also why my team and I have been really active in sharing content on social media - so make sure to subscribe to us on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, if you haven’t already. So while my company will be running mostly independently of…
16 min
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