Are You Choosing Happiness, or Holding Yourself Hostage to Your History?

Emily Williams

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James Rouse in Front of Snow Capped Mountains

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What does it look like to fully say yes to your life? We all hold different definitions of success, but happiness is one common denominator for the way we measure fulfillment. But what does it look like to be truly happy? Do we have to move beyond the traumas and tragedies of our past, or wait until the positives outweigh the negatives—or is it as simple as deciding to love and accept the present iteration of ourselves, and choosing happiness from here on out?

“We all want to have joy. We want to have success. We want to have peace. We want to have great relationships. But are we willing to do the deepest work of our lives before anyone lays eyes on us?” – Dr. James Rouse

These may be big, lofty questions, but it’s vital that we consider them as we embark on the process of creating a life that’s better than our dreams. Today on the I Heart My Life Show, I’m joined by Dr. James Rouse, naturopathic doctor, entrepreneur, activist, leader, and athlete. From Fortune 50 boardrooms to broadcast media, Dr. James has served and inspired seasoned billionaires, world-class athletes, and budding entrepreneurs—helping them to cultivate a culture of high-performance, and realize their full potential. If there’s anyone who knows the answer to any question around happiness, it’s him.

Dr. James has been such a bright light in my life for many years now. Believe it or not, he was actually the first-ever guest here on IHML all the way back in 2018! It feels like such a full-circle moment to have him back here today following the rebrand and reinvention of my companies. I can honestly say that Dr. James opened my eyes to the importance of falling in love with myself and with my life on a whole new level—and I know that listening to this episode will support many of you in doing the same.

Today, I’m getting Dr. James to spill all of his secrets around joy, happiness, healing past trauma, and how he manages to maintain his contagious positivity and radiate love and compassion wherever he goes. I was especially inspired by his insight that we are all born to be vessels of hope. I’ve always believed that every single person in this world has the capacity to make a positive impact on the lives of others—but I’ve never heard this idea described in relation to hope. According to Dr. James, by being a beacon of hope and allowing ourselves to radiate radical love and acceptance, we can increase our sphere of influence and make our message magnetic.

Be sure to stick around until the end to hear about Dr. James’ “museum of hope” morning practice. It might be the most intensive morning ritual I’ve ever encountered—and he hasn’t missed a day in over 30 years! I’m almost fully convinced that he is superhuman, and after listening to this episode, you will be too!

In This Episode:

  • Learning to find joy and happiness in the highs, lows, and contrasts of life
  • Opening up to happiness after experiencing pain, trauma, and tragedy
  • Questions you can ask yourself to begin your healing process
  • Dr. James shares how he shows up with love and acceptance for everybody
  • How to radiate peace, grace, and hope that people can’t help but gravitate towards
  • The difference between willpower and willingness to show up for yourself 
  • How hope can become your marketing superpower
  • Dr. James’ high-intensity morning ritual (which he hasn’t missed in over 30 years!)
  • What it means to hold yourself hostage to your history, and why it’s better to choose to love each new iteration of yourself instead
  • What it looks like to fully say yes to your life


“Right now, the world is so much more comfortable with looking away and creating separation. I believe the Universe, God, the light, the highest power is saying, ‘how dare you do something that’s so easy. I have given you everything that you need to know to be daring enough to love everyone.’ Can you imagine if we did that instead? Does that mean we have to agree? Does that mean you have to align on values? It means nothing about that. Love doesn’t do that. That’s what our intellect does. “ – Dr. James Rouse

“Growth doesn’t happen in hate. Growth doesn’t happen in separation. Growth happens with integration. Growth happens when we’re opening our heart, and exposing those deep and vulnerable spaces of ourselves.”  – Dr. James Rouse

“The highest job description of every human being today is to understand that our locus of control is the center of love. And if we only put our focus there, our business will flourish. Our relationships will flourish. Our ability to have peace and grace in our life will flourish in such a way that you really look like you’re the person that people go: ‘I don’t know what she’s doing. I don’t know what she, how she does it. All I know is I want to be around that field of energy.’ So you’re not doing any selling. You’re not doing any marketing. All you’re doing is being.”  – Dr. James Rouse

“Willingness is such a different level of energy compared to willpower. Willingness is when you let your soul speak for you, when you let your heart dictate what it is that you say yes to.” – Dr. James Rouse

“Entrepreneurs by definition are risk-takers. That’s what we do, but we don’t always do it with a level of absoluteness. We say to ourselves, ‘What if I do it this time, because the money is good. What if I do it this one time, because it’s a great opportunity, even though I’m not totally connected to it at the soul level. Well, you know what? That is an insidious decline of integrity just waiting to happen.” – Dr. James Rouse

“Distinction doesn’t come easily—it comes naturally. But we have to get in alignment with the natural laws of the Universe.” – Dr. James Rouse

“We all want to have joy. We want to have success. We want to have peace. We want to have great relationships. But are we willing to do the deepest work of our lives before anyone lays eyes on us?” – Dr. James Rouse

Links & Resources:

Follow the I Heart My Life Show on Apple Podcasts

Subscribe to the I Heart My Life Show on Spotify

Want to hear more of Dr. James’ wisdom? 

Listen to Episode 51 of IHML where he talks about how most of us are leading with our head instead of our heart.

Or grab a copy of the ‘I Heart My Life’ book by Emily Williams, featuring an exclusive interview with Dr. James Rouse.

Connect with Dr. James Rouse: 

Visit His Website

James on Instagram

Connect with Emily:

I Heart My Life Website

I Heart My Life on Instagram

I Heart My Life on Facebook

I Heart My Life on LinkedIn

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