In this episode, we discuss how to hack your brain to finally create the results you want in life. We take a hard look at what really drivers results and the reality that knowledge and skill aren’t what make you successful - the subconscious drives your behavior, that’s it. You don’t need any more tools to achieve your goals, you just need to change your beliefs and your subconscious set points for success, happiness, and achievement. Action is the ultimate arbiter of your success, are you taking enough of it, and how can you take more? We discuss all of this and much more with our guest John Assaraf.
John Assaraf is an entrepreneur, brain researcher and the CEO of NeuroGym. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books and his latest work is titled “Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power”. Throughout his career, he has worked some of the world's top minds and has shared his expertise with millions of viewers on Larry King Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and dozens of other media venues worldwide.
Emotions are triggered in your subconscious, that then trigger neurochemicals, which cause feelings, which you either like the experience of or don’t like
How do you deal with the subconscious fear of failure or disappointment?
The subconscious fear of failure can stop you from taking action.
Emotions are just signals for what’s going on in your brain and in your body
Instead of focusing on just on the emotion - focus on what’s CAUSING the emotion - use the emotion as a signal
When you don’t understand what’s causing you to be afraid and stopping you from taking action - you will be a VICTIM of your emotions
Our behaviors are an EFFECT - if you take action, that’s an effect, if you don’t take action, that’s an effect.
Ask yourself - why am I taking (or not taking) the action I want to take?
What does real science say that can help you really understand what’s going on?
Results are nothing more than effects… but the effects of WHAT?
What are the precursors to RESULTS?
What causes RESULTS in your life?
Here are the precursors to results:
Self-image, self-worth, self-esteem - what you believe about yourself and what you deserve
Whenever we have an implicit subconscious belief that differs from a conscious explicit belief we have “neural chaos” and you will “rationalize why you can’t or shouldn’t do it”
Rationalize = rational, lies
Not taking action is a behavior. So is taking action.
What’s going on in my subconscious mind that is preventing me from taking action?
If your values are in conflict with your beliefs - you won’t get the results you want.
Knowledge doesn’t drive behavior. Skill doesn’t drive behavior. The subconscious drives behavior. That’s it.
96-98% of all of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are part of your “Default mode network” or your "automatic self"
How do you embark on the deliberate conscious evolution of yourself?
How do you ACCESS the subconscious mind?
How do you REPROGRAM the subconscious mind?
In order to REPROGRAM your subconscious mind - it takes PRACTICE
How many free throws does a basketball player have to shoot to make the automatic?
How much effort does it take for a baby to learn the alphabet?
It takes between 66 days and 365 days to reprogram the subconscious mind so that it does the work without thinking - so that it becomes automatic
People often confuse GATHERING information with what it takes to impregnate that information into the subconscious
You have to practice and exercise and build “neuro muscles” over and over again
What is a habit in the brain? What is the belief in the brain?
It’s nothing more than a cluster of cells that have been connected and reinforced over and over again through time
All of your habits and beliefs and perspectives have been trained and reinforced into your brain
It takes hours and hours of practice, hundreds and hundreds of hours in many cases - to learn behavior or habit into the brain.
Everything always starts as a fantasy. That people then make into a fact. That’s how the process of creation works.
Feelings are just conscious awareness of the neurochemicals flowing through your body.
The new era of personal development and the new science of success is about understanding brain circuitry and reprogramming it
People often don’t need more TOOLS - the problem is that your beliefs and financial set points get stuck
How John’s mindset principles created $100mm in 6 months at his real estate company
What should you do if it’s too hard to you don’t have time to implement some of these ideas?
Are you interested in achieving your goals or are you COMMITTED to them?
If you’re interested you’ll do what’s convenient, but you’ll tell yourself stories about why you can’t achieve it
If you’re committed, you will do what it takes. You will upgrade yourself.
You’ll either pay the price of the discipline of life or you’ll pay the price of regret. Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons.
2 Specific Innercises you can do right now
“Take Six, Calm The Circuits”
Take six deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth like your blowing into a straw - and deactivate the fear center of the brain
Of Thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations, and the behavior you’ve just been engaged in for the last 1-5 minutes
State of no judgment, no shame, no blame, no guilt - just pure awareness
What’s your intention right now?
What’s one action you take right now to make that a reality?
Awareness is what creates choice, choice creates freedom
Homework: Cognitive priming. Ask yourself - what do you want from every area of your life?
“I’m so happy and grateful for the fact that…"
Bring forth all the thoughts, behaviors, people, knowledge and skills so that can make this a reality today
Thank you so much for listening!
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Want To Dig In More?! - Here’s The Show Notes, Links, & Research
[Article] Make a Vision Board - “Meet John Assaraf” by Susan
[Article] Awaken the Greatness Within - “44 Inspirational John Assaraf Quotes On Success” By Asad Meah (are these quote pages helpful/useful?)
[Article] Goalcast - “John Assaraf Wants to Help You Reach Your Full Potential by Rewiring Your Brain” By MJ Kelly
[Article] INC. - “12 Daily Habits Practiced by Highly Successful People” By Christina DesMarais
[Article] Thrive Global - “Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power: With John Assaraf, CEO of NeuroGym” by Yitzi Weiner
[Article] Thrive Global - “How to Create a Successful Routine That Makes You 10x More Productive” by Anthony Moore
[Article] Mind Body Green - “Why Simply Setting Goals Still Isn’t Motivating You to Follow Through” by John Assaraf
[Article] Forbes - “Self Improvement Through Neuroscience And Technology” by RL Adams
[Article] Mind Movies - “[Interview] John Assaraf Reveals Why Money May Not Solve Your Money Problems” by Natalie Yedwell
[Article] Entrepreneur - “How to Strengthen Your Brain for Success” by David Meltzer
[Article] Manifestation Portal - “Who is John Assaraf”
[Article] The Law of Attraction - “John Assaraf: Brain-A-Thon & Winning The Game Of Money”
[Podcast] The One Thing - Episode 22: The ONE Thing for Developing a Millionaire Mindset w/ John Assaraf
[Podcast] Awakenings with Michele Meiche - Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power - John Assaraf
[Podcast] The Playbook - John Assaraf: How To Properly Utilize Your Brain
[Podcast] Impact Theory - John Assaraf How to Upgrade Your Mindset in 46 Minutes
[Podcast] Go Pro with Eric Worre - John Assaraf: Unlocking the Power of Your Brain
John’s Youtube Channel
Team Fearless - Train Your Brain To Make More Money - John Assaraf
David Laroche World - How to teach and train your brain to Get What You Really Want ? - John Assaraf
MindValley - Retrain Your Financial Brain | John Assaraf
Finerminds - John Assaraf shares his Vision Board
[Book Site] Innercise by John Assaraf
[Book] The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life by John Assaraf and Murray Smith
[Book] Having It All: Achieving Your Life's Goals and Dreams by John Assaraf
[Book] The Street Kid's Guide to Having It All by John Assaraf and Peri Poloni
[00:00:04.4] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Science of Success. Introducing your host, Matt Bodnar.
[0:00:11.8] MB: Welcome to the Science of Success; the number one evidence-based growth podcast on the internet with more than three million downloads and listeners in over a hundred countries.
In this episode, we discuss how to hack your brain to finally create the results you want in life. We take a hard look at what really drives results and the reality that knowledge and skill aren't what make you successful. This subconscious drives your behavior. That's it. You don't need any more tools to achieve your goals, you just need to change your beliefs and your subconscious set points for success, happiness and achievement. Action is the ultimate arbiter of your success. Are you taking enough of it? How can you take even more? We discuss all of this and much more with our guest John Assaraf.
I’m going to tell you why you’ve been missing out on some incredibly cool stuff if you haven’t signed up for our e-mail list yet. All you have to do to sign up is to go to successpodcast.com and sign up right on the home page.
On top of tons subscriber-only content, exclusive access and live Q&As with previous guests, monthly giveaways and much more, I also created an epic free video course just for you. It's called How to Create Time for What Matters Most Even When You're Really Busy. E-mail subscribers have been raving about this guide.
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In our previous episode, we discussed improving your mental nutrition. Decades ago, we realized that our society had started eroding our physical health with desk jobs and fast food and we became conscious of the need for fitness and nutrition. Now, we stand at the precipice of an even bigger struggle. We're healthier and happier than ever before and yet, anxiety, suicide and depression are on the rise.
How do we improve our mental fitness and take action to challenge our rationality, our impulsiveness and our bad habits? Do you want to finally move past inaction, procrastination and laziness? Do you want to feel happier about the world? Listen to our previous interview with our returning guest, Mark Manson.
Now, for our interview with John. Please note, this episode contains profanity.
[0:03:32.6] MB: Today, we have another exciting guest on the show, John Assaraf. John is an entrepreneur, brain researcher and the CEO of NeuroGym. He's the author of two New York Times bestselling books and his latest work is titled Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power. Throughout his career, he's worked with some of the world's top minds and has shared his expertise with millions of people on Larry King Live, Ellen DeGeneres Show and dozens of other media outlets worldwide.
John, welcome to the Science of Success.
[0:04:00.8] JA: Hey, Matt. Great to be with you. Thanks.
[0:04:02.5] MB: Well, we're very excited to have you on the show today and to dig into all of this. I'd love to start out with an analogy that I've heard you share in the past, which is this idea that our emotions are like a car's dashboard. Tell me more about that and how people misunderstand it.
[0:04:20.6] JA: Let's dive right into it, right? Well, when you do a little bit of brain research and you start to understand a little about the circuits of the brain, what turns them on, what turns them off, what's the neuro-chemistry that's actually causing people to put their foot on the gas and let's go, let's make things happen and what causes people to put on the brakes and stop dead in their tracks, you have to look at the world of emotions and feelings, which are two different things.
From a pure neuroscience perspective, we have emotions that are all triggered in subconscious that trigger neuro-chemicals that causes these feelings, that people either like or don't like, that they resonate with or they don't. When somebody has any emotion, so for example, if somebody has a goal to achieve; grow their business, make an extra $25,000 a year, or $25,000 a month in income, if they have the goal that excites them and lets say, dopamine is released and they share it with a co-worker, or a friend, or a partner and they release these oxytocin neuro-chemicals that is the bonding and love chemicals, everybody feels great, what happens if there's a subconscious pattern, for example, or a subconscious fear of failure, or being disappointed because you tried and failed, then you're embarrassed, or ashamed, or ridiculed, the neuro chemicals of fear will actually stop people from actually taking action.
When we talk about emotions, emotions are just signals for what's going on in your brain and through your body, and so our feelings. Instead of focusing on the emotion, what we need to be focusing on is what's triggering this disempowering, or destructive emotion, or this debilitating emotion that's preventing me from taking action. Procrastination is one of the greatest facts of fear.
When people don't understand what's causing them to not take action, or to take risk, then they are going to be victims of their emotions. I like to share with people that you want to be aware of what are your core emotions, what are the feelings that move you forward and the feelings that stop you and then how do you manage and then master them, versus becoming a victim of them?
[0:06:51.8] MB: I love that phrase, ‘a victim of your emotions’. It's so true. There's so many instances and examples of people who have this desire to do something and yet, they always seem to get distracted, or never quite take the action, or never really get there and keep self-sabotaging. It's a great way to phrase that. It’s calling them victims of their own emotions.
[0:07:14.3] JA: The thing that is worthy for everybody to take a look at is our behaviors, our effects, right? If we take action, that's an effect. If we don't take action, that's an effect. Our emotions are effect. Procrastination is an effect. The question that a smart person is going to ask themselves is why am I, or why am I not taking the action that I want to take or should take?
This is where the body of work that I've done around Innercise, it's around unlocking your brain’s hidden power and potential. When most people focus on personal development, I love the Science of Success podcast, because I'm all about the science of what's the real science that'll show me and help me understand what's really, really going on.
When we talk about results, results are nothing more than effects. The question is effects of what? What is the precursor to all results, or what are the precursors to all results? We know what they are and we know what triggers them in the brain and we know what to do about them if they're disempowering or destructive.
[0:08:26.7] MB: That's such a crystal clear way of thinking about it and breaking the process down; what are the precursors to results? I love that way of thinking about it. Let's dig into that. What are they?
[0:08:37.3] JA: Number one is going to be your beliefs. Let me give you some things to chew on for everybody who's listening. Let's say you have this belief that you can make $500,000 a year and you're really excited about that. We call that a decorative belief, a belief that you can declare. “I can make $500,000 a year. I want to make $500,000 a year.” What if you have another belief that maybe you've developed over childhood, or in your 20s and 30s that says, “But I don't have a college degree, so am I really smart enough? Am I worthy? Do I really deserve that amount?”
Whenever we have an explicit belief, for example, that contradicts our implicit subconscious belief, we're going to have something known as neural chaos and we won't take action. We will procrastinate and we'll rationalize why we can't or shouldn't, and the definition of rationalize is we’ll tell ourselves rational lies and it'll make all the sense in the world at the time. Beliefs drive behavior, but specifically subconscious implicit beliefs, versus conscious goal, wanting or desiring beliefs. That's number one.
Number two, we talked about already and that is emotions. When we have an emotion that is going against our natural propensity for safety first, the brakes go on in our brain. The motivational center is deactivated. If we have a fear for example, of being embarrassed, ashamed, ridiculed, judged, disappointed, fear of success, fear of failure, there's 50 different types of just fears that will hold us back, emotions drive behavior.
Not taking action is a behavior, so is taking action. If we're not taking action, emotions are again, part of our subconscious, and so we have to look at what is going on in my subconscious mind that's putting on the brakes of behavior? I know I need to take action. I may even know what to do. I may even have the freaking blueprint to do it. If you're not taking action, even though you have the knowledge or the skill, then there's something that's triggered in the emotional center of the brain, the limbic system that's putting on the brakes and deactivating motivational and motor cortex of the brain.
Beliefs, limiting one specifically, and then emotions, are two values, or three. We will move towards things that we value the most. Now when we have conflicts between what we value, so I'll give you an example. Let's say you're newly married and you really value your spouse, your significant other. Maybe you even have a one-year-old, two-year-old, three-year-old, whatever the ages of a little child. Let's say you value your family like, “Oh, my God. This is unbelievable.” Then you have a belief that in order to take care of my family, I've got to work 60, 70 hours a week to make enough money to take care of them, to support them, to have safety and security for them. Well, guess what? Your beliefs are going to override your values and you're going to be a workhorse and not spend time with your family, because a belief will override a value.
Beliefs, emotions and values are three of the things that hold people back from taking action. Then there's another one and that is self-image, self-worth, self-esteem, those all combine for this one category of what do I really believe about myself and what do I believe I deserve? When we have all of these mental constructs all wrapped around in the emotions, that is what is going to drive behavior more than anything else. It's not knowledge, it's not skill, as relates to achievement of a goal.
It has to do with what is really happening at the subconscious level that has been conditioned from the time we are born, without any beliefs, without any habits, without any emotions, without any constructs. When we start to take a look at beliefs, emotions, values and habits and self-esteem, self-worth, that is what's going to drive our behavior and cause us to take action or not and to what degree we will.
This is the stuff that I guess for me, this is my play zone. This is the stuff that I discovered many, many, many years ago as a 19-year-old under-performing kid that didn't think I was smart enough, good enough, or worthy enough to do anything with my life. My results were showing it and the police would probably tell you the same, and so did my teachers. I'll share with you a couple stories after you and I say hello again, because I know you're being very patient with my long-winded answer.
[0:13:34.9] MB: Perfect. No. I mean, there's so much to unpack with that and I want to hear a couple of these stories and then I want to really dig into the meat of how to do this. One of the things you said to me really hit home, which is the idea of knowledge doesn't drive behavior. Skills don't drive behavior. The subconscious is what drives your behavior.
[0:13:51.0] JA: Correct. All of the latest research shows that 96% to 98% of all of your thoughts, emotions and behaviors are part of something known as your default mode network, or your automatic self. Once we are conditioned through imprinting, coaching and modeling years and experimental years, once our subconscious is programmed and conditioned, the second hierarchy of the brain efficiency goes right to work and makes anything that took conscious effort and makes it unconscious, or subconscious and there's no thought and very little energy required to fulfill it.
This is where I've worked for 38, 40 years now. Actually it’s about 40 years, on understanding how do you get access to this subconscious where the software, the programming is, and how do you reprogram your own subconscious mind? Again, that's what I did in my book Innercise, is here are some of the best methods to access the subconscious mind and then reprogram it almost like, I call a deliberate conscious evolution, is you're deliberately evolving yourself, as opposed to waiting for time to do it. You're just accelerating through technologies and evidence-based methodologies.
There are ways to do that. I did it for myself in health. I've done it for myself in business and the finances and I've done it with tens of thousands. I've taught 100,000s of students around the world. Including a company that I built from myself as the CEO of RE/MAX Of Indiana to a 2,500 salespeople who did 4 and a half billion dollars a year in sales at our prime, before I sold it in 2007.
[0:15:41.8] MB: That's amazing. I want to dig into this. What was the phrase again? Deliberate self-evolution?
[0:15:47.0] JA: Deliberate conscious evolution.
[0:15:48.9] MB: Deliberate conscious evolution. I love that. I want to unpack the two key pieces of this, which is how do we access the subconscious mind and all the things that are going on there and then how do we reprogram it? I know those are related, but separate pieces.
[0:16:04.9] JA: We know for example that we have different brainwave frequencies, right? We have beta, alpha, theta, delta, gamma and every combination thereof. There's at any given time, there's 40, 50, 60 different variations of brainwave frequencies. When we're talking like this and we're paying close attention to what you and I are talking about, we're mostly in a beta brainwave frequency.
Now we also know that if we just calmed down and relaxed a little bit more, maybe took 6, 10, 12 breaths, closed our eyes and went into a mindfulness state, more of an alpha brainwave frequency, or even go a little bit deeper from just a relaxed calm state, into a slight meditative state, we know that we're basically setting aside this conscious part of our brain and we can access our subconscious part of our brain.
The first thing to know when we're playing with retraining your brain is you don't retrain your brain for the most part by reading a book, but if for example you are sitting quietly without falling asleep, but putting yourself in what we call as a hypnagogic state, if you move into a quiet, relaxed state and let's say, you listen to the book, you're going to bypass this conscious processor and then you're going to access the subconscious mind, where your retention levels are going to be 10, 20, 30X.
When we are listening to, let's say self-talk, or affirmations, or we are doing visualizations and accessing the occipital lobe in the brain, when we do mindfulness practices, when we use subliminal programming, when we get into a calm state and we look at a vision of our goals in a calm, relaxed state, without focusing on well, how am I going to achieve this, and we start to activate the emotional centers of the brain, activate the visual centers of the brain, activate the motor cortex of the brain, now we are accessing the subconscious part of our brain, which once we program that part of our brain, it then goes to work on making whatever it is that we're conditioning it to do automatic.
Here's something that I just – it would be remiss for me not to tell people this. In order to reprogram your subconscious mind – I want everybody to pay really close attention. A lot of people think that you do it one time, three times, five times, 10 times and you're really good at it. Think about this. How many free-throws does a basketball player have to shoot in order to get really, really, really good and make that automatic? How many efforts does a baby require to learn the alphabet, or the multiplication, division and addition tables? How much time does it take conscious effort for a baby to learn how to tie his shoes, or to learn how to use a spoon and just get food out of a little baby food jar?
Here's what we know. It takes between 66 days and 365 days to reprogram the subconscious mind and/or program the subconscious mind so that it does the work without thinking. It becomes automatic. Where most people make this just this monstrous mistake is they confuse gathering information, which happens at the conscious level of our being with what it really takes to impregnate that into the subconscious, so that it starts to do all the heavy lifting.
When we're talking about training or retraining your brain, think about this, if you're wickedly out of shape and you're 20 pounds overweight, or 15 pounds overweight, how long does it take you to release the weight in a healthy way and get into good shape so you can run a 10K run? It's going to take you four, or five, six, seven, eight weeks, right? Well, this is the same type of principle. You exercise to strengthen your physical muscles and internal organs and you Innercise to strengthen your core neuro-muscles.
Confidence is a neuro-muscle. Self-esteem is a neuro-muscle. Beliefs are neuro-muscles. Habits are neuro-muscles that are either weak or strong, constructive or destructive, empowering or disempowering to varying degrees. Every athlete knows they have to practice before a performance. Every Navy SEAL, every astronaut practices perfectly so that they perform perfectly. It's not just practice, it's perfect practice makes perfect.
When we're dealing with the brain, an easy visual for somebody to take a look at is imagine if you had two coders, they're coding software. One was a beginner, had no idea of what she's doing, another one is got 10 years of experience and can just program incredibly. Well, how did they get to becoming a really good programmer? They had to practice, they to make a lot of mistakes and to figure out the right code and the right programming language and then they could let it rip. Well, our subconscious mind works just like that. Whatever you have been conditioned, or whatever you condition or program your mind with is what it will perform.
[0:21:50.0] MB: So many different things that I want to follow through on that. This point that you made, which is really, really important, especially for everybody listening to this show because it's so easy to fall into this trap, that people often confuse gathering information with what it actually takes to subconsciously implant and really embed that information into your habits and your belief structures and the subconscious structure of the brain itself.
[0:22:16.5] JA: That is totally correct. If we want to just unpack it a little bit more, if you think about what is a habit in the brain? What's a belief in the brain? What is it? The answer is it's nothing more than a cluster of cells that have connected and have been reinforced over time. There isn't anybody who's listening right now that was born with any beliefs, any habits, any perspectives. All of that was trained into your brain, or conditioned into your brain through your parents, your teachers, books, experiences, repetition, emotions, associations.
If a limiting belief, for example, I'm too young. I'm too Asian or Caucasian, too whatever, too young, too old, any limiting belief. I'm not smart enough, not good enough, not worried enough. That is nothing more than a pattern in the brain. A habit is a coalesced set of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that have been automated to conserve energy, period. That's all it is.
If a thought, or an emotional pattern, or a behavioral pattern is nothing more than cells connecting in the brain, then is there a way to deactivate the unwanted, or disempowering ones and is there a way to input new patterns in the brain that are constructive and powerful? The answers abso-fuckin-lutely.
[0:23:48.5] MB: Let's dig into a little bit more around how do we actually start to reprogram and practice those new beliefs, because I think that's another point that you made a minute ago that's really, really important. It's not a thing where there's a quick fix and you have this breakthrough insight and suddenly, your subconscious has changed forever. Just like learning how to spell, just like learning how to throw free throws, it's something that takes practice over and over and over again to really reinforce some change.
[0:24:16.5] JA: Absolutely. A visual that I like to share with people is imagine if I gave you, anybody who's listening right now, imagine I gave you four videos and broken down into maybe five-minute increments. It was Tiger Woods breaking down his golf swing and you got those videos today. He guided you step-by-step. There was a manual that went with each video with step-by-step instruction. There is videos. There are pictures. There is everything that you need in order to swing a golf club like Tiger Woods.
Just because you watched the videos and read the manuals two or three or four or five or six times, does not translate to you swinging the club like Tiger Woods. Now, let's say you want to take it one step further from being aware of how to hold your grip, how to swing back, how to make sure that it comes through like a pendulum, what exercises he does for stretching and for nutrition, whatever it is, you had all of it, it would take practice, right? Hours and hours and hours, if not hundreds or thousands of hours to take information, words, visuals, whatever it is, and to start the process of creating a pattern that would actually result in some behavior.
Let's use a simple example of – I'm going to give everybody another little visual. I like telling stories. Imagine right now that you're having coffee with a friend of yours, or you're at a bar having cocktail with a friend of yours and somebody taps you on the shoulder and goes, “Hey, my name is John Assaraf. I work with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks in Hollywood and we just finished writing this script. You look like somebody who this script was written for. You've got the height, the look. Let me ask you a question, if I gave you 10 million dollars to learn the script and I gave you the coaching required to get the voice right, the acting right, and we had a year or two, for you to get this script wired and I’m going to give you 10 million dollars to perform this script.”
Let's say you never even read the script, right? Like most Hollywood actors don't read a script before. They get the script and then they read it and they go, “Yeah, I like it.” Let's say you didn't read the script. I was going to give you 10 million dollars to play that role. What would you do to play that role? I imagine you'd read it 20, 30, 40, 50, a 100 times. I imagine you do research on the character. I would imagine you'd get coaching. You'd be filmed. You'd look at it. You'd practice it. You tweak it. You'd practice it some more, until you started to get comfortable with this role that's on a piece of paper.
With the right coaching and support and practicing and tweaking and drilling and practicing some more, it would go from conscious effort, right? Where you have to really work at it, as your familiarity with the role became more prep, or more associated with you, even though you're pretending this role, you would start to develop everything necessary to perform that role without the script in your hand and maybe even in front of a camera, or an audience. The more you practiced, the more you repeated, the more you got your emotions into it, the more you did it, the easier it would become over time.
Let's say you want to take a script called A New Belief. Let's say the new belief sets something like, “I'm so happy and grateful for the fact that I am now earning fill-in-the-blank, a $100,000, $500,000, a million dollars, and I’m becoming the person I've always dreamed of.” That's a lie right now for a lot of people. What if you took that lie, that script and what if every day you read it on your mirror? Then as you read it on your mirror, you ran your fingers across it and then you closed your eyes and felt it and pretend it initially that it was real and true.
What if you did that two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, 10 times a day, what if you recorded and listened to it on your way to work, or while you're working at home and then what if you created some visual images that you put on your dream board, or vision board, or on your computer screen, showing the things that you could do, showing the things that you could help with, the charities you get involved with, showing how you would feel, how would you dress, who would you help, and you created this entire story around that one affirmation, that one lie and then you ask yourself a question every day, “What could I do today? What's one thing that I could do today to move closer to that being real?”
Then you acted. You did it. You actually took action. I could read one paragraph a day of a really good book that's going to upgrade my skills, my self-esteem, my self-image. I'm going to learn how to manage my emotions better, so that I release my fears or self-doubts. I'm just going to take one action a day. What do you think will happen over a 100 days, 200 days, 300 days? Do you think you're going to get closer to that thing that is on a piece of paper on your computer screen being real if you treated it as a new story that you wanted to impress into your subconscious mind, so that it would then help you make that thing real?
Everything always starts as a fantasy. Every building, every car, every invention, every idea, right, starts off as fantasy. That then people make into facts. That is how the process of creation works between a thought, an idea, a desire, a goal that we choose consciously, or we use one of our faculties of mine called our imagination. Then by focusing on it relentlessly, thinking about it, focusing on it, feeling it and then behaving in ways that will move us towards it. We take a fantasy, or fiction, our fantasy and then we make it into a fact?
You can do that with beliefs. You can develop new habits that way. Emotions are slightly different, but emotions are just emotions. Emotions are like lights that pop up on your car dash. It's just a signal. Your feelings are conscious awareness of the neuro-chemicals that are flowing through your body. Emotions are just signals. You have emotions for happiness, for sadness, for shame, for disgust, for love. Those are just emotions. It just tells you, here's what's going on in the engine of your brain.
The ones that you like, keep moving towards them. The ones that are disempowering you, the ones that you don't like, it just doesn't feel right, change what's going on that's causing them to be triggered. This is the new era of personal development and the new Science to Success is your podcast is so beautifully named. This is the stuff that we're dealing. With we're dealing with understanding motivational circuits and fear circuits and self-esteem circuits and all the stuff that's happening that's causing us to take action or not.
[0:32:00.6] MB: Some truly great examples. The golf swing example is such a good way of breaking that down. Yet, in something that's less physically tangible, like personal development. It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “Oh, I read that once, or I listen to that podcast and now I understand it.” Not doing all of that hard work and all the practice that's really necessary to actually make it happen.
[0:32:22.9] JA: Yeah. Let me share a story with you, if I may.
[0:32:25.7] MB: Please.
[0:32:27.1] JA: I won't even use me as an example. In 1987, I was 26-years-old. I bought RE/MAX Of Indiana and I had been learning about the human brain for probably about seven years from my mentors, and started reprogramming my mind at 19. Did well. I did $30,000 my first year in real estate, a 151,000 my second year, 250 some odd thousand in my third year and then I ended up buying RE/MAX Of Indiana, the franchising rights for RE/MAX Of Indiana.
Between 1987-1992, I opened up a bunch of real estate offices. In 1992, I did 1.2 billion dollars a year in sales and we were stuck. Now it was a good place to be stuck, but I knew that there was potential to do more. No matter how many books, coaches, speakers, events, contests I did, we were stuck at about a 100 million a month in sales. I said, “What the hell is going on? I'm giving these agents so many tools. So much, like nobody does what I'm doing.”
Then it dawned on me that it wasn't more tools that they needed. They didn't need to learn more closing techniques, or more listing techniques. They didn't need to learn how to make more money. I said, “We have a totally different problem.” We have people's financial set points that are stuck. We people that were making $35,000 a year, $50,000, $75,000, a $100,000. A few you made $200,000, $250,000 a year back then. We were stuck.
I said, “Okay, let me do a little test.” I got 75 of my agents who wanted to pay. At the time was about $2,500 to work with me for six months on reprogramming their subconscious mind. We put them through a process of doing this. They had to commit to about 15 minutes a day of what I call Innercises today. Those 75 agents in six months in 1992 increased our sales by 100 million dollars. A 100 million dollars in six months. They increased their income by about $30,000 each.
At the time, the average agent in my company was making about $40,000 a year. That's the average. Four years later, by – actually, by 1997, excuse me, about five years later, we hit four and a half billion dollars and the average person in my company was making $128,000 in commission. The only thing that we did was help people refocus on their subconscious mind and recalibrate their set points.
We taught them how to manage their emotions better. We taught them how to eliminate their limiting beliefs. We taught them how to augment their self-esteem and self-worth, so that the behaviors came automatically to match what was happening in their subconscious mind.
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[0:36:42.8] MB: I want to dig into some of these specific exercises. Before we do that, tell me what you would say to somebody who's listening who says, “Wow, that sounds great, but it sounds really hard. I don't have, or I don't want to spend hundreds of hours practicing this stuff.”
[0:36:58.3] JA: Okay. I would say, okay. The same thing I’d tell somebody who says, “You know what? I want to lose 25 pounds, but I don't want to do the work.” I say, okay. I'll share another story with you. I'm 19-years-old. I have got myself into a lot of trouble with the law. I left high school grade 11, started working for a computer company for Philips Electronics, a subsidiary of Philips Electronics for about $2.65, for $2.50 an hour working in the shipping department. Hated it. I was selling drugs on the side.
My life was going nowhere. I was still living in my parents’ house. Police were there, oh, probably every 90 days or so, because I was getting to some trouble or another. My brother Mark, who was living in Toronto, about 350 miles away from Montreal, invited me to come down to his house for a weekend to see if maybe he can shake me up a bit and help me. He said he's arranged for a lunch with a man by the name of Alan Brown, who at the time was in his 40s, making millions of dollars a year in real estate and in investments, family man, philanthropist, traveler, private jet, the works.
We had lunch with Alan Brown and he heard my story. Probably about, I don't know, 40 minutes into the story he said, “What are your goals?” I said, “Well, what do you mean?” “What are your goals?” I said, “Well, I want to make enough money to get an apartment, to get my own car and move out of my parents’ house.” It was, “Okay, that's your short-term easy goals. What are your big goals?” I said to him, “I don't have any big goals. That’s the extent of it.” He says, “Come on. I want you to dream. I want you to really dream and see what is it that you want.”
He gave me these goal-setting documents, probably about 15 pages. He said, “Okay, how much income do you want to earn in the next 12 months? 3 years? 5 years? 20 years? 25 years? What do you want your net worth to be? Where do you want to travel? What home do you want to have? What car do you want? What do you want your health to be like? How much money do you want to give to charities? Is there anything you want to do in the world that'll make it different? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?”
I filled out these 15 pages. Came back to him, while he and my brother continued lunch. Then he started reading and said, “Good job. You've got some really great ideas in here. Where did you get those?” I said, “Well, partially from my imagination and partly from that show called Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous with Robin Leach.” He says, “Yeah, I watch that show. It’s a great show.” He said to me, he says, “Listen, I can help you achieve every one of those goals. They're actually pretty easy.” I said, “What do you mean it’s pretty easy? I want to have 3 million dollars by the time I'm 45-years-old.” He says, “You think that's easy?” He goes, “Well, it is if you know how to do.” He said, “But you're 19-years-old. You don't know how to do it.” He says, “I make that some months.”
I'm like, “What? You make 3 million dollars a month?” He goes, “Yeah. Sometimes more. Sometimes less, but easily 3 million dollars a month.” I said to him, “Well, yeah. I’d love to learn how to do that.” He says, “Well, I may be interested in mentoring you if you answer this question correctly.” I’m like, “Yeah, okay. Sure. What’s the question?” He says, “These goals that you wrote down on your piece of paper,” he said, “Are you interested in achieving them, or are you committed?” I said, “What? What do you mean, am I interested or am I committed? What’s the difference, Mr. Brown?” He says, “If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient and easy.”
He says, “If you’re interested, you’ll come up with stories and excuses as reasons why you can’t, or why you won’t. If you’re interested, you won’t do what it takes. You’ll allow you stories and your circumstance to control you.” He said, “If you’re committed, you will do whatever it takes. You will upgrade your knowledge, you will upgrade your skills, you will upgrade who you are as a human being to one that can achieve this.”
Then he quoted Jim Rohn’s famous quote. He says, “If you're just interested, you're not going to amount to much. If you are committed, you will.” He said, “You're either going to pay the price of discipline in life, or are you going to pay the price of regret?” He says, “Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons.” I looked at him. I said, “Wow, holy mackerel. This is deep stuff and it's good.” I'm like, “Mr. Brown. I am committed.” He says, “Great. Then the first thing I’m going to ask you to do is go home and you're moving to Toronto from Montreal.”
I said, “Well, how am I going to move from Montreal to Toronto? I don't have any money. I don't have an apartment here.” He says, “Well, are you interested, or are you committed?” I said, “Well, I guess I'm committed.” My brother said I could move in with him. I'd even have a car. He says, “The next day I need you to do is I need you to enroll in the real estate school.” I said, “Real estate school? I fucking hate school. I don't have any money to get into real estate school.” He says, “Well, I don't care if you hate it or you don't. It really makes no difference whether you have the money or you don't. Figure it out.”
I went to Montreal, told my parents I’m moving out of the house. I’m going to live with my brother. I had a credit card that I was able to put the $500 on. This was May 5th, 1980. On June 20th, 1980 I graduated with a real estate license after five weeks of going to school for 40 hours a week. The reason I remember these dates so well, Matt, the real estate license that I got and the test I passed was the first test I didn't cheat on in probably three years. I remember those dates, because it’s the first time I was proud in many, many, many, many years.
Then Mr. Brown took me under his wing and then he taught me how to sell real estate and how to buy real estate and how to achieve every one of my goals and then some, because I said I was committed, not interested. In a roundabout way, when somebody says, “I don't want to invest a 100 hours.” Great, competition’s pretty fierce in the bottom. It's not up at the top.
[0:42:36.0] MB: Yeah, that's a pretty powerful story and a great way to weigh-in on that question and something that I want to reiterate a version of that story when people ask me for advice sometimes. I want to come back and talk about a couple of the specific Innercises, because I think there's some that are really great, really actionable, simple. Tell me about one or two that you think are great starters, or things that people can begin with right away.
[0:43:01.9] JA: The first, there are two Innercises that I teach people. When people buy the book, I've got eight brain training audios that I give them for free with a couple hundred bucks to guide them through this. Innercise number one, that is probably one of the most powerful things you can learn that everybody knows, but they don't do, is called take six, calm the circuits.
Let's say you're feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, fearful, uncertain, let's say it's just not working and you're feeling just a little bit off. Take six, calm the circuits is all about recalibrating your brain so you have hemispherical coherence, right? Just getting both hemispheres to work, but most importantly it's to deactivate the stress center in the brain. When we are in a state of self-doubt, or fear, or anxiety, or any type of stress, if you just stop for 90 seconds, and really, it only takes 60 to 90 seconds. You took six deep breaths in through your nose in a calm, rhythmic fashion. Then as you breathe out through your mouth, I want you to pucker your lips and breathe out like you're blowing out gently through a straw.
Let's say it takes you 4 or 5 seconds to breathe in. I want you to take 5 to 8 seconds to breathe out. Now why is take six, calm the circuits work? Well number one, there's something called the sympathetic nervous system. When we are stressed, anxious, fearful, doubtful and we’re just having this feeling, or this emotion that's just like, “I'm a little bit angst.” By taking these six deep breaths in this fashion, you actually deactivate the stress response center in the brain, you activate the vagus nerve, which is part of the parasympathetic nervous system.
When we're in a stressed state, we're usually in a reactive state, automatic reactive state. Now we're just repeating cycles over and over and over again, how we learned how to deal with the fear or the stress in the past. We go to an automatic reactive state. By taking six deep breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth, you’re blowing out through a straw, you deactivate the stress response, or a fear response circuit in the brain. What that does is it reactivates your genius part of the brain called the left prefrontal cortex, which is the part of your brain that can actually then think, “How do I need to respond to this, instead of react to it?”
When you take six deep breaths, you actually take your foot off the brakes and now you can put your foot back on the gas, but you don't want to do it just yet. 6 deep breaths into your nose, out through the mouth is take six, calm the circuits first. Get the baseline ready first, preparation.
Then Innercise number two is called AIA, A-I-A. AIA is part of a mindfulness practice of awareness, right? Awareness is what gives us choice, choice is what gives you freedom, not knowledge or skill. The choice is what gives you freedom. In Innercise number two, you practice becoming aware. Aware of what? If I was just fearful, or anxious, or I'm procrastinating and I just don't have this good feeling inside of me, calm the circuit first, so you deactivate the stress response, which is chances are has been throwing off cortisol and epinephrine into your blood and that's what is the feeling you don't like.
AIA is awareness of thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations and the behavior that you've just been engaged in the last two, three, four, five minutes. Thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations and behaviors. You do this in pure awareness and calmness, so that you can see and feel what caused this to be triggered. What are your thoughts, emotions, feelings, behaviors and sensations? You have to do this in a state of no judgement, no shame, no blame, or guilt. No judgment, no shame, no blame or guilt, just pure awareness.
See, when you become aware of the thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations and behaviors, now you are empowered to change it. Now you move from it being a reactive state, based on what's been happening in the subconscious mind, and now you are able to go to the I in AIA. What's your intention right now? Well, my intention is to be positive. My intention is to be calm. My intention is to be focused. My intention is to be on purpose. My intention is to take action. Great. Then we go to the last A in AIA. We go what's one action you can take right now to make that a reality?
What have we just done here? We've increased awareness, we've deactivated the stress response, or the stress reactive state that our emotions, or our subconscious is activated for whatever reason, and now we have deliberately chosen the intention and the action that we want to take that'll move us towards the goal.
Now you can only do this in a calm, responsive state. In a reactive state, you're really losing your conscious ability to do this. This is how you start to work with your conscious brain better and your subconscious mind. This is how you interrupt the disempowering, or destructive patterns and you start to create new patterns. Does it take a little bit of work? Of course, at first it does, but then it takes no work, because you can make this a powerful pattern that does it automatically.
I'll give you an example. Here's a little tip everyone; every hour on my mobile phone and iPad and computer, I've got a bell that goes off, every hour, top of the hour. Ding, guess what I do? Take six and then I do AIA. Why do I do that? Because I want to teach my subconscious mind that on the hour, every hour, just check in and make sure that you are being deliberate, you're focused, your attention is on what it needs to be, you're focusing on highly productive and critical things, versus trivial, many things that are there.
Once you do that over the course of 30, 60, 90 days, your subconscious mind will do it automatically and it'll actually tell you, “Hey, you're being a little negative right now. Hey, these emotions that are percolating up right now, just release them quickly.” That's the level of mastery. That's the Tiger Woods level of mental and emotional control.
[0:49:54.4] MB: Amazing. Very practical exercises. For listeners who want to concretely implement some of the themes and ideas that we've talked about today, what would be one action step, or a piece of homework that you would give them to begin putting these ideas into practice?
[0:50:09.9] JA: Great. I love practicality. Something that I learned many, many, many years ago and it's now I call it cognitive priming. What's cognitive priming? Well, cognitive priming is priming your brain. I have something called my exceptional life blueprint, not taking the time to figure out what I want for every area of my life. Then in order for all the things in my life to become a reality, I wrote my life story, right?
I always start my life story with I'm so happy and grateful for the fact that. Then I write out for the fact that I'm traveling on my private jet all around the world, with my wife and children, that we're giving away hundreds of millions of dollars to charities and that we’re making a difference in the world by, and that I'm able to do this and have that and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It's a story. It's a story that at the time that I write it, it's the future story that I want.
I have my goals. I have my new story. I have the images in my exceptional life blueprint of the representations of the story. Then here's what we do, once you do that, and you can start off small, take one goal, one little story around that goal every day, every day, Saturdays, Sundays included, traveling, it doesn’t make a difference where I am on vacation, every day, after I wake up and I do my gratitude exercise, I pull out my exceptional life blueprint and I prime my brain with the images, the story and the goals every single day.
I just may say to my brain, “Hey, brain –” See, I'm not my brain and either as anybody who's listening right now. You have a brain, but you can direct your brain, it's an organism that you can control, just like you can have better control of your heartbeat, your autonomic nervous system, you can control your brain better. I say to my brain, “Hey, beautiful brain. I want you to make all of this stuff real. Bring forth all the thoughts, emotions, people, feelings, behaviors, knowledge and skills so that I can make this my reality.” Every day for a few minutes, I read it, I run my fingers across it, I visualize it, I emotionalize it and then I expect it to happen.
[0:52:37.1] MB: For listeners who want to find out more about you, your work and all the resources you've talked about today, what is the best place for them to find you online?
[0:52:45.1] JA: All right, so I'm on Instagram @JohnAssaraf. I'm on Facebook as well on my Facebook fan page. If anybody wants to take a look at my website, so old right now; I haven’t updated, but johnassaraf.com. If they want to take a look at my new book, that's all around Innercise. I think it's got 92% five-star ratings on Amazon now. It's a best-seller already. It's called Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power. You can get it on Amazon, but then go to ignitemybrain.com to get all the bonuses that come with just an $11 purchase of the book. If you want to buy more than one book to give away, then you get more gifts, so ignitemybrain.com.
[0:53:23.2] MB: Well John, thank you so much for coming on the show, for sharing all this wisdom, all these insights, strategies, stories, etc., with the listeners.
[0:53:30.5] JA: Thank you so much. What a joy and thanks for doing your homework and for being such a great host.
[0:53:35.4] MB: Thank you so much for listening to the Science of Success. We created this show to help you our listeners, master evidence-based growth. I love hearing from listeners. If you want to reach out, share your story, or just say hi, shoot me an e-mail. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s M-A-T-T@successpodcast.com. I’d love to hear from you and I read and respond to every single listener e-mail.
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