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Howard Berg: Get Smarter Faster, Igniting Your Genius & The Meaning of Life

My guest is Howard Berg, the world's fastest reader according to the Guinness Book of World Records. We're going to talk about getting smarter faster. We also cover igniting your genius, some speed learning in there. We also talk about how to unleash your brain's full potential and how to eliminate mental blocks. If that weren't enough, we talked about the meaning of life. If you've ever wanted to know the meaning of life, you're going to get a little taste of that in this show. Finally, the over the top nugget revealed in this show is the mind of God. It is going to blow your mind. I'm curious to hear what you have to think and say about this show.

Dustin
It's the 1950s and you were growing up in Brooklyn in a not so very good part of town. There are lots of violence, lots of gangs. Some would call the area you grew up in the projects. To escape it all, you found refuge in the library and books. By eight, you are reading The Theory of Relativity and by eleven, you were reading at a college level. I want to ask you this. It's one thing to escape a certain environment which you did. However, to be consumed by books is what it looks like to me. Was that the only way out for you?
Howard
My mother used to say, “Go out and play.” I was like, "Are you out of your mind?" I had a knife to my throat. I was a hall monitor in my high school. They put a knife to my throat, “Were going to slash it.” I've been beaten with baseball bats. I've had gang kids chase me for blocks. I've been mugged over 100 times and you just went home. You didn't even tell your parents it was a normal day "I got mugged, today. I'm still here. I'm still alive." It was like growing up in West Side Story without the dancing and the music. I met Bernardo. He had a knife. He came after me and fortunately I got away. That was my childhood and one or two things will happen. You get very angry and you become part of the problem. You throw that anger back onto society or you get compassionate and say, "No child should have to experience that" and try to do something to make a better world had. That comes from learning. When people have a better understanding, more skills and abilities, they are less likely to be violent and do something stupid because they have more to lose. That's my mission. I was a Yogi when I was younger. I spent a lot of time in an ashram. I'm not there now, but what rubbed off on me is that it's not about me. It's about making a difference. If people have the ability to make a better world, the skills for doing it and they don't do it, what hope would there be for everyone?
Dustin
How did you know at such a young age the library was the place and the books were the path for you?
Howard
There were no gang kids in the library. Have you ever been in a bookstore? I said, "They're coming." They'd rather be dead than caught with a book. It was pretty obvious to me the people in the library weren't going to mug me. I might get a paper cut, but it was better than getting my throat slashed. I was happy in the library. I liked reading. I love the experience of learning. It's not the reading I love. It's the learning. Nobody buys a screwdriver and say, "I love my screwdriver," but the things that you build with it make you excited. Books are a pathway, a portal to wisdom, other people's success strategies. I don't think you learn from a book. One person might have done something that was dumb, but it worked for them.
It will never work again, but ten people are doing what you dream of doing and doing it well, that's a business plan. What did they all do in common? What is most of them do? You begin to see patterns and suddenly you can do anything you dream of doing because it's been done already. You find someone who did it. You find some more and some more. Most people can barely read a book in a month. I read ten books in three hours. If you read ten books in three hours, you can do anything you want, be anything you want. That's what I do. I try to learn things that will benefit me and try to teach other people what I learned to benefit them.
Dustin
I definitely want to get into that. I want to ask one more before we depart from this area of your life. You were reading The Theory of Relativity as a young kid. I could see you be in the fiction section, Hardy Boys and all that. What made you decide to get into The Theory of Relativity?
Howard
I had two fathers. I was adopted when I was eight. My biological father had PTSD. He was with General Patton. He was a brilliant chemist. We had beakers in chemistry. I was brought up in a science environment when I was very young. I was building homemade barometers when I was four. It rubbed off on me. My curiosity was awakened. I became interested in astronomy when I was four. When I was seven, I studied mythology. I got interested in The Theory of Relativity. I was always hungry for understanding. I loved what science represented. It was the cutting edge of what was going on. Remember, this is what the space age was starting off. Computers were starting off. I became part of it at a very young age. I was very fortunate that my parents encouraged me. I had opportunities to go to libraries that would give me what I was looking for
Dustin
Howard, are you a genius?
Howard
I’d like to think so. I've read 30,000 books. If I was an idiot, I’m well-informed. I don't have all the answers but I'm always looking for solutions to problems and I work in my sleep. I'll read like ten books, ask myself questions, go to bed and I dream about the answers. When I wake up, I transcribe what I learned and make a program. That's how I make all my programs.
Dustin
When you transcribe them, do you mean like you write out or you speak into a recorder and transcribe?
Howard
I write about 100, 125 words a minute. For me, it's easier to type it out fast.
Dustin
What's the average person write a minute? Do you know?
Howard
People tell me they wrote a book. It took them three years. I wrote a book in five hours. I'm going to guess that's atypical, but for me, it's normal. My normal isn't what most people's normal would be, but it became normal to me. Reading ten books in three hours seemed very normal to me.
Dustin
The question I want to dig here is like, do you think you were born with something special or do you think that you've trained yourself? There's always that nature versus nurture, being in the gym or being born gifted. Where do you think you fall?
Howard
I had an aptitude and I took the time to develop it. When I went to school, I studied psychobiology and I learned about the brain. I learned things I didn't know from experts. I went to graduate courses on how to teach and learn reading. Some of the answers I found them on my own then I found other smart people that had other pieces that I didn't know about, had the willingness to go, learn from them and see what they had. When I blended what I had accomplished, what they had discovered, I found I could do more than I was able to do on my own. A little knowledge makes arrogance. I see that a lot. If you reach a certain point, it's humbling. No matter how much you've read or learned or you realize there's so much more you'll never have time for.
It's the fraction. That's why I do this. Everybody has potential. They have a gift, the talent, whatever it is. I don't know what it is but it's there. If I could help them find it, discover it, nurture it and bring it out, what a much better world we'd have. If each person took their full latent talent, whatever it was, whether it's playing an instrument or painting, massage, whatever it is and developed it to its full potential. Imagine a world where everybody is working at peak levels, whatever that aptitude is. How many more problems we'd solved? How much less violence there would be? I see that as my dharma. It's good karma.
I can help do that. It makes me feel good. When a kid tells me, "I'm eleven years old. I'm in college. I'm getting A’s. Thank you." It means more to me than getting in Guinness. Guinness gets me booked. People are always, “He is in Guinness.” I don't care about that. That's what gets me booked. It's watching these young people and professionals tell me about how I changed their lives, how much better their lives are, and what they've done with that information to improve other people's lives. That excites me much more than my gift. My gift is giving to other people.
Dustin
That's a ripple effect. It's what we believe in here at the show and why we exist as well. Speaking of paying it forward, you had a tough upbringing. At one point in your academia, you had a counselor tell you, "Howard, you're not smart enough." You said to yourself, "They don't teach learning in school." What do you mean by, “They don't teach learning in school?”
Howard
Not only they don't teach it, but they also punish it. I was a teacher in an inner-city school in New York. My job interview was, "Teachers get killed here. Do you want the job?" I was 21. I'm thinking, "Nailed it." I'm like "What?" In ten years, four teachers went out on stretches, one in a coma, they beat him unconscious. It was a scary job. I'm teaching biology in this school. You've got nineteen-year-olds who can't count to ten. I'm not saying that to be sarcastic. They couldn't count to ten. Learning physics, which didn't work well. What are the kids in my biology class since I don't have to do the homework, I can't find the answers to the question? I'm his teacher and this is his book. I'm showing him the answers are in the chapter and how to find them. The principal walks in and says, "What are you doing?"
I said, "He asked me how to find the answers to the questions in the bio book. We don't pay you to do that. That's not curriculum. You're not working." He wrote down that he came into my room and I wasn't working because I was helping kids learn and that wasn't what I was paid to do. I quit my job after that because I said, "That's something that I signed up for." I said, "They had a 98% failure rate, 2% graduated. How can I ruin his numbers, 2% graduated?" I'm trying to show this kid how to do the work. It was my subject that he was in that he asked for help. That's not my job? That's what I saw over and over again in education.
Dustin
Why is it that way or why was it that way?
Howard
There's a legal curriculum they're mandated to teach by the state. A good percentage of class time is on testing and teaching how to take tests. They don't want you spending time on things that are a waste like how do you learn? How do you remember? How do we answer the questions in your book? How do you think? How do you use what you're learning in some real purposeful way, which is what it should have been? People asked the real question, "Am I intelligent?" No, that's the wrong question. It's what makes you intelligent. Paul McCartney was a terrible student but a brilliant musician. He's a billionaire. I'm going to say he found his niche. You don't have to be good at everything. You have to be good at something. Instead of making people feel adequate because they're not perfect at all things which are nice, but it doesn't require to be brilliant in everything to be successful.
Find what you're good at and develop it to its full potential. If you could do more than that, great. School is set up that if you can't succeed at all skills and all subjects then you're not smart. A lot of people with lots of potential become alienated and disgruntled because they studied. They thought they did the work and they're not getting the results they expected, but no one told them how to fix it. They give up instead of finishing their learning. I'm going to give you one story. We had a girl, Amy, she was third grade reading in ninth grade. They were putting her in special ed. Telling her, "You're going to say welcome to Walmart when you grow up" because that's all you're able to do. She and her mother were hysterical when they came to school.
I had a school at that time. We figured out a problem. We taught her. She ended up getting an A average for the two-year degree, when the kids in high school she was in school with originally got a high school degree. She already finished two years of college special ed. She got a full ride to Baylor. She got a bachelor's degree and a Master's degree at 22. They were telling her, "You could say welcome to Walmart." That's our education system. No, that's not my education system. My system is about, first, you learn how to learn and then you learn what you need to know. If you don't know how to learn, you're wasting your time trying to learn anything because you're not doing it the right way.
Dustin
Howard, I want to get into that. I want to give people a little foundation. You mentioned the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world's fastest reader, clocking in at over 25,000 words per minute. Before we get to the record, I always find there's a story behind the story. How did this work? Did Guinness come to you and see what you did and say, "We want you to go for the record." Did you go to them? How did this work?
Howard
A friend of mine told me, “What you needed to do is submit your proof,” at that time. I don't know how it is now. At that time, you’ve got to prove that you had a record. I had been in five different cities, like Cleveland, Denver, a number of Midwestern cities in New York. I had five newspaper interviews. I had five videos of me on news shows. They would give me something to read and I would answer the questions. I send them the videos. I sent them the interviews. They all had the same speed. I was getting the right answers. They said the average record has one credential, one video, one interview. You have ten. We're fighting hard to dispute that. What you did there would be ten professionals in the news services that would be willing to lie on your behalf. Maybe one but not ten different cities, ten different places.
Dustin
You took the newspaper and sped read it?
Howard
I'll give you the one I did. I was on Regis and Kathie Lee at that time. They told me you're going to read a book and tell us what it's about. That's what they told me. That's not what they did. When I got there, the book's author was brought to test me. Quentin Crisp, who was the author of The Naked Civil Servant. This was going to the movies. It was an encyclopedia about 50 movies and 50 movie stars, what made those movies special and what happened in those star's life. I read it and Quentin quizzed me for like five minutes, "Tell me about Jean Harlow, what did I say about The Pirates of Penzance?" That was one of the questions. I said, "It wasn't one of the movies." He says, "There was another movie and I mentioned the movie." He said, "In that movie if they had used the directional strategies in The Pirates of Penzance, it would've made that a better movie." It wasn't even a question about a movie. It was the movie within the movie. I got all the questions right. They were like, "You could do it." That's what I do.
Dustin
Give people some context, Howard. What does the typical person read? You read at 25,000. What's a typical reading speed?
Howard
I know that well. The most common speed is 200 words per minute. The range is 150 to 400 words per minute. Most people when they test them will find that the speed somewhere around 200, some are a little higher, some are a little lower. I tell them reasonably you should expect to go 100% faster in a few hours with good comprehension. Some go faster, a lot faster, but I'd rather under promise and over deliver than over promise and under deliver. With practice, you're going to get better at a skill anyway. I've never heard of anyone who continues to do something they think to get better at it over time.
Dustin
People are now wondering, how is this even possible? To double the speed that's fathomable to be up at where you are at 25,000, how does this process work?
Howard
That's an easy question to answer. I'll explain that. You're driving in a car at 70 miles an hour, which is the speed limit where I live. You reading the road front, back, left, right? You're watching the gauges. You're looking at the gas, the battery. You're watching the GPS and what else is happening? You're bored. You turned on the radio. You talked to your friend on the phone or someone in the car or maybe all of that at the same time and you're still bored. You read a book 200 words a minute in one direction and the next day you don't remember 10% of what you read. What's the difference? In a car, everything is visual. You see movies and you're picturing in your imagination what you're visually seeing. You're multitasking with visual data very efficiently but in a book, it's like someone is in back of your head reading one word at a time.
You hear the book with your eyes. The eyes are our ears. By learning to see a little more of a movie, a little more visual, you're going in and see a profound increase in your reading speed because vision is analog and hearing is digital. You hear one word at a time, but you see the whole picture at the same moment on the wall. If you remember what you saw in the picture in your imagination and you describe the elements of the picture, all the digital information comes off the picture. I'm creating all these movies while I'm reading. I recall the movies and all the descriptiveness of the movie transforms into the data that I need to know.
Dustin
I get that at a high level. I understand we can grasp more tactically. How does that work? How do you turn a page into a movie? What would be an example of a strategy to do that?
Howard
I can tell you straight. Imagine you're a psych major. How many courses have you taken? Six. You're in a chapter on classical conditioning and listen to the words I'm using. I'm not even using sentences. This is what I'm picking up, Pavlov, Russian psychologist, 1901, revolutionized learning, use the hungry dog and had a bell. Haven't you heard any sentences? Are you confused about what I'm talking about? There are two things going on. When you're reading, it's either material you're familiar with in which case you go blindingly fast or you're learning a new roadmap. You're building a new map in a new territory. Both skills are relevant. The good news is a lot of your day-to-day readings are things you need to know. If you're a doctor, what do you read? Medical books.
If you're a lawyer, you read law books. If you're an architect, you read books on architecture. Your database is extensive. What you're asking is what's new in my field? They don’t know yet. That's in this book. The other side is I've never read a medical book before. I've never read this before. I have to determine what's relevant and necessary for me to get started. Those are two different types of reading. Oral reading is not the same. What is it you need to know? Are you taking an exam, licensing tests or you need to know that this exists, that there's a new diet and it might help you or do you need to know exactly what each food is in the diet? Those are all different things you need to be thinking about when you're reading. You have a purpose.
Purpose engages the unconscious brain and helps it focus on what's important even at high speed. You end up processing things. I can give you an example. You go to a mall at Christmas time. You wander around, "I don't know you. I don't know you. I don't know you." You see someone you know and it's like, "Look who’s here. Dustin, how did I recognize you?" I saw 10,000 other people, I didn't know them but when I saw you, you were relevant. You're someone I know. Your brain is constantly looking at the data around you but finding what's relevant. When you're reading, if you have a purpose, the data that's relevant will bold itself. It'll pop off the page because your brain is seeing all that information. Only when it's relevant to you does it pop. That's good. It's a filter.
You're getting rid of the garbage, the useless data and finding what matters. One of the things I'm teaching is what does matter? It depends. Are you learning for yourself or is it for work? What does the boss need? What does the client need? If it's for school, what did the teacher ask you on a test? If I'm reading for an exam, it's for the answers to questions. If I'm reading for a business meeting, it's to make a close. If I'm reading for myself, it's what do I want to accomplish and what information will help me accomplish it? I don't waste time learning what's not related to my purpose. I'm focused with laser precision on precisely what I need. My unconscious brain knows what I'm looking for and spots it even amongst a lot of other details like the faces in the mall.
Dustin
When you read at that level, it's cool to see. Maybe you are reading it like you're moving your hand pretty quickly over the pages, how much is that guy retaining? Talk to us a little bit about retention because sometimes when you read, you don't retain it all. That's okay if our purpose isn't like to try to remember every single word on a page. Tell us a little bit about retention.
Howard
I'm not going to read a book in five seconds and go for a license on the subject. I did a graduate course in Educational Psychology in seven hours. It was a five-month course. Seven hours is okay. It's graduate, not undergraduate. I read the book four times in seven hours. I knew exactly what I wanted to learn the material that would be on the AP test. I took the test. It was a six-hour test, but I took it was an hour test. I finished in 50 minutes. I didn't get an A. I got a B plus. I got four graduate credits in seven hours and 50 minutes for $65. I learned exactly what I needed to know and nothing else. I remembered it when I took the test or the GRE, Graduate Record Exam.
I took it in biology. I already had studied biology, but these were books I hadn't looked at for three or four years. In three nights, I read 48 books like Biochemistry, Cell Physiology, Plant Systematics and Embryology. I got three questions wrong. I was in the 99th percentile in the world. I'm going to see if you could do that. You are remembering. It was like, "Is it me or the techniques?" I had a school and I did this with a group of kids who are eleven and fifteen. We gave them a 30-chapter book in Lifelong Developmental Psych. This is a sophomore course in college. They were eleven years old and fifteen. They read it in one week. They took the CLEP, which is an advanced placement test people should know about. Fifteen out of eighteen youngsters passed the test in one week for credit.
We tried my writing program. They were doing 28-page reports on the Book of Matthew in four hours because it was a Judeo Christian homeschool program. My business associate had a PhD in theology. We went to the seminary where he was teaching a graduate course and said to the dean, "Can you help me grade some papers? I didn't tell them these were eleven to fifteen-year-olds to see what they would get as grades. I said, "They did these papers on the Book of Matthew, could you grade them for me? I'm backed up, can you help me out?" He comes back thinking these are graduate students, that second-year graduate credit says, "Two of them got first-year graduate credit, but the rest there was senior credit that's a little below our standards. This is the graduate program." I said, "The oldest student you're graded was fifteen and the youngest was eleven." He didn't even know. They did this in four hours. That's exciting to me.
Dustin
I haven't had this distinction yet. You and I have known each other for quite some time. What's the distinction between reading and writing?
Howard
Reading is input, writing is output. I have this in the program that I made for you. One of the things I'm looking for when I'm reading isn't the content. What made it interesting? What did the writer do that caught my attention that made me want to learn more? If they did something that is able to grab me when I'm writing, I'm going to use that same technique. It may be a different topic, but I've learned something that works in writing to grab people's interest and attention. When I'm reading, I'm not reading for the content. I'm also asking myself what is going on here that's grabbing my interest and how will I use this in my work later on? You could also use this in a workshop.
I'm not taking notes on what's being taught, but what did the speaker do to get me motivated? Did they tell a joke? Did they have a video? Did they do an exercise? What got my attention? What grabbed me? When I'm going to present, I'm going to use that same strategy because I know it works because it worked on me. People are only getting one-third of the data when they learn. They're only learning the content, but they're missing the metacognitive level. What's going on that's making it interesting? More importantly, how will you use this? Even more importantly use it. You don't learn watching other people do something. You want to swim, you get in the pool. I taught swimming for eighteen years. I was a swimming teacher. It saved sixteen people. One of them was dead. I wasn't the lifeguard.
They died when I was doing laps on my own and I saved them. I resuscitated them. I noticed they were dead. I got them out of the pool and I did CPR. I brought them back. That's a good example. Can you use the information on distress unexpectedly? I hadn't learned it in years, but that person was dead right there. They didn't have a book. They needed somebody to do it right that second. That's what I did. I resuscitated them. I got their heart beating. When the ambulance came, they were alive. That's what it's about. It's about learning. It's about knowing. It's about remembering. It's about staying in state, not letting the situation take control over your emotions. You're not panicking, "They're dead. What do I do?"
You know what to do. You don't have time right now to worry about what to do. You should be doing it. When people get nervous taking tests, they can't remember all the work they did and all the things they learn until they get home and everything comes back to them. That's a sin. They did the work. They knew the material but they let their emotions get in the way. It happens at work. I have to stand up and talk to who? Do I have to present to the new client? They gag. They can't think of what to say. They know exactly what to say until they stand up and their emotions take over. I teach people how to create states. They were in the state they need to be in to use what they spent all that time learning and don't have anxiety and fear interrupt their ability to use the data the way it's supposed to be used.
Dustin
I definitely want to talk about unconscious, subconscious states. First, I'm very curious to get your thoughts with all this technology that's coming out. You can only physically read so fast because you have to turn a page in a book. With this virtual reality goggles coming that maybe could track your eyes, do you think the 25,000 could be beaten? Do you think people could read at a higher level if they could physically manipulate the scrolling or the pages?
Howard
You have to at least perceive the information. The speed where you could perceive it probably not. I'm looking at about a page and a half a second. That's as fast as your eye can look. You still have to think. You have to make a movie. You have to store it. You have to have it a place you can pull it back out again later. Is it possible? Maybe. That would make me excited. There's no greater flattery for a teacher than a student passes them up. That you did such a great job teaching that they got better at it than you were. How could you feel bad about that? If you watched the news, do you think our biggest problem is too many smart people thinking too many good decisions?
I'm not pointing any fingers, but is that our number one problem right now, too many smart people? When you meet someone who's intelligent, isn't that a keeper? Isn't that someone you want in your inner circle? One of the things I taught and one of the programs we did is how to do speed math and do like 103 times 107 in your head instantly. You're an accountant. The person is thinking of hiring you. You did 103 times 107 is 11,021 and three seconds in your head and you were right. What are the chances to say that's the real estate agent we need? That's the broker we need to work with. This person is smart. We need someone smart. It's an instant rapport builder.
Dustin
You mentioned being a Yogi. I don't know that I've ever asked you this. What does it mean to be a Yogi for people that are unfamiliar with this and why did you become one?
Howard
When I studied psych and bio, I was a behaviorist like Skinner. I thought people were machines. If you knew the genes and you knew their environment, you can predict their behavior. That's how I viewed humanity. I started meditating. I realize it's another level. If you looked at the neurons in a Michael Angelo, could you see David or Da Vinci, would you see the Mona Lisa? There are more than wires going on. There's another level of consciousness. Most people when they think of yoga, it’s the Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is the physical, which I did. I studied Kundalini yoga, which is raising Kundalini, which is for enlightenment, Laya yoga, Kriya yoga, Bhakti yoga, Tantric yoga. I did all the yogas. There are supposed to be seven Chakras because the Yoga feeds the Chakras. My focus was on being enlightened.
I wanted to know the meaning of life. Actually I found that's a different workshop, a different talk. I could go through that with you, but probably be off on a tangent. I was looking for why are we here? What's the whole point of this? People ask that question a lot. What's the whole point of everything? I do have an answer for that. It came through meditation and contemplation. I transformed. Things that were initially confusing to me when I was younger like quantum physics, existentialist philosophy, it became easy. I was like, "How can I ever have a problem understanding this?” It's simple. I saw things from another perspective. I was learning to be a master of synthesis of pulling things together and it's very gratifying to be able to do that.
For me, the real gratification is using it to help people because I see a lot of pain and suffering in the world and I could literally feel it. It's visceral. I feel my purpose is to help us make it go away. I was training the Green Berets. I was showing them how to stay alive under combat. I was with them in Thailand. I'm going to a lot of these other countries because my vision is if people have a good education, good jobs, good incomes, nice homes and their kids are in school, they’re not going to blow themselves up. You don't blow yourself up when everything is great, so you had nothing else to live for. I told the Green Berets, “Your job is to get them when I fail. If I can't help them get smarter, find a future for themselves and they do something stupid, you can blow them up. My job is to see that you don't get into harm's way and that these people are competent.” They had a funny Green Beret joke. This is not my joke, "We go to exciting exotic countries. We meet interesting people and we kill them." I was like, “Let's see if I can help you with that so you don't have to kill them.” They sit down and it would be good too.
It was beautiful to see these young people that they could kill you with their finger. They're not bullies. My friend was the head trainer. He says, "We're not training them to be murderers. We want them to learn to think." When you need to defend yourself, you're going to win. We don't want them to be in that situation where it comes to that if we could help it." I said, "That's where I want to help them so it doesn't come to that. They will know how to read people when they're lying." That's in one of my programs I did for you, how to speed read people and to know when they're honest or dishonest. I said that for them, it's life and death. If someone's dishonest, they should be very suspicious. That person may have something bad in mind for them. How do you know? I show them how to know so they could detect deception and business people need that. Parents need that.
Dustin
Howard, you recorded two amazing courses for us. You gave me the little foothold there. You cracked open the door. You opened the window. I'm going to take you up on it. I would get hate mail if I didn't. You said the meaning of life. If you could shed some light there, let's dive into that. Let's take a pivot here.
Howard
I've read all the bibles. They all start off similar in the beginning was the word. It might be om in yoga or amen in Judeo-Christian. I want you to picture a circle. It's three circles, see three circles in an equilateral triangle. One at the top and two at the base in an equilateral triangle. The one at the top is vibrating the word. I'm going to go out on a limb and say people who wrote the Bible weren't physicists. Is that a fair statement? They weren't knowledgeable about sine waves and cosine waves. If you wanted to capture the concept of a wave, saying a word would be a very nice way through that because it encapsulates. It's a sound, a vibration. You have a wave. What does a wave look like?
It's a crest and a trough, up and a down, a Yin and a Yang, an Abba and an Eema, Abba is father and Eema is a mother. You have this one at the top vibrating and you have this wave. You see one side of the wave on the left and one on the other. One is the crest. One is the trough. The two are one. It's one word, one vibration. One is male, one is female, one Yin, one Yang, one is a push, one is a pull. One creates the three if I'm vibrating. The three are in the one. The one is in the three. The two was together and yet there it's a dichotomy. One is the push. One is the pull. Everything is this one thing. Everything is three things. You have the three things.
Picture a color wheel, there are three primary colors. They overlap. The three primary colors make for four secondary colors. You have the three primaries and four secondaries. Those are the seven angels, seven days of the week, seven organ systems, seven keys in music, seven colors in the rainbow, seven notes in the musical key. There's a pattern and it repeats and repeats in so many different ways. One, three, seven, four times three is twelve, twelve signs, twelve Knights of the Round Table, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve disciples of Jesus. These patterns repeat over and over again. I need four hours to give you the whole program. Each of those things can be elucidated on for twenty minutes and go into a deeper and deeper appreciation.
I'll give you one that might help. Think of a pyramid, it's a solid triangle in a sense. You have a point at the top, the one. There are four sides. The four sides of the four elements of the ancients, fire, air, earth and water. Each of them is also cardinal, fixed and mutable like Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Gemini and Libra. You have the four signs, the four elements, the one to three and the square on the bottom is the symbol of creation, a form. The pyramid is a symbolic representation of the one, three, four, right there. That's a good example of what that's about. I made a program. It's called the Secrets of Creation. It's about all these different aspects and how they work. I don't remember the timing of that, but it'll show you the mind of God and how it works.
Dustin
You keep opening the door and they're amazing tidbits. Let's go.
Howard
It's a little tactical because you got to realize it wouldn't be too simple if everyone would figure it out. Remember I said I started reading The Theory of Relativity when I was really young. That's what I was looking for. It took me many years to get enough books and information to make sense out of it. I always felt the time paradox that as you approach the speed of light, time stops. That's pretty profound. There is no past and future for light. When light travels through space from a star that's billions of light years away, it gets here when it left. That sounds crazy. You're not at the same speed. For you, billions of years have passed, but for the light, it got here when it left. There was no time. It's instantaneous.
You have a guy that lives forever. If God is a force, a field that's at the speed of light, it exists forever. There's no past. There's no future. I want you to picture time for a moment. For most of us, you picture time behind you is the past. We are right now is the present. In front of you is the future. That's how most people perceive time. It's like a domino. Behind you is the past. In front of you is the future and where you are as the present. That's how you perceive time. For a being that exists beyond time, it's a panorama. All of the past, present and future, think of it as a panorama. It all exists in an instant. It's one scene. That's step one. The whole timeline of creation exists simultaneously.
It doesn't see it like this and this. It's the whole picture, as one picture that stretches out in both directions in front of you. Another thing we know from quantum physics, this is a theory, for every decision is another decision. It's the opposite. For every yes, there's a no. Quantum is about probability. The thing they usually use as an illustration is Schrödinger's cat. Here's the paradigm. There is a cat. It's in a box. It has a radioactive isotope that decays in irregular rate and there is a Geiger counter. When it decays, it releases cyanide gas killing the cat. The question is because you don't know when this decay is going to take place. It’s random. Is the cat alive or dead? That's the question because you can't see inside the box.
The answer most people would say, "Yeah, it's either alive or dead." Quantum says "No, it's alive and death." Both possibilities exist equally. We don't know which it is. Let's say, Dustin, you open the box and I'm outside the door. You pass a slip under the door and say, "I know what state the cat's in." I don't. It's still in both states for me. You've collapsed the wave, the two possibilities. The mind of God, every moment in time exists for eternity and every other alternative possibility that could happen, happens. Every time you said yes, you said no. Every time you said no, you said yes. Not just you, but every conscious thing in the universe. There's an infinite number of moments going perpendicular to the time where every possibility unfolds and every new alternate reality interacts with every other new alternate reality to create. Every possible potential outcome that happened didn't happen, might happen, could happen or should happen. That's the mind of God. Everything is seen. Everything is known. You're only conscious of what's on your own timeline.
Dustin
It's infinite. I'd like to say I completely grasp that. I feel I did pretty good there. You did an amazing job of explaining it. It's expansive in my head.
Howard
Everything that can be is and everything that didn't happen did happen. It interacted with all the other things that could or didn't happen with every other conscious being and all the changes they make and their options and their alternate realities. All the alternate realities of all these unfathomable points recombined to making an infinite parallel reality of timelines that spread out to every direction at the same time and it’s all in one moment because there's no time.
Dustin
It blows my mind. Where my mind goes to is all the server space in the world is not even close to the amount of data or volume that you described.
Howard
That's just on Earth you're thinking. Think of the whole cosmos, all the consciousness in the universe doing that. I meditated on that and I got that in my sleep. I would do a lot of my work when I'm sleeping.
Dustin
You said that. I want to highlight that. Now to bring it back to the tactical. That did help big time.
Howard
It's better than, “I don’t know,” which is if you ask most people, “How would I know?” That's the problem. People are so afraid of being wrong. They're afraid of being right. I would rather say what I said isn't true. I don't know if it's true or not. It makes sense to me. That doesn't mean that it's right. People thought the world was flat and made sense too. If you don't have any answers, you'll never find the right one. I'd rather come up with new paradigms constantly and test them to see if they're right or wrong. That's how you become a success. Most successful people fail more than they succeed, but they find what worked. They stopped doing within. Most unsuccessful people get discouraged by their first or second failure and they give up because it didn't work. If Edison gave up after two tries, he tried 10,000 times to find the filament.
Someone said, "What did it feel like to fail 10,000 times?" He says, "What are you talking about? I never failed. I did 10,000 tests to find what worked." When you think like that, you'll be a success. Failure is part of the lesson. It's exactly what it is. Do I know if that's the mind of God for certain? I can tell you it feels right. That doesn't make it right. It's certainly better than someone saying, "I have no idea where to begin answering that." My illustration of people is if you could look at a question that's beyond the scope of a human mind and come up with a cogent answer, how well would you be in business when a business problem happens or writing a book or getting your dissertation written? It's the consciousness I'm looking at, the capacity to think, analyze and pull together ideas that haven't been used before.
That's what the real gift is, being right or wrong, that's an outcome. It’s eventually be right if it isn't right now. If you don't have that capacity to think beyond what's already there, you're already losing because someone else is doing it. They're going to bury you. Look what happened to Blockbuster when Netflix came out with a new system. Look what happened to Netflix when Redbox came out with a new system. Right now, if you ask yourself, would you rather be Blockbuster or Redbox? If you're using yesterday's successful paradigm, you're going to fail tomorrow because someone's going to beat you exactly what you're doing and you will never catch up again. That's what I'm teaching here, how to stay ahead of the trend. You're the innovator. You're the one who came up with the iPhone. You're the one who invented the iPad, not someone else. Now how is your life going to be?
Dustin
Howard, I can't keep up with you. I take a lot of notes. There are so many tweetables and quotables. I'm saying this out of immense respect and I love how you package this up. We've mentioned here the WealthFit courses. You're here on the backside. You created the courses, Speed Learning and also Ignite Your Genius. Let's go with Ignite Your Genius. In that course, you talk about how to unleash your brain's full potential. What does that mean? We got a little taste of that in some of the conversations we had, but what does it mean? Is it true early using 10% of our brain? We need to tap into more. Give us some color here.
Howard
You're using all your brain, but you don't use it all the same time. What I'm looking for is connecting dots. You read ten books. You know that the problem you're trying to solve is in one or more of those books, but you don't know where it is. If you read the books and you use what I'm teaching you in this program to have an epiphany so that you're asking the right questions. You only get the answers to the questions you're asking. You ask, "Why am I a loser?" You find out why you're a loser. You say, "How can I be successful?" You can get that too. If you're asking the right questions, which I'm teaching, you have the right information that has the right answers and you presented to your brain the right way, it starts connecting the data that you put in your brain, the raw data. Looks for the pattern that'll provide the solution you're trying to accomplish in your business or in your life and it's a learnable skill. Genius can be learned. It's not something you have to be born with but no one teaches it.
Dustin
Is it as simple as asking yourself better questions?
Howard
It's one aspect.
Dustin
What are some of the other components?
Howard
It's changing your perspective. I'll give a good example of that. At the turn of the last century, Albert Einstein's first Nobel Prize wasn't for relativity, it was for proving light was a particle, photon. He got a Nobel Prize for that. That's pretty hard to do. It's not an easy prize to get. You have to prove it. Years later, another scientist proved that light was a wave. There's no question he was right. Absolutely, it was a wave. Particles and waves are totally opposite. Particles have mass. They have location. It's real. A wave is a mathematical description of probability. It's totally nonphysical. Which was it, a photon or a wave? Both guys got Nobel Prizes. They had the same research, the same question, what's light? It came up with two totally opposite answers. Physicists were like, "What do we do now?"
Both these guys are right. Both answers make sense. Both answers are experimentally verifiable. They completely contradict each other. The solution was a new perspective. How you ran your experiment, what you were looking for changed of the physical outcome of what you got. In fact, you can experience this. If you go out at night and look at the star, the light from that star travels through space as a wave. At the moment you looked at it and it hit your retina, it acted as a photon and triggered an electrochemical response in your retina that made you perceive the light. Your observation of that light changed it from a wave to a particle by looking at it, think about that. Your perception changed its physical state. It's a reality from a wave to a particle. This is what I was doing when I was eight. You said, "Why were you reading this stuff?"
I was fascinated by these things, but I didn't quite have the maturity or depth to appreciate the deeper significance of how it might relate to the meaning of life and a bigger picture. I had to read a lot more. A lot of the data that I needed hadn't been discovered yet. I’ve got a funny story. When I was at the Space Command in Huntsville, Star Wars, I had dinner with two of the top physicists. When I was eight, nine years old, I had all these ideas about alternate reality stuff. I grew out of reading The Relativity Theory." Everyone thought I was nuts because I was a kid and the projects with gangs. I'm telling gang kids about ultimate realities and ultimate dimensions. They'd go overwhelmed.
I said, "Can I tell you some of the ideas I have?” “Is there any credibility to it?” “You guys would know. This is what you do." They listened to my four or five ideas. They smiled and said, "Four of your ideas got Nobel Prizes." I feel vindicated. You have to prove it. This is the mind of God. You get a Nobel Prize for that. You have to prove it. I was eight years old, ten years old. Having the concept of them have four Nobel Prize experiments when you're nine years old, it's okay. It's better than average, but I didn't fit. Think of West Side Story and you're telling Bernardo about alternate universes, which are now very mainstream in physics. Back then, it was like this guy is strange. Now it's like, "You've thought it out when you were nine years old?" That's how they got into this. That's what it was about.
Dustin
I'm humbled to be here and share in your knowledge.
Howard
I don't know everything. I try to surround myself with smarter people than me where I don't know. That's the smartest thing you can do in life is find other smart people. You don't need to know everything, but you need to know people who do know what you don't know and can do what you don't know how to do. That makes a big difference.
Dustin
That's why you're here because I’ve got to have more Howard.
Howard
You're one of my idols. I respect you. I know what you do and you're good at it. As a speaker, I've infinite respect for someone that's doing it. You're much better at certain aspects of that than I've been. To me, I'm in awe of that. That's why I like being involved with someone like that because I want to learn what I need to know that you've mastered that I haven't learned yet. My goal is to help you learn more stuff, find people like you that learn more stuff and teach me what you learned and help me learn. That's my job.
Dustin
With you having all this knowledge that you've consumed, sometimes people that are incredibly smart, intelligent, they're not as funny. They're not as social and outgoing as you are. However, you Mr. Funny Pants have been on Comedy Central nine times. What's the story behind some of that? Have you been on Jon Stewart's show? How did that happen?
Howard
Most biologists don't get to do comedy. I show you why. A mushroom walks in a bar, the bartender says, "Get out. We don't serve your kind.” “Why not? I'm a phone guy and that's why I'll still get asked to do comedy." Here's how I got funny. I was always getting beaten. I found out if I made people laugh, they wouldn't want to beat me up. I was a teacher in a very violent school. I've mentioned teachers were literally put in comas. I found if they were laughing, they wouldn't put you in a coma. I made sure when I walked in that room, I was keeping them hilariously in stitches. It became instinctive. When I became a professional speaker, I decided for two reasons. One, if people are laughing and having fun, their endorphins are flowing. They're feeling good. The brain wants to remember what made them feel good.
Part of what they're remembering is what you're teaching them as content at the same time. They're getting entertained. They're having a great time. They want to hold onto what made them feel so good. That's how you get people to learn by making them in a state that feels so wonderful. It turns out it's also growing them intellectually at the same time. It's the best of both worlds. Why should it be boring? We should have a passion. People get out of college, they never want to read a book or take a test again. How sad. Those are the smart people, the ones that read books. I'm like, "What a tragedy that our education system developed an aversion to learning?" Learning should be for the rest of your life. They did a study, people in their 80s who read have a lower onset of dementia and Alzheimer's. It's the best cure to help prevent it. You'll probably die before you get it.
My eye doctor said, "Everyone gets cataracts. If you're 90, you don't have them, you haven't lived long enough yet. It's common, just stay around long enough or you die before you get them.” To me, that's my passion. I don't know everything. There are a lot of real problems in our world. We've got global warming. We've got financial issues. We've got violence issues. I don't know all the answers. If I can reach those thinkers who make those decisions and they read ten more books a year, twenty more books, one of them might figure out a cure for cancer because they got more data. Another might figure out how to balance our budget. I figured out how to solve the global warming problem in America. No one knows this one. Electricity, how do you make it? You spin a coil of wire in a magnet or a magnet and a coil of wire. Not wind power or photocells but basically, the water turns the wheel or steam. How do you get steam? Coal, oil, nuclear and gas, that's where all the problems are coming from. In Iceland, it's a volcanic island. They get all their electricity from geothermal energy that's green. That's great. They're on a geothermal island. They can do that. We can do it.
There are six super volcanoes in the world. One of the biggest is in Yellowstone. The reason we have geysers in Yellowstone is the magnet is close to the surface. It's 200, 300-mile ocean of magma and there are tons of water. You go to Yellowstone. You get geothermal plants going. You pumped that electricity to the whole country, totally green, no oil, no gas and no coal. How do you get the money? You get the oil, gas and coal companies to put the money up because it will put them out of business. Now they're making money in geothermal. You get the miners who are looking for work and you train them on how to build the infrastructure. Where is Yellowstone? Who owns Yellowstone?
Dustin
National Park.
Howard
That’s correct. You pay a usage tax to the government for using parkland for your electricity. The surplus fee, it's still going to be cheaper than coal, oil and gas because it's unlimited. You're paying a usage fee to the government for the land that they're putting these plants on that pays off the debt. You're putting the people who are out of work in these industries like coal miners building the infrastructure. The oil, gas and coal companies are building the plants and it's totally green. Everyone is happy. The economy grows. There are jobs created. We get rid of the excess carbon dioxide all at the same time.
Dustin
Are you looking to run in this next cycle?
Howard
Watching them makes me want to toss my cookies. It's an awesome solution. Everybody would be happy. It would work, but it won't happen because it will work. We live in a world where things that work are ignored, which is so sad. You could see that it would be a solution. It's unlimited energy, all green. You get the extra money to pay off the debt from the electric people charging us usage fee. It goes down in cost anyway.
Dustin
This has been amazing. I could go on for hours with you. It's been awesome and fun. I encourage people to check out the courses. We didn't spend a lot of time talking about it, but like you gave that example of speed math to the realtor that can do it. Demonstration is the most powerful way. If Howard didn’t demonstrate it to you, then you’re not paying attention.
Howard
I'm hoping I'm showing people a little differently than average people.
Dustin
I encourage you to go check out the courses. We're excited about them. Howard, if people want to continue the conversation, you had mentioned some other programs and things out there that you do, where's the best way for people to find you online?
Howard
It's BergLearning.com. It's reading, writing, memory, math, how to be a genius, we did here. I have a program on how to write a book in a day. If you're a realtor, for example, how many other realtors are in your environment? Why would they want to go to you? You wrote a book on how to pick the best house, how to get the best mortgage. You gave it away. You build the list. You go on Facebook, you upload the list. You get a look-alike audience and you find out unlimited prospects.
Dustin
Howard, thank you big time for being on the show, for creating courses and for your mission in the world to inspire the thinkers. If they can read one more book, they might solve the world's next big problem.
Howard
I'm a grandparent, but I'm very concerned about the future for my grandchildren, my children, my friends and my family. We're not on a good path right now. It could be much better. I'm hoping that what I do will help the right people to make better choices, better decisions so that all of us benefit because we're a community. What made mankind successful was not competition. It was intelligent cooperation. My mission is to help people become more intelligent so they can accomplish more. We all reap the benefits.
Dustin
Howard, thank you big time.
Howard
Thanks for having me.

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