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John Assaraf: Change Your Brain, Change Your Income

We are talking to an icon, John Assaraf. If you're just getting to know John, he is one of the leading mindset and behavioral experts in the world who has helped millions of people discover how to strengthen their mindset and upgrade their mental and emotional skills so they achieve bigger goals and dreams. He's built five multimillion-dollar companies and is the author of two New York Times bestselling books. He was featured in the Blockbuster movie, The Secret, and the quest for success with names like Richard Branson, the Dalai Lama. He appeared on Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres. John is amazing. I know him from that movie, The Secret.

In this episode, we get into so many things. This is going to be one of the most powerful shows that we do on the Get WealthFit show. The reason being, we talk about the science around unlocking your brain's hidden power.

The reason why this is important is because you can get loaded up with all the tactics for creating wealth or starting a business or starting a diet plan and getting healthier. However, until you understand how the brain works and how the science of motivation and success really comes to be, then you're not going to get the success that you desire.

We're going to talk about the four things that block us that prevent us from success. We also get into how do you take that stress that you feel when things get crazy or just everyday life? How do you turn stress into strength? We also dispel that myth out there about hustling and grinding and getting after it may not be the way to go and getting what it is that you desire.

You are in for a very special treat. This is a very fascinating show that can help you in any area of your life, relationships, health, wealth, anything. I'm so excited for you to read it. Let's get to it.

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Dustin
John, I want to take you back. You're nineteen years old, you're broke, you're jobless and you say, "I'm going to pick up and move to an entirely different city." If you think back to this age, what prompted you to pick up and start afresh?
John
I knew that at the time I was getting in trouble with the law. I was living at my parents' house. They weren't happy that I was doing the things that I was doing to get in trouble. My brother had an opportunity to meet this very successful entrepreneur who was in real estate development and other entrepreneurial endeavors. My brother invited me to have lunch with this guy because I was getting to a lot of trouble. This guy, said, "I'll meet with your brother and see if I can help him out." I went from Montreal to Toronto by train. I didn't have a car at the time to meet my brother and this guy for lunch. This guy over lunch asked me a bunch of questions of what were my goals, what do I want to achieve in my health, wealth, relationships, career, business, charity, fun and experiences.
I was like, "I want to have enough money to get a car." He says, "No, what are your bigger goals and dreams?" I didn't have any. He said, "I want you to fill out these documents." He gave me these documents that are goal-setting documents. They’re about twenty pages for every one of the categories; health, wealth, relationships, career and business. It says, "Where do you want to be in one year, in three years, in five years or in twenty years?" I'm like, "This is a lot of work." I want to get a job and make some money. He said, “Fill this out after we have our lunch and come back." We had a great lunch. I came back after I filled these out. He looked at all of the goals that I had written. He says, "These are some pretty big goals. Where did you get these ideas because you didn't have any on Friday?” I said, "I like watching the lifestyles of the rich and famous. I want nice houses and nice cars. I want to have investments. I want to do well. I want to retire my parents and live a great life." He asked me one question that changed my life.
The question was, "Are you interested in achieving those goals that you wrote down on the paper or are you committed?" His name was Mr. Alan Brown. I said, "Mr. Brown, what's the difference?" He said to me, "If you're interested, you'll do what's convenient. You'll come up with stories, excuses and reasons why you can't or why it's not possible." He says, "If you're committed, you will upgrade your knowledge. You'll upgrade your skills. You'll have the right mindset. You learn how to manage your emotions. You'll do whatever it takes until you become the person who can achieve those goals." I remember sitting there going, "That's pretty profound." I looked at him and he was standing up. I looked up, I said, "Mr. Brown, I'm committed." He took out his hand. He shook mine and says, "In that case, I'll help you." I said, "What do you mean?" He says, "I own a real estate company. I want you to come and work for me." I said, "I don't know anything about real estate." He says, "That's because you're interested, but I want you to be committed." He says, "If you commit, I'll pay for your real estate course."
I said, "I'm committed. I'll do it." He says, "You live in Montreal. What are you going to do?" I said, "I guess I'm going to have to move to Toronto, Canada." I didn't have any money, no car and no contacts other than my brother and him. I said, "I'll do this." On May 5th, 1980, I started my first day of real estate training in Toronto, Canada. On June the 20th, I got my real estate certificate that I could sell real estate. I was nineteen years old. The reason I remember these dates so well is because the real estate course test, it's the first test that I had passed on my own without cheating in probably six or seven years.
Dustin
There's always a series of events that take place. Were there events that would have possibly prevented you from meeting that mentor or taking that? Were you thinking, "I'm not good enough" or were you planning on doing other things? Or was it meant to be that you were going to show up to this meeting and it changed your life?
John
I knew that I wasn't good enough. I knew that I wasn't smart enough. I didn't have an issue with was I worthy enough because there was something in me that felt that I could do more and have more. There was definitely low self-esteem, low self-worth and a lot of reasons and excuses why. The key factor is I was so sick and tired of being ashamed and embarrassed for myself and for my family. Knowing that I was capable of more, but I didn't know how to get out of that vicious cycle of doing things that I knew I shouldn't be doing and not doing the things that I possibly could be doing. I remember when my brother invited me to Toronto, I was like, "I’ve got to take the train. It’s a five-and-half hour train to go to Toronto to have lunch with this guy." My brother said to me, "This guy might be able to help you. If you don't even accept some help, then nobody can help you." I said, "You're right." I had to swallow my pride a little bit. That could have gotten in the way of me saying, "I don't want to travel 350 miles to Toronto for lunch," but my brother was there so I can get to see him also.
Dustin
You swallowed your pride in making that decision because very easily you could not make that decision and maybe we're not here now, who knows?
John
When we get them to fate and destiny, it's all about choices you make along the way. If you trace back, your life is about your choices. It's either you chose to do something or not do something, to take advantage of something or not take advantage of something, grow or not grow. That's the difference. We have a choice. If we become more empowered to be aware of that in our life circumstance of what's working, what's not and then we make better choices, we end up with better results.
Dustin
Speaking of choices, was it a choice for you to go to Indiana or did your mentor say, "Now, it's time to go open shop in Indiana?” How did that come to be?
John
I stayed with my first mentor for about a year. Our agreement was that I would give him 50% of my commissions in order for me to work for him, for him to give me the opportunity and for him to give me some training.
Dustin
Which is above average, but he was making an investment in you.
John
There's nobody who wanted to bet on me. I couldn't get a job for minimum wage at that time, but he bet on me. I was like, "That's fine." The good news is in my first year working with him, I made over $30,000. He made about $30,000, which was great for him. It was more than my father made as a cab driver. My father that year in 1980 made $25,000. I made $30,000. I got this opportunity to go work at RE/MAX, which was basically working for yourself, not by yourself and you pay a monthly fee to work there. I worked at RE/MAX for the next year and got some more mentorships and more coaching by some amazing individuals. I've read a ton of books and listened to cassette tapes. I went to a ton of events and I made $151,000 in my second year in real estate.
Dustin
You went into a territory, one is Indiana, where two other people had attempted to enter.
John
That was several years later. I got my feet wet at becoming a real estate agent and learning the ins and outs of being an agent. At the beginning of 1987, the franchising rights for the state of Indiana became available. I had a chance to become partners with the two most successful sub-franchisors in the world of any franchise, not just RE/MAX. I was 26 at the time. I moved to Indiana. From Toronto, I moved to Indiana when I was 26. I started RE/MAX of Indiana there. I was the CEO and Founder there. I opened up a pretty successful operation there for over ten years. We had about 85 offices and 1,500 salespeople.
Dustin
We're going to talk about Innercise and the stuff that you're working on at NeuroGym and all that. Where in your process did some of this stuff that you're teaching others to do now start to develop?
John
I learned the power of the brain in my early twenties. When I was 22, in between my first job as a real estate agent and my second job, I took fourteen months to go travel around the world. I had a great trip around the world. When I got back I worked so hard, for so many hours a day, partying hard and working hard. I ended up with severe ulcerative colitis. I had ulcers in my colon that were bleeding ulcers, no bowel control movement. I was about 50 pounds lighter than I am now because I wasn't eating because you have no bowel control. I saw a TV show and the doctors were talking about something called psychoneuroimmunology. It’s a big word for the mind-body connection.
At that time, I had severe ulcerative colitis. I was taking 25 pills a day. I was doing two Betnesol-cortisone enemas a day and one sigmoidoscopy at the hospital a month where they were looking inside of me from the bottom out. This went on for about a year and a half where it was horrific. They said if it doesn't get better, they're going to remove part of my colon. I was 22. I was like, "What in the world is going on?" I saw this TV show about the mind-body connection. They talked about you have the power to heal yourself. You have the power within your brain to activate certain neurochemicals of healing and health. There are certain techniques that you can use whether it's meditation, visualization, affirmation, self-talk, etc. I started this regimen of exercise, number one, for my physical body, of meditation daily, visualization daily and reading affirmations daily.
This is after having this illness for a year and a half. It was brutal. Five weeks of doing this every day of focusing my mind and body. My mind healing my body and all of my symptoms went away, everything. I went to the doctor, his name was Dr. Woo. He said, "What are you doing? You went into remission. You're healed. What's going on?" I told him I'm doing this stuff that I now call Innercise, which we now know a lot more of. He says, "Good, but I want you to keep taking your medication." I said to him, "Dr. Woo, you don't understand. I fixed the cause. You were working on the symptoms." I stopped my medication back when I was 23 years old and I never looked back. I have built an understanding of the brain more over the last 38 years.
Dustin
I want to get into Innercise. Before I do that, I saw this movie and was moved by it. You were in the blockbuster hit, The Secret. I'm very curious what kind of impact did that have on you, your career and overall being a part of that project.
John
The movie has been seen by 500 million people. That’s how many have watched the movie. The impact that it had on me is it put me on the map of at least people are aware that I'm in the personal development of Reno. People started to seek me out. People started to buy my books. People started to buy our programs and products in my companies. It gave me a platform. It gave me a platform of recognition that validated some of what I was doing. As a result of that, I was in seven or eight other movies and hundreds of magazines and lots of great stuff. It gave me a platform to be able to share my experiences and share some of the research that we do. That's been the fun part.
Dustin
I want to get into the research. What is something that maybe people don't know or most surprised you about the movie?
John
What people probably don't know about the movie is a part of it I don't agree with at all which is the misunderstanding that all you've got to do is think, believe and you'll achieve. I learned many years ago this Law of Attraction thing also has another law that goes with it. It's called the Law of GOYA, and that's the Get Off Your Ass Law. You don't have to get off your ass and do something. In the physical world that we live in, everything has a way of doing it that works. There's a process. There's a step-by-step process to losing weight and keeping it off regardless of what your circumstances or conditions are. There is a way to make money. There's a way to grow a business. There's a way to have a great relationship. There's a process that we've already learned how to do. It's no different than a combination for a lock that opens up a safe. If you have the right numbers, but it's in the wrong order, you'll never open up the safe because the possible combinations are so vast. You have to have the right information applied in the right order at the right time. In addition to having the right mindset and the right vibration, you also have to be doing the right things. I'm a big proponent of the Law of Attraction with the Law of Action, GOYA.
Dustin
I'm glad you clarified that because a lot of people have that mentality to see it for the first time that they can manifest and things come out. I want to talk to you about a quote that I found from you. It says, "95% of what we know about motivation, about achievement is now obsolete in the last three years." Can you break that down?
John
We have so much information on the science of motivation. There are a lot of misunderstandings on the science of motivation. When we're talking about the science of motivation, we have to be talking about what's happening inside my brain and what's happening in my gut and maybe even my heart because all three are connected, the brain, heart and gut. When we talk about motivation, a lot of people think that having a goal is motivating. Maybe it is a little bit. Maybe having a big reason why you want to achieve that goal is motivating. The truth is there are a lot of people that have big goals. They have big reasons why they want to achieve it, but they're missing certain pieces that cause somebody to take action on a day-to-day basis. In addition to motivation, in addition to having a big why, another critical factor is why must you do this versus why should you or why you want to?
As soon as we discover why must I do it, now we have a higher level of motivation. Motivation is simply a motive for action. That's what motivation stands for a motive for action. There's a lot of people that are going to be reading this right now and that motivation. They have goals. They want to achieve some stuff. My question for them is going to be, “Why aren't you doing it?” There's a lot of new stuff out there but forget about the new stuff, “Why aren't you doing the fundamentals? Why aren't you doing the basic stuff to be healthier, happier, wealthier, to invest more and to mitigate your risk more? Why? The reason is that there are deeper levels of motivation that we need to understand what causes somebody to take action and what stops somebody deep in their tracks or dead in their tracks from taking action even though they have motivation.
Dustin
That's what Innercise works to achieve. Can we define it for those just getting to know it for the first time?
John
Everybody knows exercise. Jack Lalanne made exercise famous in the ‘60s and ‘70s where you do pushups, sit-ups and jumping jacks. It came from Jack Lalanne. Eat well and you're going to build up your internal organs and your muscles. That's exercise. Innercise is mental and emotional techniques that strengthen your core neuro-muscles. Let me give you an example. Is confidence a neuro-muscle that you can build?
Dustin
Yes.
John
Is self-esteem a neuro-muscle you can build?
Dustin
Yes.
John
Are habits neuro-muscles that some are constructive and strong and some are destructive and weak?
Dustin
Yeah.
John
When we take a look at the new research on the brain, it's about 180 different components to the brain. Think about a 180-person band. You own the band. You own all of the players in the band. Each one does a different thing. We've never had the user's manual for the human brain as it relates to performance, positive thoughts, negative thoughts, construct of emotions, destructive emotions, limiting beliefs and empowering beliefs. We understand that in the brain, there are all of these different components. We can deactivate the disempowering ones that hold us back. We can create and/or strength and the empowering ones that move us forward, what Innercise is all about is to teach you how to take better control of the most powerful organism, not an organ. It's an organism because it's growing and learning and pliable and moldable in the world and have it work for you instead of against you.
Dustin
John, you say something that is ringing in my head. It's this idea that we can work on stuff and add new beliefs. You said removing or getting rid of the disempowering. That seems to be like a big component. Can you talk a little bit about that? Should we be more focus on removing certain things first or should we focus on putting new things in or is it both?
John
You do both. You and I talked about there are several key pieces that hold people back. To set the framework, I'll ask you a question. If you want to get healthier, are there health experts that can show you exactly how to get healthier?
Dustin
Absolutely.
John
If you want to build your real estate portfolio, are there real estate experts that can help you step-by-step do everything with checklists and timelines?
Dustin
Of course, yeah.
John
If you wanted to have a better relationship, are there experts that already figured out to have a better relationship with whether it's your children, your husband, your wife, your brother, your sister, your mother or your father? Are there steps you can take?
Dustin
Yeah.
John
The point I want to make is all of the how-tos that anybody reading right now needs is already available. That's the easiest part of the equation. What should I do? Let's put that aside and say that if I am committed and I'm serious, what I should do is available. Let's ask us a question. What holds you back from doing what you should be doing and could be doing? That's where we should talk because that's what Innercise is all about.
Dustin
One of the things I've discovered, at least in my journey is a past story, when something happened in my childhood or when something happens at any time in life that isn't so positive. Sometimes our brain thinks of that, at least that's how I perceive it. My brain thinks of that and it almost protects me from wanting to take that action. Is that what you're getting at here?
John
There isn't anybody who's reading that was born with any experiences other than birth. They didn't have any beliefs, no empowerments and no disempowerments. They didn't have any habits. They didn't have any perspectives. Psyche wasn't even working when somebody was born. All of these were patterns in the brain that were developed. Let's say you were a child between the ages of zero to seven years old. We have the imprinting and the modeling years, we call them. We imprint the words that our parents tell us, the environment that we see, the stuff that we hear and the experiences that we have. What we are told, we pretty much believe. If we're told that you're brilliant and wonderful and capable, you develop these neural patterns in the brain that gets reinforced.
If you were told around the environment, you're not good enough, you're not smart enough, you'll never amount to much or the family is struggling with money or relationship or business. Your parent or whoever you're living with is fired from job after job. That is the pattern that gets wired in the brain without the ability to say, "I don't want that." There's no ability to reject it. In the imprinting and modeling years, that's what we learned in our brain becomes wired with neural pathways. We develop beliefs. We develop certain habits. We develop certain perspectives, certain expectations, certain stories and certain set points, all because of what's coming into our internal world and what we're experiencing a little bit through our own environment. When we talk about a limiting belief like, "I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not worthy. I'm too young. I'm too old," the question is where did that come from?
There are plenty of people who are your age. There are plenty of people who are the color or ethnicity that you are. There are plenty of people that are education level that you are or less that are doing great despite that limiting belief. From a pure neuroscience perspective, it's nothing more than a pattern in the brain that's been reinforced. That goes from conscious patterns that are repeated, become part of the automatic self or the default mode network. That pattern now runs on autopilot without any thought. That is the definition of a habit; thoughts, emotions and behaviors that are coalesced into a pattern that runs automatically. There's also some stuff that you talked about that's important.
Any time we want to do something, whether it achieves a bigger goal that we haven't achieved yet, whether it's in money, real estate, health or whatever. Our brain, the way it works is once we have the idea or the goal, that is part one. We're activating what I call in the books the Einstein brain. Right after that happens, because the brain is focusing on safety first; emotional safety, physical safety and financial safety first, it goes into our memory bank. Any pattern memory that's in our memory bank that has any real or imagined or potential danger associated with it activates the neurochemistry of fear and stress. On the one hand, we have a goal but if we have any patterns in our memory bank of pain associated with the attempt or the achievement of that goal that fires off a whole different neurochemicals sequence that puts the brakes on motivation. It starts us procrastinating and sabotaging our success.
Dustin
Do we know that we have this? Consciously, we know like we haven't taken action. We haven't lost the weight. We haven't made that first investment. We know from the result of our action something is there. Do we know? How does one know and identify or locate these?
John
In the book, what I did is I created a series of innercises. The first one that we like to talk about is the innercise of being aware of. Let's say you have a fear. Let's say you recognize, "I'm afraid of failing or afraid of disappointing myself or my husband or my wife. I'm afraid of succeeding and then failing. I'm afraid of losing money. I'm afraid of fill in the blank." How will you know if you're afraid? What if you sat down quietly and started to breathe where you deactivate the fear center of your brain and the stress center of your brain? You do that with what I call, innercise number one, it's called take six, calm the circuits.
Innercise number one, put somebody in a calm response of state versus a stressed reactive state. Reactive states come from subconscious programming that automates a behavior. Responsive states come from deliberate, conscious choices. Let's say you did innercise number one where you took six deep breaths in through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth like you're breathing out through a straw and you focused on the breath coming out. Six breaths deactivate that fear and stress response center. That's number one.
Innercise number two is called AIA. AIA is your brain's ability to be self-aware of thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations and behaviors. In a calm state, what if you asked yourself, “What are my thoughts right now?” “I'm afraid.” “What are you afraid of?” “I'm afraid of making the wrong decision.” “Why are you afraid of that?” “Because I might lose my money, I might lose respect. I might be embarrassed. I might be ashamed. I might be ridiculed. I might cause hardships on my family.” When you do innercise number two, which is awareness first of thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations, behaviors and then you're aware of all the story that's going on that's preventing you from taking action. You move to the "I," which is the intention. What's your intention right now? Is your intention to allow the fear of or the limiting belief of or the story of, fill in the blank to control you or do you want to get past that and move forward? “I choose to get past that and move forward.”
Now, I'm being deliberate and intentional, not reactive. If you want to activate the motivational center of your brain and the motor cortex or your brain and the left prefrontal cortex of your brain, one of the three critical pieces required to achieve goals. You ask yourself, “What is one small action I can take towards what my intention is?” One, not ten but I need to have the whole plan one small action step. When you do that, you start the rewiring process of your brain. When you start to become more aware, you have to do this without judgment, shame, blame or guilt. You do it in a calm, aware state of what's happening in the neural networks in your brain. The thoughts we have, the emotions that we have, those are automatic.
We have trillions of connections in our brain and 50,000 to 75,000 random thoughts a day, but very few people do any thinking, to have thoughts. This causes people to think, “What am I thinking? Feelings and sensing, doing, what's my intention? What's my one action step?” Now, I am causing myself to be in control of what I want to do. When you lower the fear centers in the brain, when you lower the stress center, the anxiety centers in the brain, you have more motivation. Blood flow moves away from the thinking part of the brain when the fear and stress center activates. What you do by calming the circuits first? You sent blood flow back to the thinking, most brilliant part of your brain, which I call Einstein. That's what we're talking about in the book.
Dustin
When I do meditation or when I get to that place, it always seems like I'm trying to grab the thoughts or let go of my thoughts. What you've given us, you've given me is this asking of the question and keep asking yourself of eventually what is my intention? Is this serving me? I never thought about it. I thought it was supposed to get rid of these thoughts in my head. This is a much more powerful way.
John
There are different mindfulness techniques. Meditation and mindfulness are two different things. Mindful is being aware. It's being aware of right now, being here and being present right now. Understanding that I'm not my thoughts, I'm not my emotions. My brain activates thoughts. There are 85 billion brain cells that have trillions of connections that percolate different thoughts based on our history, based on our experiences, based on triggers from the outside world. Based on something that we smell, based on something that we see, based on the behavior of somebody. They are triggers and associations. Some are positive; some are negative. Some are empowering; some are disappearing. Some move us forward and some retreat us back.
We have to remember, I'm not my thoughts. I could be aware of my thoughts. I could let go of the ones that may have served me in the past, but I don't have to be a victim of them. Thoughts activate emotions. All the emotions are processed in the subconscious mind that activates the neurochemistry associated with how we feel. Feeling is conscious awareness of the vibration that these hundred trillion cells are in. Emotions are subconscious patterns based on what's programmed in the subconscious mind in the memory bank. We have to be aware what are the thoughts? What are my emotions? Are they going to move me towards my goals and dreams or do I want to deactivate those because I don't need them anyway?
Dustin
I feel like that part, questioning and bringing that awareness is clutch because the answer for achievers is obviously, "No, we don't want to let these disempowering beliefs."
John
You need to have tools and techniques to deactivate them and get by them. That's what innercise is all about. If you have stress or limiting beliefs or fears or self-doubt, use the innercises in the book. I mentioned to you, for anybody who buys the book, I have eight brain training audios where I guide them through eight of the innercises in the book. Normally, we'd sell those for $197. We're giving it to everybody.
Dustin
Thank you. I appreciate it. I want to go deeper on self-sabotage. These patterns and these disempowering beliefs that are in our head, are these the things that are self-sabotaging or is it our lack of acting on these stories?
John
When we think of self-sabotage, I'm doing something destructive or disempowering based on what I said my goal is. I'm doing something counter-intuitive or counteractive to that. The question is why? We don't want to get mad at the behavior or the effect. We want to focus on the cause. What would cause somebody to self-sabotage financial success or relationships success or business success or health success? What would cause somebody to do that? What we have to go to is what's happening in my brain that's activating this self-sabotage? Because we're not doing it deliberately. Usually, we're doing it and we only think about it after the fact. It means it's a subconscious mechanism beneath our level of awareness until we make ourselves aware of it. When I used to have a lot of real estate agents, we would know every year, who would get what award. We had agents who made between $35,000 and $50,000 a year, $50,000 to $100,000, $100,000 to $250,000, $250,000 or more and $1 million or more. We would know who'd get the awards year-after-year.
The question is why. The answer is because we all have different set points in our brain. Some people become conditioned to earn let's say $50,000 a year, some become conditioned to earn $100,000, $500,000, $1 million, $10 million, $100 million. Once they become conditioned, then all of the neuro, biochemical and electrical processes govern that behavior like a thermostat governs the temperature in the room here or in your car. There's a cybernetic mechanism that governs. It's a control response mechanism that is in some machines and all humans and animals.
When we have weight set points, fat set points, income set points, relationship set points in our brain, our brain then governs what we do or don't do automatically without thought. If we don't believe that we are worthy of achieving the goal that we want to achieve; self-image, self-esteem and self-worth, we will sabotage until we meet what we believe we deserve. That's one. If we have fears, fear of success, fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, shame, ridiculed, judged and fear of disappointment, then we are going to sabotage our success to protect ourselves from the potential danger that our subconscious mind is saying is there. We have fears. We have a self-image, self-esteem and then we have limiting beliefs. If we have a limited belief that I'm not good enough, not smart enough, not worthy of achieving those goals, then we will recalibrate and reset to the level of our belief. All of this formulates our story and our identity. We will make 100% certain that our outside world of results matches 100% the subconscious internal set points and map.
Dustin
This is huge because anybody that wants to achieve and that's the folks in the audience, what got us here is that set point you say. We've got to get in and do the work and do that. In the book, you've got tools and strategies for doing it. Where do people to drop the ball outside of awareness because now you're giving them awareness? Where do folks drop the ball? Is it doing the work themselves and taking that action? Where do you see most people?
John
The ball is dropped not in people's lack of watching videos, not in people's lack of reading books, not in people's lack of talking about it. People drop the ball because they don't understand the power of their subconscious mind and how it controls 95 to 98% of everything you do think, say and feel every single day. If you're in the 30, 40, 50, 60-year-old range, then you are operating 95% of your day based on all of your old conditioning, your old beliefs, your old habits and your old paradigms of how you see and experience the world and what your set points are.
The key is not in getting more information. It's going back into the subconscious mind, which we now know how to do better than in the entire history of our species and reprogram your income and wealth set point. Reprogram the expectancy levels like you would adjust a thermostat on a wall and you have to go into your subconscious and adjust the settings there, not have conscious awareness of it. That's where people drop the ball. That's all the work that we do at NeuroGym is helping people understand consciously but reprogram subconscious so that there is coherence between the conscious goal-setting brain and subconscious patterns.
Dustin
A lot of people all around the world have a great deal of stress. You have this concept of transforming stress into a strength. How does one do this because there's a lot of stress going around?
John
If you think about it, stress is a feeling. It's an emotion that we feel. We feel stressed. That's the effect. What if we took a look at stress say, "What's causing the stress?" Is stress experienced the same way by everybody? The answer is no. What may cause you stress may not cause me stress. What may cause your significant other stress may not cause her sister or brother stress. Stress in itself is an effect. The question is the effect of what? The answer is this. When we do not have either the knowledge or the skill to deal with the task or the issue at hand, we feel stress. The question then goes, "What is it that's triggering the feeling I have of stress?" For example, somebody has a long day at work and is driving home and is like, "I don't even want to open up that door because my little children are going to go nuts."
The meaning that you're giving going home and opening the door in dealing with little children, maybe rather than not having the knowledge or the skill or the patient is triggering the stress. What if you could learn how to reframe what that means? What if you can learn how to feel the stress and deactivate in 90 seconds, in that way you don't feel the stress as a result of that upcoming experience? These are all mental and emotional techniques that you can learn. Innercise Take 6 Calm The Circuits was one of them. AIA is another one of them. There's something called flip flop that we teach people how to do. It has to do with what Hollywood actors and actresses learn. A Hollywood actress or actor can go from being happy to being sad to being angry, to being a fifteen-year-old kid or an 80-year-old person. They could change all of these personas in nanoseconds. How? They learned how to navigate between emotions and feelings.
When was the last time that you practiced? Never. We never practice. What if you realize that I have emotions, I have thoughts, I have feelings, but I am not them? I can control them at will. If somebody ran in here right now with a gun, you and I would probably be running scared, jumping over the sofa here. If we had a trained Navy SEAL here, who was packing some weapons, he or she would probably pull it out and go boom. In a nanosecond, they would respond or react because that's what they were taught to do. I'm not a proponent of violence, so I'm clear. I want you to understand is you have so much more control than you know.
The reason is that you've never been taught. There's never been this training in kindergarten or to parents or siblings or grade school or high school, even universities to help people understand the most powerful tool in the universe is your brain. It governs everything, but you are not your brain. You can use your brain better to control your emotions, to control your focus and to release your stress. You can use your brain to stay more aware, to stay in action, to release limiting beliefs, overcome fears and develop greater self-confidence and self-worth in yourself. If you don't know how, then you're a victim of your current brainpower. It's limited only by your desire to stay the same or your desire to learn how to change and reconfigure some of your brain's plasticity. It's called neuroplasticity so that you are an empowered and focused individual that's achieving his or her goals and dreams.
Dustin
You look at a lot of data. You look at it a lot of brain research and science. Anything surprising you or anything that you're most excited about that's now starting to be explained or backed by data?
John
The stuff that I'm blown away by more than anything else is the future of where this is going. The brain is an electromagnetic switching station. You can spend $1 billion and you can't get the parallel processing the brain does. It's been evolving for billions of years. The interaction and interconnectedness between man and machine, implants, machine uploading and downloading information, The Matrix-like, it's already happening. It's already started. In the next 100 years, maybe sooner, maybe 50, the interfaces that we are going to experience between man and machine and having to access to information especially with the advancement now in augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and what that's going to do to wire our brain and evolve it to that next level is so exciting. It's mind-boggling to the point where right now there's some physical work that we need to do innercise that we need to do to implant a new empowering belief. I see in the near future 50 to 100 years or maybe sooner, the ability to download or upload parts of our brain either in or out, deactivate, disempowering patterns, activate empowering patterns at lightning speeds. It's going to be amazing.
Dustin
I feel happy about that, but also sad in that like part of Innercise and part of this is doing that work. There's that work ethic. There's that sense of accomplishment. You are working on yourself. In the future, if it's as simple as pressing a button, which I bet people are going crazy for this idea. If it's as simple, that seems cool but also sad too because there's something said to be about doing work on yourself and doing the process.
John
There is, but think about it from somebody who suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder. Think about from somebody who's had a major trauma in their life that's hijacked a part of their brain, the amygdala that keeps repeating this horrific pattern. Think about somebody who was so manic depressive that their only thought is suicide. If you can help them either through electrical currents or by deactivating certain parts of their brain that we're starting to understand more of where things are happening in the brain, where we're still in the early stages of it. I often tell people, "We're at the stage right now that would be the equivalent of, there's somebody on the moon looking at the Earth." They could see that over there in the Sahara is a fire. That's about the level we're able to see right now. That's getting closer and closer and closer. We're shortening the gap to understand the power within us. We will probably get to the point where we'll have technology and tools and resources to help people individually. That is a life enhancer versus taken away from them.
Dustin
That's a good reframe and great insight. Thank you for that. I think I got with what you've shared with us, with me. I do want to ask, now in social media or wherever people are getting our information, we're hearing about the hustle and grind. You have this concept that working harder and grinding and absorbing this culture isn’t necessarily the path. It's not about learning more or doing more or taking on more. It's about going into your mind and getting rid of the things that aren't serving you. Putting in the things that do to get what you're looking for. Is it that simple?
John
When we see human behavior and you look at everybody's life, everybody is busy; children, husbands, wives, family, charity, travel work, part-time this, television and reality shows. There is a lot of stuff going on. When you stop and assess activity versus productivity, the average person is wasting 60% to 80% of their day. If you want to challenge yourself to see how efficient are you with your time? Let's say you sleep eight hours a day. You've got sixteen hours left for your health, family, friends or whatever the case is. How many hours of those sixteen are you focusing on the high impact and maybe even high-income activities? The average person would probably tell you about two hours a day.
I know that to be true because I've analyzed the data of thousands of people over the years. Most people are busy. They're actively doing the trivial many things versus the critical few things. Very successful people learn that there's no such thing as time management. The only thing you can manage what you do in time, event management. In the absence of high-performance habits, high-performance behaviors, people default to what they're accustomed to doing. Without awareness and analysis, they keep doing it year after year, month after month and week after week. I challenge anybody to take a look at how productive are you being versus active. A simple way to do that is take out a sheet of paper and write down everything you do every half hour. At the end of the day, you're going to go, "I wasted a lot of time." How much time did you spend on social media? How much time do you spend on television? How much time do you spend in meaningless conversations versus high-income, high-impact activities that can make you healthier, happier, wealthier?
Dustin
I've done this. It's time for me to personally to revisit this because it's easy to get sucked back into the ether.
John
You get sucked back into habits and your default automatic self. Those are habits at work. I want to point out to people that I don't need to call habits good or bad. They're either constructive or destructive to some degree. It’s the same thing with emotions; they're not good or bad. They're empowering or disempowering to various degrees. What you want to learn is how do I activate empowering emotions and feelings? How do I develop empowering habits that will help me achieve more of my goals faster and easier than ever before? That was the whole purpose of the book, Innercise, to help people take control and change what isn't empowering you. Develop what can empower you more, develop habits that'll make you more congruent with taking the actions required and you'll see your success rise. We've had over 100,000 clients in the last five years train their brains with us and the results are phenomenal in every area of their life.
Dustin
It's easy for folks, myself included, too look and say, "This guy has got it dialed in. He's been working at this forever. He's perfect." I know to study achievers and being one myself that it's far from it. We're figuring this game of life out. With all the information that you shared, where's the area that you feel like you're still mastering? Where do you feel like John can get stronger or incorporate new empowering beliefs?
John
In every area of my life. I focus on health, wealth, relationships, career, business, fun and experiences every single day. I'm consistently looking at what's holding me back? What fears are holding me back? What limiting beliefs are holding me back? What story is holding me back? No matter what level you get to, there's another level in any area of your life, not just success. The question for each person is, “What do you want to trade your life for and what do you want your health to be like?” When I talk about health, it's about spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health. “How do you get yourself there? What income do you want? What net worth do you want? What charitable contributions do you want to make?” What I've discovered for myself in my life is even monks want more.
The human species, if it's true that we're spiritual beings, then spirit is always for fuller expression and expansion of itself, not for contraction. What I've discovered is whenever we achieve a certain level of success, most humans go, "What's next?" When I said, "Even monks want more," they want more awareness, more empathy, more compassion, more kindness or a charity, more goodness. They want more of that. There isn't like we have enough. They want more of that. They want less of certain things too. We want more of certain things and less of certain things. It's different for every human being. Whenever I reach a certain goal, I always ask myself, "What's next? Could I get healthier? How specifically?” I like to get down to the details of how specifically.
How would I know that I'm mega healthy? When we're talking about health, I was 238 pounds a few years ago. I was borderline diabetic. I was borderline hypertensive. I had 33% of body fat on me. I want to get down to 195 to 200 was my sweet spot. I got down to 195. I've taught enough, kept it this way for over five years. I asked myself, "How do I get stronger? How do I make sure that my diet is great?" I switched over to a vegan diet. I gave up most refined sugar, gut microbe you can work. There are so many different layers that you can work on once you have your foundations in place. How do you develop yourself where you feel like you're growing? That's the key is growing doesn't mean the absence of challenges. Growing means that you are learning how to overcome the challenges of moving to a higher plane of results. I'm always for how do I get better? How do I level up my game?
Dustin
Thank you for sharing. Speaking of what's next, what are you most excited about? What are you working on now here at NeuroGym and at Innercise? What are you saying, “What's next?” to?
John
What we’re looking for here at NeuroGym is what tools can we create, whether it's meditation tools, mindfulness tools, visualization tools, mental contrasting tools, self-awareness tools, Cognitive Behavior Therapy tools or any of the known tools I now. What are the tools, the angles, the resources, the methodologies that we could teach people to eliminate anything that's not working either mentally or emotionally in their lives so that they quickly understand that regardless of what's happening in their life, they can change? We're looking for who can explain it, teach it, share it, write about it, draw it and video it so that we can let people know. You and I have so much potential. I want to help people recognize that, yes, they do have potential. What we're looking to do is showing them all the reasons how they can. All they have to do is saying, "That's what I want."
Dustin
John, thank you. I'm even more thrilled at the start of this interview. Where can folks find the book? Where can they find NeuroGym and everything that you're doing in the world?
John
The book is Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain's Hidden Power. You can get the book at IgniteMyBrain.com. When people go to the website, they'll see that if you buy one to five books, you can get the Exceptional Life Blueprint that I'll give you for free to set your goals. I'll give you my goals and a little video that comes with it on how to set your goals and some sheets for you to fill it out. I'll give you eight brain training audios. Go to the website. It will give you all the instructions. You can buy the book on Amazon and then come back to that site and put in your receipt. Go to the website for the book. I'm on Instagram. I'm on my Facebook fan page. I'm on Twitter, @JohnAssaraf, and that's the best place to find me.
Dustin
John, thank you.
John
Thank you.
Dustin
Thank you for sharing with the WealthFit Nation. Thank you for tuning in. I'm so excited to share this. Go and take action on what you've learned. Go get the book and put it into practice because without practice, without taking that action, nothing happens. That's it for now. I can't wait to see you on the next show.
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