How to teach and train your brain to Get What You Really Want ?- John Assaraf
David Laroche : Hello achiever, today I would like to introduce you to an amazing guy. I'm sure you know him, but if you don't, you have to discover this interview, and if you know him, you have to discover also this interview. We will talk about our brain, the power of our brain, success and how we can stop procrastination. So follow this interview, you will love it. Hello John.
John Assaraf : Hey, good to see you.
David Laroche : How are you today?
John Assaraf : Tabian, excellent.
David Laroche : I will subtitle in English.
John Assaraf : Subtitle in English. Tabian just means very good.
David Laroche : Oh yes, me too. I am very glad to do an interview with you. I would like to let you to introduce yourself. Who are you?
John Assaraf : I'm just an average person and just like everybody else who wants to have purpose in their life, who wants to have meaning in their life, who wants to achieve as much as I can while I'm alive. To make a difference in the life of as many people as I can with the gifts that God gave me and the interests, and the passions that I have. And to somehow in a little way leave a mark on the world that makes a difference while I'm here and when I move on to the next dimension of life.
David Laroche : Okay, so you are today an entrepreneur, also a teacher, a brain researcher, and the goal for you is to help people to grow.
John Assaraf : Yes. When I was a kid, I had a lot of my own challenges, I didn't have confidence in myself, I didn't believe in myself. I had some big challenges with the law and getting into trouble in school, and getting into trouble outside of school. And I was really fortunate when I was 19 years old, I met wonderful gentleman who was very successful with his family, he was very successful giving to charities, he was very healthy, he was very gentle and kind. And he really wanted to do good in the world, not just for himself but to make the world a better place. And he started to teach me that the reason I was getting into trouble, the reason I wasn't getting great results was what I believed about myself. And he taught me the power of my beliefs, he taught me the power of what I do every single day matters. He taught me the power of the intelligence in the universe that I could utilize my brain like a radio sends a signal out into the universe. He said, “You could send the signal out using the power of your thoughts.” He says, “But you're also capable of receiving information just like the great inventors, whether it was Albert Einstein, whether it was Edison, Michael Angelo.” Any of the great inventors, they had these ideas that came to them and they were just normal human beings but they took advantage of the messages that they were getting in their hearts and their intuition. And so he taught me some of the power of the brain. And by using what I learned, I learned that I could achieve a lot more than I ever thought was possible when I was younger. And so now, I want to take what I've learned for 33 years and teach it to other people to make the path for them a little bit easier.
David Laroche : Yeah, great, and how did you meet him?
John Assaraf : He was actually a client of my brother, my brother is a tennis pro and he used to play the professional pro circuit. And when he came back from playing the pro circuit when he was in is his early 30s, he got a job at a tennis club and this man was one of his clients at the tennis club. And my brother said, “Hey, listen, you're getting in a lot of trouble and maybe if you talk to this man, he can help you.” And so I went to meet with this man and he asked me, “Why do you think you're getting in trouble?” I said, “I don't know.” He says, “But you're getting in trouble.” I said, “I know.”
David Laroche : You were conscious about your trouble?
John Assaraf : Yes, I was getting into a lot of trouble. I was getting into a lot of trouble. I was doing some very dangerous things that I could have either died or gone to jail for. And when he started to share with me, to teach me that my entire reality was based on what I believed was real and what I believed was true about myself, about what's possible, and that I could change that, that's when my life started to change. And he said, “If you start to change the way you think and you start to learn every day for one hour to upgrade your knowledge and your skills, and then you take action everyday on the things that are the most important instead of all the different things you can do.” He says, “If you focus on doing 3 to 5 things everyday towards your goals.” He says, “In one year, you'll be in a totally different destination.” Three years, big destination, 5, 10 ten years, your life won't be the same. And I was tired of living a mediocre to less than mediocre life. And so I said, “Listen, you seem to have a good plan and a good path, you're making millions of dollars, you're giving a lot of money to charity. You're happy, you're healthy, you've got a great family, I want that. And he said, “If you want that, follow the blueprint. Don't try to figure it out. Just follow the blueprint.” And that was another lesson that he shared with me, is that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Like if you want to fly right now, you don't have to figure out how to fly. There's already a blueprint for how to generate or create an airplane. So if you want to be healthy, there's already a blueprint. If you want to make more money, there's already a blueprint. If you want to buy real estate or the stock market, or start a business and grow business, there's people before us that have already got the blueprint and all you have do is paint the numbers inside the box and then you can use your creativity. So, I just became a very good follower for a long time of things that worked. And when you follow things that work, it's like having the combination to a safe. If somebody gives you the combination to a safe and they tell you, “Turn this way a little bit, turn this way a little bit, turn this way a little bit, turn this way a little bit and open it, you can have access to it.” But most people don't look for the combination and then even when they get the combination, they try it in the wrong order. And so, I learned at a very young age, thank God, to at least follow the initial plans. Then if you want to get creative, then you could add your creativity, your genius to that as well.
David Laroche : It's great, I love that. And you said something very interesting. You said that you focus every day, at least two hour and is amazing, that is the important thing for you. How do you know what is in the main things? For example, the people have a lot of ideas every day and they, “Oh I can go there. I can go there. I can do that. I can do that.” How do I know what is important?
John Assaraf : Sure, the first thing that you have to ask is, “What are your highest values?” So for me, for example, my number one high is value is God. My number two value is my health. My number three value is my family. My number four value is contribution to the lives of others. My number fifth value is fun. So every day, when I wake up I think about, “What am I doing today to connect with God?” For me, just for me. It doesn't have to be… it's not religious, it's just for me. Then what do I need to do every day to make sure that I'm healthy? What do I need to do every day to make sure that my family and my dear close friends, who are part of my family, that I have the relationship that's rich? Then contribution, how do I use my passion, my gifts, my stories my…things I've not done well, things I have done well, how do I share that with the world? And in doing that, I feel good and then I have to have fun. And so if I do those five things every day, then at the end of every day, I've had a great day. And if you have a lot of great days, then you end up with a really great life. And that doesn't mean that you don't have ups and downs, and things that don't work, and trouble that happens, and things that come up. But if you keep your focus on what's important, then the rest of the stuff is really inconsequential. And there isn't 100 different things you have to do. There's two or three things, in each one of the areas that's important to you, when you do those every day, you're so far ahead of the curve. So I have the daily rituals.
David Laroche : Yeah. So it's a coincidence, what is your ritual?
John Assaraf :So when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do, is I do a gratitude exercise, where I ask myself, usually in bed, “What am I most grateful for today?” And usually I'm grateful for my health. I'm grateful for my wife. I'm grateful for my children. I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful for my family. I'm grateful to have experiences.
David Laroche : And do you do that eyes closed?
John Assaraf : Yes, I do that eyes closed. And while I while I think about that, I feel it. And so the feeling starts every day with a great feeling. So I start every day with a great feeling.
David Laroche : Do you visualize some things, like your children or do you talk to yourself? How do you do that?
John Assaraf : Yeah, I have an internal dialog. I see images of the things that I'm thinking about, and that just takes me two minutes, just two minutes when I wake up and then I go to exercise to take care of my body.
David Laroche : How long?
John Assaraf : Usually one hour to an hour and 15 minutes every day. And so I do variety of different things. I hike. I bike. I work on aerobics. I work on strength. I work with weights. I do whatever it is, I just do it to give my body the physical exercise. Then as soon as I finish my exercise in my gym…
David Laroche : So one hour and a half?
John Assaraf : An hour, an hour and 15 minutes at the most. So then in my gym I have two things, I have a vision board, which is my dream board for my physique…
David Laroche : You are known for that.
John Assaraf : Yes, so I have my vision board for my physique and my body, and my health. But then I also have in my gym something called “An Achieved Board.” So after I achieve some of the things that I achieve…
David Laroche : Past or the future?
John Assaraf : No, achieved in the past.
David Laroche : Yes, so past, you have the past and the future. You have it all on the Achiever Board.
John Assaraf : Yes, so I have in my gym, in my home gym, I have a place where I sit and before I start my meditation, I look at my vision board from the past. So I get connected to the different things that I've been able to achieve and I remember every day, when I set my mind and my focus to achieving goals, I can achieve all of my goals. So I start…
David Laroche : I love that, it is something that I didn't know that you do that and it's very powerful because you teach your brain to focus on your mission you've had in the past.
John Assaraf : Right, but what I also do is I reinforce. Most people focus on what's not working, “This isn't going well. This didn't work.” I want to remind myself every day of, “Look how many things I was able to accomplish by being clear, by being passionate, by using these rituals.” So before I go into my meditation, which is with my eyes closed, I look at my Achieved Board, I get emotionally associated with it to remind myself that when I set my mind to achieve something, I can do it. And then I look across, because I have a mirror in the gym. And I look across and I say, “I love you just the way you are,” and I say, “I accept you just the way you are. With all of your skills and passion, and faults, and insecurities, and doubts, and fears, I accept you just the way you are.” And I smile and then I close my eyes. And I do about a 15-minute meditation. And in my meditation, sometimes I have no thoughts, where I'm just one with the universe and everything. Other times, I'll just follow my thoughts and I'll just pay attention. Be mindful of where are they going this morning? Where are they going today? So I'll follow my thoughts and I'll just follow them. Other times I'll follow a thought and say, “Release that one.” And follow another thought and say, “Release that one.” So I am teaching my brain that I'm in control of my brain. See most people don't realize that they are not their brain but their brain is an organ no different than your heart. No different than your legs. No different than your hand and since we're not our brains, we can learn how to use the different parts of our brain. And so I've been doing many, many years of studying on the brain. And if you don't understand the different parts of your brain, that's like having a sports car in your driveway but you don't know how to turn it on or you don't know how to change the gears. Or you don't know how to put on the radio, or you don't know how to turn the heat on.
David Laroche : Yes, you have a powerful machine but you don't…
John Assaraf : You have a powerful machine but you don't use it. And most people, not because they're dumb, it's because most people have never been taught how powerful their brains are. And for a simple reason that we haven't really known how powerful as we've had ideas, we've thought about it, but for the first time in the history of our species, hundreds of thousands of years on the planet, we're finally in the last 10, 12 years able to look a little bit inside the brain. And there's more circuitry in your brain than there is an all the telephones connected in the whole world. There's more circuitry in your brain than there are stars. And so when you start to go, “Wow, there's some real power within me and if I learn how to use it a little bit better, maybe I could be happier, healthier, wealthier, have more purpose, have more meaning in my life.” And when you ask yourself like, “What do most people want?” All I want to know that my life mattered. I want to know that I'm loved or at least liked. I want to know that my life has got some kind of purpose or I don't have a real great existence. And so when you start to realize that you have so many gifts on top of the challenges that we all have, everybody has problems, everybody has things they're insecure about. They don't have confidence around, they don't have certainty. But that's everybody. So the key is to understand that we have an amazingly powerful tool that creates our reality. And we're able to teach it to look for and find what we want it to create. So reality doesn't exist outside of here. We're in the field of everything. And we can teach our brain to see things that we didn't see before. We can change our habits. We can develop. It's something we call Deliberate Conscious Evolution. So we could deliberately choose to evolve ourselves, where in the past we thought that you have to wait 1,000 years or 10,000 years, or 100,000 years to change. No, that's old school thinking. We can change now. We can change the neural patterns in our brain, the software, just like a computer software. Our body is the hardware, our brain is the operating system and then our belief is the software, and our habits are the software that runs everything gives us the results. And we're finally learning some techniques and tools to tweak the machinery better.
David Laroche : Yes, we have to talk about that. You just gave so many keys. And I have some question that I would like to ask you, because you told about ritual. How do you do to do a lasting ritual? Because a lot of people start to do ritual, 10 mornings, it's good. One months, 2 months and they stop. And for myself, I do that. Sometimes I start something and I stop it. And you have a huge ritual it's not 10 minutes it's two hours. How do you do to be persistent?
John Assaraf : Well, all of the latest research shows that it takes an average of 66 days, in the old days it used to be 21 days, but that's just because of an old book back in 1970s, called “Psycho Cybernetics” and that was Maxwell Maltz. He noticed that when people had a facial reconstruction done through plastic surgery, that even when they looked in the mirror after the surgery, they didn't see a change and it took about 21 days for them to start to saying, “Oh wow, okay, I can see some differences.” And he realized that it wasn't the eyes that see it's the brain that sees and so the brain shifts through repetition. So when we talk about how do we create rituals or how do we change habits that last? The first thing's to have a different expectation, then I'm going to change in a day or a week, or in 21 days. Whenever I try to change anything, my number one rule is 100 days or I don't even start. So if I want to, let's say, stop caffeine, it's a 100-day commitment. So first I make a longer term commitments and then I design a plan to retrain my brain around the expectation of following through. I make pre-commitments in advance. So if I say, let's say I'm going to stop drinking coffee, I say, “Okay, I'm going to stop drinking coffee,” I commit to it for 100 days. And then I write out, “Well, what will you do in the morning when you wake up and you want a coffee? What will you do when you're at a restaurant with friends and everybody's having a coffee? What will you do?” So you counter any of the behavior when you know the trigger is going to happen. Every habit has three parts to it. There's something that triggers the emotion. There's the behavior and then there's the neurological and biological reward. So when you understand the habit part of any ritual, you understand that because we are conditioned a certain way, we're going to have a trigger. Whether it's a flower, whether it's waking up, whether it's a girl or a guy, or children coming home, it triggers a response in the brain, a reaction in the brain. Well, if we change the behavior over the course of 100 days, we'll still get the reward. And if we pre-commit to what we're going to do when we say, “Maybe today I'll have the coffee and tomorrow I won't. Maybe today, I'll have the pizza or the dessert, and I'll catch up tomorrow.” Well, if you pre-commit in advance that you're not going to take that action, then that's step one. Step two is when you have the trigger, if you interrupt the behavior for 1 or 2, or 3 to 4 minutes, you interrupt the neural pattern of brain also. So you come up with strategies, “When I feel like having a coffee or a dessert, or the pizza, or the cholesterol, then here's what I'm going to do instead for five minutes and that way I can interrupt the pattern.” If you do that long enough, you'll start to develop a new neural pattern. You'll start to develop a new behavior. And if you do it for at least 66 days or preferably a 100 days, you'll start to develop a new way of thinking and being, and doing that will overshadow the other pattern in the brain.
David Laroche : Very interesting.
John Assaraf : Yeah. So there's a psychology behind it but there's also the neurological processes of the brain. And what happens is our brain doesn't like change, so any time that there is change, the brain see…it feels uncomfortable. As soon as it feels uncomfortable, it will send signals to the motor cortex of the brain. It will send messages and we'll start to rationalize. We'll start to tell ourselves, “Well I shouldn't do it because of this. Well, maybe today is not a good day. Well, I'll start today but I won't continue till next week. Or you know what, I really don't want this.” We start to talk to ourselves. And when we understand what the brain does whenever we try to change, then we can start being in control of the brain and we can override the automatic responses. There is something called Automaticity, and Automaticity states, “That anything that I repeat over and over, and over again over a period of time will go from conscious effort, deliberate conscious effort, willpower or persistence and it will become automatic.” So we just have to know how long that is. And some things take a week, some things take 60 days. Some habits that people have for 20, 30, 40, 50 years take 200 days. And so you start off with a 100-day window and you ask yourself, “Am I willing to give a little bit of effort for 100 days to remove this destructive, either, thought pattern or destructive behavioral pattern in order for me to have something greater and better than what I have right now?”
David Laroche : So it's very important you focus a lot on what you will have, or who you will be in the future to keep your motivation?
John Assaraf : Yeah. If you think about this, one of the best examples that I ever came up with is imagine if I give you a Hollywood script right now. Okay. And I say to you, “If you learn this script for the next six months, I would give you $10 million dollars to be on stage to deliver that. We're going to film you and if you're amazing, you're going to have a chance to win an Academy Award.” What will you do with the script starting today?
David Laroche : I start to learn.
John Assaraf : You start to learn and you start to read it, you start to emotionalize it, you start to practice it, you start to…you start to do everything possible to become something that's in writing, something that came out of somebody's head. That they wrote a script for that you don't have any idea what it is. But if you made a commitment to becoming that person and you rehearsed it, and practiced it every day, you wouldn't get it right the first day or the first week…
David Laroche : Or the first month.
John Assaraf : Or the first month. But if you knew there was a big payday, emotionally, spiritually, financially and that people would go to the theaters and love to watch it, and they'd laugh, or cry, or be sad, and be happy because you were able to take them on a beautiful emotional roller-coaster ride, then you would become that role. Most people are interested, they're not committed. And the difference is, when you're interested, you do what's convenient and what's easy, but when you're committed, you do whatever it takes.
David Laroche : I know that. Can you repeat it?
John Assaraf : Sure, when you're interested, you do what's easy and what's convenient for you. But when you're committed, “I'm going to get that result,” you put everything into it until you get the result. And so I always ask all of my clients, “Are you interested in achieving that and stopping that or are you committed you'll do whatever it takes?” Because ultimately, people have to make a decision what they want to trade their life for. Because every day we're trading our life for the people that we associate with, for the business or job that we have, for what we eat, for the health, for the enjoyment, for the fun, for the experiences. And you have to ask yourself, “Is my life worth trading for that?” If it's not, today's a good day to stop.
David Laroche : I love that. Yes.
John Assaraf : Right, but most people don't think that they're trading their life for something, they think that, “There's tomorrow and there's next week,” really? Well, I have evidence to prove otherwise that we have no idea when the last breath will be. So let's trade our life everyday as it's the most important thing in the world. And not from an ego perspective, from a humble, grateful perspective of, “Wow, I get another day to live and to enjoy…”
David Laroche : You can be grateful for that.
John Assaraf : …and be grateful for that, but then to respect it.” See, respecting your life means you're going to trade it for things that you feel are worthy of it. Most people ask themselves the wrong question. They ask themselves, “Am I worthy of the goal and the dream that I have?” And they should be asking themselves, “Is that goal, that dream that I have worthy of my life?” Change the question. And if you say, “Yeah, I'll trade my life for that.” Good, then go and do that. And you mentioned something before that I want to just touch upon. If you have a big enough of reason, why you want to achieve something, you'll do whatever it takes. But if your reason isn't big enough, your excuses will be.
David Laroche : So it's a kind of balance?
John Assaraf : It's always a balance, yes. And we're always looking to be in harmony. Right, we want harmony just like I know an orchestra. And you want harmony between the different areas of your life so that it flows. And sometimes there's areas that are really great, areas that are not, and other times it's a little calmer. And the more you can be in a nice gentle flow, the more your life works and I find that the happier people are.
David Laroche : Yeah, I think so. So yes, what links do you see between neuroscience and success, and what we can do with our brain?
John Assaraf : Well, that's a loaded question with a lot of different potential answers. But the first thing to understand is, no matter what has happened to us in the past, whether it's a traumatic event, a failure, somebody who's hurt us, a mistake that we've made, we have to understand that the way that our brain works is it does as much as possible to move away from anything that could potentially hurt us. So the first thing that your brain does is keep you alive. But the second thing that it does is it keeps you away from hurting yourself. Whether it's real or imagined, your brain will move away first.
David Laroche : And protection…
John Assaraf : Protection mechanism first. So if you've had an experience from the past where you've made a mistake or you've disappointed yourself, you've disappointed other people…
David Laroche : Your parents.
John Assaraf : Your parents, your teachers, your brothers, your sisters, your co-workers, your brain is always looking for associations and similarities in what you want to do that might lead to the same disappointment or the same pain that you've had before. And as soon as it senses any type of correlation, it lights up the part of the brain that remembers the past and brings all of your past into the present moment, so you feel it and projects the possible negative consequences into the future. As soon as that happens, your motor cortex shuts off the part of your brain that takes action in the motivational centers of your brain. It just shuts off. And what it does, it either fights it. It freezes so that you are paralyzed or it makes you run away the other way. So that's one part of the brain that works. But if you understand that when that happens, you have an emotion and it might be an emotion of fear, fear of disappointment, fear of success, fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of rejection. There's 50 or more fears that we have as human beings that we're always aware of in the environment. And if you realize that those fears are possible but they're not certain, what we have to teach ourselves is to be aware that those are possible, not certain, but then to flip the switch to the left prefrontal cortex part of the brain, which is really the brain that comes up with solutions. It's the brain that comes up with directions, instructions, strategies and tactics on how to make it happen instead of all the things that could go wrong. So we have different parts of the brain that are responsible for different functions. Most people don't know that they can switch from this part of the brain to that part of the brain, they could lower the amygdala, the part of the brain that's responsible for fear and the emotional response of fear in the brain, that sends epinephrine or cortisol neurotransmitters in the brain that we feel in our body. And then we feel these neurotransmitters in our body, then we think about what we're feeling, and then we feel more about what we think about and if that's what we only focus on, then it keeps perpetuating the exact same cycle. But we have in our control…
David Laroche : That's why people are repeating the same mechanism?
John Assaraf : Right. Yeah, there's a term in the neuroscience field, in the brain research field called Repetition Compulsion. So we have a compulsion to repeat things over and over, and over again, whether they're good or bad, it's irrelevant. So we will just keep repeating stuff even when we do things that don't give us the result that we want, we become addicted to that result and that emotional state in our brain and in our bodies. And so if we repeat that over and over, and over again, we become addicted to that emotional state and then we just repeat it because it becomes automatic. So the key is to first become aware. And we developed our company practices and we developed a process called the Five R Process. And the first R stands for recognize your thought patterns, recognize your emotions, recognize your behaviors and ask yourself, “Are they going to move me towards what I want or away from what I want?”
David Laroche : Okay, so you don't try to change anything, you just ask yourself?
John Assaraf : You recognize, just become more aware. And then, instead of reacting to what you don't like, you learn how to respond, that's the second R. So recognize then respond, “Can I change this? Can I change the meaning of this? Can I change the emotion of this? Can I change anything about this that is destructive?” and the answer is yes. The third part is to reframe anything that doesn't work for you. So whether it's a person, a situation, a circumstance, how can you reframe it? Look at it from a different point of view so that it doesn't have the same meaning anymore. And one of the things that we know is the meaning that we give anything determines how we feel about it. The meaning we give it. Nothing has a meaning independent of our own thoughts and meanings. So can we reframe something, look at it at a different way, emotionalize it in a different way so that we can use it as opposed to it using us. The fourth part is when we're feeling a negative or destructive emotion. Can we through breathing exercises, through reframing, release that emotion? Because every motion is a wave. So there are six main emotions that we have, there's sub emotions as well, but we feel fear, anger, sadness, happiness, discuss, et cetera. And those cause us to feel a certain way. So is there a way for us to release the unpleasant emotions? There's not good or bad emotions, they're pleasant or unpleasant. And that comes from directly from one of my dear friends, Dr. Joan Rosenberg, who's an emotional mastery expert. And so when you think about, “Is this emotion pleasant?” “Yes.” “Okay, good, let's do more of that.” “Is this emotion unpleasant?” “Okay, well what's causing it?” Usually it's what's causing it is something from my past that is telling me that whatever's happening…
David Laroche : Maybe I can reproduce it.
John Assaraf : Well, if it's an unpleasant emotion, usually it's a memory from the past versus a reality. And so when you learn that emotions last 90 seconds to a minute and 20 seconds, 2 minutes. And if you just observe it and feel the emotion, it's like a wave. Feel the emotion without getting into the reaction of the emotion, observe it. Now you're in control of the emotion, now you're learning to surf the wave instead of being hit by the wave. And then the fifth part is now to retrain your brain. So recognize, respond, reframe, release and now I want to retrain my brain to have a different thought pattern, a different emotional response and a different behavior so that I change the pattern in my brain so it doesn't happen again. And if you do that 1 time, 5 times, 10 times, 20 times, the same thought or the same emotion, or the same circumstance won't have the same power to cause you to freeze or run away, or fight. Now we're starting to get in control…
David Laroche : Yeah, it's great, can you process and leave it.
John Assaraf : …of our own brains, our own emotions and now we can start to use the spiritual side of our being, the higher side of our being to move towards the greatness that I think is within every human being.
David Laroche : Wow, huge answer, thank you very much. And your book is “The Answer.”
John Assaraf : “The Answer,” that's one of my books, yeah.
David Laroche : Yeah, it's great. I would love to ask you because I have a lot of questions in my mind.
John Assaraf : I have a lot of answers in mine.
David Laroche : So I would like to ask you something. What could be the key factors to become a loser?
John Assaraf : Well, the key factors to becoming a loser…
David Laroche : Yes, let's imagine that together we build a training to help people…
John Assaraf : To become a loser.
David Laroche : Yeah.
John Assaraf : Repeatedly thinking, feeling and doing the wrong things every day.
David Laroche : Okay, great things. Okay, do you have another one?
John Assaraf : Hanging around with the wrong people, your environment.
David Laroche : Is it working?
John Assaraf : Your environment shapes who you are, very, very much. When I was getting into trouble as a young man, the people that I was hanging around with were also getting into trouble. When I was a little boy, I remember my father used to tell me, “Show me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are.” And so you're going to be the sum of the people that you invest the most amount of time with, whether it's at home, your friends, your family or your business people. So if you tend to be around winners, you'll start to by sheer environmental factors, listen and learn how they think. You'll be able to observe what they do, you'll learn the skills that they've acquired. And if you hang around with losers, you'll see patterns, everything in life is about a pattern. And so people who are unsuccessful and losers, which I don't even like to use the term “loser,” although there are some, not a lot. They have got habitual patterns of destruction, self-sabotaging thoughts and self-sabotaging behaviors. And people who are successful and I don't mean just financially, people who are successful in their health, their relationships, charitable contributions, they have consistent successful patterns that are constructive towards being successful. And so what you'll see is just patterns, patterns and more patterns. The entire universe is made up of patterns that could be explained mathematically, for the most part, but we can also just see behaviors. And so it's not difficult, but it takes effort to be able to override some of the natural brains propensity, the brains desire to keep us away from hurting ourselves.
David Laroche : To reeducate our brain.
John Assaraf : Yeah. And if you think about when we have…when we were young, what would our parents do? “Oh, be careful. Oh, don't fall down. Oh, watch out how you ride the bicycle.” And if you fall down… Well, my kids when they were young, I let them fall and I let them do things so that they would get accustomed. “Get up.” I wouldn't go and baby them, they'd fall down, I was like, “Great, you fell down, get back up.”
David Laroche : Because they learn that it's okay.
John Assaraf : Yeah, most kids when they fall down, they'll look at an adult to see well…
David Laroche : Is it okay or not?
John Assaraf : Is it okay or not? And usually the adults are they going to baby them and over compensate, or they going to look at them says, “Come on get up and do what you need to do.” So in many cases with adults, we have to unlearn.
David Laroche : What we learned in the past.
John Assaraf : What we learned in the past. And one of my friend has wrote a really good book is “What Got You Here Won't Get You There.” So if…
David Laroche : I love that.
John Assaraf : Yeah. If you want to achieve another result that you've never achieved before…
David Laroche : Who is he?
John Assaraf : Marshall Goldsmith.
David Laroche : Okay. I see.
John Assaraf : Yeah. And wonderful, wonderful man. And so if we want to achieve another result that we've never achieved before, then we have to become somebody different. We have to upgrade our skills. We have to upgrade our behaviors. We have to master our emotions better. Because we're going to meet resistance and we don't like change. The human brain and body doesn't like change. I've said for 30 years that, “The only human being that likes change is a baby with a wet diaper.” That's the only human being that likes change. Everybody else likes, “I like everything just the way it is.” And so and as we get older, it becomes harder and harder to change, because the patterns in the brain are so strong. If you think about an oak tree, and if you looked underneath the ground to the root system, it's connected to all the other oak trees, maybe for miles around, all interconnected.
David Laroche : It's hard to change it.
John Assaraf : It's hard to change it because you can pull the oak tree but you still have all the roots that are connected. And if you have a little baby tree that's maybe been there for one year, it's much easier to go in and pull the tree out and take the root system out. And so as we get older, we become more and more conditioned to be more and more the same. So it's not the change isn't possible, it's most people aren't willing to commit to switching from what's comfortable to what's not long enough for the new to be comfortable.
David Laroche : Great. So we have to commit ourselves to go to the next level?
John Assaraf : Yeah. And to be prepared to be a little uncomfortable and if you're going to be uncomfortable, your reward has to be big.
David Laroche : Yeah, I think so.
John Assaraf : So if you're going to be making a change, ask yourself, “Why is what I want to achieve so important to me? Why am I willing to use my new will power and persistence? Why am I willing to go through the discomfort of change? Why am I willing to listen to the negative talk that I have or the emotions that I have and still do it anyway?” And if you don't have a big enough reason, the first time you have a chance for an excuse, you'll take it. And that's why people they start on diets and after a day or a week or two weeks, they're off the diet. Or they say, “You know what? I'm not happy in my relationship.” And two weeks later, they're back with the same person or they find another person just like the one that they left. Or people are afraid to leave their jobs, because they don't like the discomfort of change. Well, the only certain thing in the universe, the only constant is change.
David Laroche : Yeah, every time, change.
John Assaraf : Everything, that's the only constant in the universe. It's an oxymoron, it's like how can change be the only constant the only stable thing? Because everything is changing. So why not acquire the skill…
David Laroche : To change every time.
John Assaraf : To be comfortable in change? And in today's era…
David Laroche : To become comfortable within in comforts.
John Assaraf : Yes. And so, I know that the meaning that I gave, remember I said you have to reframe things?
David Laroche : Yes.
John Assaraf : The meaning I give things now is when I am uncomfortable, I'm changing and I'm growing, and I go, “Yeah.” It's uncomfortable but this is what I want. Right? And then so we go through these waves of comfort and change, comfort and change, and that's just like the waves of life.
David Laroche : Great. You're one of the teacher in “The Secret?”
John Assaraf : Yes.
David Laroche : It is an amazing movie, it inspired a lot of people in the world, in France also. And a lot people struggling to apply the principles. So according to you, why so many people figure…struggle to apply the Law of Attraction?
John Assaraf : Because they're misinformed. There was actually a very, very big mistake in the movie, “The Secret.” And in the movie, “The Secret,” the story that was told, was that all you have to do is think, believe in your heart and you will achieve. It's not true. There's a lot of people who think wonderful great thoughts. They believe that, “I deserve this and I can have this.” But they don't do one thing and this is what causes their problem. You know that one thing is?
David Laroche : I want to know.
John Assaraf : They don't take consistent action every day. So in “The Secret,” they didn't talk about you have to do the right things in the right order, at the right time. And they lead a lot of people to believe that all you have to do…
David Laroche : Think about it.
John Assaraf : …just think about it. Well, I've never met a monk in a monastery who's been praying to make money and through the ceiling a safe falls with $1 million. I've never met that yet. But I have met a lot of people who think and believe and then they learn what they need to learn, they upgrade their knowledge and their skills, they overcome their fears, they overcome their doubts, they overcome their lack of confidence, they overcome their lack of certainty and they take action anyway. And then little by little, things start to happen for them, they achieve the results. And we call that the Law of Goya G-O-Y-A. Get Off Your Ass. So Law of Attraction…
David Laroche : It's my favorite law.
John Assaraf : Yeah. Law of attraction and Law of Goya or together, that's what works.
David Laroche : I love that. I would love to know what you can say to someone. For example, I was doing a seminar in France and someone came and said to me, “Oh you know David, I'm doing everything you were saying. And I did that, I followed the secret on Tony Robbins and that of Masters, and it doesn't work for me.” What do your answer for someone like that?
John Assaraf : Yes. Well, when somebody tells me they've done everything, usually they've done everything that they are aware of doing. But there has to be something, if we go back to some brain research and some brain Neuroscience findings, there's a part of the brain that chooses the goal that we want to achieve. And that's in the conscious part of the brain and that's responsible for about 2% to 4% of what you see and what you do. That's called the explicit memory system or the declarative part of the brain. I can declare. So I gave you an example, I can read a book, and 10 minutes later I could tell you what I've read in the book. I can declare everything that's in the book. I can tell you, “You know what? This is a great book. I'm so excited. I'm so motivated and I'm going to make a $1 million.” But if at the…
David Laroche : Let's do that.
John Assaraf : …if at the implicit level, at the beneath the conscious mind at the implicit level in secret, they say, “I don't know if I'm good enough. I don't know if I'm smart enough. I don't know if I deserve to make $1 million. I don't have the right. Knowledge. I didn't go to college. I'm male, I'm female, I'm too young, I'm too old.” If there's a disconnect between the implicit, the part of our brains that's the real you and me, the hidden part of our self-image. If there is a contradiction between my goal and even what I've learned, and what I secretly believe to be true about myself. If there isn't the coherence between the two, the hidden self-image will always win. So one of the most important things is to create what I call is neural coherence or coherence in the brain. And the best way to think about coherence in the brain is imagine if, either you go to listen to a band, Rock N Roll band, Jazz Band, a classical band, whatever. And every player, okay, or every musician is playing the music but not in harmony.
David Laroche : Yeah, new style.
John Assaraf : You're never going to have a beautiful symphony. So the way our brain works is if we don't have the symphony at the different parts of the brain, we'll do some good things and some good actions, and then we'll do some things that will take away from that. And so what we want to have is coherence that the brain, the implicit and the explicit part of the brain coherence, playing together in harmony then moves the body into action consistently. Now we have flow. Now we have a way for us to take our ideas and take action consistently to achieve results. So I'll give you an example. A lot of people ask me about money all the time, it is one of things we teach people how to do, is grow their businesses and how to make more money. And they say, “Well, I want to make more money.” I said, “Well, in order to make more money, first, you have to believe that you can, then you have to believe you deserve it, and then you have to make sure that you have something that you can earn money with.” So it's either going to be your ideas, you can sell your ideas.
David Laroche : Like a trainer?
John Assaraf : Yeah, like a trainer. You can sell your time. You can sell your product. You can sell your services, which means that you have to have some skill or you have to have somebody else who could do it for you.
David Laroche : You have to see your skill, right?
John Assaraf : Well, you have to either see your skill or determine what skills are needed and if you don't have it, get somebody else who has it to help you. And so when somebody tells me, “I want to make more money.” I say to them, “Let's say we have a pen.” I don't have a pen here, “But if we had a pen and we wanted to make money, we could go and find somebody who wants to buy this pen right now.” And how much is somebody willing to pay for the pen? Well, if the pet is worth a dollar, maybe you can get a dollar for it. But what about finding somebody who needs it because they have to sign a contract that's due in 10 minutes? That person might pay $100 for that pen. So our job is to take our skills, our knowledge, our products, our services, our abilities and to be able to present it to people who need it and want it in exchange for money. And so anybody in one or two hours, if they're serious, could go make some extra money. At night time, on the weekends, in the morning, during the day, it makes no difference because money is a by-product of exchange.
David Laroche : Yeah, add value to someone.
John Assaraf : Adding value to somebody and you can add value in a variety of different ways. And why does it… Why is it that some people make 10 dollars or Euros an hour, some people make 20, some people make 20,000? Because they're adding value with their products or services, knowledge or expertise. And so anything that we want to achieve starts here first. Then we can get our bodies to move into action…
David Laroche : To create it.
John Assaraf : To create it. So…
David Laroche : Okay. And in this process we are a kind of entrepreneur? Do you think everybody can become entrepreneur? Do you think it's possible for everyone?
John Assaraf : Almost everyone. There is a misconception that business is easy. And I have a lot of clients of mine, for example, that are doctors and lawyers, and professionals that have an expertise in a certain area. But nobody's ever taught them about finance, about legal, if they're not a lawyer, about marketing, about sales, about technology, about operations, about management and being an entrepreneur is like solving a Rubik's cube…
David Laroche : Yes, I see that.
John Assaraf : Right. So you can have the 2 by 2 with 2 colors, it's easy. If you want a little bit bigger business that's 3 by 3, there's more combinations and more things that need to be considered. Four by 4 now has billions of different moves. Just 4 by 4 is billions of different possibilities. When you get to the 8 by 8 or 16 by 16 Rubik's Cube, there's quintillions of possible moves that you can make. So building a business is all about recognizing patterns and knowing which move to make at the right time. And there's 4 options that you have, one is do it yourself and try and figure it out. Two is get help. Three, get it done for you or four, don't do it. Right. So everybody can be an entrepreneur. But I don't want anybody to go and be an entrepreneur who's got a lot of passion for a product or a service, or something that they love without realizing that there are many hats that you have to wear. There's the person who has to know all the little details. There's the person who has to have the vision. There's the person who has to manage. There's the person who has to create the strategies and the tactics of what to do. Then there's the person who has to drive those forward. Those are six different things that have to be done, just different hats in a business that most entrepreneurs aren't aware of. And so they start and they're busy, and they're working really hard and go, “God this is hard.” It is hard and they think that they have to do it all themselves and that's not the truth.
David Laroche : Yeah, you have to learn to delegate, right?
John Assaraf : Yeah. Well, you can delegate, you can partner with people, you can barter with people. There's a variety of different ways to do it but first you have to know what you don't know.
David Laroche : It's not easy.
John Assaraf : Well, it's not easy if you're the one trying to figure it out. But if you talk to somebody or hire somebody who's an expert, they'll tell you in seconds. And so when you came over here and you're setting up all your cameras and your lights, and all that. So if you did that in 15 minutes, if I was to do that, it would take me 15 days. Because you're playing in this, you've done 150 interviews now, right?
David Laroche : Yes.
John Assaraf : And so you already know, you've learned 150 times in the set up and take down, and mistakes and what to do right, what to do wrong, what you need to have backups for, what to do for editing, for lighting, for daytime, for night time, for clouds, of the voice works, of the sound. There's hundreds of things you have to learn just for this. And you have to be an excellent interviewer too, right?
David Laroche : Yes.
John Assaraf : Yeah, so there's so many things that you didn't know when you first started this that now you know. So imagine if I wanted to do what you do, I can say, “Well, I'm going to do this. I'm going to go on and figure out which cameras to buy and which lighting to buy, and how many batteries do I need, and how many wires do I need. And how many plugs do I need for the walls and how many backup systems do I need?” I can try to figure all that out. Or I can say to you, “Can you do me a favor? Can you give me a list of what to do, what not to do, what to buy, what not to buy, how much it should be, where I should buy it?” You can say, “Yeah, I could do that in one or two hours.” I could save months if not a year of my time and money
David Laroche : Time, emotion and the reason.
John Assaraf : Right. And so I much prefer to find the specialized knowledge and pay for that, and just apply it. Then I could add my own creativity…
David Laroche : To go to the next
John Assaraf : …to go the next level.
David Laroche : Yeah, I love that. Imagination like you're…
John Assaraf : Yeah, we all have imagination which is more powerful than knowledge, Einstein said.
David Laroche : So what is your message for young people to achieve what they want to achieve in their life? You can talk to me because I'm young or you can talk directly to the cameras, or you can imagine that you talk to one of your children.
John Assaraf : Sure, maybe I can share a story with you and with everybody. When I was 19 years old, okay, when I had a mentor, a man who was in his 50s very, very successful, he agreed to mentor me and to teach me what he knew. And so he sent me home with some paper and on the paper it said, “What do you want to achieve in your health? What do you want to achieve in your relationships? What do you want to achieve financially? What do you want to achieve charity? What do you want to achieve as far as experiences? When do you want to retire by? How much money do you want to make? How…” he asked me about 10 pages of questions. And at 19, I had no idea how much do I want to make. I want to make enough to pay my bills. I want to make enough to just to eat well and have some fun, I want to go drinking with my friends. I want to go party and travel a little bit and pay for my apartment, and a nice car and things like that. But he had me think 1 year, 5 years, 25 years. And I was 19 and he made me write down the answers to these questions, even though they were, I had no idea how to achieve them. He made me write it down. It took me a whole weekend. And I went back and he looked at my papers. And so he looked at the health and wealth, and relationships, and career, and business. And he goes, “Good way to do the exercise, I'm very proud of you.” He says, “Now I want you to increase that amount.” And so I said that by the time I was 45, I was 19, I said by the time I was 45 I was going to be a millionaire. Nobody in my family was a millionaire, not my aunts, not my uncles, not my cousins, nobody in the area that we lived in and I wrote that down. And he says, “No, that's not enough.” He says, “You could do better than that.” And I'm like I'm swallowing, I'm scared, I'm afraid, how am I going to become more than that? How can I have all of this? He says, “Don't worry about the how right now, you worry only…and not even worry, but you write down what you want.” And so I went back home and started to write again…
David Laroche : Again.
John Assaraf : And took another half a day to redo my goals. And he said to me, “Great. Now in order for you to achieve those goals, what do you have to believe?” I said, “Well I have to believe that I can. I have to believe that I deserve it.” And even though I didn't believe that I deserved it, that he said, “What would you think you had to believe?” “I have to believe that it could be done. I have to believe that I could learn the skills. I would have to believe…” So he made me write out what I would have to believe.
David Laroche : Good question.
John Assaraf : And then he said, “Great. What do you think you would have to do every day?
David Laroche : Wow, amazing question.
John Assaraf : Well, I guess I would have to come to work every day, and I'd have to really get good at what I'm doing. And I'd have to learn more than I'm learning right now, because I hated to learn back then. And I'd have to gain more skills which I didn't have any. The only thing I was good at was I had an easy time talking to people like I am with you now. And he said, “Great. Well, let's make a list of all of these things and let's come up with a plan to do this. He said, “So every day, let's look at some beliefs.” And so every day he would have me look at my goals and I would sit in my chair, and I'd have my goals that he had me write. And I would take my fingers which he told me to touch my goals so that I would send a message to my brain as I was reading it and seeing it to reinforce the goals that I wrote. Then, I would read the beliefs that I needed to have. “I have all the intelligence I need to achieve these goals. I can now acquire all the skills to achieve these goals. And I read about 20 or 30 different beliefs every day. And for the first month or two months, while I was reading all of this, in my head, this one word kept coming up. You know what the word was? “Bullshit.” Because as I would read it, my brain would say, “Bullshit, that's not true.” And he told me that my brain would try to talk to me and tell me it's not true. And he said, “If you keep doing it over and over, and over again, your brains will get tired of telling you it's not a true, and especially if after you do this, you take some actions to upgrade your knowledge, upgrade your skills, you'll develop more confidence and more certainty.” So he taught me how to use the telephone to make telephone calls to people to see if they're interested in buying a real estate property or selling their home. I was in real estate at 19. And for the first month it was hard, second month it was hard, the third month it was hard, but as I got better and more comfortable at being on the telephone talking to people that I didn't know, that I thought didn't want to hear from me or talk to me, I found one person, then two people, then three people, then five people who said yes. Because as I became more comfortable, as I became more skilled, as I gained more knowledge, people received me differently and in my first year, I made $30,000, I was 19, which was $5,000 more than my father made as a taxi driver. Then he started to upgrade my skills a little bit more and he started to teach me some very specific things to do in real estate. And in my second year, at 20, I made $151,000, five times more income. Because every day for one hour, one hour a day, I practiced my beliefs. I practiced seeing my vision. I rehearsed it. I got on the phone, I upgraded my knowledge, I upgraded my skills and…
David Laroche : I love your story.
John Assaraf : Thank you. And so he kept directing me a little bit at a time to become more tomorrow than I am today. And he said to me something that changed my life. He says, “If you invest one hour a day on your personal growth and changing who you believe you are, that is the equivalent of nine 40-hour weeks of effort. One hour a day for a year in nine 40-hour weeks. If you and I said today, “We're going to learn break-dancing or we're going to learn knitting, and we're going to spend nine weeks, 40 hours a week, we would get good at what painting, we would get good at knitting, we would get good at darts, we would get good at playing a musical instrument. If we were committed to one hour a day. So I have practiced one hour a day for 32 years. And that one hour a day has changed my life. And so I'm afraid not to do it now. So people ask me like, “When do you stop?” Never. When they bury me is when I'll stop. I have such a habit of working on me, learning more, becoming more. More loving, more caring, more kind, more generous, more giving, more… like where you stop. And it's not a matter of acquiring more, I'm not going to eat any differently for the rest of my life than I eat now. I'm not going to eat bigger meal. I'm not going to do things too much differently than I am now. So now it's a matter of expression and expanding more to do more good in the world. So in order for me to do more good in the world, I have to expand within my own mind set. I've got to get away from the fears that I have of maybe not being good enough or not being smarter. I still get those feelings. But because of my daily rituals and my daily practices, I get back to my spiritual center, my spiritual core and a little bit more confident, and a little bit more certain everyday towards the goals that I want to achieve. And I bridge that gap, and then when I reach those goals, keep doing it again.
David Laroche : Wow, thank you for that story.
John Assaraf : You're welcome.
David Laroche : I believe it will be inspirational for the youth.
John Assaraf : I hope so.
David Laroche : And I'm very glad that this video it's for use, we can change the world.
John Assaraf : We can change the world, yeah. There's the beautiful thing about the time that we're living in now, is we can share knowledge and experiences. And anybody with a phone, an iPad, or a Smartphone, or an Android, or a computer, anywhere in the world, in the Kalahari Desert, in Antarctica can get access and get inspired.
David Laroche : To the best ideas in the world.
John Assaraf : Yeah, to get the best ideas in the world but to see that we're no different, none of us are different. The illusion is that we're different because we're comparing who we are compared to the person that we're listening to or learning from, or seeing the gap and the gap is what causes us to be uncomfortable. But if we remember, we're all spiritual, we're all made from the exact same thing. If you think about the human body, it's made of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, helium, there's elements. But we came from the funguses of stars. We can't have carbon in the human body that didn't come from the inside of the star. Helium and hydrogen is what the Big Bang was initially made up of and then has all the gasses coalesced and created stars and then galaxies, we became…our flesh and blood, and everything that we became the organism has come from the universal intelligence. That's why we're all connected and that's why we all have the same abilities. Different skills, different knowledge, but the same abilities to become all of the ideas, goals and dreams that we have. And so we just have to say, “That is what I want to trade my life for. And even though I don't know how, even though I may not feel totally comfortable or confident, or I'm lacking certainty, let's get on the path and then we can change the world together.”
David Laroche : It's great, I love that. Thank you very much.
John Assaraf : You're welcome.
David Laroche : It was awesome.
John Assaraf : My joy.