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Success Story Podcast

John Assaraf – Founder & CEO of NeuroGym | Unlock Your Hidden Brain Power

By June 6, 2022January 18th, 2023No Comments

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About The Guest

John Assaraf is one of the leading mindset and behavioral experts in the world.

He’s appeared numerous times on Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

John has built 5 multimillion-dollar companies, written 2 New York Times Bestselling books, and has been featured in 8 movies, including the blockbuster hit “The Secret”.

Today, he is the founder and CEO of NeuroGym, a company dedicated to using the most advanced technologies and evidence-based brain training methods to help individuals and corporations unlock and ignite their fullest potential.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 — Intro
  • 03:15 — John Assaraf’s origin story
  • 11:30 — How does John Assaraf’s mentor know that John Assaraf is committed?
  • 16:00 — How did John Assaraf navigate through the problems that other entrepreneurs have?
  • 30:00 — The evolution of the human brain
  • 34:35 — How does John Assaraf exercise the reps components of his life?
  • 42:03 — What should someone taking on something new be aware of?
  • 48:19 — What does John Assaraf mean by “fear is a go signal”?
  • 56:00 — What impact does John Assaraf want to leave on the world?
  • 56:33 — Where do people connect with John Assaraf?
  • 57:19 — What was the biggest challenge John Assaraf ever faced in his life?
  • 58:42 — Who is the mentor of John Assaraf?
  • 1:00:52 — A book or a podcast recommended by John Assaraf
  • 1:01:51 — What would John Assaraf tell his 20-year-old self?
  • 1:02:09 — What does success mean to John Assaraf?

Show Links

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.


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Machine Generated Transcript


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John Assaraf, Scott D Clary


Scott D Clary  00:00

Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network and the blue wire Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible podcasts like my first million. My first million is hosted by Sam Parr and Shawn Peri, they feature famous guests. They discuss how companies made their first million and then some they brainstorm new business ideas based on the hottest trends and opportunities in the marketplace. Here are some of the topics he talked about. If you like any of these, you will love the show three profitable business ideas that you should start in 2020 to drunk business ideas that can make you millions, asking the founder of Grammarly how he built a $13 billion company or Sass companies that anybody can start. If these topics are up your alley, go check out my first million. Listen to it wherever you listen to your podcast. today. My guest is John Assaraf. He is a world famous speaker, philanthropist and entrepreneur. He has built five different multimillion dollar companies. He’s written two New York Times best selling books, he’s worked on eight different movies, including the self development hit the secret as well as the quest for success. He is one of the leading experts in the world on brain and neuro research, and neuro and brain retraining. He’s worked with 10s of 1000s of individuals, he’s helped them achieve greater success in all areas of life through understanding how they think and how they operate. He currently works as the founder and CEO of neuro gym, a company focused on leveraging the most advanced technologies and science back brain and neuro training methods to help people unleash their full potential and get maximum results. So we spoke about his origin story we spoke about coming from a very tumultuous, very humble upbringing. He was involved in a lot of crimes while he was a child, and then how he found a mentor, that mentor changed his life, it helped him upgrade his identity. And that was sort of the breaking off point for what he now works on with 1000s of clients from early stage startup founders all the way through to Fortune 100 executives. We spoke about everything, we spoke about some neuroscience of the evolution of the human brain, and how it impacts things like goal setting, goal achievement, focusing on progress, instead of perfection. We spoke about self awareness, self talk, how to navigate the thoughts that we think we spoke about upskilling upgrading identity. We spoke about the evolution of the brain, I mentioned that but the lizard brain, the mammalian brain, and then the most modern brain and how to navigate that in terms of allowing yourself to operate at your highest level. So a ton of science and evolution, things that was that were brought up to help you better understand how you operate as an individual. And then we went into some practical applications as to how you can train yourself to think different and operate at the level that you have to operate at, if you want to get to where you’re going to go and where you want to go. So let’s jump right into it. This is John Assaraf, world famous speaker, serial entrepreneur, philanthropist author. He’s done it all let’s go


John Assaraf  03:16

I got my I got my, my started my career. And I like to think of it as turning my mess into you know, my message and my vocation. And from the age of 1516 1718, I was getting to a lot of trouble with the law. I didn’t do well in high school, I failed grade seven English failed grade seven math, I left high school in grade 11, because I didn’t think I was smart enough and I hated school. And because I was getting myself into a lot of trouble with the law. My family was really concerned for my well being and they thought that I was either gonna end up dead or in the morgue. And the reason for that is one of my friends ended up dead, one ended up in jail and or dead or in jail. And


Scott D Clary  04:06

I got you. That all sounds bad.


John Assaraf  04:11

And so then my brother who had just finished playing the pro tennis circuit in Europe, had a client in Toronto, Canada that he taught tennis to. And he was telling my he was telling this guy’s name was Alan Brown about his younger brother who was getting into a lot of trouble. And Alan Brown was a real estate developer and had seven real estate offices about five 800 agents, something like that. And Alan had suggested that my brother invited me to come from Montreal, where I lived at Toronto where they were, that was about 350 mile difference in the city’s location. So I took the train and went to meet my brother and this guy Alan Brown for lunch and at lunch this guy, very well dressed individual A very, very calm, reassuring kind, you could tell that this guy cared. And he asked me, first he asked me, Why was I doing the things that I was doing to get in trouble, which was breaking in entries, drugs, selling them using them, etc? And I said, Well, I, you know, I’m just hanging out with a group of guys that we do that we want to make some money. And even though he said you, well, you should be, you know, working to make money. I said, I know. But I’m earning $1.65, in the shipping department of electronics company. And they said, Well, if there was a way for you to do better, would you want to say, well, of course I would. And so he gave me this document, Scott, and the he handed me this document, I’ll and I’ll date myself now, because you weren’t even born then. But it was the 19 ad, goal setting guide. And so it gives me this document, I look at this document, and it’s like three or three or so pages, four pages with questions on the front and the back. And he said, Why don’t you spend 15 minutes and fill out this document? And I said, Sure. I opened up this document first question. At what age do you want to retire? And I’m like, I’m 19. My father is still working as a cab driver, my mother is still working. There’s never enough money. There’s always a lot of fighting about the lack of money. And this guy is asking me on this document, at what age do you want to retire? And I looked at him, I said, What am I supposed to put down here? He says just pick a number. So I said, Okay, 45? Second question was, how much net worth Do you want to have upon retirement? And I’m like, this is obviously for adults. And so I looked at him and I said, What does net worth mean? And he explained to me what net worth was. And then the third question was, what kind of car do you want? What kind of home do you have? What kind of charitable contributions Do you want to make? Who do you want to help? What kind of lifestyle do you want to live? And I asked him, What am I supposed to write down on these things? He said, Just come up with something out of your imagination. So I wrote down retire at age 45 $3 million net worth Italian clothes, four bedroom house, Mercedes Benz retire, my parents traveled the world Bubble, Bubble, bubble, blah, blah, blah, I want I want I want, I want I want. And he looked at this document. And he said, This is a actually a really great lifestyle that you have just laid out. And he said to me, I’m going to ask you a question. And the answer to this question will determine whether you achieve every one of these things, or you don’t. And Scott, I can I can tell you, in the back of my mind, I was thinking, yeah, right. One question is going to determine whether I have all of this stuff and I live this lifestyle, which was the furthest thing from anything, anybody in my family, the new but the only place I knew where that happened was on TV on a TV show called lifestyles of the rich and famous. So he leaned in. And he said to me, are you interested in achieving this lifestyle and having these things? Or are you committed to achieving it and having it? And I was like, what, like, am I interested? Am I committed? And I asked him, I said, Mr. Brown, what’s the difference? And he said, if you’re interested, you do what’s easy and convenient. If you’re interested, you’ll allow your current reality to control everything that you do going forward. If you’re interested, you’ll come up with stories, reasons and excuses why you can’t or why you shouldn’t, he said, but if you are committed, you will upgrade your identity, your mindset, your skill set, and the behaviors to match this lifestyle and destiny. You will let go of your stories, you will let go of your excuses, you’ll get let go of all the reasons that seem like they make sense to you right now you let those go. And you’ll focus all of your energy and attention on becoming the type of man capable of achieving these goals. And by the way, he said, every one of those goals are achievable, and they’re achievable in way less time. So he leans over again, he says, So are you interested, or are you committed? And so I was a young cocky, trepidatious or no, and I don’t know why. I just said well, almost like eff it. I’m committed. And he reached out his hand and put my hand in his shook hands. And in that case, I will be your mentor. I go oh, wow. Thank you, Mr. Brown. What’s a mentor?


Scott D Clary  09:49

are under estimating how impactful a conversation like this can be when you’re so young, right? Like this is your like, drinking from the firehose,


John Assaraf  09:57

one man. One line bunch, one question. One decision, my life changed that day. So long story short, I ended up moving from Montreal to Toronto, I ended up going back to school to get my real estate license. And I ended up going to work for him. You know, on commission only zero, I was making $1.65 Before I went to zero, right. And he taught me how to sell. He taught me how to market he taught me how to change my self image. He taught me how to develop beliefs, he taught me how to upgrade my skills, he taught me how to develop habits. And over the next 18 months, from 19 to 20 years young, I made $180,000 through his coaching, and he made 180,000, because I was on a 5050 split. And he gave me a blueprint of, you know, I became really good on the phones cold calling people I didn’t know. But he gave me scripts, he gave me the answers to objections, he gave me a path to follow, that was proven, versus trial and error. So one of the things that I learned very, very early on, is, even if you don’t have the mindset, even if you don’t have the skill set, even if you have the past that you may not be happy about. If you’re committed, there is a path to achieving whatever you want. And there are people that know exactly how to get there. Even if you don’t


Scott D Clary  11:31

know, one thing that I pulled out of that was you were so you were so excited to say you were committed. But obviously when somebody frames it like that everybody’s gonna say I’m committed because the alternative is I’m not getting anything. So how do you know, if you’re committed? How did he know that you were committed? What’s what’s the difference? What is the true difference in terms of your mindset?


John Assaraf  11:54

So I so I cut the story short. So after I said, I’m committed, he said to me, great. I need you to move from Montreal to Toronto. And what I said, Well, I don’t have a place to live in Toronto. I have a job. You know, in Montreal, I don’t have a car. I don’t know anybody here he says, I understand that. But when you’re committed, you figure it out. As I know, Mr. Rabbit, I don’t have any money to move. He says you don’t need money to make a decision. First you make the decision. And then you figure out how. And this went back and forth for probably about seven or eight minutes. And I was giving stories, reasons, excuses and facts. Here’s the thing. I was giving him true facts of why I couldn’t. And he kept saying, change the fact. So I said fine. I’ll move to Toronto. He says, Great. The next thing I need you to do is enroll in real estate school as a real estate school, I failed English, I failed math. I’m not going back to school, I don’t do well on tests. I I’m not that smart to do that kind of stuff, the legal stuff in finance stuff in real estate that stop there you go again, reinforcing your negative mindset, your negative patterns. I said, Mr. Brown, but it’s the truth, I have enough evidence here as well, the past doesn’t equal the future. So you make a decision to move here and you make a decision, you’re going back to school, and you’re going to pass this test so that you can get your real estate license because that’s the process by which I can actually help you. And this went back and forth. I’ve got $60 in my account. It was great. We only need another $440 Because the course is 500 bucks. I’m like 500 bucks. Where am I going to get that? He says, well until you make a decision. You don’t need to answer that question. So this went back and forth. And I finally like threw up my hands and said, Fine, I’ll figure it out is good. My brother said, well, bro, I can lend you 100 bucks. Maybe mom could lend you some money dad and your sister so I gathered up the money from my immediate family. Two weeks later, I moved from Montreal to Toronto. I borrowed the money I had like $60 I borrowed the rest of the money from my sister, my mother and father and my brother. I moved in with my brother who lived in Toronto. I went to real estate class for five weeks, and it was the hardest flipping thing I had done. And on June the 20th. I actually graduated from real estate school in 1980. Now why do I know that date so well? Because for five weeks, I had racked my brain trying to study trying to learn trying to figure out how I’m going to pass this test because for most of my time in high school, I cheated on every test to get out of high school. And this one I studied I put in the work and I passed the test on my own. So every single time I came up with a story or reason excuse of why I couldn’t or why was Impossible, he had me recalibrate my focus, recalibrate my intentions recalibrate my behaviors. Until I proved to myself that, oh, wow, the process is actually reverse of what most people do. Most people look at current circumstances and it controls their thinking. And Mr. Brown, who is a mega millionaire said, No, you first see the outcome, you make a commitment to the goals. And then you figure out how you’re going to do it no matter what you don’t allow your conditions, your circumstances, your past your beliefs, or present, to control your thinking, you elevate above what seems to be factual. And you start to create new facts that start to upgrade your identity and your beliefs about what is possible.


Scott D Clary  15:59

And I think this is an interesting point, because you’ve gone into you’ve built five businesses, and I’m sure that you know, that’s not that’s not counting the fact that if you make or you write a best selling book, I consider that a business in and of itself, like and if you do all the other things you’ve done in career, you’ve done a lot of things successfully, in a very diverse in very diversified industries and categories. Now, when I’m sure you now apply that mindset to quite literally everything you do in your life, because you recognize that it works. But I want to understand how you can take that mindset in, I guess my opinion would be at the time a very low risk situation. But when you start to apply it to more high risk situations, I feel like a little bit more fear or, or practicality or you reasoning or logic in with yourself when you have to make decisions that if I, for example, stop this job and start something new, I can’t pay rent, my kids, my family, all these different things that are now weighing on you that you didn’t have when you’re 19 things that people that are listening to this are probably dealing with in their next career move in, they’re starting their own side hustle or their business. you’ve navigated that I want to understand how to do that at scale, or when there’s more risk involved.


John Assaraf  17:10

Yeah, and listen, I’ve coached over 10,000 business owners everything from startup to a billion dollars from startups. So I’m familiar with all of the phases. You know, I’ve also grown my own companies, to the point where my REMAX region had 85 offices and 1200 agents doing four and a half billion a year in sales. But we didn’t start off with that, you know, bamboo, we had, we raised $28 million, we went from zero startup, six of us to 1000 employees in less than a year, raised a bunch of money, and then took it public on that. So I know the gamut. So think of it maybe a little bit differently. If you’re in experienced, let’s say at diving, you don’t go to 100 foot cliff and dive off, because the risk of getting hurt is really really big. Right? But if you want to learn how to dive, you jump off the side of the pool first, then you get on the small diving board, maybe you jump off and you jump off five times 10 times 20 times 30 times and you go okay, you know, I know how to do this, I know how to balance I know how to where to put my arms I know, you know, to close my feet, I know how to do that, then I can go higher and higher and higher and higher. Well, what causes fear, you know, at one level does not cause fear at the next level and vice versa as you as you go up. So you we get accustomed to taking fear to taking calculated risk based on experience. So when somebody has a job, and they’re thinking of leaving their job, for example, and starting their own business, what actually triggers the fear circuit in the brain as a behavioral neuroscience researcher, I study the cause of thoughts the cause of emotions, the cause of behaviors or the lack of taking action. So whenever the fear circuit is activated, the question is, what is causing it to activate. So if we are looking to do something we’ve never done before, without any training without any skills in doing that, then our brain is going to activate the fear circuit because there is danger that is possible. So what happens is most people don’t have a problem that relates to their fear circuit, they have a problem because they don’t know how to manage the emotion called fear. So it drives them or prevents them versus fueling them. So the first thing we have to understand is in order to achieve goals



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John Assaraf  21:00

we have to have the vision of the goal of what the what the outcome that we want is we want to have some goals to get along the way. But then we want to ask yourself a question is, you know, what are the strategies that we can implement, that pretty much guarantees our success? Now, in the absence of knowing what the strategies are in the tactics are, then we have fear, we have doubt we have uncertainty, and we are biologically wired to move away from that not towards it. Why? Well, safety and survival are the number one responsibilities of our brain avoidance of pain or discomfort. Number two, conservation of energy is number three. And then number four is gaining pleasure. So if we don’t know how to mitigate how to feel, fear, doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, and navigate through that, then we are victims of our emotion. So now we’re dealing with an ignorance problem, not an ability problem. Ignorance just means not knowing. So when the average person says I want to, you know, I want to achieve this, I want to get to that next level of success. I always like to use Rubik’s cubes as an example. So let me let me bring you something. I’ll take two seconds.


Scott D Clary  22:19

Let’s do it. I’ll do it.


John Assaraf  22:22

Alright, yeah. So so give me an example. Let’s say, if I asked ever, have you ever tried to solve the Rubik’s Cube 95%? People say, Yeah, I’ve tried to solve it. And when I asked, How many people have actually solved it, like one or two, or 3%, have actually solved the Rubik’s cube. Now, here’s the question for you. If you wanted to solve the two by two Rubik’s Cube, could you hop onto YouTube right now? And in less than five minutes solve this? 1,000%? Yeah, well, what if you said, I want to solve the three by three? Could I go onto YouTube and solve that?


Scott D Clary  23:01

I would assume I would say yes to Yeah. Let’s say you have grander,


John Assaraf  23:05

bigger goals, and you want to solve the four by four? Is the how to solve this, based on the algorithms to solve this. And this isn’t available. Yeah,


Scott D Clary  23:16

I assume so. I feel like there’s going to be one where people don’t make videos about it. But yeah, I think that most of this is


John Assaraf  23:23

solvable. Okay.


Scott D Clary  23:27

The monster? What’s that?


John Assaraf  23:29

This is a Rubik’s Cube. But this one is like this will take you 24 hours to do. Right. So the point I want to make is think about this for just a minute, let’s let’s get perspective on success. If you want to release 50 pounds of fat and keep it off, do we know how to do that in 2022? Yes, yeah. If we want to build a business to a million or five or 10 or 100 million? Do we know how to do that? Yes. You may not. But does somebody know how to do it? Yes. If you want to improve your relationship, do we know how to do that if you want to have a deeper spiritual connectedness? Do we know how to do that? If you want to do anything in health, wealth relations, career or business? All the How to exists? Unless you’re trying to colonize Mars, all of the house How to exists. So the problem isn’t that the How to doesn’t exist problem one, you don’t know how to problem two you haven’t committed to. Because if you weren’t committed to the vision and the goals you have, then you would find the book, the video, the course the coach, the mentor, the team, the partnership that is capable of achieving that goal, but it doesn’t happen unless you are committed. So when people say, you know, I want to leave my job and start a business, or I want to grow When my business from 200, or 500, or a million to 10 first question I asked all of my students is, are you interested? Are you committed, because if you’re interested, go somewhere else, if you’re committed, I’ll show you how. And when we, when we start off with using our 100 billion dollar bio computer the right way. Every single brain, Scott functionally works the same. Every brain works the same. Now, there are some people that either through training or through, you know, being in the right environment, learned how to use their brain the right way. And there’s others that are victims of their conditioning, their past their way of thinking, their lack of,


Scott D Clary  25:52

I think a lot of that that’s the majority, right. And majority, of course, go through life, think I was actually watching a podcast with Tony Robbins the other day, and he was speaking about every morning, you know, the thoughts that you think when you wake up, you think they’re your own, but they’re not really your own, you have to prime and you have to understand, like, what is actually a priority for you versus what the world is making you think is your priority?


John Assaraf  26:16

Well, the world and your conditioning, right? And then the repetitive, like, there’s a huge difference between thoughts, which we have 6200 of a day, on average, and thinking, the average person if they said what they were thinking, they would be speechless? Because most people don’t think most people have thoughts. And they confuse that for thinking. So if you ask yourself, like, what, why am I afraid? What am I afraid might happen? What’s the worst that can happen? How can I mitigate that from happening? Is there somebody? Is there a process? Is there a system? Is there a coach? Is there a consultant? Is there a friend? Is there somebody that can help me reduce the risk of that happening that I’m afraid of? And of course there is, but you don’t find the solution when you’re focusing on the problem or the fear?


Scott D Clary  27:16

I love that. I want to, can you, I’ve heard you speak to this before. And I find it fascinating. The evolution of the human brain. So can you can you just give you not to go like into super depth. But I think it’s important to understand people want to understand why they function, the way they function, why they think the way they think towards certain things. And that all has to do with the evolution of the human brain, the reptilian brain all the way through the mammalian brain. So can you give a description of that, and then maybe a summary of that explanation as people understand?


John Assaraf  27:46

Yeah, and I always like to have my so So listen, if, if if you were to for a moment, for those who are watching, if you’re to take my hair away, my skin away, and even my skull away, and you were to think about what am I really talking to, right? You’re talking to this, you’re talking to an organism a three pound, you know, piece of matter is made up of mostly fat and amino acids and water coalesced into, you know, into this thing called a brain that evolved in in three distinct layers, the extinct instinctual part of the brain, made up of probably in our brainstem, that is there for instinct for survival and safety. Then as we evolved as a species starting 200,000 years ago, or so, you know, with having more proteins and more food that we can cook to have more calories, the next layer of the brain evolved called the mammalian brain or the limbic system, which allows us to have, you know, deeper sense of emotions and love and care and sadness. And then as our brains evolved, we developed the neocortex, the top layer of the brain, which is comprised of, you know, what I call is the Einstein brain which is over there. And the Frankenstein’s monster brain which is up there. And the Einstein part of our brain is our CEO, the executive director, the imagination side of our brain that can help us choose what we want and why we want it and and how do we develop the strategies and the tactics and the tools and the resources and timelines to do that, but there’s another part of our brain, right, the Frankenstein’s monster part of our brain that evolved to say, you know, what, if you fail, what if you’re embarrassed? What if you lose money? What if you make a mistake? What if your children suffer, your husband suffers, your wife suffers? What if you suffer? What if you disappoint yourself? What if you’re rejected? What if you’re not loved? So we have almost this like gas and brake parts to our brain? That for the most part, most people don’t know how to use and so our brains number one focus is survival and safety first Second is avoidance, move away from behaviors and move away from emotions, of things that are distasteful things that disgust us things that might hurt us. And whether it’s real or imagined, our brain doesn’t care, it’s a signal that gets popped up, then our brain says, Listen, because of one and two, we need to do that, okay with the 25% of the calories that we’re getting a day from food. And we need to make this an energy conservation system. So we’re going to be a miser based on the past. And we’re going to my brain, and your brain focuses on predicting the future based on the past. And so what happens is, if we’ve had trauma in the past, if we’ve had failures in the past, and we’ve been disappointed or embarrassed or ashamed, well in the past, because we try something and we fail, then our brain says, move away from that, because there’s a risk here. And


Scott D Clary  31:00

we’ve evolved, we’ve evolved to be pessimistic, and we’ve evolved to self sabotage, basically. Yeah,


John Assaraf  31:07

that’s exactly right. And that is because we have a new brain in an ancient world. And our brain hasn’t caught up yet. Okay, to the conservative ism of the brain. And so our brain does this in billions of seconds before. Okay, we’re even aware of most of this happening, and certainly before we do things to gain pleasure. So it’s a protective mechanism for survival of the species. So you can understand that I get that. So then the question becomes, how do I deliberately and consciously evolve myself? How do I deliberately use some of my higher faculties of mind instead of just relying on what I hear, see smell, taste and touch or how I feel? So for example, in my newest book, inner size, which is up there, besides unlock your brains, hidden power, you know, I talked about one of our neuro muscles, right. So if you think about your physical body, you got your physical muscles and Oregon’s What about your neuro muscles? How well developed is your neuro muscle of awareness, awareness of your thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations and behaviors. Are you randomly just going through life? Were you aware of your negative thoughts, your disempower emo disempowering emotions? Are you aware of the habits that drive your daily behavior? 98% of the time? Are you aware that the results that you’re achieving are nothing more than because of your habitual thought emotional and behavioral patterns? Most feel like not really. So well, when would now be a good time to start being more aware. Right, to be more mindful? And then are you aware that you know you have the ability to focus and your brain is going to naturally focus on the negative first because of rule one and two about the brain? And you need to learn how to be aware of the negative but then flip the switch over to the solution or the positive? Well, most people aren’t aware of their neuro muscles. Are you aware that you weren’t born with any beliefs, any habits, any fears, and you develop those, some are constructive, some are destructive, some empower you some don’t, some are positive, some are negative. And you’re not your thoughts. You’re not your emotions, you’re not your beliefs, but you have all those. And those are all a coalesced pattern in your brain that’s been reinforced, creating your reality. So can you shift your awareness? Can you shift your reality and get it more in line with what you want in this abundant universe that’s already here? And the answer is, yes, you can. And it’s a skill, like tennis like checkers, like chess, like knitting. It’s a skill like painting. And if you don’t want to invest any time in practicing the skill, then you are going to do what reinforced the patterns that are there.


Scott D Clary  34:34

You’re not going to grow in that area. You’re not going to get better you’re just gonna stay the same. All


John Assaraf  34:40

right, and you know, Jim Rohn said in life, you’re either going to pay the price of discipline or you’re going to pay the price of regret. He says discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons.


Scott D Clary  34:49

I just want to take a second to thank the sponsor of today’s episode HubSpot. Now, as a leader, you’re always on the lookout for more ways to arm yourself with knowledge, the books, the seminars, and most Importantly, the podcasts that help you make the best possible decision for you, your company, your customers, because when you know more, you can apply more. And you can grow with HubSpot CRM platform, you can store, track, manage and report on all the tasks and activities that make up your relationships with customers. With a bird’s eye view over all your customer interactions, HubSpot empowers your decision making like never before, so you can give your business and your customers all the good you’ve got learn how to make your business grow So how do you how do you actually practice this? I love it the exercise the the neuro gym like that, like there’s a repetition component, right? There’s a reps component in it. So what do you do?


John Assaraf  35:46

So let me give you an example. I like to give concrete examples that people can just get, Imagine you’re sitting at your favorite coffee shop, tea shop or restaurant somewhere in your town. Okay, wherever you are. And you’re just minding your own business having a really nice, you know, lunch or dinner with a friend coffee with a friend. And you get a little tap on the shoulder. And imagine somebody that you love either his or her music or, or they’re a Hollywood actor, okay? On the big screen. And imagine you can choose either one a musician, or you know, or a Hollywood actor, let’s say you choose a Hollywood actor. And they say to you, Hey, my friend and I, Steven Spielberg, we’re just sitting at the table over there. And we were just reading this new script. And there’s a part in the script is by the way, my exception like blooper, there’s a part in the script that we think you would be perfect for. And you go, Oh, really? What’s it about? Well, it’s a drama with a little bit of comedy in it. And they say to you that, hey, if you learn this, this new script, will pay you a million bucks. And then we’ll hire a coach for you. And we’ll hire the entire team that you need to learn the script. And let’s say you said, Oh, my God, really? And they said, Yeah, and they gave you a contract, and you signed it. And they actually gave you a $500,000 deposit. And you agree that you are going to learn that script. So imagine this, you’ve never seen the script. All you know, is it’s like a drama with some comedy. And you’ve never ever acted before. What would you do? To learn the script so that you could in six months or a year be on camera filming that part? What would you do? Scott?


Scott D Clary  37:45

I would I would read it and read it myself. How often I’ve five times an hour is as much as like good


John Assaraf  37:53

times an hour times 10 hours is 50 times a day, times how many months?


Scott D Clary  38:00

Every single month until until shooting if it was a big enough opportunity for me. If it was a life changing opportunity every single damn month at WSU,


John Assaraf  38:08

it’s well worth changing over. So you read it? Would you possibly read it while you filmed yourself? That’s my month. By the way.


Scott D Clary  38:15

I would write I’d record myself. I know you’d refer friends. Yeah.


John Assaraf  38:19

Oh, so you’d read to friends and family? You’d get feedback? What if they criticized you? That didn’t sound really good? That was awful.


Scott D Clary  38:27

You asked. I wouldn’t take it personally. But I listened to it. I wouldn’t. I would, I would, I would listen, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t let it. I wouldn’t let it you know, put me down. But if I respect that person, I’d be cognizant and aware of what they’re saying and try and improve.


John Assaraf  38:42

So you’d read it, you’d practice it, you record it, you’d videotape it, you get critique from people who you cared about, you probably wouldn’t listen to the advice of a coach who can help you. Right, and you would practice until you created some permanent patterns in your brain. And so at first, you’d be a clumsy beginner. But as you practiced and got better and better and better and better and better practice is what makes permanent patterns. So what we practice consciously, we wire subconsciously over time, and it takes between 66 and 365 days to create a new pattern that reinforces itself. Let me continue. So in essence, what you would practice and maybe even visualize because visualization is a simulation, you could see yourself being filmed. You could see yourself act in the park, you can see people clapping, you could see maybe even getting an award and you could do all of that in your mind and even practice in real life until you and what you were practicing became one. So you would in essence create a new identity with skills that you didn’t have today. So let me share something with you. Miss around when he asked me to fill out those documents many, many years ago, every day, when I came into the office, I had to take what I had written down, and I had to read it, I had to close my eyes and visualize it. And I would run my fingers across left side right sides, I would send the signal through the tactile senses to my brain. I didn’t know it, then I certainly know it now that he was helping me create a new neural pattern, a new identity, new beliefs, a reinforced vision with some goals and some timelines backed by the behavior to actually achieve them every single day. Amazing, I became the person capable of achieving the goals. By practicing becoming the person who can achieve those goals. I became the person capable of achieving those goals, not just through the successes, but through the failures and the feedback loops that every brain requires to make adjustments. We all have a need not just to succeed, but it’s in the failure that we learned how to adjust. It’s in the standing and falling that a baby learns how to walk, it’s in trying to eat getting food, and a spoon all over a baby’s face that the baby learns how to coordinate, okay, their hand into their mouth, it’s in messing up tying your shoe 500 times until we actually can do it at a subconscious level, it’s in messing up putting on pants, or a blouse or a shirt or a belt or a tie that we learn the correct way. And then we can add the speed to it once we learn the foundation. So the way that our brain works is that we have cells, right, and the cells that fire together, wire together create a pattern, the pattern that’s reinforced creates habitual patterns, habitual patterns require almost zero effort on our part. So everything that I teach my children, my students, my $10,000 An hour clients is we are going to focus on positive, constructive, empowering habits. And that’s all we focus on initially. So that once we develop the habit, the habit then develops us.


Scott D Clary  42:24

I love that. And that that is because when you when you are in those previous habits, or the habits that you you’re living in today, those set points, those are incredibly hard to break. That’s why you need these feedback loops, constantly reinforcing, okay.


John Assaraf  42:39

And they’re especially hard to break, when you don’t know how to break a habit. Everybody’s using conscious effort to break habits, habits are unconscious patterns. That would be like me trying to reprogram my computer, okay, by tapping on the hardware.


Scott D Clary  43:03

When, when somebody wants to take on something new, we so we understand how they’re going to get from point A to Z, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be habitual, it’s gonna be feedback loop, it’s going to be constant, it’s gonna be repetitive. Are, are there? Are there certain things that they should do? Like? I guess it depends on the actual activity or the thing they’re trying to learn? But at a high level, like what should they what should they be aware of? Like the things that they shouldn’t be like writing stuff down? Should it be practicing that thing daily? Is there a minimum amount of their life required to devote to that thing before they can actually succeed at it, because if I just read that script, one time a day, even in six months, it may not be enough. But I have this balance, everything else going on in my life.


John Assaraf  43:49

And the way we balance is actually by making decisions based on our highest values. And the highest need that we have at the time. So listen, you’re never going to solve this Rubik’s Cube ever, unless you know how to solve this one. So you first need to ask what what is the foundation that I need to put in place? What’s the foundation for the thing that I want to achieve? Listen, think about your a watch with moving pieces inside. Think about your car. Think about a rocket ship. Think about a Rubik’s Cube, think about staying in shape. Are there not foundational things that need to be put in place before a second layer? And third and fourth, think about building a house? Of course, right? You don’t focus on the story of a house until you have the foundation so let’s not worry about the fifth story. Ask yourself this question. This question, what are the foundational musts that I need to have? What are the foundational musts that I I need to have in order to get good at those first, you can’t run. Okay? A marathon. Okay? Unless you train at least, you know, a 10k or a 5k. Like it’d be ludicrous to try and go and win a marathon, right? But if you committed to running a marathon a year from now, and yes enough, okay, in order for me to run a marathon a year from now, what do I need to do about running? What do I need to know about equipment shoes? What I need to know about hydration? What I need to know about rest what I need to know about about stretching? What do I need to know about food, the different types of fuel that my body burns? Like? There’s five things that start with that? Don’t start running, start with that. Now that you have a foundation go, okay, great. What should I do my first weekend running? And when you say, I don’t know, great, go to Google, just like I’m a beginner runner. What should a beginner runners process look like? Are you beginner runner in shape, beginner runner out of shape? Male Female weight, height? Right? Whether there’s certain things that you’re going to need to know? And then you say, Okay, from those things, like, Can I do that? Great, do that. Don’t worry about how you’re gonna run a five minute mile.


Scott D Clary  46:20

And just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode Now, you know, if you’ve ever received a corporate gift or swag in the past, how many of those gifts did you actually keep? Probably not many, which is probably because the stuff that you got was not so great. I’ve gotten like a lot of stuff and trade shows, and from companies in the past that I’ve just thrown out the second I get it. So this is why you need checkouts., I’ve been on the receiving end of getting garbage gifts. I’ve also worked in companies, where I only had access to a really, really small inventory of stuff that I wanted to give my customers, my employees, and I knew that it wasn’t going to resonate, I knew that was going to suck. So what is Well, it’s like swag upgrade, it’s the best place to buy custom gifts and swag that people will actually want to keep. So they sent me a box, because obviously, they’re sponsoring the show. And I wanted to see what it’s all about, you know, I’ve worked in businesses, I want to make sure that the quality of their stuff actually was up to my standards, because I can tell you right now, that when I get garbage, it goes right into the trash it like really goes right into the trash is that gonna get back from the tradeshow or the conference, or whatever. So I received one of the custom swag boxes from I loved the unique packaging. So it was a beautiful unboxing experience. I love the actual products they sent me and there’s a whole bunch more that obviously they didn’t send me. But the stuff that they did send was absolutely beautiful, it was very high quality. And I can only imagine that if I actually got this when I was working for companies, I probably would have actually use it. And to be honest, I’m going to start using them for people that work on my show. And in my company as well. Because I know it this isn’t just a novelty gift that somebody’s gonna throw, it’s stuff that they can actually use, they have so many unique and customizable gifts that I’ve never seen anywhere else. They have custom yoga mats, they have custom Apple air pods, they even have branded kayaks, which I did not know was a thing. So they carry all these premium brands like North Face, Yeti, Nike, and more. And it’s all customizable. With your company’s logo or artwork with They take care of all of your swag at their warehouse, and they ship it to individual addresses. Or if you prefer, you can just send it to a bulk location in one single shipment that’s easy to manage from their online portal, which you obviously get access to. So if this is something that you think would benefit you if you have clients, or customers or a team, and you want to go the extra mile and you actually want to give gifts that people appreciate, which is the whole point of giving these gifts in the first place. Go to for the perfect swag and custom gifts. Right now they’re giving everybody who’s a success story, podcast listener special offer, it’s 10% off your entire order, but only when you go to and enter promo code success 10 Remember, for 10% off, go to and use promo code success 10 One of the things that you mentioned before which I thought was interesting was that fear is a ghost signal for you. What does that mean exactly?


John Assaraf  49:30

So when when you understand that fear is an automatic reaction that is triggered in your subconscious mind. And you ask yourself well what is triggering that circuit like think of fear as a light switch on off? Okay? So if you ask yourself, What does fear or why does the fear circuit activate? Well, it activates because there’s something real or imagined, from my database of experience, okay? That is causing the fear circuit to activate. So most people when the fear circuits activated, the release of cortisol, epinephrine or norepinephrine or adrenaline is rushing through their body. And what they don’t realize is it’s because of the fight flight or freeze and signal, that fear is it’s part of the sympathetic nervous system being activated. So whenever mine is activated, right, I can feel the surge of that energy, right energy in my body and neurochemical release. Right. So I can feel that energy. And that means, right that a, I need to be aware of is the danger real or imagined?


Scott D Clary  51:02

Understood, I guess I get it. That’s why and that’s what that’s what should prompt you to, to take action to start to figure out why you’re even feeling that in the first place.


John Assaraf  51:11

Correct. So am I afraid of taking action? Because there’s real danger? There was dangerous sometime in my past, okay? Or is it my imagining that danger because of something I’ve read or heard about excetera. So first, it’s the awareness piece, right? So whenever I feel fear, the first thing I do is what I call inner sighs number one, which is take six calm the circuit of fear. I want to make decisions out of my Einstein brain, not my Frankenstein monster brain fears, because this part of the brain has been activated. It’s called the right prefrontal cortex. So it’s not that I don’t want to listen to the signal I want to understand what tripped that wire. So first thing I do is deactivate listen. If I’m like walking on along the street, about to you know, go off the sidewalk to the street, I hear a car coming in, I jump off Perfect, perfect time for the fear signal to work, right. I’m just going to retreat fast. No worries, that’s that’s a great reaction. But if I want to raise money, if I want to hire employees, if I want to merge with another company, if I want to release weight, even though I’ve lost and released Wait 25 times if I want to go across the road daska A young lady or a young man, you know who they are, because I’m attracted them. If I feel that surge of fear, that’s because something in my memory, okay, in my experience, library is activating that there might be something that can cause me to fail to be embarrassed, ashamed, ridiculed, judged, to be disappointed to be rejected. So I want to calm that circuit. First, I want to thank the signal, calm the circuit. And then I want to be aware of like what is causing that. So inner sighs number ones take six calm the circuit inner size number two is called Ay ay ay ay, which is standing for, I want to be aware of my thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations and behaviors. Now I’m operating from a state of awareness. I want to analyze those. And then I want to set my intention, what’s my intention? Well, my intention is to follow through and do this because I want the reward. My intention is to protect myself great, how can I do that? So I as awareness, intention, then what’s one action I could take, that moves me towards what I want and not away from it. Now who’s in control now who’s gaining more self confidence that was gaining more self trust? Now who’s gaining more awareness now who is taking inspired action? And now who is deliberately and constantly evolving themselves being versus being a victim of past conditioning? In many cases, my parents,


Scott D Clary  54:01

so you are, you are all when you feel that when you feel that that fear that’s like, you’re like, that’s like your flag that I need to, I need to follow these steps. Take these actions, get the hell out of my comfort zone. So fear is an indicator for that you’re pushing outside your comfort zone, basically. And that’s it. Yeah.


John Assaraf  54:18

And also think about this. Why do firefighters get training on going into a burning building or a building that’s blowing up? And how do they manage the fear of death? I mean, death is possible real death. That’s like the highest level of fear Navy SEALs, when they discovered that there was an issue many years ago, Scott when Navy SEALs were going through the entire motions of becoming a Navy Seal, many of them failed. The last test was the last test. They were submerged underwater with all of their equipment on and three instructors would go down there with them. And, you know, 20 feet below the water that removed their masks to remove their, their BC the regulator, they shut off their air supply, they pulled off their fins, they they created chaos. And you know what the Navy SEALs that were untrained wanted to do both right up to because they were afraid they’re going to die. And when they taught the Navy SEALs to stay calm so they could respond versus react out of fear. They graduated 50% More Navy SEALs. What was the difference? The difference was mental awareness, emotional control, and practicing the skill of staying calm. They teach it to Navy SEALs, they teach it to firefighters, they teacher to astronauts, when life is on the line. Well, those are the Olympic athletes have emotional control. Well, that means that we can be better at mental focus and emotional control. And what if it’s just a function of practicing? We can now there’s a reason. Or the reason I started my company my neuro gym, right. And the reason I wrote exercises to give people the, the understanding that that we have this 100 billion dollar bio computer the most advanced, sophisticated, okay, organism as I like to call it in the universe, we already own it, no mortgage, no payment plans, but we’re maybe not very good operators of it. And so part of my you know, war cry is to help people understand that you are capable of way more than then you’re displaying to me too. So I just want to constantly never end. You know, my improvements.


Scott D Clary  56:50

I love that. All right, that’s a good spot to do. Did pause here I want to do a couple rapid fire at the end, we went through everything that I want to go into. So I’m really happy and thank you. You know, before I did pivot into rapid fire questions, sort of a two part question that closes off. The first part being when when you’re when you’re, you know, past and gone and you know, 100 years from now, what impact you want to have on the world? What do you want people to say about you and your work? That’s, that’s part one, then part two, probably the most important is where can people find you all the socials and website?


John Assaraf  57:25

So there’s, it’s really a two part question because I really don’t care what people say about me when I’m gone,


Scott D Clary  57:33

amazing. Okay, so all the socials, website, people Yeah,


John Assaraf  57:37

I’m on Instagram every day. I’m on my Facebook fan page. I’ve got a YouTube channel, we’ve got John With plenty of free stuff on there. I’ve got my neuro as well. So my company is name is minor, a My personal websites John S. And then all over social media sharing lots and lots of stuff every day.


Scott D Clary  58:03

Perfect. Okay, let’s do it. Oh, sorry.


John Assaraf  58:07

Also my books on Amazon.


Scott D Clary  58:09

I was gonna say they usually are unless there was a a weird publishing deal or whatnot. But I’ll I’ll put all that stuff. I’ll find it on Amazon. I’ll put it in the show notes and all that. All right, biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your personal or professional life? What was it? How did you overcome it? What do you learn from it?


John Assaraf  58:26

Your biggest challenge was not thinking that I was smart enough to to make it in life. I was voted most likely to fail in high school. My evidence of how badly I did in school caused low self esteem. And as a result of the low self esteem, I built this. This harder outside shell and got into a lot of fights got into martial arts got into breaking energies, I did a lot of things to have this, this air of being you know, strong on the outside. And what I did was everything that I teach around building your self image, self worth, self esteem, visualization, affirmation, challenging myself, going to seminars, reading probably two 3000 books by now spending a million dollars, you know, on coaches, consultants programs over the last 40 years. To counter that, to to finally get to the point where, you know, I don’t even think I’m smart anymore. I think that all of the stuff that I’ve done and the successes and failures of maybe just a little bit wise now.


Scott D Clary  59:37

Only just a little bit wise life’s lifelong. life’s lessons. Yeah. If you had to choose one person, obviously, there’s been many people but pick one person who’s had an incredible impact on you. Who was that person? What did they teach you?


John Assaraf  59:56

I really have a hard time with one person only because I’ve never, I’ve never just spent a lot of time learning only with one person. So I have different people for different aspects of my life. You know, and so early on, you know, Mr. Alan Brown was was one of my first mentors, then it was Bob Proctor who just died, then it was Walter Schneider. And Frank pulls it, then it was Len McCurdy. But then I’ve had so many people in the personal development arena that I’ve I’ve read and followed. So there isn’t one person that just like, there isn’t one food that I love, above all, you know, there’s no, that’s yeah,


Scott D Clary  1:00:47

that’s fair. I think that that’s an important that’s an important point, too, that you don’t have to have one person for everything either. You can find the person that’s best that personal development, starting a business, relationships, fitness. And that’s really what I’ve done.


John Assaraf  1:01:00

You know, when my first New York Times bestselling book is called having it all. And that’s because from the age of 19, when I first started to set goals, my goal was to have it all. Health, wealth, relationships, career, business, finances, charity, spiritual connectedness, being a great husband, a great father, and I have focused my life on on how do I raise my, my standards? And how do I become the best version of me for me. And, and it’s hasn’t all been a rocket ship ride through the stratosphere. But it’s in learning how to navigate through life’s challenges that I’m becoming, you know, the person that I’ve been dreaming of becoming for many years, and it just gets better and better and better.


Scott D Clary  1:01:53

Amazing. A book or podcast, or audible, something you’d recommend people go check out.


John Assaraf  1:02:01

I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts. I’m on a lot of them, but I don’t listen to them.


Scott D Clary  1:02:07

What about a book, another book that that you’ve liked, that that you’d recommend?


John Assaraf  1:02:12

Price Pritchett. Not a well known person is an organizational psychologist has a book that you have to order from his website. It’s called u squared, u squared. Not a lot of people have read it, I’ve given away 1000 of them. They’re about $8, nearly 25 pages. And I’ve read that book at least 150 times u squared. It’s it’s he’s he just puts words it’s like poetry of just brilliance.


Scott D Clary  1:02:43

Amazing. Good. I’ve never I’ve never heard of that book before. So I’ll get Yeah, that’s awesome. Thank you. That’s a good, good recommendation. If next question, if you could tell your 20 year old self one thing what would it be?


John Assaraf  1:03:05

Go even bigger.


Scott D Clary  1:03:07

Good. Very good. I agree. And then last question, what does success mean to you?


John Assaraf  1:03:16

Success to me is harmony now in a Success to me is having the the the harmony in my life between health and wealth, a relationship and career and business and fun and experiences. And being a great husband and a great dad and, and a great CEO, to my team, and to contribute whatever I can to the world in balance so that, you know I feel fulfilled on an ongoing basis that my life has purpose and meaning. And I’ve been very, very blessed that I’ve only done what I’ve wanted to do for the last 41 years. It’s not that there hasn’t been challenges but I’ve never like I’ve never had a job, have always done what I want to do. And so I feel very, very blessed and fortunate.


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