Welcome to Pushing The Limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential with your host Lisa, brought to you by www.lisatamati.com.
Lisa Tamati: I want to welcome you back to Pushing the Limits. This week, I have Dr John Demartini. Now you may recognise that latter name. He's been on the show before. And he's definitely one that I want to have him back on again. He is an incredible teacher, and educator, and author of I don't know how many dozens of books. He's been working in the personal development in space for 50 years, I think. Incredible man.
I hope you enjoy part two of this very in-depth conversation about upgrading your life–how to grow your businesses. We talk about also how to reach your full potential. And what sort of things we put in our own way. So I hope you enjoy this episode with Dr John. Also, I would like to let you know we have a Boost Camp coming up. This is a, not a boot camp. It's all about upgrading your life. This is all about being the best version of yourself that you can be, upgrading everything in your life from your health fundamentals to things like sleep, and understanding your brain better your mood and behaviour. Lots and lots of science, and lots of information, and stuff that's going to be actually practical stuff that you can implement in your life to improve how you're performing your health, your vision and purpose in life. And aligning all of these things together.
I hope you'll come and join us. This is an eight-week program that is live with Neil Wagstaff and myself. Neil is my longtime coach and business partner. And he runs all the programs with me that we do with epigenetics, with running hot coaching, and so on. And he is an incredible teacher. I do hope you'll check it out. You can go to peakwellnessco.co.nz, peakwellness, p-e-a-k, peak wellness dot co dot NZ forward-slash boost camp, b-o-o-s-t-c-a-m-p. To find out more, and come and join us, it's going to be a fantastic writer and you're going to learn an awful lot and get to hang out with a whole bunch of people while you're doing it. So check that out.
I also like to remind you too, of our Patron program. We have a Patron program for the podcast to help us keep this on-air, keep us great content, to help us keep the mission going. If you're into doing that, please, for the price of a coffee or a month. Sorry, a coffee a month, you can be involved in this project. And you can also get a whole lot of exclusive member benefits for your troubles. So check all that out at patron.lisatamati.com, p-a-t-r-o-n dot lisa tamati dot com. Right. Now, over to the show with Dr John Demartini.
Hi, everyone. And welcome back to Pushing the Limits. I'm super excited to have an amazing name back again for a second round, Dr John Demartini. Welcome to the show, Dr John. It's fabulous to have you back again.
Dr John Demartini: Yes, thank you for having me back.
Lisa: It's just–I was so blown away by our conversation last time. And I know you do thousands of these interviews and in the work that you do that you probably can't even remember what you talked about. But it was a real life-changing episode that ended up– we dived into some of your medical work earlier. We went all over the place with your breakthrough experience. I just felt like we didn't quite cover all the bases that I want to tap into your great knowledge.
Having you back again today, and today I thought we'd look at things like I want to dive into things like, ‘How do we achieve the impossible?’ I've been doing a lot of work and researching around, what is it that makes incredible people incredible? And that they had the ability to overcome incredible odds and difficulties and obstacles in order to achieve some possible things. And I'm pretty much into a lot of the big thinkers out there. So I wanted to start directly if that’s okay. How do we achieve the impossible, Dr John?
John: Well, I don't know. Maybe that's a bit of a metaphor–the impossible is impossible.
Lisa: But yeah, it's a metaphor.
John: Improbable, the improbable.
John: When the why is big enough the hows take care of themselves. When you have a big enough reason for doing something, no matter how many obstacles you face, you get up again. And there was an interview. There was an interview by a gentleman I think from 60 minutes with Elon Musk. And they asked him after having three launches explode back to back. ‘You ever think about giving up?’ He looked at the guy and he says, ‘I never give up. I'd have to be incapacitated.’ Meaning that his mission to go to Mars is too important for any obstacle that might arise to stop it. I would say nothing mortal can interfere with an immortal vision.
Each of us, as you know, have a set of priorities. And the very top, top, top priority is non-negotiable. It's where human sovereignty and divine providence come together, where you feel that it's impossible for you not to fulfil your true destiny. I feel that way with my mission of speaking. I just felt that that was my destiny when I was 17. And I've been doing it 48 plus years now, be soon 49 in a few months. So if you'd have a big enough reason for doing it, you'll see the challenges on the way, not in the way. It's like Edison, a thousand ways to that didn't work for the light bulb to get the light bulb. There was no option about getting a light bulb, he knew he would come up with an answer, he just kept, ‘Okay, that doesn't work. Okay, next. That one doesn't work, next.’
When things are lower on your value, you'll do it if there's pleasure; you'll stop doing it if there's pain. When something's tying your value, you’ll do it regardless of pleasure or pain. And you'll see both of them on the way, not in the way. So there's wisdom in not doing low-priority things. There's wisdom in not pursuing something that's not truly and deeply meaningful to you. People who do that build incremental momentum that reaches an unstoppable state, an inertia that's unstoppable. That's the key to extraordinary things. And when it's truly aligned with your value, your identity revolves around it, you feel it’s impossible for you not to do it. It's not an option; it’s who you are.
Lisa: So this involves looking at your values determination, how to sort out what your real– because I think this is where a lot of us come unstuck. We have lots of things we want to do, and we're curious about lots of things and have lots of passions, and it's sorting out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, in order, distilling down that vision so that you're actually hyper-focused and being able to concentrate on the things that you need to concentrate on.
I know that's something that I definitely struggle with, when you have so many things that you're interested in. But you're really right when you say like, for me, with my story with my mom, if you remember bringing her back from the mess of aneurysm, there was a non-negotiable. We were doing it, and I was going to get her back or die trying was the attitude that I went inwards. That means sacrificing whatever it took to get to that place. And then we do get there, you know?
John: Well, the thing is not to pursue low-priority things, and to know what those are, and say and delegate everything other than what's important. I don't do anything but research, write, teach. Those are the three things I love doing. But it's all about educating people in human behaviour. So that's the one thing that is non-negotiable that I do. Then I delegate everything else away. That way, you don't have to be distracted and run down. What drains you is doing low priority things.
Lisa: Yeah. And this is a lot– yeah, this is a lot that a lot of people, especially startup entrepreneurs, and people that are just getting there, finding your way, are struggling with: the whole delegation thing when they don't have a team around them. What sort of advice do you want to give to people who are at the beginning of their career and don't have a team yet around them to help do all those aspects of it that are draining the hell out of their lives?
John: Well, what you do is you ask the question, ‘How is doing this action temporarily until I can find somebody to delegate it to helping me fulfil my mission?’ Link it to your brain. Reframe its words. You see it on the way, not in a way, with the knowing that you're going to delegate it. And then, it doesn't cost to delegate. It costs not to.
As long as you're doing what's highest in priority that produces the most per hour, it doesn't cost to delegate. Because you're releasing yourself to do the most important thing that produces the most income that produces more than the cost of the delegation, and that they can produce. And yet the person that would love to do that inspired to do that but doesn't have to be motivated to do that. They will spontaneously do it without even thinking about it, you can free yourself up.
In 1982, end of 1982, I hired somebody to take care of my financial things: paying payroll, paying bills, bank reconciliations, all that stuff. Because I was sitting there in October of 1982. I was sitting there doing a bank balance, like, ‘What on earth am I doing?’ I didn't want to do it. It was distracting, time-consuming. And while I was doing it, I didn't want to think about clients because it was interfering. I needed to get this done, and I'm pushing clients away. I freed that up, and I have not gone back, nor even seen a chequebook. That’s 1982.
Lisa: Gosh I would love that.
John: I can’t even tell you what a chequebook in my company looks like.
Lisa: Or accounting or any software.
John: I don’t have any of that stuff. I have somebody that does that. That's their job. I– because that's a 20 to $50 an hour job. And why do I value my time? Well, I can make thousands per hour, and tens of thousands per hour.
Lisa: But what about the people that can't make the ten thousands of per hour or the thousands per hour, and there's still a net, they're still in taking that leap into getting the first person in the team on board and the second person. I think there's a lot of people in that, jumping from, say, the $100,000 mark to the million-dollar mark of a turnover in a company where it's chaos. I think it's chaos beyond that as well. But it's that getting the initial, taking that risk when you don't have a solid income yet, and yet, you're taking a risk on hiring a business manager or hiring whatever, even assistants.
John: If you have a clear job description and you have a clear actions that you can do that can produce more per hour than having to do those things, and you can see, ‘Well, I'm doing five hours a day doing trivial. If I had those five hours, could I go out and close deals?’ If you're willing to do that it doesn't cost, ever cost, to hire people.
Lisa: Yeah. So it's a mindset shift, really?
John: Yeah. Because what happens is you think, well, if you're not going to be productive, and they're now, you're just going to pay somebody to do something you were doing, and you're not going to go produce more per hour than it's going to cost. But it frees you up to do something that closes a deal or makes a bigger deal. Makes more income. You're insane not to do it. Now, in my situation, I saw that if I was out doing presentations and taking care of clients, I can make more than tenfold what is going to cost, 20-fold to 100-fold what I was going to pay somebody to do it. It's a no-brainer.
It doesn't cost to hire somebody. Unless you do it ineffectively. You are somebody who doesn't love doing it, you're pushing him uphill, is not inspired by it, and you have the skill by it, and you're micromanaging him and you're having to distract yourself, and you're not doing the thing that produces. That's why it costs money. Not because of delegation, but inadequate delegation.
Lisa: So in other words, recruiting the right people to your team is a huge piece of this and getting the right— So what are some of the things that you do when you're analysing somebody to take on into your team? What are some of the processes that you go through from an entrepreneurial standpoint?
John: Well, I do all the basics: references and checks and those things. But I just sit them down when I meet them if they get through the screening. I sit down with them. I said, ‘If I was to write a check right now for $10 million and handed it to you, and you never had to work another day in your life. What would you do with your life?’ If they're, they don't say what the job is or close to it, I say, ‘Thank you very much.’ I walk away.
Lisa: Right? Because they're not. That's not the key thing.
John: That's not their dream. Can I share an interesting story? I don't think I shared this before. Sorry. If I had, just tell me, cut me off. When I was in practice many years ago, I was hiring a manager, and I was scaling up and delegating more and more. We were down to two people's potentials: one was a woman, one was a man. And the man was in for that evening, about five o'clock. I worked till six, usually, but at five, I was telling my patients, five o'clock, this gentleman comes in. He had passed much of the things I thought.
But he came into my office. He had a little briefcase, is about 54, looks like a violator jet, this guy. He comes in, sits down on the edge of his chair, and he says, ‘Wow, this is a great opportunity. I've had the opportunity to work with your company would be fantastic. I'm awe-inspired.’ I said, ‘Great. Hope you don't mind. But I just got a few questions.’ And I had a check. This is back before I got rid of my checks. I got a check that my lady at the front organised. I had the check in front of me. And I said, ‘Your proper name is?’ I put his name on the cheque. I wrote 10 million US dollars.
Lisa: It was a real piece?
John: I didn't sign it, but I just put it there. I made sure he saw it. Because any facade he might have, if he saw a check with $10 million on it, his name on it, that's going to distract him. Because the infatuation of that's going to throw any facade that he might try to put on me, ultimately. So I said, ‘If I was to hand you this cheque,’ and I showed him the cheque. ‘And I gave you $10 million upfront, and you never had to work another day in your life. What would you do?’
Lisa: What did he say?
John: And he leaned back in his chair like this. He goes, he relaxed a second. He goes, ‘Wow, if I had $10 million. What would I do? I would manufacture furniture. I have a hobby. I love making furniture. I'd make furniture and open up furniture companies.’ I said, I got up. I said, ‘Thanks very much.’ He stood up and he was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Well, did I get the job?’ I said, ‘No.’ ‘Do you mind if I ask why?’ I said, ‘Very simple. I'm hiring you for a management position. You said if you had $10 million, you'd love to make furniture. If you're a great manager, how come you haven't managed your life in such a way where you can do what you love?’ He just looked at me and he just paused because that's a very good question. ‘And I have nothing I could say, except, you just woke me up.’ I said, ‘Thank you,’ and I escort him out.
I watched him walk with his head down slowly to his car and sit in his car for a few minutes to just process that. He's like going, ‘Whoa. I thought I'm looking for a job. I'm enthused, I'm really excited, everything else. And I just got slammed with a reality check of what was really important to me. And the real truth was, is I love making furniture.’ So he sat in that car, and finally slowly drove off and we ruled him out. We ruled the girl out. So we had to go through another round. Yeah.
Lisa: And so this is part of the process.
John: Three weeks had gone by. And all of a sudden my assistant said. ‘Dr Demartini, there's a gentleman here a few weeks ago that was looking for a job. He's back.’ ‘Alright, okay.’ He said, she said ‘Should I just sent him back in?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ I come down to the same office, same thing, comes in. I'm sitting in the same place, you sit in the same place. But this time, he walks in with a paper bag, a big paper bag, large paper bag with handles on. He said, ‘Dr Demartini,’ shook my hand. He said, ‘Dr Demartini. I was here a few weeks ago,’ I said, ‘Oh. Yeah, I remember you.’ He said, ‘You changed my life.’ I said, ‘How so?’
He said, ‘When I was enthusiastic looking for the job, I've been looking for a job for three months. I didn't find one. I thought when you said, if I'm such a good manager, how come I haven’t managed my own life? And you nailed me. I was a bit depressed after that, and I had a soul searching, and I had a conversation with my wife. Part of the reasons I was taking on jobs is for security instead of doing what I really love to do. And so after that conversation, I told my wife that and I said, “If I was to go out and try to build my own company in furniture manufacturing, would you endure the, whatever we go through to get there?” And she hugged him, and she says, “That's what you've always wanted to do. We'll make ends meet. We'll find a way.”’
He started his company. He started telling people he's there to make furniture and he started making pieces of furniture. He made a bed, and he made a dresser, and he started making furniture and stuff. He also made it available that he could do interior in homes that were being built. He started letting people know in his network. So he's back in my office three weeks later, and he told me that that's the best thing ever happened to his life. He says, ‘I've already got commissioned $5,400 worth of product with the furniture, and that's in three weeks. I'm on track, probably for making $10,000 to my first month now. And that's more than what I was probably going to get paid.’
I said, ‘Congratulations.’ And this is what he said to me. He said, ‘You have no idea how much more energy I have, how inspired I am. I don't care about how many hours it is I'm working. I'm staying up, and I'm a different man. I'm loving it. I'm in, I now understand what an entrepreneur is, a bit.’ And he said, ‘But this is what I want to do. Because you gave me such a gift. When I came in your office, I noticed the wood. Because you filter with your polar nuclei of your diencephalonic thalamus. You put, you filter reality coin, what you value most. So he noticed the wood in my office.
He said, ‘And I noticed that you had Kleenex boxes sitting on these little rolling carts. It would really be honourable for me if I could actually take those little Kleenex boxes, and melt my Kleenex box systems on your wall that match your wood. All you do is lift them up on a hinge, put the Kleenex box and pull the tissue, put it back down to replace it. And then you have more space on your thing, because I noticed you had less space on there than probably ideal. It really means a lot to me if I can put them in all your rooms.’ I said, ‘I would be honoured to have those in there. And I want you to do me a favour. I want you to put your card on the bottom of each one. So I can, for referrals.’ He said, ‘I would be glad to do that.’ He said, ‘But that would mean a lot. Because you just changed my life.’
He ended up doing what he really loved to do, grew his business. I got complimentary things in all my rooms, which was an added bonus. But it just goes to show that people, when they're doing something that's deeply meaningful, truly inspiring, high in priority, they excel. So don't ever hire anybody who can't see how the job description you want to help them fulfil their highest value.
Lisa: Be it personal and be it roles. And not this division of the company.
John: The actual actions. So you make sure you have a job description with all the actions and you ask your potential candidate: ‘How specifically is doing this actually going to help you fulfil what’s most deeply meaningful to you?’ If they can't answer it, don't hire them. If they answer with enthusiasm on all those things, you get them, grab them. If they don't, don't worry because they’re going to be microman— you're gonna have to motivate them. Motivation is a symptom, never a solution to humanity.
Lisa: And in changing that, I've got a friend Joe Polish. If you know Joe, he’s a very famous marketing man and an incredible connector and so on. He talks about, he was talking about entrepreneurship one day, I forget the context of the situation. But he teaches about entrepreneurial things, how to do it. He's hugely successful. Someone said to him once, ‘You've had the same assistant for the last 21 years, for how many years, a lot of years. If she's been hearing you talk about how wonderful it is to be an entrepreneur to do all these things, how come she hasn't gotten that information and runoff and become her own entrepreneur?’
He called the lady over and he said, ‘Why is it that you still with me?’ He knew the answer. But she answered, ‘Because I don't want to take on the risk. That's not my job. That's not my passion. My passion is to serve Joe and be the person in the backstage setting all those things up. That is my highest power. That is what I love. That's why I'm still here. I love working with Joe, and I love his mission. And that's what I'm happy doing.’ That's the key, is not everybody should be an entrepreneur. Or everybody should be having the same mission. It's that she understands what her passions, what the job is.
John: If everybody was an entrepreneur, who would be working for him?
Lisa: Yeah. We'd have a hell of a mess. And being an entrepreneur is a long, arduous, often difficult, lonely road full of holes, along the way, potholes. It isn't for everybody, but for people like you and for me, it's, I can go for it. I've got to be running my own ship. And learning from people like you is great for me because then I can see what helps my next steps and what I should be doing. Instead of—
John: Can I share another story?
Lisa: Go for it.
John: So, right about the same time when I was hiring that other person, a young gentleman, late 20s, I'm guessing, mid to late 20s, came into my office, and asked if he could have a meeting with me. And he worked with Yellow Pages. There used to be a thing called Yellow Page.
Lisa: Yeah. I'm old enough.
John: They were ads, telephone ads. You put a listing, it’s free. But if you put a listing with a little box or a little ad in it, it's a little bit more. You bought the Yellow Page ad. So he was trying to sell Yellow Page ad. So he sat in my office. And he started to do this little spiel. And I had the time. So I took a moment to do it. Because I was curious what the prices were. And at the end of his little spiel, and not even to the end, three quarters through, I stopped him. I said ‘Stop. Just stop.’
That was the worst presentation. That was so off. I said, ‘This is not what you want to do in life. What do you really want to do in life?’ And he looked at me and he goes, ‘That bad?’ And I said, ‘It was bad.’ ‘I bet you haven't sold anything.’ He says, ‘No, I haven't.’ I said, ‘This is not you. What's your heart? Where's your heart? What do you really, really, really, really dream about doing in your career?’ He said, ‘I want to be in the restaurant business.’ I said, ‘Go to a restaurant today to get a job there, and work your way up until you own your restaurant.’ He goes, ‘Well, I needed to hear that. Because I respect you and I needed to hear that from you.’ And then I sold him a little audio cassette tape that I’d done, called The Psychology of Attainment. And he bought it, it was only 10 bucks.
He walked out with his $10 thing to listen to because I knew if he listened to it, it would encourage him to keep it going. He left there. Eight years go by, never seen the guy again. Eight years go by. I had moved to a new office. And I was on my way to go have lunch with my CPA. He picked me up. I came downstairs, he picked me up, took me to this little Super Salad restaurant nearby because we both had less than an hour to eat. So it’s quick. Get in there and get a salad. You walk in and this Super Salad is a thing where you get a tray, and it's got a whole bunch of foods. And whatever it is they weigh it, and they charge you the acquired weight. So you get salad. You pay less if you get something with it.
As I walked in, and we started going to the line, I saw that young man grown up eight years older in this suit, talking to another man in a suit. And I said, ‘If you don't mind going get me a tray. And I'll catch up. I see someone I must say hi to.’ I walk over to this guy. He's talking this man. He's not paying attention to me. I'm standing right next to him. And as he's talking I'm just standing there waiting for him to finish. All of a sudden he finishes, the guy starts to walk off he turns around as if he's going to say, ‘Can I help you?’
Lisa: Yeah, he didn't realise this.
John: And obviously he looks at me and he goes, ‘Oh my god. Wow, wow.’ He shook my hand, and ran off and got the other guy to come here, ‘This is the guy I told you about.’ And he told him, ‘This is the guy.’ And the guy said, ‘Oh, thank you. I'd love to meet you. He's told me all about you, he said you changed his life.’ And I said, ‘Well didn't know until today. What impact–
Lisa: What are you doing? Yeah.
John: But the guy told me, he says, ‘I have eight franchises. I come into my restaurant. That was the manager. I'm checking up on my restaurants and I’ll go to the next one. I check them out once a week, I go make my rounds.’ He said, ‘That day, I got me a job at Super Salad. I worked myself into a management position for over two years. As I was saving the heck out of my money, which your tape set said to do, I bought into the franchises and I got eight franchises.’
Lisa: Jesus! Just from that one tape, that one conversation, see this is the impact–
John: I said to him, ‘You just inspired me.’ It brought a tear to my eye to know that– because I thought maybe I was a bit tough on you. He said, ‘Sir, you did the most amazing thing to my life that day. Because the truth is, I wanted to be in the restaurant business. And now I am.’
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Lisa: You've encouraged him basically to have faith in the dream and to– because everybody else, like your family, often your friends, often are, ‘You can't leave that safe job.’ I've had this conversation with my husband who's a firefighter. And he says like, ‘I can never leave the fire brigade because it's what I've always done. And that's how I've always, you know, it was my passion,’ and so on. And I said, ‘Yes, but you don't have to stay there. That's your choice. Opt for security and– If you want security, if you want to do something, then do it. Life is short.’
John: All I know is that if you're not doing something you're inspired by, life can be pretty horrible. I see people. I didn't, I used to get, I lived in New York for a while. And we lived in Trump Tower there, fifty-sixth and fifth, right underneath Donald, so I knew Donald. So I live there for 29 years. And sometimes, you can take taxi. Sometimes, you take, when we’re going in the airport, I got a limo. But just going around the city, sometimes I'd have a taxi.
I get in the taxi and I– if there was a mess, sometimes I'd pass it by. I go, ‘No, smelly. No, no respect.’ But again, in a taxi– if I'm in a hurry, it's hard to get, right? It's 3:30 to 4 o'clock march, I get in whatever I get, because I don't want to wait another 20 minutes. But I get it and I go, ‘How long have you been driving a taxi?’ And they'll say a year, five years, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, whatever it may be. I said, ‘Do you love it?’ Some will look in the mirror and go, ‘Pays the bills, man.’ And I said, ‘But do you love it?’ He goes, ‘Are you kidding, man? If I got a thing in New York, you got to be nuts.’ And they have that attitude.
Of course, the car is usually a mess. It's got ripped holes in it. It's got cigarette burns. It's got a little bit of an odour. You know it’s not taken cared of; it’s not clean. But then you get in another car. And, ‘How long have you driven a taxi?’ ‘28 years.’ I said, ‘Do you love it?’ ‘I love it. I get to meet people like yourself. I meet the most amazing people every day. My father was a taxi driver. My grandfather was a taxi driver in New York. I know every city, every street, I know every part of the city. Here's my card. You want some water?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘Anything you need to let, give me feedback about my car, please tell me. If there's something not in order, if somebody left something there, if it's dirty, let me know. I’d like to make sure that everybody gets a good experience in my car. If you want to know about the city, you just ask me. Anytime you want to go anywhere in the city, you contact me. And there's my card, I will take you, and I'll make sure you got the best thing, and I'll be on time for you.’ He was just engaged. And he loved it. And of course, I got his card. And I called him. And sometimes when I was going around the city, I would use him. He would even come back and pick me up.
Lisa: And it shows you that it doesn't matter if you're cleaning toilets or you're a taxi driver or you're at the garbage disposal. Whatever job you're doing, do it well, for starters. That can be your mission in life, is to provide that service. It doesn't have to be taking on the world and flying to Mars like Elon Musk. It's just, do your job; do it well. I don’t, I just– I have issue too, with people who just doing the job, getting the paycheck, not doing the job with passion.
You can tell. I walk into my gym and there's a new lady on reception who is just beaming from ear to ear, fully enthusiastic. I see her training; she trains like a maniac. She's just always happy and positive. When somebody comes into that gym now, they get a positive smiley receptionist. ‘Come in’ and ‘How was your day?’ The contrast to the other person that works at the gym who's surly looking, never smiles. And if you, say ‘Hello, how are you doing?’ It's like, ‘Mmm.’ And you think, ‘Wow, that is just the difference between someone who's just, “I'm so lucky to be here” and “I'm working.”’
John: They're engaged versus disengaged. Can I share another story?
Lisa: This is great.
John: Right. My father, I started working for my father when I was four. He owned a plumbing business. He wasn't a plumber. He's an engineer, but he had plumbers working for him. And my job was to clean the nipples. And they sound a little sexual, but it's actually, these little pipes and couplings, so it's interesting. But I used to scrape them out with a brush and oil them to make sure they would be preserved because they'll get a little rusty sitting around. Then, my dad would then, every once while, not every day, but most of the time, would give me the opportunity to go out with the plumbers to go on calls to learn plumbing. Everyone, so he would say, ‘Well, you're going to go with Joe today. You're going to go with Bob. You're going to go with Warren. You're going to go with…’ And this one day, he said, ‘You're going to go with Jesse.’
I spend part of the day with Jesse. And Jesse was a ditch digger. He was an Afro-American man that was a ditch digger. And I said, ‘You want me to go with Jessie, am I going to dig a ditch?’ He said, ‘Yes. I want you to go with Jesse.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘You'll know when you get back.’ ‘Okay.’ So I go out with Jesse. We drive to this house that is about a 35-year-old house that needs a new water main from the street, the main from the street up to the house. And so he got a T-bar out, and he got a hose, and he got some paper, and he got a sharpshooter, which is a special shovel, and a little round-headed shovel, and a level and a string. This long string thing wrapped up on this piece of wood. And some, and another stick. The stick that had string around it where there are two sticks on either end. You could open them up unravelling.
He stayed one at one place, stayed the other place, exactly where the line is going to go. Then he took a T-bar and went down into the ground to make sure there's no roots, no rocks, no anything that might interfere with the laying of a pipe. Then he watered it to make sure that you could go and if you dug it, it was just wet enough that it wouldn't crumble if you turn the sod over. And then he lined paper on one side of it. And then he showed me how to dig the ditch. I would go down to exactly the width of the sharpshooter, which is how deep it had to go. And then we would turn it over onto the paper.
That meant that the grass wasn’t even cut, it was just folded over. Right. And we had a perfectly straight ditch. And then he showed me how to create the ditch with this other little thing. And it would go on top of the sides. It wouldn't fall off into the grass. It would just be on top of the paper, and on the inside. Then he took the level and he made sure that the grade was perfectly level from one place to the other because if you have a dip in it, water will sit there and rust and it'll wear out quicker. But if it flows exactly in line, you don't get as many rusting.
We put this pipe down, pretty perfectly clear, perfectly graded. We levelled it, made sure it was perfectly level. We installed it to the house, into the main. We then put some of the dirt back over it. Put the sod back on, patted it down, watered it, squished it down, loosened up the grass so you couldn't even tell it had ever been done now. And we had a brand new waterline done. And when you're done, you could not, until you could walk around, you couldn't tell it was done. It was perfect. And then we got in the truck and started to drive off. And I asked, you know, Jesse, his name was. I said, ‘That was neat.’ You know, I'm a young kid. And I said, ‘Call me J for John.’
He said, ‘J, I have the greatest job on this planet, the greatest job a man could ever, ever, ever ask for.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ I thought he's a ditch digger. He said, ‘Without water, people die. I bring life to people. My job is the most important job. They can't bathe. They can't drink. They can't make food. They can't do anything without my water pipe. I had the most important job on this planet. And I bring water to people. Without water people die.’ And I thought, ‘Whoa.’ And I came back and he said to me, ‘My job is to do such an amazing job that they call the office and complain that we never came.’
Lisa: Because they can't see where he’s been!
John: It's so immaculate. They don't believe that somebody came and they’ll call and cuss out your dad. “Why is it not, why did you not do the main?” And your dad knows. Tell them, “If you don't mind just walk out. They will see that the main is there.”’ They're unbelievably astonished that there was no mess and it's perfect. And he didn’t tell us about Jesse, and the respect he does when he does water main. He knew that if I would go out there and learn from him, here's a man that does what he loves. Yeah, and he’s the ditch digger. And in those days, you didn't make a little bit, you didn't make a lot of money.
Lisa: I love that. And it just reminds me of my dad. He was always cleaning up at the garden. He was a firefighter professionally, but he would be, every spare moment, gardening somebody's garden, cleaning up, landscaping, doing it. And he worked on films as a landscape artist and so on. He was always the one that was cleaning everything up, everything was immaculate by the end of the day. Whereas every, all the other workers were just, ‘Down tools. It's five o'clock, we're off,’ sort of thing. Drop it and run. Everything was always a mess.
My dad, he always had everything perfectly done. And was, always came home satisfied because he'd spent, when he wasn't at the fire brigade, he spends his day with his hands in the dirt, out on the sun, physically working in nature, and loving it and doing a proper job of it. So yeah, it just reminded me because he taught us all those things as we were growing up too. And would take us and teach us how to paint and teach us how to, all of these things.
John: The more something is high on your value that you're doing, your identity revolves around your highest value. Whatever is highest on your value, your identity revolves around. As a result of it, the pride in workmanship goes up to the degree that it's congruent with what you value most. Because you're inspired and love doing it. And it's, your identity goes around it. So my identity would rather revolve around teaching. So I'm inspired to do teaching. I can't wait to do it.
Whatever high an individual's values is what they're going to excel at most. And they are wanting to do it not because they have to, but because they love to. People do something they love to, completely do a different job than people that have to. They’re creative, innovative. They go out of their way. They don't care if they have to work extra time. They don't care about those things because they're doing what they love.
Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. I love it. You have some fabulous stories to illustrate the point. So whatever you're doing people, do it properly, and do it with passion, and try to get to where you want to. You might, this just takes time to get to where you want to go. You come out of school, you're not going to end up being near the top of your game. But you have to start somewhere and head towards what your passion is. I wanted to figure—
John: If you start out right at the very beginning, master planning, you can get there pretty quick. In 18 months, I went from doing everything, to do the two or three things that I did most effectively. I delegated the rest away. But my income went up tenfold.
Lisa: Wow. Yeah. Because you were actually doing the things that mattered the most.
John: Me going out and speaking and me doing the clinical work was the two things that I was, because that's the thing I went to school for. That's what I wanted to do. I didn't want to do the administrative or I didn't want to do all that other stuff. Hire people to do that. That freed me up.
Lisa: Yeah, it's a fantastic message. Now, I wanted to flip directions on you if I could, and I've been doing a lot of study around flow states and optimising. How do we build into ourselves this ability to be operating at our best, which we've been talking a little bit about? What neurotransmitters are at play when we're in a flow state? How do we maintain this over time to remain inspired and not be worn down?
We think about flow state or I don’t know how to put this into words, people. By that I mean, it's that state where you're just on fire, where everything's happening really well, you're at your genius place, your talents are being expressed properly, and you’re just in it. I would get that when I'm running, or when I was making jewellery and I would, time would disappear, and I'd be just in this otherworldly place, almost sometimes. How do we tap into that? Because that is where we as human beings can be our optimal, be our best. Have you got any ideas around that as far as the neurotransmitters and the neuroscience of flow states?
John: Yes. It boils down to the very same thing I was saying a moment ago: not doing low priority things. There’s two flow states though, and they get confused. Maybe people have confused a manic elated, utopic, euphoric high, which is a fantasy of all positives, no negatives in the brain that makes you manic. That flow state is a hypocriticality, amygdala-driven, dopamine-driven fantasy high that won't last.
Then there's a real flow state. When you're doing something that's truly inspiring and deeply meaningful, you get tears in your eyes getting to do it. You're not having a hypocriticality, you're having a supercriticality, where the very frontal cortex is actually activated, not the lateral but the medial one, and you're now present. It's the gratitude centre; it's grace. There you're in the flow because you're doing something you really love to do that you feel is your identity. That's where time stops.
Some people confuse a manic episode with that state. But a manic episode crashes. But the real flow state is inspired. That's when you're able to do what you love doing consistently. When Warren Buffett is doing, reading business statements, and financial statements, and deciding what companies to buy, this is what he loves doing. For me, I'm studying human behaviour and anything to do with the brain, and mind, and potential, and awareness. I'm that way. I can lose track of all time and just be doing it for hours. It's not a manic state. That's an inspired state. An inspired state is an intrinsically driven state where you're willing to embrace pain and pleasure in the pursuit of it.
You love tackling challenges and solving problems, and you'll just research and research or do whatever you're doing, and you just keep doing it because you won't stop. That's not a manic episode. Although manics can look similar, there's a difference. Though a manic state comes from the dopamine, you got a high dopamine, usually high serotonin, you got encapsulants, endorphins. But you also don't have, you're not perceiving the downsides. You're just seeing all upsides. You are blinded by little fantasy about what's going to happen. And that eventually catches you, because that it’s not obtainable. Fantasies are not obtainable, objectives are.
Eventually, the other side comes in, and osteocalcins comes in and norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol, the stress responses. Because all of, all of a sudden your fantasy’s not being met. But when you think you're going after the fantasy, just think of it this way: when you're infatuated with somebody, you're enamoured. You're in this euphoria. All you see is the upside, and you're blind to the downside. Actually, at this time, you say, ‘I'm in love.’ No, you're infatuated. And then when weeks go by, and months go by, you start to find out, ‘Oh, I was fooled. That person I thought was there is not who I thought.’ And you find out about this person. And that's short-lived. Yeah.
When you actually know that human beings can have both sides, and you don't have a fantasy of one side, but you embrace both sides, and know that they're a human being with a set of values. If you can communicate and articulate what you want in terms of those values, you now have a fulfilling relationship. It's a long term relationship. It's not volatile. It's not manic depressive. It's just steady. That's the one that's the flow. That's what allows the relationship to grow. The manic thing is transient. The real flow is eternal.
Lisa: So it's the difference between being in love, and infatuated, and being in actual true real long-term love.
John: Well, infatuation, people confuse with love. If I have an expectation on you to be nice, never mean; kind, never cruel; positive, never negative; peaceful, never wrathful, giving, never taking; generous, never stingy; considerate, never inconsiderate. If I have a fantasy about who you are and I'm high because I think I've found this person, that's ‘Oh, well, it's all one-sided.’ It's not sustainable. No one's gonna live that way. But if I have an expectation, if they're a human being with a set of values, I can rely on them to do what's highest on their value, and nothing more. I respect their value, I see how it’s serving my value, and I can appreciate what they're committed to, and don't have any expectation except them to do what they do. They won't let me down. And I'll be grateful for them.
Lisa: Why didn't you tell her that when I was a 20-year-old finding the wrong people in my life? Relationship-wise, are you going after the wrong types of people?
John: If you go after it a little infatuation, you have to pay with a broken crush. You never have a broken heart; you have a broken fantasy. Eventually, it helps you actually learn to go after what's in your heart.
Lisa: And value what is really important. Gosh, wouldn't it be nice to have had never met a lot sooner?
John: There's no mistake, so much happened, because you wouldn't be doing this project.
Lisa: No. Then this is what every piece of crap that's ever come your way in life has got an upside and a downside. Because I hear in one of your lectures talking about this: don't get ever overexcited, and don't get really depressed. It's always in the middle. You put it so eloquently, it was, whenever something good happens to you, don't get too overly excited about it. And whenever something bad happens to you, don't get overly depressed about it. Because there's something in the middle of there. You're not seeing the downsides of that good thing, and you're not seeing the upsides.
I've actually integrated that now into my life. When something good, I used to have this thing, ‘Oh my god, I have this breakthrough. I've had this breakthrough.’ And ‘This happened to me.’ And then I'll go and talk about it. And, because I'm a very open person and I found actually that's not good in a couple of ways. Because I'm overexcited about it. I've ticked it off in my brain almost as being happened.
John: If you're overexcited, you're blind to the downside.
Lisa: Yeah. And you think it's already happened. Say you meet someone, new possible job, or it’s a possible contract, or something like that. And you got all excited about it. Because you've got you've initiated the process, but in your brain, you've already ticked that box and got the job and you're off.
John: Then you undermine it. And you said it’s related about a job opportunity. You usually have it taken away from you. You're mostly unready for it. If you're really ready for the job opportunity, you're going to know what it's going to take workwise to be able to get paid. You’ll already get the downside and your objective. And know, ‘Oh, that's gonna be 28 hours of work here.’
Lisa: That's not cynical, that's not cynicism. That's actually not realism.
John: It's grounded objectives. People who keep grounded objectives don't have job opportunities taken away from them. But people who get elated about it, brag about it, talk about it, almost inevitably disappears.
Lisa: Wow. Okay. And so you got to be looking at, I've elated— a couple of opportunities come up that are possibly I'm thinking about doing. I'm like, ‘That one's gonna take so much work in this direction. That means going to be the sacrifice for you.’ And the old me would have just gone, ‘Yeah. Let's do it, jump in. And I’m like, ‘Am I just getting old or is this actually a better way to be?’
John: My dad taught me something as a plumbing industry. He'd have to, they'd say, ‘Okay, we're going to build this house. Here's all the plumbing that’s going to be involved in it.’ They'd see the plans. He'd have to do an estimate. What would it cost to produce all that, put that together? If he got elated and he didn't do his cost, by the time he finishes, he didn't make any profit. But if he does his due diligence and knows all the responsibilities, what happens if it rains? What happens if there's delays? What happens if the permits are delayed? He puts all the variables in there and checks it all off. He then goes in to the customer and says, ‘This is what it's going to cost.’
He said, sometimes the customer would come to him and say, ‘Well, yeah. But this other one came in at $10,000 cheaper.’ My dad would sit there and he would say to him, he said, ‘I want to show you something. I guarantee you, the man that comes in at $10,000 cheaper, is not going to be thinking of all the variables. You're going to end up not having the job that we're going to do. Let me make sure you understand this. You may not hire me, and that's okay. But I want to make sure you're informed you make a wise decision. Because if you don't, you're going to go pay that side to save $10,000, it's going to cost you an extra 10.’
Lisa: Yep. Been there, done that.
John: Well, my dad used to go through it, and with a fine-tooth comb, he explained all the different variables. He says, ‘Now, what I want you to do is go back to the person that's giving you those things and ask them all those questions. If they didn't think about it, they're going to either not make money off you and they're not going to want to continue to do the work. Or they're not going to do a great job because they're losing money. Or you're going to end up getting a thing done, then they're never going to want to do follow up and take care of you again as a customer. So here's what it costs. I've been doing this a long time. I know what it costs. I know what the property is. So I'd rather you know the facts, and be a little bit more and make sure it's done properly. Then go and save a few bucks and find out the hard way.’ Here's the questions they go check. They came back to my dad.
Lisa: Yep. When they understood that whole thing. And I think this is a good thing in every piece of, every part of life. It's not always the cheapest offering that's the best offering, which you learn the hard way.
John: I had somebody come to me not too long ago, maybe four months ago, earlier this year. And said, ‘I go to so and so's seminar for almost half the price of your seminar. Why would I go to your seminar?’ And I said, ‘That's like comparing a Rolls Royce to a Volkswagen.’ I said, ‘So let me explain what you're going to get here. Let me explain what you're going to get here. Then you can make a decision. If you want that Volkswagen outcome, that's fantastic. If you want a Rolls Royce, I'm on the Rolls Royce. I'm going to give you something about here.’ And once you explain it, and make the distinctions, people will pay the difference.
Lisa: Yeah. And that's– in a business, you have to be able to explain to them as well. When I was a jeweller, when I started, I was a goldsmith in a previous life. And we used to make everything by hand and it was all custom jewellery, etcetera, back before China and the mass production and huge factories and economies of scale really blew the industry to pieces. For a long time you were actually in that hanging on to one of those and not transitioning into the mass production side of it because I didn't want to, but not being able to represent the value that actually what you were producing: the customisation, the personalisation, the handmade, and people wouldn't understand that.
You end up chopping your own prices down and down and down to the point where it no longer became a viable business. And that was the state of the industry and so on and so forth. But people could not see the difference between this silver ring and that silver ring. That one's a customised, handmade, personalised piece that took X amount of hours to produce. And this is something they got spit out of a production line at a team and other people are wearing. But people can't see the value difference.
John: Yeah, you have to, you're responsible for bringing it to their awareness. If you've been to a sushi restaurant, they have this egg that's in layers. I noticed that to get some nigiri with an egg on it with a little seaweed wrapped around it, it was like $4 per piece. And the other sushi was like $2 at the time. I thought, just an egg. Why would it be that much? And then I thought, and then I watched him prepare one, and how many hours it took to prepare one of those slabs of egg because he had to do it in layers. We had to loony take a pan, take an egg, poured in the egg, cook it just a certain level. And then lay that, scramble it, laid on top layer to time while it's hot, and layer by layer by layer by layer and cut it and everything else to make that thing. And I realised that is an individual egg-layered piece of egg. And I realised after seeing him I go, ‘That's a $10 egg.’
Lisa: This is cheap.
John: I was thinking, ‘How the heck does he do that for four bucks? How did he make any profit out of it?’ I never questioned it after that. Because I could see there's a distinction made.
Lisa: Yeah. And it's the same thing with the coaching I do, with running coaching, or whatever. ‘But then so-and-so’s program is X amount of dollars cheaper.’ And it's like, ‘Yes, but have they done what I've done? Do they have the systems that we have? Do they have that— you're comparing a Rolls Royce with a Volkswagen to use your analogy.’ But you know, it's hard not to come across as being arrogant when you say that. But you mean it like—
John: Just don’t be defensive. If you get defensive, you can come across as arrogant. You get informative; there's no arrogance.
Lisa: Explain the process and say—
John: You care about them to make sure they get— make the wisest decision. And that means inform them of the differences.
Lisa: And then, they’re accepting with our ads—
John: You’re not attached to it. You’re not doing it to make a sale. We're doing it because you know it's gonna be to their advantage. When they see the integrity and sincerity of that, they'll probably—
Lisa: I think that's a really good key. I wanted to just flip that, and we've got to wrap it up, because I know it's time to go. But just, I'm really excited for some of the converging technologies that are coming our way. I wanted just your take in the two minutes that we've got left. You know, we've got AI, we've got robotics, we've got supercomputing, and quantum computing, and all of those, well, it's going to change the way that we live in the next 5-10 years. So change our health system, or finance system, crypto, there’s everything. Are you excited about the future, or are you fearful about the future? Where will you sit on this? Because a lot of people are feeling very unsafe and unsure about all this sort of stuff that's coming.
Lisa: Not too high, not too low, because— I should have predicted this.
John: Ecologists that are optimists of the future are counterbalanced by the sceptical ecologists that dwell on the past. For every gullible optimist, there's always a sceptical pessimist to keep things in check. So I don't allow my stuff to get emotionally exuberant, because I know that that's just half of the equation and the other half is going to come anyway. I look for both sides and realise there are new technologies; there are new challenges.
We're seeing it right now. We've got a new COVID vaccine, right? There are people that are saving the day by. They think, ‘Oh, you're saving the day.’ You got another say that and you're trying to cause death in people. You got the optimists, pessimists on it. And the overly exuberant people that are manically elated about it, and the universe have to be brought back down into grounding to show the downsides. The downsides have to see the upside. And when you see both sides, you're stable. If I find myself elated or depressed, I ask new sets of questions to calm down the elation, to lift up their depression, and cent8re myself. So I can stand my objective and fulfil my mission.
Lisa: And you think that the truth always lies somewhere in between these two polarised views of the world?
John: If you're blinded to the downsides, and you're elated and infatuated, you're not seeing what's there.
Lisa: So you're not actually looking at the science and what's actually there.
John: You’re not looking at both sides. If you have both sides, and you can show both sides and you're prepared for it, you're stable, you're steady, you're objective, and you're prepared.
Lisa: So how do you get through there? That's the final point I want to talk about. Because you know, some of the change that's coming is going to be pretty radical. There's going to be complete industries that disappear. There's going to be new ways of doing business. And there's all these things. How do we stay flexible enough to be able to adapt? I see the older generation, and I look at my mum in here who cannot function in this world without a kid that can pay the bills and do the things because they cannot— they're not able to, she's not able to stay up with the technology.
John: Well, she's able. She's choosing not to, strategically.
Lisa: Probably. You're damn right there. I'll tell her that. She's learned helpless. And that's because she—
John: If you weren't there, she wouldn't just lay on the streets.
Lisa: She would, she will find someone else to do with a cushion. Smile sweetly. You're probably right there, to a degree, but it is getting—
John: People can be very resourceful if somebody doesn't rescue them.
Lisa: If someone doesn't rescue them like I rescue my mum. But the rate of change, I think, is quite unsettling for a lot of people: the staying up with the technology, and the staying up with the changes that are happening.
John: If somebody takes care of that, and they adapt, and they just take care of them. They have no need to. If they got nobody to take care of them, they will not allow themselves to get out, or they'll say, ‘I don't want to live any longer.’ They'll just pass on. But if you rescue them, and you don't have, they don’t have any accountability, they have no need. Over support make some juvenile dependent. Challenge makes them precocious independent, and it's a challenge to keep them alive.