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SPI 611: How to Reprogram Your Brain for Success with John Assaraf

We’ve all been guilty of this at some point—setting goals and having a vision for our lives but not backing it up with the beliefs and plans to make it a reality.

Often, what gets in our way is not understanding what goes on under the hood. By that, I mean the patterns in our brains that set us up for success or failure.

That’s exactly what I’m chatting about with my fantastic guest, John Assaraf. You’ll hear all about his entrepreneurial journey, and how he went from earning $1.65 an hour to founding companies worth billions. He’s also a behavioral neuroscience researcher, best-selling author, and one of the top success coaches in the world.

You won’t want to miss this conversation because John gives you the neuroscience-backed tools you need to start rewiring your mind for success today. We talk about setting goals the right way and how to achieve them by avoiding the four hidden obstacles that stand in your way. John and I also discuss belief systems, confirmation bias, stress, and impostor syndrome while giving you the strategies you need to win big in business and your personal life.

I can’t wait for you to hear this episode and apply these tactics. Enjoy!

Today’s Guest

John Assaraf

John Assaraf is one of the leading high-performance coaches in the world. He is a behavioral neuroscience researcher who has appeared numerous times on Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

He grew Re/Max of Indiana from startup to 85 offices and 1200 sales associates who sold over $4 Billion a year.

John was also one of the founders of that went public on NASDAQ with a market cap of $2.5 Billion.

John has written 4 books including 2 New York Times bestsellers that have been translated to 35 languages. He is the creator of the “Innercise” movement and has been featured in 11 movies, including the blockbuster hit The Secret and Quest For Success with Richard Branson and the Dalai Lama.

He lives in San Diego with his wife and 2 sons. In addition to being a vegan, meditator, avid skier, and ocean lover, he loves traveling the world and making some of the tastiest hot sauces using some of the hottest peppers on the planet.

Today, he is CEO of, a neuroscience-based company, dedicated to helping individuals strengthen their mindset, so they achieve their goals and dreams… faster and easier than ever before.

You’ll Learn


SPI 611: How to Reprogram Your Brain for Success with John Assaraf

John Assaraf: For us humans, we have this tendency to have these goals, this vision of what we want, but then we don’t back it up with the beliefs necessary to achieve them. With the plans to achieve them. And that’s what gets in our way. So it’s not that we’re not capable of achieving 5x, 10x the results, there are obstacles in our way that are for the most part hidden. And there’s only four.

Pat Flynn: You know, one of the most fascinating things that I’ve realized about doing business for so long and, and having been in this space for over a decade now, thirteen plus years now is that I’m often getting reintroduced to people, reconnected to people that I once met a while back and for whatever reason we just didn’t stay in touch or just things got busy.

And John Assaraf, today’s guest, is somebody who I’m not connecting with for the first time. But I’m reconnecting with, and I’m excited about that because I was initially introduced to John a while back, I wanna say seven or eight years ago, I actually met up with him in his office. He had an office here in San Diego at the time, and we met and I was just fascinated about what he was doing.

He had this amazing studio where he was filming and he was filming for his clients and his students with relation to the brain. And he’s a very scientific approach kind of person when it comes to helping people build the right habits to become high performers. Right? And we’re gonna discuss a lot of that today because today in this reconnect, I get connected with him about how we innercise right.

Not exercise, but innercise. That’s actually the name of one of his best selling books. He’s the best selling author. You check out his book Innercise right now, or check out just his website, He’s got some amazing free stuff for there for you, but it’s a really, really good conversation we have today because we get into the signs behind what’s happening up there in our minds.

Getting rid of the things that are stopping us from moving forward and also just understanding and one of the things that you need to know is just what’s happening up there. So you can understand it and learn how to deal with it and learn how to move through that. And we’re gonna enable you to become a high performer today because it really all happens up there.

So this is John Assaraf, somebody that I’m happy to be reconnected with and a very powerful voice and somebody that you should definitely listen to. So here he is John Assaraf from

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he closes his eyes when he eats something tasty for optimal taste sensation. Pat Flynn!

Pat Flynn: John welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thanks for coming on the show with me today.

John Assaraf: Great to see you again, my friend.

Pat Flynn: Also the day that this will be published is your birthday so happy birthday.

John Assaraf: Woohoo. I’ll be 61 on the day that it launches.

Pat Flynn: For people who can’t see you right now. You’re a very young looking 61. I must say I’d be very happy to look like what you do in a couple decades. But anyway, I wanna get into a lot of what you are an expert in. You are an expert on the brain and helping people perform at a high level.

How did you get into what it is that you do?

John Assaraf: Well, it actually turned out to be a mess that my life was in. When I was in my early twenties, I was on the wrong train on the wrong track, heading in the wrong direction. A lot of limiting beliefs about not being smart enough, not good, and failing miserably.

I was working in the shipping department making $1.65 an hour. And I had a mentor who asked me why I was focusing on those things and doing things that were illegal. Cuz I was also, while I was working in the shipping department, selling drugs and doing drugs. And I said, I don’t know. And he said, well, one of the reasons, cuz you’re not using your brain the right way. And I was thinking about, what do you mean I’m not using my brain the right way? He says, well, you’re focusing on why you can’t achieve stuff versus how you will achieve stuff. And then you’ve got some disempowering habits that are just reinforcing themselves and so you’re just gonna get better at doing all the wrong things.

And so he said, what would you like to achieve in your life? And I said, I don’t know. And he asked me to fill out this document around what I want my health to be like my wealth, to be like my career, my business, if I was ever gonna have a business in the lifestyle that I wanted to have.

And I wrote out all of these things that were basically a fantasy. He asked me one question before he asked me the question, he says, you know, I’m gonna ask you one question. The answer will determine whether you achieve all of these things. And so I said, great, what, what’s the question? And he said, are you interested in achieving these things or are you committed to achieving them?

And I asked him, I said, what’s the difference? And he said, well, if you’re interested, you’re gonna count with stories, reasons, and excuses why you can’t, he said. But if you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes. You’ll upgrade your identity. You’ll upgrade your beliefs, your habits, your skills, and your knowledge to match the goals you wanna achieve, because all of the, how to achieve them is readily available.

But if you’re focusing on what you’re achieving right now, you’re gonna keep reinforcing and re achieving the same things. So anyway, I said, I was committed. And he shook my hand. He said, in that case I will be your mentor. And he started to teach me how to set goals, how to prime my brain daily, around achieving those goals.

And he taught me how to create plans to achieve those goals. And I started to achieve goals. And at 19 to 20, over an 18 month period of time going from making $1.65 an hour, I made $180,000 when I was 20 years young selling real estate of all things, which I had no idea how to sell, I didn’t know the legalities, I didn’t know the, the marketing, I didn’t know the selling. I didn’t know the, the mass behind real estate. But by starting to develop a new self image, a new identity by starting to upgrade my knowledge and skills a little bit each day, one hour a day specifically, I started to be able to achieve more and more and more of my goals and dreams.

So I did that. And then I got another mentor who was really good in franchising, and I became his partner in 1986, long time ago in RE/MAX of Indiana. We bought the rights for RE/MAX for the state of Indiana. And then I was the CEO and I moved to Indiana and then opened up 85 offices, recruited 1200 agents who at the time I was still the CEO.

We were doing four and a half billion a year in sales. So I started to learn how to think differently, how to create a new self-image, how to create new beliefs and how to create habits that align and resonate with the level of success I wanted to achieve. So that’s how I got into it, where I just started to see, oh my God, that we have the most powerful biocomputer in the known universe between our ears, but very few people have the users manual.

So 41 years ago, I got onto the path of researching human brain and behavior and psych. And hence became, you know, a, I guess a brain researcher of sorts and a behavioral neuroscience researcher that applies what I learned, but then teaches other people how to do it.

Pat Flynn: Amazing. What a incredible turnaround story. What I’m curious about is the mentors that you found along the way, how did you find them? Because I think that could be very, very important. For our growth, no matter where you’re at, cuz you can’t read the label when you’re inside the bottle, it took this other person on the outside to see it. How did you find those mentors and get in contact with them?

John Assaraf: Yeah. So the first mentors, his name was Alan Brown. My brother taught him tennis and he told my, my brother told him my brother’s going down the wrong path. He’s gonna probably end up in jail or the morgue. This guy just said, well, why don’t you have him meet me for lunch? And so I took the train from Montreal to Toronto.

I was living in Montreal. And this happened at lunch over, you know, 45 minutes. And then he said, he’ll coach me and mentor me. So I moved from Montreal to Toronto, went to work for his real estate company for zero money on commission only. Not even a dollar to pay for, you know, bowl of rice.

But he quickly taught me the fastest path to cash was through sales. So I started making money within 45 days. Then I left his real estate office where I was an agent. Then I went to work for RE/MAX and in the basement, there were these two guys who had bought RE/MAX for all of Canada. And so I went downstairs one day to see what’s down there.

And this guy said to me, Hey, I’m Walter Schneider. I’m the founder of RE/MAX Canada. I said, oh, hi Walter. I’m John Assaraf, we just started talking. We became friends. I asked him like, what do you do? I sell franchises. Well, how do you sell franchises? What’s the benefits of, he started to teach me about franchising.

And then there were some opportunities that arose to buy my own franchise, which I tried, it didn’t work out. And then this other opportunity came up because I wanted to get better. He says, Hey, do you wanna buy RE/MAX of Indiana with me? And I said, sure, where’s Indiana. And so, you know, I I put some of my own money down that I had made and I borrowed the other half of what I needed from a friend of mine.

And then I moved to Indiana and then started getting to franchising. And then, you know, my third mentor. Was a gentleman that I met in a business deal that I was involved in that didn’t go well. And the guy just liked how I dealt with the business deal that went sour. And he said, Hey, my son invented this technology that I think you might be able to help.

And this was in 1997. I’d already been building RE/MAX of Indiana for 10 years. And so I hired somebody to run RE/MAX of Indiana for me. And then I took advantage of this other opportunity because this guy had built a company with 5,500 employees that he just sold to IBM for hundreds of millions of dollars.

And he was gonna build this company with his son and he wanted to do an IPO in a year. IPO, I would love to learn how to do an IPO. And so I moved to San Francisco. We raised 28 million. And I learned from Len how he did the financial structuring, how he went from idea to 1200 employees in a year. And we went public on the ninth month. He was able to collapse time through his knowledge and skills. So I just happened to be searching for people. In the last deal, I wasn’t searching the last deal, just fell on my lap. But I was, I was ready to change and switch what I was doing to explore and be curious about something else.

Pat Flynn: That’s amazing. I, I wanna unpack those stories more, but I do wanna get into what I know you are an absolute expert on, and that’s how we can kind of rewire what’s happening in our brains to discover the next chapter of our lives and make ourselves happier and make more money and all, all the things that we fantasize about.

You had mentioned that word fantasy, a lot of what we write down on our goal sheets or our five year plan often feels like a fantasy. And we start to question whether that’s even like possible for us, it almost becomes a joke that, well, I’m just kind of, it’s a wishlist, but it’s never gonna happen. How do we begin to unlock those things and turn those fantasies into realities?

John Assaraf: Let me do this for a second. Alright. I’m gonna shift over here to my desk and I’m gonna bring a little brain. I used to carry my brain with me. So, I mean, before we get into the fantasies and the shifting. Would you agree that, you know, everybody’s born not with a plastic one with a real brain.

And what we know from a neuroscience perspective, every brain functionally works the same. Right? So every car functionally works the same and the better I become as a driver the faster I can go. Maybe the sharper turns I could take, maybe I can learn how to skid. Maybe I could learn, you know, a variety of different ways of driving.

So the first thing I need to learn are the fundamentals of driving. Right? Right. And then I can learn how to accelerate and maybe use more complex tools and techniques, whether that’s on ice, hail, sleet, dust, snow, whatever the case is, that’s a little bit more complex. But when we’re talking about, you know, the human brain, would you agree, we were not born with any skills, we weren’t born with any beliefs, we weren’t born with any fears, we weren’t born with a self-image, we weren’t born with any self-confidence or certainty or doubts or anxiety or stress? Maybe a little stressed when we were born.

Pat Flynn: Right, right. We’re innately, born with the ability to know that we need to eat and to breathe and you know, all those basic things, but all the other things you mention come about later.

John Assaraf: Yeah. We’re born with some genetic propensities. I get that. We’re born with an autonomic nervous system that actually breathes us digests food for us, eliminates food. Right? But everything else, our brain creates these patterns. So if I learn a pattern around, let’s say my parents, you know, that money is good or money is the root of all evil, you know, or in order to succeed in life, you have to go to, to school and get your degree and then go to graduate school, your PhD, or become a doctor or become an engineer.

Then I start to formulate this idea, this paradigm around what the real world is like, but also what am I like? What can I achieve? What do I deserve? And so the more we are in an environment with the experiences that reinforce first create and then reinforce cellular connections or patterns, the more those patterns go from a loosely connected state to a more rigid, more hardwired state, almost like software coding on a computer.

So we all become conditioned to believe I can achieve this, and we have all the references of why that’s true, even though we all can also do this. I want to achieve that. I’d like to have that. I wanna stop that and start that. So what we are learning specifically about this is that there are different parts of the brain, like there’s different parts of a car, like there’s different parts of a watch that do specific things.

And 97, 90 8% of all of our thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Are repeated habitual thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. So we don’t do what we can do or should do or wanna do, we do, we think we feel what we are conditioned to think and do and feel, or feel and do. So whenever we’re talking about the brain and imagining and setting our goals, like I have you know, my exceptional life blueprint here, you know, with my vision board of some things I’ve achieved, some things I’m I want to achieve, but then I have goals for my, you know, for my health and wealth and relationship and career and business and business success and milestones and everything else in this book, part of our brain that sets goals is what I call, and you may able to see up there, the Einstein painting over there, that’s part of my brain that activates the imagination network of the brain. And we have an imagination network. If you think of your brain as an organ or organism, as I prefer to call it, that has networks and circuits and the networks either are on or off work together or don’t and circuits turn on or off.

So one of our networks is our imagination network. And we could use our imagination to imagine. And in imagining if we imagine something that we, we want, that makes us happy that excites us, we actually activate a circuit in the nucleus accumbens or tegmentum area of the brain, the releases, dopamine. Feel good neurochemicals.

And when we feel good, we say, let’s go after that. But what happens if we set a goal, for example to build our podcast to a million downloads or a hundred thousand downloads and create passive income of a million dollars a year. Well, if we don’t have the knowledge and skills of how to do that, chances are that that part of the brain is gonna get active.

I call that the Frankenstein’s monster part of the brain left prefrontal cortex is Einstein. Right prefrontal cortex is Frankenstein’s monster. Now this part of the brain says, Hey, okay, you wanna achieve this goal, this vision, this lifestyle, this passive income you wanna do through podcasting. Awesome. That’s great. But what if you fail?

What if you invest your time, your money, your energy, your attention, the most valuable of your assets and you fail, will you be embarrassed? Will you be ashamed? Will you reinforce that you’re not good enough smart enough, or worthy enough? Will you be rejected? Will you be unloved? Will you hurt your children? Will you hurt your wife?

So while we have this one part of our brain that wants to achieve something and we, we write it all down and we have this vision, if we don’t understand how to manage our beautiful, amazing emotional response center of our brain, that’s there to protect us, then chances are, we are gonna deactivate the motivational center that the vision and the goals actually activated, and we’re gonna activate the fear center. And this is where the breaks go on. And how does it do that? Well, There’s a mechanism that you and everybody else is very familiar with called the fight flight or freeze reactive mechanism in the brain. Whenever we feel real or imagined danger is in front of us or in the future, it releases the neurochemicals that actually counter the serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine that are the natural feel good neurochemicals.

So now we have adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrin, and that’s the chemical that people go, God, I just feel, I feel anxious. I feel stressed, I feel, you know, I wanna move away from that feeling. Let me have a cocktail. Let me take some Xanax, you know, or let me meditate.

Very few people go to meditation to remove that feeling or breathing. They go to another suppression technology or methodology. So when we are in a state of ignorance, meaning I don’t know, okay, how to turn off this fear circuit of my brain. I don’t know how to activate the attention, the executive attention network in my brain to set the goal and the vision to be aware of the emotions that are disempowering me and to override them by using the executive attention network. And then by setting the goals and reviewing them every morning, and then every night before I go to bed, you know, there’s a part of our brain called the salience network as well.

And it’s the part of our brain that notices either what we fear or revere. Or what we have given our brain as an instruction to tag as a high value item. So it pays attention to that, right? So I’ve given you a lot of stuff here, but the, to summits up in a, in a way is there’s some neuromechanics that are happening.

Everybody wants to tell the time on their watch accurately. But what if it’s not working and you’re not getting the right time? What if you’re not achieving your goal? Shouldn’t you see what’s going on underneath the dial? Is there a spring that may be out of kilter? Is there something that’s broken? And for us humans, we have this tendency to have these goals, this vision of what we want, but then we don’t back it up with the beliefs necessary to achieve them with the perspectives necessary to achieve with the emotional management necessary to achieve them with the plans to achieve.

And that’s what gets in our way. So it’s not that we’re not capable of achieving two or three or four X, five X, 10 X, the results. There are obstacles in our way that are for the most part hidden. And there’s only four.

Pat Flynn: Well, I’d love to talk about those things, cuz I think we could all relate to that. It’s really interesting how this fear, which is almost there to protect us is actually holding us back in a way, and to be able to manage that. I think when we live our lives on autopilot, that’s when we get into trouble, because we aren’t conscious about what is happening under the hood, like you said, so I’d love to take the face off the watch and see what’s underneath so we can see what’s going on. So let’s talk about these things.

John Assaraf: Yeah. So, so if we think about, you know, what are the four primary obstacles that can get in the way? So we’ve, we’ve talked about a couple of them already, so let me give you an example. We can either use business, you know, as an example, or we can use your body weight as an example, you know, your physique, either one, it works the same way.

Cuz the, the mechanics, the circuit for fear is the circuit for fear. It’s not like there’s 18 of them. There’s a circuit. So if you think about it, I set a goal. Big vision, big goals, passive income. You know, five times more than what I’m making right now. Oh my God. That would be so good. I can live in my dream home a nice car.

I can give to the charities. Travel, oh my God, I’d love to travel here and there. Maybe we can go business class this time. Right? So I set this vision and, and I said, okay, three months from now. I want to be here six months here, a year here. And oh man. And a year or two, you know, everything’s gonna be great.

Awesome. Great part one. What if, what if you have some limiting beliefs, right? So the vision set, the goals are set. What if you have some disempowering limiting beliefs? What is a limiting belief? Well, obviously it’s a belief that limits you, but in the human brain, like you weren’t born with a belief. You weren’t born with any belief whatsoever.

You were taught that you’re male, female, or other, you were taught the ethnicity, you were taught, you were taught everything. You were taught, what to believe cause of what your parents believed, your sisters, your brothers, your television, the books you may have read, you were taught to believe that Santa Claus is real and the Tooth Fairy is real.

And you believed it for many people until you got new evidence. So the new evidence overrode the old evidence, but did you behave as if Santa Claus was real when you were a kid? Of course you did. If you practiced, you know, Santa Claus and Christmas, et cetera. So a belief that limits you a limiting belief could be around your age or ethnicity.

It could be around, you know, COVID the market, the war, the interest rates. It could be because of that, it’s harder for me to that. If you believe that’s true, your brain says, okay, let me show you everything. That’s in line with what you believe, but let me have you feel and behave in ways that mirror and match your beliefs.

Confirmation bias. It’s confirmation bias. That’s exactly right. So if I want to achieve a goal, but I have either known or unknown, conscious or unconscious beliefs and biases that oppose that goal, I may take one or two steps forward only to take four back. I may procrastinate or self sabotage because of that.

Number two, let’s say that you do an intellectual exercise and an imagination exercise of what you’d like your life to be like. Dream big, right? Fantasy. But then there’s a part of you, your self image maybe hidden that says am I really worthy of that? Do I really deserve that? Right? So this hidden self image is actually what causes a lot of people to have imposter syndrome. Right? So even while some people achieve great success, they don’t believe that it was them and their hard work and efforts that achieved it. They feel like a fraud. Not because they didn’t do the work it’s because there’s a hidden self image that doesn’t see them at the level of success they’ve achieved.

And in many cases, and we’ve seen this a lot. For example, with athletes, we’ve seen it with movie stars. We’ve seen it with musicians who sabotage their success with alcohol drugs, or other behaviors to cause crazy, crazy pain in their lives. Cuz they’re battling the outer world of results with the internal map and expectations of reality.

That’s what drives the destructive disempowering sabotaging behavior. Soon as we get integration, we have coherence and harmony. So that’s number two self image could be in the way. Number three, I have this vision, I have these goals, and I don’t have the knowledge of the skills or the resources to achieve them.

So in the absence of the knowledge or the skills or tools or resources, let’s understand the word stress for just a moment. What does stress really mean? What activates the stress circuit that releases the neurochemicals, that, that cause us to feel stressed. Right? So let’s think of it this way. When the demand exceeds your current capacity, the stress circuit gets activated when the demand, the physical demand, emotional demand, spiritual demand, financial demand, mental demand exceeds your current capacity the stress circuit is activated. The demand are the vision that I want, the goals that I wanna achieve, that’s the demand I’m asking of myself in the absence of the knowledge and skill tools, and resource to achieve that, I’m gonna activate my stress circuit. When my stress circuit is activated, one of four things happens.

I fight it, I freeze, I faint, or fight a fight flight freeze or faint. That’s the four Fs of the stress response. So if I’m in a freeze modality, I’m not gonna do anything. I’m just gonna keep in my comfort zone and do that. If I’m gonna fight, I’m gonna try and like work hard through it. So now we’re dealing with the stress response or a stress reaction.

And then the fourth one, which does the exact same thing as what I just said is this, fear. 50 different types of fear. 50, not five 50. So how does our brain work? Right? So the hierarchy of how this hundred billion dollar organism works is this, security and safety number one, right up there with oxygen. Number two, avoidance of any pain or discomfort.

Number three conserve energy just in case we need to fight flight freeze. Right? And then number four is gaining of pleasure. Our vision. Our goals is the gaining of pleasure, but we will not behave in ways to gain that pleasure if number one and two, okay. Our predominant in our psyche or in our life. So if my brain can easily choose the goals that I want but if another part of my brain in a billionth of a second is running a check-in balance against anything that’s real or imagined that’s in my memory bank, that would suggest that there could be a safety or security issue for my life. That could be painter discover, cuz I lose money. I lose time or I’m embarrassed, ashamed, ridiculed, judged, I’m I’m rejected. I’m not loved, whatever one of the fears will be, those are your top six or seven. Then the automatic reaction of fight flight freeze or faint is going to take precedent. So I know I’m giving you a lot of stuff now and, and I’m going pretty fast, but the, the, the, the whole idea is to understand that I’m not, not achieving my goals because I can’t.

Because, would you agree, let’s say number one, we have a lack of knowledge and skill. Can we acquire the knowledge and skill for almost anything in 2022, 2023? Of course we can. Absolutely. Like you wanna put, you know, a rocket ship, you know, with a helicopter on Mars done that, you know, you wanna hear some forms, you know, of disease done that. You wanna get humans to the moon and back done that.

So it’s not that we can’t, we first have to set the vision, the goals, and yes, develop the knowledge and the skills of how to achieve it. Create the plan that’s, you know, easily done. You, you can get a coach, a consultant, Google, a book, a course, whatever the case is. Now, do I have the beliefs necessary? Like the implicit subconscious beliefs necessary to be able to follow through to complet.

Yes or no it’s binary. Yes or no. If I don’t then what beliefs do I need to create and reinforce so that it becomes part of my dominant operating system. Now, if it’s true that a belief is nothing more than a reinforced neural pattern, then the question is how can I create a belief and impress it into my subconscious mind, which is where the implicit memory system is.

And the answer is, think about this, and this is gonna be true for self image as well. I want you to imagine that you get a tap on the shoulder at a little coffee shop that you’re at with a good friend, one of your favorite Hollywood actors or actresses or producers is there maybe like right now, Tom, Cruise’s big with Top Gun, you know, billion plus in sales.

And let’s say you know, Tom cruise tap says, Hey, we’re doing Top Gun 3 and there’s a five minute piece that we just wrote and you look like the person that can play that role. If I give you the script and I give you an acting coach and we work with you for six months, could you learn this script so that we go to Hollywood, film you in six months and you don’t need the script.

You’re gonna go live to camera, but you’re gonna practice it for six months. Would you accept a million dollars to be in the movie with Tom Cruise, and could you learn the script?

Pat Flynn: Absolutely.

John Assaraf: Great. So in order to learn the script, how would you learn the script? You sign the contract. You’re gonna be in the movie.

You’ve got your coaches, they’re lining you up, whatever you need, what would be your process to take something that’s on a piece of paper that you’ve never seen, it’s a lie right now, it’s not true. What would you do to take these words and make them a part of you?

Pat Flynn: Practice, rehearse.

John Assaraf: Oh, how, how specifically?

Would you read it once?

Pat Flynn: Not once. I’d read it over and over again and probably take it line by line until it’s second memory.

John Assaraf: Yeah, like a song, like a song you just hear on the radio that you, oh, that’s a great beat. That’s that’s a, that’s a great tune. What are they saying? Let me, let me practice.

Oh, let me get the record. Let me get the, let me get it on my cell phone. Let me get on my computer. Let me listen to it until I can recite it. And then through deliberate practice, you could learn the lines then do you think you could actually record yourself on, on your camera, you know, or on your mobile phone and you could listen to it and watch it.

Do you think you can get critiqued until you could learn the character, well enough within six months? And the answer is yes. So what that tells me is you could take something you’ve never seen, that was written by somebody else, and you can make it a part of you through space, repetition and practice.

Pat Flynn: You had mentioned at the beginning of this interview, you, when you were getting started with your mentor were doing something daily one hour every day.

John Assaraf: Well, I was updating my knowledge and skills to learn how to sell real estate, but I was also reviewing my goals and running my fingers across it. And I was recording affirmations and declarations and promises that were not true.

That over the next 90 days, 180 days over the next year, they became true. So the reason I created my brain training programs that we’ve sold, you know, a hundred plus thousand of them in the last number of years is because there are evidence based that we know work to create and reinforce neural patterns.

So if a belief is nothing more than a neural pattern, then why not deliberately choose the neural patterns I want? And let me reinforce ’em myself and develop my own brain. And whether we can use visualization, because visualization is simulation and a whole bunch of other tools. So now I can develop a self-image by visualizing myself being that.

And if I visualize myself being that role, I’m creating again, a neural pattern that if I reinforce it every day for five or 10 minutes now I’m overriding my old self image. I’m deliberately choosing a new self image. I’m adding the beliefs, that are required. I’ve added the knowledge and the skills thereby I start to formulate some new habits if I start taking action.

And then we have this last little piece of the puzzle and that is emotions, right? So first question is what are emotions? I’m gonna go back to, we have this hundred billion dollar brain, and none of us were born with a user’s manual. I have been dissecting the user’s manual for 41 years now, trying to understand the neuromechanics of behavior and perception and feelings and, and emotions and what is the difference and, and habits and, and what causes me to, to not do the things I want to do or know I should be doing.

Why is it so hard for me to break a habit? And the answer is cuz I don’t have a process for most people. I don’t understand the neuromechanics of a habit in order to change it. So chances I’m gonna use the wrong strategies no differently than if I try to solve the Rubik’s Cube with the wrong strategies.

And I don’t know the algorithms, I can never get it solved. So effort is almost useless, okay, in the absence of the right strategies and tactics. So now we’re dealing with emotions and we have empowering constructive, positive emotions. Got it. And when we feel empowered, we take action, but we have disempowering, destructive, negative emotions.

Or not negative, but ones that cause us to not take action. So if fear is activated, is fear a negative emotion? No, it’s just an emotion. It’s a signal. If you’re driving down the street and your card dash light pops up, have you ever taken a hammer to hit the dash light? No, it’s a light. It’s a signal. Well, if the fear reaction has taken or been been activated in your brain because of a memory that pain or discomfort or safety security is possible, and you don’t know how to recognize the emotion of fear and you don’t know how to release it and take action anyway, and actually use the neurochemistry fuel of fear to propel you forwards, you’re just ignorant. You’re unskilled.

If you asked me to go and fix my car and I took the car engine apart, I guarantee you 10 years from now that engine would still be sitting in my driveway, cuz I have no idea how to put it back. I don’t even know how to take it apart. I’m not a mechanic. Right? So where I’m going with all of this is it’s our ignorance that usually is in the way.

And ignorance just means, I don’t know. Doesn’t mean I’m not capable. I just don’t know. Everybody could learn how to solve this in the next hour, if they committed to. Now, I’m gonna go back to the question that my mentor asked me. Right? Are you interested? Are you committed? Cause I could teach you everything you need to do, but unless you practice and put into action, what it is that you’re learning, no learning actually happens. The learning happens when you take something, you apply it and you get the visceral stimulation and experience of what it is that you did. So when we’re looking to achieve goals, it’s a totally different process than setting goals. Setting goals happens in one part of the brain. Achieving goals happens as a result of other parts of the brain working in harmony and coherence instead of in chaos.

So I’m all about goal achievement versus just goal setting. Goal setting happens to be part of the goal achievement process, but that’s only one piece of the combination. I’ve got you thinking, which I love.

Pat Flynn: No, I love it. I mean, there’s, this is a masterclass on how the brain works and when we begin to understand how it works and the biology that’s happening, we can begin to, like you said, change the way we feel and think and what we believe we achieve and what unfortunately we believe is the result of the environment that we’re in. That we often don’t have control over.

What we do have control over is what we say about ourselves stories that we’re telling ourselves, et cetera. So these daily affirmations, for example, are something that a person can begin doing. I know that you also have this thing called the brainathon that happens, that helps people with this stuff every single year, I believe.

And you have your 10th anniversary brainathon coming up. Can you tell us what that is and, and how that might help us real quick?

John Assaraf: Sure. So a lot of people, you know, over the years have asked me, who, who are you learning from? Who, where you’re getting all this brain stuff, psychology stuff. And, and, and how to break free from what’s holding you back.

I said, well, there’s a variety of neuroscientists and neuropsychologists that I work with all over the world. And so I started doing this brainathon literally 10 years ago. And every year I, I invite you know, two to six of them plus other brain and success expert to join me on the brainathon. And we teach for 6, 7, 8 hours, you know, on a Saturday.

Wherever we can take a day off and we don’t charge anything. It’s kind of like our, our giving back time. And I’ve got some of the best individuals in the world teaching about what they are discovering and how they are helping, whether it’s their students, cuz they’re professors or PhDs teaching, you know, or their people that are, are like me that doesn’t teach in the university.

But I teach to millions of people around the world. We just teach. Here’s what we’ve discovered over the last year. So this year, you know, I’ll be teaching some of the new neuromechanics and, and what to do and how to do it to really break free from the obstacles I’ve got. Dr. Judy Ho should be on this year as well.

We’re actually finalizing her being on like today. We’ve got Dr. Joan Roseberg both are experts in in forensic neuropsychology or in psychology teaching PhD programs like Dr. Joan Roseberg on emotions and learning how to differentiate emotions and feelings and what is really holding you back. But how do you overcome them?

I’ll have some entrepreneurs that really broke free from lives that could have been considered challenging to say the least that are achieving, you know, great success. And what did they do? How did they do it? I love to model success. And so I like to, to find out, you know, what were your challenges, whether it’s traumas, whether it’s failures, whether it’s limiting beliefs or fears, and what did you do specifically to overcome them?

So we’re gonna be doing the brain thought again this year and it’s free, and I’ll give you a link for anybody who may wanna sign up and we’ll have some fun.

Pat Flynn: Awesome. Well, that’s happening a month after this episode’s published. And if people get that link afterwards, I’m sure they’ll get access to either the next one or the replay or, or, or what have you, but we’ll have a link in the show notes for that.

So stick around for that link. And John, this has been absolutely incredible. Thank you so much for helping us give give us a understanding of really how are things working underneath the skull of ours. And when we begin to understand that we can begin to control what it is that we experience in our lives and have these fantasies actually come true.

So thank you for that. I appreciate you. Where else can people find you and, and follow your work?

John Assaraf: Sure. So they can go to and there’s a lot of free stuff on there and they can sign up for my my daily prime text, if they like. They can sign up for my newsletter, they hop on Instagram, Facebook, and they can pick up one of my one of my best selling books.

My newest book is, is really pretty powerful called Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power. Number one on Amazon, or my other New York Times best selling books.

Pat Flynn: Nice. We’ll have all the links in the show notes for everybody. John, thank you again so much for your time today. Appreciate you and looking forward to the brainathon and connecting with you in the future.

John Assaraf: Thank you, Pat. You have a great day. Appreciate you.

Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation and reconnection with John Assaraf. It was really great to talk with him again. And I remember when doing this interview, cuz I’m recording the outro a little bit later that I had the same feelings talking to John that I did when I first met him, just there was this presence about him that I can see why a lot of people go to him.

A lot of really, really high end people go to him for coaching in high performance. So if you wanna check out John and all the things that he has going on, you can check out And like you said, his bestselling book, Innercise, which you can find on Amazon really, really great. And I highly recommend you check it out.

If you wanna go to the show notes page to get the links and everything that’s conveniently laid out for you. All you have to do is go to Again, And I hope this motivates you to begin to at least be conscious about and think about what’s going on up there, especially when you are met with troubled times when you are met with challenges and as you are trying to continue on toward your goals here, as we close in on the end of the year and start to create new goals for 2023, which is just insane to think about. But anyway, I appreciate you for listening all the way through.

John, thank you so much for coming on the show. I appreciate you as well. And if you haven’t yet done so hit that subscribe button that you don’t miss future episodes. We have a Friday Follow Up coming very, very soon, plus some amazing guests coming up your way. In fact, next week’s is somebody who’s very, very important to me cuz a lot of my work wouldn’t be here without him.

So we’re gonna talk about that and all the things he’s up to. So make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. We’ll see you in the next one.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at I’m your host Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski. And our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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