Is there a connection between having goals and a life purpose and energy? Yes, there is.
More and more research shows that having a purpose in life is connected with happiness, health, longevity and better energy levels.
You’ve probably experienced this yourself, if you think about it …
During times in your life when you had some big dream you were going after with clear goals, you probably popped out of bed each morning with lots of energy. And when you didn’t have them, you probably felt low energy and apathetic.
Now, it turns out that the relationship of purpose/goals to energy is actually cyclical. Without energy, we cannot pursue our purpose and goals. And without purpose/goals, it’s hard to have great energy.
These can either exist in positive upward spirals (of greater purpose/goals and more energy), or downward spirals (of decreasing energy and purpose/goals). So if you’ve been in that downward spiral, then I urge you to listen to this podcast.
In order to show you why purpose/goals are so important, I brought on the New York Times bestselling author, and behavioral and mindset expert, John Assaraf, to answer this particular question. His company, Neurogym, is developing some of the most advanced neuroscience-based brain training programs in the world to help individuals achieve their goals and fulfill their life purpose.
On a personal note, John is a very close friend of mine and a mentor, and one of the wisest, happiest, and most energetic people that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in my life. So it’s my pleasure to introduce you to a man I consider to be like a big brother to me.
In this podcast, you’ll learn
- Why having a life purpose make you happier, more successful and have more energy
- How you identify your own life purpose easily
- Why having goals and a life purpose makes you want to get out of bed in the morning
- Why people sabotage themselves so they fail to achieve their goals
- How you can train your brain to achieve more energy, earn more money, and your life goals (and why this is crucial for success)
- How you can stop anxiety (John will teach you 2 innercises that will stop anxiety and calm your brain)
Download or listen on iTunes
Why Having Goals And A Life Purpose Boost Your Energy – Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey everyone. Welcome back to the Energy Blueprint podcast. This is Ari Whitten, and the Energy Blueprint podcast is the place to get all of the latest and greatest information about overcoming fatigue and enhancing your energy levels.
Now today we have a very unique episode that’s kind of really nontypical. Normally we are really geeking out on the science here, and talking about all these different systems of the body, and how the brain impacts fatigue, and circadian rhythm, and nutrition, and mitochondria, all kinds of things like that. Now today we’re going to talk about something quite a bit different from that.
This is, I’ll get into more of the details around this later in the interview, but this is kind of an important missing piece of the puzzle for a lot of people, and something that really isn’t talked about in health circles.
It has to do with goals and life purpose, which are kind of these intangible concepts that most of us really are not thinking about when it comes to our health and energy levels, but one of the things that I’ve experienced, and see in hundreds of clients, is that when people have a strong life purpose, and when people are actively working towards goals that are aligned with that life purpose, it changes their health and their energy levels profoundly.
There’s actually an emerging body of research, which we’re going to get into in this interview a little bit, around how things like this, how the pursuit of goals and how aligning yourself with a particular life purpose, influence genes that control for example your baseline inflammation levels, your immune function, how it influences motivational circuits in the brain, how it relates to risk of disease and longevity, and so many more things, how it relates to happiness.
I think on a less proven scientific level, how it relates to that feeling of waking up in the morning energized and excited about doing whatever you’re going to do that day. When you don’t have a life purpose, when you don’t have a strong purpose in your life, and you don’t have a clear set of goals that are aligned with that life purpose, it’s draining. It leaves you apathetic. It leaves you lifeless.
I think it stagnates your growth as a human, and as I mentioned before, it’s influencing all of these genes, hundreds if not thousands of genes that influence your energy levels, your immune function, your inflammation, the risk of disease, and so on.
So today I brought on John Assaraf, who is a New York Times bestselling author, and he’s a behavioral and mindset expert. Really his work is all about helping people release and the mental and emotional blocks that prevent them from achieving their fullest potential. This is someone who’s known for his success in the business world, but he’s also really partnering with a number of different world-renowned neuroscientists to uncover the secrets of rewiring our brains, our limiting beliefs, our self-image, all of these aspects of our brain function, which we’re going to get more into in this interview, that limit our ability to grow as individuals, to achieve success, to align ourselves with our purpose, and create a clear set of goals to go about achieving that purpose.
His company Neurogym is developing some of the most advanced neuroscience-based brain training programs in the world to help individuals maximize their fullest potential. On a more personal note, as I’ll talk about in a moment here, John is also a personal mentor of mine. He happens to live in the same town that I live in, and I actually used to be his personal trainer many years ago and nutritionist. I used to show up at his house four times a week, you know the fancy big house in Rancho Santa Fe that was actually talked about in the movie The Secret.
In the process of doing that, he became somewhat of a big brother and a mentor to me. I no longer with him in that capacity as of the last many many years, but since then he’s become a very close friend of mine and a mentor, and one of the wisest, happiest people that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in my life. So, without any further ado, let’s get into the show.
Hey everyone, welcome back to The Energy Blueprint podcast. This is Ari Whitten and today I have a very special guest John Assaraf, who is actually one of my closest personal friends and my mentor.
The guy who I actually consider to be one of the wisest people who I’ve ever known and someone who is a big brother, a mentor to me in pretty much every aspect of life. In relationships, in business, in just every aspect of life.
When I have a problem, this is the guy that I personally turn to and I like to have conversations with and he’s just been there for me many, many times over the years in many different aspects of my life. It’s just a pleasure to introduce you to a guy who I consider to be my mentor and big brother.
Welcome, John. Thank you so much for joining me.
John Assaraf: Ari it’s great to be with you and I think I know why you like hanging around me. It’s because you’re learning from all of my mistakes.
Ari Whitten: I think that’s a big part of it, but a lot of people don’t learn from their mistakes. A lot of people get stunted and don’t become better from them, and you’ve made a lot of mistakes but you’ve become better every step of the way and you’re genuinely one of the happiest and most energetic people that I know. You’re obviously doing something right.
John Assaraf: Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn once in a while.
Ari Whitten: That’s very humble of you. We’re going to talk about goal achievement today. Life purpose, goal achievement and the question I guess at the beginning here are what is the relationship of that to The Energy Blueprint? What is the relationship of that to health and energy?
I was actually over at John’s house last night and we were just chatting about a bunch of stuff, catching up and one of the things we were talking about is this link. There’s a bunch of stuff going on here in this relationship between health and energy and goal achievement and purpose.
Just to get into a couple of things here, there’s actually research showing a sense of life purpose is strongly linked with longevity and lower rates of disease. Even things like lower rates of inflammation, stronger immune system, lower susceptibility to infections and so on. There’s actually one interesting study where they looked at people who were trying to create happiness in their life through what’s called hedonic.
The pursuit of goals like pleasure seeking versus eudemonic goals. Basically like giving to others and seeking meaning based goals. They found that even though both had similar levels of overall happiness, there were huge differences in gene expression. In immune function and inflammation and so on, that explained these links with having a sense of life purpose and what kind of goals you have to overall health and longevity.
One of the things you brought up last night, John, is that it’s kind of cyclical. On the one hand, if you don’t have goals it’s hard to have energy, and then if you don’t have the energy it’s actually hard to pursue your goal. There’s just a ton of relationship here and this is a really neglected area.
Health people like me we’re often talking about this nutritional supplement and this diet and this exercise regimen and this lifestyle factor and that lifestyle factor. One of the big missing pieces is if you don’t have a life purpose, if you’re not actively striving towards goals in your life it’s hard to be healthy, it’s hard to be energized.
I wanted to just present that overall frame for everyone to understand this relationship between goals and worldly success, and goal achievement and overall health and energy levels. Wondering if you have any thoughts on that, John.
How everyone has a life purpose
John Assaraf: I have a lot of thoughts. As you were talking, I was thinking about what does it really mean to have a life purpose and in French, there’s something called la raison d’être, the reason for being. When you find why are you here. Are you here to be a great father? A great mother? A great husband? A great wife? Are you here to make a big difference in the neighborhood? Are you here to offer your knowledge, your skills or expertise to other people so that they’re happier, healthier, wealthier?
Everybody has that one or two things that are not obvious to them. This is the funny part. It’s not obvious to them, but that’s what they naturally do. They naturally think about it, they naturally talk about it, they naturally behave in certain ways, but because it’s their natural being they don’t think that maybe my life purpose is tied to that.
My personal belief is nature does what she does maximally, efficiently, on time, every time, no exceptions, which means that you are perfect just the way you are to do whatever it is that you’re supposed to do, that inspires you. That taps into your inner wisdom. Billions of years of evolution have created you, created me and to find out what am I here for?
What I do know is we’re not here just to consume. We’re not here just to eat and poop, we’re not here for that. There’s a higher expression that each one of us can get to. When you can discover what is it that I could do that gives my life the most meaning for me so that I feel like I’m not wasting this thing called life, then you activate motivational circuits. Then you activate this force that pulls you towards it, and the thing that I always share with people is when people don’t have the motivation, what that is, is they don’t have a motive for action.
When we have a life purpose, then you have a motive for action. Because achieving goals some of them are easy but some of them are hard. Some of them we are challenged by, and you have to have that reason why you’re going to get up when you don’t feel like it. You have to have reason why you’re going to learn what you need to learn to get that next level.
When somebody has a life purpose, that life purpose actually pulls you towards it, and when you don’t have a life purpose, then you tend to stagnate and you tend not to have the energy because there’s nothing pulling you towards it. Nothing moving the wheel forward.
How to identify your own life purpose
Ari Whitten: Yeah, it’s interesting and those motivational circuits in the brain I think are very much tied to energy. The la raison d’être, my French pronunciation sucks, but in Okinawa, one of the blue zones, one of the longest-lived healthiest populations in the world they have something called Ikigai, which translates to the same thing, life purpose. There’s research showing this is intimately connected with health and longevity and I also think energy. You see people in these places that wake up, they’re 90, they’re 100 years old and they get out of bed with energy. I think so much of that is tied to that motive for action that you’re talking about and that life purpose.
One of the things that I see, I’ve seen a number of times fairly commonly is people who are unhealthy, people who are striving to recover their health, their energy levels and have gone, they’ve seen every doctor in the world, all the specialists and gone on a million different supplements and gone on all these crazy treatment regimens and all these crazy diets, but when I’ve asked them the question, “What do you enjoy in life? What drives you? What is your life purpose? What goals are you striving for?” Often times I’ve had the experience of people saying, “I don’t know what I enjoy. I don’t know what life purpose I have. I don’t really have any goals that I’m working towards.”
There’s something missing there, you can’t find that in a supplement bottle or a prescription drug or any crazy diet. You have to get in touch with that life purpose and then you have to have goals that you’re working towards to be achieving it and there’s something that is profoundly energizing and health-promoting about that.
My question for you is if somebody is in that situation. If they … They’re like, “I don’t really know what my life purpose is and I don’t really have any profound goals that I’m working towards that align with that life purpose,” how does … What’s the first step that someone should take in that direction?
John Assaraf: Here’s the first step. Think. Think, “What do I enjoy doing? Why am I here? What would give me joy? What would make me feel like I’m contributing not only to my life, to my children, my spouse, my community, my friends? What would cause me to be happy and enjoy my life?”
What I’ve discovered is a lot of people suffer from what I call a spiritual suppression. I’m talking about spiritual suppression, not in a sense of religious suppression. Talk about just remembering that within you are 100 trillion cells that are doing things that you can’t even imagine they’re doing. The intelligence, the innate intelligence within you, once full of expression and expansion, but there may be something either emotionally or mentally that’s causing this suppression of the spirit.
I suggest to all friends and my children and families, stop. Just stop for a moment, take out a sheet of paper and go, “If I could do anything I wanted, what could it be? If I could have one perfect day, what would that encompass? What would I do when I woke up? Who would I hang around? What would I watch? What would I go explore? What would I discover? What would I do to be happy? What would I do to trade my life for that one day?” The other day I go, “Wow, that was so good. Can I do that tomorrow?”
Take the concept of I need to think about goals and a vision, out in the future bring it to 24 hours. Write down, if I was to do this and this, and this and this in 24 hours, that would be a perfect day.
Go and do that for one day and then try and get as many of those days as possible in a row. It might be once a month for now, then maybe once every three weeks, then once every two weeks, then once every week, and you start to see that when you do the things that inspire you, and you stop doing the things that expire you, you are giving the life force that’s within you a chance to express itself instead of suppressing itself.
That is where I always go first. Forget about five years, 10 years, one year. No, no. Today. What would you read? Who would you hang around with? What discussions would you have?
Start with the simple stuff, allows you to get a framework, an essence of the things and the environment that would inspire you. I go to the beach all the time, why? I’m inspired there. I go to the mountains all the time, I’m inspired there. I want to be in those environments. I have thoughts and ideas in those environments.
How much energy your body actually contains
Ari Whitten: Beautiful. I love it. Now I think let’s transition from life purpose. Let’s say, somebody … Sorry, go ahead.
John Assaraf: I just have one thing. I wanted to mention earlier, at breakfast this morning it came up. You mentioned something, it came up with my wife yesterday and it’s this, I want everybody to remember since we’re talking about the Energy Blueprint. 100 trillion cells are nothing more than energetic, vibrating packets of energy called quantum. If you know how to release that energy which is you, then you have an abundance of energy. If you’re suppressing that energy, whether it’s in thoughts, emotions, food, lack of X, Y or Z then you are suppressing that energy.
The key is remembering, I am energy and I can release it no differently than in the space between my hands right now.
There’s enough energy to boil every ocean in the planet when we take the nucleus of the molecules and the atoms and we release that energy. It’s already there, so just wanted to make sure I brought that up.
How aligning with your life purpose affects your brain
Ari Whitten: Yeah, beautiful. I think we’ve mentioned that indirectly, that there’s some kind of magic that occurs when a person aligns themselves with their life purpose. It’s affecting different circuits of the brain, it’s affecting gene expression as I mentioned in the study.
Now, I think there’s also some magic around goal achievement and especially if you have goals that are aligned with that life purpose and then you’re working towards those goals. There’s a number of studies that have just shown working towards goals. Especially if they’re meaningful goals creates happiness and that is … The crux of happiness is doing that. There’s also magic in actually achieving those goals and so what is that on the level of the brain when somebody has some little win.
They set a goal and then they achieve a goal, there’s a snowball effect that I think most of us have experienced where we start to achieve one, another, another and then we get on this roll and we’re in this beautiful, emotional state of happiness and we’re just feeling really good about our lives. What’s going on there?
John Assaraf: We’re always seeking, most people are seeking to achieve what’s my next level of X, Y or Z. The very act of writing a goal down activates dopamine circuits in the brain if you share it with a loved one or a friend, you’re actually activating oxytocin loop and those are the feel good neurochemicals and banks. We want more of those. When we actually do the work necessary to achieve the goal, then we’re activating the neurochemistry of confidence and of being in motion towards our goals and dreams, so there’s entire neurochemistry that happens in the brain that when we’re in action we feel the adrenaline, the endorphins, the dopamine, the oxytocin. Those are all the feel good chemicals that are in most cases move me forward towards type of neurochemistry.
When we have these, the neurochemistry of, “Am I smart enough to achieve that? Am I good enough to achieve that?” What if I try this and I fail? What if I’m judged? What if I’m embarrassed? What if I’m ridiculed?” We’re activating or automatically those neuro circuits are activated and those are the chemicals that actually put the break on. Motivation goes down, break goes on.
For a lot of people what happens Ari, is that they have one foot on the gas. I want this, I want this let’s go and do this, but then they have another foot on the break and there’s a lot of activity but they’re staying in place. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of activity, the car is shaking but it’s spinning its wheels not getting too far ahead.
What stops people from achieving goals
Ari Whitten: Very interesting. What are some of the roadblocks as far as why people don’t achieve their goals? What’s going on with that? What’s stopping people from getting on that roll of … that snowball effect of goal achievement?
John Assaraf: Just like your heart does a certain function or multiple functions, your lungs do certain functions, your legs, hands have certain functions, your brain and different parts of your brain has different functions. When somebody sets a goal, they’re using deductive reasoning, they’re using imagination, and it releases some of the neurochemicals that feel good, but since the brain is wired for a couple of key things. Number one is your safety first, so you make sure you’re safe, but the brain doesn’t discern between something real or imagined.
The non-conscious or subconscious part of it. When you set a goal to achieve something you haven’t achieved yet, the brain has to analyze what risk is there in you achieving that. Could you get emotionally hurt? Could you get financially hurt? Could you get physically hurt? Could you get spiritually hurt? It analyzes what the risks are and the consequences of those risks in nanoseconds and then brings to your consciousness this emotion of the risk. It brings you the emotion of the risk, it brings you the self-talk of having doubts, having fears, things I discussed and that is what the conscious brain does working with the subconscious brain.
If there’s anything in the subconscious mind or the memory bank, something that you’ve read, something you’ve experienced, something that you’ve witnessed or seen on television, radio, through friends.
That neuropath or that memory exists in the brain and your brain’s response is to go into that memory and bring forth any potential risk to you as I mentioned just a moment ago. Anytime there’s potential risk that’s real or imagined the break goes up, caution goes up. Caution goes on. That’s an automatic, you don’t even have to think about a response.
There’s a huge difference between setting goals and achieving goals. Setting goals happens at the conscious level of the brain, achieving goals happens at the subconscious level of the brain. What most people don’t know but science is now showing us, is if there’s a disconnect between what your goals you have consciously and the programming you have subconsciously you have neural dissonance or cognitive dissonance.
That dissonance is that tension between what you want and all the things that have conditioned or programmed the subconscious level. What we need in order for us to have a goal achievement when we have a momentum going forward, is we need neural coherence.
Another way to think of it is, imagine in your head it’s like an orchestra. There’s the conductor and then there are different musicians playing different instruments. When they’re in harmony it’s, “Oh my God it’s beautiful.” All the instruments work well together and everybody feels that they like whatever the type music they’re listening to. When the instruments are not in harmony, there’s chaos like, “That doesn’t sound really good.”
That’s what happens in people’s brains when they don’t have coherence or harmony between their conscious goals and the old subconscious condition that they had.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, fascinating. You’ve just reminded me of one study that I came across recently about goal achievement and they were looking at goal achievement and how it correlates with different not mental illnesses, but mental tendencies, depression, anxiety and so on. One of the things they found in people with chronic anxiety is that their goals, their pursuit of goals was all about how can I achieve this goal in order to minimize my risk of a negative outcome? Their whole direction in life as far as how they were … what they were trying to achieve was about, how can I avoid so and so negative outcome? Instead of how can I get this wonderful outcome that I actually want?
It’s, all I want to do is just avoid these stuff I don’t want. It’s fascinating how something like anxiety and fear can direct our whole direction in life and what kinds of goals we’re actually pursuing and whether those goals are actually going to lead to our happiness or just minimizing some potential for something bad to happen. I think that’s a really significant piece of this is how fear and anxiety relate to this whole goal achievement thing.
The 50 shades of fear
John Assaraf: When we were talking about fear, I love to dialogue with you all the time because you bring up some great points. When we’re dealing with fear, there are over 50 different types of fears that we all have at one point or another.
What’s beautiful about knowing that is regardless of what the fear is, it triggers the exact same circuit so there aren’t 50 different circuits. The fear circuit is a fear circuit and once you understand what fear you might have, what may be causing you the stress or the anxiety. See anxiety and stress, the way I think is the equivalent of driving a car. When a light comes up on your dashboard, most people you know what they do when that light comes on in relation to it being stressed, they take a hammer and they hit the light so the light goes out.
As opposed to just go, “Oh, the light just went on. What’s happening in the engine?” Stress, anxiety, panic. That’s a response. Something that’s happening as a result of either external stimuli or an internal thought pattern. Whether you’re aware of it or not. The effect, the recall stress or anxiety is a signal. All that is, is a signal, but we as humans have never taught what are your six core emotions? How do they feel in relationship to each other? Do you know how to turn one on, turn one off? Once they go, “No,” I go, “Let me ask you a question. What do you think a Hollywood actor or actress learns how to do on demand? They learn how to get really angry.” Oh my God that was so freaking funny.
You can on demand flip the switch from one emotion to another. Which means if you can learn how to recognize the effect of what’s happening in here, you can go, “Hmm, I’m in this vibration that’s unpleasant.” Or, “I’m in this vibration that I don’t like this.” Do you know how to let go of that? Do you know how to activate and deactivate the circuits in your own brain? I know the answer for most people’s no, and that’s because we’ve only learned most of the stuff that we know about the human brain the last 20 years and in the last five years, if you think about two and a half million years we’ve been walking on earth in one form of human or another, but the last five years we’ve learned more than the 2,395,900 whatever years.
When learning about the circuits, when learning about fear, when learning about anxiety, when learning about self-conflict, when learning about what motivates us, what doesn’t, what stresses us out, what causes us to be elated and happy and what causes us to be depressed and anxious and … We’re learning more now than we ever have and the reason I’m so passionate about the brain is it holds the answers and the keys to unlock our brain’s hidden potential. That’s the power. When you understand how to use your brain just a little better, the growth of your personal life is exponential.
How to use your brain to stop anxiety and fear
Ari Whitten: How does one begin to do that? Let’s say someone is in that chronic state of fear, a chronic state of anxiety, and maybe they’re paralyzed. Maybe they don’t even have any goals they’re working towards because the fear of negative outcomes is so strong that they don’t want to work towards anything for fear of disappointment. Or, the goals they have set for themselves are really more about how can I avoid a negative outcome rather than how can I create the kind of life I want for myself.
John Assaraf: Earlier we talked about the brain’s number one responsibility is safety. When we are in an environment that we feel safe, even if we’re miserable, depressed, anxious, sad. If we feel safe there because we’ve gotten comfortable there, the brain’s responsibility is to keep in your homeostasis or comfort zone. The first thing to understand if somebody is frozen with fear, they may have created a default mode network of fear. That’s the way they operate every single day. The first thing to understand is that there’s hope for you, second thing is it’s not your fault. The brain is really, really, really smart but then you have to give it a little nudging to reactivate some of its genius once a pattern is developed.
We operate our entire lives mostly on patterns that have become ingrained and encoded in the subconscious mind. The first thing to be aware is if you happen to be frozen with fear, or if you happen to have this emotional pattern that’s destructive instead of constructive, that’s disempowering instead of powerful. Expiring versus inspiring. If you happen to be that person, first thing you could do really, really simple. I’ll give you two what I call are innercises. Exercises are for your muscles, but innercises are for your neural muscles. It’s called innercise.
#1 Take six innercise
Number one is called Take Six. Take six calms the circuits. When we’re in this fearful state, stressed state, anxiety state, panic state, whatever that is we know that chances are if the medulla is fired, the fear center’s activated.
The motivational center has deactivated, your genius thinking center has deactivated because all the blood flow is moving away from that part of your brain. What we have to do is flip the switch and turn the switch. First step is on take six. You sit quietly and take six to 10 deep breaths in a rhythmic fashion. Six to 10. Why six to 10? When the fear circuit is on, you have to actually calm that circuit down so you can activate the other circuits. You can’t have both circuits on at the same time for the most part. The first thing to do is go to step one. It’s calm the circuit. Just breathe. Let’s say you do that 10 times.
#2 AIA innercise
That’s innercise number one, but innercise number two is a really good, it’s called A-I-A and I pronounce it AIA.
What’s AIA? AIA is activating another part of your brain called the part of your brain that can be aware of itself. You start getting to awareness. You’re aware, now I’m anxious. I’m afraid. What are you afraid of? I’m afraid of failing, I’m afraid of being judged. In a calm state. When the stress circuit is on, you’re in a reactive state. When you deactivate that stress circuit, you could be in a calm state that can respond instead of being in a reactive state. Two different circuits we’re bringing. AIA is awareness. What am I thinking? What thoughts are percolating in my mind? What am I feeling? What are my sensations? What’s my behavior been that’s causing me to be in this state?
That’s the awareness. That’s A fro AIA. I is, and this is where your power is. Just pay close attention. AIA is what’s my intention? Is my intention to be stressed, fearful, anxiety, is that my intention? Breathe. No, that’s not my intention. I want to be happy, I want to be vibrant. I want to do my best, be my best, have and give as much as I can. That’s my intention. Good, good, good. Start to feel that. Then the next A in AIA is action. What’s one thing? Not 10. What’s one thing you could do right now to move you one step towards what you want to do, be, have or become?
You do calm the circuits first just to give yourself the ability to respond, then you go AIA, and then you can go, “Okay I can do one thing.”
If you can do one thing right now, can you possibly do another one tomorrow? Yeah. Once you practice just getting a neurochemistry right, getting the circuits working well, working for you, you’re able to activate other parts of your brain, imagination, creativity, the Einstein.
Have Einstein over here because the left three frontal cortex, that’s the part of our brain that’s like the GPS to the universe and part of the part of our brain that is the seal, the executive, it comes up with, I can do this, but I could also do that. That part of your brain shuts down when the other Frankenstein opens up. You either have Einstein working or Frankenstein working.
Frankenstein wants you to keep you stuck, playing small, living in your misery and sorrow or depression. Einstein wants to figure out how can I solve the riddles of the universe? Both are powerful, both need to be learned how to use properly.
The disappointment avoidance
Ari Whitten: Yeah. It’s interesting that you bring that up and I want to delve a little deeper into this concept because I think it’s so vitally important and it’s hard to grasp. This concept of disappointment avoidance, and the fact that it’s possible to have your whole life directed in a way that is about avoiding disappointment versus creating … consciously creating your ideal life, and these are really totally different ways of being oriented to the world. Can you explain a little bit about how that works?
John Assaraf: Yeah. if you think about being a child, let’s go back to being children. For the most part you have a beautiful son. A year old son. He’s just in his environment just absorbing everything. He’s not really started to think why am I doing this? Why am I not doing this? Is this good, is this bad? He’s learning, Matteo, don’t do that sweetheart. Matteo, you can have that. No, don’t do that. He’s learning this concept of move towards this, move away from this. He’s learning this concept of what his environment is. His teachers, his parents, his protectors are giving him is what to move towards, what to move away from.
What happens when we’re three years old, five years old, seven years old, nine years old we try certain things and what is most … What do most children do after they fall off a bike or they do something that they’re not sure how to react.
They look at their parent. Am I going to get reprimanded or am I going to get praised? We want to have the people around us love us because it feels good. When we disappoint ourselves because we tried something and failed but we didn’t learn that failure is nothing more than feedback, most people don’t disassociate what they tried with who they are. Failure is just feedback but most people don’t learn that. The frame they have for failure is failure’s bad, and succeeding is good. Although sometimes success could be bad. We won’t go there.
Disappointment avoidance fits into one of the biggest fears that people have is if I try my best and it doesn’t work out, most people think that I guess I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not worthy, I can’t figure this out.
They create this personal relationship with effort and failure and identity. Why would I want to do something that would sweep away another piece of myself when I’ve freaking swept up enough of those away, I need to put some back on. Whenever we have a goal that we don’t know how to achieve or a goal that we tried before and failed because we may have done something when we were too young, too old or whatever the case may be. The reaction of the brain is avoidance of pain. Emotional, physical, whatever. First, that’s the first line of defense. That is the default of the brain. What do we do? Take six. Calm the circuit first. Calm the fear circuit first. Calm the uncertainty circuit first.
Calm the stress, the anxiety circuit first. That’s step one. Then AIA, awareness of thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, behaviors. What’s my intention? My intention’s to achieve the goal, my intention’s to be successful, my intention’s to learn what I need to learn. My intention’s to learn what I need. What’s one action step you can move forward? We can use this framework for absolutely everything. Two amazing innercises of many.
Ari Whitten: Beautiful. One thing that strikes me is just it’s remarkable how many different ways it’s possible for our brains to be wired in, and how it completely changes our orientation to the world and I’ll give you one example of what I mean.
When I was in my Ph.D. program for clinical psychology we did a lot of work around understanding personality development. Different kinds of personalities, narcissistic personalities, depressive personalities, what are called schizoid personalities and traditional psychoanalytic thinking and then even things like masochistic personalities. Masochistic personality is a really interesting thing and by the way to be clear for everyone listening, I’m not talking about personality disorders. I’m talking about personality structures. Ways of orienting yourself to the world. Ways of defending the ego, ways of attaining one’s needs, pleasure, love and so on.
It’s possible to be oriented into the world in radically different ways and this masochistic personality gives some insight into that. What it is, if you’ve ever known someone who always seems to be having some crisis. There’s always something wrong, there’s always some big drama in their lives. Every two days they’re calling you and crying and there’s some new disaster and …
The thinking on this kind of personality from a traditional psychoanalytic view is that if you imagine a little girl.
A four year, a five-year-old girl who has parents who are otherwise very neglectful and just don’t pay much attention to her, don’t give her much love and then one day she falls off her bike and skins her knee and breaks her arm or something like that. Then all of a sudden the parents rush over and they’re, “Oh my gosh, are you okay? What can we do for you? Let’s take care of you.” Then for a few weeks after that when she’s in a cast and they’re nursing injuries, they’re paying a lot of attention to her, giving her a lot of love. If that kind of experience happens enough, it’s possible for the brain to actually learn I can get love and attention and the things that I need in life by having problems. By having pain.
By me suffering I will get things that I want. My point in pointing this kind of personality out is that it’s possible to be wired … for your brain to get wired in a way that is ultimately almost totally counterproductive and is guaranteed to cause you a massive amount of suffering in your life.
I think where I’m going with this is neuroplasticity and just the recognition that it’s possible to unlearn certain ways of being. If you first recognize them and you want to be in a different way of relating to other people and world around you, we have this neuroplasticity element that gives us this possibility for change and I think this really lends itself well to your work which is really all about how can we use this concept of neuroplasticity to rewire our brain to get the kind of life we want
How you can train your brain to earn more money
John Assaraf: I did lessons all over the world. Does that mean that if somebody’s making $50,000 a year that’s what they are neuroplasticity wise wired to earn? Yeah. Even though they’re capable of achieving 120,000? Yeah. If somebody is making $1,000,000 a year, that means they have become wired to earn that? Yeah. Can that be created? Yes. The opposite of that is somebody wins the lottery and 86% of them, because they don’t have the neural network of winning that or having that money and that being their normal environment, 86% of them will lose the money within three years and say it’s the worst experience of their life, because the environment outside of the money, the cars, the houses, the trips don’t or doesn’t match the internal pattern in their brain.
They get rid of all of it and they wonder what happened. It’s the exact polar opposite of somebody who’s a millionaire, who loses their money and all of a sudden within a two year or three or four year period of time they’re millionaires again because that neuro structure is already in place and they have to rise to the level of neuroplasticity. Your brain makes 100% certain, not I need to. 100% certain that your external world matches the internal map. The internal map is neuroplasticity wiring in the brain or the brain cells wiring this neuroplasticity in the brain, so-
Ari Whitten: It’s fascinating.
John Assaraf: -activate those neuroplasticity or the neuroplasticity switch, now we know what it takes to do that.
Ari Whitten: I think one of the big barriers is most people are totally unconscious of whatever their programming is and they’re behaving in these ways without actually having any awareness of their behavior patterns and their brains set points and how they’re brain is wired to get pleasure and love and affection and happiness in mind [crosstalk ].
John Assaraf: Everybody was built to fill this blank. In the United States, we’re creatures of?
Ari Whitten: Habit.
John Assaraf: Habit. What is a habit? It’s a pattern in the brain that’s been reinforced overtime that just runs automatically without thought. 95 plus percent of our daily thoughts emotions, behaviors are patterns. They’re just running themselves to conserve energy which is brain’s number two lock.
What John does to help fix peoples problems and finding their life purpose
Ari Whitten: How does this factor into your work? I think this is the perfect segue. Let’s talk about what you do. We’ve talked about all these problems and all these different ways the brain can be wired. How does this actually figure into what you do and how do you work on fixing these problems?
John Assaraf: The body of work that I’m fascinated with, how can we live in a world right now where all the how to exist. For example, how to solve this Rubik’s Cube, how to solve this Rubik’s Cube. We know how. How is it possible that we know how to lose weight and keep it off? How is it we know how to double or triple our income? How is it we know how to have a great relationship, but we don’t do how we know how. What’s happening in here?
What I do, my company NeuroGym works with some of the top researchers in the world in understanding self-esteem, self-worth, doubts, fears, anxieties, stress, belief systems, limiting beliefs, empowering beliefs.
How these things drive behavior and how do we help people develop these empowering beliefs, emotional management and behaviors to double, triple, quadruple their income or business, to get healthier, to be happier. That’s what we do.
Fortunately, I get to work with people from Harvard and Oxford and Pepperdine and Stanford and all the great universities in the world, because of what we do and then we bring that information to the general public and to corporations so that the individual can actually take what we learn and apply it in their life. One of the things that we focus on a lot is … I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life and so I’ve been fortunate to have made some good amounts of money, that gives me some freedoms in my life.
We teach people how to make more money whether they’re 24 years old or 81 years old, like many of our clients, and we focus not necessarily on money making skills, but we focus on the things that have to happen in your mind that will allow you to actually take action and overcome the things that are holding you back.
Ari Whitten: Beautiful. I know that just a few days ago you did something called the Brainathon which is the big event of the year where you do this big event, you bring in neuroscientists, world renown neuroscientists and neuroscience experts from all over the world and you have them on this live event. It just happened a few days ago on last Saturday I believe, and it was excellent. I can say myself that now that I’ve watched it, some of these segments with these neuroscience experts were mind-blowing. Can people get access to the replay of that? I think you still have it going on until this coming weekend, is that correct?
John Assaraf: We actually have an encore presentation this weekend. We had over 100,000 people sign up for it, and many of them that signed up couldn’t make it, so we decided to do an encore presentation. We’ll provide a link for anybody who’s watching. It’s free, they can sign up and it’s going to be about seven and a half hours, eight hours. People can just sign up and just join us for two hours, go off and do some stuff, come back and they’ll learn the most advanced ways to recognize what’s holding them back and then learn how to release it for good so that they are empowered versus disempowered. There’s a lot of little things we could do temporarily.
I like permanent change of the positive kind, and so we’re going to teach people for example Doctor Sam [McCoy] from Oxford is one of the leading experts in the world on neuroplasticity, how to re-fire the brain, to rewire it with positivity, with empowering habits, empowering skills. Doctor Srini Pillay from Harvard. When we talked about the subconscious mind and how to access and unlock its amazing genius potential.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, he’s awesome by the way. I really enjoyed his segment.
John Assaraf: Doctor Shelley Carson also from Harvard on creativity, imagination and the brain how to unlock that part of the brain so you can come up with solutions, to becoming wealthier versus all the reasons why you can’t be. Then we’ve got a lot of our clients who are learning innercises to be able to get what they want in life. Faster and easier, so we’ll give everybody a link if they want to join us-
Ari Whitten: Your team just sent me a link here. It’s brainathon123.com/ari. Brainathon all one word. Brain, letter A and then thon T-H-O-N .com/ari.
John Assaraf: Brainathon123.
Ari Whitten: Oh, did I skip the 123, okay. Brinathon123.com/ari. John thank you so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure to just hang out with you and have nice conversation and we’re recording it, so we get to share it with the world, but as always such a pleasure my friend and thank you so much for coming on and sharing your wisdom with everyone.
John Assaraf: Thank you, Ari. Thank you for the amazing love and work that you do in the world. You’re a shining light that’s helping millions of people, so thank you for the work you do too my friend.
Ari Whitten: Thank you, brother. I appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your day.
John Assaraf: You too.
Why Having Goals And A Life Purpose Boost Your Energy – Show Notes
The link between goals and life purpose and energy (6:38)
How everyone has a life purpose (9:09)
How to idenify your own life purpose (12:02)
How much energy your body actually contains (17:28)
How aligning with your life purpose affects your brain (18:38)
What stops people from achieving goals (21:16)
The 50 shades of fear (26:16)
How to use your brain to stop anxiety and fear (29:38)
#1 Take six innercise (31:42)
#2 AIA innercise (32:42)
The disappointment avoidance (35:42)
How you can train your brain to earn more money (42:58)
What John does to help fix peoples problems and finding their life purpose (45:38)
Check out the Brain-a-thon here!