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Daniel Gefen On Self Help Addiction and The Importance Of Taking Action

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“What other people think of you has nothing to do with you.”
— Daniel Gefen

Greetings, SuperFriends!

Today we are joined by Daniel Gefen, whom you may have seen before in Inc, Forbes, CIO, or Influencive. Daniel is a number one international best-selling author, and one of the top 25 influencers of 2017. He is also a serial entrepreneur and the author of The Self Help Addict.

Beyond these, Daniel is the founder of the Gefen Media Group, he is a big name in podcasting, and, obviously, in self-help. He was actually introduced to me by a mutual friend of ours that I admire very much, Cameron Herald, and it turns that we live not very far apart here in Israel. We are both living the global lifestyle and living in our country of choice rather than our country of birth.

In this episode, we talk about entrepreneurship, but we also talk about something that we haven't talked about on the show before, which is self-help addiction. This is the tendency we all have to listen to another podcast and read another book, and then take another online course and go to another meetup, without actually doing anything with the knowledge. Always chasing that next high, that next piece of information that's going to change our lives.

I definitely identified with it, I definitely saw myself in a lot of what Daniel said, and I definitely think that there is something to consider here for all of us who are addicted to self-help, which is how much we are actually implementing versus just chasing the next thing.

I think you guys are really going to enjoy the episode, I definitely learned a lot myself.

-Jonathan Levi

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • Who is Daniel Gefen, what does he do, and how did he end up doing that? [6:00]
  • How Daniel transitioned to podcasting [8:50]
  • Does Daniel's day nowadays include any work in his first business? [9:50]
  • Daniel's personal story that led to The Self-Help Addict [10:55]
  • We are consuming continuously instead of taking action[13:00]
  • Is there a way to get off self-help addiction? [14:50]
  • What helped Daniel Gefen get unhooked from his self-help addiction? [15:30]
  • Taking action first is the best (and only) way to achieve things [17:00]
  • Self-help addiction is not describing everyone [20:00]
  • You should take action the moment you feel inspired to do so [21:00]
  • There is no need to commit, and no need to worship others [25:55]
  • Don't be afraid to stand on your own pedestal [29:00]
  • You don't know how things will unfold [29:50] 
  • Setting a big goal does not guarantee results [33:15]
  • What is Daniel's take on the importance of knowing your why? [35:10]
  • Why does DanielGefen believe that there are 2 sides to the story of success? [36:00]
  • You should accept your current reality, and still find the reason to grow [38:00]
  • What are some SuperHuman habits Daniel Gefen utilizes? [41:00]
  • The importance of connecting with your inner child [41:40]

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Daniel Gefen:

“I used to look for the one. The one book that would change my life.”
“We're supposed to take action. But, instead, what we do is to look for the next thing we can consume.”
“While we are consuming, we are justifying.”
“I started to realize that my thoughts and feelings were controlling me, instead of the other way around.”
“If you take the action, your feelings will follow.”
“In order to make it happen, I needed to take the action first.”
“Do what you feel is right for you.”
“Don't be afraid to stand on your own pedestal!”
“You should be your own superhero!”
“Life reveals itself to you the more you take action.”


Introduction: Welcome to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.

Jonathan Levi: Before we dive into today's episode, I want to let you guys know about an opportunity to learn some of the most important. In life, if not the most important skills, and those are the skills of learning and doing so rapidly, effectively, and easily, you see guys, I'm putting on a completely free 60-minute webinar that you guys can check out where I will be going into my absolute best memory tips, learning tips, and speed reading tips so that you can immediately begin applying them and accelerating your learning.

Anything and everything, all you need to do to claim your spot in this free webinar is visit JLE.VI/webinar. We have showings at many different times throughout the days for every time zone, but you have to log in and claim your spot. So that's JLE.VI/webinar. And I really look forward to seeing what you guys are doing.

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Greeting SuperFriends, and welcome to this week's episode. Which is brought to you by, I swear to God, some of you guys make these usernames just to make me read them out on the air. Pork Star 67 from Australia who says “Removing the blinkers five stars”. “Hi, I recently subscribed to your podcast and have signed up for your online. Thank you. I went into both with my eyes open, which is a life approach I take to just about everything. The content and knowledge of your speakers is first class. I live in regional Victoria, Australia, and I have a one-hour drive to work, and this becomes my learning and education time. So on goes your podcast along with others, such as Tim Ferriss, the minimalist, the mad scientist, etc. I love the podcast with Jeff to the extent that I listened to it twice, much to learn in that, including listen to everyone and follow no one great work and keep the variety coming”.

We'll thank you, Pork Star 67 from Australia. I really appreciate the review. It totally made my day caught my eye caught my team's eye. And if you guys haven't left a review, please do. Because honestly, we do it for the reviews. I don't know about you guys on to today's episode yesterday, we are joined by Daniel Gaffin.

You have seen him in ink, Forbes, CIO. Influencive. He is a number one international bestselling author, one of the top 25 influencers of 2017. He's also a serial entrepreneur and the author of the self-help addict. Daniel is the founder of the Griffin media group. He's a big name in podcasting and obviously, in self-help, it was actually introduced to me by a mutual friend of ours that I admire very much Cameron Harold.

And it turns out that we live not very far apart here in Israel, we both are living the. Global lifestyle and living in our country of choice rather than our country of birth. In this episode, we talk about entrepreneurship, but we also talk about something that we haven't talked about on the show before, which is self-help addiction.

This tendency for us all, to listen to another podcast and read another book and then take another online course and go to another meetup without actually doing anything with the knowledge, always chasing that next high, that next. Piece of information that's going to change our life. I definitely identified with it.

I definitely saw myself in a lot of what Daniel said. And I definitely think that there's something to consider here for all of us who are addicted to self-help, which is how much are we actually implementing versus just chasing the next thing. I think you guys are really going to enjoy the episode. I definitely learned a lot.

If you do make sure to check out the blog post for this and leave a comment. And of course, you can check out all the links that we talk about in the episode. All right, guys, let me introduce you to my new super friend. Mr. Daniel. Giffin

Daniel Griffin. Welcome to the show. My friend Shalom. Shalom. How are ya?

Daniel Gefen: Thank you so much. I'm pretty sweet. I got a nice massage last night, so I'm fresh.

Jonathan Levi: That's lovely. I love the fact that you and I are probably 25 kilometers apart, and yet we're talking on Skype because that's how you get the best quality audio.

Absolutely. Daniel. I'm really glad we got connected. I want to obviously give a shout-out to our mutual friend, Cameron Harold, who said that we absolutely have to meet. I was complaining to him that I feel like I'm in a box in a silo here in Israel, and I don't have enough people to connect with and network with.

He's like, oh, well you got to meet Daniel. So thank you to Cameron for connecting us.

Daniel Gefen: It's a big honor.

Jonathan Levi: So tell us a little bit about yourself, uh, for the people who haven't been warmly introduced to you. Who are you, what do you do and why did Cameron say that? I have to absolutely meet you.

Daniel Gefen: Oh, man. I hate that question because it means that my ego needs to be robbed and it gets robbed, gets robbed away too often.

Okay. So I'll give you a very brief version. Started out high school, not a good situation. Jumping on tables was a class clown got bullied a lot. Really didn't want to be there. Then managed to trick my wife into marrying me. She's a very cool girl from California. I'm a loser from London. And somehow I used, I used a few sales skills to trick her into marrying me, started out on a six-figure salary in California, which was like insane.

Pretty much lived the highlights, the American dream, working out of a, a, you know, high rise building, overlooking the Hollywood sign. It was just like, A dream come true. Had our first child, right. Couldn't be more perfect than 2008 came around and completely slapped me around the face. Went broke, got laid off, got kicked out of our beautiful townhouse onto the streets.

Had to move in with my in-laws almost got divorced called up. My dad asked him to bail me out, give me a job. So we flew to London tat to persuade my wife again, you know, to stick with me. Moved to London, worked for my dad in a grocery store, which was this tiny little grocery store, serving milk and eggs and cheese.

I wanted to shoot myself multiple times over the year, then quit. My job started my own company, built it up, was doing really well. Had someone pretty much running the business for me. Then she calls me up one day, tells me she was suicidal and she quits right there on the side. I have a nervous breakdown, almost shut down my company to speak to my business mentor.

He slaps me around the face and tells me to get a grip and go do something about it. I then got a grip. Did something about it. Outsource the whole company to a competitor, went to a hotel lobby. Uh, oh, well, first I fired. All of my staff got rid of my office, went to a hotel lobby with my laptop and my phone and worked out of there and pretty much scaled up my company from the hotel for about a year until the manager pretty much said to me, Uh, do, do you live here?

Like what are you doing here? So, um, yeah, that was a good year in the hotel lobby. Then what was that? The company was called jet virtual. It was a telephone answering service and a virtual office company quit. He still is around today and because I outsourced every single aspect of it, it runs on its own.

And I was able to retire at 31 and pretty much moved to Israel. So I picked up my wife and three kids. We moved to Israel heading for hot summer weather and. Pretty much was bored because as an entrepreneur, you get very bored. So I ended up playing tennis and wondering what I'm going to do next. And then someone calls me up and says, Hey, Daniel heard you got a really interesting story.

Would you like to get on my podcast? I didn't know what a podcast was. So I said, what the heck is a podcast? They explained it's like a radio station, but it's like Netflix and YouTube is to TV. And I thought, cool. Let's try that. So I went on there, fell in love with the mic, asked them. I can do this myself.

They train me. I started my own show. This was about two and a half years ago. Built it up, did over 120 interviews with billionaires celebrities, New York times bestselling authors thought leaders. It was incredible. And then wrote a book. It became a number one international bestseller. It's called the self-help addict, which we can get into.

And I also started the Geffen media group, which is pretty much an agency helping people to leverage the podcast space by either launching a podcast or getting on podcasts for massive exposure.

Jonathan Levi: Very cool. So what does your day look like now? I mean, are you still running the Telephonics company? What are you doing now?

Daniel Gefen: So at the telephone company is completely, um, hands-off so that's outsourced to a competitor of mine. I own the clients in terms of, I have the brand is mine. I own the rights to all the clients, but all the backend, all the day-to-day nitty-gritty stuff is being handled by another company. So you just cashed checks?

Jonathan Levi: Yeah, pretty much. I love it. So that's brilliant. And so you focused on the podcasting space. What's the name of the podcast?

Daniel Gefen: The podcast is called. Can I pick your brain? Oh, I love

Jonathan Levi: it. Yeah. I love it. I love it. Okay. So I want to get into the self-help addict. Tell me a little bit about that. I think that's probably why Cameron felt that we had to get connected, given my background in teaching accelerated learning and productivity and stuff like that.

What prompted you to write that book? I mean, obviously you, uh, have an interest in self-help, but the addict is, uh, is quite a long way into the self-help.

Daniel Gefen: Tell me about it. Okay, so the self-help addict. Let me tell you a little story. So this is just to paint the picture for those of you listening. And for those of you, some of you are going to sit there and you're going to be nodding your heads going.

And some of you won't. So I'm really speaking to the ones that will be nodding your heads. I'm standing outside Barnes and Nobles, which is in California. It's it was the biggest bookstore in the US I believe. And as I'm about to walk in, my wife grabs me by the arm and she says, no way, are you going in there?

And I say to why not? Why can't I go? And she's like, because every time you go in there, you spend about three hours. You just get lost in there. And I'm stuck, like trying to persuade you to get out. Which is right. So I turn around and I say to her, listen, honey, why don't you go buy something nice. Like take the kids out for some ice cream and I'll meet you back here in an hour.

Right. So she rolls her eyes and she's a good wife. So she gives me my space and she goes off. I walk into Barnes and Noble. I walk straight to the self-help section. Right. And I'm looking for all the new releases. Right. All the new books, like what's fresh. Right. So I start piling up, you know, a bunch of books, like 10, 15 books on top of each other.

And then I start looking at the front, cover the title, the back, cover the full word, the contents of the book, the testimonials, right. And really what I'm doing, Jonathan, I'm looking for the one, right? That one book that's going to completely change my life. Right. For those of you that were relate to this, you're not talking about.

Right. And then I find it, right. There's this one book that just jumps out and I'm like, this is it. This is the one. And of course, I put it onto my arm, like a little baby, go over to the checkout. Take out my credit card, pay for it. Find myself a quiet little corner. And of course, if you're a self-help addict, you know what I'm talking about, you take out your yellow marker pen and you start, you know, start reading the book and I start marketing everywhere.

So the whole book becomes, yeah. Right, which is really weird, right? This, the whole point of using a marker pen is to highlight certain points that stick out. Right. But with me, every single sentence is like, whoa, that's a game-changer. Oh my goodness. That's incredible. Wow. That's going to change my life. Oh my goodness.

Right. And then of course, what happens is I'm flicking through the pages, looking through, clicking through, then you get to the end. And what happens when you get to that last page is you get this feeling in your stomach is an empty feeling. Oh, man, what now? Right. And that's when the addictive cycle starts.

Right. So what do you do? You're supposed to take action, right? You're supposed to say, well, oh, I've got all this knowledge. Now, let me go do something about it. But instead what we do is we look for the next thing that we can. Right. And the reason why either way is because while we're consuming, we're justifying.

So as long as I'm gathering information, as long as I'm being inspired and motivated, cool, like I don't need to go out and risk anything. I don't need to go and put myself out there because I'm gathering information. Right. I'm watching a Gary V daily V so I'm getting motivated. So I don't know. Now there's nothing to do.

I just need to take it in. Oh, I'm going to a Robert Tony Robbins event. Okay, cool. So I'm going to be motivated. And once I do that, then I'll go and take action BS. Because if you look at the whole, last 10 years of your life and you look at all the books you've read and all those podcasts you've listened to, and all of those seminars and webinars you've watched, how many times did you actually take action?

How many books have you written? How many podcast shows have you produced? How many videos have you produced? Right. I know it's harsh, but these are the type of questions that I needed to ask myself. And I came to this realization that I'm an addict. I'm just addicted to consuming content because I'm so scared to go out and produce for myself.

Jonathan Levi: Oh wow. Powerful. And they resonate so much with me and I do the same thing and maybe even worse because I teach speed reading, which means I can read. Uh, broken into a week and in my addiction even more. So what's the solution, Daniel, how do we stop this kind of like self-help masturbation and actually get to it?

Daniel Gefen: I love it. So, first of all, I want to premise that with this, the fact that you asked me, okay, what's the solution that is a self-help addict type of language, right? It is, it is what's that secret key Daniel, come on, give me that one thing that I'm going to change my life now, right? That's exactly what we do.

We look for that thing and the truth is it doesn't exist. It's a whole journey. It's a process. And in my book, I try to walk you through my journey, my process. And I also bring down the hundreds of people that I've interviewed to show you their process. And hopefully, it gives people. You know, a few, I guess, tools to get up and actually go do, but let me tell you like this.

So about 10 years ago, I wanted to write this book. So I've had this book in my head for 10 years now. And the funny thing is I'm sitting in a therapy session with my therapist and she says to me, Daniel, what's bothering you. Like, what are you trying to accomplish right now? And I said, you know what it is, I'm trying to write this.

And it's such a good book and I know it's going to help people. I know it's going to really transform lives. I just can't seem to write the book. And she's like, what's the name of the book? And I said it's called the self-help addict. And she said, so why don't you just write the book? And I said, cause I'm the self-help addict, right?

I am the self-help padding. So I need to read the book to write the book. You know what I mean? It's like a catch 22. And so essentially what ended up happening was I kept stopping and starting and stopping and starting, I kept trucking. Like, you know, I'd go to the park one day and I'd have this great idea account.

Now I'm going to do it now. I'm going to do it. And it got to a point where I realized that I needed to change a few things in order to really. Just do it. So number one was I started to realize that my thoughts and feelings were controlling me instead of the other way around. And that's one of the things I talk about in the book is if you take the action, your feelings will follow.

So the problem is, is in a lot of the self-help industry, they talk about, you know, pumping yourself up, right? Positive thinking, positive talking. The problem is for me, it just didn't work. You know, I could tell myself till I'm blue in the fact that I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this, but it didn't happen.

And so what I realized is that in order to make it happen, I needed to take the action first. Not try to get the feelings and thoughts to work for me. And I'll give you an example. So I have four children now, and I started to look at my thoughts and feelings. Like they were little children and I'll tell you why.

Because when my children say to me, I don't want to go to bed. I don't feel like going to bed. I don't want to go to school. I don't feel like going to school. I'm their father. I don't have an argument with them. I'm not going to go down to that level. Right. So what do I do? I take them by the hand and I gently take them up the stairs.

And I say, I know you don't want to go to bed. I know you don't feel like going to bed, but you're going to bed. Right. And I give him a kiss. And I say, goodnight, I love you. And I walk out the room and they're in bed. Right. And so I started doing the same thing with my thoughts and feelings. I wake up in the morning and I hear them little children's screaming.

I don't want to go to the gym. I don't feel like going to the gym. And I said I hear what you're saying. I know you don't want, I know you don't. But we're going, we're going anyway. And I just start walking. I get into the car, drive to the gym, get on the treadmill. And then something very interesting happens after about five minutes of running on the treadmill, suddenly my thoughts and feelings, they start saying things like, wow, this is amazing.

This feels so great. I'm so happy. We came to the gym and I just smile and say, yeah, I told you so. Right, right. That's kind of the relationship that I have with my thoughts and feelings is a lot of people say, you need to crush your fears. You need to, you know, ignore those thoughts. You need a, would you ignore your children?

Would you crush it? You don't want to go to bed. I'm crushing you now. He's like, no, that's not how you deal with your kids. So your thoughts and feelings are, are just like little children there. Right. You can't crush them. You can't ignore them. They're part of you. They're going to be with you forever. I still hear them all the time.

That's the thing. People think that I'm so confident and that I've done so much in my life that I don't have those thoughts and feelings anymore. No nonsense. Nonsense. Do you know the difference between you and Tony Robbins when you're standing there and you're jumping up and down and he's screaming away on the stage and he's sweating and you're about $3,000, you know, poorer and he's about $50,000 richer?

You know that don't send you in him. It's not that he doesn't have the same thoughts and feelings as you. He has the same thoughts and feelings as you. Same doubt, same fears, the differences he gets up on stage. You bought the ticket. I

Jonathan Levi:  I suppose that's true that in about half a meter of height.

Daniel Gefen: Yes. Yeah.

Jonathan Levi: I like that. I'm reading right now. The willpower instinct is what I'm reading right now. And I think there's a lot of value in what you're saying and exactly. It's, it's that difference? Not crushing the thoughts, but sitting down and saying, okay, well, this is what we decided that we're going to do, and we're going to do it.

I do want to play devil's advocate though because I think. It doesn't sound like you're completely demonizing, continuing to read self-help because I think the way that, you know, going back to the trough of movies and literature and art and getting that emotional inspiration, I think there's a lot of value in going to the trough, going back to the well, if you will, and getting inspired with new ideas or, you know, Hey, maybe I should.

Try out this different morning routine. And there's a big difference between that and the, I love the idea of the addict going back for the fixed, chasing the dragon. And this is going to be the one this time, this time as you kind of scratch your neck, this is the book that's going to get me there. I think there's a huge difference.

Daniel Gefen: Yeah. So I put it the same way in the beginning of my book, and I knew this was going to be asked. And that's why I put it. Disclaimer, I'm still going to get tons of emails from people going, oh, but are you saying that because people, for some reason, don't read disclaimers, but the disclaimer pretty much says that I'm not here to bash the self-help industry.

I'm not here to say don't read any more self-help books. This is not the last self-help book you'll ever need to read. Right. I love self-help books. Inflammation and you know, I'm not saying don't watch any more inspirational, you know, YouTube videos. Of course, you should. It gives you that inspiration. It gives you motivation.

The only thing I'm saying is, is take action when you get inspired, right? Yes. Let me kind of share with you a story to illustrate the point. I noticed that whenever I got inspired to take action, whenever I had that heat. And when I say heat, I mean that your whole body is like just rumbling. You're ready to go.

You're rearing to go. If you don't take action at that moment. You've just lost a massive opportunity. So for example, I was watching a movie once. Okay. And it was one of these like father and son relationship type movies where the, you know, they had a fight and then they broke up and then the father and son is separated and the whole movie, it's like the father trying to win back the son.

And it's really sad. And then at the end, there's forgiveness and they embrace each other and I started crying. Because my relationship with my father growing up was very difficult. And at that moment, I said to myself, I should just call him. I should be the bigger one here, even though he's the father in the relationship, but you know what, he's emotionally scarred.

I should be the one to pick up the phone, call him up and just say, do you know what I love you? And like, I wanted to do that. But then what happens? The music stops, the movie ends and you go and check your Facebook, right. And you call down and suddenly it's much harder to make that phone call because if you're not in heat when you're in heat, you can do anything.

You were literally can just go out and do it. Anything, because you're just, you just, the adrenaline is pumping. And so what I started to do is I try to make it a habit that if I'm reading a book, okay. And I get inspired, even if I'm in the middle of a chapter, close the book, you can pick it up anytime you want, close the book and go and take that bit of action.

If you're listening to this podcast show, put it on pause. If at some point you suddenly have this idea to just go and do something, just take some sort of action. Put it on pause, come back to it. Almost everything nowadays. Right? You can pretty much put on pause anything.

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You know, what's ironic and funny is I didn't really implement it. I haven't read, we had David Allen on the show and I haven't actually read getting things done, but I've read summaries of it and I've done interviews with him. And so I haven't implemented the GTD system because I'm a self-help addict, you know, apropos what you're talking about.

But one of the things that I did take away and did implement is he has the two-minute rule, which is if it takes less than two minutes, don't write it down. Don't set it to do. Do it and, you know, calling your father or sending your father a quick video clip, this is my new productivity hack is instead of getting on the phone for 20 minutes or WhatsApping with someone for 20 minutes, I record a heartfelt video that says, Hey, I'm thinking of you.

I wanted to let you know that, you know, you really touched me the last time that we spoke and this, that, and the other, you send them a two-minute video clip, and then you kind of start a conversation that can go back and forth asynchronously. But anyway, It takes less than two minutes. So do it now, pause the video, pause the podcast and just do it now.

You know, that friend that you just started and I love it. And it's a game-changer because it's the difference between creating what Alan calls an open-loop and adding another thing to your ever-growing to-do list and just boom, that feeling that satisfaction of just getting it done right now. So, yeah.

I think everyone in the audience has that one thing that they probably heard in last week's episode, where they were supposed to try it out, you know, that Wim Hof breathing that takes literally four minutes. Just do it, just do it

Daniel Gefen: now. Yeah. And also don't feel like you're committing as well, by the way.

There's so much advice people give like you just gave a good piece of advice, but to be honest, you know, I think, yeah, a couple of years ago I probably would have been like, oh my God, that's amazing. Oh my God, I've got to do that. Cause that's going to change everything. And now I listen to it and I go, yeah, could work.

It could work. I could try it. If it doesn't work, then I don't need to commit, like, people are afraid to do things because they feel like they need to commit. You don't need to commit. No, one's telling you, you have to commit to anything. You try it out for a week, two weeks and see if it works. If it doesn't work for you, then that's fine.

That's another thing I talk about in my book is that as self-help addicts, we tend to create God. Right. We worship people. So we look at someone like Tony Robbins and we see him as a God. We don't see him as a human being. We don't feel like we're equal to him. We see him as someone that's just like the way, way up the mountain, and untouchable.

We can't touch him. And it's such crap. It really is. He's just a human being. And here's another thing as well is that we feel like if they say something that it must be right. So if Gary V says, you've got to hustle your face off for 24/7, and you don't take a break and you can't do that like oh no that works for him It doesn't mean it's going to work for you For me that would burn me out and I'll be miserable And I'd just like screw my wife and kids Like that's what's going to happen right? That's not my kind of life that I want, and Tony Robbins might say you've got to get up at 4:30 in the morning and you're going to jump into a freezing cold like I don't want to jump into no freezing cold nothing I want to wake up whenever I feel like waking up okay whenever my body gets enough rest I want to wake up then And then I'll take a nice warm shower I don't need to get a freezing culture Now you want to tell me that freezing cold showers does this and that too That's great, right? You know that's fine I don't need to do it though Do what you feel is right for you

Jonathan Levi: I like it I'm trying to make peace with what you're saying because on the one hand you know I To some extent I disagree because I think people who've proven themselves and who've been able to get results have a lot to teach us But what I think at least the way that I'm interpreting what you're saying is don't beat yourself up If what works for them doesn't work for you There are a thousand different ways to skin a cat You know one of the best examples that I've ever thought of or not thought of is seen Is sleep schedules right If you look at there's websites that compare to the sleep schedules of Thomas Edison Benjamin Franklin Leonardo da Vinci Winston Churchill and they're all different There are a lot of commonalities people who are highly creative sleep more and this that and the other but there's no one size fits all And you look at that and you take that away and you say okay well for Edison it just didn't work He wasn't creative If he slept more than four hours a night and DaVinci would sleep in late into the day And so I think As you know the way I'm interpreting what you're saying is listen to thought leaders But if someone else's recipe doesn't fit you then try something else Try what works for you Try what works for another thought leader I think there's a lot to be learned from people who've gone and done the research or worked with you know thousands or tens of thousands of people But we shouldn't be beating ourselves up if that one size fits all doesn't fit us

Daniel Gefen: And also don't be afraid to be the person to talk to make up In other words you know Tony Robbins says do, okay? So you can say do this like don't be afraid to stand on your own pedestal Like you know one of the things I talk about in my book is how you know the real hero that you've searched F for is actually really you like you should be your own superhero right You don't need to search for other superheroes If someone said to me the other day that coffee's good for you I'm like coffee's good for you? Are you serious Like so you know one-day coffee's good for you the next day it's terrible? One day smoking is great for you the next day

So like you know people get so hooked on a piece of advice, see what works for you and that's it You know I recorded a Facebook live the other day about goals right About lifetime mission and purpose and big goals And I said you know what I get so bogged down by this thought by this question what's my big mission in life? And I get this a lot People say to me Daniel I haven't figured out my purpose and I said well it's good thing you didn't because otherwise, I'd say you are arrogant or ignorant and they usually like go what I'm like yeah Like do you realize that if you know 11 years ago I had no idea that I would be married with four beautiful children no idea right? You know uh three years ago four years ago I would have had no idea I would never have planned to start an award-winning podcast show Never I would have no idea that I'd be talking to billionaires on a show, right And about two years ago I would never have imagined writing a number one international best-selling book. Never I would never have planned any of it, right? Outsourcing my company to a competitor I would have thought you were nuts I would have fired you if you were my business advisor, right? But things unfold every day New doors open and close people come into your life, out of your life

Wait let me ask you a question. I'm talking to the audience now for a second You think you've got your life planned out right You've probably written it Maybe you haven't but let's say you've written down your five-year or 10-year goal right Or your mission Let me ask you a really raw question right now What would happen Okay? If God forbid someone close to you died I'm seeing this and it should never happen to anyone but I promise you one thing that big five-year 10-year goal will look completely different stuff happens in your life that you just can't control and you don't know what's going to happen and suddenly one door closes and another door completely opens and you could flip it and say you know what? Forget about someone dying Let's say someone comes into your life You meet someone at a conference you meet someone somewhere you get on a phone call with someone and suddenly they've given you this whole different opportunity and now you're going in a completely different direction and this can happen any day And yet people spend so much time worrying about what's my big goal? What's my big you know mission in life You don't know It's arrogant to think that you can control the next 20 years of your life and maybe you're not coming from arrogance Maybe you're coming from ignorance It's also ignorant to think like I would be a fool to plan the next 10 years of my life because guess what? 10 years ago I had no freaking clue that I would be where I am today.

Jonathan Levi: I do like that I like that because I think a lot of us set these goals and we don't know I mean it could be the worst thing in the world to get what some of us wish for I do think that it's important to have I guess I would call them stepping stones or kind of paths maybe touchpoints that you would like to hit. For example, I'd like to have children So somehow that should be a base station that I touch on my way You know I would like to help this many people I would like to contribute this much money to charity Whatever those goals maybe I would like to travel to this country but saying in 10 years I want to be the Tony Robbins of online business. I think you're right I think it's a mistake to get that specific and have that much hubris about what the universe has planned for you.

Daniel Gefen: And the issue with it as well Jonathan is that I find that people use those big goals almost as if like okay now that I've set the goal like I've done half of you know I'm halfway there because I've set the goal.

Nonsense. Most people are doing all these big goals and writing all these big missions They're spending so much time planning that they're not actually doing And if you instead of doing all that planning you just go and take your next step What are you doing today What are you doing this week What are you doing this month? That's it Then you'll find the more action you take, the more doors open the more opportunities open up and you get more clarity Life reveals itself to you, the more you take action If you sit there and you're spectator and you're consuming content then you will not get those opportunities It's only the players that get the opportunities. If you want to be a player in life? Oh my goodness You're going to see so many doors sliding open for you You're going to have no idea right?

Jonathan Levi: Absolutely.

Daniel Gefen: You want to be a spectator you know. Great, you could spectate. Watch.

Jonathan Levi: Absolutely I think having a general direction is worthwhile though So for example you know if you're someone who was adopted and you feel that your life's mission is to help other children who came out of adoption having that general direction even if you don't go so far as to specify and say I'm going to start this kind of organization or we're going to work in this country. I think knowing So for example my mission in life is to help people learn more effectively at least right now it may change and I am open to the idea that five years from now what I may be doing in the way that I may help people learn more effectively is by helping other content creators build online courses that then help people but you know a large part of my life and my biography and my story is around Struggling to learn growing up And I don't think any of that's going to change What's your take on having a broad kind of overarching direction for the way that you want your life to go

Daniel Gefen: So the first chapter in my book and that's why you know it's interesting cause some people might say Oh you're contradicting yourself because the first chapter in your book is what do you really want. Right,  and when I say what do you really want and I talk about your why and your you know the reason why you want to do certain things. So why are you launching a podcast show, right? Why do you want to make money? That's different because there the why is what gets you through everything.

For me whenever I feel overwhelmed by the nitty-gritty day-to-day grind of life I like to take a step back and I like to just kind of remember what's my why. What's my reason of doing everything but there's a difference between having a why. And needing to plan everything out. That's the difference that I'm saying there's a big difference between the two. And in fact interestingly enough I almost scrapped my whole book six weeks before I published it. And the reason why is I woke up one day and I said to myself Oh my goodness me like my whole book is completely worthless. And the reason why is because I had only painted one side of the picture and there's really two sides you see.

What I found is that when you're climbing the mountain So we're all looking up at the mountain We're all looking at the top We're saying Oh I just need to get there I need to get to the top of the mountain The problem is is that if you look at people who did get to the top of the mountain you see people who took action massive action They became number one athletes They became you know award-winning actors actresses celebrities and then they took their life Right They got to the top of the mountain and then they jumped off it What the heck Why And the reason why is because they were so focused on becoming that they didn't have any idea how to just be.

And I remember calling up my rabbi and I called up a couple of my mentors and I told them I said I need to scrap my book because I'm going to help people climb a mountain and then they're just going to jump off at the end What's the point of that And they said to me they said Daniel you don't need to rewrite your book You just need to write the last few chapters You need to finish the book you haven't finished it and so I sat down and I wrote the chapter called Being and Becoming

And it's all about climbing the mountain but at the same time you've got to stop every now again and you've got to look down the mountain You've got to turn around You've got to look down the mountain and I say to myself wow look how far I've come It's incredible Look what I've done there How much I've accomplished. Isn't that insane And then I look around me and I see the view and I say Oh my goodness look how amazing this view is and look what I have in my life right now Look where I am right now I don't need anything right now I absolutely perfect exactly where I am and how I am I accept myself entirely.

But then of course you've got to create you've got to produce you've got to impact. You've got to do more and so you turn around you look back up the mountain and you say okay now let's go and do more. And the truth is Jonathan, I struggled with this a lot because I said to myself how does that make any sense? How can right now everything be perfect? How can I accept myself exactly as I am and appreciate everything I have? And yet at the same time, I need to do more. How does that make any sense Right?

Jonathan Levi: And I suddenly had this incredible incredible insight If you asked me, my one-year-old boy, his name's Ari If you said to me Daniel do you think Ari's perfect I would say to you without hesitation without any hesitation I would say of course he is. He is absolutely perfect And if you said would you change anything about him I would say absolutely nothing I love him exactly as he is. There's nothing that I would want to change about him and then you were to say to me okay great down.

Guess what, there's been a scientific breakthrough. You can give him a pill and he'll never grow up . He'll stay exactly As you know what I would say to you Jonathan, I'd say go jump in a lake. Are you crazy? Are you nuts? Are you out of your mind? And then you'd say to me but Daniel you just told me a second ago that you think he's perfect just the way he is You're not Why wouldn't you want to keep him just the way he is ? You just said he's perfect It's beautiful You love the way he wobbles You love the way he giggles and goggles and gaggers and his beautiful innocent face. Why would you want him to grow up And I would say too because I want to see him going to school I want to take him down his aisle and see who he marries? I want to hold his first child I want to share the memories with him I want to see him grow old I want to have a relationship with him and yet he's still perfect right now And you know what that applies to every single person I am perfect right now Exactly as I am. I can accept myself completely and appreciate everything I have and I don't need anything else. But at the same time, I want to grow. I  want to be a better father. I want to be a better husband. I want to be a better businessman. I want to be a better person in society.

Jonathan Levi: Absolutely So I love that I think it's really interesting It reminds me a lot of um this idea of the acorn that the acorn already has everything in it and it's perfect and it can grow an entire oak tree just from what it has in it. I love that. I do want to ask you though because you know we've talked a lot about self-help and not feeding the addiction I want to ask what things you do that have stuck in your life that are not jumping from one thing to the next but what are the things that you consistently do to improve your performance to be a happier healthier more productive person.

Daniel Gefen: Gosh, Yeah. It's so hard to answer that because it really changes It depends you know what I think the biggest thing that's really helped me is accepting the fact that I'm allowed to make mistakes. I'm allowed to testings and try things out and experiment with things and I don't need to commit to anything. I don't need to commit to one thing and it's interesting because if you look at yourself as a child that's exactly what we did, right? How did you learn to walk You just kind of wobbled out and just tried it There was no secret There was no secret formula or a method There was no one person that told you this is how you need to walk. This is what I did And you need to do this No you just figured it out You kind of wobbled around you made a lot of mistakes You made a fool of yourself People laughed at you even though they thought you were cute, right? But you just did it And what's amazing is that when you were a child you didn't care That's what's really missing with most people Most people when they grow older they care too much We care too much What people are going to think of us when you were a child you didn't give a damn If you wanted to pull the wire and see what happens you pull it down a wire and they go don't do that. You're like I'm going to do it Right You pull the wire and see you just want to see what happens You experiment You're playful You're courageous You're bold You don't need to impress anyone You just have this curiosity And that curiosity just sort of takes you down different paths than when you're an adult for some reason we kind of like we get scared of doing that

At some point in our lives, someone told us we can't do it, Someone, someone whether it was our art teachers maybe it was the students in our school Maybe it was our parents Maybe it was whoever it was Can we just got to forget about them . They lied to you The most successful people in the world are the ones that are curious They're the ones that are playful They're the ones that are courageous They're the ones that essentially their inner child is the one that leads the way and those are the most successful people in the world

Jonathan Levi: Absolutely Absolutely So Daniel I want to be respectful of your time I do want to give you an opportunity to let people know where they can learn more about you and where they can check out, obviously we'll link to your book but you have so many different pots in the fire How can we get people in touch with you

Daniel Gefen: Yeah So one of the things I talk about my book is the Paradox of Choice You never want to give people too much choice because when you give them choice they don't make any decisions So I'll tell them to just go buy the book and the book goes through everything It goes through my whole story I've left a lot of gaps out. So the book fills in the gaps and they can go to Amazon and type in the Self-help Addict on Amazon and they could buy the book and the other thing is of course the podcast show which is Can I Pick Your Brain

Jonathan Levi: Awesome Awesome I will be checking that out myself Daniel I want to ask you, I know we talked about again, not feeding the addiction, but the last thing we'd like to ask is what should be people's big, big takeaway from this episode? What do you hope that they remember forever and ever?

Daniel Gefen: The one thing that I would want people to remember forever and ever, is that what other people think of you has nothing to do with you.

Jonathan Levi: Yes and one of my favorite quotes ever is You worry a lot less. What people think about you when you realize how rarely they do.

Daniel Gefen: Yep. That's a beautiful one, too. I like that.

Jonathan Levi: Brilliant. Daniel has been an absolute pleasure. You and I need to get together for some homes and talk, uh, Israel and life. And, uh, well I guess how you and I build a community of folks, common-minded folks like you and I.

Daniel Gefen: For sure. Anytime.

Jonathan Levi: Awesome. Well, let's make sure to speak again and I want to thank you again for sharing your time and your wisdom with our audience.

Daniel Gefen: Thank you, Jonathan. And thank you to all the people listening, and please reach out. Love to hear from you awesome.

Jonathan Levi: Take care of my friend.

Daniel Gefen: You too.

Jonathan Levi: All right, Superfriends. That is all we have for you today, but I hope you guys really enjoyed the show and I hope you learned a ton of actionable information tips, advice that will help you go out there and overcome the impossible.

If you've enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher, or drop us a quick little note on the Twitter machine @gosuperhuman Also, if you have any ideas. For anyone out there who you would love to see on the show. We always love to hear your recommendations. You can submit on our website, or you can just drop us an email and let us know that's all for today guys.

Closing: Thanks for tuning in to the becoming superhuman podcast for more great skills and strategies, or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit We'll see you next time.



  1. Luiz
    at — Reply

    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
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    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
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    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.



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