How To Improve Your Average Through Communication w/ Michael Bernoff
Today we are joined by one of my personal friends from Genius Network, Michael Bernoff, founder and president of the Human Communications Institute and author of “Average Sucks”, coming out this week.
Through the Human Communications Institute, Michael has helped thousands of people transform their lives and raise their personal average through his signature events, audio seminars, one-on-one coaching, and more. He combines his natural talent as a communicator, his deep understanding of motivation, and a powerful ability to tap into virtually anyone's desire for success to unlock the mysteries to building charisma, influence, persuasion, and connection with others.
He's also created Human Interaction Technology(HIT), an innovative teaching method. And today, in this episode, we talk about all of that, but we more specifically talk about how to raise your average and why communication is the hidden secret behind anything you want to get in life.
I really enjoyed the episode. I think you'll see that I learned a lot, and I know you will as well. Enjoy!
In this episode, we discuss:
- Who is Michael Bernoff, what does he do, and how did he get here? [3:00]
- The importance of communication & Michael's personal evolution [6:10]
- Breaking the patterns we carry through childhood [12:20]
- The role of communication in life [14:40]
- What does “Average Sucks” mean, and who is it for? [20:10]
- Why is it that we are sticking to our average? [24:10]
- How and why to make your wants non-negotiables [33:30]
- Trigger words and their power over us [40:00]
- Some homework for you by Michael Bernoff [45:30]
- Where can you learn more about Michael Bernoff? [51:20]
- Michael Bernoff's final takeaway message [52:30]
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Average Sucks: Why You Don't Get What You Want (And What to Do About It) by Michael Bernoff
- Human Communications Institute
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Elusive Obvious: The Convergence of Movement, Neuroplasticity, and Health by Moshé Feldenkrais
- Michael Bernoff's website
- Average Sucks website
- Call To Action Time
Favorite Quotes from Michael Bernoff:
Welcome to the award-winning SuperHuman Academy podcast where we interview extraordinary people to give you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here’s your host, Jonathan Levi.
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Greetings, SuperFriends! And welcome, welcome to this week's episode where we are joined by one of my personal friends from Genius Network, Michael Bernoff, founder and president of the Human Communications Institute and author of the new book – “Average Sucks”, coming out this week (I believe today, if you are hearing this episode on it’s release day).
Through the Human Communications Institute, Michael has helped thousands of people transform their lives and raise their personal average through his signature events, audio seminars, one-on-one coaching, and more. He combines his natural talent as a communicator, his deep understanding of motivation, and a powerful ability to tap into virtually anyone's desire for success to unlock the mysteries to building charisma, influence, persuasion, and connection with others.
He's also created Human Interaction Technology (HIT), which is an innovative teaching method. And today, in this episode, we talk about all of that, but we more specifically talk about how to raise your average and why communication is the hidden secret behind anything you want to get in life.
I really enjoyed the episode. I think you'll see that I learned a lot, and I know you will as well. So without any further ado, Michael Bernoff…
Jonathan Levi: Mr. Michael Bernoff, how are you, my friend?
Michael Bernoff: do do an incredible, I'm thrilled to be here.
Jonathan Levi: I'm really excited to have you and unleash you on the SuperHuman Academy audience. You and I have known each other for years through genius network, and, uh, you're one of those people that I have a vague idea of what you do, but at every time I talk to you, I learned something more that you do something more that you're involved in.
So I'm excited on a personal level as well to kind of dig into your life and your work and, and share it with the audience.
Michael Bernoff: Well. I'm excited about that as well. And you know, it's exciting having an audience of people that want to work on themselves and that are dedicated to their quality of life. So anytime I can share with incredible people like you've put together, it's, it's always a dream.
Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. So Michael, for those who don't know you and don't get to hang out with you periodically throughout the year, tell us your superhero origin story and how it is that you answer the question, what do you do? Because I know you do a lot of stuff, so what do you do and how did you get to do it?
Michael Bernoff: Yeah, I'd love, I'd love to be able to answer that easily. If we can figure that out today, that'd be incredible. Like exactly what I do. Narrow down in a sentence yet. I think the best way to put this is, I'm. I've been at this now for for quite a while. I have a couple of very unique skills. I always think when I say that I sound like Liam Neeson and taken when I say that I have a unique set of skills that most people don't have.
But bottom line is, um, I've been for the last 23 years of been obsessed with a couple of very specific things. And one of those is not only what makes people do what they do, but I'm one of these guys that my whole life I felt. Stuck. I always felt like I couldn't, not my whole life anymore, but as a kid growing up, I never could figure out how did they do it?
What are they doing that I'm not doing? How does it happen for them? And I'm one of these guys that grew up very, very average. I grew up in a very middle class household in New Jersey back in the eighties and I'm one of these people that literally couldn't figure out why I could not get myself to do a lot of the things that.
That I wanted to do in my life and like I'd watch other people do it. And it wasn't until I got older that I, that I recognized a couple of things that nobody out there in the world was teaching the largest group of people in the world that grew up during the time that I did. How to get. What it is that they wanted.
There was groups of people showing people how to get out of bad situations. There were people showing people how to get to the next level, but how to get yourself unstuck has been one of the biggest, biggest challenges I dealt with in my life. And it's one of the things I'm teaching with people. So bottom line is.
I've been obsessed, thus studying human psychology. What makes people do what they do? I've studied neuro linguistic programming for almost 20 years. I invented something called human interaction technology. I gave you the tour of our human communications Institute prior to this, and our big superpower is I truly believe that.
Anybody that wants anything in the world, they're capable of getting it. If they're willing to change what their average is and really change what they do automatically into what they want to be doing automatically. So that's really our, our big shift is teaching people how to automatically be who it is they want to be in a shortest time possible.
Jonathan Levi: That's incredible. That, I mean, that's, that's very similar to our mission statement, which is help people overcome the impossible or what they perceive to be impossible. What was that journey like for you? You know, discovering how to overcome these limitations? Because I, I know today communication is such a huge part of what you do and, and you believe that communication is the answer to so many of life's problems that I think people don't re don't realize that communication is an I.
If I know you, I know that communication with yourself is a big part of that. So talk, talk to me about that evolution in your understanding.
Michael Bernoff: Yeah. That's the biggest thing. I mean, our biggest, our biggest statement here is that communication is the most underdeveloped and under utilized asset that we have as human beings towards achieving fulfillment in life.
Meaning that if I do my mission while I'm on this planet, you know, I get to my grave and it's already picked out. My tombstone says all used up, nothing left and did it all right. Basically would mean that I helped the world understand that communication is the solution. To almost anything in life.
Making relationships, work, not being depressed, getting yourself happy, doing the things you want. And I had never had an idea, like communication is something we do more than breathing. I mean, breathing is a form of communication. Everything is communication. But very few people are teaching this. So here, here's how this whole thing happened.
I'll put it in a nutshell why I'm such a defender of the lower middle and the upper middle class of the seventies eighties the nineties is that. It was a really, really good idea at one period of time. And it's interesting as we're dealing with what we're dealing with in the world right now, everybody's talking about how do we get safe?
How do we get comfortable? Human beings are not designed to be comfortable and to grow at the same time. So right around end of world war two, uh, beginning of the 1950s, they came up with this idea because middle-class never existed before that. There was no such thing. It was poor or it was rich and there was zero in between.
If you watch any movies, you were a little little lost in the Prairie broke or you were like Cinderella man. You were like on the streets, or you were rich. And why I'm saying this is that they kind of hacked. The way the world works and created a system that people could feel comfortable, and then you got a human beings that are comfortable, but there was enough adversity in the world at that time where human beings could get away with being comfortable, but you still had to walk places.
You still had to wait for things. There was an Amazon delivered immediately. There wasn't a, there wasn't internet. You still had to go to blockbuster video, wait online to get things like there still was adversities we had as people until about 95 when. Technology really got in the way of all of that. So, so my evolution, if I were to explain it, is I finally got out of my bubble that I was in.
I went to college and my parents had told me in life because I was a valet early in life because I didn't have a business. I parked cars. And I remember, I remember, uh, as I was parking cars, I, I, I, I. Just would have people, I'd see them around me. They did really well, but I didn't have the courage to ask them what they did.
I knew they were doing something different. I just didn't know what it was. And I always asked my parents, I go, where do you get cars like this? And they would hypnotize me. They're like, Michael, they didn't mean it. They're like, these are not for people like us. I can star Wars. We don't have things like this.
If you want this, you have to work hard and be a good person. So I applied Jonathan, that approach to business in life, work hard and be a good person. I failed miserably. The big reason I mentioned college. Yeah. I mean it was like the stupidest plan, like work hard be a good person. So here's the long story.
It started, the story is I failed at a college, not failed out, but like I get invited to maybe not come back because my grades were horrible and partying was good, my grades were bad, you know what I mean? My sophomore year, and I went to junior college and I took a business class, and it's funny because.
Regular college for 20 grand a year. No business class. That wasn't good enough. Junior college, everybody gets to business class. It was crazy. And the teacher said, read one of these books, and I didn't read, but I'm single. I'm a young guy. And one of the books was there was like the wealth of nations.
There was all these complicated books on the economy. The gold standard of one of them was how to win friends and influence people and single single guy, 19 years old. That book, right? So the title was like. Amazing. What I got out of the book was not how to influence people. What I realized in that book was the greatest, most life changing moment was, wait a second, I can learn myself better.
I thought learning was to memorize. I had no idea that I could do that and I'm like, and I would share with people and I realized quickly like nobody cared. Everybody thought you either had it or you didn't, or work hard. I had no idea that I could learn myself better. That was the biggest aha that I got at 19 years old.
Changed everything for me.
Jonathan Levi: You are going to be mind blown. 13 years old. My uncle Ernie, who is a grandfather to me. Worst depression of my life, hating myself, contemplating suicide. He hands me that book and that was the book. And I did learn how to manage relationships better, which solved a lot of my problems in life.
But that was the big takeaway for me is, wow, I can be whoever. It was the same takeaway. I can learn to be whoever I want. It would take me another 10 years to unlock the capability, actually being able to learn as much as I wanted to and be able to do something with it. But that was the big takeaway is like if I don't like who I am, I can learn myself
Michael Bernoff: better.
I have no idea. I thought like, I literally like my crazy stories cause I love everything you do and I, I'm just always amazed at you and I have the greatest conversations of glad we're sharing out loud. Like I wish we could record it. Some of the ones we've had at genius and stuff, right. But this
Jonathan Levi: is
Michael Bernoff: one of the things that was going to say is, is that okay. You and I, I love, I love that, the way, the way that you position this, but I, I, the concept of a human being, being able to change their identity or change how they see themselves is something that I never understood. So like I remember, I don't know, where did you, did you grow up in Israel or where'd you grow up?
Jonathan Levi: No, I grew up in Northern California.
Michael Bernoff: Same thing. And I'm just getting very different. And one of the things I realized is, remember the presidential physical fitness test in school.
Jonathan Levi: No, I think that might've been a little before my time,
Michael Bernoff: but I'm old. Alright, cool. But anyways, um, during that, they used to say, how many pullups could you do?
Or how many pushups can you do? Or how many set ups? Right? So what happened was I went to do a pull up that like, what was I, eight years old? The teacher basically said, Hey, off, come do your pull up. And I thought it would be easy. I couldn't do one. I'm embarrassed in front of a group of kids. And then my teacher hypnotized me and said, mr Bernoff, if you can not do listen to the command, if you can not do a pull up, Michael can not do a pull up.
Right. Um, then just hang there until you can't. So I took that command, I watched someone else come up after me do 20, 30 pull-ups, and I'm like, well, they can't. They can and I can't. And I realized so quickly in my life how many times I believe things. And here I am 37 years old, six years ago doing my first Spartan race.
And I'm like, wait, I can't do pull ups. And I'm like, why do I believe that? Because at seven years old, I told myself that. And I thought that was true at 37
Jonathan Levi: wow. How powerful is that? Huh? Yeah, and it's, it's so true. Like I'm going through a period right now where I've discovered
Michael Bernoff: for,
Jonathan Levi: I've discovered that for the last couple of years, we were talking about this before we hit record, that I've, I've kind of gone on autopilot and it's like, yeah, this is what people do when they're in my industry.
And so I'm just building and just in the last couple of weeks re questioning like, Oh, well we can't do that because if you set up, you know, this kind of website and this kind of funnel, then people will do this. And I'm like. But will they? And just immediately, once you start asking those questions, it's like once you switch off the autopilot, all of a sudden magical possibilities open up and you're like, wait a minute.
I probably could do pull ups. You know, there's so many of these things in our lives.
Michael Bernoff: I took, I took the same philosophy and it must have clicked cause everything in her life has references. If you understand the brain, it's all, what do we refer to? What are the references that we, we pull in our brain, the file, right?
So, and I'm like, wait a second. If I wanted to get good at this, who would I ask? And I'm around it all the time. I'm taking my daughter to gymnastics and there's a rope there that I need to learn how to climb. So I paid 50 bucks. I hired one of the coaches at the gym. And in one hour he taught me the strategy on how to climb a rope.
I was scared of that for 30 years of my life. Not scared, but just. I didn't have a reference for it in a few minutes. He taught me, it wasn't my arms that pull you up that rope. It's your damn legs. So it's funny as like how many things in our lives are we wrong about how many things have we lied to ourselves about?
How many things are we willing to admit in our lives that we're not correct about? I, it's interesting, I wrote a whole book about this with average sucks. Is that like literally how many things do we go back to our default and versus what it is we want? Yeah.
Jonathan Levi: Now talk to me about about the communication piece, because I do know you and I do know you believe, I know one of your core beliefs.
Is that communication? Is that the root of so many of life's problems? And I think we know that, you know, I live in the middle East, so problems like that. I think we know that communication could solve. But you mentioned problems like depression. So I think people might have an idea of how that can be true, but maybe elucidate that for
Michael Bernoff: us.
Well, let's keep it really simple. Language controls everything. And it isn't necessarily your language. You and me talking, and I'm going to get real. Granular here right now. I'm gonna give you like a silly little, I don't like the word hack cause I think hat gets abused, but I like the word hack also. Do you know what I'm saying?
So I like it, but that I want to, let's use it respectfully right now that it really, isn't it? It was a work thing. I love. I love it. So here, here's my, here's my theory. Have you ever had a bad day, Jonathan? Bad
Jonathan Levi: day. Could we all right.
Michael Bernoff: Yeah. So I want you to finish my sentence here real quick. Now the drug companies understand this.
They know that the two forms of bad days we have for depression and anxiety, one is focusing way too much in the past. One is too much in the future. Everyone's heard that before. Or if you haven't heard that you heard it now, now you've heard it, right? And you're everyone. So. If you think about the last time you had a bad day, we have auto programs inside of our brain that control our reality.
So I want you to just finish my sentence for me, Jonathan. If I, if you're having a bad day, I can guarantee no matter what part of the world you do this, and, and I've done this in front of 10,000 people and they all wrote down the word, finished my sentence. When you're having a bad day, you say this to yourself.
Why is this happening? To finish my sentence, me. Everyone says that it's an automatic program and it's immediately focused on your problems. As you look down at the ground and whenever you look down at the ground, it's like you want to be in it. You should crush your wind pipe. You look down, you slow yourself down.
Most human beings do not realize that your language controls your actions before everything else. So most depression comes from setting up impossibilities for ourselves. Like what do people say? They say things like, I want to work out every day. Well, you've already failed. Your brain already knows that that's impossible.
Do you know what I'm saying? So you're already setting yourself up not to lose, or I'll give you an example of this. I think that depression comes and fear comes from misguided emotions. Like have you ever seen anybody or yourself look down and like you gained a couple extra pounds or your body was just a little off your arms or smaller than you wanted when you were going to go swimming.
And like you ever just felt bad about the way you looked cause he didn't take care of yourself?
Jonathan Levi: Not in a very, very long time.
Michael Bernoff: Maybe not you, but other people have, but have you ever loved him as an adolescent? You ever looked at your business and said, or your bank account go, this is not what I want. Like it's not what I want to be.
Even for a moment, like,
Jonathan Levi: damn, what are these bills?
Michael Bernoff: Or do you ever look at somebody, you know, you and I talked about this prior. It's like this thing where we're not jealous, but like, wait, what are they doing that I'm not doing? I don't get it. I work as hard as them. I'm as nice as them. What? What's going on?
Right? So I truly believe that. Misguided emotions and misguided language create more confusion, and then your body just takes on the wrong program. So what happens is when you look at your body and you say, you know what? I don't like the way I look. Or you feel shame or doubt or discomfort. What that is, is that is your mind telling you, Hey, listen, buddy, idiot.
Um, you need to do something different. I'm attempting to get your attention. You should have been motivated by sex appeal and you should have been motivated by doing the right thing and be a good person. But yeah. I'm sending you a signal to change and you just keep on learning how to tolerate it. Or if you look at your neighbor and you're jealous.
That's a form of learning how to become a better communicators. You have the courage to actually ask them. Or maybe when your bank account's not where you want it to be, if you feel bad or depressed or bothered or overwhelmed, your body is saying, look buddy. Hey, I'm trying to get your attention. I don't want to make you feel this way and I don't mean to be torturing you right now, but you got to change.
And I think most people don't really read the messages cause we never realized that that is a communication from our brain. To our mind that, Hey, you communicate best through very high peak emotional experiences. I'm trying to get your attention and you're just not hearing me. Like I've heard so many people.
I know that you go to the nightclubs, people say, Oh man, dude, if you drink one water in between your drink or drink. Charcoal, you won't get a hangover. You got a hangover cause you were an idiot last night. Like you're not supposed to get a hangover cause you're not supposed to drink like that. It is an indicator.
So I'm just telling you, most people, their challenges they have is they're misreading what's happening and they're categorizing it incorrectly instead of thinking they have a problem, they don't realize they just need to do something different than what they're currently doing.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, no, I think that makes a lot of sense.
And you know, as I understand it, it's, it's, it's. If I understand what you're saying, I think it's, it's you're creating this program and the self-talk is it, I mean, I don't know how better to articulate it than, than the way you said it, but it's, you are running a program.
Michael Bernoff: Yep. You're running a pattern in a program that you're losing and most people are learning how to tolerate in life and the most massive program we have, like I know.
Wholeheartedly. The biggest program, all human beings run and they were in a 24 seven seven days a week, and it is the biggest frustrating, depressing, anxiety driven thing that that all of us deal with. And if you can learn to accept that this exists and how to work with it, everyone listening has got a chance to revitalize their life in the next 10 minutes if you're willing to look.
Jonathan Levi: Right? So talk to me about average sucks. That's a very compelling title. What does that mean and how does that connect to what we're talking about?
Michael Bernoff: Everything to do with it. And that's the interesting thing. I recommend everybody get the book, you know, average sucks.com get the book. And the reason why I'm gonna tell you this, after, by the time I'm done explaining this, you're going to understand a feeling you've had your entire life.
So I wear shirts that say average sucks. I have it all over, stickers, everything. I'm totally into the movement because people stop me and they're like. Aiden name. Everyone's like, Oh, Haverford sucks, man, that's great. And they think, I'm telling them that be above average is better. Yeah, that's true. But the average I'm talking about is exactly what I was saying a minute ago is that your average and that's your problem.
And when people hear that, especially your, your tribal listening right now, your high performance, you're like, did that guy just called me average? I'm going to kill him through it. Through the, through the microphone. Right now, I'm not calling anybody average, but what I'm saying is your average controls your life.
So here's what happens. Jonathan and I, and I know you had this at 13 years old, you already described it. Every human being gets to a point in their life when they get to the point of no return. When they say, I will never go back there again. Like how many times have you said that in your life? And you literally said, I'll never go back there again.
Have you said that many times? Like,
Jonathan Levi: Hey, like this week, man,
Michael Bernoff: give me an example because this is big for everybody. Give me an example.
Jonathan Levi: Uh, I'll never go down this path of creating a business that is not exactly what I want and doesn't serve the way that I want to serve.
Michael Bernoff: I love it. And some people say, I'll never go back to a poor relationship again, and they put the line behind them.
So what happens is it builds a line in the sand and it puts this wall behind you. This is what I mean by your average is there's a wall that gets built behind you that says, I will never go back there again. I'll never make an under six-figures again. I'll never make under a million dollars again. I'll never be in a bad relationship again.
I'll never, I'll never let my kids get one over on me ever again. And once you accept. That you're not going to do something again. It puts this other possibility in front of you, which I call the dream wall, like right out in front of you, of what your capacities are. So the second human being accepts, they're not where they want to be.
Two things happen. One is ultimate possibility, and number two is insecurity. Cause like how do I do it? Right? But at least you're not going to do that other thing again. So you start building this box for yourself. What you want is in front of you, what you don't want as behind you. And you're right damn smack in the middle.
You don't actually get what you want. But you talk about it, you tell people about it, you dream about it, you think about it. And if you ever notice, like every dinner conversation people have, most average people have is what they don't want for their life and what they'd love to have, what I don't want and what I'd love to have.
And then to really box yourself in, we build an identity for ourselves. Like here's who I see myself as. And that's on the right hand side. It's always easy to remember. It's on the right. If you're drawing this right now in front of you is your dream is behind you, where you won't go to the right of you is this is who I am.
I do everything inside of this box and I don't do anything outside of it. And then to the left to really lock this whole thing in is your relationships. You have the people in your life that you strategically put there to remind you of who you are, who you're not. Some to encourage you to almost get what you want.
Some to piss you off and make you move. Other ones just to, you know, just to be there and you build this life. That is designed to not get you what you want. It's designed to want what you want and maybe get it sometimes, and this is your average. So our entire life is designed and our entire identity is designed to be a person that talks about the thing that we want and doesn't actually get it to.
If you ever had the feeling like, why am I not getting what I want? Here's the thing. There is a natural gravitational pull in your unconscious mind to keep you. Your identity, your current identity in your current average, and there is not a program set up to be the man or woman that you desire to be.
And that is what average sucks means, is that your average will never make you happy. What's in your heart that you really want to do what you just talked about? That's where the gold is.
Jonathan Levi: How does that happen? Why does that happen? I mean, it almost sounds, I mean, is this the product of our education system, our society, our human nature?
Like why is it that we're programmed to want to be a better average, and yet our average sucks.
Michael Bernoff: Yeah. Here, here's the thing. It's like we don't, we don't think through anything. You really think through your plan last week. You're like, I'll never do this. You didn't like really analyze all of that through like a nine page dissertation.
You just basically said in a peak emotional experience. Never again. I will not do that. And that's it. You didn't see it. All right. So you basically said, I want a better scenario, but you didn't lay it all out. So what you did is you developed a new average. So here's the challenge. Five years ago. I'm looking in the mirror and going, wait a second.
My life is incredible compared to where I was when I was 20 I have a dream life and incredible life, but based on what I'm currently capable of, the sucks. And that's the part people miss. Like, let me ask you this question, Jonathan. How old are you now?
Jonathan Levi: I am rounding out, well now 33.
Michael Bernoff: Okay. So you're 33 years old.
Okay. And what does cause most people when they think like things, when the covert thing comes up, they're like, I got to start all over again. Right? What does a 33 year old that has built an international business that has an international following, that is, has an incredible relationship that has incredible circle of influence.
What can that. Man do. That's not how people see their lives. What they see themselves when they make decisions is they see themselves as a nine year old boy, or they see themselves in a broken position because most people don't make their decisions from strength. They make them from a high, like really feeling high about something like seminar high, or they make it from a problem.
They don't do it from a very sturdy location. Do you seeing where I'm going with us? So like, yeah. If you're making a decision, you look in the mirror, go what, like who am I? What is a 33 year old incredible human being that has impacted the lives of millions of people across the globe that lives in an incredible city that is in the last 70 years dominated bigger and faster than anywhere else on earth.
Correct. What does that human being do? And most people do not let that human being that super human, as you would say. That's super human is not the one that makes their decisions. Their little boy, their little girl makes the decisions because every time we need to start over, we go back to the playground again and we almost do birth all over again and we start all over.
That is a twisted thing we do and who does that? Almost everybody.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, I agree with you and I, and I also want to qualify by saying, you know how I got into this position was asking that question in too focused of a way, because building things that are bigger than I wanted, and creating a life that is more about what can I achieve?
I think when you ask that question, you have to ask it in a way. Holistically, like what could I create for myself? And it's not just about, cause that's how I got into the situation, right? It was like, what could I create? Oh my gosh, I could cry. I could change the face of education and in the meantime, be miserable doing it.
You know what I mean? So I think you have to be, you have to ask that question in such a holistic way that it's like, what kind of life could I create? Not just what could I achieve.
Michael Bernoff: Well, I gotta I gotta tell ya. Um, thank you. Thank you for sharing that. And you're so true because that, that if anybody would have heard what you and I talked about prior to this, that was the most real, you and I, I mean, I've known you years and that was the best conversation we've ever had.
And that is the conversation I've been having recently with people I love and care about. Like you and I will tell you that when a human being is honest. About what they really want. It's a very, very scary thing. So like if you want to stop smoking, you first need to admit that you probably don't know how, and maybe you're not good enough yet to do it.
So it's scary. It's got a lot of nervous energy around it, right? But it's also got a lot of great possibilities. So when you ask that question. What do I really want at my core? That's when the battle shows up between your brain and your heart. Like your heart knows what it wants. Your brain only knows what you've done before, and if you can get those two working well together, that's one of the other things I teach people how to do is to mend that relationship between the brain and the heart and get them like, it's kind of like men are from Mars, women from Venus.
It's like your brain is from Pluto. I mean your heart's from Pluto and your brains from your anus. You know what I'm saying? It's like they don't really work well together and if we can do that. That is a powerful decision. So just because you can do something doesn't mean you need to, and that's where I disconnect with a lot of the personal development movement, because getting burned out because of massive action is not an attractive quality.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. You know, it, it, in my world, I think a lot about the brain, less on the psychological side, more on that, the neuro logical side and biological side. The way I would explain it, I don't know if you would agree. But the way I would explain it is like you've got the reptilian brain and the mammalian brain, right?
One of them wants to survive and one of them has these, well, and you have the reptilian, the mammalian, and then you have the homosapiens, all the prefrontal cortex and all that wonderful stuff, and the reptilian brain could give two shits if you decided to give up Frito lays and smoking. It is all about satisfying my wants and surviving, and so within us, we are literally physically divided.
And, and it's in some senses, it's a losing battle, right? You and I both know Ben Hardy and his whole approach to it is like, don't put yourself in this situation where the reptilian brain can stop on the way home and pick up a whole pie and eat it because you will lose that battle. Um, and I agree with that.
And at the same time, it really does need to become like what, what you can do with the homosapiens brain, you, you must do. And that's changing the conversation.
Michael Bernoff: Yup. And I, and I think that changing the identity, like I, I don't know if you're familiar with Moshe Felden Krauss. He's one of my favorite authors.
Yeah, dude, he, he brought like, he brought like judo to the United States, like the martial art. I had no idea. And um, yeah, he, he wrote a book called the, um, the elusive obvious, and he said in the book, he's like, when a seven year old, when a five-year-old born like that, fibroids are important, but a little baby and you'll see this is when a little baby is born.
Their whole purpose of life is to understand, figure things out, personal development. And then about seven years old. Somebody comes into somebody's life and everything changes. This is why a 40 year old has trouble making decisions because what happens at seven is typically a teacher, a parent, a priest, a rabbi, a friend, somebody comes in their life and says, listen.
You've done that personal thing. I get it. They don't say it in these words, but here's how to live. And I got this out of his book. And it's like, they mean well, and they give you a social education instead of a personal education. And then it's done. It's like, memorize math, memorize this. And we stop learning about ourselves and who we are, what really makes us happy and what we're capable of.
And I, and that is what I would think at the end of the day, is that. Average people are looking to get a social education and looking to figure out things, and this is what I love about you, is that above average, people are people that want to figure themselves out and not why they do what they do.
That's wonderful, but really how to get themselves to do what they want. That's what the exciting part is. That's the juice in life.
Jonathan Levi: Oh, that's the hard part too, man. Yeah,
Michael Bernoff: it's the worthwhile part. Every that's adversity, man. I got a chapter in my book. It says, it says the death of adversity. I probably need a new one after this whole Corona thing, but a adversity has been gone.
I mean, we've had an easy eight to 10 year run as human beings. Life has been relatively pretty simple. Like even people get mad that their Netflix doesn't stream. I know you're old enough to remember going to blockbuster, right? You're on a date and it's an hour. It's an hour to figure out. What movie you're going to get.
That was not a long time ago. Right? So we as humans need to recognize that all growth comes out of adversity, and it is not a bad thing. We need to reframe that in our identities is we need to recognize that our job as humans are to grow, and part of growth is mild discomfort or maximum discomfort. That eventually will be gone, but all growth will happen through some level of adversity.
You can fight that or you can accept that, and the faster you accept that, your life gets easier.
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Alright, let's get back to the episode.
Now I want to share with the audienceI. I actually recorded a video about this talking about you and about your a 10 minute talk that you did at genius network annual event, but I want to share with the audience talking about this whole idea of average because you shared. An idea that has really changed my life and my family's life, and I'm about to hopefully, knock on wood, it'll be embarrassing if it doesn't happen, but I'm about to buy my dream apartment here in Israel,
Michael Bernoff: and
Jonathan Levi: you talk to me.
Thank you. Yeah. And you're largely to credit for it. I would love for you to share this idea about once as non-negotiables.
Michael Bernoff: Yup. Yup. Yeah. This is, this is a big thing. This is where language is such a big part, and if we have a minute later, I'll, I'll, I'll cover this crazy technique I have for everyone to be healthier.
That'll help during this time that's similar to this, is that in life we all have. We have three things in life that we do. One is our non-negotiables that we do every day. Pick up our kids at school, pay our bills, go to work, run our business. We do all those things that we do, and most people spend 90% of their time doing what they were going to do already.
Like I was talking to Stedman Graham the other day, Oprah's Oprah's guy, and he was on my podcast a couple of months ago and he basically said, why would we talk about what we already did? We already did that. We don't need to talk about that. We didn't talk about what we're going to do. So. A nonnegotiable is something you're going to do automatically.
The difference between a want and a nonnegotiable is it's negotiable whether you'll do it or not. Our job as human beings is to work on the things that we want so they become non-negotiable. The challenge that we have is most people do not understand that there's a big language difference between the word wanting.
And dreaming. And this is what, where people get confused, especially you get with someone like Jonathan, you're very inspiring. You're, you're very successful. You make a big decision. He tells you about this dream place he's going to get, and then you're like, I want one too. And you're going from your tiny place to this big thing that he worked on for 10 years.
A dream is an extended want. A want is if you work on your wants. And you spend a few hours a day working on what you want your wants eventually become part of your life. If they become part of your life, they become non-negotiable. So the real secret is how do you make the things you want, the body you want, the relationships you want, the financial things you want, all of those things.
Our job is, you can't just call them non-negotiable, but you need to make them non-negotiable. Like when I was training for a Spartan race years ago. I never ran before in my life and I had to do like eight miles on Saturday, five miles on Sunday. Right. People's how did you have time for that? I said it's non negotiable.
We always make room for our addictions, things that are like we're addicted to, right? So the whole purpose of why I'm bringing this up right now is if every one of you listening said to yourself, how do I make the things that I want non negotiable? And when you answer that question and you really think about it, that's how things changed.
So how did you use that technique, Jonathan, to, uh, to, to land this incredible apartment that I'm excited to come visit?
Jonathan Levi: Yeah, exactly. I got it. I got a couple of guestrooms rooms for you. Well, I want to also, I'll, I'll answer your question, but I want to compound that. What really touched me is you were talking to a room of very high powered entrepreneurs, people who sell millions of dollars and move heaven and earth.
And you asked for a show of hands, you said, you know, how many of you have kids? How many of you. For a deal or for a business connection would leave your kids waiting on the curb. Not a single hand goes up in the room. Right. It's non negotiable,
Michael Bernoff: you
Jonathan Levi: know, not a single one. It doesn't matter how much money it's, it's a nonnegotiable.
And so for me, I said that to my wife, like what if those things for us, you know, being together, spending time together, those are non negotiables. And what if the things that we want, I also. By the way, one, a vacation home on a Lake in a forest. If anyone sees one for sale, like what did we make that non negotiables?
Because it was exactly as you said, Michael. It was like, Oh, one day I would love, and if the opportunity comes up now it's a non negotiable, it's fully non-negotiable. I will have that vacation home and it's, this isn't a, I do believe in the law of attraction when it's combined with the law of action.
This isn't that. It's like, no, no, no, no. I'm not going to accept no for an answer. And therefore, you know, we will have an electric car, even though they're making it a real nightmare to import them here. And we will have, you know, this apartment. And I recently, uh, I haven't announced this on the podcast, but we're expecting a healthy baby boy.
Knock on wood. Thank you, sir. And, uh, that was a nonnegotiable. It was like, we will. Have our first kid. And by the way, I wanted the boy first and then the girl. So it was a lot of visualization. Hal Elrod is a, is a mutual friend of both of ours and it was a lot of visualization and like, I will make this happen.
This is a nonnegotiable, this isn't going to take longer than we want it to. And, and it's a, it's, it's part manifestation, but it's also a big part action, right? If you want to make it, have it. Now that it's a non negotiable, I have no excuse. I can't be afraid. Like. We are putting in the hours. You know, we were both in the room when, uh, Keith Cunningham said a change in priorities without a simultaneous shift in resources is just a fantasy.
So for me, if I say this is non negotiable, I've now changed my priorities from, Oh, you know, well maybe I'll focus on my business and one day I'll get this, this apartment. No, it's like. This apartment is my priority. So I shifted the resources. It was me and my wife sitting on the couch going over every freaking listing for every freaking building that they're building in this entire city and and making it happen because it's a non negotiable.
Michael Bernoff: Think of that word for a second. Just even that word, like language of that word. That word changes your biochemistry. You want to talk about a hack or a human SuperHuman move, and then literally the word non-negotiable puts your feet in the sand. It's not okay. It's a never again thing. Do you know what I'm saying?
It's so freaking powerful and it works for a while. It's like I was in the room of people even in that room. A entrepreneurs, I'll say to you, how many of you are, are serious about your business? And the hands go up, right? Everything's through serious and now you're passionate and you sweating because you're nervous, you're spitting cause you're excited, you're drowning in a passion puddle and most people are passionate.
They're not very serious about running it the way they want to run it. If you're serious about it. You make it be what you want it to be. That is a very different word. Serious, non negotiable. Uh, PRI at integrity. These words that have, are fully loaded with emotion as human beings. There's a few dozen words in the English language and they, some of them are translate in other languages.
Then when used effectively have a chance to drive us to become different people. Ooh,
Jonathan Levi: what are some of those words.
Michael Bernoff: Well, I'll give you them right now. Like I'll give you an example. Like your business helps people. And I know it does. And I know inside of you there's a lot of things you could be doing right now.
Spend time with your family, do this stuff. But I know inside of you that you know that if you did not do this podcast, it would be out of integrity for you. And I also know you'd be being a selfish person. Am I correct? Cause you want to help and serve. You're not doing this cause you want to. You're doing this because if you don't, you'd be out of integrity.
The word integrity, the word honor, the word selfish, the word fraud. These words are what I call trigger words. And what happens in them is they drive you to do something. So if you're a business owner, right, and you're looking at that phone and you want to make calls, or you know, you need to get to the gym.
You have to realize that if you don't do those things, you're being a bad example for other people. Not, you're not a bad example. You're a great person, but when you don't do it, you are doing blank. So these words trigger us into different actions. So as human beings, these are hard wired generationally inside of us.
Integrity. Honor fraud. Uh, you know, disrespect. These are words that like if I walked up to you and said, man, you're disrespecting your family by running this podcast on a Thursday, and if that meant something to you cause Thursday was a specific holiday or something, you'd be like, Oh my God, Michael, you're right.
If I said, Hey, you shouldn't do that, buddy. It's not going to mean anything. But the word disrespect immediately, bam drives your nervous system to change.
Jonathan Levi: True and it makes perfect sense, right? Because a castigation from the tribe talk about like survival advantage for the same reason you can't put down the ice cream because your body goes, no, this is, this is a pretty solid decision for my survival.
It's the same thing with social castigation. We fear standing on a stage, you know this better than anyone. We fear standing on a stage more than death because castigation is death.
Michael Bernoff: Yes. Yes, and we don't want to look bad. And that's an embarrassing, and it's amazing, especially when you watch your little one, you'll, you'll see this as you go from, not scared, not scared, not scared to being socially developed.
Right. And human beings work perfectly. Like my daughter, she was four years old, we're in Turks and Caicos, and they're doing a singing thing, and she goes, I want to sing. And she barely even knew the words to 'em. I don't know what it was. One of the Katy Perry songs or something, and she went up there and did it and she did a great job, right?
And she had no fear at all in the world, and she just got up there and did it where like my mom would be like, I can never do that. But she's four years old. My daughter gets up there, takes the microphone and sings with no words, the song, and she knew what the saying. It's because. She doesn't have that built in yet.
We gained that over time. And really what it is, is it's a misrepresentation of thinking we're supposed to be good at things instead of realizing that whenever you feel uncomfortable, it's an opportunity for you to get stronger. And if you felt strong every time you did something, you would never get better.
Jonathan Levi: And that's the crazy thing, right, is I learned this, uh, when I stopped drinking, I gave up alcohol. I know it's you and me. How long ago was that?
Michael Bernoff: Hmm.
Jonathan Levi: Five years. Actually, I'm going on six now,
Michael Bernoff: four and I didn't have a problem, but I just said, yeah, man, I quit. I quit for a weird reason, but tell me your story.
Jonathan Levi: Yeah. Same for me. It was, uh, I don't need it, like mind over matter, or my stomach doesn't agree with my stomach anymore. Not worth the calories, not worth feeling off for two days. Uh, but I realized like I can, will my state myself into altered States of consciousness. So it's just a matter of like, all the benefits of alcohol.
Uh, you know. You can get yourself into a state of mind where you're not self-conscious. You can get yourself into a state of mind where you will say the things that you want to be able to say without being embarrassed. And you know me, right? I practice radical candor. So I'll tell you things sober in the hardest conversation that you've ever been in, that most people won't say drunk, right?
I have no problem going up to someone and being like, Hey buddy, that did not work well. And I want to tell you exactly why. I feel like you could have done a better job on that, you know? Um. And so like what do you need alcohol for? But that's, that's exactly what we're talking about, right? Is like you can actually get yourself back into that place where it's not even fake until you make it.
It's practicing it until it's becomes your second nature.
Michael Bernoff: Yeah. It's about change, changing your identity and how you see you. I mean, I, I, for myself, it's funny, but you and I have so many parallels here. I, I just was sitting new year's, I think it was 2016 and I'm like, I barely drank anyways. And then I'm out and I'm like, wait a second.
I help people make their lives better. I've helped thousands of people get off alcohol, drugs. I've helped people get out of depression, get mommy's voice out of their head. People that have. Abusive relationships. I do massive intervention work and I'm not helping anybody right now. There are people that look up to me and I accepted the power of my own influence.
I always say, and like I, and that's a powerful term, is I realized that I'd be out to dinner. My wife would have a nice bottle of wine or something like that. People would see me drinking like, Oh, I guess I can drink as Michael drinks, and I'm not saying that like. People follow me. And that's the thing.
But every human being has somebody that you're influencing. So you've got to ask yourself, are the behaviors that you're sharing with the world, the ones that you are okay with other people taking on? And if you're not, maybe it's time to take a look there. So for me, I said, you know what? I don't want to be responsible for one person starting drinking and having a problem.
So I'm done. And that was literally in one minute. Wow.
Jonathan Levi: That's a much more noble reason than my stomach kind of hurts out of the hell out of that. Exactly. After after 24 man, my body was just like, yeah, you've pretty much used up your allotment of alcohol dehydrogenase. We're pretty much done, my friend.
We're done so. So Michael, you said you had some exercises. Our audience loves exercises and activities that they can do at home, uh, while they wait for the next episode. And, and also, you know, I always say information can create transformation without application. So how can they act on, on the information they've learned from you today and put it into practice.
Michael Bernoff: Okay. I got a really, really, really good one, and this is one that I get a much. I got a lot of, um, it's a great step in the right direction. It's easy. Everyone can do this 10 seconds a day, that's all it's gonna take. And I'm pretty certain everyone out there would love to have a stronger immune system, be healthier, be in better shape, make better food choices.
I mean, that, that would be a really good. Term right now. I help everybody with that. So here's what I realized. I'm going to give you the three minute version, is that language is the first place that I look, anytime something's not working out in my life. So if you want to make better food choices, have more energy, eat healthier, I'm going to tell all of you, I'm going to encourage all of you eat anything you want, do whatever you want.
But this exercise I'm gonna ask you is to change everything. So when I was speaking with JJ Virgin, and, uh. Where was I at? I was a Memphis and it's a group of thousands of doctors. I said, how many of you drink shakes? And the all the hands went up in the room and I said, great, none of you should ever do that again.
And they all looked like they were going to kill me cause they sell these things like, what are you talking about? And then I'm like, no one should ever drink a shake. The reason is, is that if you drink it, it goes straight to your stomach and it's a blob. What you need to do is chew it so your body knows what it is.
Now, if you chew it, it creates a certain amount of enzymes and go to your stomach and know what's going on. Now, this is not a lesson about chewing right now. This is something called talking to your food now. Now you're gonna think I'm a quack and a weirdo when I say that. Here's what I mean by talking to your food.
We need to, we have our food is a relationship. Health is a relationship. Money is a relationship. Everything is a relationship. So if you're going to put something inside of you for a long period of time, you should definitely know what its name is, where it's from. Think of as dating, right? What's your name?
Where are you from? What are your intentions with me? Right? So I've broken food into three categories, and you can do this with anything in life. I'm going to be producing videos with this, with money, with. Help with everything else. But if you take a look at relationships and your relationship with food, there are three types of food.
One is nutrition, and that is something you made yourself with no crap on it. Broccoli, intelligent proteins, something good for you. As soon as you go to a restaurant order takeout, it becomes entertainment. As soon as there's stuff on it, it's entertainment. A little bit of popcorn at the movies.
Entertainment, go back for refills. It's addiction. So what I always tell everybody is for the next week, for the next week, talk to your food. You sit down for your breakfast, get, what am I having today? Oatmeal. Okay. No crap on it. Okay. Just oatmeal. Plain, maybe a banana. Right. Nutrition, great lunch. You order subway, you order, take out, you do something, entertainment, you have dinner.
Um, you go out to dinner, entertainment. The second you noticed what you did, your body starts keeping a record of what's going on. So this is where this gets really interesting. We're in Disneyland with my daughter who's five years old and all they have, there's entertainment and addiction. There's nothing.
Anytime you're going to restaurant, it's food poisoning. That whole job is to make it taste good. They are not there to make you live long. They want it to taste good. Any restaurant on earth, they're not meaning to be that way. They are that way. So we're at Disney and we're about like three days into the park and my daughter, we've had churros everything that you shouldn't eat, right?
Cause every once in a while you do that every once in a while. I'm not perfect. Nobody is, but for the majority, I'm probably on 97% of the time, and after about three days, we're at downtown at this little pizza place, and my daughter goes, can I get a salad? She's five. She goes, I've been eating a lot of junk.
Can I get a salad? And what's interesting is your body starts to reset. Your unconscious mind. Knows what ultimate health is like. It just doesn't know what you're doing. Cause you keep on saying food, you're confusing it when you drive to McDonald's and you say you start by McDonald's, not drive and you're struck by, it should be called a drive by not a drive in.
And when you drive into the thing and you say, this isn't so bad, it's semi-healthy your body labels it as healthy. So what I'm asking you to do is one thing. What are you, are you nutrition, entertainment addiction? Number two is what are your intentions with me? How do I feel before and how do I feel after?
If you answered those questions, three seconds, it'll take total three times a day. Within a couple of days, you will change a few meals in your life. If you change a few meals, you change your average. If three meals become nutrition that never were before a week, over a period of time, you will change your energy levels in your body.
Maybe you don't get six pack abs, would you automatically start to shift your life? Every one of us have an average of what we do automatically. That's the whole point of average sucks. So the point is this will start changing your average and your life. So I guarantee Jonathan you do that. It will shock you how you'll be like, wait a second, I can't eat that this morning for breakfast cause I just had an entertainment all day yesterday.
Jonathan Levi: So they, the exercise, if I understand it, is just whenever you eat something. It's before you eat food or it's entertainment
Michael Bernoff: or addiction, nutrition, not food, nutrition, entertainment or addiction, nutrition.
Jonathan Levi: That is
Michael Bernoff: entertainment or addiction. It is so good. I remember, um, coach called me and he wanted him and Joe wanted to know like, how does that work?
Again, it is something we put together. It's something I've been doing for almost 15 years and literally it takes a second. Great. I'm having an entertainment. Awesome and own it. Just accept that your bag of Doritos is entertainment. Finish the bag addiction. Just call it what it is and then your body's going to go, God, that's what addiction feels like.
Because when you feel like crap the next morning after you did take out, cause we all feel that way. We're getting older and the food supplies horrible, right? When you feel horrible from what you ate, you need to know that you had entertainment, not think you had nutrition. Get the records, say file it correctly in your brain and your brain will automatically eventually work with you to get your body where it should be.
Jonathan Levi: love that. I love that my friend. We have now gone over the time I've promised we would, but it's so interesting and so entertaining. Where can people reach out, learn more, pick up a copy of average sucks. We'll obviously be linking that at superhumanacademy.com/podcast or just superhuman.blog. Uh, but where can people learn more about you and the human connection Institute?
Michael Bernoff: basically all you gotta do is a average sucks.com is where you find the book. Uh, there'd be the prelaunch or the launch. You'll see it on there. We were excited about sharing that with the world. Definitely pick up a couple of copies of that book. You'll love it and you can reach out to us. I mean, anytime you want, you can go to Michael bernoff.com or.
One of the things we've been doing over the last couple of months is we've just been sharing with everybody a little something called we've shared with something called call to action time.com it's just an opportunity to experience what we're doing. If you want to spend a couple of minutes with us, it's called call to action time.com check it out.
It's a explain what we do and. With this whole craziness in the world. We've been just spending more time helping people out. So instead of just perusing a website, spend a couple of minutes and, uh, I'd love to help you out any way you'll get a chance even to talk to me if you go there. So call to action, time.com is the best place to start.
Jonathan Levi: Fantastic. My friend. I'm going to let you go and I'm going to thank you, but before I do that, I do want to ask you if there's one big message people take away from this episode and they carry it with them for the rest of their lives. This helps us make the Instagram quote cards. What would you hope for that message to be?
Michael Bernoff: Is the greatest life hack is communication, and leave it at that is communication is the fastest way to get anything you want in this world, and the ultimate hack is communication, and that would be accepting the power of your own influence. Any of those things is you will change your life faster through the way that you communicate rather than anything else.
Jonathan Levi: I love that. Mr. Michael Bernoff. Always a pleasure, my friend. I hope we get to hang out soon. Once this is over
Michael Bernoff: madness, it's got to end and the only greatness that came out of this thing is people get more time to work on themselves. Stay away from all the Netflix crap. Listen to things
Jonathan Levi: like this. Take care of my friend.
Michael Bernoff: Take care.
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