221: Average Sucks!
Buck: Welcome back to the show everyone. Today my guest on Wealth Formula Podcast is a friend of mine. We met together at Genius Network a few years back and we’ve kept in touch. He’s been on the show before. His name is Michael Bernoff and Michael is an interesting guy. He got called out for not living up to his potential when he was younger and it bothered him, but rather than shrinking from the challenge he chose to step up and solve a problem he saw in the personal development industry and that quest led him to develop Human Interaction Technology which moves society forward through the power of communication and then he founded Human Communications Institute which is dedicated to creating rapid and lasting change in people’s lives he’s worked with entrepreneurs, athletes, executives, fortune 500 companies, he offers courses he used to offer live events until the current pandemic and leadership training for those who want to achieve life beyond limits. Michael welcome back to Wealth Formula Podcast.
Michael: I’m glad to be here. I even just loved the name and example, Wealth Formula, who would not want to spend time with Wealth Formula? That’s a subscribe right there, boom.
Buck: Well there you go and that’s the interesting part you know because also a little funny thing about you know Wealth Formula is we have this investor group right it’s for accredited investors and well there you go you’re an accredited investor and if you go to the website you just see something that says Investor Club right and so while you know a few years back when I first got into the business of I guess raising capital and doing syndications and the things that I do now, first I was like well how do I tell people about it? Well why don’t I just start by putting up something on the website that says Investor Club and boy oh boy people join left and right and it occurred to me who doesn’t want to be part of a club? Especially a club that not everybody can join right? Anyway, it’s turned out great for everybody involved.
Michael: A club with a great name, it’s like nobody would want to join the Drink Water Club.
Buck: Yeah exactly Michael you wrote this book recently called Average Sucks
Michael: It does.
Buck: Yeah well let’s start with this question for you. What the heck is average anyway?
Michael: It’s interesting you say that. It’s why I wrote the book and I wrote it knowing that two things are gonna happen people stop me all the time like hey dude, wear the shirt that says Average Sucks, I got the license plate and it’s usually wealthy people that say damn straight Average Sucks, you’re right. And then I turn around I go I’m glad you believe that but do you know what it means? And they’re like oh yeah means be better than everyone else and it’s the guy in the Lamborghini the Ferrari the Rolls Royce because I live in Scottsdale where that’s just I guess how people think is above average and I said you know what it means? They’re like well no I thought it meant that. I said here’s what your average is, if you and they say what do you mean? I said every one of us has an average in life. We have an average amount of times that we work out, we have an average amount of times that we spend time with our kids, we even have an average in our bank account, with an average of our returns on our investment. So everyone’s got an average in their life and if what you want in this world is different than what you’re doing on a regular basis, you have an average that is not the one you want. So as investors, all of us know like you have an average return you get a year and it’s probably similar to last year, unless the market did something very different.
Buck: So in terms of really what we’re talking about is you know average means not growing. Is that kind of
Michael: Average is your automatic, I mean everyone has like the craziest thing. So when I went to write the book, I had a challenge writing it because I had an average. I wasn’t an author. So I couldn’t read this damn book because speaker Michael is trying to be an author. My average was speaker, coach, trainer. Was never an author and was challenged with this book. So what average is who you are and what you do automatically regularly without anybody questioning anything, it’s what you get up and do on a regular basis. So if you got a podcast for 10 years it’s your average thing you do. Before you start it, it was outside your average. So what’s really fascinating is most people oh that, you know that feeling you get when your remember being in high school when you had to ask someone to prom and it’s like you got the feeling or you’re scared or you’ve got that feeling like I used to go to Jersey Action Park this cliff dive you want to do off the edge of a bridge, it’s a feeling you get before you do something. It’s not really stepping outside of your fear, it’s the end of your current average. So your average is everything you would do automatically and everything else is outside your current average.
Buck: So why does it suck?
Michael: It sucks because it’s not really what you want. It’s totally fine if it’s great like if your life is perfect congratulations you’ve built an automatic average that’s wonderful for your life. The challenge is this Buck, I ask you this question: how tall are you?
Michael: Ok I’m 6’6, nothing like height issues, like you know we’re both tall right which is great. How tall do you play your life? Because the guy asked me that when I was younger and I go I’m 6’6. He goes, you act like a guy that plays 5’11. How big do you play versus, you’re 6’4, do you play 6’4? Do you play 6’2?
Buck: I think I play 6’4.
Michael: Okay I play about 5’11 to 6’1 of my life and what I mean by that is I still don’t give everything I got on a regular basis. You play the part of a 6’4, but compared to like if you remember we were kids Michael Jordan was the man, we all looked up to Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky or whatever and a Warren Buffett, imagine what you could do if you played your full version of you and that’s what Average Sucks is about is, have you given all, and I don’t mean hard work. Have you played the full version of you?
Buck: At some point and this is the tricky part right Michael which is if you look at all people who are successful and what we have it I mean for example on this show there’s a lot of physicians a lot of you know people who’ve trained for many years and that they’ve wanted to be who they are for many many years and then they get there and all of the sudden that you know hey I’m here and aren’t I supposed to be super happy and excited?
Michael: That’s why I wrote the book.
Buck: What happened?
Michael: Here’s what happened and the book took me to reasons a book took me long to write. First reason I’ll tell you later if it comes up. Second reason was I work with thousands of doctors thousands of lawyers thousands of businesspeople people in politics the wealthy successful quote-unquote Beverly Hills, Pasadena, New York, New York, Hamptons I’m just giving you wealthy neighborhoods you know I’m saying that are better off than most places with Tesla dealerships and Rolls-Royce dealerships and these are wealthy successful happy people. Here’s what happened Buck it was simple. One day in your life do you remember before you went to school for what you were doing originally do you remember saying to yourself listen I’m not gonna play small in life, I’m never gonna play small, I’m gonna go play big, did you ever say that to yourself?
Buck: I think for me it was okay, I’m going to medical school and I got to medical school and I said you know what it sounds like the hardest and you know coolest thing would be to be neurosurgery, so I went neurosurgery and gotten more neurosurgery. But then what happened when I got into neurosurgery, I liked it but then I started to be like damn these hours suck and I moved away from it because I don’t want to be there
Michael: Yes so I’m going to stop it there and I love the level you’re saying but so what happens is people in their life say never again. So like I watched my dad drive back and forth to Teterboro every single day for like an hour and I’m like no way I want to do that life so I said that’s not for me. Everyone in their life says to themselves never again, never again am I gonna settle financially, never again don’t want this college debt, never again do I want to settle for this average relationship never again don’t wanna be fat whatever it is and you really mean it and you say never again in a moment you go but this is what I want and you don’t really think it through. So you’re 25 years old twenty-seven years old you get out of residency right you you said never again am I gonna be average, you make a big plan for yourself. The problem is you didn’t realize how good you could be so you just wanted to be better than where you’re currently at so you’re like I just want to a million dollars, which was a really good idea ten years ago. The problem is in a split moment emotionally we make a decision of what we want to do our lives over relationships health money and we get pissed off we say never again and we build a new future for ourselves and we build what’s called a new average and here’s the funny part, what I don’t want, what I do want. What I don’t want, what I do want. We don’t actually get all that we want, we just get way better than we used to be and we forget to upgrade ourselves and this is what most people do. We box ourselves in to what is a beautiful life compared to our 25 year old self and we’re 43 with three kids and a white picket fence and a 1.7 million dollar home making eight hundred thousand dollars a year I’m using random numbers and we’re like wow this would have been great before but where the hell’s my money where’s my time. The reason is it’s what you wanted then that you didn’t take into consideration where you’re gonna be so this is what Average Sucks is about it’s not about the overweight broke guy or girl that can’t figure it out it’s about the guy that finally got what he wanted and like what the hell I’m not where I want to be, you have an average that’s not the one you want.
Buck: Well you’re starting to sound like one of those you know Greek paradoxes right?
Michael: Which we all studied in school right?
Buck: You know you just keep splitting it and splitting it and you never get there. I mean so what’s the solution? You know can you possibly as a I mean I can tell you personally and I wish it were the case I finished residency at 25 or 26, I was 34 years old because that was a surgical resident profession.
Michael: You took a different profession, you weren’t just being a standard medical professional.
Buck: Well yeah I mean most medical students are gonna finish it around 26 and then they got to do residency. So they’re gonna be usually at least 29 yeah they’re gonna be you know close to 30 but I was you know I went the route of cruel and unusual punishment and and then quickly quit thereafter but so if you have the situation where, I mean listen now I don’t think it ends that when you’re you’re you’re 25 I mean I think I’m a little bit different in that you know I have pivoted several times for better or for worse because you know I got there, was an academic, was publishing bunch then I wanted to be an entrepreneur and then I was in medicine and then I started other businesses and the funny thing is I am starting something totally new right now that’s out of my comfort for the first time and it feels totally weird but I will tell you this that I don’t know that you can as a 25 year old project out all of these things that happen in your life and all the successes and failures and then figure, so what do you do?
Michael: So this was our plan when we first grew up. So I grew up middle class. How’d you grow up?
Buck: Upper middle class probably. From the Minneapolis suburbs.
Michael: Okay so you grew up in the suburbs I’ve been up there a ton, I do business for lifetime fitness. So what happened is that when we’re kids we grew up middle-class the majority of North America over the last you know 30 years so whatever it is forty years and what happened as a parents always told this work hard and be a good person which is a really good plan up to a point. So most people want to get out of their current situation by busting their head through the wall pushing helping you through it. There’s really like three ways. One is we got to grow and number two is we got to ask for help and that’s what most people aren’t willing to do they just think if they work harder they’re gonna get there and that’s where the frustration kicks in. This is where the doctor tries to work harder do more hours push more people open up another Center and they and they don’t recognize the simple scenario. So you said it perfectly and this is not in the book but I wish it would have put it in, most people are stuck where they’re at because when they go to change and I watch this with Corona, they go back to their pre businessperson they try to start over in the beginning again and they don’t ask themselves this question like I’m 42 now like what does a 42 year old do that’s an author now that’s sold them out of 10,000 books in a couple of weeks, that has hundreds of thousands of clients all over the world that speaks on great podcasts spoke to a million people, what can that guy do? And most people don’t up level their image to themselves what I call their identity and they forget that they’re farther along so most people don’t say wait a second how good of an investor can I be as a doctor that is now done surgery procedures for 22 years, that’s got a practice that’s paid off the building if they own one right that owns my equipment now that’s leasing nothing that all my debts paid off I got three kids college is paid for, what can that guy do? And most people do not ask the question from that person. They look in the mirror and they make decisions from like a 12 year old boy or girl instead of actually who they are now and I will tell you that is almost everybody on earth that I meet with.
Buck: Part of it is a I think that when you’re in your 40s as I am, I’m 46, when you’re in your 40s the world appears much smaller in some respects. You’re right you already have tremendous amount of success right you you know and and for me part of my you know ongoing challenges have been because the goals that I had initially set out or you know I’ve done them and so I’m trying to you know scratch the itch that I’m missing. But I will say that when you’re a kid and you say I want to be you know I want to grow up and be a professional athlete it’s truly possible for you to grow up and be a professional athlete. For me right now at 46, it is no longer possible for me to be a professional athlete in something that requires me to be much of an athlete and so my point is to a certain degree that you know certain things in your life whether they be your physical skills, whether they be you know the timeline of your life, the fact that maybe you have commitments and children, the fact that you have you know a home in a community start to make your world a little bit smaller
Michael: Maybe become part of your new average like well at 22 is not something you did
Buck: Well it’s hard it’s harder to expand out of it though.
Michael: Possibly. And the reason I say that is this is the part that we’ve got to recognize this is why it was hard to get a book done because there’s carnage anytime you change am I correct? so if you really want it to be a professional a plan. I’m not saying you can you could take major steps change your entire life trajectory and get a hell of a lot closer than you currently are a really nice am I correct about that?
Buck: Yeah but I’d still be pretty far from my goal. Got a Bachelor degree three times and you know just so anyway go on
Michael: You understand the concept of what I’m saying though
Buck: Sure you can become better
Michael: And what most people to recognize is our attachments the things we get attached to become part of our average it’s like this is what we do. So we build the life we have. So when I talk about in the book we have a box what we want and what we don’t want. It’s like remember when we used to go to dinner, remember dinner? We would talk about what we want and what we don’t want. Every morning you wake up you have an identity and people in your life that remind you who you are and ones that encourage you and ones that piss you off, every one of us have it so we got people an identity we’ve got what we wanted what we don’t want if we live our whole life keeping that happy and that’s what we wake up and do every day. We don’t do anything outside of that. That is what human beings do. You wake up you look in the mirror. I’m a doctor, what do I do? I go to the office, I do my thing every day, these people like me, these people don’t like me, these people encourage me, these people piss me off, one day I’ll get there and I’ll never go back there and that’s everyone’s life unless you don’t want it to be.
Buck: Right. But you know I think you call it you know maybe it’s this concept that you say comfortably numb or whatever in your book where is like again you do have these hurdles. If you are as you stated you know you’re a physician making a half a million, eight hundred thousand dollars a year and you got the house and picket fence with kids and stuff, making those decisions to change into something that you currently are not which may include not practicing and not getting that check anymore, a lot harder than they are for like a 25 year old kid who’s got no money and no kids and no responsibility to begin with.
Michael: I don’t think the harder they’re different. And the reason I’m saying that is, it’s still the same decision if you take the emotion out of it’s still the same decision. It’s if you want that right that’s the thing we’ve got us nobody’s asking people to drop everything out, I think that’s where the black and white thing people what comes in to people like oh I got to drop everything I’m currently doing to go change and go be a rock star, no. But if you did want to learn how to play the guitar there’s nothing wrong with that but your current life doesn’t allow you to do that so do you want to learn how to play that’s a-whole-nother story so at the end of the day it’s really what do you want and here’s the question, if your life isn’t working and you’re 46 years old and you have three million dollars a year you’re making but your life isn’t working that’s average, that’s average. And I’m sorry
Buck: No you’re right.
Michael: You are no better off than the broke 25-year-old you’re actually all you got is some toys. We are gonna die one day everyone’s worried about Corona I’m more concerned with birth. Birth is your guaranteed death, do you understand? Like you’re gonna die because you were born, you’re gonna die. So the reason I’m saying that is we only get one of these things this way question is what do you want to do with it and is the life that you’re gonna live over the next couple years, it’s automatic this is the crazy part Buck. Do you know that most people listen to this if you sat on your ass for eight months did nothing sat on your ass did nothing for a few months, you are so good at what you do in the last four months of the year you’d make up the money you’d figure it out you would do it and at the end of the year you’d wind up about where you were last year? Everybody does. I have no idea why we have this automatic programming that we do we make up for it I have known of a bad summer you make up for it in the winter, just what we do.
Buck: Yeah I’ve called that the wealth thermostat. And you’re always set at a thermostat unless you make active measures to try to get your brain to be somewhere where it’s not used to being you know. I can vouch on the money side. I don’t know about the body stuff.
Michael: If you look at your body most people don’t recognize if they look at a three-year window they weigh about the same. It’s like you know you look at your bank account or you get your investment. I get my portfolio sheets from the investments a hedge funds everything I get these things that come in the mail like and I look at them and there’s an average daily balance, an average daily return.
Buck: And it’s not changing because you’re not investing with Investor Club
Michael: You got the concept and what I’m saying is they invest and just like you, there’s a number that you offer people that is about the same that grows. If it’s ten percent seven percent 15 percent thirty-two percent whatever it is it grows at a rate. And that’s what people don’t recognize like everything here. Your body is about the same way in about a three year period on average.
Buck: Okay so how do we change that? I think you have this concept or did I think is an interesting one because again just for clarity I think this is important to understand and I think Michael’s point about the black and white is really important to take away from this show, is that you may be mostly happy with where you are and you may just be like gosh you know I just really wish I had learned this language or I really wish you know I had you know this other skill set or this hobby or I was good at that and it may be incremental things that can actually I you know make your life less average and suck less. So you have this concept called Minimum Action Progress Plan. What is that?
Michael: So against everything that the whole person love all the room worm pitches. I’m one of these guys I don’t know about you and I can’t speak for everybody listening I just can only speak for the people I’ve questioned is most people they can go about 90 days they burn out with anything. Like they can go hardcore give it everything on 90 days six months and they need a little bit of a break. Massive action gets you to burn out. So minimum action progress plan is about how I studied this I had a client that was gonna be in that movie 300 you remember that Spartan movie back in the day with the gladiators. It was back in the early 2005 I’ve been doing this forever and I’m not some guy that decided to be a coach I’ve been doing this pre myspace pre-Facebook pre-Twitter, I’ve been doing this so long that 23 years old sub 20, 17 years. And what I said to the guys we got to figure out what your standard is what your average is of what you’re comfortable in so in your world it would be what can you invest every single month automatically without harming your life? Like what is the dollar that you literally could spit out every month out of your economics and invest that would be for that. So for your health like how many good meals do you eat a week, how many times you exercise without even pushing or trying what do you do automatically. So the minimum action progress plan is about finding out what your standard, finding out what your literal average is and upping that by 20%. Most people don’t want to go like a thousand percent from where they’re at now working out to working out. What is your automatic and how do you grow about fifteen or twenty percent from there because your whole life changes and part of that is is simple like changing your language like why people don’t play the guitar as they’d like to? It isn’t necessary to them it isn’t something that’s super important to them it isn’t something that lights them up inside the way they talk about it with themselves their average communication about it is they’re happy nice to have it would be great but they’re not really serious about it so if playing the guitar was necessary and not playing it was a horrible example to your children because you’re basically saying hey listen live half your life, don’t do the things you love just make money, you’re kind of a bad parent but I play the guitar because it’s a good influence for my kids I want to show them what’s possible and if I don’t do it I’m not gonna enjoy my life, it changes things. So the minimum action progress plan is about taking about a two to three week period and finding out what you do automatically, not what you wish you did not how hard you can push yourself, what you do automatically and once you find it out for yourself you’re gonna realize you probably only need to grow 10 or 15% from there. That’s the fascinating part that’s we’re investing comes in this is exponential growth stuff.
Buck: Yeah you know I think the other the other thing to point out is I think that to me what I found in and in life too is having some goals that you’re working towards constantly is important it’s like it’s not just about getting there because invariably you get there and you’re like okay now I’m at the top and it looks nice from up here, now what? And it’s really about just constantly growing and it’s not just about making more money it’s about you know doing learning other and exploring of the things and you know getting other skills and all this stuff and I think that’s really, really critical at least in my world. I just feel like you know you know I am you sort of an unusual place in my life to where I’m starting to you know need want you know I’ve been sitting behind this mic for a long time doing things behind and trying to figure out like you know what can I do locally also just for some more interactions you know that kind of thing. I think that it’s important to recognize and not feel trapped, I mean I actually literally talked to a friend of mine who’s very successful this was just a few weeks ago, happily-married does really well and he said you know it’s weird cuz I feel like I’m done. Well he’s like he’s in his 50s maybe 52 53. But he didn’t mean it in like a terribly negative or a terribly positive way it was just this is this is what it is and it’s like we all kind of get there I guess we call it the midlife crisis sometimes but or maybe it’s not a crisis maybe it’s a just a midlife admission you know I don’t know.
Michael: I got a thought for that so this is fascinating. So I like totally go against most of the person who fell in the world when I said this is this interesting with what you said. So anytime you go for more you get a you go online you late at night you want to get in better shape because you’re going on a trip you want to get Beachbody go get insanity we’ve all we’ve all bought a video or something in our lives or investment program or something so whatever you believe it in life biology gives you about a seven day Head Start of dopamine norepinephrine serotonin to get your body going to give you a head start so you get excited about something right and then the mundane kicks in this so most people don’t recognize like you could be running a hedge fund like I got a guy play hockey with, billions of dollars this guy does in and one of the things get a little feedback are you getting and one of the things that he said is the one things he said is that you got a deal with the mundane so if you get excited for about seven days then the mundane kicks in and what most people do when the mundane kicks in is you know what they do is they rush back they want to do something else exciting and they switch now they go from I’m gonna go from futures to now that I’m going to go to I’m gonna start shorting things then I’m gonna go I’m gonna get in a goal to which and the goal is at the end of the rainbow and it’s over here it’s past the mundane what most people do not recognize in their lives is that when they do the mundane long enough they’re gonna get what they want but when you finally get what you want it’s not as exciting as it was thinking about it. So most people think they got a like they have like this line they’ve got to get to. One of the greatest realizations people can get us it’s a circle it goes exciting mundane get your goal, exciting mundane and get your goal. And most people don’t realize that the reason it’s not exciting when you finally get it long-term as if it was there’d be no progress in this world. So the way it’s set up is you’re gonna get more happiness wishing and hoping than you are in achieving and that’s just the way life works. So a kid wants to win the Super Bowl for 35 years finally catches the ball in the Super Bowl runs it in champagne locker room next I am going to Disneyland by Thursday I’m not saying he’s depressed but he’s like what’s next? The reason why he’s gotta be that way is in life you’re not supposed to stop at your goals you’ve got to keep going yeah and that’s what most people miss is it’s a circle that once you get on it the success thing that you’ve got except that once you get on it it’s there permanently. It’s not about get somewhere and stop it’s about get some more and keep going get some more and keep going. It’s a big realization.
Buck: It reminds me actually oh my god I remember reading about a Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and all those you know guys who landed on the moon in the 60s that all of them when they came back all kind of had a weird depression about them like what now, I went to the moon you know now what? And so it kind of reminds me that way. So well listen this has been fascinating the book again is Average Sucks. Can we get that everywhere?
Michael: Everywhere on earth, on AverageSucks.com, on Amazon you get, Barnes and Nobles Canada, Amazon international you can go get it in Ibiza doesn’t really matter.
Buck: Have you done audible on that yet?
Michael: Not yet.
Buck: You should. You’ve got the voice for it man. You know what’s funny is I don’t know what it is about you personal development guys but you kind of sound like Tony Robbins you know you got that Tony thing going on.
Michael: t’s maybe the size, I don’t know. Maybe we use our voice so much we burn out our vote vocal cords or whatever it is over the years but yeah we’re gonna have an audible eventually. I wrote it, if you study my background with NLP and my human interaction technology, I wrote it in a way that when you read it goes directly into your unconscious mind so I can do that out too early, but it’s written in a way that you’re gonna swear I was talking it was whispering the book in your ear and it’s really a fascinating study the book and it’s reading for entrepreneurs that you’ll finish it in two hours.
Buck: Good. It means so it must be really short too.
Michael: A couple hundred pages but it’s very well-written yeah.
Buck: Good and so and you’re giving away a bunch of stuff and I think this is a good opportunity for listeners who are maybe a little inspired or intrigued by you know the types of things we’re talking about here tell me tell us about it.
Michael: Yeah when Corona hit you know my wife and I because in 08 or 08 hit we said never again. We’re like what do we do? We don’t have anything to do if we can’t do events so we can either take the next ten years off, cuz we can afford to do that which I’m very proud of, or we can help as many people as we can. So over the last four or five months, we’ve been giving away one of our programs. So people say hey Michael what work can I go check you out just come work with me. I came out of digital retirement for I’m giving away a five day class couple hours a day for five days over the phone no zoom no makeup required wear underwear I don’t care but it’s five days kicking your butt holding your hand. And I don’t care if you’re a billionaire I don’t care if your startup business I don’t care if you’re a doctor I’ve had about 500 medical professionals, everything from chiro to functional medicine to neuro surgeons taking the class that are up that’s a line that they go in. One of the biggest famous gynecologist in the world just took last and so it’s five days showing you how to get yourself the psychological triggers to get yourself out of your comfort zone and get where you want to go and just go to a calltoactiontime.com and as of now we’re giving it away for free and it’s a $600 program couple hours a day and you spend some time with me and if you’re serious take it but I will tell you if you’re medical professional appreciate what I’m gonna say we’re in triage mode right now so we only can help who’s really serious. If you’re not serious please don’t sign up and check it out if you’re real serious calltoactiontime.com but if you’re on this podcast you got to be a serious lady or dude or something so calltoactiontime.com check it out and let’s see if we can help you out and see if you got the courage to spend five days with a Jersey boy that’s gonna kick your butt.
Buck: Sounds good man, sounds good. It’s great having you on back on the show and we’ll do it again there’s just so much to talk about and I do think that this kind of stuff is very useful you know for my audience because they are you know successful individuals sometimes it’s important to stop and think about where you are and all that stuff so thanks again Michael and we will be right back.