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21 ways to live a more free and fulfilling life


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"Authority and conventional wisdom is kooky. Anything you study deeper is different than is publicly portrayed." — Mike Johnson

This is Part II of our episode with Mike Johnson. You can listen to Part I here.

Mike Johnson shares the principles of the “21 Club” — twenty-one different ways one can live a more free and fulfilling life:

"21 Club" Principles:

1. Get up by 5am.

2. Give the first hour of every day to you & your dreams.

3. Read books not screens.

4. Study people who have already achieved what you desire.

5. Question authority. Every frigging time.

6. Laugh at the obvious insanity of conventional wisdom.

7. Attract a better mate by becoming a better person.

8. You easily size up people. By their fruits ye shall know them.

9. Don’t speak if you can’t improve upon the silence.

10. Limit your airtime to your percentage in the group. 1 of 4? Speak 25% or less.

11. Ditch the suit & tie. This is the attire of conformity, not comfort.

12. Screw credentials. Just do it.

13. Doubt science, politicians, media, experts, doctors, leaders & the status quo. Behind it all is people. People are fallible. People are corruptible.

14. Pay attention to the 10%. 90% of humanity are drifters. They only parrot what they were told. Smile, nod & ignore their advice.

15. Be audacious enough to realize you are often the smartest person in the room because you’re self-educated & AWARE.

16. Never let a mouse make you doubt you’re a giant.

17. Don’t cast your pearls before swine. If they don’t get you, NEXT!

18. Sleep at least 8 hours every night.

19. Spend time with your creator.

20. Appreciate everything, good or bad.

21. Share valuable content.


[00:00:00] Curt Mercadante: Well, I would love to hop in the last week you posted, um, the, uh, you called it 21 club. How would you describe this kind of like 21 ways to what?

[00:00:11] Mike Johnson: Um, have a better life, basically. Yeah. Yeah. If you get what you want and to have a better life.

[00:00:17] Curt Mercadante: And, and we already talked about one, which was get up by 5:00 AM and, and I think an important distinction there is.

[00:00:23] And, and certainly you described this already is they had the 5:00 AM club hashtag on LinkedIn and all people did was they weren't eating their desserts first. They would post pictures and they were just. They extended their Workday. So they got up at five, said they were productive, but they weren't productive.

[00:00:41] They just extended their Workday by four hours or, or whatever it was. So they'd be in the Starbucks by five 30 saying I'm productive. They show their laptop. They were just creating a couple hours more stress for themselves. Right. So we are, we talked about that dessert. Um, and, and I guess number two goes with that too, right?

[00:00:59] Give the first [00:01:00] hour of every day to you and your dreams. So get up at 5:00 AM and don't look at the screens, right? Don't don't hop into work, eat your dessert first, right? Number three kind of plays into that, right? Read books, not screens.

[00:01:13] Mike Johnson: Right. You know, you're gonna learn a lot more from a book, but the thing about a book is you settle into it.

[00:01:18] It's a lot more calmer process. If you're on a screen, there's way too many interruptions. I'm not sure about that light coming at you, either. How helpful that is and your awareness and whatnot, but a book you can settle into. It's one topic. It's got some link to it. The feel of a book is good. and it's a slower pace, just everything you settle into it.

[00:01:38] So I think you take a lot more away from a book than you do from screens. And one of my things later on is, is to do fewer things more deeply Hmm. Than more things shallowly. And that'sties in exactly to that a screen you're and gonna end up doing a lot more things, more [00:02:00] shallowly, and a book is a fewer thing more deeply.

[00:02:04] Curt Mercadante: Someone posted on LinkedIn today. Uh, he was a client who went through one of my business programs, but he compared life to that, that video game, Teris where the, the blocks are falling. He said, you know, at the beginning of life, they fall slower, but then there's nothing you can do. Uh, as you go throughout life, it's, you gotta be more strategic because they're falling quicker, falling quicker.

[00:02:23] And I commented, I said, but does it have to be that way or is it because, like you say, you're just doing a lot more stuff, more shallow. Or shallowly, is that a word? You know? Yeah. Whatever it is, you're doing a lot more stuff shallow instead of doing the deep stuff. So you're almost like clogging the drain.

[00:02:40] So yeah. Things are coming quicker, but you can heck the first three are all about slowing down a bit.

[00:02:46] Mike Johnson: Yes. Yes. And there, we don't have to do so much. He says we have to do so much and. Why not just do the stuff you really care about. Spend more time on that and let some of the other stuff fall away. Why not?[00:03:00]

[00:03:01] Yeah. Who sets the pace? Who sets the pace

[00:03:04] Curt Mercadante: it's everyone wants to do that. What do you find is the number one reason people say they want to do that and don't.

[00:03:14] Mike Johnson: Well, to me, I would say self discipline. That's I think that's what it comes down to. I, this is, this is really the core of it. If you can't make yourself do the things that need to be done, you're never gonna get your biggest dreams and your biggest desires.

[00:03:31] That's just a fact. So live with that, get comfortable with that, make peace with that, or develop a stronger self discipline that makes you do the things, you know, you need to do to get to where you wanna go. Hmm. Look at a person's life and you can see their self discipline.

[00:03:52] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. Yeah. And part of that too is, I mean, if, if you wanna get up at 5:00 AM, it's not just about getting up at 5:00 AM.

[00:03:58] What do you gotta give. To be able to [00:04:00] get up at 5:00 AM.

[00:04:04] Mike Johnson: Yeah. You gotta an hour earlier, you know? Yeah.

[00:04:05] Curt Mercadante: You gotta say no, we're not staring at the screen till two in the morning. right. You're right. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Number four, study people who, and we talk about this a little bit, who have already achieved what you desire.

[00:04:20] Mike Johnson: Um, I have a great story. I have a guy, he doesn't even know that I studied him.

[00:04:24] This is a guy named Chuck Woodbury, and he used to drive around in his RV 30 years ago. And he was a newspaper man who instead did travel stories and human interest stories for himself in a newspaper that he printed and published himself called out west. He put it out once a quarter and I'd get that thing and I'd save it to Saturday morning at four o'clock, which was my favorite time of the week to read it.

[00:04:52] And that guy was living my dream. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to own a Winnebago. [00:05:00] I wanted to leave corporate. I wanted to work for myself and I wanted to live out west. He was all of it in a package. So, you know, I admired that guy. I read his newspaper. That was part of my morning routine. And I've done all of those things since I've checked him off the list, every single one of those things.

[00:05:19] And he was kind of the guy that I looked to as a mentor, we've never spoken. Never met, but just because he was doing something that I wanted to do and many things that I wanted to do that made a huge difference for me, cuz I saw it could be done. I saw how he did it, what he was doing. And I said, you know, I'd like that to.

[00:05:40] So study people who are doing what you wanna do. And I could have sped my journey probably by calling 'em on the phone, if I'd have had the nerve to do that and had some conversations with them. So what's wrong with that? You know, I just, it didn't really cross my mind. Yeah.

[00:05:59] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. I, I, [00:06:00] we were, um, I have a private group called the freedom circle.

[00:06:03] And last week we were talking about different ways. There's a variety of free ways to learn from people. And there's local things like score mentorship for businesses. And I, I told people, I said, everyone wants to start a podcast cuz they think they're gonna be the next Joe Rogan. And they think they're gonna make a ton of money.

[00:06:19] So one of the reasons I do the podcast is it's free learning for me, everyone who comes on the podcast. It's an hour long class for me, selfishly, and then we share it and people listen to it. But

[00:06:32] Mike Johnson: absolutely . I knew that when I was doing a customer service newsletter for the company, it was the same scenario.

[00:06:39] I would pick people to interview that a, my readers would wanna know their customer service techniques, but I picked people. I was interested in what they were doing too, because exactly that reason why can't I learn too when I'm doing the work for somebody else. So, you know, learning. Is more important than earning in many cases.

[00:06:58] And if you get, [00:07:00] if you get the learning, you're getting paid twice.

[00:07:03] Curt Mercadante: Huh? I love that. Number five question authority every frigging time.

[00:07:11] Mike Johnson: when I was 12, I picked up. Um, a book from Mark Lane about the Kennedy assassination. What's the name of it? I'm 65. I forgot but it was the very first Kennedy book that questioned the narrative.

[00:07:27] And I was hooked on that. It was some people chase Noah's arc. That was my thing. I became my thing and I've got thousands of hours in that, but I learned at an early age that people on television wearing suits. Look, very authoritative and official while they speak total and complete nonsense because I became an expert on that assassination more in the top, 1% of the planet, I guarantee you because I know people won't put that time in, and that taught me at an early [00:08:00] age that if the media and people in suits are telling fairy tales on television, what else?

[00:08:06] Isn't real. What else are they lying about? What else is being. Misspoke misinformed. So I learned early, I was lucky on that and that carried me my whole life. I've been a contrarian ever since, because I knew I couldn't trust television and news and government and authority, because I knew for a hundred percent fact that that story that is presented as the official version is not true.

[00:08:37] Yeah. I'll my grave of knowing that. Bet my life, knowing that. So that made, gave me a degree of certainty that authority and conventional wisdom is, is kooky. Anything he studied deeper is different than is publicly portrayed.

[00:08:54] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. And that's the, the next one is laugh at the obvious insanity of conventional wisdom, right?

[00:08:58] Yeah. [00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Mike Johnson: Just retirement. What's the whole plan. Get a go to college, get a job. Work 40 years save and invest hope they don't steal your money and you earned enough money and then retire at 65. That's their plan for your whole life, gimme your life. And then we'll give you 10 or 15 good years on the end.

[00:09:19] That's the whole plan. Clearly there's gotta be a better way than that, but that's the conventional wisdom and it's so conventional. We teach our kids to do it. So. The, the fun of being socially distanced since 1957 is you still go to society. You still visit civilization, but you're detached. you go there.

[00:09:44] It's like, you're on vacation to a different place. You look at it, you jump in a little bit, you come back home, you recharge, you see what you learned and what noticed and what else is crazy. You adjust and you go back again. So you just go back and forth, but you're a [00:10:00] visitor. You don't live there. If you live there.

[00:10:02] Those are the guys that can't be quiet for five minutes. Mm-hmm

[00:10:08] Curt Mercadante: yeah. It's the old, uh, in this world, but not of this world. Yes. Yeah. It's, uh, it's, it's, it's so interesting because having worked in politics in DC and the trade association world for decades, you know, I was on the other side of it. And as someone who worked there, I didn't have nefarious intentions and neither did most of the people I worked with, but there were some people who did.

[00:10:37] Uh, and, and, and when I say nefarious, just driven by ego and, and money and, and profits and those types of things. And it's almost the system convinces everyone that there's no one nefarious. It just, it's just this big tornado. And so you have things like. You know, I worked in big food and it was like, well, you get into this fight and it becomes about the fight.

[00:10:59] And it's like, well, we [00:11:00] would hire scientists to say one thing. And then the other sign would hire quote, unquote scientists to say the other thing. And we each bought our own science and no one there was like nefarious, but once you wake up, you're like, wait, The outcome isn't nefarious, right? Because you know the stuff I did with big food, I mean, just look at the data, look around, go to any major city and just look around, look at the last two years and the comorbidities.

[00:11:27] And it's like, as I tell my wife, I said, listen, I try not to do regrets. And I try not to look backwards, but I will spend the rest of my life trying to make up for the, the poisoning that I did with people for years. And. I wouldn't consider myself. Right, right. Yeah.

[00:11:43] Mike Johnson: Yeah. But I think, I still think the people at the top can set the framework for everybody down below.

[00:11:50] Yeah. Like, especially I look at a big bank, you know, a central bank, the guys, the families that own the central banks have. I say they're nefarious. The leaders of [00:12:00] the big banks I'd say are nefarious. The employees of the banks. No, they're just doing their job. And they work within the framework they're given, but the framework leads in places that affects other people negatively while they're just doing their job.

[00:12:14] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. And if it's done back in history, The people who are brainwashed move up. And so they become the presidents and just think that's the way it's done. And, and, you know, I always, I always look at, uh, you know, what, last year, two years ago, the FDA finally came out and, and admitted what we all knew that sunscreen leaches into your bloodstream.

[00:12:35] And for years, everyone said, no, no, no. And then they finally came and said, yes. And, and there was nothing, cuz by that point everyone was programmed. So now when you bring up sunscreen, it's like, are you a conspiracy theorist, tin, foil hat. And it's like, but the FDA, so. Right. That that's that conventional wisdom based on the authority.

[00:12:54] Right.

[00:12:56] Mike Johnson: yeah, exactly. And you know, my answer to people who say that, even say [00:13:00] that those two words, it just drives me crazy is okay. So, so you won't research. So that makes me a conspiracy, the right, you know, I know everything, you know, plus all of the stuff I went out and proactively collected on my own about that topic.

[00:13:17] And you're pretending like, you know, more than me. Do some work, then we'll talk yeah. Yep.

[00:13:25] Curt Mercadante: Absolutely. Number seven, attract a better mate by becoming a better person.

[00:13:36] Mike Johnson: Well, if you already have a mate, you know, you're, you're stuck on improving with what you have, right. people, you know, still out are looking for a mate or a second mate, cuz the first one didn't work out.

[00:13:49] Yeah, of course. Don't you attract what you are. So, you know, if you're a drug addict. And an alcoholic and [00:14:00] you don't spend money well, and you're a criminal, that's the element that you run with. That's the element that you attract. So is that what you want is your mate, because that's what you're gonna get.

[00:14:11] So set your bar because that's a person you're gonna get

[00:14:15] Curt Mercadante: and, and that well, and you already said it basically. I mean, that, that applies more to, to just your. You're mate, but probably apply. It applies in sales. It applies in branding. It applies in sure. Friends, certainly family.

[00:14:28] Mike Johnson: Your friends. Yep. AB absolutely.

[00:14:31] That's

[00:14:32] Curt Mercadante: it. It's, it's always interesting, you know, as someone who, who, who comes from an interesting family background, um, and I, and I've told some other people who, who have struggled with a similar situation where it's, it, it, it almost becomes if you are the sane person in a family of crazy, you're the black.

[00:14:50] But you also look around and you realized you ever see people saying, well, that person's cursed. That family is just cursed it's because they keep attracting the same [00:15:00] stuff that they are. Yes. Which it proves what you're saying. Right.

[00:15:05] Mike Johnson: and it, and it's a negative spiral. So it gets worse. It doesn't stay the same.

[00:15:09] It gets worse because when you get bombarded, Bad stuff all the time. Your energy is down. Your decision making goes down. I mean, I think every person is really 50 people inside it, based on your energy level, your mood, what happened five minutes ago. So the same person can be real snippy and very inspiring, you know, catch 'em at different times of the day.

[00:15:36] You're a different person.

[00:15:38] Curt Mercadante: And, and when you, when you already do have a. And I always tell people, I say, if you're, if you're newly married, keep trying to fix your mate, see how that works out. just work on yourself, work on yourself, just

[00:15:53] Mike Johnson: say yes, dear and get it over us.

[00:15:58] Curt Mercadante: Yeah, one thing. And I still haven't learned, you [00:16:00] know, we're 20 years married is, is sometimes, uh, and, and this probably actually goes into, uh, nine and 10, uh, which is.

[00:16:11] Sometimes people just want you to listen rather than add. Whatever's rolling around in your head, which I'll skip to nine and 10, which is don't speak. If you can't approve upon the silence and limit your air time to percentage in the group. If you're one of four speak 25% or less, but that kind of goes along with that, right.

[00:16:28] We always want to jump in and fix and fix and fix. Maybe just shut up.

[00:16:32] Mike Johnson: yeah, it it's. It's easier for men because studies should say that men speak like 7,000 words a day and women speak like 35,000 words a day. So we say less words. So right off the bat, there's an advantage there, but yes, you know, and, and doing an interview like this too, I'm a little, what's the word?

[00:16:55] Um,

[00:16:59] Concerned [00:17:00] because I'm not an expert on everything just cuz I wrote 20 thing, one things down doesn't make me an expert on all 21 of them, but it makes me interesting enough. I hope to explain why I wrote them down and how other people might be able to use them. But so sure. Listening when. Say less, less is more

[00:17:21] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. You know, it's wisdom comes through life experiences, whether that's two years of experience or one years of experience. And there's a lot of experts who just, all they do is share other people's memes and then they claim they're the experts. And, um, There's a lot different. And, and I know that we can go through this and, and you have stories for each of these and you have, you have examples, um, going backward a bit, uh, cuz we skipped over, uh, number eight and we already talked about this, but you easily size up people by their fruits E shell know them.

[00:17:55] We talked about that a little bit in the kind of patterning your life after certain people, but how [00:18:00] do you do that on a daily basis? And. Politely

[00:18:05] Mike Johnson: well, you're always doing it quietly. You're not saying, Hey, you're this, this and this. Cause next thing you know, you're gonna have a fist in your nose, you know?

[00:18:14] Um, but you do it quietly and it's perspective and with experience and age comes perspective, and it's just easy with perspective to look at people, see where they are. Size them up and that helps you better respond to them. Get trapped or in trouble with any of them. Um, and decide if you wanna work with them, decide how much you're gonna spend talking to them.

[00:18:45] You know, some people it's a waste of time to talk to. Not because they're bad people, but because they're too far in their own head that, you know, they're not gonna hear ya. So if you size that up quickly, you're not gonna spend 15 minutes talking about something that [00:19:00] they're not gonna hear. Yeah. So it's perspective, and this is a sad thing.

[00:19:05] The people with the least expect perspective, don't know any of that. Hmm. And the people with the most perspective do know it. So they have a big advantage walking into a room, walking into a crowd because they can see. what other people can't see. Um, and nefarious people can easily take advantage of people that way, too.

[00:19:30] You can use that power for good or bad. But to me perspective is a friend because it helps me better apply myself around people. People are wild cards, people are wild card. You don't know what you have. So the better you can size them up to less hassle your life.

[00:19:52] Curt Mercadante: I love that. I love that. Uh, and I love number 11, ditch the suit and tie.

[00:19:58] This is the attire of [00:20:00] conformity, not comfort,

[00:20:03] Mike Johnson: right? Yeah. I wear that suit 15, 20 years, you know, cuz I had to, as a manager, that was the deal. But it always got thrown in the corner, you know, at the end of the day. And then I climbed into jeans and flannel. I like flannel, as you can see, um, sweatshirts, easy comfort work.

[00:20:23] So compromise is gets old. After a while we go through our whole lives compromising and your dress code is a compromise. It shouldn't. It's your clothes, it's you? Where would you wanna wear? And if you work at a place where you can't do that, well, figure out a way to not work there. If it's that important to you, you know, it's a compromise.

[00:20:53] So your whole life is a process of getting rid of compromises. So you're doing the things you wanna do as much as you can. [00:21:00] That's the journey.

[00:21:03] Curt Mercadante: I always, I always think about all the illusions that are just created out of nothing, right. In, in our society that then become the norm, the conventional wisdom.

[00:21:14] Um, and the suit and tie is one thing. But even going way back, right. The Genesis, we were naked and happy. Yeah. Right. Until the rules and regulations came along and then suddenly we needed to be clothed, but then you think about it and it's. It's somehow dirty to see someone in their underwear, but I was at the pool the other day and swimsuits are okay, which are in many cases as skimpy or skimpier than underwear, but that's fine.

[00:21:44] But underwear, it's all an illusion. I mean, this tie, I mean, we had powdered wigs. Where did that go? Right. You know? And so when you, when you have context to it, it's just all an illusion, isn't it?

[00:21:56] Mike Johnson: well, that's back to your conventional wisdom. It's the conventional wisdom on [00:22:00] clothing. It's nuts. There's all kinds.

[00:22:02] Look at anything more closely from a detached. Calm mind and you can see insanity just about everywhere.

[00:22:12] Curt Mercadante: The next one, I would consider part of that, which is screw cred, screw credentials, just do it. Oh no, but you don't understand how do we measure, how do we measure? And I, you know, our kids homeschool or our, we homeschool our kids all four and, and we were original homeschoolers, not the new homeschoolers from.

[00:22:29] The last two years. Well, what about this? What about this? I said, Abraham Lincoln, you know, you know, doctors used to be apprentices, you know, engineers and I'll talk to architects who say, yeah, it's a complete joke. I spent years learning from someone who hasn't actually done a architecture. Maybe ever, or for decades to get credentials from that person, by the way, using everything's digital now using equipment that no one has used in 10 years.

[00:22:58] So I have to relearn everything when I get the [00:23:00] actual job. Right. Um, but how do we, how do we separate then Mike? How do we separate? Who's real and who's not, and who's qualified and who's not, won't there be chaos. Won't there be absolute chaos and people dying in the streets. If we don't credential

[00:23:16] Mike Johnson: people.

[00:23:17] By their fruits. She shall know them. as simple as that. Now, if you're a doctor or you're a brain surgeon, you know, or you're a lawyer, you know, maybe the credential comes in, but there's not a ton of those people in the world. No one ever asked me for my high school diploma. I never went to college, nothing stopped me there.

[00:23:35] My daughter, we paid half her college and she didn't use her major after a year. It got her a job on a cruise ship and now she's owns my trailer park. So she did interior design, you know, she's helped design some things in our house. So there's some value here and there, but the idea is, is that most people don't use their degrees.

[00:23:57] Anyway, as far as college goes, so [00:24:00] you can talk your way into anything. That's the deal I spend a year or four years to get a piece of paper when a paragraph. Of spoken word with a little enthusiasm and vigor behind it can do the same thing. Just do it, just get in there and do it, jump in and do it. And if you don't know, and you, you keep working until, you know, let's just do it, do something, adjust, learn, do it again.

[00:24:30] Adjust how hard is.

[00:24:34] Curt Mercadante: And the flip side of that kind of connecting 12 and, uh, number five is that there are people who are so addicted to trusting credentials, cuz it creates authority, right? That they will follow credentialed people right off a cliff. I mean, I have relatives who have doctors, right? Who, I'm sorry, I have more nutritional training than these doctors and they're literally killing my relatives.

[00:24:57] Right. But they will not listen to me why [00:25:00] I don't have the credentials. Well, he's a doctor. Sure and

[00:25:03] Mike Johnson: sure. Yeah. well, we see that with our own kids. Right? You'll tell your kid 10 times the same thing and they hear it from a stranger and it matched what you say. Oh, then they believe that, you know, cause they know you too.

[00:25:15] Well, what Jesus say, you can't be a, a prophet in your own town, you know? You know, so sometimes an expert needs to be somebody you don't know to people, you know? Yeah. Yeah.

[00:25:31] Curt Mercadante: The next one. And, and it, I laugh when I read this cuz the first two words are doubt science, which to me, I'm repeating myself, right? Science is about doubt, but doubt science, politicians, media experts, doctors, leaders, and the status quo behind it all is people. People are F fallible. People are corruptible.

[00:25:51] Mike Johnson: Yes. Um, what's an easy way to say, well, of course, you know, the magic virus, we won't go into that, but that has exposed a lot [00:26:00] of that everywhere. There's been information on all sides of the spectrum, um, and much of it's wrong. So, um, my, my my scenario on that is people are wild cards. If you run into a jerk on a public bus, that jerk works for somebody.

[00:26:21] And where he works. He's probably an authority on something. Right. And probably has a credential at that job for doing that thing of authority, but it was still a jerk, you know, so people are not just what they do and what they know. They're how they behave. What's their character is what's their scruples, their morals, all of those things.

[00:26:44] Um, I think the people in America do not appreciate the mobster mentality of there's a simplicity of getting control of anybody using two things. You put a million dollars on the desk [00:27:00] on the left side, and you put a revolver on the right side and you tell people. And I don't do this, of course, and I'm not high enough in the world have encountered this, but this is my theory of how people get controlled at the top is they're given that choice.

[00:27:15] It's as simple as that, you take the money or we're gonna use a gun on your family and they MB to it. And that's what it takes to control people at the top. And it's as simple as that. So I'm saying that people are corruptible mm-hmm and that's all the way to the top. It's that simple. Did someone threaten Donald Trump?

[00:27:36] Did someone threaten Senator or Congressman? Did someone threaten Dr. Fosse? Did they blackmail them? Did they, did they have something on them or did they just buy them? Did they just give them millions of dollars? It's as easy as that. So we can't openly trust because we don't know everything about the person.

[00:27:58] So if it affects [00:28:00] you. I like to become an expert on something. If it's important to me, I don't need to be an expert on small stuff. I can trust little stuff. I drive my car. I expect it not to explode, but you know, on the magic virus, you damn sure I put thousands of hours into that to decide if I'm gonna put a shot on my body, which I did chose not to do.

[00:28:21] Yeah.

[00:28:22] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. It's interesting how we do that every day. We they're doing construction here and as you come into Oak Creek canyon here, which is one of the most beautiful places and I'd never heard of it. Oh my gosh. I can't actually don't come here cuz it's too crowded. So don't come here. Right. But they're doing construction and they're switch backs as you go up and people complain about them doing construction.

[00:28:41] I'm like, well, I kind of like them to check it out every once in a while. Right. Cause we've seen things, but they have it open and they're steel girders. And so it starts. You know, normally you just drive across it and you don't even think that there are humans that you're relying on for you not to fall into the Gorge.

[00:28:57] Right. And like, remember Minneapolis a couple [00:29:00] years ago, remember bridge. Yeah. And so now they've opened it up and they've opened it up, a guy conceal the girders. And I said to my wife, I said, I don't like having to think about that. Right. But it's interesting how we trust in we trust, follow fallible people, corruptible people.

[00:29:15] Yes. Every day of the week. And then I start to think about the whole can of worms about well, who should be in charge of building roads and bridges and what are the incentives cuz incentives matter whether that incentive is a gun or it's or it's, it's just it's money and votes and power. And you know, we all have incentives at some point.

[00:29:35] And I guess there's certain ones you just, you just don't want to think about otherwise you'd never leave the house. Right. You're always relying on other people in some way, shape or form right, right. Yeah.

[00:29:45] Mike Johnson: People are wild cards.

[00:29:48] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. There was something that you said, um, regarding, oh, I, I know what it was.

[00:29:53] One of the things that, that, that is so interesting is, and this is, uh, this is my [00:30:00] opinion, right? These are our opinions here. I'm sure we'll get flagged on Spotify or something. Right, right. But, you know, I don't like masks, right. The, the COVID masks. Right. So there was the court ruling from the 30 something year old judge in Florida.

[00:30:18] Now it's interesting that I may happen to like the end result of that court ruling, which is don't wear masks. But the most interesting thing to me about it was all the people who were very aggressively pro mask during complained about the court ruling. That said people don't have to wear masks. Yeah.

[00:30:43] But then if you go on a plane, it's almost 100% of people not wearing masks. So, you know, mixed in there is maybe half the people or 30% of the people who were demanding mandates to force them to wear masks. But now because of a [00:31:00] judge, they don't like says it. And so it's this whole thing of authority and credentials.

[00:31:05] And I don't like that. But then all of a sudden, uh, employing super metaphysical powers to people on a bench because they were a black robe and were appointed by a politician. You don't like, right. It's very interesting to me, you know? Yeah. It it's obvious that people who are vehemently proma are not wearing them because they're not forced to, by another person.

[00:31:26] Yeah. And it's man, someone's got a, someone will write, maybe someone will write a psychology book about this.

[00:31:34] Mike Johnson: and, and why would you force somebody else? To do something anyway, you know, that's the thing I've found that the best people are live and let live and they don't wanna force or have power over anybody.

[00:31:46] It's uncomfortable to have power over people. I don't, I don't like that. And the after 17 years as a landlord in the mobile home business, you know, I didn't like that. I didn't like having the power. Well, you can't paint your house green because it's not [00:32:00] neutral enough or you can't have a dog. I hated when I got put in those positions where I had power over somebody.

[00:32:07] I wasn't searching that out. Those were the most uncomfortable times for me is. So I think that people that have their crap together, they just wanna live and let live. I don't wanna tell somebody else what to do if you wanna wear a mask. Great. If you think it works great, don't make

[00:32:23] Curt Mercadante: me do it. Well, I think the key there is people have their stuff together, cuz uh, I find that over, especially over the last two years, there's this, this, you see it on even LinkedIn, whatever.

[00:32:34] And people, you know, with freedom comes responsibility. And really, I find 100% of the time the people who are saying that. It's not about actual responsibility for oneself. It's I want you to take an action that I want you to do to make me feel safer. And usually it's by people who don't have their act together who have one or five of the comorbidities who, uh, don't have [00:33:00] their act together.

[00:33:00] And so, and by the way, they're not having power because they're just saying, judge. You enforce it and then punch his pilot. Right? My hands are cl my hands are clean.

[00:33:12] Mike Johnson: Oh yeah. You'd never put a gun to your neighbor's head and said, gimme all your money, but you'd, or you'd ask the government to take more taxes from your neighbor for you,

[00:33:21] Curt Mercadante: right?

[00:33:22] Absolutely. And, and then it's a, oh, I didn't do it. I didn't do it. You know, , there's no accountability or responsibility all around, so it's consistent. All right. Number 14, pay attention to the 10%. 90% of humidity are drifters. The only they only pair it, what they were told. Smile, nod, and ignore their

[00:33:46] Mike Johnson: advice.

[00:33:47] Yeah, I mean that we've covered that pretty well, I think is that the people that believe the status quo, the conventional wisdom, authority, credentials, um, they may feel [00:34:00] like they're doing the right thing and they're safe. Their advice is gonna get them. What society is getting. And if you look at society, most people have not achieved their biggest desires.

[00:34:13] So really the first thing you have to do to achieve what you want is to be willing, to step outta society on a multiple number of things. So why would you listen to society that makes you go backwards? Your whole idea is to get outta society. In a detached manner, you can still love them. You can still visit them, but I sure wouldn't listen to 'em.

[00:34:39] Yeah.

[00:34:40] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. There's been, uh, a couple of pieces of the 10% rule that you write here, but, uh, Darrell, Amy, who, who wrote the, uh, revenue growth engine posted a few months ago, he said his mentor once sold in the 10% rule, like 10%, uh, pay attention, 10% sign up, then 10% show up. Meaning like for any [00:35:00] event you.

[00:35:00] For any coaching program, it's just 10% of 10% of 10% of 10%. And that's born out for me back when I was doing advocacy and email work, it's just that 10% of 10% of 10%. And then, uh, my mentor now who's, who's in sales and everything. He says, you know, I used to call it the law. The jungle was 80 20, you know, where if I do a boot camp with 30 people, he does boot camp sales, boot camps.

[00:35:23] He said, you know, 20 people would do 20% of the people would do the work. He said, now it's 90. So that 10% rule seems to bear out. I think one of the most frustrating things is trying to, and this happens, you know, people with people who are in the helping, uh, profession say they're a coach or, or a trainer or something like that is spending their time trying to convert someone who's deep in the 90%.

[00:35:51] And it, it, and it's just like beating your head against the wall. And there are some people who are on the border of like 89 and 90, you know, or [00:36:00] like right near the 10%. And some of them will fall in, right. They'll become buyers. Sometimes they were remorse buyers. Um, but it, it can be frustrating if you don't understand this and just kind of let go with it that, you know, even Jesus, I tell people, Jesus, wasn't into convincing and converting.

[00:36:19] They say, well, what do you mean? I said, well, remember he went up to. Hey, by the way you, if you wanna follow me, it's gonna be horrible. Your family's gonna leave you. There's gonna be no food. We're gonna beg from town to town. But if you're in, okay. Right. He tried to convince people not to follow him. Right.

[00:36:35] it's the 10%, it was even 12. Right. And one of them, oh, I can't remember. Was there 13 and then Judas or was there 12 and then Judas? I can't remember. yeah. Either way it was around 10%. Right, right.

[00:36:48] Mike Johnson: Yeah. It's uh, it's a tough slug. So that's, once again, sizing up people is how long do you wanna sell 'em or try to convince 'em or whatever, you know, you save a lot of time if you can [00:37:00] size 'em up quicker.

[00:37:01] Yeah.

[00:37:02] Curt Mercadante: Right. Uh, 15 and 16, I'm gonna com combine a little bit. Sure. Be audacious enough to realize you are often the smartest person in the room because you are self-educated and aware and. I think this goes with it perfectly never let a mouse make you doubt. You're a giant, right?

[00:37:21] Mike Johnson: Right. Well, you know, we see it on LinkedIn.

[00:37:23] There's a lot of people that teach stuff as they're learning it. And you know, that's a great way to learn is to try to teach, you know, is that's that's that helps you go faster. But if you really want quick results, I would prefer to go to somebody who actually achieved and did the things rather than was learning it as they're teaching it.

[00:37:45] You with me. Yeah. Um, so

[00:37:52] you clearly don't want one of those people to make you feel inadequate when you know, more than they do, you know, on the topic. [00:38:00] And when you walk in the room, I think that the world has. Lost far more potential by people being unconfident and timid than arrogant mm-hmm so I think we're not arrogant enough.

[00:38:16] Um, when we know the things that we know, I think we're still, we're too modest. You know, we're taught to be humble. You know, if you wanna achieve something, you have to believe you can do it. And if you believe you can do it, there's nothing wrong with acting as if. Talking offering advice, having clarity, confidence.

[00:38:40] So, you know, if I go into a room with people talking about JFK, you know, I'm, I know they, somebody has to be really special to know more about that topic than me. Yeah. And. Uh, that doesn't mean that I'm never gonna learn a new thing about that information. Again, I will still listen, but I'm [00:39:00] gonna go in there and size them up and see and go, yeah, I'm the smartest one in the room on this.

[00:39:06] And that helps me on how I deal with everybody from the.

[00:39:11] Curt Mercadante: And, and to number 17, which is don't cast your pearls before swine, if they don't get you next, if some, if you start talk, if someone asks you about JFK or you start talking about JFK and they don't get you, or they think you're a conspiracy theorist or, or it's just too much noise, right.

[00:39:26] You just right. Say

[00:39:27] Mike Johnson: next, right. As soon as they said Oswald did it, you know, I'm out, you know, I'm not gonna waste my time. Yeah. Because it's, they have too far of a journey to travel. So I can't, I can't bring 'em from a to Z. I've done a post on that. The knowledge scale. It gets lonely when you become an expert on a topic, because every topic has a knowledge scale of a, to Z.

[00:39:50] Most people are on a, B or C. So if you're on L or M, you sound really strange to the people at the beginning of that scale, that [00:40:00] haven't looked into it and you get much farther than M you start sounding like a wacko to 'em. And they're gonna ask you for the fruits of your. They say well, who killed Kennedy?

[00:40:10] Well, I stopped telling people that because they can't, they didn't make the journey I meant made. They can't grasp it. So I say, you know, you're gonna have to do your own research, but it's an inside job. That's the way I leave it a hundred percent. It's an inside job and you go look at it yourself. I might recommend a couple books, but, um, so that knowledge scale makes it lonely.

[00:40:33] You know, a lot about nutrition. When you talk to people about, you know, if you eat Kellogg's cornflakes, it causes this, they're gonna scratch their head and go. I don't believe that I've been eating cornflakes my whole life. Right. Because you're on a B on that knowledge scale, and you might be on S or T they can't.

[00:40:52] They didn't make that journey and you can't give them that journey and sound bites. Yeah.

[00:40:58] Curt Mercadante: Or they, [00:41:00] they going from a, to B is too much work for them. And so it scares 'em. And so they just trust the credentialed authority figure who tells them that cholesterol is the key to heart disease. And they see me eating steak and bacon.

[00:41:11] They can bacon and I don't even debate anymore. Right. Cause it's like, well, it would take 13 years, right. To explain to them

[00:41:19] Mike Johnson: they, they think you're the dummy,

[00:41:20] Curt Mercadante: right. And that's fine. I, you know, I've learned to just, you know, and, and, and part of this, and I think a common theme through many of these is like, when we started homeschooling, we got, uh, we girded our loins in terms of ready for battle.

[00:41:35] We're going to get so much data to be able to fight back. And now we've come to the point where we're like, yeah, go talk to our kids. If you think they're dumb. Okay. And everyone walks away with holy cow. I mean, my daughter is 16. She's starting a new job today. She's already learned over the last year, how to get out of a toxic job without feeling guilty, how to quit a job, which by the way, to me is more and how [00:42:00] to quit it gracefully.

[00:42:01] Yeah. Um, and not just based on laziness and to have that discernment between I feel lazy and I'm letting people down and this guy's jerk and toxic and I'm gonna leave, but she's got new jobs, learning, customer service, learning, sales, learning, patience, working a cash register stuff. I never learned. And I, I would throw the change at people.

[00:42:20] Right. And we, we have a coin shortage, so we can't have change now, you know, but, but, but, and, but even then people will see our kids and we're like, and that's just. Okay. I, I just, I don't, why do I need, I don't get a trophy at the end of this. If you're gonna pay me money for debating, you maybe I'll consider it.

[00:42:37] But then that forget it. You're,

[00:42:40] Mike Johnson: you're Patriot by homeschooling your kids and just about anybody I've neighbor with homeschool kids. If I was facing it again, I didn't know what, I didn't know back when I had kids, but I certainly went homeschool for sure. If we wanted to change America in 10 years, homeschool all the kids.

[00:42:57] I mean, that would fix all kinds of things quickly, [00:43:00] but yeah, they're way more advanced at homeschool and with skills that they can use, they're away from the toxic kids in school, the fashion pressure, the, all of that. There's so much stuff that has nothing. That's anti-education. Half their day is just crap that hurts them.

[00:43:18] Not help them. So just keeping them home protects 'em from all of that. Yeah. If you don't teach 'em anything, but of course they learn the things that they need to know, and there's all kinds of curriculums out there now. Yeah. So you step into it, you follow the curriculum. I mean, And they

[00:43:33] Curt Mercadante: follow, you know, we, we were using curricula for a while and, and stopped and we let them follow their interests now.

[00:43:39] And, and I talked to my wife, I'm like, how do they know this stuff? Cuz we started with reading. And reading leads to everything else. Yeah. And so they know math, we signed them up for a, uh, what was it out school was this thing that popped up. It was probably there before the pandemic, but it's like either outta work teachers because the pandemic or who wanna make extra money or [00:44:00] people who just have aren't experts in something, right.

[00:44:02] I'm an artist I'm gonna teach kids to draw, you know, so we signed 'em up for some of that. And one of them was a math thing and there were kids on there who were on out school. because they were pulled out of the school. So they had gone through the school system up to that point. And we've, we've never really taught our, sat down with a curriculum and taught our kids math.

[00:44:21] So we were in a cabin up in Georgia and I'm downstairs and I can hear the zoom call up there and I can hear consistently my kids are the first ones to answer questions. And afterwards I asked my wife, I said, where the hell did they learn that? , she's like, I have no idea. But it's amazing. It's not that we ignore our kids and like the, the, the college athlete who is ignored and passed, and then can't read when he is 21, it's that our kids read and then live.

[00:44:50] Right. You know, but I would never tell someone, and this is, this kind of goes to the, to a number of these factors that you said, which is, listen, we're sharing our opinions here. Right. [00:45:00] But I was, I was talking to my wife the other day that it's funny. When, when people ask you a question, And it's pretty quick.

[00:45:06] You can pretty quickly find out that they asked you the question, cuz they wanna debate you on it. But they'll ask a question, could be on health, could be on schooling, could be on something. And they immediate, after you tell them the answer, they immediately jump in and you can tell that a they're not an expert.

[00:45:22] They don't have their stuff together that they want debate, but it's, it's coming from probably a place of low self-esteem rather than high self-esteem, which is no, no, no, no. You need to do this. And it's like, oh, I I've just started. Okay. And I just, I like, I have relatives who do that and I say, okay, thanks.

[00:45:40] And I just walk away. Right. Like I can't even, you sized them up. Yeah, exactly. Took me, took me 40 something years to learn to do that and not sit in debate, but it's like, my, my, my hair is gray enough.

[00:45:55] Mike Johnson: right. Subject yourself to it. Right. Yeah.

[00:45:59] Curt Mercadante: Um, [00:46:00] Okay, 18. And, and this is one that I get people fighting back on. And, and I think this goes back to them seeing their authority figures saying if you're sleeping. So sleep eight hours, at least eight hours every night. And, but I, my authority figure said, if you really wanna be successful, you're wasting time by sleeping.

[00:46:20] You know, Arnold Schwarzenegger has one of these viral speeches where he says there's 24 hours in a day. If you're sleeping eight hours, that's only 16. That's why I win, uh, Damon John, the other day to, oh, I've been flying around four hours of sleep three and a half. I'm getting up and doing it all over again.

[00:46:36] So why do we need eight hours of sleep? And, and, and why are people I don't wanna say wrong, but what, but what would you say to someone who says, well, no, I function just fine on three or four hours of.

[00:46:49] Mike Johnson: Well, it's, it's, it's your whole mental and physical and spiritual reset. You know, you get to drop the residue of the prior day.

[00:46:59] [00:47:00] We still don't know where we go. When we sleep there's theories, there's all kinds of opinions. Um, but whatever it does is it recharges us. It erases us, it resets us so that we can wake up fresh. So, if you wake up less than fresh, then there's less of you. And the less that you have of yourself, the less you can give to others.

[00:47:24] So why not start a day as good as you can, you know, let Arnold work 24 hours around the clock. If that's what he wants, fine, he'll win. Let him win. You can have whatever he wants. But I have enough and I, you know, I, if I sleep nine hours or 10 hours, I don't care. And yeah, there's nights I do six or seven, depending on things, but sleep is needed.

[00:47:48] It's fun. It's effortless. Why wouldn't you wanna do it?

[00:47:53] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and a lot of people say, well, so, and so is successful because [00:48:00] they, because they sleep four hours a day. And I said, what if you just replaced that withe. Sleeping four hours a day. Yeah. Cause you know what? Their potential is, discipline and quote, unquote hard work can make up for a lot, but maybe you're driving with one foot on the brake.

[00:48:19] well, and

[00:48:19] Mike Johnson: you, everything in your body and your mind is invisible. So if, if they're calling 'em success by some outer thing, they can't see inside their body and mind they be being a. Yeah. You know, you wouldn't wanna live in that guy for five seconds, maybe if you felt how it was in his body and his mind.

[00:48:37] So find something has to give, you know, something something's given somewhere, just cuz it's invisible doesn't mean it isn't there.

[00:48:44] Curt Mercadante: And, you know, you never know with, with these PE and, and anyone now with social media, they could be miserable people. They could have anxiety attacks during the day. Uh, or, you know, like some people we've mentioned have completely destroyed their marriages.

[00:48:56] Right. You know, and, and people who do that, usually aren't [00:49:00] super happy people. Right. So you never know what's going on right behind the people are wild cards. yeah. Right. There we go. That's the, that's the common theme here. Sure number 19, spend time with your creator.

[00:49:18] Mike Johnson: To me. I, I almost think that if, if you don't know how to do that, why to do that or that you even have a creator.

[00:49:26] I think that that's probably a thing that you should put really close to the top of your list, because it, it helps you discover who you are. Hmm. And it's hard for you to achieve what you want. If you don't know what you are and you know, everybody, these are opinions. I happen to believe I'm a piece of God.

[00:49:49] I believe we're all a piece of God. Obviously we were created this. The whole magnificent place couldn't have happened by accident. Um, and are [00:50:00] there other magnificent places maybe, maybe not, maybe there's zillions of 'em. Maybe we're the only one who knows a to Z again on that whole topic, so, Hmm. Um, I think earth is temporary.

[00:50:15] And so I think you should put some time into what happened before you came here and what happens after you go leave here? I think that's worthwhile study. So to me, I like to contemplate my creator and connect and feel that I'm part of it. I go so far as to say that all there is is God and we are all inside God, a part of God.

[00:50:40] So if we are inside God, what do we have to fear?

[00:50:45] Curt Mercadante: Hmm. So as above, so

[00:50:46] Mike Johnson: below. You know, we were made in this image that says, so you're a part of him. You're not the God. Like, you know, bill Murray said in Groundhog day, I'm not the God, I'm a God. [00:51:00] because we're all a part of God. That's the way I see it. So I think it's important to spend time with your,

[00:51:07] Curt Mercadante: it it's interesting that I, I, I know some people who would Def, who would identify themselves as atheist or, or, or certainly deeply non-religious.

[00:51:18] Who actually spend more time with their creator in what they consider their creator than people who consider themselves deeply religious, which, which is probably another, a to Z and quantum physics discussion, but, uh, is very interesting in that regard. They, they contemplate more about before, after, during, uh, power energy in those things than some people who just fast on Fridays and call it a.

[00:51:44] Wow.

[00:51:48] number 20. And then I think this goes along with 19, right? It it's appreciate everything good or bad. Yeah. If,

[00:51:54] Mike Johnson: if, if life is a lesson, if life is a journey, if life is experience. [00:52:00] Then all you're really getting good or bad is feedback and feedback helps you grow, helps make your life better. So it's possible to appreciate the bad things, because they're gonna nudge you and push you into something that's better down the road.

[00:52:15] And I've had my share of adversity, like many almost well, like everyone has. So, um, I. With my perspective and age and being on the other side of a lot of bad adversity, I can appreciate it. Mm-hmm I was to go through life again. I would try to appreciate it more as it happened than I did. Yeah.

[00:52:39] Curt Mercadante: Number 21 share valuable content

[00:52:44] Mike Johnson: like you're doing here.

[00:52:49] And that's what I do, you know, all, you know, is what you know over your years. And if some of it helps somebody else and you share it, [00:53:00] that's a good thing. I always think that the, you know, reading a book, you can, in eight hours, you can capture the experience of a person's lifetime. So why wouldn't you do that?

[00:53:12] You know, talk about a great investment of time and resources, you know, a few bucks. A book eight hours and you gain the experience of someone who achieved something that you wanted to do, what could be a better investment than that. So it takes people who know things and have experienced things, sharing those things, to give others those shortcuts.

[00:53:36] So we all, if we have something valuable, it's all good for us to, to try to share that without jamming it down their throats. Of course. Suggest don't demand, right?

[00:53:49] Curt Mercadante: Yeah. Well, Mike, I wanna share, I wanna thank, I wanna share you. I am sharing you. I wanna thank you for sharing your valuable content today and the stories and the 21 club and [00:54:00] the, the, the, the story, my favorite story about the, the folding chairs and, and thanks for coming on the show.

[00:54:06] Yeah,

[00:54:06] Mike Johnson: absolutely. It was fun. Yeah. I

[00:54:08] Curt Mercadante: appreciate it. And if, and, and where, where you share your content, it's free. Uh, it is valuable content. It's very entertaining. I see it on LinkedIn, but a lot of times you link over. Can you, can you share your website? I think you have a, maybe it's down to one, but you have a few different websites out there.

[00:54:22] Where can people enjoy your content?

[00:54:25] Mike Johnson: Yeah, I would send them to jeans and a Jeans in

[00:54:30] Curt Mercadante: a dog that's jeans with a J not G E N E .

[00:54:33] Mike Johnson: Yeah. Blue jeans. Yeah, jeans and a That's basically my life, my lifestyle. And it's got 3 41 posts on it so far and I am always adding to them. Well,

[00:54:46] Curt Mercadante: thank you for that.

[00:54:46] And, and Mike, thanks for coming

[00:54:48] on

[00:54:48] Mike Johnson: the show. Thank you. Good to have. Thanks.

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