How to become a master in the Art of public speaking or talking to strangers – part 1

I want to tell you something real quick before we jump in. A friend of mine called me in the middle of a speaking tour that I was doing in Europe, and said, “Eric, you need to come to Poland. “There’s a big marketing conference, “and they need you to come and speak as a favor.”And I said, “I’m on a tour, I don’t have any time at all.”And they said, “Well, do you have any days off?”And I said, “Well I have one day off just to recharge “my batteries, but I’m speaking every single day.”And they said, “Well, what’s the day off you have?”And I said, “It’s this day.”And they go, “Well, that’s the day they want you to come.”And I said, “No.”I said, “No, problem.””It’s a problem, I’m not doing it.”And then another friend of mine called me, and he turned out to be doing some consulting work for the same marketing company. And he called me and said, “Eric, they really need you “to be there, would you do it as a personal favor to me?”So now I have two of my friends asking me to do them a favor to go to this event in Poland, and I’m not interested in doing it. But now two friends have asked me, I agree to do it. So I fly off to Poland, I get to the airport. I get to my hotel, and they tell me that a car is going to come pick me up at my hotel. And when the car picks me up at the hotel, it’ll take me to the conference center. I’m supposed to be on stage at 12:00, and they tell me the car’s going to pick me up at 11:00. That’s not ideal. It’s not ideal, but look, they’re running the show, I do what they tell me.

The car comes to pick me up at 11:00, but they don’t send a car, you understand. They don’t send like a car, they send a taxi. Now, I’m not snobby, I’m okay to go in a taxi, the trouble is is that the taxi, when we get there, doesn’t know where to take me. So we get to the conference center, and it’s one of these giant conference centers where there’s halls. And some of the halls are bigger than this entire building, and I don’t know which hall even I have to go to. And it takes us about 35 minutes to get there. So now I have to be on stage in like 20 minutes, and the taxi just drops me. And it’s like, it could be a 20 minute walk away, I just don’t know. And so I’m running around, trying to figure this out, thinking, “Why did I do this favor for my friends? “I should be relaxing right now. “I should be recharging my batteries. “I should be putting on my own oxygen mask.”Is that true? – [Audience] Yes. – Absolutely. So I finally find the hall, I run in. I find the hall, I run in, and there’s a registration area. And the registration area says like, regular tickets, VIP tickets, and speakers. So which lineup should I go to? – [Audience] Speakers.

Click to Start Chatting with strangers

Clearly. But I go to that lineup, there’s nobody in it, but there’s nobody working at that part of the table. So the woman who’s right there working at the VIP section, I say, “Hi, I’m a speaker, I need to register.”She goes, “Oh, that person’s on a break, “just join the line for the VIPs.”Well, there’s like six people in that line, and I’ve been watching her, and it takes her about four minutes per person to register them. I go, “Okay, I can do that, but it’s taking you “four minutes per person to register. “And that’s going to take you 24 minutes, “and I’m supposed to be on stage in eight minutes. “What do you think we should do?”She goes, “Maybe I should register you right now.”So she registers me, and then gets a woman to come over.

And the woman comes over to take me to the main hall where the conference is. We get over there, I have to pretty much walk onto the stage. We get into the room, it’s this huge theater-style room with the elevated seating, and the control booths at the top with people in them. But the one thing was missing. The audience. There was like nobody in there, there was like 12 or 15 people. And by the way, were they all sitting right here? – [Audience] No. – No! Two over there, one over there, one more over there. Like, they’re scattered around. And I turn, and I go, “Where are the people? “I’m here doing you a favor, where are the people?”And she goes, “Oh, they’re expecting you, “they’ll walk in once you get started.”I’m like, “Really?”And I know that they have all the networking area, and the display booths. There are people out there, there’s 1,200 people there, but they’re not in here. And I go, “Well, when did the conference start? “The speaking part.”And she says, “This morning.”I said, “Oh, are we on a break right now?”And she goes, “No, it’s happening right now. “There’s a woman on the stage.”I’m standing down here, and there’s the stage, it’s much higher. And that’s the first moment I look up, and that’s the moment I realize that there’s a woman on the stage speaking. I’ve been in the room for five minutes, and I couldn’t even notice, and neither could the 15 people. The 15 people are checking on Facebook, they’re looking for the bottom of the Facebook wall.

Have any of you found it? Anybody? They’re looking. They’re looking for it. They’re going to injure their thumb looking for the bottom of the Facebook wall. And so that’s when I realized that the woman is on the stage, and I’m going, “There’s 15 people, I want to leave. “I do not want to be here, I’m doing these people a favor. “I’m not charging a fee. “I don’t have programs and stuff in Poland to be marketing. “I’m really there as a favor, and I just want to go.”But I’ve agreed to be there, so I’m going to go, I go, “Well, where’s the microphone?”I’m scheduled to speak for three and a half hours, and I’m frustrated. And I go, “Okay, where’s the microphone?”And she goes, “It’s the guy over there.”Now, the room was much bigger than this room, much wider, and the guy with the microphone was way over at the other side of the room. And I go, “Well, don’t you think “we should get the microphone on?”And she goes, “Yeah, yeah.”And as I say that, this woman finishes. Nobody claps, because they didn’t know she started.

And then the MC goes up and starts reading out my introduction. I don’t have a microphone. She says, “Yeah, the guy is coming. “He’s on his way.”And now, have any of you climbed Kilimanjaro? Anybody? Yeah, you will know the word. It means slowly. This is the way that you walk up Kilimanjaro. And this is the way the microphone guy is walking. And I’m way over there, there’s no way he’s going to get to me in time. And as he gets to about here, the woman goes, “And please welcome to the stage Eric Edmeades.”Nobody claps, ’cause they couldn’t barely hear her. And I have no microphone, so I have to grab the handheld microphone, jump up on the stage. And I walk out, and I look around the audience, and I cannot believe I’m here. For the first time in my speaking career, I am dreading being onstage. I don’t want to be there, I just want to go to my hotel room, have a nice bath, relax, read a book, not be here. And I look out at these 15 people, and I’m standing there looking at them, they’re looking at me, and we’re all wondering what’s going to happen. And I suddenly think to myself, what would I do if one of my clients, one of my students asked me what to do in this situation? What if one of my students was on the stage, they took out their phone, and they go, “Eric, I’m on stage, and this is everything that’s happened, “and I don’t know what to do right now.”And I would know exactly what to do. I go, “I know what I’d tell them to do, “but I’m not doing it.”I’m not doing it. And then I thought, “Oh god, that’s not who I am as a teacher.”I really try to practice what I preach, so if I think they should do it, I’m going to have to do it. And I stop, and I go, “All right, guys.”By the way, a handheld microphone! How much does one of those things weigh? It depends on how long you have to hold it for. Three and a half hours, the thing gets pretty heavy, so I’m starting, oh, I can’t believe this. And I go, “All right. “I think that in order for me to help you, “I’m going to have to prove to you that I know “something about marketing. “You came here to learn about marketing, “and there’s nobody in the room. “That doesn’t say good things about me, does it?”Do I have their attention at this point? Yeah.

They’re kind of going, “Wow, that’s an interesting thing to say.”And I go, “And I think the only way “that I’m going to be able to get you to hear “the important information that I have for you today “is if I can get this room full of people. “If I can get this room full of people, “then you’ll probably pay attention for the whole “three and a half hours, isn’t that true?”Are they intrigued now? – [Audience] Yeah. – So I’m like, “So, I’m going to do that, “and you’re going to help me.”And they’re like, “What?”And I said, “This is what’s going to happen. “In a moment I’m going to count. “I’m going to count down from three, and when I get to one, “you’re all going to jump up.”By this point, there’s now about 25 people in 1,200 seats. And I go, “I’m going to count from three down to one, “and when I get to one, you’ll all going to jump up, “and you’re all going to clap, and laugh, and scream “really loudly, and then the people will come in.””And here’s the thing, I know some of you are thinking, “I’m not doing that. “And the reason you’re thinking I’m not doing that, “is that you think you’re going to look stupid. “But the problem is, the other 14, 15, 20, whatever. “The other people are going to do it. “So when you don’t do it, you’re going to look stupid. “Are you ready,” I said. And they said, “Yes.”And I said, “All right, now.”The reason I’m telling you this, is there’s some people out there that think that the phone call they’re on right now. They think that the conversation they’re having about the Guns N’ Roses concert is more important than what’s happening in this room, and I’m telling you that it’s not.

And so when I count down from three to one, we’re going to do the exact same thing. Does that sound good? – [Audience] Yes! – All right. I walked up in front, and I said, “Let’s do it.”One, or sorry, three, two, one, go. Oh my god, that’s incredible! Oh, it’s so funny! You guys, that’s amazing! Holy cow, I can’t believe it! I don’t even know what to think of it! That’s so amazing! All right, we’ll see if we got their attention. So are you guys ready for some fun? – [Audience] Yeah! – Awesome. I am about to share with you one of my favorite things in the whole world to share with you. I have devoted this part of my life to giving people the gifts that I believe are the most valuable in the world. I have been honored over the last three weeks that we’ve been here in Tallinn to have people walking up to me all the time and telling me the stories about how their life has been transformed from a health perspective. People are telling me about the weight that they’ve lost and the pain and symptoms that are gone. That their children have even. I’ve had people come up to me and go, “After a month of watching your videos “every single day, my kids started getting curious. “And now they want to change their food habits,” and so on. And I think one of the greatest gifts in the world you can give anybody is their relationship with food, is that true? – [Audience] Yes! – And you know who’s trying to take away your relationship with food the entire time? The food industry. And so that’s my job is to undo what they’re doing, and I love doing it. And one of the other gifts that I really love to give people is the gift of communication. The gift of being able to communicate your thoughts effectively, persuasively, influentially. And the challenge is, is that our society has done everything it can, not on purpose, just the way it is to train that out of us. And I think that that makes life a lot harder to live.

I think some of you find yourselves having a intense conversation or a negotiation. And every now and again, you walk away from that conversation and you think to yourself afterward, “I wish I’d said this.”Who’s had that feeling? I’d like it to go away. I’d like you to not have that feeling. I’d like you to say the things that you want to say. I’d like you to express yourself the way you want to express yourself. I suspect that if you do that, it will change your relationship with you. It will change your significant relationships, your romantic relationships. It’ll change your relationships with your parents, it’ll change your relationships professionally. It’ll change everything. And for those of you who are interested in getting an incredible professional advantage, I’m talking the biggest professional or business advantage possible, what we’re going to do today is going to be unbelievably valuable. And I’m going to give you some of the sort of theory and science behind this. Now, this is going to be shocking for some of you, especially those of you that are younger. There was a time before the internet. I know, I know. And then this will be even more shocking to some of you that are a little older than that. There was a time before television. Can you imagine? What did families do?

They sat around the radio. No kidding, families used to sit around the radio. And so what’s really shocking is there was even a time before the radio. And what did families do then? They sat around the fire. They sat around the fire, and I have been privileged to sit around that exact fire. And what I mean by that, is that in my research for WildFit, I have had numerous visits with the Hadza bushmen. And the Hadza bushmen live very much the way most of our ancestors did for most of our history. And they sit around the fire. And I want you to think about something. If you’re sitting around my fire 100,000 years ago and I share a story with you. I share a story with you, and it’s entertaining, and it’s engaging, and it makes you think, and maybe it makes you laugh. But in that story, I tell you about the time that these big white rhinos tried to kill me. ‘Cause they really did. I’m not kidding you, it really happened to me. And I’m standing there, and these big white rhinos are running toward me. And what I knew about white rhinos is that they don’t have good eyesight. In fact, they barely can see. They can smell and they can hear. And so the reason they were running toward me is that they could smell me. And I knew as they were running toward me, and let me tell you something.

Rhinos are bigger than you think. Have any of you guys been in that cafe with the big white rhino head on the wall? That is to scale. That is what a big male white rhino, that’s the size of its head. Then you add the body. And they’re way faster than you would think. And when two of them are running toward you, this is basically how it feels in your feet. They’re running toward you, and you’re doing this. Because they’re shaking the ground. What does every inch of my being want to do when they’re running toward me? – [Audience] Run. – Run. But I know that if I run, they’re going to hear my footsteps and that’s going to give them the ability to follow me. And if I let them follow me with those big horns, I’m going to get some interesting piercings. Not good, right? And so instead of running, I stood there and stared them down, and waited. And they got about 15 feet from me, and they stopped. And they turned around and walked back into the bush, and then they got curious again when the wind shifted direction, they came running again at me. And then they got about 10 feet, three meters, and then they stopped again, and they walked away. If I had run, I would be dead today, or certainly I would have interesting piercings, one way or the other. And so imagine that we’re sitting around the fire and I share that story with you. And a week later, you’re off in the bush picking berries, doing whatever you want to be doing, and two white rhinos come running at you. And you suddenly remember, “Oh my god, I’m supposed to just stand still.”And you stand still, and it saves your life.

Who’s fire do you want to sit around for the rest of your life? Do you understand? This is why we have this thing called the stage effect. For millions of years, your survival and your ability to thrive was completely dependent upon the stories being told around your campfire. It was the most valuable thing there was. Nothing could be more valuable than you sitting around the fire and hearing these stories. And you started listening to these stories when you were two and three years old. And by the way, can two year olds understand, even though they can’t speak? Can they understand? – [Audience] Yeah. – Everything! They understand everything. The other day I’ve got my little girl here in town with me, and my little boy, who’s not so little. My boy is 20 years old, and my little girl is two years old. And so they don’t get to spend much time with each other, and so they’re hanging out. And I go to Zoe, I go, “Zoe, do you love Daniel?”And she goes. And I go, “Daniel’s your brother.”And she goes. And I go, “That means Daniel, that I’m Daniel’s daddy too.”And she goes. She understands it all. And so we’re sitting around the fire listening to these stories, and they are making it possible for us to survive the most difficult circumstances, and they’re making it possible for us to thrive in the most difficult circumstances. And so our DNA loves stories. That’s why Hollywood will spend $200 million making, do you understand that?

Think about that. They will spend $200 million creating a story and they won’t begin to see any revenue on that story until after the $200 million is spent. It’s risky, but they know that we like stories. We like stories because it is the primary operating system of the body. And once you begin to recognize that stories are the best way to write information in, then you can look at history and recognize that it’s completely true. Every great revolution, every great revolution whether it’s a political revolution, a war uprising, a technological revolution, has been preceded by great speeches and great oration. I remember reading that President Roosevelt was trying to pass some legislation through the U.S. Congress, and none of the congressmen would vote for this, because it had to do with changing their lives. It was legislation about congressmen, and they didn’t want to change it. He was getting nowhere. And then he recognized that the world had changed and he could speak directly to the people. Radio, town halls, and so he started doing that. He started giving speeches. And do you know what’s amazing?

Is when they put that legislation in front of congress, it passed with only three dissenting votes, because he’d gone directly to the people. Speaking is one of the most powerful things we can create in the world. And by the way, can powerful things be used for both good and bad? – [Audience] Yes. – Adolf Hitler gave 8,000 speeches. He knew exactly what he was doing. He wrote in his book, “Mein Kampf”many years before World War II. He wrote in that book, essentially, that the microphone was more powerful than the pen. That speaking was more powerful than writing. That if you really wanted to stimulate people, if you really wanted to change their hearts and minds, you did it with great stories, you did it with great speeches. Speaking is one of the most powerful forces there is in our society. It creates an advantage in business and your professional life that is far past any other advantage. Here, let’s test out a few things. Are you aware that in American corporate world, and I imagine this is probably fairly consistent in the westernized, civilized, corporate world. In the American corporate world, people make slightly more money for each inch they are taller. Did you know that? They actually make slightly more money. They’re more inclined to get the promotion, they’re more inclined to make the sale. slightly more taller. And then by the way, is there a gender pay gap issue? – [Audience] Yes. – Yes. And so there are all kinds of little tweaks in our society that are little optimizations. The gender pay gap, how big is that these days they say? They say it’s about 10%. It’s about 10%. But if you remove the fact that for example, it came out. Do you guys know that Uber, Uber pays male drivers more than they pay female drivers. – [Woman In Audience] What? – Yeah. Okay, this is a way statistics lie. Female drivers choose not to drive as many hours and they choose not to drive during peak hours, and they choose not to drive in dangerous neighborhoods. And so Uber doesn’t pay them any less. Uber pays them exactly the same, they choose to do things differently. Women choose not to take jobs where they die. Men die in the workforce something like seven times more often than women do.

And so when you remove all that stuff, the gender pay gap closes a little. It’s still there, but it closes a little, does that make sense? But these tiny little professional advantages that height, or maleness, or whatever, they’re tiny. But the most massive, massive advantage you can give yourself in the corporate world and in the entrepreneur space is to be able to speak. If an inch of extra height can make you 0.01% more income, being a speaker, being comfortable sharing your ideas, being influential in the way you communicate can triple or more your income. It obliterates all other advantages. It is the most powerful thing you can do for your professional life. The problem is, we don’t. Because we’re afraid. And the crazy part of it is, not one of you was born afraid. Not one of you. Now, because I understand this whole fear, what we did before you guys came in here this morning is we took 15 envelopes. 15 envelopes and we wrote in those envelopes a few words, a couple of questions. One envelope, one word, one question, and then we stuck those envelopes under, don’t check. We stuck the envelopes underneath the chairs, and don’t think we didn’t notice the beanbags. We stuck them underneath. And in a minute, when I say go, you’re going to check underneath the chair, or underneath the beanbag, and you’re going to see if you got an envelope. If you got an envelope, I want you to check in with what happens in your body, and here’s why. Because if you got the envelope, you must not open it. You will simply stand up, you will walk over here, you will come up on the stage. And then I’m going to have a handheld microphone, and I’m going to hand you the handheld microphone, and then you’re going to tear the envelope open, and you’re going to see the word or the question, and you’re going to speak for three minutes about that topic in front of this audience. – [Woman In Audience] That’s awesome! – I will tell you that some of the words, one of the words is orgasm. Another word that’s in there is Brexit. Another word that’s in there, Donald Trump. So, who’s ready? Go ahead and check. Okay stop it, there are no envelopes. Now, the reason I do that, did you find an envelope?

I do sometimes have envelopes, so they might be stuck under there. The reason I did that, is there were a different, there were a variety of different emotions that came up in the room. Now, I want a totally honest answer here, please don’t worry about looking good. I want a totally honest answer. There were a few people in this room that were absolutely, genuinely excited about this idea. Who were they? Wow, welcome to Mindvalley University, ’cause it is not like that out in the rest of the world. That was a good 15% of the room. In the rest of the world, in a room of this size, it would be one or two people, and they would almost always be one of my clients. It’s how it is. It’s how it is. How many people were like a little excited, but also your stomach was doing a little back flip thing routine, okay? All right. And how many were thinking, “I’m not the least bit excited, “and I feel like I might actually vomit.”Who was in the category? And then how many of you were thinking, “Please no! “No envelope! “I won’t do it!”Anybody? And then there was a couple of you that thought, “If there’s an envelope, I’m not pulling it out.”I know. And so what I want you to know is that I used to be in the category of that if I was sitting there in that chair and I found, and I reached under, and I touched an envelope, I would have immediately pulled my hand back and pretended I didn’t have an envelope, I kid you not. I was so terrified of public speaking that if you called me on a Friday. If you called me on a Friday and you asked me to do a talk, no. If you called me on Monday, and you asked me to a talk on Friday, I would absolutely have said no. Without question, I don’t care what the topic, how big the audience was, I would have said no. And when I said no,

I would then have started feeling sick. And I would have continued to feel sick on Tuesday, and Wednesday, and on Thursday, and I would have woken up on Friday morning feeling sick, and I said no. I don’t even want to think what would have happened if I said yes. That’s how terrified I was. But you know what’s so important about this? Not one person in this room was born afraid of communicating. Not one person in this room was born afraid of public speaking, nobody. No matter how fearful you are of it today, no matter how nervous you might get about it today, not one person in this room was born afraid of public speaking, nobody. It’s really important for you to understand that. Can you imagine what would happen if a baby came out afraid of public speaking? How would it ever get its diaper changed? How would it get food? What happens is, at first when babies are born, we are so thrilled by their noises, aren’t we? Baby noises, aren’t they incredible?

I get home, if I miss Zoe’s bedtime. Like if I miss it occasionally, I come home and she’s already in bed, I want to go wake her up. You can imagine my wife’s reaction when I say that. I go, “I’m going to go wake.”I will never go wake her up. “I’m going to go wake her up.””No!”But you know, in the morning now when she wakes up, she wakes up and immediately she starts talking. And she talks in some strange mix of English and Spanish, and now Estonian. And it’s beautiful, and we love it, and most parents do. But then there comes a point in time, after the age of three and four, where the talking isn’t so great. Where you’re on a plane, and the child is being too loud, and that’s where you’re trying to go. Indoor voice. Think before you speak. Children should be seen and not heard. And it begins. And almost every person in this room was subjected to at least some of this stuff when they were a kid. And that’s where your apprehension of communicating, that’s where your apprehension of speaking came from. Because social conditioning started putting a cocoon around you and started telling you to control yourself. To not be so excited. Is it true? – [Audience] Yes. – And then we continue to live with that fear, we continue to live with that. And then it gets even worse, because we go to school, and one of the things that teachers forget. Teachers forget what it’s like to think like a child. They do. Look guys, when children are born, they have no meanings. They don’t know what stuff means. And so their entire job for the rest of their life is to assess meanings.

Oh, I have pain in my stomach from hunger, and when I cry, I get fed. Look at that, when I cry, somebody sticks a boob in my mouth. Wait a minute, why did I stop doing that? Anyway. But the fact is that children make a meaning. They make a meaning and then they continue to make more meanings. And the problem is, is that some of the meanings that we make when we’re children, they become rules that we then keep. I spoke to the teens on the teen track here at Mindvalley University. I spoke to the teens, I told them a really embarrassing story. I’m going to share it with you. One day I was eating an apple. I was eating this apple, I was about six years old, and then I decided that I needed to use the washroom. So I went into the washroom in our house. Went in, closed the door, put the apple up on the shelf. Went in and did my business, I won’t act that part. Finished up. Flushed, washed hands. Grab the apple, took a bite, opened the door and walked out, and my mom was standing there. Now think about this from my mother’s perspective. All she heard was toilet flush, and son walking out with apple in his hand that he was eating while he was in the bathroom. How does my mom feel about this? Not good, right? So my mom goes, “Eric, you can’t do that?”And I said, “What?”She goes, “You can’t eat an apple in the bathroom?”And I said, “Why not?”She goes, “It’s dangerous.”And then she got distracted, and went off and did mom stuff, and I’m sitting there with it’s dangerous. Why is it dangerous? And this was when I was six, so this was a few years BG. Before Google. And so I couldn’t go, why is eating an apple while you go the toilet dangerous? I couldn’t do that. The question was just in my head, and do you remember?

Back in the days before you could just ask the universe for the question, did you ever have that thing where you had a question bouncing around in your head, bouncing around, and it’s like the rest of your life kind of got filtered through that question? That’s what happened to me. And so I was sitting out with some friends one day, and we’re in a restaurant. And we have the straws, you’re drinking out of a straw, and we were doing like kids do where you block off the top of the straw and you pull the liquid up, and then you drop the liquid in, right? It’s physics, basic physics, it’s fun. And then I was doing it, and suddenly I was like. Oh wait. If you block off the bottom of the straw, the liquid won’t come out. If you block off the bottom and the top, the liquid won’t come out. If you block off the top, but you open the bottom, that’s the bizarre part, right? You block off the top, then it won’t run out the bottom, maybe we’re the same. Maybe the danger is that if you swallow and open the top at the same time that you poop and open the bottom, you just fall out. I figured it out. She’s right, it’s bloody dangerous. I won’t be doing that again. I’m telling you, for months after that I could be chewing gum, just chewing gum, and I go to the bathroom, oh, get rid of that gum. Wouldn’t want to have an accident where I slipped out of myself. And so children are doing stuff like that all the time, is it true? And so we forget that. And so you’re in a class and you’re teaching, if you’re a teacher, and you want to teach the children a bunch of things. You want to teach them the curriculum, but you also want to teach them how to learn. Is it true? – [Audience] Yeah. – And so you’re teaching the class and you recognize that one of the students, JB, is just not paying attention. All distracted by her recent nuptials. She’s just not paying any attention to my class, and so how am I going to teach her the lesson to pay attention? How am I going to teach her? I’m going to call on her. You see, what I’m going to do, is I’m going to teach something. Like I’m going to teach the great story of the war of 1812. Most of you that are from America have no idea about this war, but this is where America decided to invade Canada and take over.

They invaded Canada with numbers seven to one. Seven to one they invaded Canada, and by the way, Canada burnt the White House. Did you hear Donald Trump talking about this recently? The war did not go so well for the United States, and I could teach you all about how they invaded Canada in the war of 1812. And then at some point during the lesson, I am as the teacher going to go, “I have some questions. “When did the war of 1812 happen?”And a number of students are going to raise their hands. Which students are going to raise their hands? The ones that have been paying attention and know the answer. Teachers will typically not call on the children that have raised their hands. Teachers when they ask you a question like that, it’s just a poll. They just want to know how many of you got it. And so if you raise your hand, they know you got it. If you don’t raise your hand, you’re asking for trouble. I figured this out young, I taught the kids this, by the way. I taught them a trick I had in school, I’ll teach it to you. I went to school and I hated that, I didn’t like school very much, because I would typically pick stuff up on the first pass, and do teachers stop on the first pass? No, they teach it again, and again, and again, and it would drive me crazy, so I got into meditating. They called it daydreaming, now I know it’s meditating. But I got into meditating and I would be doodling and meditating out the window. And then the teacher would call on me, and I didn’t hear anything, and then I would feel like an idiot. And I would feel stupid. And so I learned that if you do this in September you can give yourself freedom for the rest of the year. What you do in September is you pretend to meditate. You pretend to daydream, you pretend that you’re not paying any attention. You doodle, but you’re really listening. And then she goes, “What is H2O?”And you don’t raise your hand.

You pretend you’re not paying any attention. And then she goes, “Eric!”And you go, “Water!”You just do that two or three times in September, you’re free for the rest of the year. Free pass. Now the trouble is, is that when children do this, or sorry, when teachers do this, what they’re trying to do is teach JB the lesson. They’re going, “When was the war of 1812?”JB doesn’t raise her hand. “JB, when was the war of 1812?”JB wasn’t paying attention. Now, in that moment, is she maybe going to get startled? If she gets startled, what kind of chemicals is her body going to produce? Cortisol, adrenaline even. And if she produced cortisol and adrenaline, here’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about, but the minute you start producing cortisol and adrenaline, you step back in time in your brain. You go to the more primitive parts of Your brain. The more scared you are, the more primitive you go. The idea is is if you’re scared, you become pessimistic. It’s safer that way. You see, if you’re walking along in Africa, and you suddenly see some lion tracks, that’ll startle you. Tell me, it’s happened to me, it’ll definitely startle you. And in that moment, every rock that could be a lion starts looking like a lion, is that true? Is that safer than mistaking a lion for a rock? Of course it is. And so when we have some adrenaline and cortisol, we become slightly more pessimistic and we lose touch with our proper brain. And so in that moment, even if she knew when the war of 1812 started, the answer is in the question after all, she might not know it. Is that possible? And so I go, “JB, when was the war of 1812?”And she’s like, “1814?”And now she’s just done something called public speaking in front of one of the most difficult audiences in the world, children. Children are the toughest audience ever. Children are not nice. Come on, I’m not talking about your kids. I’m not talking about my kids, I’m talking about the rest of them. They’re not nice! When are JB’s classmates going to remember, or when are they going to forget that she made this mistake?

When? Never! JB goes off to Palo Alto, she starts the next big dot-com company, she’s a billionaire. She flies to her 25th anniversary, high school anniversary. She arrives in a private jet, limousine picks her up. She’s got all the jewelry, and the cool stuff, and the great clothes. And she shows up at her reunion, and she walks in the door, and they go, “Look guys, it’s 1814!”‘Cause they’re never going to forget, but the real problem is that the teacher intended to teach JB the lesson, pay attention in my class! But the lesson JB got that day was, public speaking is freaking terrifying! And for the rest of her life, maybe, she’s nervous every time somebody hands her a microphone, every time somebody asks her to do a toast, or prepare a conversation. And this is what’s happened to so many of you as well at various points. I will tell you that I was so, so terrified that it would make me sick to even think about speaking. But the transition I’ve gone through over the last 20 years has completely changed my life, because of the stage effect. I’m going to share some things with you. When I was 15 years old, I was homeless. And when I say homeless, I should point out that I was living in a place called Edmonton. And it was winter. Now, some of you live in places that you think of as cold, but you’ve not been to Edmonton. I will tell you that in Edmonton in the winter time it is absolutely routine for it to be minus 20 degrees, minus 40 degrees. And for those of you that are Americans that are wondering what that means in Fahrenheit, minus 40 is the same in both. It means fatally cold. And if I look at my life from that starting point, if I look at my life from being a homeless teenager on the streets of Edmonton, Alberta, to the things that I’ve achieved in my life since, and I’ll give you some examples, some of you know. I was invited one day to do a tour of the original Industrial Light & Magic movie studios. For those of you who are not familiar with Industrial Light & Magic, it is the special effects shop that George Lucas created to make Star Wars. And one day I was offered a chance to go do a tour of these studios. And when I got there, I found out some interesting things, that George Lucas had sold the studios to some private guys that were running it for about three years, and they weren’t running it very well. And they were trying to raise money from investors for all kinds of cool movie technology and 3D technology. And I watched one of their investor pitches, and it was atrocious.

I mean it was bad. It was the, “Don’t Invest in my Company,” presentation. It was terrible! And so I’m sitting down with everybody afterward, and I’m not saying anything, ’cause I’m just a friend. I’m just a guest here. And then Gavin, my friend says, “Eric what are your thoughts on the way we should do this?”And I’m like, “Gavin, I don’t want to offer my thoughts. “I’m not from the movie industry. “I don’t want to do this.”I wasn’t nervous of public speaking, you see, I just didn’t want to crash in on their party. And then they said, “Yeah Eric, what’s your opinion?”And I said, “Do you guys really want the truth? Like, “Do you really want the truth?”And many of you will know this about me. How many of you have to any of my seminars, anybody? Am I nice? I’m not nice. And what I mean by that is that you might ask me a question, and the first thing I’m going to ask you is, do you really want to know? And so that’s what I said to them, “Do you really want to know?”And they go, “Yeah, we really want to know.”And I said, “Well, the presentation sucked. “I mean, it was bad. “It was really bad.”And they said, “Why?”And I said, “Well, because of this, “and this, and this, and this.”And then at the end of my talk, I braced myself, ’cause I basically expected them to kick me out. And they said, “We have another group of investors coming in “this afternoon, would you give the presentation?”No problem. I thought it was a big problem.

And I’m not kidding you, two hours later I’m standing on a stage in the George Lucas theater, 140 seating private theater where THX Sound was debuted. And I’m standing in the seater, and there are investors in there, and I’m giving the pitch. And then the investors at the end of the pitch, here’s what they say, “If we invest, will Eric stay and run the company?”I’m on a tour. You know when you go to the tours, and they try to make it really realistic? They’ve made this one really realistic. In the end, the investors decided not to invest, and I got talking to my friends. And I went to the owners one day and I said, “Look, I think you guys are in a lot more trouble “than you’re letting on, and here’s my offer.”And I offered to buy to company, and they said no, and so I flew home, and I was living in The Caribbean, in Turks and Caicos, and I flew home. And I got a phone call almost the minute I walked in my front door, and they said, “Would you come back?”And I said, “Why?”And they go, “‘Cause we want to take your offer.”And I ended up buying the studio. And the first thing we did after that was work on, “Avatar,”and then we worked on, “Pirates of the Caribbean,”and, “Transformers,” and, “Elysium.”And then from that company we started a really cool company that literally built life-saving technology for the U.S. Military. We literally saved lives. And that only happened because I had become comfortable with speaking.

I got another phone call one day, and they said, “Eric, could you come and do “a talk here in Vancouver, Canada,”and I said, “That’s great, I don’t think I’ve spoke. “I left Canada when I was in my mid 20s, “and I’d love to come back and do a talk in Canada.”And I gave this talk. And at the end of my talk, the woman says, “Would you come back and do “another talk during the Olympics.”I’m like, “Sure, that’d be great.”I go home, she calls me a few weeks later, and she goes, “Eric, I need your help “with this event in the Olympics.”I said, “Sure, what do you need?”She goes, “Well, we’re setting up, “it’s the city of Vancouver, and we’re setting up “this host program where our, “every four days of the Olympics, we have a different group “of people coming in from different industries “in the United States. “So the construction industry, the medical industry, “the legal industry, and so on.”And she says, “The trouble is is that, “we want to get the people from the visual effects “and movie production industry to come, “and we can’t get them to show up. “We just can’t get them to show up.”And she goes, “Why won’t they come?”And I said, “Oh well, when you’re in the movie industry, “you just get invited to everything. “It’s just the way it is. “It’s the sexy industry, and you get invited to everything, “so pretty soon you learn you have to say no to cool stuff.”I’ll tell you by the way, one of the coolest ways you can accelerate your manifestation in life, one of the coolest ways that you can accelerate your ability to manifest incredible financial freedom is to become totally okay with celebrating saying no to cool stuff. FOMO can be one of the single biggest blocks to your manifestation. Fear of missing out can absolutely get in your way of creating an incredible financial future, and I’ll tell you why. Think about Richard Branson who wakes up in the morning, how many things can he do that day?

Anything. He can do anything that day, with who? With anyone. If Richard Branson called any of you in this room, and say, “Hey, do you want to come out with me, “go for a little boat ride, or something, tomorrow?”Who’s going with Richard Branson? He can call anybody at any time and do anything. But what that also means, is every single day there are 9,000 incredibly cool things that he’s not going to do. And he probably had to get okay with that, because some of you when you have a fear of missing out, it’s painful. Who feels a little pain when they’re missing out? That pain is something your subconscious mind will do anything it can to avoid. And so that includes holding you back from creating those opportunities in the first place. So now what you do when you have a fear of missing out is you don’t have a fear of missing out. You have a new thing. It’s the celebration of missing out. I celebrate when I miss out. Just a few weeks ago, we had our first ever WildFest Conference. We’d set it up, it was done, it was booked, and then I, no kidding, got the invitation to go to Richard Branson’s private game reserve in South Africa and hang out with him. And I had to say no. And you know how I said no? I said, “No, how cool is it that I have to say no to that?”Does this make sense? And so the problem is, these people in the movie industry, they’ve gotten really good at that. They just say no to all the cool invitations they get.

They just say no, they don’t have to do it. And she goes, “But how could we get them to say yes?”And I said, “I’ll tell you. “The only way I can imagine you’re going to get them to say yes “is if you book the last four days. “You book the last four days of the Olympics “and you get tickets to the closing ceremonies, “’cause it’s the coolest thing. “And you get tickets to the gold medal hockey game.”In Canada and America, this gold medal hockey game was going to be one of the most sought after sporting events in the history of sports for North America. And the woman said to me, “That is never going to happen. “Never going to happen. “Those tickets are the hottest tickets in the Olympics, “we’re never going to make it happen.”And I said, “I know. “That’s why I said, do you really want to know? “That’s the only way you’re going to make it happen.”She calls me back two days later and she goes, “We got them.”She goes, “We got a block of tickets, “and we got them in the coolest section, “right there in the club section, we got tickets there. “Will you be there? What was my answer? – [Audience] No. – Yes, absolutely,

I will be there. I wouldn’t even want to say, “No problem,”in case she only heard the first word. Absolutely, I will be there. And then the rest of the industry showed up, because we’d made it so cool. Then I went to go do a presentation, because that’s why I was there. I gave a presentation, 15 minutes. Not motivation, not inspiration, just boring-ass stuff about the film industry. Just stuff about how the work we did on, “Avatar,” went, and how 3D technology is changing the movie industry. Nothing exciting. And then all of a sudden, this guy walks up to me, Wu Bo. Chinese guy, from Shanghai. He was one of the producers of the Beijing Olympics. And the way the Olympics work, is that the last city helps the next city produce. So he was there helping Vancouver produce the Olympics. So he happened to be at my talk. He walks up to me, and he goes, “Eric, that talk was fantastic.”He says, “It’s the best one I’ve seen in the whole program.”He says, “I’m working on a movie right now, a big feature. “A movie about the Sun Tzu, “Art of War,” scrolls. “And it’s going to be like a $200 million movie. “It’s going to be like Avatar. “And the government has already agreed to fund it, “but they’ve told us that we need to fund “a smaller movie first to prove that we can make one.”He says, “Do you have any 3D movies “that you would like funding for?”Even if I didn’t, I just go to the bathroom, grab a toilet roll, and write the damn thing. I mean, if somebody’s offering you funding for your movie, yes, you have a movie. Just practice, I just want you to practice with me. Right now, how many of you right now do have a movie.

Okay, just a few of you. No just wait, actually, actually. Now, I’d say something different. I’ve got money for somebody who has a movie to produce. How many of you have a movie to make? Excellent answer! Excellent answer. Two months later, he sent us a quarter of a million dollars to go into development on a project we were working on. Why did that happen? Because I’d overcome my rubbish, I’d overcome the garbage, and I’d gotten comfortable with speaking. It has opened so many doors for me that I can’t even begin to tell you. Who wants to know my recipe for getting on stage at A-Fest? Anybody want to know that one? – [Audience] Yes. – I don’t know, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of excitement for that. I’ll tell you the way it works. Some of you have studied inceptive marketing with me. So here’s what happened. I had made a decision not only that I wanted to get on stage at A-Fest, but I’d made a decision that I wanted my products published on the Mindvalley platform. Here’s the bizarre bit though, at the same time that I made that decision, Vishen had made a different decision. And that was the Mindvalley no longer wanted to produce quantity, they wanted to focus completely on quality. They wanted best of breed authors. In other words, they were going from 80 authors down to 14 authors. And I had made the decision that I wanted to be one of those 14 authors. Does this sound like an easy goal? No.

And so let’s back up. When we talk about marketing, when we talk about influence, it doesn’t work like it used to in the 80s. In the 80s, what you did for influence, was you just talked about how good you were. You talked about your features and benefits, you talked about how great you were, you advertised yourself. That does not work anymore, do we agree? – [Audience] Yes. – It’s over. And now what we have to do if we want to influence people, is we have to think about them. We have to think about them. We have to think about them, and talk to them. In fact, I want to do a funny little thing. I need some parents, I need parents. I need parents that are sitting beside each other. Are you sitting beside each other? Have we played this game before? Okay good. They are now my parents, and I am a 14 year old child. And I would very much like to go to Disney World. Now, in the traditional world of children, how am I going to convince mom and dad that I get to go to Disney World? How am I going to do it? Help me out, coach me on the traditional world. How would I do it? I’m going to go tell them what I want, right? I really, really want to go to Disney Land. Say no. – [Woman In Audience] No! – No, oh. Now what do I try now? – [Audience] Please! – Begging, begging, please! I’ll clean my room! Bribery. Is it true? – [Audience] Yes! – Right, and then, oh, guilt. But all the cool parents are sending their kids. Will kids do this stuff? – [Audience] Yeah! – Absolutely. Well, I’ll tell you something. You might think that kids do this stuff, I’ve seen some of your websites. You’re doing this.

You’re just talking about you on the website. I want you to buy my product. Let me tell you how great my product is. You’re not giving them value. So if I think about it differently, wait a minute, who’s my ideal target market? My parents. Aren’t they? All right, so if I wanted to influence them, I need to learn everything I can about them. What are my parents worried about? What are they thinking about? They’re thinking about me. They’re thinking about, am I safe? They want to make sure I don’t get somebody pregnant, that I don’t have the police bring me home. They’re thinking that I want to get a good education. Is this all true? – [Audience] Yes. – All right, now, my parents are thinking about that stuff. Got it. Hey mom and dad, are you having a good breakfast? I just wanted you to know, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my university education, and university entrance requirements. I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Do I have their attention? – [Audience] Yes. – Yeah! One of them is choking now. Like, what? What? And it turns out, mom and dad, that university, the grades thing, you guys were right, that’s really important. I’m going to have to step up on that area, because you got to have those grades. You know what else is fascinating though, is that it turns out universities aren’t interested just in robotic grades. They’re interested in interesting kids. They’re interested in innovation, activity, involvement, creativity. And so I’m doing everything I can to learn about that, ’cause there have been some incredible people out there. Do you guys know who Nikola Tesla is?

And of course Thomas Edison, and then you’ve got George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg, and Walt Disney, and Elon Musk, and Richard Branson. I mean, these people are so creative! And I’m so excited about them! So right now, I’m doing like a project. I’m doing all the research I can on Walt Disney. You know that when he was broke, and he was just making cartoons, and his stories, and fascinating. So if you have any books or blogs, or articles or videos or anything at all about Walt Disney, any way that you can help me learn more about Walt Disney, you just let me know. Who’s idea is it going to be? It’s going to be their idea. It’s going to be their idea. And I think a lot about this, because most of us these days are so uncomfortable with communicating that we don’t have time to think about our communication before we communicate. Isn’t it true? I am a big fan of having really clear, strategic objectives before I communicate. Before I walk on stage, I have a list of strategic objectives. One of them is always to have fun. It’s always like that for me. I won’t go on stage if it isn’t fun, ever since Poland. By the way, in Poland, did I end up having fun? Yeah, because it was one of my strategic objectives. And so one of the problems is, is that if you’re nervous, and you’re freaked out, and you’re afraid, it’s hard to think strategically, because most people, many people in this room even, if they were told, “Hey, you have to give “a presentation in front of hundreds of people.”Your biggest strategic objective is survival, isn’t it true? It’s just to get through it, it’s just to get to the other side. In fact, some of you will come up, and you’ll do a presentation, and you’ll do really well. You’ll make people laugh, you’ll give some good ideas.

You’ll walk off the stage, and you’ll have instant stage amnesia. You’ll forget everything you said. Who’s had that experience? That’s adrenaline and cortisol. When you walk up on stage with adrenaline and cortisol you mess it up, and you don’t give yourself a chance to learn. So I’m going to give you a clue, one of the biggest clues you can have in starting to get really comfortable with being on the stage. Never, ever tell the audience that you’re nervous. Never, ever show them with your body that you’re nervous. Never let them hear in your voice that you’re nervous, don’t do it. How many of you have gone out to do a talk, you’ve been a little nervous. You’ve really kicked butt, like you’ve actually done really well. Once you got into it, you made them laugh, you started to feel pretty good. And then you got off the stage and it was good. And then people come up to you and told you how good it was. And yet, somehow you were still nervous the next time. Who’s had that experience? The reason you had that experience is that you came off the stage and you walked around, and people came up to you, and they told you what a great job you did and you didn’t believe them. You didn’t believe them, because you showed them that you were nervous. And so because you showed them that you were nervous, you believe that their praise of you, that their warm words for you are platitudes and lies. What you have to do is you have to recognize that if you tell them you’re nervous, the reason you’re doing it, the reason you’re saying, “Oh gosh, I’m a little nervous today,” is you’re fishing.

That’s why you’re doing it. You’re fishing, ’cause you’re afraid you might not do that well. You want to set their expectations lower, and that way they’re going to give you better feedback. But the problem is, is the feedback will only feel good. It’s like a drug. That feedback is like snorting a line of cocaine. It’ll feel good for a minute, and it’ll mess up your life. Please, never let them see you nervous. I had this woman Jessica, she came to one of my first ever speaking academies. She came to the academy, and before she came by the way, she was so scared that even signing up, her hands were shaking. She was so terrified to be there. And then she did the program, and became incredibly comfortable and super proficient at speaking. And so some time later, I used to offer this service where people could send me videos and I would do a video breakdown of their talk for them. And so I did that for her. She sent me one of her videos. And I’m watching the video, and she rocked it. She did this incredible talk on mindfulness. Beautiful talk. Beautifully delivered. And she came to the very end of the talk, and then she did something that told the audience how hard it was for her, how nervous she was. It was subtle, it was super subtle. I’m going to show it to you. You might not even see it, it was so subtle. But it kind of went like this, she finished her talk. She no kidding got a standing ovation, and at the end of the standing ovation, just see if you can see it. Like you know in poker, you have the tell. When you’re trying to bluff, you have the tell, and so she just gave it away a little bit.

Here it was. Everybody’s clapping, and she goes like this. Did you see it? I couldn’t believe it! I’m watching the video going, “No! “No! “You did this perfect talk!”And if she just held on. If she just stood there and accepted the applause, then when the people came up and told her how much ass she kicked, how well she did, she would have believed them. But just that one stupid little thing, she won’t believe any of them. No. You cannot show them you’re nervous. If you walk on stage, acting at least, if you’re not, acting confident, telling them you’re confident, and not communicating your fear, you will believe the feedback you get, and you’ll feel slightly better for the next talk. And then you’ll do your next talk, and you will believe the feedback you get, and you’ll feel slightly better about the next talk. Five talks later, you will not be nervous anymore. You will let it go. Does this sound sensible to you? I went to speak at my very first A-Fest event. Coming back to my strategy on how to get there. The ideal target market in my case was who? Vishen. And so I ended up at a conference where Vishen was. And what I know about Vishen, because I’d done a little bit of research, is I knew a few things about him. One, is that he has a very selective way of putting his attention on things. He has a very high value system of what he’s going, he does not waste his attention, do you understand? So if he goes to a conference, he’s very clear about which speakers he already wants to see. He knows that. And the rest of the time he’s working, he’s on his device, he’s making things happen.

He didn’t know me, so was he going to come and see my talk? No. And so I’m sitting on a bus going on some tour, and I notice I’ve got Vishen nearby. And I go, “Vishen.”I want to do a little more market research. Sometimes the best place to do your market research is with your market. And so I go, “Vishen, I want to ask you some questions. “I’m curious. “What are you interested in these days.”And he goes, “Oh. “I’m super interested in bio-hacking.”And I go, “That’s amazing, “that’s what I’m speaking about tomorrow.”Now. Know your ideal target market, and then give them what they want. As it turned out, I was talking about evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology, which in my opinion is the foundation of bio-hacking. I wasn’t going to say that in my talk, but now I thought maybe I should address it. And the other thing I knew about Vishen is that he really values solid educators. Have you guys noticed the quality of the people he brings for you to learn from? He really values solid educators. And one of the ways he measures them is, can they hold an audience’s attention? Can they give information in a way that the audience is actually going to learn, and actually going to change? And so I knew that if I could get ’em to come in the room, that I needed to deliver like that. And so there he was in the room. And so I gave the talk that he needed to see. He walked up to me immediately and he goes, “Eric, you got to come speak at A-Fest.”Mission accomplished. Step one of mission accomplished. By the way, I wasn’t doing a lot of speaking back then, and I said, “What month is it in?”And he told me the month. And I said yes, because I didn’t have anything in my calender. I was like, “Yeah, okay, I’ll do it.”And then another guy, because I had done so well, walked up to me calling, and he goes, “Eric, can you speak at our conference in Vancouver?”And I’m like, “What month is it?”The same month, I’m like, “Yeah, what are the odds? “Yeah, yeah, I’ll be there.”Same weekend. One event’s in Vancouver Canada, and the other one’s in Mykonos, Greece.

So close. And so I go off to Vancouver, and I do my talk, and I get off stage. And I normally would like to stay, and autographs and take selfies, and all that kind of stuff that people want to do, but I could not. I literally went from the stage to the limousine, to the airport, to the three flights to Mykonos. And here’s the funny thing I didn’t know, is that Mindvalley had arranged a hotel room for me. I didn’t know that, I didn’t know anything, I just went there myself and I had already booked my own hotel room. The problem is, when I didn’t check into my hotel room, they were like, “Where the hell is Eric?”And so the next morning I woke up in my hotel room and I walked over to the conference center, and I knew I had to be on stage in about an hour. And I went there to go and look at the stage, and do all my stuff. And Mia, some of you will be familiar with Mia. Is Mia fantastic and amazing? – [Audience] Yes! – Absolutely she is. And she and I had never really met before, well that’s not true. About two weeks earlier, we had met on Skype. She goes, “Eric, the A-Fest schedule was full “before Vishen invited you.”She goes, “What are you planning to speak about?”And I go, “Well, I imagine Vishen wants me “to talk about WildFit, I think.”And she goes, “Well, we already have Dave Asprey, “we’ve got J. J. Virgin, we’ve got Mark Hyman. “We do not need another diet talk. “You cannot talk about diet.”And I’m like, “I have no idea what to do now.”And so what did I say to her, by the way, when she said this to me? – [Audience] No problem. – No problem. And then I got there, and I got ahold of her on FaceTime. And she goes, “Oh my god, Eric! “Oh my god, you didn’t check into the hotel, “and we didn’t know where you were, and we’re freaking out.”And I said, “Mia, everything’s fine. “There’s no problem, I’m here.”And then I walked out, and she immediately calmed down. She came out and met me in the lobby and she said that it was just so amazing, because so many times speakers are frenetic and nervous before they walk on the stage. Is it true? – [Audience] Yeah. – And in my case I was like, I was just so laid back. She’s like, “You know you’re on stage soon, right?”And I go, “Yeah.”And she goes, “Don’t you have to do “that nervous thing that people do?””No.”She goes, “Oh, do you do it like right before “you go on stage then?

“I go, “No, I just don’t do that. “I don’t like that, I don’t enjoy it. “So I don’t do that.””We don’t go there.”And she’s like, “Okay.”And so then I walked out on stage, and I did a talk. And that night we were all at dinner, I was out at dinner and Vishen was there, Christina was there, a bunch of the speakers were there. And Vishen walks up to me and he says, “The Tribe so enjoyed your talk. “Would you do another one for us? Now, I need to back up for a moment. I don’t do 20 minute talks. I just don’t. Like, I just don’t do that. Like I just don’t do that. Do you know why I don’t do it? If you would like me to come and speak in your company, and you want me to speak for eight hours, do you know how much time I have to prepare for that? I don’t. I just show up, and I’ll speak for the eight hours. I mean yeah, I’ll do a little preparation on what your company wants, but I don’t have to prepare for a talk like that. If you want me to come on stage and speak for three hours, I’ll prep for half an hour, or to an hour max. But if you want me to talk for 20 minutes, I need a month, because I have to choose the words so carefully, I have to choose the rhythm so carefully. I don’t have leeway. So everybody, people have come and asked me, “Oh, come and do a TED talk, come and do it.”No. 18 minutes, no, I won’t do that. I just won’t do that. But in this case, remember I had a strategic objective to get published on Mindvalley. And so in order for me to get published on Mindvalley, I knew step one was get myself on the A-Fest stage. And when Vishen said, “come and speak,”I didn’t even ask how long it was. I found out it was 20 minutes, and I’m like, “No problem.”And so I did my first talk in 20 minutes, first time I ever spoke for 20 minutes.

And Vishen comes up to me afterward at dinner. And he says, “Eric, the Tribe loved your talk so much. “Would you do another one tomorrow for 20 minutes?”Sure, I have a month between now and tomorrow to prepare. And then I said to him, “What would you like the talk to be about?”‘Cause he knows me a little at this point. He knows about my interest in business and entrepreneurship, he knows that I’m interested in health and nutrition. He knows that I’m interested in evolution and biology. I’m a curious guy. And what’s interesting is, I have this friend David Wood, and when you go out to a meal in a restaurant with him, this is so cool. He won’t order. The waiter comes over and the waiter says, “What would you like?”And he goes, “Anything. “You decide, surprise me.”How brave is that? In America. I mean, that could be lethal, really, but the fact is he does it. He goes, “Bring me anything.”And you know what’s really amazing, is if the restaurant’s not too full, almost every time I’ve been out with him, they’ve brought him something that wasn’t on the menu, because the chef is bored silly with cooking the same crap. Chefs did not go into being chefs to cook the same stuff every day. They’re creative people! And so when he says, “I’ll take anything.”The chef is back there going, cooking the same thing all the time, and the guy says, “Hey we got a joker back here, “he says he wants you to make anything for him. “Pick something off the menu!”And the guy goes, “Forget the menu. “I get to be creative!”And he does something creative, and then they send the creative dish out.

And then we’re sitting there, and David gets his creative meal, which somehow looks better, smells better, tastes better than everything on the menu, every time. And then you know what? Almost every time the chef comes out and greets us at the table in his hat, the whole deal. And he says, “I want to know how the meal was.”Is that a rich experience? – [Audience] Yes. – It really is, and I think our whole job in our lives is really to have rich experiences, and I love the way he did that. And so when I said to Vishen, “What would you like me to speak about?”Vishen says this to me, I kid you not. And I want you to understand, Mindvalley controls things tightly to make sure they’re delivering. Like every minute is accounted for. First of all, I don’t know where he found the extra 20 minutes for me. You never have an extra 20 minutes at a conference, ever, because speakers quite often go overtime, which by the way you should never do. Not ever should you go overtime. But sometimes speakers do, and they shouldn’t. But the problem is, conferences never have a spare 20 minutes. I’m amazed at where this has come from.

It turns out, he told me later, that he took it out of his presentation for me. And so then to him again, remember I said, “Well, what would you like me to speak about?”And this is what he said to me. “Anything you want.”I don’t have to go from the menu! And I went back to my hotel room, and I said, “Oh my god, what could I do? “This is so incredible.”And then I broke one of my most incredible rules and that is never, ever break a topic out in front of a fresh audience. You practice stuff, right? Forget that. I’m going to do something amazing! And I’d been working on a project, I’ve been working on this book called, “The Hindsight Window,” and it’s something I was super excited about, and I decided that’s what I’m going to do. And the project had been mostly being worked on on my journal and my book, and I hadn’t really thought much of it, and I suddenly thought, “Wow, if I’m going to go talk “about, “he Hindsight Window in front of all these people, “I better register now.”So I went off and registered the domain that night, no kidding, and then I went out on stage. And I started like this, and I don’t remember it completely word for word. But basically I walked out on stage, and I looked out at all these incredible people, and they were so warm to me. I’d already been on stage the day before. And I walked out and I said, “I am so excited about this next talk. “I want to tell you that I believe this talk “is going to have a major impact on you, “and you are going to remember it for years to come.”Was I nervous? – [Audience] Yes. – Not at all. Not at all, that was my truth.

My truth was I believed I was about to give a talk that was going to change their lives in 20 minutes. It was a talk that they would remember for years to come. And do you know that I have had, and still to this day two years later, about once a week somebody still writes to me now, because they see it online. And they tell me, “Eric, your talk changed my life.”But even bigger than that, after I gave my talk and I bumped into people, ’cause one of the things I love so much about A-Fest is that at a lot of conferences, you as a speaker, you come in, you do your thing, and you’re out. But at A-Fest, it’s like community, right? So that means for the next couple days I’m on the beach, I’m out on the catamaran, and I’m hanging out with the audience, and I get to hear from them. And you know what? People came up and told me, they’re like, “Oh my god Eric, you really touched me, “I really enjoyed your talk. “It was so funny, it was engaging,” blah, blah, blah. They’re telling me all this stuff, and I am believing them, because I wasn’t nervous. It’s so important that you do not show the audience your nerves. Does this make sense to you? – [Audience] Yes. – Now. Couple more things I want to share with you about getting super comfortable with being on stage. Super, super comfortable.

One of them is that you’re breathing has everything to do with how safe you feel. The way you breathe has everything to do with how safe you feel as a human being. And I believe that this is a design of the Homo sapien’s frame, and it works like this. You’ve got lungs. And at the top of your lungs, the little hairs that extract oxygen from the air you breathe are more sparse up here. And they’re dense in the lower part of your lungs. Now, if you didn’t know our history, you might think this is a terrible idea, right? I mean, you might think this is a terrible idea, because where do people spend most of the time breathing? Up here. They breathe up here all the time. The trouble is, when you breathe up here, you don’t get quite enough oxygen. And if you don’t get quite enough oxygen, your brain gets oxygen starved, and then that triggers cortisol and adrenaline production. By design though, it now seems flawed, because we spend so much time sitting down and crunching up our lungs, so we’re constantly producing this flow of adrenaline and cortisol when we sit at a desk for too long. It’s one of the reasons. Have you ever seen the brain scans where they show a brain of somebody who’s been sitting for like 30 minutes, and they show somebody who’s been walking? The brain scan of the person who’s been sitting, it’s out. There’s no flow in there. There’s no electrical circuitry going on. It looks like New York in a power outage.

But if you look at the person who’s been walking around, it’s like fireworks inside there. And I think one of the reasons for that is that when we sit down, and we crunch up our lungs, and we breathe only in the top, we switch back to reptile brain. And we stop being able to think really consciously. And then a problem with that is, is that if we breathe like that, what do we say earlier? If we breathe like that and we produce cortisol and adrenaline, we become naturally more pessimistic. I wonder if this is why so many antidepressants are out there these days? Couldn’t be. Couldn’t be related to that at all. But it’s a perfect design of Homo sapiens we are meant to be that way. Because for most of our history, we didn’t sit at desks. Now, I want you to imagine for a minute, if you and I are walking along and we stumble upon some lion tracks on the road. We stumble upon these lion tracks in the dirt, where are you going to start breathing? How are you going to breathe? Will you breathe? What do you think? You tell me, would we walk along and see the lion tracks and go, “Oh look, lion tracks.”Would we do that? No, no, we would not. We would look at them and we would only do one of two things. One would be to go. And stop breathing. Instant way to produce adrenaline and cortisol.

Why? Because we want to switch to reptile brain as fast as possible. We want the fastest possible reflexes at this point. Is it true? And the other way we might breathe is to go. Same thing, right? Same thing, we’re going to produce adrenaline, cortisol, which is going to move us to reptile brains so we are only going to be operating on instinct. And when we are only operating on instinct, everything will look scarier than it really is, ’cause that’s safer, okay? That was perfect for most of our history. But you know what it’s not perfect for? The person who’s about to walk on stage and give the presentation, because I’ve seen them. I’m talking professional grade, world famous speakers, they’re standing off on the side over here, and they’re going, “I’m going to do my presentation.”And they do this. And they’re breathing like this the whole time. I feel scared now doing it myself. Don’t do it. I want you to know that when you breathe really fully, you communicate to your DNA that your environment is safe. This is one of the reasons that meditation is so incredibly powerful. We can talk about esoteric things, and energies flowing around the universe. Yeah, fine. We can also talk about the practical reality of this machine. And this machine likes it when you breathe fully, because in nature the only time you would ever breathe fully, is when there is nothing around to threaten you. Does this make sense? And so before you walk on the stage, while you’re preparing for your talk, you breathe fully. When you breathe fully, you will make your body feel safe. Next thing is your eyes.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, I would put to you that the eyes are also absolutely connected to your sense of wellbeing. When you are afraid, you use your eyes in a very focused way. Again, we walk along, we see the lion tracks. Will we gaze at them, or will we stare at them? You go, “Oh look, lion tracks.”No. It’s going to be, “Lion tracks! What do we want to know right now, quick, what do we want to know? What direction are they going in? That’s useful. How about, how big are they? Do you have any idea? How many of you have ever seen a lion, like in a zoo or something? They’re bigger with no glass. How many of you have seen a lion from a four by four in Africa? Aren’t they bigger in the in the four? How many of you have seen a lion walking along? Few of you, hey. You’re just walking. You’re walking, and there’s a lion there. Your DNA knows what a lion is. Quite a few of your ancestors were digested by lions, so your DNA knows. And so you look at that lion print. You want to know what direction is it going in, how big is the lion, how many lions are in the pride? Do they have cubs with them? And by the way, most importantly of all, how fresh are they? And by the way, in case this happens to you, ’cause you know it might. If you see the lion tracks, if you want to know how fresh they are, you just do this. And then if sand trickles in, then they’re within 15 minutes. And at that point, your eyes are not going to gaze either.

They’re not going to gaze and, “Oh look, the lions are going that way. “Oh cool.”Your eyes are going to go. And they’re going to look for everything. Well, guess what? When people make themselves nervous, they start doing that with the audience. And they looking around like that, super fast, and focusing in on stuff. And they make themselves afraid. I want to share with you a really powerful distinction. Do emotions affect our body? – [Audience] Yes. – Does our body affect our emotions? – [Audience] Yes. – It’s a feedback loop, isn’t it? It’s like Tony Robbins. He says, “How fast can you change the way you feel? “In a heartbeat! “Right, change your physiology! “If you want to create massive action in your life, “change your physiology now! “Level 1,000!”That feels pretty good, by the way. He’s not wrong. The fact of the matter is, is that if we look at somebody, we can roughly tell what emotion they’re experiencing based on their body, is it true? – [Audience] Yeah. – But tell me the difference. If I say there’s a depressed person over here, you’ll tell me, “Shoulders are slump, face is slack,” right? If I tell you there’s an angry person over here, shoulders are tense, fists are clenched, face is clenched. But if I tell you that we have two people here, one of them is excited, and the other one’s nervous, tell me the difference? What’s the difference? There isn’t really. Do they both have sweaty palms? Are they both breathing up here?

Are they both vibrating inside? Yeah. There’s no actual difference, they’re the same emotion. They are actually exactly the same emotion. I will put to you that excitement is simply nervousness about something cool. Right? And nervousness is just excitement about something scary. That’s it. And so what that means is, the person over here getting ready to come on the stage. The person over here getting ready to come on the stage, if they’re creating movies and pictures that are scary, then they’re going to be nervous. If they’re creating pictures and movies about how cool the whole thing’s going to be, then they’re going to get excited. Does this make sense to you? – [Audience] Yes. – So when we combine all this together, and we recognize that in order for us to feel really good, we want to breathe fully. And I want to share a distinction with you about this. I share this every now and again, and it’s a little controversial. Are you guys okay with a little controversy? – [Audience] Yeah. – I want to suggest to you that, and some of you may have seen me say this, I think there’s a YouTube video that Mindvalley published where I said this, so some of you it won’t be a new idea. Maybe you heard it from somebody else too. But I want to put to you that I don’t think cigarettes are addictive, chemically. So there are two types of addiction, right? How many of you have ever found yourself addicted to a video game? Where are all the Candy Crush people? Yeah, my wife and I, we almost had to call a divorce lawyer, Candy Crush. So can a video game be addictive? – [Audience] Yes. – Yeah. But that’s not an external chemical addiction, that’s an emotional addiction, or an internal chemical addiction. So when you stop playing candy crush, what happens to you? Your husband loves you again. No, no. He never stopped loving you, he likes you again. But when you stop playing a video game, nothing happens inside, is it true? You don’t vomit, you don’t get a headache. When you stop drinking coffee, and you’ve been drinking coffee for all your life, what might happen to your body? – [Audience] Headaches. – Headaches, and in extreme cases, heroine-like withdrawal symptoms, including fever, shaking, vomiting, temperature. It’s incredible. And If somebody quits heroine, there are the symptoms. If somebody quits cocaine, there are the symptoms. If somebody is addicted to alcohol, and they quit drinking alcohol, it’s called the DTs and it’s the same thing. When somebody quits smoking, what happens?

Nothing. Nothing, they don’t get a headache, they don’t vomit. They have an oral and a finger fixation just like a child does when you take their dummy away. The next time you see an adult with a cigarette or an e-cigarette, I want you to create a picture in your head of what it really is. It’s them walking along like little Jessica Simpson, or no, no, the other one. Yeah, Jessica, the little one, right? This is an adult with a cigarette, it’s this. That’s all it is. They’re just doing it ’cause it feels good, like they may as well switch to a dummy. But the one problem is the dummy won’t solve the real addiction for them. The real addiction they have is to deep breathing. That’s the addiction they have. The addiction they have is to taking a nice deep breath. There are some other things, like personal significance like, “Damn right I’ll do this, no matter what anybody says!”Then they feel important. By the way, it might kill you. There’s some adventure. But the biggest thing that they’re really addicted to is the deep breath. Because when you take a big, lung-filled deep breath of air, your body knows that the environment is safe. You would not take that big lung-full of air if there was a lion, or a hyena, or a snake, or a spider, or a lawyer. You wouldn’t take that big lung-full of air. And so what happens, come on. Grab a cigarette with me. Put whatever in it you want, but grab a cigarette. All right? And then just act it out with me, we light it, and then watch me first. You light it, and you go like this, you go. Okay, everybody do this with me, ready? Here we go. No wonder they do that after sex.

I mean, doesn’t that feel good? Breathing like that will make you feel calm, so what I want you to think about is any time you need to go on stage there are a bunch of things that are going to make you feel better. Breathing deeply, using your eyes in a soft, gazing way. When a bushmen is sitting in Africa, making stone tools or carving an arrow, he’s gazing out at the horizon, and then looking down, and gazing out. If there was a threat, he would stare. If he’s relaxed, he will gaze. So we breathe deeply. We gaze. We see it coming out beautifully. We never let the audience see us nervous. And the last thing that is so important, is we start the talk with a predictable laugh. How many of you have ever done a talk, and the minute you got the audience to laugh the first time, you instantly felt better? Who’s had that experience? And many of us have had the experience by accident, but what if we did it on purpose? My friend Jack Canfield, you know what he does? He’s so funny. What he’ll do before he goes on stage is he’ll have slides of all the funniest comics he’s seen for the last couple of months. And he just plays the slides, and everybody starts laughing. He didn’t even have to say a word yet. But he feels good, they feel good, what a great warm up act. I saw Eddie Izzard. Eddie Izzard, the comedian. He created the first ever public Twitter wall that I saw at an event. He put this huge screen up, with the Twitter feed, so the audience could write to him on Twitter. And they put it publicly. And it was hilarious the things people wrote. The audience had tears down their face. The audience was the opening act! He found a way to make them laugh, and so what I want to suggest to you is that the last peace for you is to be predictable in that first bit, know exactly what you’re going to say so that you can create a predictive response from the audience in the first 30 seconds, does that make sense? (next in part 2)

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