It’s James here again!
I’m bringing you this week’s #ThrowbackTuesday, and it is none other than the 50 Billion Dollar Man himself Dan Pena.
This is one of those moments where the “he needs no introduction cliche” really does apply. But I’ll introduce him anyway!
Dan Pena is a millionaire success coach and mentor to some of the biggest leaders in the world.
He lives like an old Scots Laird up in Guthrie Castle in Perthshire, Scotland.
Every quarter Dan holds the Quantum Leap Advantage Seminar, where elite mentees gather to have their behinds roundly kicked into shape so that they can take their careers to the next level.
The first interview Brian ever did with Pena is now the stuff of London Real legend.
Dan Pena - Your First 100 Million - TRAILER
Brian’s suspicion of Pena’s aggressive mentorship style is evident from the start!
But looking back you can see the respect and, dare I say it, the affection between them.
It’s impossible to distil Dan Pena’s message into New Age sound bites.
However, as Dan says in the interview, you can capture a lot of it in the phrase – “Just F**king Do It.”
Dan’s mission is to dig deep inside of his mentees and unleash the dormant potential.
High Performance for Dan is not something superhuman, but actually something human beings are built for.
I think it’s this that makes him such a popular guest to this day.
I have had the fortune to be able to sit in on a few Focus Group meetings now at London Real, and Dan’s name is one that comes up again and again.
Dan has said it himself, but people want leadership.
Dan Pena on The Military & Leadership
There’s something very human about that nagging feeling that we are capable of more.
I think people love Dan because he affirms that suspicion, he allows you to believe not only that you are capable of more, but that you have a DUTY to live at your highest frequency.
A lot of people focus on the non-PC aspect of Dan’s teaching.
As Brian says at the end of this classic interview, people are either going to love him or hate him.
I think people get too caught up in that, though.
What’s refreshing about Dan’s approach is that it is the complete opposite of what our culture tells us is good.
We are so used to assuming that it’s somehow virtuous to play it safe, to be “balanced”, to choose our words carefully, and weigh up the the pros and cons before acting.
But it’s because we’ve made inaction, fear and over-cautiousness so virtuous, that most of us never pursue our dreams.
We still believe, somewhere inside of us, that to dump it all and go all in, is somehow full-hardy, reckless and dangerous.
On top of that, this cultural programming convinces us that the shame of failure is worse than the shame of never taking the risk.
If I had to name my biggest takeaway from Dan Pena, (and it’s such a big part of this episode) it would be the concept of the “emotional bank account”.
Dan Pena on Emotional Bank Accounts
We have two bank accounts, according to Dan. One financial, and the other emotional.
Dan’s a sharply dressed, quick-talking alpha male from the Texas boardrooms of the oil industry.
He’s got a solid, all American military background, and there’s nothing fluffy about him.
But it was really a bit of a shock to hear this tough guy, Hemingway-type talk about how the emotional bank account is more important than the financial.
His point is that you can’t achieve your fullest potential if you suffer from lack of self-esteem.
You have to be able to see in your mind’s eye, all that you are capable of.
It’s one of the biggest ironies about Dan that he both loves to beat up his mentees and insult them, but also that he dares to have bigger dreams for them than they have for themselves.
I think this is the REAL reason people are put off by Dan.
And it’s proof that all the PC nonsense about “being nice” is actually a major handicap in our culture.
I guess what I am trying to get at is that Dan has really revolutionised for me the meaning of the phrase ‘love yourself.’
To be honest, for a long time, I wasn’t able to get my head round what that’s supposed to mean.
Maybe something about it seemed too easy, like letting yourself off the hook.
Maybe I just drew a blank because the culture we live in is always telling you to hate yourself in one way or another.
We’re so bombarded by consumerism, by religion and social expectations, and these all come in the guise of being our allies.
But as Terence Mckenna said, culture is not our friend.
The nicer the cultural messaging, the more you can be sure you are being sold something, the more you’re being ‘trick-f****d’, as Dan would say.
Dan’s not like that. That aggression is exactly what means we can trust him.
He doesn’t have to be our friend and cosy up to us. In fact, the more does that, the less effective his teachings will be.
Dan Pena on His Role Models
This was the revelation for me. That loving myself is not about indulging myself, or letting myself off the hook. And neither is it about being hard on myself.
Loving yourself means having the biggest possible vision for yourself, and making sure that every day you are taking steps to realise that vision.
Staying stuck in our comfort zones, and talking ourselves back into inaction are clear signs that we don’t love ourselves.
Personally, I am not sure that I want to be this multi-billionaire.
However, that classic line from this Episode is forever etched on my brain:
If you want to send your kids to a good school, or look after your dying mother, you need money. NOT ZEN.
It gives me a lot of personal pause for thought, when I think about all my grandstanding and moralising about how it’s “not all about the money”.
Perhaps what a lot of us don’t get right away, is how much of a broad appeal Dan actually has.
I mean, the guy’s the perfect picture of the Trumpian Capitalist, the dog-eat-dog, ass-kicking corporate tyrant.
At the same time, Dan gives off a super-charged, high-frequency energy.
I think people love him for something more than his comedy one-liners and his bravado.
What makes artists and hippies love Dan as much as entrepreneurs and investors, is his primal, unforgiving LIFE FORCE.
Intuitively, we all know that no matter if you want to be the next Shakespeare or Warren Buffett, you have to have the guts, the grit and the f**k-you attitude to get things done.
And Dan embodies that, and he lives and breathes it. He leads by example.
Dan Pena on Work-Life Balance
Another take away from this episode – and this ties in with the whole vision thing – is behaving successfully before you are actually successful.
This is the trick isn’t it? I suspect this might even be the ultimate secret of all successful people.
You no doubt remember the “smell the leather” segment, where Dan tells Brian about how he used to go to car dealerships and sit in Rolls Royces and breathe in their scent.
This is more than just a gimmick. It’s not just about tricking your subconscious.
The whole thing is a symbol for how success ACTUALLY works.
Ultimately, successful people don’t wait around for permission to take the next step.
They don’t wait for validation, or the bank manager’s signature.
They validate their dreams, and they demonstrate how much they love themselves, by never taking no for an answer.
This is something that really needs to be chewed on.
It’s one thing to understand it intellectually, but it’s another thing to let it really seep into your bones, to really feel the significance of it.
But let’s get back to the loving yourself thing for a minute.
Loving yourself means being willing to take risks, being willing to grow, to be tested, to fail and to get hurt.
People who love themselves don’t act from an absence of fear, but they act from a sense of vision, the belief that they can come through the trial, that the trial itself is worth it.
It reminds of what Brian said in his vlog about 9/11, about how all the hardship and struggle he’s been through has actually proved to him he can survive, that he can take the hits and stay standing.
That’s a man who loves himself.
I think is what Dan means when he talks about passion.
Passion is what happens to you when you allow your vision to be your purpose.
It doesn’t mean things just start happening for you.
It’s got nothing to do with the New Age BS about the net catching you when you jump.
Passion is the energy that allows you to be the master of your own destiny.
Here’s the real lesson for me, and it’s only just hit me:
You can’t love yourself standing still.
The only way you can love yourself is to know what you are made of, to always be pushing at the boundaries of your abilities, to be constantly expanding your dreams of what is possible.
That’s evolution. That’s what it means to be human.
If you are sitting there still fumbling over the question of what “Be All You Can Be” means for you, you’re not going to find out the answer by just thinking about it.
Because the truth of the matter is, “all we can be”, is always changing.
Once we get to one peak, there’s always another one to move on to.
Dan Pena’s teaching really has nothing to do with being a hyper-capitalist, or a competitive alpha male.
It’s about always becoming more. Evolving, growing, developing.
Dan Pena on Becoming A High Performance Coach
A lot of people probably think Dan is just some macho egoist.
They think that’s why he has all those dead animals on his wall, and why he still goes bungee jumping at 70 years old!
But what Dan has taught me personally is that the ego is okay, when it is focused on becoming the best version of yourself.
The only way you can be a good friend, a good brother or a good lover is if you live your life on the edge of what’s possible.
That’s what Dan Pena means to me, and I think that’s exactly what London Real Academy is all about.
There’s no final answer.
If you don’t know what your passion is, if you don’t know what the “best you” is supposed to look like, then you are living out of fear.
None of us knows absolutely, because the answer is always changing.
We’re humans, and humans must evolve first and ask questions later.
To love yourself is to test yourself.
And I can think of no better place to start testing yourself than listening to the passion and the wisdom of Dan Pena.
Let me know what you took away from this episode.
Everyone connects differently with each guest so please do leave a comment.
Thanks for reading!