I’m so glad because we have Chris Salem and Mike Adams here. Chris is the CEO, life and business strategist, world-class speaker, bestselling author, podcast host. He’s a fascinating guy and I’m anxious to talk to him. Mike Adams is a chief storyteller and CEO at Growth in Focus. He’s a bestselling author of a sales book, which is not what you would think when you talk to him. We get into such fascinating information on artificial intelligence and how the mind works. He’s really fascinating. Between these two, we’re going to have quite an interesting conversation.
Listen to the podcast here
The Mindset Of Success with Chris Salem
I am with Chris Salem, who’s an accomplished Senior Sales Executive, word-class speaker, award-winning author, mindset expert, radio show host and media personality. I’m so excited to have you here. Welcome, Chris.
Diane, it’s a pleasure.
I’ve been looking forward to this and we talked a little before. You have your own show and I know I’m going to be on your show. We have so many things that we share in common that we’re interested in. You’ve written a lot of books and content that ties into what I’m interested in. You’re the originator of the term “prosperneur” and you’re also the author of the book, Master Your Inner Critic. You’ve got a lot of things that deal with entrepreneurship and sales. That’s your main focus.
I spent the majority of my career prior to becoming a life and business strategist in sales. Understanding people in terms of not only relationships but learning how to relate and listening to understand them.
Listening is getting to be much more of a focus in sales, which is interesting to me. I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence and a lot of it is interpersonal skills. I actually studied salespeople for my research. All the important aspects of your interpersonal skills, empathy, all the things that go along with emotional intelligence tie well into what we should be doing in sales. The mindset, in general, interests me and that’s something that you deal with. I don’t know if you mean mindset as in the way that Carol Dweck talks about it or some other way. How do you define mindset and how has it helped you grow personally or expand your business?
There are two different types of mindsets. Actually, there are three but I’m going to discuss two. The majority of the people in this world operate from this mindset. That’s what we call a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is pretty much the things that we do each and every day in our life and business that’s on autopilot. You have to ask yourself these things that we do, are they serving us? Whether if it’s relevant to our personal well-being, our relationships or in our business or not. The key is that a lot of times when people operate from a fixed mindset, which is on autopilot, if they’re not where they want to be it’s because they’re doing certain things subconsciously or from an unconscious viewpoint that are blocking them to where they desire to be.
A growth mindset means that we’re aware of not where we want to be and while we’re not sure what’s blocking us, we commit to a process that allows us to get to the root cause of what keeps us back from being where we want to be. We embrace a process that will get us out of the problem into the solution, coming out of our comfort zones to adopt new habits and disciplines that will allow us to get there. That’s the difference. When I look at mindset, it’s either people are in a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A growth mindset requires work, it requires embracing a process to get out of the problem into the solution. It requires consistency with adopting new habits and disciplines over time to not only build your foundation of success for yourself but also to obviously maintain it and actually raise the bar over time to get to the next level.
That’s really important and that does tie into Carol Dweck’s work. I used a lot of that research in my study of curiosity. You talk about getting new habits and the process for getting a solution and a lot of people shut down. With my research, I found it was fear, assumptions, technology, environment all those kinds of things that hold people back. I’m curious what new habits that you’re helping them understand and what the process entails?You have to believe in the process that there is no magic pill. Click To Tweet
In my book, Master Your Inner Critic: Resolve the Root Cause Create Prosperity, I talk about why certain times where people don’t achieve certain goals in their life or certain things that they desire to do but weren’t able to get there. This is all stems back to childhood, what I call limited beliefs. Limited beliefs are things that are established in childhood that we carry on into our adult lives that play out and create situations from a fixed mindset, to why we’re not able to do certain things or achieve certain things. It comes from fear. It comes from anxiety because again, fear is tied back to the past, anxiety is tied to the future and it keeps us stuck.
Oftentimes these limited beliefs are tied to negative emotions like anger, jealousy, shame, guilt, envy, any combination thereof. While we may not feel those negative emotions like in the forefront, they’re brewing behind the scenes that are working with those limited beliefs to keep us stuck. How we take care of ourselves in terms of our personal well-being, how we interact with other people? Are we in a codependent or interdependent relationship? Why is our business stagnant? Why are we not able to climb the ladder because of a lack of self-confidence, lack of self-esteem due to this problem?
The key is to be aware that you’re not where you want to be, to embrace a process to get to the root cause of these limited beliefs so that we can then get into the solution. The habits and disciplines that allow us to get to the root cause of limited beliefs are a combination of meditation and journaling. What meditation does is over time helps us to develop more clarity being in the moment. We have the ability in that clarity to begin to see what comes up from the subconscious mindset that’s not serving us or where it originates from.
Unconsciously, we’re not aware of that in the beginning but over time that can release that information to our conscious mindset. We have the ability at that point to get to the root cause. Often the root cause is a parent and the key is to release that. Whether if that parent is still alive or passed on and journaling helps us to put everything down on paper following the meditation. We’re not over-analyzing, we’re not overthinking it and it allows us to look back at the trends and look at what may be holding us back. It allows us to look at ourselves as if it were another person looking at us. It’s always easy for us to give advice to other people but we can never give the same our self. This allows you to do that.
It’s interesting how much what you’re talking about ties into what I found in my research and I love all this. It’s important to me to find causes. If you talk about a problem or a situation but you don’t figure out what’s causing it, you don’t get anywhere. I’m looking at the name of your book with inner critic. There’s so much of that inner voice that you need to get to the root of what’s making you say those things in your head. To me, some of its assumptions is, “I’m not going to like something because it sounds boring or I’m afraid of this because of this X, Y, Z problem.” You have environmental influences that have shaped this inner critic. How long does it take in your program to get people to start to see changes, based on some of this journaling and meditation that they do?
It’s different for different people. There is no set time but what I can say for everyone is that if they embrace the process and make the commitment to stay the course, they begin to see changes immediately. However, those are not the changes necessary where they want to be exactly. They start to see a change from the beginning and then over time as it leads up to where they want to be. The key is it depends on the person and how they work the program but typically you start to see significant changes anywhere from the three to six-month timeframe. Sometimes it could take longer to actually be able to embrace the full transformation of where you were, where you desire to be. It comes down to embracing the process, being consistent on a daily basis with these habits and disciplines. Operating from the solution rather than the problem by resolving the root cause of those limited beliefs up front.
You brought up the desire of where you desire to be. To me, I don’t think sometimes people realize what they’re capable of. What you’re doing is helping people open up to possibilities. That’s what I’m hearing. Do you find that a lot of people have limiting beliefs to the point that they don’t even open themselves up to potential jobs, opportunities or even within their own job that they should be?
I consider this to be an epidemic worldwide. Many people will have regrets later in life because they never pursued what they wanted to do or a certain job. They felt that they weren’t capable or didn’t have the skills or strengths necessary to do it. Their belief was that there were certain people in this world that are gifted or have special skills to do these extraordinary things and that was not me. These all go back to childhood, our dialogues with bunny, our dialogues with what type of profession is best for us. Why I’m overweight or underweight or why I can’t seem to stay in a healthy relationship?
All of these things go back to childhood. They’re on autopilot. They’re embedded in our subconscious mindset and because they’re not conscious we get frustrated. We operate out of fear from the past, anxiety from the future not knowing how to fix it and not knowing how to get out of our own way. We were programmed to look for the quick fix and the reality is there’s no such thing and there never will be. There’re great things that will help you but when it comes down to getting out of the problem and the solution always comes down to you. You are the problem, you are the solution. They’re all in the same place. It’s a matter of embracing that process and let your outcome unfold as a result of working in the process.
All of this leads to success obviously and you’ve co-authored a recent addition, Mastering The Art of Success with Jack Canfield. I’m curious what he taught you in the process that has changed your insight as to what it takes to be successful.You have to embrace the process, not the outcome, because the outcome is just a byproduct of the process. Click To Tweet
I’ve always looked up to Jack for a long time. He was one of my heroes, so to speak. There was a book that Jack had put out with Mark Victor Hansen and another gentleman, The Power of Focus. It was not one of the more famous books that when people think about Jack. The Power of Focus changed my life because it looked at life and business as one. I’m a firm believer that everything you do in your life affects your business. Everything that you do in business affects your personal lifestyle, whether if that’s your well-being, your relationships, whatever the case may be. How you live your life, how you do your work and how you succeed in your work. What I noticed was that there was no one out there that was getting to the root cause of what keeps people stuck. When I wrote Master Your Inner Critic: Resolve the Root Cause Create Prosperity, it wasn’t based upon my knowledge in psychology. It was based on personal experience because I went through this. The process that I outlined is something that I personally did out of default several years ago that got me out of my problem into the solution.
I was an individual that was going nowhere, fast, lost, hopeless. While I looked like I had high self-esteem, hype, self-confidence, it was completely the opposite. It changed the quality of my life. It became over time where instead of helping people that I was doing along the way, that this is what I’m not on this planet to do, is to give this gift and to be the messenger that everyone can embrace this. It’s not rocket science, it’s a process that you have to believe that there is no magic pill. There’s no solution in a box that you have everything, your toolboxes inside of you and anything that’s broken can be fixed from within.
I agree that there’s so much that we don’t realize. It’s so easy to look at somebody and think they have it all and everybody has their issues. Nobody’s got a perfect situation but you’ve written about 8 Pillars of Wellness. Is this the part of the Success series with Jack?
That did not come, the 8 Pillars of Wellness has been around. It’s not something I came up with but I incorporate eight pillars of wellness into everything I do in the process, whether if it’s in the book or when I’m coaching clients individually, in groups or even core companies as a whole. We tie in the eight pillars of wellness. The eight pillars of wellness are like dominoes, they all affect one another. If you’re emotionally not balanced and again there’s no perfect balance but it’s striking a balance. Is that going to affect your physical well-being? Sure. If you’re out of sorts emotionally, that could affect the way you eat, that can lead to being overweight, leads to inflammation in the body.
If you’re financially in debt or living paycheck to paycheck, if you’re financial wellness is unbalanced, that could lead to issues with physical wellness, emotional wellness. That can lead to issues in your occupation. The key principle about the eight pillars of wellness is to strike balance because they all feed off of one another. If we’re able to look at like if it were a seesaw where if it’s gently teetering in the middle, that’s where you desire to be. It’s not one extreme to the other world. One is up, one is down, it’s teetering in the middle that is where somebody desires to strike a balance and that allows us to live a more prosperous lifestyle going forward.
There’s such a focus on wellness, on mindfulness. Do you see more people talking about it? Does it just seem like it to me now that I’ve been interviewing more people?
There are more people talking about it and while there has been a lot of ignorance in the companies, corporations space about it for quite some time. It’s not a choice. It’s going to become a matter of either you’re doing it or you’re out. This ties into emotional intelligence. What organizations don’t realize is that emotional intelligence, when it’s tied to intellectual intelligence will provide a company more value. Their assets or the value of their company will be far greater than if it were based upon the intellectual side only. That would obviously affect their revenue. That’s going to lower their onboarding expenses because they’re putting people first. It’s about human capital.
When you have happy workers, you have happy customers. It’s not going to be a choice. I believe in the next years, hopefully it’s in my lifetime but it’s going to be either you’re doing it or you’re out. That’s the reality. This mindfulness is here to stay. It plays a big component in keeping people and organizations within the solution rather than the problem. It requires people to be transparent, come from empathy, putting people first, not looking to take shortcuts and looking for the long-term sustainable results that they seek.
It is interesting how many companies who understand it’s an issue but don’t put any backbone behind it. They say, “I know emotional intelligence is important. I know wellness is important,” but then maybe they’ll send out an email blast or they don’t do anything to follow up. I’ve seen in the company I worked for in the early ‘80s, that they actually were so far ahead of their time. It makes me appreciate it. We had to take a personality assessment to even get into the company, to begin with. We had to pass a physical before we could get into the company, you had to be healthy. If you have any car issues like a ticket or something you could lose your job because they totally value safety. You don’t see so much of that. Are you seeing more of that?
People are starting to wake up but at some level, there’s still ignorance. You think about everything around us, there are products and services that mean well. When you really look at them, they do good things but all they do is managing the problem. They’re not solving problems. It comes back to individuals, only you can solve your own problem. Only a company where they put their people first can solve their own problems. A consultant can come in, offer great advice, offer different strategy outlooks on things, guide them in certain ways but it’s up to them to implement all that, to solve the problems and to get into the solution. It’s the same thing with individuals. People are beginning to realize that if I pop a pill, it’s not going to solve my health issue, it’s just managing the problem.Only a company where they put their people first can solve their own problems. Click To Tweet
Many times, it’s creating new problems. You have the power to go within and there’s a process through the meditation, journaling, other types of habits and disciplines that will help people to solve their own problems and get into the solution. Is it an easy ride? No. Is everything going to be perfect from there on out? No, but you’re going to be able to have a different attitude and outlook when you do face life’s adversities or business or challenges. You can begin to see the opportunities disguised in those challenges that will allow you to even get further ahead when you go beyond them. It’s embracing the process, not the outcome. The outcome is a byproduct of the process. That’s the key here.
If you’re defining success one way, once you start solving some of your problems, does it become a little harder to attain because you’ve moved the bar up a little bit?
Success is defined by the user, whoever the person is or whoever the company is. In order for us to feel that joy and happiness, it’s always good to raise the bar. It’s not to the point where you’re going to put yourself out, but in a way that you don’t want to become stagnant and complacent because that’s what happens when we remain in the status quo. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make more money that you have to produce more products, it’s just looking for different ways that are going to stimulate growth, whatever that means to you in terms of your objectives. It’s not always tied to money. The key to anything in success, whether if it’s in business or personal, are you happy? Does this make you happy? You’ve got to make yourself happy. It can’t be something that will make you happy.
If we’re happy and we can produce happy results or results that obviously reinforce that happiness, that’s what counts. If there’s a lot of money that comes along with it, awesome. If that’s not important to you and it’s about that you’ve helped change lives or you’re contributing, giving to nonprofits, whatever the case may be, that’s it. When you leave this world, that’s what you bring with you. You bring the memories. You bring the contributions with you. You don’t bring the material and physical things with you and that’s what it’s all about. Are these companies leaving legacies? Are these companies making an impact that they’re allowing their customers to take these memories with them? Are people doing that in their homes? Are people doing that in their communities? That’s the key differentiator when looking at this.
You’ve obviously been very successful. You talk about the path you took. What do you think led you to open your mind that you needed help to change things to make you happier?
I had led a life up until I was 30 and I had no direction. I constantly was seeking validation from older male figures because I never had it from my father. I didn’t have that type of relationship that a boy is looking for with their father. My father was not at my ball games, my high school graduation, and college graduation. Not that because he didn’t care, it’s because he had his own limited beliefs and his goals at that time were to be successful and make a lot of money. There was never time for the family. When there was, my father didn’t know how to be the father he should be because he didn’t have it himself. He didn’t have that blueprint either from his father.
The wake-up call for me was when my father was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 56. He succumbed to the disease four months later when they gave him a year and a half to live. It was my belief that I didn’t know at the time but I can look back now. It was his limited beliefs and because he was emotionally unstable and that affected his physical well-being and all the other eight pillars. It ended up manifesting itself into cancer and physical form that took his life, so everything that he thought was important. He didn’t have a balance. He had money but he had nothing else. He had no family, he had no love. He had no peace. He had no happiness and then he had no time to even enjoy the fruits of his efforts because he died at the age of 56.
That was the wakeup call for me to say, “If I continue down this path, I’m going to have a son one day that I’m going to do the same thing too. I’m going to live a life of out of anger and making bad choices in and out of relationships. Making lots of money, losing lots of money and not making a difference in this world.” That was the wakeup call for me and it was the first time that I realized that only I myself had to take responsibility for the outcome of my life. No one could do that for me, no matter what happens to me and it’s always our responsibility. That was the turning point wakeup call where the shift was made, this process was developed that I share with others to do the same in their situations.
It’s great when people are able to break a pattern and parents, they do what they can. They know based on what they’ve been taught. Sometimes it’s always interesting to me when I meet someone like you who recognizes that this needs to be changed. It’d be easy to continue the same process that we’ve been taught and it seems you’ve reached some inner changes that have been super successful for you obviously in all ways. It was interesting to read your work. I know a lot of people are going to want to know more about how they could find your books. I know you speak and all that, if you want to share how people can reach you, that would be wonderful.
Thank you so much, Diane. There are two places that people can find out more information, what we’re doing and what we discussed now. One is from the consulting and coaching standpoint that is my site, www.ChristopherSalem.com. I also have a nonprofit called Empowered Fathers in Action. We call it EFA Movement because it’s a movement and it’s aimed at strengthening the father-son bonding process so that we can produce future better leaders in our homes, communities, and businesses. One from higher self-confidence rather than from limited beliefs, this also applies to parents. You can find out more information about that at www.EFAMovement.org. Feel free to go there and almost all over social media, you can find me there. I’m happy to connect with people and discuss ways that we can make this movement make a difference in the world.People should realize that if they pop a pill, it's not going to solve their health issue. Click To Tweet
Chris, thank you so much for being on the show. This was so much fun.
Diane, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure.
You’re welcome. I look forward to being on your show.
Transforming The Future With Artificial Intelligence with Mike Adams
I’m with Mike Adams, who is the bestselling author of Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell. He’s an engineer, turned salesperson. I’m excited to talk to you, welcome.
Thank you very much, Diane. There are a few engineers that go on as salespeople but it’s an interesting transition.
Those two don’t go together as much as you think. I was in sales for decades and one of the companies where I worked made us take a personality test. The four-color tests and the engineers were pretty much the yellows in that group. Every once in a while, we’d get a yellow in the sales department and we’d all bet how long they’d last. They didn’t last that long but if you’ve got a good yellow, they were the best ones.
Engineers have advantages and disadvantages, it is true with technical, scientific people. We have a deep interest in things and how things work. Salespeople need to also know how people work. You can also put your mind to it. We all have the ability to change our minds. I started selling in Norway in 1996. That’s quite a long time ago and the only reason I took the job was that I wanted to go to Norway. Most specifically my wife wants to go to Norway. She was eight months pregnant and initially, I told my boss personally, “I want to be a salesperson but we can’t go because my wife is eight months pregnant and she also wanted to go.” We had our second son in Norway and I was trying to be a salesperson on the very old clunky mobile phone and doing it badly.
The issue for engineers is that we love to solve problems, but we have a tendency to jump in and sold them without understanding the situation of the client and them as a person before we solved them. That comes across as cold. It comes across as you don’t really understand me. What engineers and technical people have to learn is how to properly engage. Storytelling is a fantastic way to do that because we share a personal story early, which is story number one in the Seven Stories book. We open up to the point where that will tell us what’s going on because people don’t tell what’s going on. Particularly they don’t share information to salespeople until they trust you.
That’s true and it takes some time to develop trust. I was in sales for decades. Everything from pharmaceuticals, loans to do different types of sales. I’ve found that the better you were relating with stories and the types of things that you write about, the more successful you were in sales. It’s hard for a lot of people to tell stories. It doesn’t come naturally. How do we get to be a better storyteller?
It didn’t come naturally to me. I was pretty technical about figuring out stories as well as an engineer and coming up with a formula. That’s what I’ve written in the book, what story to look for at what stage and that is the Seven Stories. Each of the Seven Stories has a different central character, which I’ll explain but then what is the structure of the story? These are trying around everywhere and a lot of people don’t appreciate exactly what a story is. For it to work a story has to be a sequence of related events. This happened, then this, regarding this problem and we didn’t know what to do and then this happened and here’s how we could out of it. It has to be in sequence or it’s not a story. That actually relates to how our brain works, which is how I’d love to talk to you about as well. The characters in the Seven Stories that you use to get you through a buying process. They start off with your personal story and then you might tell the story of someone else in your organization that your buyer needs to trust.
That might be the CEO if you’re in a small company or it might be a technical person. Your head of customer service, your implementation manager and then we have your company story. Can you still tell the narrative about how your company came to exist and why it exists? Why it didn’t fail and where it’s going? That’s the company narrative and then we have an insight story, obviously very young. The central character of the key staff story is that key person. The central character of the company story is usually the founder or the company itself somewhat. It can be a bit of a non-human character if it’s an old company.
The insight story, I call it the researcher story. It’s the story of how you discovered something about your buyer’s market that they don’t understand. They should appreciate, it would be profitable for them to understand. The success story, most people think of case studies and success stories but it’s important that the character of the success story is you’re successful with other clients. The person like the person you’re talking with, a potential buyer that they can relate to. You need to make that successful client the central character of the success story. Most vendors make the mistake of putting themselves as the central character of the success story and that doesn’t go nearly so well.We're building faster and faster computers and heading towards artificial intelligence. Click To Tweet
We have the value story, which is usually the central character who is the leader of your organization or a leader that demonstrates the values of your organization by something they do. Something that shows how your company behaves after your client has bought and that’s very comforting. That tells them what sort of company you are. The final one is the teaching story, which is the central character is the sales manager. The person who knows how to get the deal closed. That’s the story more towards the end. When you’re trying to get a big deal closed and you need to solve problems and the decision process. Maybe you’ve got a difficult character that’s still adding the deal or stopping to deal. How are you going to tell a story to help your sponsor get the deal closed? Those are the seven different central characters of the Seven Stories. I wrote that in the book and explain each of those, we’ve got some examples of how to collect those stories, how to practice them and then how to tell them.
I hear a lot of people share a lot of teaching stories from being in sales. People are always looking to close the deal. If you don’t get that one, you don’t get the deal. That’s the important story. Business stories can be challenging. A lot of people probably don’t even tell stories when they’re trying to sell something. They’re telling stories when they’re speaking, they’re telling stories in so many other aspects of what they do. You and I are both interested in storytelling and predicting certain things through stories like in artificial intelligence or so many areas. You have some science behind how storytelling works, what neuroscience is behind this? Did you study that?
This is another thing about being an engineer. We don’t accept explanations lightly. We’ve got to go deep. I’ve always been a deep student of selling. Most of the books are business books and they’re books on psychology, selling and marketing. That’s been a deep interest for me for more than twenty years. When I asked myself the question, why exactly the stories work? I don’t get very satisfactory answers in most business books or even most psychology books. The stock ends work because they connect somehow to our emotions without explaining how. That work because, we learned stories as young children and it’s in our culture or they work because, for 100,000 years or 200,000 years, we’d be passing information by generations through stories. Those are not good enough explanations for me. In fact, most chapters on storytelling will have a chapter that talks about emotion. How stories connect with an emotional brain as if that’s a different thing and it isn’t. I went quite deep. I had an interest in artificial intelligence from before that was a thing at all. Before I was a salesperson in the 1990s, I was living in London. I was in working in the oil and gas industry and I had a job which was called petrophysicist. I was a petrophysicist, which is a rock scientist.
The job I had was looking at data from oil wells and trying to classify rocks. There was a new technique called neural network. Neural networks are like old buzz, that sets the software basis of artificial intelligence, something called deep neural network. The neural network I was working with wasn’t very deep. It was a very shallow neural network and it didn’t work very well. I spent six months and I understood the code. At that stage, I had to write the code for that. I have kept track because it’s an interesting area and I got deeply interested in it again back in in 2012 when two PhD students entered to competitions. One was for image net, which is trying to identify some random images. Until these guys use neural networks, the programs were or what we call expert systems, which is in trying to define what image used through code rather than letting the software learn it itself.
The second competition was around converting a voice to text. Those two PhD students’ results were so much better than research teams that had spent decades of the problem that everyone stopped using expert systems and jumped onto neural networks. That was 2012, which is only a few years ago. The progress since then has been absolutely astonishing. It is the most astonishing thing in technology. People who are not technologists may not understand this and or even the underlying reason. There’s such a thing as technological progress and it’s very obvious. People argue sometimes, did humans progressed? Do our brains change? Is a child different today than a child born 100,000 years ago? Maybe not but our guts are different, our brains maybe not. We progressed because we use tools to invent better tools. We invented software and we use it to invent better computers, faster and faster computers. A good definition of the deep neural networks, artificial intelligence is it is software that develops better software. The software that can improve itself and that has an extraordinary exponential effect. A few people understand the rate of change of artificial intelligence, it’s extraordinary.
I was spending a little bit about it for my work on curiosity. I don’t know if you saw the guys that were having the play Super Mario Brothers, did you say that research?
Yes, MIT. You gave the AI to play those games.
Without extrinsic rewards, normally what you get points or whatever as you go throughout the game. They weren’t doing that and they continue to want to find out the AI had its own reward for learning what was going to be in the next level. I found that fascinating. Is that what you’re talking about?
That’s what I’m talking about. The part in our brain that is in the neural network and has inspired this technology of artificial intelligence is the neocortex. The neocortex is by far the biggest part of our brain. It’s about three-quarters of our brain volume and it’s the big wrinkly bit on the outside. If your audience holds two fists next to each other, that’s about the size of your neocortex and it’s wrinkly like your hands. If you pull it apart, it’s in two halves. If you were to open your hands flat, in other words if you were to take that neocortex, unwrap it and let flat, it’s about the size of a dinner napkin. It’s about an eighth of an inch, two to three millimeters thick and there are normally six layers of nerve cells in the neocortex.
They’re organized about each other and that are massively interconnected sideways. Something like 30 billion neurons with between 1,000 and 10,000 connections from each neuron to other neurons sideways and up and down in those layers. That creates trillions of possible connections and it’s by far the most complex thing that we know of in the universe. It is by far massively more connected than the most powerful artificial intelligence that we’ve built that’s rapidly changing. I told you about that fast changing. We’re building faster and faster computers and we’re heading towards artificial intelligence. That will start to match what our brains can do.
I mentioned that for Curiosity. What about with artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence and some of the soft skills?
I wanted to discuss exactly that, Diane. People have this idea that emotional intelligence is somehow completely different from say visual intelligence. Let’s take a simple example of visual intelligence, which would be someone who deeply understands spotting birds. Someone who can identify thousands of birds, that person has developed a visual intelligence of all the different colors, shapes and patterns of birds and they could identify them. What they’re actually using their neocortex for is to predict from shapes and colors, bird names and it’s a prediction. The short thing about what that neocortex does that of cells with 30 billion neurons is it is a memory sequence prediction organ. It takes all about eight sensory groups. We have eight sensors and it attempts all of those imports and it tries to find patterns that repeat. Whenever there were repeating sequences of patents and tries to predict what’s going to happen next. That is the reason why stories work because stories by definition are sequences of events that are unpredictable. Your neocortex is trying to predict what will happen next.
Let me talk about emotional intelligence, we need to understand we have eight sensory groups. We had the five that we learned in primary school, vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. We have a balanced sense which is the stimulus system, which tells us how our head’s moving. If we didn’t have our balanced sense, we wouldn’t be able to see. Most of what comes in through our eyes is a very jittery moving image. Our brain has to subtract all the movement of our head in our body to be able to know what it’s seeing. We have our sense of where our body is in space. It turns out that our neocortex is very tightly connected with motion. Our brain needs to know where our arm is to know that it touched something, to know that when we touch something that was where our arm was. That’s called proprioception or body sense. The eighth sense which is very interesting for you in your line of work is called interoception. That is a sense of our internal body, what our gut is doing, our heart rate, our sense of arousal and confidence. Lots of things about our internal body are fed to the neocortex and the neocortex does not care. It doesn’t care if it’s evaluating images, sound, touch or internal body sense. It prints it as a signal, this is the engineer, it’s a signal but going to find a pattern that repeats.
If it repeats or predicts that that’s going to happen next. If your dog came into the house every day and you accidentally trod on its toe and it yelped. The next day it would run exactly the same and you trod on its toe the same way again and it yelps. It probably is not going to go there the third time because it’s going to remember that that movement in that place, when I’m here next to you, had an emotional sense which was coming towards the internal body sense. It’s going to predict that it might get trod on again and it’s not going to go over there. That’s your dog’s neocortex doing that prediction. We combine our internal body sense, our feelings with what we see, what we hear, who we meet and we create emotions out of them. Our emotions are actually created in our neocortex. They’re not some feature of the amygdala or some other part internal to our body. They are creations of our brain, in the same way that we create in our neocortex, the concept of the chair or the concept of red. Red doesn’t exist in nature. Red is a category in our neocortex from a continuum of colors that exist.
Fear is an emotion that we created in our neocortex. We have some social agreements on what it means. Fear is different for you than it is for me. Fear of snakes, for example, might for me come with an experience I’ve had with snakes. For you, it might not and you might not have much of a fear of snakes. It is contextual and it is created in the neocortex as emotions are. There’s a fantastic book that you can buy by Professor Lisa Barrett called How Emotions Are Made. It is starting to use this new knowledge of the neocortex. I would say I was guided as much by artificial intelligence and neuroscience as my medicine.
I’ve had people talk about the proprioception issue before of how challenging that was. If you touch a screen and push a button with the right level. Has that been a huge challenge in AI?
It’s going to happen because people are realizing that if they provide just as our neocortex, it turns out in that napkin of cells into that six layers and one of those layers is a copy of all of your motor signals. All of the movements that you make, the movement of your head, your arms, your legs, and everything are copied into the neocortex. When you’re looking at something, your brain has a copy of how you’re moving and it needs it to know. When you’re talking, your brain needs to know that your voice box is moving to subtract out the sound of your own body so you can hear yourself properly. In moving, your brain needs to know where you moved to know whether the pattern of what it felt as touch is belonging to you. Is it inside your body or is it outside in the environment?
We have to subtract movements. The neocortex does that. It’s bad news for the people that like to say that machines will never be able to do this. There are robots that have already figured it out that need to input all of the movements of the robot into its artificial intelligence to figure out how to move in its environment. That’s what little babies do as they are learning this. We learned these movements and babies are learning. When you see those very coarse movements of a baby, that’s the baby in a learning mode trying to figure out when it moved, it touched and it’s crossed. It’s something else. All of these things have to be learned piece by piece and developed into the neocortex.
It’s an organ that learns both the external environment, internal environment, our emotional body environment by whatever patterns repeat, we learn them. I predict that it’s going to happen next and we continuously predicted. You might not notice but the continuous prediction is interesting. Have you had that experienced where you climb to an escalator and it happens to be switched off but you don’t notice it? You thought it was on and you know that how that feeling of where instead of falling forward, you’re falling over. What was happening in your neocortex before you went up to the escalator is that your brain was predicting that it’s an escalator because you’ve been on escalators before. It’s predicting all the movements that you need to make with your legs and the little forward lean you have to make with your body to not fall over. Once it’s made that prediction and once it’s learned how to do that, it gets pushed down into the unconscious. We no longer consciously think about how to go up an escalator except when the prediction is wrong and suddenly, we pay massive attention to the problem of not falling over.
We were shocked and we stopped trying to fall over. That’s what stories do. Stories are trying to predict what’s going to happen next but a good story has to be unpredictable. It’s a little bit like the escalator that’s switched off. We don’t know what’s happening. We pay attention and that is the fundamental reason why stories work in business because we’d get people’s attention. More fundamentally than that they work because with the story, we’re providing a sequence to the neocortex that it can learn from. I can actually learn from your experiences without having to go through the experience myself. I can even learn the emotion you felt. If you tell me a story about a child or someone you knew that was sick and they’ve got in this terrible situation, I will visualize what it was like to be you or be with that child or be that child and my interception, my internal body sense will feel the emotion of what that was like. I will remember that as a sequence that is not different from it happening to me. As far as the neocortex is concerned, it learned something as if I had that experience myself. This is how culture works. Most of what you know, you didn’t experience it yourself. You learned it from teachers and from reading books and all that. You’ve got all the stories of all the other people and you built your massive knowledge.
We have two ways to learn. We can personally experience something or someone can tell us, “Don’t touch that snake.” Tell us in a tone of voice to tell us that they’re are afraid and we should be afraid and we’ll remember not to touch that stuff. The neocortex is spoken much about in psychology books as a prediction organ. That’s what it’s doing. That is what artificial intelligence is doing. The deep artificial intelligence that the nodes of the network that lights up in anticipation of what’s happened in the previous layers of the network are the prediction cells. What happens in our brain is when we experience through any of our eight sensors, a pattern that we think we’ve seen before, what’s actually happening? Thinking we’ve seen before is code for some neurons are getting ready to fire. They’re preparing to fire because they know I’m next. If that happened, then happened, then that happened. If I say one, two, three, four the neurons for five are getting ready. That’s what prediction is.
The whole area of artificial intelligence and how they do all this it’s something that we’re going to have to get into more. It’s so interesting because it ties into all the things that I’m interested in terms of what makes people curious, what makes people motivated. A lot of people would love to know more about your book because your book is fascinating. Thank you again for a copy of it and so many people could benefit from being better storytellers for so many reasons. We touched on a few of them here but if they wanted to get the book, Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell, how would they get that?
All my readers are smart enough to put Mike Adam’s Seven Stories into a Google search and you’ll find it everywhere. It’s available on every bookseller. It’s available as an audiobook, eBook, hardback and softback. There’s also a website that’s linked to the book with some online training, which is great. I also teach for the videos. That’s the way to find me. I would like to say, by the way, that book is mostly about telling stories and there are lots of examples of stories. It’s not mostly about deep brain science. I know I lose my reader immediately if go into that too.
That’s so interesting to me. We can talk about the book, we can read to learn some of it. Thank you, Mike. This has been so fun to talk to you and I appreciate you joining me from Australia.
It’s a delight.
It’s so nice to have you on the show. I’d really like to thank Chris and Mike for being my guests. You can also listen to us on iTunes and everywhere else. For more information about Cracking The Curiosity Code or the Curiosity Code Index, you can go to CuriosityCode.com.
- Chris Salem
- Growth in Focus
- Mastering The Art of Success
- The Power of Focus
- Master Your Inner Critic: Resolve the Root Cause Create Prosperity
- Social media – Chris Salem on Facebook
- Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell
- How Emotions Are Made
- Audiobook – Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell
- eBook – Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell
- Hardback – Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell
- Softback – Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell
- Take The Lead on iTunes
About Chris Salem
Chris Salem is an accomplished senior sales executive, world-class speaker, award-winning author, mindset expert, and radio show host & media personality partnering with corporate business leaders, sales professionals, and entrepreneurs from various industries particularly Aerospace/Aviation to have sustainable success at the next level. This is through empowering them to strive for balance with their business and personal lifestyle by operating in the solution rather than the problem. This comes from his personal experience to what has worked successfully by understanding the root cause behind the effects of limiting patterns in our business and personal lives.
About Mike Adams
Engineer turned salesman, Mike Adams taught himself storytelling ‘on the job’ while selling and managing sales teams in the United Kingdom, Russia, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia for international corporations Schlumberger, Siemens, Nokia and Halliburton. Since 2014, Mike has been helping companies find and develop their own stories through his storytelling consulting practice.