He walked away from the opportunity to run a multi-billion dollar company to hitchhike around the world to find happiness and inner peace. He studied 5 years in a seminary and left 1 day before being ordained and lived as a monk in a monastery for 10 years. He led the growth of Hay House, the world’s largest publishing company in the self-help and self-development category, from 3 million a year in sales to 100 million a year.
Daniel Bruce Levin
Daniel Bruce Levin is a rare blend of businessman and mystic.
He sat with the richest people in the world and the poorest of the poor and he has seen that everyone wants the same thing and we are going to find out what that is.
He is the author of The Mosaic, the touching story about Mo who list his father, and we are going to discover more about this in this episode.
Find Daniel’s website at DanielBruceLevin.com
Find The Mosaic at TheMosaicOnline.Com
Listen to The Mosaic podcast at TheMosaicPodcast.com
To order a signed copy of The Mosaic, head to theMosaicOnline.com/shop/
or order your copy on Amazon here:
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Marc: Danny. Great pleasure to have you here. Welcome to the show.
Danny: It’s my honor. Thank you. Good to see you again.
Marc: Thank you, Danny. And let’s jump into it, right. If you have lost both of your parents, when you were a kid, right.
Yes. And I nearly lost my parents in the war zone in Syria back in 1980. So I didn’t experience the direct loss, but that experience significantly shaped my fellow life choices. And I’d be interested to hear. And how did that loss that you experienced at a very young age? How did that contribute to the choices you made along in your later life?
Danny: If I look at the experience of losing my dad, everything in my life changed as a result of that, everything I’m 65 years old. I was 13. Then there hasn’t been one day that hasn’t been altered by the loss of my dad. And let me tell you a little bit what I mean by that. Okay. Sure. My dad was my hero. Uh, he was, I was a mini me of him before anybody knew what mini MES were.
We would go for summer vacation to a place called Atlantic city. And they had this big, big boardwalk with all sorts of shops. And in those days it was a nice place to go. Now it’s not quite as nice, but they would have these motorized carts driving and people, riding bikes and people walking. And the ocean was just, you know, off, off, off a hundred yards to the, to the East.
And you would walk on this boardwalk and just enjoy it. And as we were walking on the boardwalk, I would hold my dad’s ring finger and carts would stop and people would stand up to take pictures of this and people riding their bikes would stop and just laugh with each other and look at us and take pictures of us.
And I was like a little kid. I was maybe four or five years old. I said, dad, well, I don’t understand why I started by taking our pictures. What they’re like, are you all known or something like what’s going on? And he said, he said, no, Danny, I don’t think anybody’s ever seen. Two people that are exactly alike, but one, six foot one, and one like three feet tall, but we’re exactly alike.
Our mannerisms are the same. The way our bodies are shaped are the same. The way we wattle is the same. The way we gesture is the same. And so people are just enamored by this little version and big version of the same thing. That’s the story that underworld my story with my dad. He was my hero. I looked to him for everything.
Well, I was, I went to camp in the summers and a few days before I was going to camp, my dad had a go away on a sales trip. So he came into my room that night and he said to me, um, Danny, I’m going to be leaving very early tomorrow morning. So I want to say to you, good night. And I also want to say to you goodbye.
Cause I’ll see you when I come up for visitors, but I won’t see you. I’m leaving very early tomorrow morning. I said, I’ll come on, dad. What are you crazy? I’m not going to let you go out of the door without seeing you tomorrow morning. How early are you leaving? And he said, I’m leaving at four o’clock in the morning and Danny, just sleep, please.
Just sleep. You need your rest. You’re going to go to camp and I’ll see you on visitors tonight. I think there’s not a chance in the world that I’m not going to wake up and just run into your arms and hug you and give you a big kiss and say goodbye and have a safe trip.
Four o’clock came and went and I was still sleeping. My dad had to go.
He died four weeks later, making love for my mom of a heart attack.
In the world that I lived in, I was scared to death of a random world where people that I loved so dearly could be taken from me for no reason at all. So I crafted a story and that story was just, I would have woken up when I said I was going to wake up and see my dad before he left that day four weeks before he actually died, making love to my mom.
He would not have died of a heart attack. Making love to my mom. If you would take a thousand random people and asked them, is there any correlation between me not waking up and my dad dying and making love to my mom, 10,000 people would say no, but in my little mind, nine of a child, rather than live in a random world where my dad was taken from me for no reason.
I created a cause and effect world a world where, because I did this, this happened and that worked for me because it gave me comfort, even though it wasn’t at all true. Mark. I can’t tell you how many times in my life, since then I’ve made up stories. That have told me that, that have made me comforted by the fact that I don’t live in a random world.
That’s something I must have done caused this to happen. Stories that are untrue as any same as any story you could ever imagine, but they were true to me because that became the story of what I did with the stories in my life.
Marc: Yeah. I think that, you know, We all need those stories, right? Because as you say, they give us structure, they give us comfort, and they are creating a reason behind things that we just don’t understand because there is no reason they just happen.
And that’s why we are creating those stories in order to create a structure we can then deal with. Right.
Danny: Yeah. But in all due respect, They there’s no reality to the story. So the structure that we feel they’re created is based on their theology is based on nothing that’s real. So we build the foundations of our lives on stories that have no validity to them that are in lot that are, they’re not lies.
We’re not like consciously hurting somebody by lying, but we’re consciously already ourselves by line, because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve blamed myself for things in my life that I didn’t even do. Because my stories told me that I did them and I believe in my story so much that I blamed myself and put myself down and was ashamed of myself for doing something that I never even did.
I mean, it’s just crazy the power of a story. I’m a storyteller. I know the power of what a story can do to build the company, to build the, to build a brand, to build a reputation. But I also don’t know what the power of a story can do to destroy a human being because it’s in that it’s in that fake comfort that we get from telling ourselves this story that we actually think we have comfort, but there’s no comfort in the fake comfort of a story.
That’s not real. That’s the only perceived comfort.
Marc: Yeah. I think there are stories that are helpful. And stories that are limiting and even destructive. Right. And probably the worst stories are those that are not
aware of. Yeah.
It’s like, there’s this experiment where, when, when people are sitting in front of a computer and the computer is producing randoms sequences of , colors and positions of balls on the screen.
And then people have to figure out which buttons to touch in order to generate a specific sequence or whatever. And the truth is that there is no correlation whatsoever, the entire things, totally random and people come up with incredible sequence of, I need to push this button here and then three times that button there, and then I need to get up and turn three times around myself in order to produce a result, which is totally random.
Marc: To make the point that, you know, story telling and story creation is, is really a very, very important thing. And, and if you think about religion, for example, I mean, it’s right. I don’t contest whether they are right or wrong or have ever happened or not, but it stories and, and people are living according to those stories.
Danny: Yeah, people are killing. And as a result of those stories, people are hating as a result of those stories. If you think about race relations, they’re all stories were. And we, we hate people of different colors. We hate people of different religions. We hate people of different economic values. We hate people because they live on a certain border or behind it, behind another border.
We hate people because they were brought up in a certain economic way of life. And we. And they’re all just stories. There’s no truth to any of the stories. They’re just stories that we’ve made up to allow ourselves to feel something, but those feelings are based on untrue facts. And we’ve told ourselves those stories.
So many times for me, I told myself this story so many times that I actually believe it’s a reality, not as story. And that’s where the danger comes. You know, they say in psychology that a perceived reality is as real as a reality.
Marc: perception is reality, right?
Danny: It’s reality. So part of the work that I do, and this is so beautiful, part of the work that I do is I help people change the perception of their reality because when they can change the perception of their reality, that reality changes.
When you change the way you see the world, the world you actually live in becomes a different world than the world you were living in. And that’s unbelievable.
Marc: It’s very powerful. Isn’t it?
Danny: It is. It isn’t, it is so simple and so powerful. We think it’s gotta be so complicated. Well, how am I going to do? I was just talking with a woman before we got on the phone.
And she’s had so much pain and so much suffering, and she goes through all of it, trying to figure out why did this happen to me? And why did this happen to me? And I said, I said, how are you doing with all of that? I mean, as soon as you figure out one and then 10 other more, 10, then 10 more, I’m going to come to you.
Like, there’s no way to go through them piece by piece by piece. And I believe we have to sit in our pain and understand that and hear what it’s saying to us. But at the same time, let’s just take a trash truck. And drive it up to the garage where all that stuff is, and that’s just a load it all up. None of it’s ours anymore.
It’s just floated into the trash shut up. And I don’t care how many trips we have to take. Let’s think 10, 12, 15 trips. Let’s get it all to the dump and just get rid of it. And let’s just get, let’s just take it out. You can start to refill it up again if you need to, but why wouldn’t you. Let’s just empty that out and just receive something.
All that clutter is causing us not to be able to receive this new, fresh, beautiful energy that wants to come to us to create who we are today, as we are today, we can’t do it.
Marc: And, as we move through our life, we are accumulating all of these stories. Right. And we are for every new experience we are making, we are trying to fit that into a existing frame.
Marc: Yeah. And then we are extending our stories and we are creating these stories, right?
Danny: Yeah. It’s it’s stories all the way down. Like, you know, there was this crazy guy who went to see the psychologist and he said, the psychologist said, what is it? He said, I’m just obsessed with frogs. And the guy said, well, what’s beneath the frogs, you said more frogs.
And he said, beneath those frogs what’s what’s there. And the guy said, I don’t think it’s frogs all the way down. There’s more frogs. And that’s what our stories are. It’s like sort of stories all the way down until we say hold it. What would happen if we realize those stories? And that’s what the mosaic was for me.
It was the realization of sitting with common, ordinary people. People that I had, I had assumed were going to be a certain way, a street worker and an, a, a homeless man and a blind woman and a gardener and a juice man and a waitress and all these different types of people. Common, ordinary people. And I would spin up a snob.
I didn’t mix with those people that much. I wanted to be with people that were high thinkers and, you know, go to restaurants where they only prepared food with love, you know? And I wanted to associate myself with people that were spiritual people. I didn’t sit with the people that, that nobody sits with.
And then the book, it had me sit with those people and it had me, it had, I asked and I wondered why, and I heard this voice say to me, just listen to them. Just sit and listen to their stories, Mark. And every single case when I sat with these people and I listened to them, they changed right before my eyes, but it wasn’t because they changed.
It was because the person that I thought I was seeing was totally different than the one that they were showing me. They were, when they told me their stories.
Marc: That’s amazing. Isn’t it?
Danny: Amazing. And when I realized that, then I started to think that happened in a hundred percent of the people that I spoke to when I realized that every one of them was different than what I thought they were.
Then I started to wonder, I wonder what in the world I actually see as it actually is. Do I see anything the way it is or I do. I see everything the way I am, like, do I put my lens on everything? And I see me in the world the way I am. What would happen if I just moved myself out of the way, what would happen if I swiped, right.
Like they do in the dating apps, you know, just, I swipe right. And get myself out of the way. What would actually be there if I wasn’t in the way of see I’ve seen what’s there. And that’s an amazing, amazing moment that that character in the book became the mirror maker. Mo’s been traveling on the road, on the road by himself a long time.
And he said he really wants to see people. He wants to mix with people, but he hasn’t been, he’s been on country roads where he hasn’t met anybody four months. And he sees suddenly this, this Hill and on the top of the Hill or lights from this village. And he thinks all my gods, if I get there soon, I’ll be able to get there before the store is closed.
And I’ll see somebody and he runs up this Hill and he’s running and running and running time. He gets there. The whole village is closed except for one store. And the door to that store is open. So he thinks I’m going to walk in, but he walks into that store and he doesn’t see anybody there. What he sees is a room full of mirrors.
So he doesn’t even know if what he sees is actually what he sees or the reflection of a reflection of a reflection of a reflection through the mirrors. So he goes up really close, so you can see what’s what’s right in front of him. And he starts looking at these mirrors and becomes the one that just, he loses his breath.
When he looks at it, it’s a mirror that’s made, not of glass, but of bronze. And the mirror make them known how special it was because she put a light on it from the back that shown on it. And with the polished bronze and the light shining on it, it gave a reflection of him that he had never seen him himself before.
And as he was transfixed looking at this mirror, the mirror maker came up behind them and she said, Oh, I see you found something you liked. And he said, I love this mirror. This mirror is exquisite. I can’t buy it because I’m walking on the road. I don’t have any place to have it, but I just, I just want to tell you how, how taken I am by this mirror.
And the mirror maker looks at her, looks at him and she says to them, when you look at, when the mirror looks at you, what does it see? And most started to answer the question of what he saw when he looked in the mirror. And he told him that he saw a man that had gotten older than he remembered himself as a boy.
But now he’s getting older. He saw closed ragged. He saw, he saw belief systems that he had. He saw all these different things, all the stories that he had about his travels and the mirror made her make her and let them talk for a little bit. And then she said, I’m sorry. I don’t think he got about my question correctly.
Maybe I didn’t say it well, I don’t want to know what you see when you look in the mirror. I want to know what the mirror sees when it looks at you, the mirror doesn’t know any of your stories. It doesn’t know any of the things that you think you are. You’re not, it just shows you yourself. What do you see about all of that? And most of that, I don’t know. I’ve never, I’ve never had the opportunity to see myself that way. She said, just spend time with it. Marc I wrote that book over three years ago or that story over three years ago, I have to honestly tell you, I don’t know what the mirror sees when it looks at me yet still, because I still have stories that interrupt that vision of who I am.
Marc: Stories all over the place, right? So you, you brought us this book that mosaic, which is a very touching sequence of stories around Mo Mo in the very beginning, he’s losing his father, right?
Marc: And then along the way, he is traveling and encountering all sorts of different characters. And so the story about the mirror maker that you just mentioned is one of those stories right?
Danny: Yeah. Yeah.
Marc: Can you tell us a bit more about the book?.
Danny: Sure. Writing that book. I thought it was going to take me about six or eight weeks to do. I had written a book for a hotel creating this story for the hotel. I used the core values of their, of their. Of their company, two great characters for them that, and the story was a love story because they were in Maui and they told me people come here to fall in love.
So they w w they wanted me to tell the story of the hotel, but they didn’t have a story. So I created this story of the hotel based on this love story that happened between the core values of these characters that I created from the core values. And that took me about six weeks to do. So I thought this is going to be easy.
This is my story. I know all the characters that I met. I know I bathed them, basing them mainly on people that I’ve met, but then stabilizing a little bit, but not too much. This is going to take me about eight weeks to do to right
Marc, I’ve never had a situation in my life happened like this three years later, the book wasn’t even close to done. It’s only like a 200 page book and, and it’s 200 pages soaking wet. It’s, it’s written in sort of a different style where every line has a thought contained in it. So it’s not like paragraphs it’s, it’s written a little bit differently,
Marc: More like a poem, right.
Danny: Almost like a poem, but it’s not, it’s not a poem, but it’s told that it’s told in a, in a sort of fabulized version.
I would write things that were, I believe were really good. I know that I saved them. I know how to save a file. I would wake up in the morning. It would be nowhere on my computer. I couldn’t find it. It was all lost. I would, I would, I would get close to the end of the book. And suddenly my computer crashed everything I got back except my book.
And I’d lost the whole book, but everything else was, was, uh, was restored. Finally,
Marc: sorry about that. Let’s create a story about that.
Danny: Yeah, that’s good. I mean, that’s great. A story. So I, I got, I was so frustrated. I would wake up at two o’clock in the morning, day after day after day, just sitting in the quiet, trying to recapture what I thought I had wrote.
And finally, I got so frustrated. I, I said, I’m going to create what I called the zoom call with my characters. Now they were made up characters. They weren’t real people. Um, but I said, I wanted to create like a zoom call. I want them all to come in front of me and I want to talk to them. And I saw them as if I’m, if this, they were on a zoom call and I said, guys, what are the heck is going on here?
Like, why won’t you let me finish this book? You’re doing something. What is, what am I not hearing? And they said, Danny, we don’t want to say what you’re telling us to say in this book. And I said, I’m sorry with all due respect, you’re my characters. I created UI. And have you say whatever it is, I want you to say.
And they said with all due respect, you can, but you’ll be going on for another five years if you do that, because here’s the thing. And this is so essential for us to know. And, and maybe I’m a crackpot. Maybe I did too many drugs as a kid. Maybe I’m just a weirdo. But they said to me, once you created us standing, we have a reality.
And now we have a reality. What we say is what we want to say, not what you’re telling us to say, and you’re not writing what we want to to say, because you’re writing a book for other people. We want this book to be about helping you. And if it helps you, we believe other people will be helped by it too.
But we’re writing this book to change you, to help you to, to give you a different perspective than the perspective you’re seeing on the world. Interesting and Mark, when I tell you, when I read the book, I just read it and it’s available now in audio. And I just read it and tears came down my eyes because the voice of that book is not my voice.
I mean, I read it. That’s my voice. I narrated it. But I mean, the tone of the book is not the tone of who I was. I was an arrogant pug sort of guy. I was a little bit of a snob, as I’ve already mentioned. This book was so simple and so innocent and so clean and so pure that it literally changed me from the inside because I actually listened to what they wanted me to say.
And when I listened to it actually changed me. So what I realized from that book, another story that I’ll tell you about my daughter and another story that I’ll tell you about, about a homeless man that I’ve met on the street corners of San Diego. Those three stories totally disrupted my life. And I think I was living a purposeful life all my life up until then.
But my purpose has completely changed. Now, my purpose now is simply not the teacher help or change or, or, or, um, fix people. That’s what I used to do. The arrogant guy, the, the great white Knight would ride on his horse and say, I’ll take care of this. I can fix you. I can help you. I can change you. I can do this for you.
Now. This guy just walks into the room and says, Mr. Roman is orange. I want to hold this space trio in this room. I want you to feel loved and accepted. I want you to feel listened to and heard, and I want you to feel acknowledged and validated those three simple things. When people feel that their armor comes off.
And everything they’re not suddenly falls. All the stories they’ve told themselves suddenly fall off and who they actually are emerges. And sometimes people see themselves for the very first time in that room with me and it is exciting. It’s unbelievably powerful and I don’t do anything except listen.
Marc: That’s very powerful. Is that relating to the quote. “For some reason, you lost yourself, you got preoccupied with all of the noise around you. You got caught up in pain and built walls to protect yourself from that pain and the walls that protected you also made you forget that you behind those walls.” So that’s the walls that are coming down, right?
When you are just encountering people with that unconditional acceptance,
Danny: you know, so here’s what I believe happens for me is my problems. Aren’t with you. Like you, I may get into disagreements with people, but nothing you’re going to say to me is even close to as painful as things that I say to myself all the time.
I put myself down so much or used to put myself down so much. I still put myself down a lot thinking I can’t do this, or I’m too old, or you’re too fat, or you’re doing this, or you’re too. That
as long as I’m hitting myself all the time for watching the video, I’m literally punching myself in the face. There’s only a certain amount of time that I’m going to allow myself to punch myself in the face because it actually hurts before I say. I’m going to put up this wall to protect myself. So I don’t get hit in the face.
I can’t do that. I can’t get hit in the face that often. So suddenly now I have a wall, two millimeters from my face. It has to be that close because I’m protecting myself from myself. I don’t know if I’m going to hit myself in the face, you’re in the grind or in the stomach or on the shoulders, on the feet.
So that, that silo has to go two millimeters down along my whole body. Suddenly. Now I’m walking around in a silo. I don’t see anybody, nobody sees me, but in order to make it feel that I’m real, I paint images of myself on this, on the walls of the silo. I paint these images on those walls that I have of the person.
I think you want me to be. And so when you meet me, you go, Oh, look at you. Aren’t you good? Aren’t you happy? Aren’t you a helpful person? Aren’t you nice. But they’re all just paintings on a wall. And when your wall in my wall meets, we wonder why we don’t have any intimacy. But you and me don’t ever connect because your wall in my walls, connecting, they’re keeping us from connecting.
And even if you don’t have a wall, I do. So you, you wanna meet on connect because all you do is come up to my wall. And all I do is come up on my wall. So how do you get rid of those walls?
Marc: Ultimately, we all seeking for love and connection, right?
Marc: And then when we are. Going out meeting other people, what are we doing to get love and connection? And we are, we have tendency to slip into a role that we think other people would like, rather than just being ourselves, because we are scared that if we are ourselves, other people might not like us.
So ultimately what people are going to do is they are liking. The image that I am projecting towards them,
but that’s not me.
Danny: they liked the painting on the silo. And so I don’t worry now about whether you like me or not. What I worry now about is whether I like myself or not. And as long as I’m hitting myself, I know I don’t like myself.
I know I have to protect myself. So, how do I bring down the wall that keeps me from liking myself. If I stopped hitting myself and I’ve practiced kindness, there’s no reason for this wall here. The wall is only there because maybe I’m protecting myself from my own assault. Once I stopped hitting myself, this wall, that shifts.
And now I go,
this is look in the world. Now, man, it went from a two millimeter world to this whole big world. Now I might see you and say, Oh my God. He’s like, he’s like, I’m scared of him. He looks like he’s got his stuff together. And I don’t. And I might start to build the wall up between you and me, or I might see that the wall, what I stole of you was just the painting of your wall of who you wanted me to think you were.
But what I do know is that once I take down my wall through kindness, suddenly I realized there’s a whole nother world out here and I become vulnerable because I think there’s something that created this world. There’s something bigger than myself. I’m not existing in this world by myself. And I allow that vulnerability of giving up control and just becoming a part of this bigger universe to happen.
So now when I meet you and I’m, and I’m kind, and I’m vulnerable, I say to you, Hey Mark. I don’t know if you’re scared of me as I am a few. I noticed there’s a wall here. What do you say? We just take one brick off at a time. What do you say? If we make it, we make a pact with each other right here. And right now for today, at least on like, we can decide to extend it if we want to.
And we promise we’re not going to hurt each other today. Let’s take down one brick and see how it feels if it feels okay, let’s take on another one and then another one and another, we can stop wherever we want. You don’t even have to take down the other walls that are on your sides and behind you, just this one that’s between you and me.
Let’s see if we can trust each other enough. And our promise that we won’t hurt each other. We’ll be kind to each other to see what that does suddenly. Now we have intimacy into me. See, you can see me and I can see you decide what we want to do with that. Yeah. And so for me, there’s actually four steps to the process of connection.
One is that connection to self, where we take down our barriers. When we take down our barriers, we go, Whoa, there’s another world out here. There’s something bigger than it’s doing something in this world that we’re a part of. So there’s a connection to something bigger than ourselves. And when we finally realized we we’re in this world, that is bigger than ourselves, we have to, at one point, start to wonder, what are we doing here?
Why would we create it? What is our purpose for being here? And then our connection and our purpose starts to become valuable. And so when you have kind people who are vulnerable and open and not trying to control everybody that have a purpose and your purpose can be completely different than mine. But where we come together with kindness and vulnerability and we come together, we trust to build, to help your purpose grow and my purpose grow.
Then we can have real connection. Then we can have this step of connection. Where we can actually be with each other and, and, and connect and build the mosaic of our life together. Not only our inner lives, but our outer life. We can find those people that are thinking completely differently than us can think completely the same.
It doesn’t matter where by coming together, they create the mosaic that Margaret has spoken about. When she said throughout all civilization, it’s always been a small handful of people that have come together and change the world. That’s what real connection does. And that’s what
Marc: really seeking that connection to other people and the connection to ourselves and the connection to the bigger meaning.
Right? We are all looking for that. Now, if we’ll, if we look a little bit at your life story, you have.
It’s far from being straight. Right. So you said that’s one of the things that you did was you were business development manager at Hay House, right. And at that time it was the largest publishing company focusing on self-help and self self-development, I guess.
Danny: It still is,
Marc: or still is. And you, you led the sales from 3 million to a hundred million. Right.
Marc: So there is definitely a businessman inside the spiritual person that you are, right?
Danny: Yeah, it’s interesting. I was just having this conversation with somebody else because there’s a group of people that wanted to want to create this marketplace for, for sort of coaches and teachers and healers and all that stuff.
And. I don’t really think of myself as a businessman. I mean, I think I have business ability. I’ve helped businesses grow and I’ve built businesses and I’ve created my own business, obviously, which does pretty well. But when I look at myself, I think of myself as I have an ability to see things that other people don’t naturally see.
And it’s that ability that helps businesses grow because when you’re stuck in the same perspective, it’s the same thing we’ve been talking about this whole show, right? When our perspective changed and when the way we see the world changes the world, we live in changes. What, what happens in business also.
And what happens is too many times people surround themselves with like-minded people who think exactly the same thing, and they think isn’t this great. We have all these, all this harmony and beautiful thing to happen, but there’s not a moment of innovation that happens after a certain moment of innovation.
They push the borders for a certain while, until the borders become comfortable. In those things, they don’t grow their edges. They stop growing their edges because they don’t allow unlike minds to come in and challenge them to have their edges pushed.
Marc: And that’s a big danger,
Danny: big, very, very dangerous. So I, I remember years ago I was doing innovation workshops for big corporations.
And I went into this big company on in New York. Their office building was, was, um, like a skyscraper in New York. I took an elevator up to the 48th floor. And from the moment the elevator door opened, you were in their office and you could feel the. The the prosperity of every, every breath in that office, they, they gave, they gave a feeling of prosperity, of, of wealth, of abundance, of, of having their stuff together.
And they called me and added me and wanted me to do an innovation workshop. So the doors opened up and, and, um, the woman at the desk said, you know, can I help you? And I said, sure, I’m just leading this innovation workshop, but don’t tell them I’m leading the workshop. Just tell me where it is. I walked through the offices and I saw people in three piece, beautiful Armani, Armani suits, size, silent women in highly stylish dresses and skirts and jackets.
And I chose that day purposely to wear jeans and a t-shirt. And so I walked into the room where the meeting was going to happen and the people were all there dressed to the teeth and they, and I walked into the room and I said, uh, they said, excuse me, sir, what are you, what are you doing here at work?
We’re about to have a meeting. Can we help you? And I said, yeah, I, I I’m here. And I said, are you here to get the trash? Can we help you in the trash cans, bread over there? I said, well, yeah, I, in a way, I guess I am here to get the trash, but I don’t think the trash cans in that, I don’t think the trash in the trash can.
I think it’s actually sitting around the whole table here.
So, so they looked at me and they said, sir, what is going on? How can we help you? we need to see you out. And I said, you can, I’ve already been paid for the workshop that I’m leading, but I’m the one that’s leading your S your, your workshop on innovation. How do you guys think you’re doing so far? And they said not at all.
Well, we are so sorry. I said, yeah, you expected me to look just like you, you expected me to sound like you, you expected. And to me, like you, I purposely came here, not looking like you and sounding like you, because I wanted to see how you were with change, how you were with people that were different than you.
And quite frankly, you suck.
How will you ever innovate? If you don’t allow new ideas to come in. We had one of the most, they still write me to this day saying, saying that was the best workshop we ever had. You changed our perspective so much in that period of that in those six or seven hours that you were with us, we can’t believe it.
We get stuck in our silos of like-mindedness. And we got to get unstuck, whether personally business, family, healthcare, education, every area of our life, we’re stuck. Yep. And it’s the ability to sit with unlike lines and just look at the people who look at the same exact thing we’re looking at and see an entirely different, what do we do most of the time we defend the way we see it.
Rather than have curiosity about, hold on, hold on a minute. How can you be looking at this same thing that I see? What do you see? Where do, how do you see that? Show me. That would be so amazing because Mark, honestly, I believe in a world where everything is possible, everything is possible. The only reason it’s not possible is I don’t see a way you have to make it possible.
But maybe in talking to somebody who sees it differently than I am I do, they might just show me another way to look at it. That actually might help me to see the piece that I was missing. And this thing that would make what was impossible to be possible now. But what I have to realize, this is where my arrogance was before I thought, well, I see the world differently than you saw on this special, hot seat thoughts sort of guy.
What I didn’t realize is they see the world differently than me too. And I could learn a lot from just sitting and listening to them. That’s the maturation process. For me when I realized that there’s beauty in every single perspective, and it’s not better to see the world one way or another, or to see it differently than most people.
What’s great is what we can bring all of the pistol perspectives together. I E mosaic and create the artistry of what we’re doing through all those different perspectives.
Marc: That’s so true. And what I experienced in the business world is that have people looking for change and progress. Only if it doesn’t change.
Danny: I remember sitting in a room with Tony Robbins and there was, there are thousands of people that he was about to address any. And he said, watch this. And we went out there and he, and he, he, um, started talking to people. He said, yeah. And he got them all fired up the way he does it. He said, how many of you people like change.
And everybody raised their hand. He said, Oh shit. Pardon my language. It’s what he said. He said, you don’t like change. You like change. You can control, but you don’t like change. It’s out of your control. You freak out about that. Do you, how many people have you like, changed that you can’t control? Silence?
Yep. We want to control everything, but we can’t, that’s not the way we challenge.
Marc: We can control our thoughts and actions, our own thoughts and our own actions. Right? Nothing else.
Danny: And most of us have a pretty hard time doing that. Most of us have a pretty hard time controlling our thoughts and our actions also.
Marc: I, I think that’s the topic when, when you are suddenly realized that there is a difference, there’s a distance between myself and my thoughts.
Marc: I am not my thoughts. My thoughts are just there. And I have the choice, what I can do with them, and I have the choice to change them.
Danny: And I also have the choice of what meaning I give to them.
Marc: That’s the other choice, right?
The choice of meaning regarding my thoughts. And that’s also the choice I have with the world. Basically all the events that are happening around me that are totally out of my control.
Marc: I can’t control the event, but I can control the meaning that I’m attributing to the event and the value I’m attributing to it. Right.
Let’s talk a little bit about your five years of study in the seminary that you literally left on the day before being ordained your 10 years as a monk in a monastery. How does that fit together with leading Hay House?
Danny: My mom and dad passed away. Everything in my life changed. Remember I said that story of my dad passing away changed every single aspect of my life. Everything changed as a result of that while my friends were playing ball in the school yard. And chasing girls and, and having relationships, which I was doing also, but, but in the back of my mind was why just why’d this?
Why does somebody that I love so dearly it taken from me. I have to figure out what that answer is. And the mosaic I wrote about it. And I wrote that. I asked the adults where my parents were and they told me they were in a place called heaven. And I realized now only 60 years later, 50 years later that I was in search of that place called heaven, my whole life.
And so I went, I went into business, I went into traveling around the world. I went into religion, I went into orange, I did enter Judaism. I went into Buddhism. I went into Hinduism. I went into all the places that you would think would be the answers to those questions. And I didn’t find the answer to those questions
when I got to the, to the seminary in Israel. I was hitchhiking around the world. I had an opportunity to run a multi-billion dollar company. My uncle told me when my parents passed away, I went since I live with my aunt and uncle and my uncle was a household name around the world. And 50, 50 or so years ago, it was a time when men didn’t give their companies over to their daughters.
It just wasn’t what you did. Thank God. That’s changed. Those girls were more brilliant than I much more talented than that. I’m much more capable than I, but you just didn’t do it in those days. So when I, and he only had three, he had three daughters when I came in, it was like, Oh my God, what is, you know, I’ve got to, maybe this is an opportunity.
So he said, I’m going to watch you for a little while and see who you are. I don’t really know you and you don’t know. So we watch me for about a month and a half and he took me out to lunch and he said, today’s the day your life is going to change. I said, really? Wow, that sounds ominous. What are you going to do?
He said, I’ve been watching you. You said you’re a bit of an odd duck, but I like it
Marc: What a compliment.
Danny: Yeah. Yeah. But he said that, but I like it. Um, you don’t see, you don’t see things the way other people do, and it will either tear you down or, or, or make you incredibly successful. I’m going to bank on it, making you incredibly successful today.
I’m going to make you the guest, this offer. I’m going to start you out tomorrow, pushing a broom in my, in the office buildings. And I’m going to let you rise to the top of wherever you can. You can rise as quick or as slow as you want. I will mentor you along the way. I will make sure you rise where you can’t rise anywhere on your own accord.
I will guide you so that in 15 years you’re sitting in my seat and you’ll be running a multi-billion dollar company. How’s that sound?
I said, you’re right. I’m an odd duck. I said, I think you’re brilliant. And I want to thank you for that opportunity. Thank you so very much. But it took you a month and a half to watch me to see if I was the person you wanted for this job, or if I could do it, you still don’t know if I can do it. You’re taking a risk on me, but you see, do you think you can help me to do it?
I’m a kid. I haven’t had any time. I don’t know who you are. I don’t know. What’s important to you. I don’t know how you live your life. I’d like to take a year and watch you. And at the end of the year, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you what my answer is. He said, Danny, you realize that 99.99 say nine until the end of time, people would have answered my question by saying, why wait till tomorrow, I’ll start to say, let’s go to the office and get me a room.
I said, I know just our rotten luck. That I’m the point. Oh, Oh, Oh. Until you were about to drop that and put a one in there. But that’s just who I am. Take it or leave it. He said, that’s what I like about you. You’re, you’re, you’re different
a year later, all this story is already too long. Cause you asked me about the seminary and this is about something else. When you come back to it, if we want a year later, we decided it wasn’t what I was supposed to do. And I went hitchhiking around the world. To find inner peace. I left that opportunity and I started hitchhiking around the world as I was hitchhiking.
And I was hitchhiking and moved to India because I had started meditating and started that practice. And as I was hitchhiking and I came to Israel and it was, it was the, the high holidays in Israel. It was the day of atonement. You’ll get bored the holiest day and in Judaism, where you sit at the war and I sat at the Western wall.
And meditation and a tone for my sins and, and hope that I would be written into the book of life. I fasted, I sat there and as the day ended, a boy came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. And he said, where are you going to break the fast? And I said, I have no idea. I have a friend that I’m going to just go see.
And he said, why don’t you come with us? I said, that’s okay. I’m going to go see my friend, but maybe you can help me. I’m looking for this man that’s been written up in this book. It says he’s a Holy man. And he likes people to visit him between two and six in the morning. He said, Oh yeah, I know where he is.
He’s right by where we are. Why don’t you come to us for a meal? And then you can go and see him. So I said, okay, deal.
When I walked in to see him. He was sitting in a room with guys that make my beard look like stubble. There were six men sitting around them.
And have you ever had your arm goal pins and needles where you had to literally lifted up and move it where you couldn’t move it? Yeah. My whole body went like that. I literally couldn’t move my body. And I was there for, for three, four, five minutes, which is a long frigging time when you’re standing there waiting to get to a chair that someone’s invited you to sit at.
And this was before computers, but I literally felt like my system was being downloaded and he was downloading me into him that he knew everything about me, that he could ever know that this man knew more about me in five seconds, five minutes than anybody in my whole life had ever known about.
Marc: Sounds a bit like the matrix
Danny: sounds a little bit like the matrix.
Yeah. But it was real. I suddenly, he looked at me and he said, are you going to come in and sit down? And I left inside because I’d been trying to get to that chair the whole five minutes. And suddenly the forcefield ones went opened. And I lunched to the chair and he looked at me like, you don’t have a lot of grace, but all my energy was like trying to get there, like a horse, starting a horse race.
And I said, I’m so sorry. I just, I don’t know what happened. And he started to ask me these simple questions. Like where have you been? How long have you been here? What’s your name? Well, what have you seen? Where have you gone? I had looked at him and I said, are you serious? I mean, you know, me better than any person that I’ve ever known in my whole life.
How is it possible that you want to know these stupid questions of how long I’ve been in Israel? What I’ve seen, what the North South, the like, why, why is that even important? I’m going tomorrow on a trip to India and I would love to get your blessing. You’re a Holy man. I want to get your blessing for that trip.
In Hebrew, he said he threw me out of his office. And I said, I’m sorry, my Hebrew must not be good. He said, how’s your English? Get out of this office? I said, well, my English might not be that good either, I guess, because that’s not what I was expecting to hear. I didn’t want to get thrown out of a map of a Holy man’s office.
So it proved to me to be a Holy man before I go on a trip to India, because that’s not the blessing I was looking for. So I said, I’m not leaving. He said, if you don’t leave work, get enough. You said, Ben, you said that the guy with them let’s get up. And they left the room and I’m sitting now in this room at three o’clock in the morning by myself.
I don’t know anybody nobody’s there. And, and he’s, he’s gone. At about five o’clock, someone comes in and, and they need duty 10 people in Judaism to say your morning prayers, they had nine. So they came in and they said, are you Jewish? I said, only by cat, only by name, only by religion. I don’t practice. I don’t know any of the pros.
Like I said, it’s just shut up and come here and sit with us. So you don’t need to do anything. Just stand when we stand, sit, when we sit and don’t worry about saying anything just right. He was one of the 10 people. So I thought, okay, he owes me one now. So I went back to his, I went back to his office after the prayers and I went and I found somebody, I said, will you please tell the Rebi, somebody chair to see him?
So he walks into the room and he sees me, he turns around and he starts to walk out. I said, stop, you can’t leave me here. I came here to get them to learn something from you. You have something you want to teach me. I know you don’t tell me what it is. You can’t just leave me sitting like this is not right.
It turned around and looked them in and said like, you’re a little arrogant, little pug at 18 year old kid telling me what to do. And so he said, okay. He said, you say you’ve seen Israel North, South, East, and West. You’ve been here nine months. You say you’ve seen every single part of it, but I don’t believe you seen any, just, you don’t know how to see.
Tomorrow India you’ll do the same thing there. You’ll see it North Southeast, and you’ll see everything. But you won’t see anything because you haven’t learned how to see if you want to see, come back tomorrow. I said, I’m leaving tomorrow. He said, that’s why I throw you out. Cause you don’t have the wherewithal to change midstream and do what you have to do in order to do it.
So just get out of here. That plagued me the rest of the night. And I was walking back to the place where I was staying. I was, I got to the place an hour and a half later, cause it was about a seven mile walk. I got there about an hour and a half later. I saw the woman that I was just saying, she said, well, you’re running late.
You got to get to the airport. I said, I know I went to the airport and the old airport ride. I thought. I have a non-refundable ticket. Should I just lose the ticket and stay here? Or what should I do? I said, you’re going to have to help me figure something out.
This is a longer story than you bargained for, but is it okay? That’s totally fine. I’m standing in line in, in Tel Aviv, Israel. This was, um, 45 years ago. The situation in security makes security. Now look like, you know, kindergarten, those guys knew, I knew how to do security. They I’m standing in line at the back of a long line.
Cause I got there late trying to get through to the plane and this guy looks at me and goes, you. Come here, come here. And I looked like what happened? My hair was long. I was wearing like a leather bomber jacket. I thought maybe he thinks I’m a terrorist or something. I thought what the, I said, are you talking to me?
He said, yeah, you come here. And he took me behind the counter in, through the office of a supervisor. I’m thinking, Holy Holy mother of God, what did I do now? Because this is not like I’m late already. I’m not going to make my plane. And now I’m going back for this interrogation that got back there. I said, I’m sorry, you’ve got to, I’ve got a plane to catch.
I’m running late. I don’t know what I did. What did I do? Can say, can you please explain it to me? The woman, the woman looked at me and said what
I said, well, that’s sort of a long story. I have a non-refundable ticket. I think I want to get on the plane to go, but that’s not really what I want. I was told by this. Men just totally changed my life around a few minutes ago that I don’t know how to see. And I want to, I would like to stay here, but I can’t afford to lose the $400.
She said, let me see your ticket. She took it back to, to her supervisors, to her supervisor. She said that she came back. She said, there’s nothing that can be done. What’s his ticket. But, and she went into her wallet and she’d got $400 out of her own wallet. And she said, here, this is my money. I said, why are you doing that?
She said, last night, this rabbi came to me in a dream. I don’t ever want to see him again. She said, he said to me, if I see you and he pointed out your face this morning, To pull you out of the line, get you, give you whatever it is you need and make sure that I don’t get on that plane to leave. I said, you’re kidding me.
She said, no, I’m not just take this money and get out here. I don’t like, I don’t want to ever see you or him again. Just get out of here and do whatever you gotta do. So I went back.
Marc: That’s an amazing story.
Danny: Amazing story.
Marc: That’s truly amazing.
Danny: Every first of all, I’m a storyteller. So every question that I’m given, I have a story to answer, but that’s from stories in my life that actually happened.
And there’s just story after story, after story, after story, that comes back to the beginning of what we were talking about are these stories that make up our life.
Marc: And so you ended up like, like these five years you spent in Israel and the.
Danny: I spent … so, so six weeks after I decided to stay with him, he passed away and he had sent me on a mission of a few weeks before he passed away.
I didn’t know he was going to wait. He said, I want you to visit this other place the new year. You’re like, you don’t know where like more advanced than where you at. I want you to, I want you to think about going to this place. I want you to see me and stay with me, but I want you to go to school here. So I went back to where he, she sent me and I stayed there five years.
I was one day away from being ordained until I realized that, um, there were too many belief systems that they believe that I’m in belief. And I had too much integrity in my being to be ordained in a practice that in believe in. I didn’t believe in the way they treated women. I didn’t believe that the Jews were the only way that I had the right Beth.
I didn’t believe that, you know, and, and, and the dog have all these rules and regulations. I didn’t believe that I wanted to spend my life sitting, reading my prayers out of a book telling God how magnificent outmatch Laura is omnipresent, omnipotent. I’m the Omni Omni Omni army was. I just wanted to tell them I loved them.
And there was no space to really do that. And so I said, I got to go and there was another huge story, but it’s too many stories.
Marc: So you went out there and then you’ll spend 10 years in the monastery anyway.
Danny: Then I went back then I came back and had a, um, I opened up a restaurant in a bookstore in San Francisco.
I had a great time because I loved being in San Francisco. So it was like really cool, nice area. And I created this, this little cafe, great cafe and bookstore there that I just run. Um, and then I thought, well, hold that. I’m, you know, this isn’t my heaven either. I mean, it’s nice. I can spend a lot of time here, but it’s not my, and that’s not what I’m doing.
And I, um, my brother was part of a yoga community. And so I went to the yoga community and I decided I was going to be a monk in the yoga community. And so I was able now to go from, I was able now to go from sitting and, and speaking and talking and reading prayers to just sitting and being quiet and asking questions and listening and having my prayers be listening to the response to my prayers rather than just pray.
And I sat in, there were days that I sat in that monastery for 18 hours a day, meditating, lots of days. And I remember chastising myself for falling asleep sometimes because I would just get tired
Marc: Happens to me all the time.
Danny: Right. So I would meditate and I’d fall asleep. And I would say, you’re not getting any grace sitting there and meditating and sleeping.
And then I heard my beloved in my, in my inner voice. Say to me, of course you are. Sleep here in my arms by beloved, just sleep here. When you wake up, you’re here with me. You don’t have to do anything, but just spend time with me, fall asleep with me, be here with me. And I fell in love with that beloved presence.
And then I just, I was there for 10 years. Um, and then, um, a woman that I knew. Move me out of the monastery when I was away on a trip and she picked me up at the airport, she said, we got a little bit of a surprise in store for you. I said, what’s that? She said, well, I moved you out of the Montessori. I said, why would you do that?
She said, please, we’ve been a little flirtatious. And I thought maybe you were lonely. So I moved you into my house. So in those, in those days, I just thought, well, this is what God wants. I’m going to go where the flow is. I got married to her. We had a daughter who is developmentally delayed, and then she passed away of the most hard, crunchy, painful cancer you could ever imagine, but we had a good life together for some years.
So it’s been, I mean, like every thing along the way, there are no gray lines there. All these I’ve had on life of, of incredible highs and a life of tumultuous lows. I’ve sat with the richest people in the world at their dining room tables. I met their parents. I’ve played on the floor with their kids.
I’ve sat on street corners with the poorest of the poor. And Mark, what I realized is. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what religion you practice or don’t practice, what border you live behind, what color your skin. Everybody wants to sane three things. They want to be loved and accepted. They want to be listened to and heard.
They want to be acknowledged and validated. And I realized I don’t need a degree to do that. I don’t need ordination to do that. I don’t need to be a monk to do that. I just need to care enough about people that I can ask them. One simple question. How are you? Not as a salutation, not hi, how are you at them?
Say fine. Good, great. Yeah, but for me to say, how are you? I really want to know how you’re doing. And from that one question, Everything in life changes when people know you’re willing to listen to their response, everything changes.
Marc: That’s true. That’s tearing down the silos, right?
Danny: Yes. Yeah.
Marc: You’d mentioned your developmentally delayed daughter.
And I think there’s also the episode that you mentioned around how you came to realize how to communicate with her and how to listen to sure.
Danny: Yeah. Fabulous. You know, again, another they’re three stories. That have disrupted my life. One is the writing of the mosaic I already told you about, of the characters.
Speaking to me. Uh, the second one is my daughter
back when the birth of my daughter and her developmental delay,
I can’t say that every day I felt this because most days I didn’t at the beginning, especially. I didn’t feel like she, that was the biggest blessing I ever got from my, I felt exactly the opposite. I felt like I was, I was cursed or something that happened. Why would I, why wouldn’t my child not be able to be a normal kid?
Like everybody else. Yeah. And the pain that I experienced in that of just like I had a beautiful life, I wanted to be able to take her. I worked with spas and resorts. And I thought of when she was born, that I’d be able to take her to, with me on these business trips. And she went to stay at the day at the spa and I wouldn’t do my business.
And then we would have beautiful meals and these beautiful restaurants, and we would swim in their pools and do the, you know, go to the gyms and do the things that we would do. And I thought, what a perfect, what a perfect way to bring my daughter. She couldn’t do any of that. Uh, one thing, she can’t have a conversation like this because people didn’t understand the way she spoke and she, and she couldn’t be around a lot of people.
And so it was very, very, very hard for a long time. Very, very, very hard. And what would happen I noticed is she would start to try and say something and I was lucky because I understood her better than most people. But there were still so many times she said things that I didn’t understand what she was saying.
And when I didn’t understand what she’s saying, she noticed I was getting older. And so maybe my hearing was going, so she started to raise her voice and say it loud and she would scream it. Right. But it wasn’t the volume that disrupted what that made it, that I didn’t hear her. It was the, it was the, um, the pronunciation and she didn’t pronounce things in the way that could be understood.
And so when she yelled and I didn’t get it, she would tend to them. And when she tantrums and I didn’t get it, she would attack, she would come running at me and try and rip my shirt or bite. And I wish it happened as succinctly, as I’m saying that you would say it, yellow tantrum attack, but sometimes our timeframes were different.
Sometimes it would take one or two weeks between that. Sometimes it was a few days, sometimes it was just one day, but it happened, seemed to happen randomly that she would just go crazy and tantrum and attack. Mark. It went on for about 15 years and every black hair that I had turned white, as you can see.
And finally, in the midst of her rage, one day she was running at me to attack me. And I just looked at her. I was sitting there calm as could be. And I said, Elisa, this can’t go on. You know, this can’t go on. You know how much I love you. I love you more than any person in the whole world. I want to hear what you’re saying.
I want to understand what you’re saying more than anything I want in this whole world. I just don’t understand your words. Will you do me a favor? Will you talk to me without using words? Will you tell me what you’re trying to say? But you can’t, you’re not your words on coming through. Find another way to tell it to me.
She stopped dead in her tracks. The rage that was on her face turned into the smile that melted my heart. And he looked at me and in perfect English said, I am daddy, and I’m sorry. I looked at her and I said, I’m sorry, what the expletive deleted? Are you talking about? I mean, how long are you doing that?
How come? I don’t know you’re doing that. What are you doing? And she took her finger and put it to the side of her head. And I said, you little sucker, have you been putting thoughts in my head? And she started to laugh, uncontrollable, contagious laughter. And we were laughing for probably 20 minutes. 20 minutes is a long time to just laugh when you haven’t laughed like that for awhile, it’s a long time for anybody to just laugh.
Yeah. And the two of us were caught up in this laughing. And I said, I can’t believe that I knew that you weren’t doing, I sort of, I can hear your thoughts, but I just didn’t trust that you were even capable of thinking those thoughts, let alone being able to communicate it or that I can hear it. I just didn’t trust it.
I’m so sorry. Now I know. That’s the way you can speak to me. I will listen for you Mark. From that point on she never tensed. She never screamed. And from the prototype. We have found a way to communicate. I could speak to her. She could tell about the police, speak to me. If that would have been the end of the story, I would have been in bliss because I find now I could talk to my daughter.
I could hear it, but I got greedy because I didn’t think my daughter was different than everybody else. I knew. I know the way she did it was different. But when I looked at the work that I do with people in the work that I do with organizations of government, I saw exactly the same behaviors happening I saw when people speak them, they don’t get hurt.
They know when they yell and they don’t get heard. They tantrum, they create chaos. They try and make a scene to make everybody to make everybody go crazy. When they don’t, when they’re seen doesn’t work, they try and destroy. They try and attack a person, a reputation, a company, a they stand on on a balcony and shoot people in a, in a built in, uh, in a, in a square.
They blow up a building. They, they ended relationship. They do all the things they need to do to create, to finally be heard. And so I wondered if this philosophy of speak, yell, tantrum attack. If I could take that into corporations, if I could take that into, into hospitals, if I could take that into prisons, if I could take that into the education system, if I could think about it into medicine and I started to do that and lo and behold, I found.
Every time people were not heard. They created chaos and havoc and destroy. I, when people said it’s important for me to understand you, it’s important for me to hear what you’re saying. I want to listen to you. We got to find a way for us to be able to do that all tension and accompany, all tension and going to business, all tension and a family heads up.
That’s why I want to start a revolution of listen, because I believe the simple act of finding a way to hear what people are saying. If we can’t understand their words, we have to find another way to understand. We have to find another way to hear them. But when we do that, we’ll no longer be in a situation where people are, have to yell tantrum or attack to be heard.
Marc: If we finally learn to truly listen to what they say and not sort of, of what we want to
Yeah. Yeah. It all ties in, because remember I was saying, we have to, in the, in the mosaic, the story, I had to slide myself out of the way we have to slide ourselves out of the way so that we can actually hear what it is the world is saying to us, because it’s not only people that are talking to us.
Our businesses themselves are talking to us, just like the mosaic was talking to me. Our business is where we have a problem. The very are the entity of our businesses, trying to tell us what it needs from us. Our nation is speaking to us, but we don’t listen to it. Our environment is speaking to us, but we don’t listen to it.
Our educational systems they’re speaking to us, but we don’t listen to it.
Remember what we said about change. If
truly listen to all of these bodies things, humans, then we would probably start to hear things that would require us to change.
Danny: Yeah, right. Yeah. And I don’t even know, like,
Like I have changed through the process of listening, but I don’t think the listening required me to change. It’s just somehow in the process of listening and being open to hear what another person says I’ve changed. And when I was given this assignment, like, let’s use this conversation that we’re having right now, which just sounds more like a monologue to me.
Like how in the world would I be given the mission to invite people to a revolution of listening when for an hour and 15 minutes, I’ve done nothing but talk. And I went to my, I went to my guidance. I said, you must be really messed up. You must be like you can’t, it can’t be that you’re this far down in the pecking order.
That I’m the person you’re going to use to bring listening. I don’t know how to listen to myself. I talk all the time. And the voice said to me, yes you do. But there are two reasons why we’ve chosen you. One is because you need to learn how to listen better. And two is, you need to understand that listening doesn’t happen with the hears.
It happens with the heart and the soul as you have. And you have a unique ability, Danny, to be able to occupy the minds of people with your stories. You tell very interesting stories.
Marc: And you do. Tell me why we talk about stories. Um, one, one more, one more Danny. You mentioned the conversation on a street corner with a homeless man.
And, and that’s the third story that you were actually mentioned in your bio? And, and that episode is one of the three that has left a deep imprint on you and your story. Can you tell us about that particular encounter? A bit more?
Danny: Absolutely. I’m a bit of an empath. So when I feel people before I even see them or experience, and so I’ll feel, I feel everything and I’ve blocked, I’ve blocked myself out, so I don’t feel as much, but I still feel.
And as I was walking down the streets of San Diego, one day, I just started to feel people as they walk past me and this woman walked past me and my heart started the murmur. I started, started to go in really fast and I thought I was, I thought I was having a heart attack. And 10 seconds later, she passed me into my heart was fine.
And as I kept walking about two or three minutes in front of me, I came upon a man who was leaning on a cane. And he was putting all of his energy on a cane and could barely move. He was walking slower than a turtle. And as I came to him, my knees buckled out. I fell down on the ground and I couldn’t believe how much pain my knees were in.
And I thought, Oh my God, what the heck is happening? And it took them about three or four or five minutes to get past where, where I’ve asked me to just laying down on the ground. But when he passed me and I was so he was beyond where I was, the pain in my knees had gone because it was his pain, not mine.
So I said, I got it. I don’t know what’s going on here. I hate this. I don’t like what’s going on. I walk to where the pavement meets the building. I don’t know what that corner is called. I used to call it like the sidewalk, but I don’t know what that’s called because it was where the sidewalk meets the building.
And it was the corner of the street. And I said, I just got to sit down here. And there was a, there was a homeless man there and I started walking up. He said, no, no, no, this is my place. You can’t sit here. This is not, you can’t do this. This is my place. This is where, this is the only thing I have in the world.
You can’t come here. This is my place. Don’t take this away from me. I said, I’m not going to take anything away from you. My friend that just needs to someplace to sit, which is safe. And he S he said, I, you can’t be here. I won’t make any money. If you’re here, people won’t give me money. They’ll think I’m talking to you.
I need to make money. I said, how much money will you make in the next step? Now he said, I make $5, $5 every half hour, $10 an hour. And there are people that count on me. I have to, I have to feed other homeless people. So I got to make it, people like to give me money and I got to make that money. I said, okay, here, let me see what’s going on.
I put, I took out my wallet and I looked into it. I, and I gave him $50 and I said, here, here, here’s $50. Just so cover the next half an hour and let’s leave your hat out. We’ll get more money than that too. And he said, you’re weird. Okay. You can sit down. I don’t know what you want. What what’s so important that you want to sit with me.
What’s so important. What do you need? And I said, I just want to get to know you. I see, and we started talking and I looked at him and I said, Corey, you, you sit on this corner and you see millions of people, thousands of people, probably more, more, more than millions. You see thousands of people pass you by every day.
If you could stop them for a minute and say one thing to him, what would you say?
He thought for a second, but only a second. He knew his answer. That I would tell them if they would only take 10 minutes out of the course of their lifetime and go up to someone they don’t know, just like you’re doing with me and sit here with them and sit with them. They have no idea the impact they could have on a person.
Just try and mask, just sit with them and ask them how they’re doing. And I said, Corey, what a beautiful thing to say, but why that you could have asked for a home, you could ask for food, you could have asked that homelessness go away. Why wouldn’t you just ask for that? Why what’s so important about that?
He said, Danny, you’re a story teller. You tell a lot of stories. You told me that you told me some stories, but I want to tell you a story of some great, that’s tough to hear. You said about two months ago, I was sitting here on this corner.
You don’t understand how much I hate being homeless. How, how ashamed I am and embarrassed. I am the homeless. I hate it. But what I hate even more is how people treat me. They don’t treat me like a person. They don’t even treat me like an animal. They treat me as a thing. These boys were walking up to me and I went, hi boys, how are you doing?
You know, trying to just be nice. They came up and they punched me and kicked me and beat the daylights out of me. And I was thin I was laying here. I didn’t know if I was going to survive or not. I was that I was that eaten up. Other people combine, they spit at me or yell at me or they’ll, they’ll distract me and they’ll take the money from my hat that I that’s what I need to live on.
They just steal it from me. People spit at me, people, people will, will do weird things. He said, one day, one day I was sleeping here. And I woke up because the man was urinating on me. I thought that’s it enough is enough. I won’t do this anymore. I can’t do this. I, I, I hate my life and people hate me. I’m not bringing any joy.
There’s no reason for me to be alive. I’m going to go around the corner. He, Danny, you don’t know this, but the street right behind us is a dark street. Nobody goes on it. People do, people are scared of peers. There are no lights on it. It’s not open. Nobody goes on to the nighttime. I’m going to, I always want to wait for it to get dark.
And I was going to go on that street and I was going to take my lights. No one would even know I was gone like two minutes after I had the thought. I didn’t say it to anybody. I just had the thought a man in a three-piece suit came up to me and he put his hands on his hand on my shoulder. And he said, how are you doing my brother?
And he said, I looked at him and I said, this is not a good time to ask, or you don’t want to know this is not, I’m having a bad day. You have no, just keep walking. You’ll do yourself a favor. Just keep walking. Don’t even stop. Just keep walking, sir. This is not a good day. You don’t want to know I’m doing.
And the man in the three-piece suit said to the contrary, I do want to know how you’re doing. And he sat down next to me and he put his arm around me. He said, tell me everything. Looked at me. And he said, Danny, I don’t know if it was because he was wearing a three piece suit or because he sat down with me and he didn’t walk away.
Normally people will walk away, but he held me and I started crying, tears, crocodile, big tears, big, big, big tears into his shoulder. And I was gasping as I was talking. And I, I told them all the things that were causing me pain, all the things that I hated. And I did tell him that I was going to kill myself, but I just told him all these things that have caused me pain.
And he sat there with me and just listen, he didn’t try and fix me even try and help me. He didn’t try and give me a job, even try and change me and didn’t try and take me home. He didn’t try and do anything. He just listened to me.
He said, Danny, you know, that only took about 10 minutes
and I couldn’t go that night and kill myself. Because someone who was important in a three-piece suit came up to someone like me, who is about to kill themselves, who is the least important person in the world and spent 10 minutes of his time. Just caring enough about me to listen to what I, what I had to say.
He said, I wish that man would’ve come by again, because I wanted to tell him that, that he saved my life, but I’ve never seen him. He’s never crossed my path again. I know exactly what he looks like. If I would see him, I would run to him and tell him, thank you for saving my life. Thank you for believing me for those 10 minutes, but I never saw them again.
I’ve looked for Corey so many times cause Corey has no idea. There’s something called the butterfly effect. His story touched me so deeply that I made a commitment on every show that I do on every conference that I speak at on every, on every podcast that I’m on, on every television show on every stage that I go to on every board room that I talk to, I tell Corey’s story.
By now millions of people have heard Corey’s story and have been given the challenge that I’m going to give to your audience right here. Right now today it’s Corey’s challenge. Would it be possible for you to take 10 minutes out of the course of your lifestyle? 10 minutes out of the course of a lifetime is not a lot.
And go up to someone you don’t know and just ask them how they’re doing. You don’t need to fix them. You don’t need to change them. You don’t need to convert them. You don’t need to lift them up. You don’t need to feed them. You don’t need to house. We just need to have compassion to listen to. I wish I could tell Corey on the people at first as challenge now, but I’ve never seen him again.
I’ve gone back to that street corner. Many times. He’s not there,
but maybe one of us. We’ll bump into him along the streets one time. And we’ll say, I didn’t know that was you. I didn’t know that you you’re the one that created that story, but I heard that story from a different, many different places of many different people. Who’ve told me that story. And if we go off and take 10 minutes out of the course of our lifetime, what world, what, what kind of world would we live in?
What would our businesses look like? What would our families look like? What would our relationships look like? What would our work in this world do is his message. And my daughter’s message in the writing of the mosaic completely took a purposeful life and pulled it up out of its roots and, and changed it.
It’s not about fixing or changing or helping anybody anymore. It’s literally about being here, available all these space so that people can tell me how they’re doing.
Marc: That’s beautiful. And I think that we have in the course of many years in the past, and especially since the advent of this stupid social media, we have. Lost our ability to truly listen because we, we have, we are confronted with so much information and so much speed in our lives that we are, our minds are not even there to listen because when, when we are sitting there in a conversation, typically I see so many people in conversations with their phones in the hand.
Marc: A couple sitting there and they are not talking they’re everybody’s texting they’re in their iPhone. I don’t know. Right?
Marc: So your challenge is basically such a beautiful one. Just take 10 minutes and listen to somebody truly listened to somebody,
with your heart, your soul, and be interested in how that person is doing.
Danny: Yeah. And my hope is that it will become contagious within you. That you’ll like the experience of listening that one time, so much that you decide to do it to your spouse, or you decide to do it to your kids, or you decide to do it to your secretary at work, or you decide to do it to the person that’s making you a coffee.
Or you decide to do it to a homeless guy or, or a person in the hospital, or can you imagine if people would just go into a hospital and visit people that are there that have nobody who has seen them in an all day job or a place like that? It’s hard to do now with coronavirus, but, but with it’ll pass and just go and talk to people and just, just say, God, you’re, you must have lived an interesting story.
Tell me, like, tell me your story. Can you imagine the joy that would come to people if they were given the opportunity to just tell their story. I started a show called conversations with strangers, and that shows available for anybody who wants to come in, where we spend an hour, where I just hold the space for people to tell me their stories.
I asked them questions and they, and we have a conversation. My mom taught, taught me. Don’t ever talk to strangers, Danny. She wouldn’t be turning over in her grave. If she saw me, it was all day long. All I do is talk to strangers
Marc: Talk to strangers, but there are so many stories worth listening to,
Danny: Oh my God,
Marc: Worth sharing
Danny: And all those stories create the mosaic of the life that we live. All of them are rich with, with, with perspective. All of them. See the world slightly different than the one before it. So, and when we start to put the pieces of that mosaic together, what a rich, beautiful, fabulous life, what does, I mean, what a, what a painful existence we have, but what an opportunity we have to come together and be bigger than our initial than our smaller pains.
Marc: So true, Danny. It was an absolute pleasure for me to have you here. And I think we could go on for many, many more hours and maybe that’s going to happen next time. Thank you so much for having been a guest here. And maybe we talk another day.
Danny: I would love that. Mark. Thank you so much for the honor. And I just want to compliment you on how beautifully you hold space for people to tell for me, at least to tell my story and thank you for doing that. What an honor to be with you. And I hope this is the beginning of lots of conversations we have, whether on camera or not of just how to, how to continue this beautiful adventure called life together.
Marc: Thank you, Danny.