018: The Psychology of Wealth with Mike Dillard

Today, I’m speaking with my friend Mike Dillard. Mike is an entrepreneur, online marketer, business coach, investor, author, and host of The Mike Dillard Show, which has been downloaded over 7 million times, and has been listed as one of the top 10 “must-listen” personal development podcasts in the world. Combined, his businesses have produced more than $50 Million in revenue without any outside funding!

While Mike has achieved enormous success, his life took a drastic turn at the age of 40. He experienced an unexpected brain injury and couldn’t work for two and a half years. During this time, he realized that he hadn’t built true passive income, but instead, a business that completely relied on his involvement in order to make money.

This was by far the darkest and most difficult time of Mike’s life. But through this challenge came a transformational change. When his business came crashing down in the blink of an eye, it helped him to see just how much of his identity and self-worth was tied to the money and results he had achieved.

In this episode, Mike shares how this health crisis completely shifted his mindset around money and success. You’ll also learn about the powerful role that neurochemistry plays when it comes to building true wealth!

Key Takeaways

  • How an unexpected brain injury stripped Mike from everything he built – and why it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. 
  • The importance of building true passive income.
  • Understanding the neurochemical habits and addictions that are driving your investment decisions.
  • The dangers of tying your self-worth to your net-worth. 
  • Why so many rich people are miserable.
  • 3 factors to succeed with investing so you can build life-long passive income.
  • How failing to understand neurochemistry makes it impossible to build true wealth.
  • How Mike’s investments in cryptocurrency have paid off – and what he does to protect these investments from being hacked or stolen. 
  • Mike’s thoughts on UniSwap and why so many people in the crypto space are investing in DeFi.
  • Mike’s latest venture, RicherEveryDay.com – learn how to make $100,000 per month in passive investment income!


''An entrepreneur will always do their best work when they don't have to make decisions based on money.'' - @Mike_Dillard Click To Tweet ''Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.'' - @TonyRobbins Click To Tweet


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Connect with Justin Donald


Justin Donald: Alright, Mike, it is great having you on the show. This is a long time coming. So, thank you. And I know you've got a lot going on right now. So, I really appreciate you making the time. How are you?


Mike Dillard: Yeah, absolutely, brother. Good to be here. And congrats on the success of the book, you've been crushing it.


Justin Donald: Thank you. Thank you. It's a very humbling process. It's exciting, but it's cool to see who really shows up, and just the way that people show up, because first, it was really uncomfortable, I should say, like, at first, and still, it's uncomfortable to kind of reach out and ask for help. And it was really neat seeing who all showed up and who rallied, and with you, it was just amazing. You're like, Oh, yeah, I'd love to help you out, come on the show, and I just knew immediately that just the type of person you are, and I was very grateful. So, thank you.


Mike Dillard: Yeah, you're very welcome. Absolutely.


Justin Donald: And we got a chance recently to hang at our friend Hal Elrod’s house for a little bit of UFC party, that was fun. So, we got a chance to connect a little bit there. I am really curious for you. Sometimes it's fun when I do an episode, it's like, hey, let's dive in and see what's the backstory. I actually like to do it in reverse. I like to figure out what's going on now, like, what's new? What's exciting? I know, you've got a big launch next week. I'd love to talk about it.


Mike Dillard: Yeah. It's interesting, I was really pulled out of work for two and a half years because of a health crisis, basically, and the typical midlife crisis at the age of 40, basically, went through a brain injury, couldn't work for two and a half years. And that really reorganized my life and my priorities in every single category and the biggest way somebody could imagine. And now that I've started to recover from that, over the past year, one of the hardest challenges of going through that experience was the fact that I was an entrepreneur and was very used to making a lot of money, and never once did I ever imagine that I would be in a position where that wouldn't be the case, or where I wasn't able to work. And it really just shone the brightest light on the fact that I didn't have real passive income set up in my life from investments, it was all just driven through my business.


And not being able to operate a business for two years again, just really showed that gap. And so, Michelle and I have really made it our priority now, our number one priority to replace our active income with truly passive investment income, which is why I was so excited to read your book and have you on the show, because we're very much aligned in that category of that topic. And so, yeah, we've spent really the last year diving into what we have learned and what I've learned through the health crisis when it comes to neurochemistry, when it comes to how all of these amazing hormones in your body work and how they affect your decision making, how they affect your habits and your patterns, going through and doing all of the work that I've done when it comes to the subconscious, and how do you become aware of the subconscious stories that you have, how do you rewire those stories if they're not serving you, and then really coming up with a financial system that works for us, that allows us to turn our active income into passive income.


And that's all we've really studied in and played with for the last 12 months. And now, we're really sharing what we have learned and what we've implemented with the world with a new business called Richer Every Day, which will hopefully go live next week, so.


Justin Donald: That's so exciting. And by the way, your message just resonates so much with me and with just tons of people in my community in my network. And I love it because through a crisis, you figured out some of the things that matter most, the relationships in your world that were there when money wasn't, when assets or your business wasn't, when everything changed and shifted. And it's really interesting because you had it all, you had this big business, you were and are one of the biggest names in, I want to say many different industries, but I mean truly like the Tiger 21 chapter that formed here in Austin, which is a very high-level investment group that I'm part of, you founded or co-founded that chapter. And your business was crushing it, you were doing all kinds of things, you had this killer lifestyle, and what perspective something like a health crisis or one moment can really make, right?


Mike Dillard: Yeah, for me, it happened in a single moment, sitting on my couch, I felt a click in my head, and that was it. My life was completely different in the snap of the finger, and it was unexpected in every way. And it's just something that you would never would think happen, and yet it did. And so, it was definitely the hardest thing that I've ever been through. It really stripped me of everything, it's stripped me of all of my financial security, it's stripped me of my ability to work, it took away my ability to pursue any of my passions, racing cars, doing anything athletic. I couldn't eat the foods that I like to eat, I couldn't drink alcohol anymore, I couldn't go out with my friends, I couldn't stay out at night in any way. Driving just to pick up my son was a big deal. And when you get that far down into a situation like that, at that point, it really strips your identity from you, because I was no longer Mike Dillard, the successful entrepreneur who's building businesses and hydroponic systems and all of these other VR things and kind of cool projects, I was just a dude who couldn't get out of his bed for two years.


And again, just a very, very, very humbling experience, but what it forced me to do in order to really heal from that was to dive into every aspect of healing the brain, again, being a brain injury. Ultimately, it was caused by toxic mold, and toxic mold releases neurotoxins. And so, my brain was basically being eaten by mold, not a fun experience, but that was the opportunity because it forced me to go through any and every kind of therapy that I could find to try and heal that injury. So, nine ketamine IV sessions, four MDMA sessions, transcranial magnetic, 30 neuro biofeedback sessions, three or four EEGs, one MRI brain scan, hypnotherapy, anything and everything that you could imagine, I did if somebody thought it would help.


And the kind of the side result of that is the fact that I really got very familiar with how the brain works, both again from a hormonal perspective, but also from a subconscious perspective. And what's really interesting is the biggest success that I ever had, one of the biggest successes I ever had in my career as an entrepreneur was the first business I started. That was in the network marketing industry in my early 20s. And I had been studying my friend Eben Pagan in his work when it came to dating and relationships for men called Double Your Dating. And I went down this David DeAngelo, yeah. So, Evan became a friend of mine, but I went down that work and studied all of that stuff for years. And I thought it was absolutely fascinating because at the end of the day, it was teaching men the science and the psychology behind attraction marketing.


And once I realized that I was like, Oh, my God, you could apply the same knowledge set and skill set to business, and you can use that to essentially attract your customers and your clients to you, I ended up writing a book about that called Magnetic Sponsoring in 2005. And that book, lit that industry on fire and essentially created the attraction marketing world for that industry. And with money and finance, what I'm realizing today is all of the things that I've discovered when it comes to neurochemistry and the subconscious can now be applied to money and investing. And what that experience really showed me was it uncovered all of the neurochemical habits and addictions that I had.


And we all have these, whenever cortisol in your body spikes, and you start to feel stress or anxiety, and if it gets really high, then you'll feel fear. Your brain is telling you, we don't like what's happening, we want you to go do something else. The cortisol is that motivator to go do something differently. And in order to extinguish that cortisol, it wants you to acquire dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, or endorphins. And so, the fastest way to do that in our modern society is by going shopping or having a drink or pursuing food. Those are really the three easiest and most common ways to give yourself a dopamine hit, or one of those other hormones that will give you relief and joy and satisfaction.


So, what I realized, and what I think most entrepreneurs with hindsight, I can see most entrepreneurs have this this problem as well, is that we are wired for risks, we actually like cortisol, we like being under stress, it feels like motivation to us, we like taking a lot of risks, we like the adrenaline and the endorphins that come with that. We like making money, that is a huge dopamine hit every single time we get a receipt in the inbox from a sale, or you're refreshing the order button.


Justin Donald: So, that's why I like it so much.


Mike Dillard: Yeah, 100%. And so, this natural wiring for risks, and this comfort level with cortisol and with these other hormones can become an addiction, just like racing cars becomes an addiction, or driving a Ferrari at 120 miles an hour down the road becomes an addiction, because it is triggering the release of all of those happy chemicals that your brain is addicted to and at once. And the problems arise when you apply those same habits and patterns, because every time one of these neural connections fires, it gets stronger. Neurons that fire together wire together. And so, the more that you have these experiences, the more of a superhighway is basically formed in your brain, and it just becomes your default mode.


So, after you've done that enough, and you've gotten used to taking those kinds of risks, and you've gotten the dopamine and serotonin hits from having these product launches or these promotions, whatever it may be, your brain is like all of these things are really good positive stuff, let's keep doing that, but when you apply that to investing, it just blows up in your face, because investing is where you want to do the exact opposite. You don't want to take risks, you don't want to take chances, you don't want adrenaline to be involved in an investment in any way, shape, or form. And so, that's one of the biggest lessons that I learned, because if I look back at my life and my history, specifically, when it comes to investing the money I've made, I thought I was investing, but I really wasn't investing, I was gambling. And I define the difference between the two of one, you have a really high level of expertise and knowledge, and you know how to do it, and you have a track record. And another one, you have very little knowledge and you're basically writing a check, and you're keeping your fingers crossed that it's going to make you a lot of money.


So, when I first started investing, that's what I did is I just wrote a bunch of people a bunch of checks, and I invested in a man camp in the Boykin, I invested in the gun range here in Austin, I invested in a digital thermostat, wireless thermostat startup. Gosh, what else? Some apartment complexes, gold and silver crypto, all kinds of different things that I really didn't know a lot about. I knew a lot about crypto, but the others, I didn't really know anything about. And at the end of the day, a couple of those worked out, and a lot of them didn't work out, but it was only with that hindsight could I realize why I made the decisions that I made. And so, my goal now is to really help entrepreneurs generate that awareness, so they can become aware of their habits and their chemical addictions, become aware of their subconscious stories. And then, they can really make sound financial decisions moving forward into their future, so.


Justin Donald: Yeah, that's incredibly smart. And in my book, I talk about how you really want to have criteria so that it's not emotional decisions, you're not making decisions based on how you feel that cortisol kicking in, but you're making them based on data, you're making it based on some criteria that you need to be able to answer yes to or positively to, and that is so important. But what you're talking about here is everything, Mike, like this is so powerful, and I'm so glad that our listeners get to hear this and get a chance to learn this vicariously through you, because most people don't have a lifeline. If something happens to their business, everything's wrapped up in that business. Most people aren't buying assets that produce income. They're investing in things. I mean, most people have their money in the stock market, and when I say have their money, it's like 100% or 95%, and then with the other 5%, maybe they invest in seed round investments, like you talked about where it's a high risk, what I call a 0% interest loan over an undetermined period of time and a very high risky asset and opportunity, but it doesn't feel that way if you're investing emotionally and if you got that cortisol hit, it feels good, like, whoo, I want to do this, like it's so easy to envision what it looks like, as if you've already made the investment, like you're already spending the money that you haven't made, and that's dangerous.


And so, a lot of people really have a wake-up call when they lose a lot of their income or if there is some sort of health crisis, but thank goodness, you have such a great lens and framework where you can say, actually, let me not be the victim here, let me look at these past decisions that I made, and the impact that those had. And I got a fresh start, I figured out this health crisis. Thank goodness, you figured it out, but now you've got a new chapter. And it's like, well, I made these decisions before, I'm not going to make them this time. In fact, I'm not going to make decisions in a certain state. And it's just really refreshing to hear that, and I hope that our listeners can really take one from you being able to move forward in a more constructive, more data-driven way.


Mike Dillard: Yeah, I mean, that's my goal and my mission now, and at the end of the day, an entrepreneur will always do their best work when they don't have pressure over their head, or when they don't have to make decisions based on money. If you didn't have to worry about making money ever again, you can imagine how much better your products and your services would be, how much more time and attention you could give your customers, just how much more of service you could be to your audience in general. And you could just create for the simple joy of creating and of being of service without having to worry about paying overhead or launching a product or whatever it may be.


And so, the quality of the impact that you can make just becomes so much higher when you're not in that state. And another interesting observation that I've made as well, when it comes to entrepreneurs, specifically is with these hormones, your body gets acclimated to them. And so, we've all heard the term adrenaline junkie, where these individuals keep taking more and more risks. And we all, entrepreneurs, we have that same tendency, we have those same addictions, meaning, what do we do when we start a business? Well, we try to make our first thousand and then 10,000, then the first 100,000, then our goal is next million. And then after that, it's 10 million. After the 10 million, it will clearly have to go hit 100 million now, right? And isn't it interesting how that's the case for almost every single entrepreneur you've ever talked to, and probably yourself? I know, it was for me, as soon as you hit that milestone, well, you got to set the next one.


Justin Donald: Totally, without a doubt.


Mike Dillard: So, why is that? And what I found out was really interesting is there's always two drivers, there's a neurochemical driver, meaning your brain again becomes accustomed to these chemicals, just like you become accustomed to coffee and caffeine. So, after you've been drinking caffeine for a while, you have to have more in order to get the same effect or rush that you're after. Well, the same goes for dopamine or serotonin, you've got a ton of dopamine and serotonin when you hit that million bucks. Well, now the next million is not that exciting. Next million is really even less exciting, right? It gets kind of boring. And you've been there, done that.


And that's literally, your brain saying, ah, we're not getting the hit we're looking for, we need a bigger one. And so, it's going to drive you to go hit that 10 million bucks, so it can get the fix that it wants. It's literally like a little primitive monkey that wants its drug hit, the same thing when we drive or buy supercars. I will remember the day that I took delivery of my very first Ferrari for the rest of my life, walking into the dealership, seeing it come out of the truck, taking pictures of it, firing the engine up for the first time, taking it out there, and what's taking place at that time? Huge dopamine hit, huge serotonin hit, and serotonin gets released when you do something that increases your level of perceived status in society. And so, when you're buying a luxury good of some kind, you're buying a house, you’re buying a car, that's releasing serotonin into your brain, which is your body's way of again, signaling that this is a positive behavior. Why is that a positive behavior? Because the higher your level of perceived status in society, the higher your chances are of survival, because you are going to have access to more resources, and the greater your chances of finding a high-quality mate, because again, you have higher levels of resources and status within the tribe.


And so, your brain sees this Ferrari, and it's just dumping serotonin, it's like a great job, you are doing awesome. And then you get behind the wheel, you fire up this giant engine, and you rock it down the road at 100 miles an hour, and that releases endorphin which is the rush you feel whenever you jump off a cliff or a diving board or do something that releases a lot of adrenaline basically. And the more of these chemicals that are released at the same time, the stronger the neural connections become. And so, you get addicted to supercars that point, your brain is just having a blast, but guess what? Now, you've got to have something bigger, more expensive and faster, that's going to give you more dopamine, a higher level of serotonin, and more endorphins. And I can just share from my personal experience, the second Ferrari, nah, third Ferrari, it's just another car at that point, like, it doesn't really matter. It's cool, but it's nowhere near like the first one. And all of that is a result of this neurochemistry.


Well, then you take your subconscious and your subconscious stories that we all have as well. These all usually forms between the ages of 5 and 12, the strongest ones. And if you didn't have an absolutely perfect child in every way, which none of us had, you're going to create subconscious stories that are going to become essentially the filter, you look at everything in your life through, it becomes a lens that you see life through, and it's completely unique to you. And my subconscious story was really formed in middle school, being bullied a lot, and so my conscious story became that I wasn't good enough, basically.


And so, when you adopt a story like that, well, you can never accomplish enough to ever become good enough. There is not enough, it's a void that cannot be filled, because this is a program that's running in the back of your mind that you're completely unaware of. And so, why are you being driven to achieve and achieve and make and make and achieve and make, you have no idea where that drive is coming from. Well, it's come from that program. And unfortunately, again, there is no satisfying it. All you can do is become aware of it and then rewrite it. And unfortunately, 99% of society will never know that they have the opportunity to do either of those, or go through the expense or trouble or time to go through either of those either, but if you do, well, then the world really becomes your oyster, because once you have awareness, you can consciously rewrite, instead of basically operating from an unconscious perspective.


Justin Donald: That's so fascinating. I love hearing you break down the psychology, the neurology, just the way that your body works and processes information and releases basically, emotion or the reason you experience certain emotions. It is so interesting looking at investing through that lens in any decision, purchasing decision, or all a lot of people like they make decisions based out of scarcity or needing certainty, or like you've described, out of like risk, needing some variety, needing some sort of a thrill. And it's easy to see it once you explain it, but when you're in it, you probably don't recognize it. And if you've never had someone explain it to you, then you would never even put two and two together.


So, I think what you're sharing is incredible. And it's interesting on a lot of levels, because you mentioned a couple of things. Number one, when you hit a goal, I mean, most people are goal oriented. And if they don't identify that way, it's probably because over time, they didn't hit goals and maybe gave up on them, but human nature, like we all have this drive for self-satisfaction. And so, as you hit a goal, you talk about how that's not good enough, we need the next one now. And it's interesting, because whatever your level is that you're trying to achieve, you work so hard to get there. And then when you get there, it's like, yeah, that was cool, what's next?


You might celebrate it for a little bit, but I mean it, it passes fast, and you have to reestablish what it is. So, to me, that's what it was, like, I worked so hard to achieve financial freedom. And I thought it was going to feel so good, and it did momentarily. It was literally in that moment, one of the most liberating feelings that I've ever experienced, but it immediately ended and it immediately changed, it's like, okay, what's next? What's the new challenge? I've done that. And just realizing that it's about what I learned along the way that's going to help me learn and grow in the future is a big part of it, and then helping others, like what is it having achieved these things if you can't share them with other people? So, how many people can you bring along with you to help you in my world help you achieve or help them achieve financial freedom? I just think that that's such a powerful thing.


And you made another comment where you're talking about how people focus, or at least this is what I derive from it, everyone's trying to gather more net worth, like, how do I double up where I'm at? And how do I go from a million to 10 million, to 100 million, to a billion, or whatever the number is. And it's so interesting because so many people are focused on this net worth number. I actually think that the cash flow number matters more than any of the net worth number, because net worth, it's like, okay, at some point in time, I've got these paper assets, most of our work aren't worth much, or I've got this business that's worth so much money, and it's 90% or 80% of my portfolio, but it's illiquid, and who knows if anyone's going to buy it for as much as I think that it's worth, or if they can run it without me.


And so, there's this big degree of paper money, and you can't really have the utility on it. So, you can't enjoy retirement or the freedom of what you've worked so hard for until you retire, until you sell it. And I just think that focusing on cash flow and covering your expenses, and eventually covering your lifestyle, that does what you said at the beginning, which is you buy your time back to spend it how you want to spend it. And when you don't need money to accomplish things in your business, when your business is not reliant upon money, when your lifestyle is not reliant upon money, that's where the magic happens. And that's where you get these great ideas and this unbelievable energy, and it's just incredible.


And you've had that, I'd love to learn more about with the information that you have in this journey that you've been on, these lessons that you've learned, and you're pivoting here to something brand new, that to me sounds like you have even more joy around than what you did before, and you were the man, everyone knew you. In the world of internet marketing still, everyone knows you. So, it's cool seeing this pivot and this, I like to call it a reinvention, I like to reinvent myself. So, I'd love to hear more about that from you.


Mike Dillard: Yeah, I refer to it as forced change in my circumstance. And change is always very uncomfortable, and the discomfort of change is directly a result of these neurochemicals, because your brain associates change with danger. And so, it releases cortisol. And so, that's why so many people run into resistance whenever they try to make substantial changes in their lives, whether it's with their money or their health or their relationship, whatever it may be, that's the source of the challenge, but for me, the brain injury didn't really give me a choice. It's like, hey, you're changing whether you want to or not, or you can die. And so, the options for me were limited there.


And I think a lot of people through 2020, were put through that situation of forced change as well. If you owned a restaurant or an event venue or a mastermind group or whatever, you went through a period of forced change, and you're still going through that right now. And it can be unbelievably uncomfortable, but it really just comes down to how you look at it. And one of the biggest gifts from this experience for me was, again, being forced to let go of that previous identity, because your identity is really who you are and how you operate on a daily basis, how society perceives you, it's how you believe that you are of value. So, your level of personal value is really tied to your identity. And I was completely unaware of that factor that I even had that association until I went through this process of basically losing my business and everything else that I had ever had. And all of a sudden, I became aware of like, hey, my self-worth is directly tied to the amount of money I make. Isn't that interesting and also, extremely unhealthy?


Justin Donald: Yeah.


Mike Dillard: It's like if I wasn't Mike Dillard that you've mentioned, if I wasn't that Mike Dillard who was making eight figures a year as an online entrepreneur, then who was I? And that was a very uncomfortable process to go through. It actually led to some– I went through a very, very dark place, I'll put it that way, for about six months, because then you have to reevaluate and build yourself back up with a different set of personal evaluation, how you look at yourself, and how you value yourself. And if you're not working, it's clearly not going to be tied to money. And so, that was a very, very challenging experience, but it was the most freeing thing that I've ever gone through, because now I'm free of that identity or that way of valuing myself. And man, what an unbelievable transformation to be able to go through and have that opportunity.


And so, if you ever end up going through a period like I did, or like so many other business owners are going through right now, it really just comes down to how you decide to look at the situation. And I hate to say it, because it's a cliché at this point, but as Tony Robbins always says, it's not the things that happen to you, it's that they happen for you. And I am 100% confident that this experience happened for me, because I guarantee you, maybe even by today, three years later, drinking alcohol every night with dinner, waking up every morning, having a ton of caffeine, dealing with a ton of business stress on a daily basis, and then relieving that stress by racing cars at 150 miles an hour on the weekend, was going to end up with a heart attack, very, very soon. And so, yeah, it's been a fascinating, fascinating experience. I don't know if I answered your question, specifically, I went off on a little tangent there, but.


Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. I mean, it's perfect, because you just summarize the life of most entrepreneurs. So, I mean, goodness’ sakes, I hope people can hear this for how it shows up in their life, and I can recognize in earlier years of my life very much how these things showed up, and it's interesting. It's not to say that any of those things separately are necessarily bad. Combined, there can be a negative effect to it in terms of like, caffeine, alcohol, adrenaline, stress, the whole nine yards. And as an entrepreneur, like I have lived this, I know exactly what you're talking about. And to a certain degree, you've got ego tied to your business.


And so, I had a very wise mentor share with me early on in my career that you are not your results. And that didn't make a lot of sense to me at the time. And I was like, I get it, and he would repeat it over and over and over, you are not your results. And it took me some time to figure out because when things are going really well, I'm on a high, and then when things aren't, I'm on a low, and it's like, oh, yeah, I guess my emotions really are riding on my performance, and that was an interesting discovery. And so many people, their self-worth is tied to their net worth, you stated it perfectly. And that is about as unhealthy of a relationship as you can have with identity and self-esteem and success.


Mike Dillard: I mean, how many rich people have we seen or met that are absolutely miserable, angry, bitter, resentful, while they're sitting on their yacht, or in their mansion, on the beach. They're doing drugs, they're doing all kinds of other things to drinking alcohol to numb the pain that they're in, despite the fact that they have achieved everything from a material standpoint. And the reason they're in that pain is again, because they've got a subconscious wound, basically, that that hasn't been able to have been filled, or they have their identity tied to achieving these things. And they achieved them, and it's still not bringing them what they were looking for. And so, now they're just pissed off, basically, and miserable. And they don't know why. And that's the most tragic part about this entire situation, but, yeah, every entrepreneur I know had some challenge when they were young in life.


I don't know of a single entrepreneur that came from a super healthy upbringing that has had just a lot of success as a business owner, because it takes an unbelievable amount of drive and a willingness to basically do anything or take any kind of risk to build a successful business and to achieve that level in life. And that drive usually comes from pain, in my experience, and you run into issues when you're carrying that pain or that primary driver once you hit your 30s or 40s, that you acquired when you were a teenager. It starts to show its cracks, and it starts to not work as well as it used to, and it starts to prevent you from having meaningful relationships with a spouse or children.


And what's really interesting is I've had conversations with entrepreneurs about this, and many of them are afraid. They're kind of becoming aware of it, and they're afraid to let it go, because if they do, they're afraid they're going to lose their edge or the drive that they had that has allowed them to achieve what they've achieved. Now, it's tied to their identity and their results. And so, yes, it's just been a fascinating, fascinating dynamic to experience and to study and now, really get to help other people generate awareness in their lives around it.


Justin Donald: That's so well said, and you articulate your point so wonderfully, and I think that there's so much value to take from this. And when I think about it, it's like, a lot of these entrepreneurs are maybe out to prove something. You talked about Tony Robbins earlier, and I'm a huge Tony Robbins’ fan, I've gone through every program he's ever done, and I think the world of him, and just the content that he has put out into the world, it has had a major impact on me. And one of my major takeaways from him is that the two things that people always want to know, like, their primary questions is, am I loved, and am I enough? And a lot of people, they charge forward because they don't feel loved. And so, they're seeking love in these relationships or entrepreneurship or making more money. And the same thing, I'm not enough, like they're seeking being enough and being fulfilled in things that are just frankly, never going to fulfill you, money or a job or success, none of that's going to fulfill you, right? Because there's always someone getting more of it and doing better, and whenever you hit it, you want more to feel the feeling that you already discussed.


So, if you're looking for fulfillment and love inside that, which, unfortunately, a lot of people do, they miss one of the greatest joys in life, which is, it’s buying your time, it's having freedom of time, having freedom of relationships, being able to spend, as Matthew Kelly says, carefree timelessness with those that matter the most, and that really is where joy is in the world, and so…


Mike Dillard: Yeah, and you bring up a great point here, Justin. When I was really interested in investing a decade ago, and that was my primary focal point, I thought it was all about the strategy. Oh, investing is just about the strategy, that's you read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, whatever it may be, cash flow, real estate was a strategy. So, everybody's got their strategy. And what I realized is, if that's the case, why are so many people still broke? Why do so many people lose money in the stock market? Why do so many people lose money in real estate, when there are other people who do really well in those different investment categories and with those different strategies? And that's when I realized, hey, the strategy is important, but it's actually just the final piece of the puzzle.


And what I've learned, I think there's really three pieces to the investment puzzle, if you want to succeed with money and build lifelong passive wealth, like you have, and like we're doing right now, and that is you have to first master your neurochemistry. Why do you make the decisions that you make? Why do you have the habits that you have? Why do you have the impulses that you have? So, you have to become aware of that and master that, and then second, you have to become aware of then again, what are my subconscious programs that are running in the background, that are then going to take those emotions and those impulses, put them through a subconscious filter, and then that's going to lead to a decision. And that decision is going to be executed in the form of whatever investment that you make with however money you decide to invest, whatever it may be.


And if the first two aren't in a healthy place, in a balanced place, they're coming from, again, a story from your childhood, or whatever it may be, the decision you end up making ultimately is going to be a bad decision. You might get lucky once or twice, but at the end of the day, this is why lottery winners lose all of their money. It's why most entrepreneurs make a ton of money, and they never actually get to financial freedom, because they take all of the money that they've made, and they do something stupid with it, they put it in another startup, or they put it in investments that they're not educated on. And they keep making all of these same decisions.


Same goes with professional athletes, why do so many professional athletes making millions of dollars, end up broke? It's because they're just looking at the strategy pieces, but they don't have parts one and two figured out, and ultimately, they end up doing part three incorrectly, and they lose all of their money. So, for me, that was the single biggest shift that I've taken away when it comes to the actual investment strategy piece of this whole money puzzle that we pursue in life.


Justin Donald: You are sharing so much gold right now. I love your philosophy on life and investing and just really, how to live a great life, that this podcast, though, is called The Lifestyle Investor, it's not the investor’s lifestyle. It's like, actually, I want to highlight lifestyle, and I want to highlight it in a way where you can live the life you desire first. And when you do that, you set yourself up to have these things that you're talking about.


And I'll add terminology there that I've used which is mindset, that your mindset matters around all this. This is one of the first fundamental, I guess, points that I make in my book is that if you have certain beliefs and a certain mindset in a way, then your actions and your behaviors, your disciplines, your routines, they all support it. And when you can shift that mindset, then everything shifts, and the way that you shift it is, like what you said, awareness. You can be so firm on this one thing, but the moment that there's awareness that it may be something different than that whole image that it starts to crumble a little bit, and it can't be propped up the way it was before, and you really have to look at it. I think that's fantastic.


Mike Dillard: Yeah, it's interesting, I like to use Graham Stephan as an example here, the financial YouTuber, a really, really cool young man that I've watched his videos for years now. And I think one of the primary distinctions between people who build lifelong wealth and people who make a lot of money but don't ever get to the wealth stage, is that they have chemical associations that are essentially backwards. So, if you were to look at someone like Graham, who made his brand and established himself basically on YouTube, in the financial space, and the fact that he was super, super stingy, he was very cheap, as he will be the first to admit. He hated spending money on anything, except investments.


And so, when you look at that now, well, why is that? Well, I can tell you that, at some point in his life, he started making a chemical association with dopamine and serotonin, between investing and getting that chemical release, and he has an association with cortisol when it comes to spending money. So, spending money makes him stressed out and anxious, releasing cortisol. Saving money and investing it gives him dopamine and serotonin. So, obviously, if you have that chemical association, you're automatically going to make decisions that are going to lead you to building wealth, like you don't even have to think about it, but if you have what most people have, which is the opposite association, so you get dopamine and serotonin when you spend money, when you buy stuff. And when you put it in an investment account, you get cortisol because your body wants you to go buy stuff.


And I would say that's 90 plus percent of Americans are wired that way, because we have been trained to do so, by some of the smartest people on the planet, who work at Apple, who work at Ferrari, who work at Porsche, who work at Gucci, who work at Prada, and all of these other companies literally hire the smartest people in the world who know this psychology, and who are running advertisements a thousand times a day that you're seeing, that are encouraging you to get that dopamine hit by sending your money to them. And so, if you're completely unaware of how this neurochemistry is taking place in your brain, you don't have a chance, you are never going to build wealth, but if you can become aware of it, and then retrain that association to pursue one that's more aligned with how Graham’s is, well, then guess what, you get the same results that Graham gets. You start to build wealth, and it's effortless at that point, it doesn't feel like work.


And so, when I talk to people about this, and you look at the world, especially with a background as a marketer, the vast majority of people have internal problems that they're looking for external solutions for. So, a great example of this would be dieting. If you're overweight, you have an internal problem in your mind that is causing you to gain weight to eat too much, whether it's a lack of self-value or poor self-image, or whatever it may be. And you're looking for an external solution in the form of, guess what, a diet pill or a workout machine or whatever it may be that marketers will happily sell you. And the moment you buy that diet pill or that thing, you get relief, you get relief from that cortisol, but then it goes away and you never follow through with it, because that chemical, the half-life of that is minutes. So, you really have to go through and consciously rewire these associations. And once you do that, it's awesome because everything becomes effortless anymore. All of the resistance that used to run into, when you're trying to change or create new habits or make new decisions, goes away. And it's just easy.


And a great example of that in my life is alcohol. I had alcohol almost every night since college with dinner. I never had an alcohol issue of any kind, but I just enjoyed it. Being an introvert, it felt really good to have a drink and loosen up and have conversations with people and become more extroverted. So, I used it as a tool for that, but not being able to drink for two years and then rewiring my brain to associate alcohol with pain and discomfort, and all of the other symptoms that I would experience, if I did drink during this health crisis, it became very, very easy because I rewired those chemical associations to now associate alcohol with cortisol, I don't want anything to do with it. So, I haven't had a drink in like two years now. And I would have never thought that that was ever possible, or that that would have been really, really, really difficult. And now, it's not, it's absolutely effortless. And it's just a matter of changing and rewiring those connections. And once you do that, that's really the ultimate hack here, because it just makes it easy.


Justin Donald: Yeah, I think that's so great that you have been able to do that and figure that out. And really, it's a great testament that mind over matter really happens, like your mind can will just about anything into effect. So, I just think that that's tremendous.


Mike Dillard: Yeah, will is what we want to avoid, because will means you're having to push through resistance. And willpower is usually finite for people, and it takes a lot of effort and energy and commitment. And so, when you get to a point where you can retrain those associations, then you don't need willpower anymore, it just is the way that you are. And you are what you do, and what you do with money and your investment is effortless for you, there's no resistance around it, it's fun, you get all of these happy chemicals when you do what you do.


And so, for other people to really do the same thing if they didn't have those same chemical associations, they're going to run into a ton of resistance, and they're not going to make the same decisions you make, and they're not going to get the same results. So, yeah, it's really interesting how this is ultimately at the end of the day, about these two inner pieces of the puzzle first, and then it becomes about the external strategy, but that's really the formula that's working really well for us this year.


Justin Donald: Yeah, that's great. Well, I'll tell you, I was going to talk more about this. And I feel like this is a nice segue. We don't probably have too much time, but thank goodness, you invested in cryptocurrencies, because what a game changer, what an opportunity when your business, basically, you have to turn it off, you got to like leave the keys at home because you don't have the ability, the strength to run the business anymore. So, it just stops, it ceases. And some of the other investments that you made didn't really pan out based on the way that you were doing it. And now, obviously, you have a lot more expertise, you've thought through what that looks like, but crypto, thank goodness, you've done really well there. I'd love to know your thoughts, because I think that you are one of the most well-studied and more expert people that I know in the crypto space. And I love that we can actually have some really fun conversation around it.


Mike Dillard: Yeah, I'd love to. It's a favorite topic of mine. So, what's really interesting is this really fell into that whole risk-taking speculative investment category when I started to invest in crypto, which was in 2013, when Bitcoin was 75 bucks. So, I didn't know anything about Bitcoin then, I'm just like, Ah, this is really interesting. I'm going to throw a couple thousand dollars at it, and see what happens. So, it was very much aligned with that old programming, where I'm just writing checks and seeing what sticks. Luckily, this is one of the ones that worked out. Since then, I'd say, since 2016 or so, and by the way, that Bitcoin, I bought 400 Bitcoin in 2017 for 30 grand, it got stolen a year later when Mt. Gox got hacked. Sad story for that one.


Justin Donald: Painful.


Mike Dillard: Yeah.


Justin Donald: I knew that happened, and I wasn't going to bring it up just in case, but, man, I know that's tough.


Mike Dillard: Everybody's like, Oh, my God, you're so lucky, $75 Bitcoin. I'm like, ah, yeah. It could have been, almost was, but my interest in that industry really sparked again in 2016, 2017. And at that point, I saw what was coming, I saw what it was doing, I saw what was possible, and I really saw how it was going to change the world. And so, that really became a primary focus for me. I have probably spent two hours a day studying crypto every single day since then. In one form or fashion, I started buying Ethereum at $7. I have a portfolio of probably 100-plus different crypto assets that I am spending time on every single day, keeping up with those projects, keeping up with the new ones that are coming out, all of the changes that the industry is going through.


So, crypto has been my single best investment, for sure, and I think it's going to continue to go that direction for many, many years to come. So, yeah, if you have any questions specifically that you'd like to go over, I'm totally game.


Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. Well, here's something really good just to share with our audience here is that you don't want to leave money on exchanges, you don't want to leave cryptocurrency on exchanges, and this isn't something that people really knew back then. I mean, no exchange really had been hacked. So, Mt. Gox getting hacked, that was like the first big awareness that this could happen, and that you really need to take any coin that you own and direct it to a wallet, so that you have the protection of it, because there's just so many different rules here. It's different than having your money in a bank. So, yeah, go ahead.


Mike Dillard: It depends. That's changing a little bit now. I would certainly say that, that has changed since the bull run of 2017. That was still the wild days of the Wild West, where there's little exchanges popping up all over the world, and a lot of the most talented hackers in the world were focused in on this industry, and security wasn't great. And so, the rule of thumb in the bull market of 2017, is you never leave your crypto on these exchanges, you put them in a software or hardware wallet.


Today, with the cycle that we're going through, the industry has matured immensely in the last four years. So, now we have exchanges in the US here, like Gemini, like Kraken, Coinbase, obviously, and then Binance overseas, where these exchanges have world class security, the same level of security that E-Trade would have or Fidelity or any of these other regulated exchanges, because these are now regulated exchanges. And so, for me, now, the concern about the exchange getting hacked is last on the list. If you're in one of those premier regulated registered exchanges, there are hundreds of them that are completely fly by night, run by anonymous people that will totally steal your money, but assuming you're in one of the top A plus grade flagship exchanges, I'm not too concerned about your crypto getting stolen from an exchange perspective, I would be concerned about your login getting stolen, if you don't have two-factor authentication turned on, if you're using the commonly used password, or you've used elsewhere, all of our passwords and email addresses have been doxxed in one hack or another throughout the years. If you have an identity protection service like I do, you get alerts all the time, hey, we found your username and password on the dark web.


So, you do have to go through some very basic steps to secure your login to those exchanges, and that's very important. And right now, it really depends on your level of expertise. And so, should you hold your crypto assets on a software or hardware wallet? My answer to that is that it depends. It depends on how comfortable you are taking these security measures because ultimately, your crypto is only as safe as its weakest point in the security chain. And so, if you bring your crypto over to a software wallet, maybe it's on your computer, maybe it's on your phone, well, you need to back up your private seed phrase. This is ultimately what gives you ownership over these assets.


And so, when you install one of these wallets, they're going to give you a backup seed phrase to copy. And that way, if you lose your device, or if it breaks, or whatever, you can just download the wallet again, insert that seed phrase, and it'll restore access to all of those assets. Well, where do you back up that seed phrase? Do you write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your desk? Do you put it in Evernote? Do you put it in a Google Doc? Or you do put it in a password manager, like 1Password? That really becomes the point of vulnerability. Well, okay, how safe is that backup seed phrase now? Because if that's not secure, then your crypto is definitely not secure.


And so, ultimately, the security of your assets comes down to your level of skill and knowledge and expertise around password management and security management. And when I'm talking to newbies who are coming into this industry for the very first time, which a lot of people are doing right now, I don't even recommend sending them down the software or hardware wallet anymore. I really focused on teaching them password management, two-factor authentication, and those security measures, because I think the chances of them trying to remove their crypto from the exchange over to a software wallet and managing their backup seed phrases was a higher level of risk associated with that and their lack of knowledge around it than just leaving it on the exchange and having 2FA installed in a unique password.


So, it's not a perfect solution these days, but it's getting better, and a lot of these exchanges are now getting to a point where if you put it in their secure vault custody, there's a little fee associated with that, but if you do that, then it's fully insured, just like your bank account would be. So, it's maturing quickly, which is great to see. And I think, within the next couple of years, it's going to be no different than putting your money in a bank from a security perspective, at least as far as that's concerned.


Justin Donald: Well, it's exciting. And there's a lot of innovations in the space, for sure. I'm curious what you think, and by the way, privacy and password security and cybersecurity is everything, I mean, just in general, especially here, but in general. In fact, I'm going to do a whole session just on that, and I know you and I, we could have had a session on this, because both of us believe so strongly in this and have taken a lot of precautions. So, we probably need to schedule another time, but I'm curious, what do you think of Uniswap that is taking off? A lot of people think that that's going to be one of the big ones?


Mike Dillard: Yeah, so Uniswap as an exchange has been a paradigm shift for the world. It's one of the first decentralized exchanges that solved the problem of liquidity. And so, in order to trade anything, whether it's stocks or currency or crypto, there needs to be liquidity in order to fill the order books. And there were decentralized exchanges, but none of them had a lot of liquidity, so they were kind of pointless. And how do you fix that problem? Well, Uniswap fixed a lot of problems. They fix the user interface. So, they made it super easy for anybody to use and understand. Turn Ethereum into this asset or this asset into Ethereum, it’s just two clicks, and it made it super simple, but they solve the liquidity piece by incentivizing people to basically post their crypto assets up into the exchange in order to provide liquidity, and then they would get paid in Uniswap tokens as a reward for doing that.


And so, the Uniswap token, the ticker symbol UNI was airdropped a few months ago to anybody who had been providing Uniswap, or who had been using the platform. And I think I got 400 tokens, I didn't really use it very much at that time, but I was like, Oh, awesome. 400 Uniswap tokens, which is what now, Justin, today, I think it's at 20 bucks.


Justin Donald: It's 22 earlier.


Mike Dillard: 22 bucks. So, as soon as that is released, you can go to a site called DefiPulse.com, and that'll really give you an overview of how the decentralized financial industry is growing. And if we were to look up Uniswap right now and see how much money is running through Uniswap, we have $4 billion right now in locked-up value, yeah, $4 billion, since basically December, so four months, it's three months. Not even that, yeah, three months. $4 billion all locked up in this decentralized exchange. There's no office, there's no employees, this is just a software protocol that lives on the internet. And it already has $4 billion under management. And the token has risen in value too, let's see what the market cap would be on this and just see what Uniswap as a whole is worth today, and it is up to $6.9 billion. So, Uniswap is already worth $6.9 billion.


Justin Donald: That fast.


Mike Dillard: And again, it's not even a company. There's no CEO, there's no address. And so, that's the paradigm shift that the world really needs to come to terms with as fast as possible and the fact that all of the middlemen in the money markets are going to disappear. All of the banks are not going to disappear, but their roles are going to get greatly diminished. The only way that they're going to stay relevant is by adopting crypto and providing services that are somehow within the crypto ecosystem, because all of the functionality, we typically need banks or exchanges, like E-Trade 4 have now been replicated in a decentralized manner.


And we don't need those institutions. We don't need to pay them fees. We don't need to pay them money anymore. We don't need to go through a KYC process or give them our driver's license or tell them how much money we make or let them know if we're accredited or not. It really opens up the world of finance to the entire world, because it removes every single barrier that's involved. As long as you have access to the internet, you are now able to participate in the global financial system for the very first time in history. And that's why this is just growing by leaps and bounds. So, yeah, Defi is certainly the most dominant theme for this particular bull market right now, who knows what the next cycle will be, five or six years from now, but Defi is all about this cycle today, so.


Justin Donald: Yeah, and you can transact any day of the year, any time of the year, on a holiday, on a weekend. Banks are so archaic and antiquated in the way that they do things. It's amazing to me that there's been just virtually no innovation. And you've got just crypto and blockchain innovating the heck out of the world. I love to Defi everything. I just think it's incredible, and one of the coolest things. So, Uniswap is going to be or already is the largest exchange, right? And this is happening in no time. And all it cost was $50,000. The founder took a loan for $50,000 and built this, whereas think about how much money Coinbase has raised, and many of these other larger exchanges, the more centralized one, so cool.


I mean, we could do a whole session– well, we talked about how we could do a whole session on privacy, we could do a whole session on crypto, we could probably do another whole session on blockchain and Defi and you name it. It's really cool just hearing your area of expertise. And I've got a feeling that we'll be collaborating more and having you back on the show, but I just want to thank you so much for sharing, for being so open and so vulnerable and so willing to allow what happened to you to be a tool for education for other people. I think that that's unbelievable.


And then I just love how you've become such a student of all the things that you do, and really everything you've done, you really become the most knowledgeable person in that area. And I think that's incredible. Where can everyone find you? Anyone that wants to check you out online, wants to check out your new program.


Mike Dillard: Yeah. MikeDillard.com is the primary website. Ironically, we don't have anything up there about Richer Every Day yet. We've got to redo that entire website, but RicherEveryDay.com is where we're going to be talking about all things, money, neurochemistry, subconscious programming, and investing. So, I think your audience would certainly dig that. because ultimately, you and I have the same passion around this topic, and we both have kind of our unique takes or experiences around how we are arriving within the goals that we're pursuing, but at the end of the day, it's all about the same thing which is actual true financial freedom in a really healthy way, so that you can enjoy life and do your best work.


Justin Donald: Yeah, I think that that is spot on. And again, thank you so much for, even your support for me with the launch, and I'm so excited to be a support to you as you're unveiling your new passion project. And I just think that the world needs more of this. So, I know that this is going to resonate with people in our community here and people listening or watching on YouTube. So, thank you. And I just want to challenge everyone and really, just share to all the listeners, take some form of action today, take one step towards financial freedom and independence in your life, and buy your time back, so you can live a life not by default, but by design. Thanks, and we'll see you next week.


Mike Dillard: Thank you, Justin. Appreciate you guys.


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