Stop Playing to Lose…Play to Win: High Performance Leadership Tactics From the 50 Billion Dollar Man – with Dan Peña

Warning: This episode contains sensitive content.

My guest this week is Dan Peña.

From his beginnings as an East LA barrio bad boy to Laird of (15th Century) Guthrie Castle, Dan Peña is now recognized as the Founder of Quantum Leap Advantage (QLA), the revolutionary method for super success with over 25 years of proven track record that has produced over $50 Billion of equity/value, since 1993 – thus making him known as the 50 Billion Dollar Man!

Peña, through his mentees and devotees, has created an unprecedented level of super successful mentees/devotees that have produced from 7 figures to 11 figures wealth creation in various industries around the world! Peña’s principle instrument of success is his free QLA Mentor Program used in conjunction with the step by step QLA Methodology that he personally used to create  $450 Million from $820 in 8 years!

Together with laser beam focus, Peña has mentored and coached countless to achieve their dreams, making him the best high performance business success coach, measured by equity/value created.

I want you to listen to this conversation because I believe that you as a leader need to find mentors who are significantly better than you. Mentors that will make you get out of your comfort zone while setting you up to achieve those big goals.

Major Take-Aways From This Episode:

  • What is Quantum Leap Advantage system?
  • What is the difference between a high performance coach and personal development?
  • How is staying on the cutting edge driving High Performance?
  • Why is it harder for older people to achieve high performance results?
  • “Show me your friends and I show you your future,” @10:00 min
  • How Dan gets you to do what you don’t want to do to be what you want to be.
  • How do you instill fearlessness? You have to do things that scare you.
  • The success story of Klaus Kleinfeld @24:00 min
  • What is the impact of Neom?
  • Having a mentor does not mean you are not self-motivated?
  • If you need some motivation or somebody to motivate you, you have to get out of your comfort zone.
  • “We lack leadership, we don’t lack direction” @ 43:10 min
  • Dan’s “Snowflake test” @ 01:01:30min; Take the Snowflake Test here
  • Dan’s website where you can find free resources
  • Tough-Minded Management  and Tough-Minded Leadership by Joe Batten
Read Full Transcript

Dan: I have no control over the noise. The castle's quiet. Everything's turned off, but I have no control when the delivery trucks come and the phone rings because we have deliveries all day.
Bill: It's not a problem. Anything, first of all, anything can be deleted, modified. I've got a guy in Czech Republic that does all the audio quality just like Kat and-
Dan: Okay. Fine.
Bill: Yeah, so we're all good, including anything that you say that you don't want in, just-
Dan: [00:00:30] No. You don't have to edit. I'm not worried about that.
Bill: Okay. Yeah, just wanted to put that out there.
Dan: Okay.
Bill: I'm not a news reporter. I just wanna deliver the best stuff. So did you happen just to kind of just prep a little bit, did you get-
Dan: Yes, I went over all the questions. All the questions I could answer in my sleep, but that's fine.
Bill: Right, right. Okay, so my goal is to just find, my audience [00:01:00] tends to be a combination of entrepreneurs and high-level business execs that are making technology decisions in enterprises, or they're entrepreneurs that are building products or delivering products into that space that's just to kind of give you a lens of who ... I was in a conversation yesterday and the guy was in North Carolina and starting her office down there and we're setting up a seminar, [00:01:30] and he's like, "I've been listening to you for years and your podcast."
So I don't even know who's listening, but there's, as you might imagine, it runs the gamut. So you ready to get going?
Dan: Sure.
Bill: Okay, great.
Well, Dan, I wanna welcome you to the show today.
Dan: Thank you very much for having me.
Bill: So Dan, this is about a year anniversary since I came to the castle seminar and [00:02:00] this is your 25th anniversary for QLA and although for this, I've given a little bit of introduction about you. Can you just explain to my audience, what is QLA, just at a macro level so that we just understand what it is from your side of the fence.
Dan: QLA stands for Quantum Leap Advantage and it's an acronym for a system that I developed [00:02:30] more than 25 years ago that I use myself for my professional career and buying and acquiring and to a lesser extent, divesting assets starting with no money and I use this system, actually at $820, which is almost no money and I built a $450 million [00:03:00] corporate entity that stretched from South America to Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico, the United States, Canada, the UK and the north sea in about eight years in a declining market.
So that same methodology, the same benchmarks, those same models, those same processes, systems and tools that have been upgraded since I started coaching 25 years ago are the basis of [00:03:30] the QLA methodology that you attended about a year ago.
Bill: And one of the thing's that's been most impactful for me, Dan, is two parts. One is this unique knowledge that you imparted that is all free on your website, except for those who come to the castle to be one-on-one or 1 to 20, 1 to 30 with you.
But there's also a piece of this which is the human part, really the tools are meaningless unless the human being [00:04:00] becomes a top performer and you and I would agree with this. You talk about yourself being a high performance coach and I believe you're the best in the world at that and can you, what is a difference between a high performance coach and personal development?
Dan: Well, personal development, there are no benchmarks. Personal development is no accountability. Personal development [00:04:30] is a system or the lack thereof, that makes you feel good on a short-term basis and whereas high performance, like an athletic and dating back to your athletic days, Bill, I mean you either ran a personal best or you didn't. You either trained and commensurate with that training, you got better or you [00:05:00] didn't get better.
Well, high performance coaching is very much understood for athletes and Olympians and regular athletes and baseball players, football players, et cetera. I've been doing this for decades and in fact, all the way back to the first Olympics, 2000 years ago. Where you set a standard and then you try to achieve it and you try to better it.
Whereas personal development, you're not setting those same standards. Nobody's holding you accountable. And most [00:05:30] personal development, when I started 25 years ago, my goal was, as Bruce Whipple reminded me, who was at my first seminar 25 years ago, that you were gonna change, I said I was gonna change the way personal development should be looked at and on a high performance basis just as with athletes, having standards and so that's the difference.
And today, 25 years on, I've created [00:06:00] some $50 billion, at least $50 billion with regular guys and gals and kids, for that matter, through our system of accountability. Now the systems, processes and procedures have all been updated over 25 years. I mean, as you well know, or maybe I've told you, 25 years ago, we didn't have webinars.
25 years ago, we didn't have zoom calls. 25 years ago, we didn't have weekly reports. I gave the whole seminar in 18 [00:06:30] hours, one day, no breaks, no coffee, no water, with a two-hour Q&A, so it was about 20 hours. And today, as you well know, it's a week long and it's quite intense and you have homework, written homework every night and then you have weekly reports and you have monthly Zoom calls and so it's quite different now, but it's been fine-tuned and tweaked, if you will, to get ... when they first broke the four-minute mile, [00:07:00] Roger Banister and then two guys broke it right away, but then from about 350, down below 3 minutes and 50, it's just tweaking, you know, a little more oxygen, a little less oxygen, a little more of this, a little more of that and that's where we are in the QLA process now.
So the last five or so years, we've just been tweaking it to get the last ounce of accomplishment out of the [00:07:30] individuals.
Bill: Yeah, one of the big pieces from the high performance point of view is that the focus on eliminating distraction and I know you've gotten this wide swath between the young folks that come in and the old folks and I'm always, I'm really interested in the old folks, because the 40 pluses are really the ones that are kind of running a lot of the businesses and they kind of get to that point where they're [00:08:00] super frustrated, yet their lives are really complex and one of the pieces that I noticed for me this year, is that you really forced me, in this coaching methodology, to focus in, and to focus and hone in and eliminate distraction, almost the way it was when I first started the business, where there's nothing except oxygen and the business and that was a prime benefit that I received from your QLA process, like you said fine tuning.
Dan: Well, I mean, everybody that has [00:08:30] ever started a business, they went from $0 to $50,000 in revenue, $0 to $100,000, $0 to $1 million in revenue, understands what geometric growth is, because that's what they experienced. But once they accomplished that, they stopped playing to win and they start playing not to lose. And their whole mindset changes and they're like a hen sitting on their eggs that they don't want somebody, you know, some squirrel to come steal from them. [00:09:00] And that's not how you grow a business.
I mean, Microsoft was a great start-up 40 years ago and now, it's still a great company, but it's more or less a big conglomerate. And that's the way that it goes, because you start worrying about, I'm not playing to win, but playing not to lose. It's completely a different mindset and the people that have stayed on the cutting edge the longest, people [00:09:30] like Steve Jobs and the late Steve Jobs, they got up every morning as if they didn't accomplish anything the week before or the day before and that's tough to instill and that gets back to, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future". And most of the, you are included and the people that are listening to this, would you want your kids to grow up to be like you? 99% of the people that I work with say no. No matter how successful they are. You want [00:10:00] them to be a good person like you are. And maybe you want them to be religious like you are. But I mean, do you want them to be like you? And the answer's almost always no. And so who's teaching these kids?
And the whole idea behind high performance coaching, unless you've got Andre Agassi and Steffi Graph as your parents, who are both world-class, former Wimbledon and you know, all the big Grand Slam champions, as your coach, you don't understand what high performance is. You don't [00:10:30] understand what high performance standards are. And you don't know what it's like to be held accountable and so for the first time, not everybody, but almost everybody that comes through the program, for the last 25 years, it's the first time in their life that they've been held accountable outside athletics and/or the military. Period. They just haven't. And you heard me say if we were at war, we'd be dead. I mean, because [00:11:00] mistakes are commonplace. And the mistakes are even acceptable now in business and in the high rarefied air that I breathe, with the big, high performance people, mistakes aren't accepted under any circumstances and so but it's accountability and focus.
Bill: Well, one of the pieces that you mentioned was covering, sitting like hens on eggs and covering their assets. [00:11:30] I see that constantly with, I saw that with myself and you pulled that out real fast with me and it's a defensive posture and I think that's one of the big pieces that you brought with that, that you represent with that opposite end, that fearlessness equation, which like, it really encourages people to play offense with their life and offense with the situations instead of sitting back and trying to protect and one of the big pieces with business innovation and technology right now is that a lot of the leaders [00:12:00] are playing defense. They're so scared about the changes and disruption in the industry, in industries, that they're not playing offense.
And so you encourage the offense piece mindset. But how does someone develop that fearlessness and that really offensive mindedness in life so they can translate that right into business?
Dan: Well, I mean, you know, I gave this example when you were at the seminar. I had a convicted felon [00:12:30] 20 plus years ago, came to the seminar, and he was up front about he had to gone to prison for bank fraud. And he says, "This is gonna be really tough for me, based on I spent four years in prison, everybody I know," yada yada. And I said, "well," I mean, back in those days we had block cell phones, they looked like bricks, and I said, "Take your cell phone and I don't know how to do it, in a technical sense but erase everybody's number and say if you do not have my [00:13:00] phone number, fuck you, you're out of my life."
Well, I saw him about a year, year and a half later at a very exclusive restaurant in London and he was looking really well. He had a new wife and I said, "How you doing?" He says, "I'm doing fine," and he says, "I took your advice," and he says, "It was pretty easy, except for when my mother got that message." And because his mother in his particular case, and in most cases, your parents have fucked you up.
[00:13:30] We've already been through that with you, Bill. And it just is. They don't do it on purpose. But normally, you're raised by a mom, maybe a dad, a older brother and maybe grandparents and something like that. And none of those people are worth a damn for high performance coaching. And so just like I [00:14:00] moved to the United Kingdom and the United States 35 years ago, or no, 37 years ago now, to get away from my Hispanic background, la familia, the barrio. I mean if you stay where you've been raised, you're gonna do what you were taught to do while you were being raised. And that's not what high performance people do.
What QLA allows, everything's free on my website, as you well know. Everything. 99.999% [00:14:30] of the people that have benefited in creating all these billions, I've never met. But what I do is I get you to do what you don't wanna do to be what you wanna be. When I say show me your friends, I show you your future, you're the average of the five people that raised you. Self esteem is built the first seven or eight years of life. Who [00:15:00] are you around the first seven or eight years of life? Those people I just described. At the end of the day, when you start to reach maturation, you have to make a decision for yourself and that's why my demographics the last ten years have switched from 35 to 55 years old to 15 to 35 years old. A majority of the people that come to the seminar are between 15 and 35. 15!
And [00:15:30] of course, now the kids can make money on the internet. And of course, we give student discounts, student rates. But I mean, you remember the people that were in your group, they were young. You were one of the old guys.
Bill: Yup, I was.
Dan: And although we've had people as young as 13 and as old as 77 come to the seminar. But most people talk about change, but change is a son of a bitch. It's tough to [00:16:00] really get lasting change. And the difference, again, getting back to your initial question, the difference between personal development and high performance coaching is personal development isn't really trying to evoke lasting change. They wanna change and this is a shitty thing to say, they wanna change enough for you to buy the next book. The next upsell. The next this or the next that. And I say, and I make fun and I distance myself from that whole industry by saying like right now, [00:16:30] let's see, summer sales are coming up. Easter just passed. All their product is 50% off. Well, what was it, the day before Easter what was it worth? If it's 50% off on Easter?
And the irony or the pleasure I have 'cause I don't sell anything, I give all my products free, I can say what I think and I can help these kids get across the goal line. [00:17:00] And so but getting back to your question, how do you instill this fearlessness? You gotta do things that scare you, as you well know, one of the items on the weekly report, what did you do to scare yourself today? And at my stage, I've done just about everything, it's tough for me to get scared or apprehensive or out of my comfort zone. But it's all about, we stay in our comfort zone. We stay in that zone [00:17:30] that we've seen our parents in. I know you've got kids, teenagers and kids don't do what you tell them to do, kids do what they see you do. And if they see you be a wimp and a cunt and a worm, that's what they're likely to be.
And you also know that most of the kids come to be because I'm the alpha male father they never had.
Bill: Yup, yup.
Dan: And I don't need any more God damn kids. I got three. [00:18:00] And they're all, one of them's just slipping out of the millennial stage, 'cause he's older now, and so I don't need anymore kids. But it's a sad state of affairs and that's one of the reasons I talk to universities. I'm gonna be talking to Boston University in a couple months, where my daughter went to graduate school, coincidentally. And because the kids know something's not right. Something's fucked up. Something's broke. And [00:18:30] that talk is wealth, risk or not. Meaning the wealth, risk, reward formula that we were taught growing up doesn't work anymore. Yet, the educational system, from the grade school all the way up to university graduate school is still taught, plus or minus 10%, the same way. And it's not right. It's not right. And that's why the kids seem to, it resonates with the kids. They know something's not right. They don't understand what's not right, [00:19:00] but they know something's not right.
Bill: Now when you use the word, just for my listeners, 'cause they're hearing you for the first time, when you use the word cunt, what does that mean?
Dan: To me, that means coward.
Bill: Coward. Which is back to fear. It's interesting in retrospect, looking back over the year, and listening to you with Brian Rose and by the way, that last interview with him, I thought was just out of this world, you know, one of the big things, I know for Brian, 'cause we're sort of on the older spectrum [00:19:30] for you, is you represent the most fear and by confronting that fear, you essentially get more battle hardened because of the pressure of the weekly accountability and-
Dan: No, no. But it's more than weekly, as you well know, it's hourly accountability.
Bill: That's true. That's true. I was taking out 3 by 5 cards and tracking my by-the-minute tasks, what I was doing. Absolutely.
Dan: Yeah, I mean, it's a son of a bitch. I mean, it is. And when you find out [00:20:00] how much time you're wasting a day, I mean, it's mind boggling. It's like you're surprised you got anything done.
Bill: But you know, I think people's concept of what it takes to actually succeed, I think that's also what you bring to fore, is the amount of focus that it does take to actually make a big, big, big impact in business or in life. And that flushes your big, fat mouth. I mean, I know I had big [00:20:30] dreams, but you really have to back those dreams up and you really, I think from the personal development, high performance coaching is, I know I never had and I'm grateful for it now, having the rigor around my big mouth or about my big dream. Because otherwise, it's just a vision with no real muscle. Oh, I missed this deadline. I missed this. I missed this, but where's the accountability?
Dan: Yeah, well, see, when people miss deadlines with me, I fire them. I mean, [00:21:00] you're familiar with my three strikes system and that's a little exaggerated. Used to be one strike. And then now it's three. In other words, if you miss a deadline or if you do something, if you don't do something you said you were gonna do, three times you're out of the program. You know that. Okay.
Now, but I'm the same way in business. And in some cases, when I get kids, [00:21:30] I've got a young intern. Not [Kat 00:21:35], but a younger intern now, who's Kat's intern, who just got out of university, I think she's 20. And she never heard, now I know this has gotta be exaggerating, she never heard the word deadline before. Her name's Daisy. Daisy's got no reason to lie to me. She don't understand. [00:22:00] Deadline. You know? She doesn't compute that. And it was foreign to her. But most of the kids today, it's like when I was in university, decades ago, most of the kids started studying for the test the day before, maybe two days before the test. And I was [00:22:30] a little better than that, not much better than that and because they found that I mean, when you pushed, push comes to shove and they've got you against the wall with a gun to your head, you can get things done a lot quicker than you would've thought.
But just imagine if you acted under that pressure all the time. The example I like to give is like in playoffs for football. In the two-minute drill. How easily [00:23:00] they march down the field in the two-minute drill scoring. Okay? Especially in the playoffs. What if they played like that all the time? Now athletic coaches, high performance guys that I know that coach big time athletics, Dan, they couldn't last a season. They'd burn out. Their bones, their muscles, their tendons, et cetera. Going all out at 100% from the first minute of the first game, [00:23:30] I mean and now for American football, the season is 17, 18 games long plus playoffs. They'd never last. So now that's been drilled into their little heads, or big heads. Well, and so now in the beginning, they're not pushing themselves and just imagine if you pushed yourself all the time.
Bill: With one of your big success stories over the years has been Klaus Kleinfeld, did I pronounce his name correctly?
Dan: Yeah, Klaus Kleinfeld, correct.
Bill: And he's sort of interesting to me because he comes, he dove into the, you taught him the QLA but then he deployed that within his own organization-
Dan: Yeah, he deployed it in the corporate world.
Bill: And just for everybody listening, if you can give just a brief synopsis of his story, [00:24:30] but then also maybe two or three things that he does at a world-class level that are very QLA like that have allowed him to reach that level of performance-
Dan: Well, now he does almost everything at a world-class level now.
Bill: Okay.
Dan: I mean, everything from, but getting back, he came to me as a middle manager 20 years ago and with a goal and I helped him become CEO of Zeeman's, the 20th largest company in the world [00:25:00] in seven years.
And he fought his way up. He wasn't from Bravaria, he got his PhD at night school, which is just unheard of. It's very low, middle class in German society to have to work and get your PhD. He left Zeeman's. He was the CEO at Alcoa, he split Alcoa up, [Aronto 00:25:27] and Alcoa, he got booted out [00:25:30] of the latter about a year ago. He is currently the CEO of Neom, the largest equity deal in the history of the world, $500 billion joint venture between Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt to develop 25,000 square kilometers for the city of the future for the 22nd and 23rd century. He's CEO of that, okay?
And [00:26:00] I mentored him and you can use QLA, I've got guys doing it at General Motors, I've got guys doing it at, we had nobody at General Electric, just for those of you that are listening, which is falling apart since Jack Welch left and we have other people that started from scratch. The current governor of Florida, Rick Scott, used to be my lawyer 35 years [00:26:30] ago. And pushed him out the door and shoved him into health care and he built Columbia Health Care, the largest health care company in the history of the world from scratch, actually from $100,000. Put his life savings in it, so that's not quite accurate. And he built a $30, $35 billion company, made him a billion and of course, we have a teenage multi-millionaire, Josh Kim. Who came to me, 17, didn't go to school, home schooled, no college, nothing, is now a [00:27:00] multi-millionaire and he hasn't turned 21 yet.
So we got them from the multi-million teenagers to the biggest deal in recorded history. The Neom deal. The kingdom. And everything in between. And then we got you. You're closer to the kid than you are at the other end. It's when, and I've told you this, personally, when you want it enough, you [00:27:30] get it done.
And virtually, most of the kids listen to this on this podcast are going through the exercise. They need to fill up an hour, so they listen to you or they listen to somebody else. Their real intention is aren't fuck all. And it becomes, you know, like I said at Oxford two years ago, or actually somebody said it when they asked me a question. Some kid, in fact that kid [00:28:00] was on a Zoom call today, 'cause he ultimately came to the seminar, he dropped out of Oxford and he's about to do his first deal in healthcare. He's 21 years old now. He was 19 then. He said, "I've read 700 books, Mr. Pena", and I said, and it's on the tape, on my Oxford talk, "I didn't know there were 700 books on personal development". And then somebody else in the audience said, "What would you rather have? Somebody that read 700 books or somebody that's done 700 [00:28:30] deals?" And he was alluding to me, the 700 deals. I stopped counting at 1,000 transactions. I stopped counting.
And today, a mentee was in the neighborhood so he dropped by and I spent about an hour with him. And this is a 30-year transaction professional who's rolling up IT and he told me what he was doing. Of course, I see his weekly reports. [00:29:00] And I said, "Well, what about this?" And he said, "I hadn't thought about that." Now this is a 30-year experienced guy and in about between one millionth and one billionth of a second, I thought of something he hadn't thought of.
Bill: Wow.
Dan: And it changed the whole complexion of his deal. Entirely.
Bill: Well, that's to your point, in surrounding yourself with people that, go ahead-
Dan: Correct. And most the people listening to this, let's say they have 5, 10, 15, 20 [00:29:30] years experience, okay? They have 5 years, 1 year 5 times, 1 year 10 times, 1 year 15 times, 1 year 20 times. There's nobody on this fucking call that's got 20 years of real experience. And it sounds braggadocious, but I can eat for breakfast everybody that's ever listened to your podcast. 100%.
Bill: Yeah, you really force that with your mentees is just having that dream team because, [00:30:00] and I just followed the program, I got it kind of conceptually, but I didn't really didn't sink into my bones until I was actually really nervous preparing for my board meeting. I was like nervous. It had been back to my first sales call when I was like 23 out of college, that was sweating in the waiting room, waiting for the sales call. That's how nervous I got because the board members that I had, they made me nervous because I wanted to perform for them. And that had been a long fricken time since I'd been that nervous.
Dan: [00:30:30] Yeah, well, I mean that means you haven't been out of your comfort zone in 20 years.
Bill: You told me, I said my business was 17 years, 1 year 17 times.
Dan: Exactly. And I believe I proved it.
Bill: Well, I did throw out my books-
Dan: And yeah, yeah, you have a following of meatheads. These fucking morons that are listening to you. That's the joke of it.
Bill: Well, you know, now, but see the thing is, what's interesting. You impact [00:31:00] me. You forced me to raise my game and then it forces everybody around me the same. So literally, my vision of securing a billion lives, I'm actually, my business is going out and actually, if I change 1, 2, 10, 50 CIOs, they impact their business, which secures it for 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 customers but that's because you impact me. So it's like the ripple-
Dan: Yeah, but the thing is, Andrew Carnegie said it 125 years ago. Jack Welch [00:31:30] said it 40 years ago and somebody else, I can't remember the other one said it. If you have to be motivated, if you need some motivation or somebody to motivate you, forget about it. Is that clear?
Bill: If I need some-
Dan: No, no, nobody fucking ever motivated me in my 72-year life. I was always self-motivated. Steve Jobs was always self-motivated. [00:32:00] Bill Gates was always self-motivated. Henry Ford was always self-motivated. Andrew Carnegie was ... And I can go down the list. Having a mentor doesn't mean you're not self-motivated.
Bill: Okay.
Dan: I required a mentor when I was young to round off the rough edges of the diamond. But not to get motivated.
Bill: From what you just said though, how does that, when you were just talking, [00:32:30] how does that relate to what I just said, as far as my nervousness with my mentors around me? What does that, how does that-
Dan: Well, now, no, but I mean, you and I both know, not just you, but the people, most of the people that listen to podcasts aren't listening, it's a toss up. Most are listening for motivation and some are listening for direction.
Now if you really define direction, that is motivation, because [00:33:00] you either learn through a mentor, as you just described, or by pulling the trigger a million times and finding out what works.
Bill: Yup, yup.
Dan: And I found mentors early on, but I've also pulled the trigger a million times. Because I've done more transactions than all my mentors put together.
Bill: Well, but okay, so most people, and most people don't know this, but you come from a really poor background-
Dan: Correct.
Bill: ... with parents who came across the river [00:33:30] from, mother came across the river from Mexico and people don't know this, but you're in a, I'm calling you in a castle right now, of 16th century, 15th century castle in Scotland and it's a stunning dichotomy and I was out for my run, which we'll get to in a second, this morning, I thought, was Dan motivated by the fear of poverty or was he motivated by the carrot of riches? And I've never heard you answer that question.
Dan: Riches, riches.
Bill: Riches, okay.
[00:34:00] So you didn't care about, so you were just completely zeroed in on the possibility of the vision of what was possible.
Dan: Not when I was a little kid, but as I-
Bill: You got older.
Dan: As I got older, correct. And the turning point for me was July 1967 when I went through [inaudible 00:34:21] Georgia and the United States Congress and their infinite wisdom, deemed that Dan Pena was an officer and a gentleman [00:34:30] by the act of congress. My whole life changed. That was the beginning, because nobody had ever called me a gentleman. In fact, I'm not sure I ever heard the word gentleman. I tell the story, I was interviewed by a newspaper a few days ago. I didn't know what $1 million was. I was sitting in the Officer's club, and I'm sitting with some other second lieutenants and a captain and I say, "Why [00:35:00] is John over there buying everybody drinks?" He says, "He just inherited $1.4 million from his grandmother. And in 1967, $1.4 million was a lot of god damn money.
And so I said, "Well, let's drink up". And then I said, "Well, what does that look like written down?" So on a bar napkin, he took a pencil and he wrote it down and I didn't realize it had two [00:35:30] commas. As God as my witness. I was 22 years old. That would've been 1967. October '67.
But then later on during that same tour, I'm sitting in the Officer's Club, I had gotten an award for some bullshit. And they gave me a $50 war bond and you used to be able to buy a $50 government war bond for $6.50, $6.75 and if you kept it 30 [00:36:00] years, it was worth $50. And so a two-star general on one side of me and the one-star general on the other side of me, who I actually reported to, the two-star general said, "You know, Danny, you could probably make a lot of money in the real world." And a light [00:36:30] bulb went off over my head. 'Cause I had volunteered for the draft, and I was gonna make the military a career. I'd flunked out of university three times and I was gonna make the military a career, go back to school while I was in the military. Anyway, a light bulb went off over my head and I said, "God." And I turned to General [inaudible 00:36:34], the one-star general, I said, "General, did you hear what [inaudible 00:36:38] says?" He says, "You probably could make, Dan, go out there, make a lot of money".
And that's because I'd saved the army, I think it was $3 million over 8 million years on some idea I came up with and funny enough, it was a technical idea. IBM punch cards. Remember those?
Bill: Oh, yeah. Yeah, sure.
Dan: Yeah, well. Me of all people coming up with an idea like [00:37:00] that.
And when they did the calculation, it would save $3 million over 5 years or 40 years or something, and so that's why I got the award. And if one, I hadn't seen what $1.4 million was, two, if I hadn't gotten that award and then he made the comment that I probably could make a lot of money in the real world, I probably would've retired, you know. An officer named Tommy Franks, a four-star general who [00:37:30] did Shock and Awe in the Gulf War, he was a contemporary of mine. He went to OCS same time I did. And I would've retired a senior, I'm sure I would've been a four-star general, I would've retired. They would've invented maybe an eight-star general for me or something.
All these things are not probable. I don't wanna mislead anybody, but they are certainly possible. Because and for those of you [00:38:00] that are listening that have proper education, et cetera, doesn't mean they're any more easy and in some cases, it's more difficult because you spreadsheet things to death, like you, Bill. I mean-
Bill: Well, we've talked about spread sheeting to death things. So I have a question for you about, so you said that cyber security's hot and certainly, that's where I am firmly planted but I'm curious, I wanna know from your point [00:38:30] of view, so you're an officer, you were an officer, and you're very much, talked about military quite a bit in your books and your speaking.
The problem that we have with security right now is a lot of the damage that's going on, you don't see it. And we're getting a lot of very important intellectual property stolen from the US. We have real threats against our infrastructure with nuclear, water [00:39:00] and power and such. And I think the leadership now, Trump's only a year and a half or so into things, maybe a little longer, how would you approach this from a leadership point of view if had to lead the battle campaign against cyber security from a United States point of view? How would you approach it?
Dan: Well, he's surrounding himself with a lot of ex-military people. And that's a good start. And [00:39:30] I would hope and I would make sure that the implementation of having more military people that are their direct reports. Today, the world, the one thing about cyber security and one of the reasons it's so hot, is every time somebody rattles their sword, their saber, people [00:40:00] get worried and you got the pundits, the talking heads on CNN and CNBC, et cetera, talk about what could happen and you know, "If I coulda, shoulda, woulda", and currently here in Britain, they're talking about , they've got the smallest Navy in Britain since, I think the Crimea War.
Bill: Oh, really?
Dan: Yeah. They're worried. And of course, we have security leaks like at [00:40:30] Facebook, when they find out what they were doing with the data and then we got WikiLeaks and we got all these things. I'm not saying it's a perfect storm, but it's pretty close to being the perfect storm for being in that business.
And so what the president, and I believe he's on that road. It's not complete yet, by any stretch of the imagination. He needs to get people that understand that we need to be proactive, not reactive and [00:41:00] part of his answer, which I don't totally agree with the president, is isolationism. And I don't really think this isolationism in the sense, a hundred years ago. But he says we gotta take care of our own, which I agree 100% with that in the United States, and to give, make sure that the government contracts for the cyber security go to United States government companies [00:41:30] as opposed to, the famous story, the most famous that I'm aware of, is when Obama was building his Obama Care website, it got farmed out to, nothing wrong with it, as I understand it, black companies, but then they subcontracted them out to Canadian companies. And then the fucker didn't work. Okay? And it cost $1 billion. Now anybody who knows anything about websites [00:42:00] and building, are you kidding me? You know what you can build for $1 billion? I mean, it's a joke.
Bill: Yeah, it's gonna be stunning, because you talk about and you've said this on YouTube several times, that the threat that he deployed against North Korea and the threat of imminent harm actually brought and [00:42:30] is forcing potentially a lot of the negotiation and the interesting thing is, in the Obama administration, we actually hacked into those Iranian nuclear facilities and changed the centrifusions to spin differently with some malware, military-grade malware, which really delayed their nuclear capacity, but that could only last so long and was one tactic. Now it seems like we're deploying kind of a much different diplomacy than we did in the past.
Dan: Well, I mean, leadership comes from the top [00:43:00] today as I've said, countless times, with the kids and I consider you a kid, as well, 'cause I'm either old enough to be the father or the grandfather of anybody listening to this, is that we lack leadership, we don't lack direction. We know what we need to do, but we need to have people in the positions of authority to have the balls, the grit, whatever you wanna call it, to force the issue and sometimes it's gotta be forced, because [00:43:30] not everybody's gonna go along with the program. And that's just the way life is.
Dan: And who goes over the top? The guy with the leadership skills, so Trump has got us in the right direction. Hopefully, he'll stay in the right direction and as I said two and a half years ago, he has changed the financial world forever. [00:44:30] He just has. And it's bubbled over. It's like when the US sneezes, everybody else catches a cold. And that's the same thing in the financial world. I mean, interest rates are the lowest in 5,000 years and it's unbelievable the positiveness, the energy that's in the financial world right now in the last two years, as opposed [00:45:00] to previous eight years under the previous administration. And of course, president Obama was only president in the United States, but his policies affected many, many, many dozens of countries. And the same can be said for President Trump.
You've heard me say this. The opportunities are so abundant, it's mystifying. I never thought I'd see this again. But I've lived long enough, [00:45:30] as my father, dearly departed father who lived into his 90s said, "If you live long enough, son, you see everything at least twice". And he was right. In America, for example, the SBA loans are up to $7 million now. Which is, the loans are government guaranteed.
Here, whether it happens or not in this first administration is questionable, the SBA, Small Business Administration's gonna go to $10 [00:46:00] million, which is just, I don't wanna say this in the wrong way, but it's a license to fucking steal.
Bill: You know, just to direct you quickly, one bank I was just talking to, Dan, they're like, listen, I said, "I need more than five years, you gotta give me more than five years in this to make the, support that debt service with enough of a gap that you want", and he goes, "Well, if it's SBA-supported, we'll go out to ten", and sure enough, he found out that it was SBA-supported. SBA-backed loan will [00:46:30] give them the confidence to go out ten years with the loan.
Dan: Okay, well, then that's happened. Terrific.
Bill: It's interesting. It's just a confirmation of what you're saying.
Dan: Yeah, I mean and if you would've told somebody that five years ago, they would've thought, what are you crazy? And it's unbelievable. You heard me say this. What are you gonna tell your kids and your grand kids 20 years from now? When your grand kid, who's in high school taking an accounting class or some bullshit, [00:47:00] and he says, "Grand dad, what were you doing during the greatest transformation of wealth in the history of the motherfucking planet?" "Oh, I had my thumb up my ass and I was waiting for another spread sheet to confirm it".
Bill: Regret-
Dan: And that probably represents 95% of the fucking meatheads listening to this.
Bill: Well, I think the regret minimization piece, I don't think you've used that word, but you do talk [00:47:30] about-
Dan: Yes, I'm not the only one. The founder of Amazon, he has a regret formula. Maybe he's an engineer, I don't know. But I don't have a formula, but he says, "What am I gonna regret when I'm 80?" And so now I'm not in my personal regrets, I'm in the rest where Bill, you or somebody else and I know what you're gonna regret because I've seen, now I'm working [00:48:00] on second generation mentees. Kids that I trained 20, 25 years ago, I now have their kids coming to the seminar and it's quite remarkable and again, and the kids say, "We did what our parents didn't tell us to do, we did what we saw our parents do", and it's like, most people who listen to this aren't old enough to remember Ted Williams, the greatest baseball hitter, [00:48:30] he's the last guy to record batting over 400, played professional football. I think he played for the Red Sox.
Anyway, Ted Williams batted 406 or something like that. If I was gonna go play baseball, that's who I'd want to coach me. When I used to run long time ago, my coach was the third guy to break the four-minute mile. [Lazaro Cabore 00:48:55].
Bill: As we get close to [00:49:00] the top of the hour, I did have a couple of fun questions.
Dan: Okay, go ahead.
Bill: They're really, I think they're really important because you can find a way to weave in emotional intelligence, sorry, emotional bank account and financial bank account, 'cause I think that's important for listeners, but I want you to, you are not thrilled that I was doing Iron Man's and Spartan Mans and Brian Rose, Brian QLA Rose, has done the same thing and you've got some fighters that are testing [00:49:30] themselves with fears and stuff, but I finally got it, you know, I knew exactly what you said during the seminar, you were like, "Bill, you're doing that stuff to delay your dreams", or something of that nature. Could you explain what that is, 'cause that's, I think that's a powerful concept.
Dan: Yeah, well, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Joe De Sena, the Spartan man. And I dealt with world-class athletes, I've coached [00:50:00] Olympians, world champion basketball players, world champion golfers and the average person that takes up golf, not just Spartan Man stuff, or six pack, to get a six pack, is because he's got too much free time. Unless you're gonna be a professional golfer. And the Spartan guys and the Iron Man kind of thing, just imagine if they put all [00:50:30] those hours, 'cause you got, and I used to be a ultra marathon, I ran 50-mile marathons, I ran 100-mile marathons and there was a period of my life, six or seven years that were lost in the abyss, 'cause I had already been super successful. I had matching Rolls Royces, penthouses, planes, I had all that shit and so even though I didn't think I was taking a vacation, I was taking an arrestment.
And it's because [00:51:00] I was losing time looking for ways, excuses to spend time. And if you're gonna do an Iron Man, which I've never done, but when you train for 100 mile marathon, you gotta fucking train a lot. And so I was spending, on a Sunday afternoon, I'd go out for a 30 mile run. That takes a long time. It wasn't a 30 mile stroll either. And the training that was required, I could've been [00:51:30] dealing with my business, but I mean, and for my particular case, I didn't fall into the abyss until I was already a multi-millionaire and had quite a bit of money. But I still fell into the abyss. And then I snapped out of it and then I got busy and I got back to work. But most of the people, I made fun of six-packers that come to the seminar because for those that understand nutrition [00:52:00] and most people understand it probably better than I do, your six pack is made and destroyed in the kitchen. It's what you eat, okay? And it's that simple. And of course, there's more refinement now, because refined sugars, this, that and the other thing.
The guys that are performing in these things, you ask the question why. Where are they lacking in the rest of their life? And most of them are poor. [00:52:30] Now, the people on this thing are saying, "That fucking old man, what is he talking about? I got $2 million." Well, you're poor. "I got $22 million." "You're poor.", "I got $112 million." "You're poor." If a sorry cunt like you can make $100 million, just imagine if you grabbed yourself between your legs and acted like you had a fucking pair of balls?
And I say the average networker on this call, if it's $10 million, I'll jump off the mother fucking tower at this castle without a chute and kill [00:53:00] myself. 'Cause I know it's not.
Bill: No, that'd be hard-
Dan: Why would anybody with a $100 million net worth listen to you anyway?
Bill: Well, I think the important piece there is, again, someone thinks that they're doing the right thing, and you question that [00:53:30] and flip it around and say, "Well, have you actually achieved your goals that you primarily set out to achieve or is this a distraction to help you feel better about yourself?"
Dan: Correct. You said it nicer than I did, but see that's part of your piece that's missing. 'Cause you need people to hear it so they like you, Bill. I don't give a fuck if anybody on this call likes me. If they like me when this call's over, I did something [00:54:00] wrong. That's the difference. Self-esteem and the lack thereof, there's no comparison.
Bill: Not really having a care about what people think-
Dan: As long as you're not intentionally trying to hurt anybody, anything goes.
Bill: Gotcha. So-
Dan: And if I've hurt your feelings, your parents did a shitty job at raising you. And all the kids [00:54:30] at the universities understand that. They look and they shake, yeah, you're right. "I'm a snowflake, weenie [inaudible 00:54:36], yeah, I know I am. But how do I unsnowflake myself?"
95% of the people, or over 95, that take the snowflake test on my side, DanPena.com, fail. My favorite, the third question on snowflake is if somebody came up and spit [00:55:00] in your mother's face and you're standing there, what would you do? And then there's three alternatives. And then there's, I think, there's an open one.
And 50% of the people that answer that question, as God, Allah, Buddha as my witness, answer words to the effect, I try to ascertain what state of mind he was in and if he had a bad day or not.
Now what the fuck does that have to do with spitting in your mother's face?
Bill: [00:55:30] I'm so glad you reminded me of the whole snowflake piece. 'Cause you brought-
Dan: Now, let me just finish. If I'm there and that happens, I'd be in jail for murder. Or attempted murder.
Bill: Not politically correct.
Dan: Go ahead.
Bill: So the snowflake piece that, this is such an important concept. You mentioned in [00:56:00] one of the recent interviews about testosterone and-
Dan: ... the lack thereof.
Bill: And the lack thereof. And handshake strength and such. And I don't know where you got all the research, but I had, it hit me like a ton of bricks, because I had just gotten my blood done about three years ago. I never shared this with you, but I was in, for some reason, I looked at my results, and it was across all, I know you're a big blood panel guy and such, and I was just like, I gotta get this checked out, 'cause I felt healthy, but [00:56:30] I wanted to figure out if there was anything I had to be aware of. Well, I looked at the testosterone readings and they were in, I forget the range, but it was like borderline and the doctor's like, "oh, don't worry about it." I went online and found out that the ranges really need to be up to well north of 6, 7, 800
Bill: Yeah, mine, so it says that [00:57:00] you need to be like, to really be a strong testosterone level, you need to be north of 800. And-
Dan: Above 800.
Bill: Above 800, yeah. Maybe it was 7, 7 to 800. And mine were below that and I was like, "Well, there's gotta be a way to shift that, because"-
Dan: And did you remember what mine was?
Bill: Yeah, I think you said like 1,800 or something?
Dan: 1,800. It stopped registering. It didn't go higher than 1,800, 'cause that's as high as the test goes.
Bill: [00:57:30] Holy mackerel. But you can shift that-
Dan: Yes, you can.
Bill: You take a lot of supplements-
Dan: I take 100 a day.
Bill: Yeah, I'm not quite that high, I'm like probably 25 or so, but you can shift it with that compound lifting shifts it. Cold. I take a lot of cold baths and showers and stuff, that shifts it. There's a lot of ways to shift it, but God forbid, 1,800's a lot.
Dan: Yeah, well, I mean, [00:58:00] I also have an extra rib in my neck, a 13th rib, which I'm related back to neanderthal, which is true. My dad and I both have, my dad's dead now, but we both had an extra rib and we're one rib closer to cavemen, supposedly. And I don't believe this. That 13th rib is the rib that Adam, Eve and all that bullshit, you know?
Bill: Well, I mean, you've gone down [00:58:30] some, you were doing 100 miles well before it was even popular to do that. You're doing your blood chemistry's way ahead of time. It seems like you've got a lot of pieces dialed in and it's all part of high performance and making sure that you can show up and be 100%.
Dan: Yeah, well, I've been in the high performance since 1974, and I was running those long distance stuff from '74 or 5 to '79 [00:59:00] and I'd run in Boston, a lot of other things, but when I went to Dave Asprey's Biohack thing couple years ago, where they were all trying to rip the earth for extra energy or some stuff, I was doing all that stuff 40 years ago. But the kids today are basically wimps. They just are. And [00:59:30] very seldom do you get, it's like, the guy that we had here at the seminar, last seminar that I had to have the police throw out. 1:00 in the morning, he's screaming up and down the halls, there were six males, adults that were within earshot of him running up and down, threatening people, gonna kill everybody. One guy stepped out of his room. That guy, skinny little weenie from [01:00:00] West Virginia, then he threatened to kill him by throwing him over the stairs.
The other guys didn't come out. I came in, actually Sally's the one that drug him down the stairs, I didn't even drag him down the stairs, 'cause Sally was afraid that I was gonna hurt and maybe kill him, throw him off the balcony and the next morning, I called the police, the police came and drug him away. It's online.
Bill: Yup.
Dan: But where were those other five guys?
Bill: [01:00:30] Back to the snowflake test.
Dan: Correct. And especially, he wanted to kill all the black guys. He wanted to suck their eyes out and still fuck them.
Bill: Jesus. Yeah, I saw that on the YouTube when I was watching it, but I thought that you handled it in a good way.
Dan: Well, I guarantee you, if we weren't in the world of iPhones, I would've handled it a lot different. But [01:01:00] I mean, it's just like, somebody spits, is your mom still alive?
Bill: Yes.
Dan: Okay, you're walking down the high street and some guy comes and spits in her face. Don't answer me what you'd do. But just. And [inaudible 01:01:24] did you have a bad day?
Bill: No, [01:01:30] I mean, that's you're, we encourage everybody to hit your website and hit the test, the snowflake test.
Dan: Okay.
Bill: Yeah, there's a gentleman that I work with, last week, actually, it was two weeks ago, and he was a CISO, Chief Information Security Officer and he came to me, he came to my innovation workshop and he goes, but I gotta have coffee [01:02:00] with you, and I had a coffee with him and he was gonna do business with us and he goes, you know, I wanna be the CIO, I wanna be the top dog here. But this general just took over the business. He's a four-star general from Afghanistan, just came off the battlefield, the day after he got back, no retirement, started working at this business, multiple thousand user business.
I said, this is a zen meditation guy, [01:02:30] and I said, "Well, I can guarantee you, the general is not used to zen meditation guys reporting to him." I said you've gotta be strong and you gotta be a very powerful leader. And it made all the difference. He texted me a couple days ago and said, "I just got the CIO job".
Dan: Good.
Bill: And you know, that's you, Dan. I mean, that's the impact you've had with your mentees. And us being able [01:03:00] to kind of, no matter where we impact, you don't know where we're gonna impact the world, but that's what's very encouraging about the work. 'Cause you work with only the top, not even the top 10%, the top 10% of the 10%.
Dan: No, well, I work with the top 1000th of a percent.
Bill: 1000th of a percent.
Well, Dan-
Dan: But it all gets back to the emotional bank account and we have two bank accounts in life. We have an emotional bank account and we have a financial bank account. And we're raised by our parents, myself included, [01:03:30] to be more concerned about our financial bank account. Just so happens, my emotional bank account has always been high because my parents, especially my father, was extremely tough, emotionally tough guy and that's what I saw. So I guess that's how you grow up. When I went off to the army in 1966 and everybody was literally crying in their bunks at night, because in those days, they hit you, they beat you, they did all kind of shit to you when you were going to boot camp. [01:04:00] And I said, "This was nothing, you should've lived at my house." And I wasn't exaggerating. And so most of us, I say, inclusive of the group that is listening, have lead, unfortunately, in my opinion, a bubble-wrapped life. They just have. And the reason I call them snowflakes is because when the pressure's on, they melt. They melt.
And not just in the extreme case, somebody spits in your mom's [01:04:30] face, but that's a good test. I mean, that's a bloody good test. I've got, another guy who came to the seminar recently, he's paralyzed from the waist down because he stepped in between a gang land thing and his baby sister and he got shot in the back. Now he understands what I'm talking about.
Bill: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dan: Most of the guys, " [01:05:00] You can have her, rape her. Just don't hurt me." That's such a sad commentary. Bill, Jesus Christ.
Bill: Well, that's why I wanted to have you on, Dan and you represent what many people will not say and it's important. It's not coming out of our universities today and it's important, I've had guys on my show recently that have talked about the political correctness and [01:05:30] this alternative view. This view that I believe we need to have more of, is represented by you and I think the leaders on this call, we need to have a different way of approaching the world and I believe you're teaching that and-
Dan: Okay. And this is not my book but I got this from Ross Perot 35 years ago. There's a book written by Joe Batten, Tough-Minded Leadership and Tough-Minded [01:06:00] Management. Tough-Minded Leadership, Tough-Minded Management by Joe Batten, who was the mentor of Ross Perot for those guys that are old enough to remember him when a billion was really a billion and I had the pleasure of being his partner in the '90s, Joe Batten, and you never have to read another book on leadership, you never have to read another book on management. Tough-Minded Management. Now he doesn't say, use the spit in the face analogy, but he's got some pretty hard analogies and you read those two books [01:06:30] and you'll be better leaders, better managers, better fathers, better everything.
But I appreciate the opportunity, Bill, and I look forward to seeing your next report.
Bill: Thank you, Dan, and appreciate you for coming on the call today-
Dan: It's my pleasure. If I can help you, just let me know.
Bill: Okay, thank you.
Dan: Okay.

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