Episode 026: Jonathan Levi

Ep.026 Jonathan Levi
Episode 026
#IAmMovement Logo
Episode 026:
Hack Your Learning, Reading, & Memory Skills with SuperHuman Academy Founder Jonathan Levi

“Learning is not a spectator sport. Don’t expect to sit back passively and learn all the things that you want to learn. Get in there...get your hands dirty, learn, re-learn, un-learn, you’ll be a much happier, healthier person for it.” - Jonathan Levi

Simon Sinek #IAmMovement

When was the last time you looked at someone speaking on a stage or teaching online and thought, “I wish I were as smart as them?” Most of us have, but what many of us don’t tend to realize is that those gurus have no real edge that we don’t. Maybe you just haven’t tapped into yours yet. 

Jonathan Levi admits that he harbors a deeply-rooted obsession with learning. Although he was shy and unsure of himself growing up, once he put himself in tune with his unique learning methods, Jonathan became unstoppable. These days he teaches others the techniques, science and philosophies behind effective, insatiable learning through his online platform, SuperHuman Academy, the accompanying podcast and his book, The Only Skill That Matters

On this episode of the #IAmMovement podcast, Rock and Jonathan delve into proactively becoming the kind of person who wants to achieve what you want to achieve, building a business that serves and sells, and how passionate, radical curiosity – paired with the right strategies for learning – can shift your identity in any way you choose. Join the conversation and learn to take advantage of your brain’s natural talents.

Topics Discussed

00:00 – Intro to Jonathan and learning as the highest life skill

03:55 – The value of asking questions and how your brain wants to learn

13:35 – Daily personal development habits + backing them up with belief

17:41 – Jonathan’s background, current lifestyle and how he serves through business

23:14 – Ways that selling shows up in life (and it’s not a bad thing)

29:34 – How to get in touch with Jonathan and book recommendation

Key Takeaways:

“My life journey has taught me that if you can learn, you can become whatever you want. And if you can become whatever you want, you can do whatever you want.” – Jonathan Levi

“I had to learn not just what the right question was, but how to get over the social stigma of, ‘I asked the question no one else asked, therefore I must be dumb.” – Jonathan Levi

“The moment that you convince someone, ‘Oh my gosh, I just did this and I didn’t even know what I was doing – imagine if I applied myself,’ everything changes for them.” – Jonathan Levi

“At the end of the day, I realized I have the same equipment as anyone else…I know that I have no less or no more at my disposal than other people. I may have less prior experience, and that’s a real disadvantage, but I can close that gap. If I can learn 3 times faster than anyone else, I can close that gap.” – Jonathan Levi

“Everything in life is a sale. When you show up to a meeting and shake someone’s hand, you’re selling, you’re selling yourself. When you go on that date, you’re selling. And likewise, you’re either selling or being sold.” – Jonathan Levi

“I realized that a couple of words on a piece of paper could change who I am and how I show up in the world, and that was the start to an addiction that I’ve never been able to get over – that I could just learn something and become a better human being.” – Jonathan Levi

You’ll Learn

How changing your self-talk can supercharge the way your brain remembers information and the science behind the technique

How Jonathan uses visualization and Vladimir Putin to help his audience instantly memorize a hundred pages of information

Why EQ is a necessary part of selling, and why even the most introverted people can cultivate it at any time

And much more!


Note: some of the resources below may be affiliate links, meaning I get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

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Full Transcript

Intro (00:01):

Hi, I’m Rock Thomas, the founder of M1, the tribe of healthy, wealthy, and passionate people, also known as fulfillionaires. Your listening to the I Am Movement podcast where we believe that the words that follow, I am, follow you. Join me in the world’s greatest thought leaders as we discuss the power of transformation and making success a part of your identity.

Rock Thomas (00:32):

Hey, welcome to the I Am movement podcast. Today’s guest Jonathan Levy is a serial entrepreneur. He’s a published author and a life hacker born and raised in Silicon Valley. He’s also the host of the award winning Becoming Superhuman podcast since 2014 so he’s a bit of a trailblazer in that area. And as he has been one of the top performing instructors on an online learning platform called Udemy, if you haven’t heard of that and where have you been. And he has snowballed his success into the launch of the super human enterprises, where he creates educational and entertaining media products that empower and inspire over. Check it out. 200,000 customers and 203 countries to live richer, fuller healthier and happier lives. And that’s why he’s on today’s podcast, because we love people that make a difference in the world and we’re going to learn from him directly. Please welcome my friend Jonathan to today’s podcast. So welcome to the call, Jonathan.

Jonathan Levi (01:36):

Thanks so much, Rock. It’s really great to see you again.

Rock Thomas (01:39):

It’s my time to have you on my podcast and I’m super excited because one of the things that you and I share in common is this insatiable appetite for learning and for understanding the speed of the world is the importance of having that of a skill. So why don’t you give the listeners a little bit of a background as to why that’s something that’s so near and dear to your heart.

Jonathan Levi (02:00):

Yeah, well, so the title of my book, the upcoming book is The Only Skill That Matters and it’s because my life journey has really taught me that if you can learn, then you can become whatever you want. And if you can become whatever you want, then you can do whatever you want. I believe like you probably do that in order to achieve something, we need to actually become the kind of person who achieves that thing.

Jonathan Levi (02:08):

If you want to be a millionaire, you can’t just one day snap your fingers. You have to become the kind of person who logically earns that right kind of income. I wanted to be in a healthy, happy relationship and I tried everything, and this is a recent application of mine. I got married a month and a half ago.

Rock Thomas (02:38):


Jonathan Levi (02:40):

I had to… Thank you. And I realized everything else in my life that I wanted to do, become a business owner, get an MBA, it was always a matter of learning and then becoming that right person. I struggled growing up to learn. I struggled to fit in and I realized one thing after another, it was always just a matter of learning. If you don’t like the way that you show up in social situations, you can learn how to have more charisma. You can learn to be a better conversationalist. You can learn to be a better friend. And I recently learned you can also learn to be the kind of person who, wedding band attached, is in a loving and healthy relationship.

Jonathan Levi (03:14):

And so shortly after that experience I realized, this really is the only skill that matters. If you can learn, you can become anything. Now I always preface that by saying, if you want to learn how to slam dunk and you’re five foot three, I probably can’t help you, but everything else is a matter of learning. And I recently realized, I want to invest in real estate. I’m looking into buying a large multifamily real estate project. And I had so much anxiety around it and I said, well, what do I do in these normal situations where I have anxiety around something? So I just set that down for a couple of weeks and I read books and I learned and I listened to podcasts and I came out with this lovely quote, which is the only difference between anxiety and excitement is knowledge. When something is new, if you just learn your way through it, all of a sudden I’m excited to apply all these new things that I’ve learned instead of anxious about all the things I don’t know. So yeah, that’s my take.

Rock Thomas (04:01):

Yeah. No, I love it. And I think a lot of people don’t understand that many of the attributes that get people the result that they want in life are learnable. They think that, Oh, you know what? That guy Jonathan, he’s charismatic. He was born that way, or he’s super smart, or he’s good looking, and I could never be that way. And I love this journey we’re on because I teach people and I recently analyzed successful athletes, CEOs, Olympians, et cetera, and boil it down to about the eight attributes of successful people. And guess what? Right at the top of the list is the learner, the passionately curious person. Now we’ll go through them all, but there’s the leader, there’s the self-aware, there’s the self care part. If you don’t take care of yourself and you don’t take care of your health, your energy is lower. You can’t apply yourself so much.

Jonathan Levi (04:57):

Totally. You know what I love about what you said Rock is, is all those other things on the list, and the reason it’s so important that number one on the list is the learner, is because you can learn self care. We all know the story of the person who worked the 120 hour weeks and almost had a heart attack. So they learn the self care, learning about the interpersonal relationships, the leadership. I mean, leadership was one of the hardest things for me to learn. And I’ve spent 18 years since starting my first company way back when, learning leadership. And I think we’re all born with this tabula rasa. Some of us are lucky in that our parents teach us things that other people’s parents don’t teach us. We go to great schools, we have great mentors, but we all start with nothing.

Rock Thomas (05:39):

Yes, and to that point is that I think that I want to invite the listeners to go, look, my parents gave me this, my environment gave me that. I grew up as a warrior. You can’t hurt me, David Goggins, try to stop me. I have that side. But what I had to work on, Jonathan was being more empathetic, more compassionate, a better listener, and really putting myself in the shoes of other people because there was this disconnect when they were going through difficult times. So regardless of what you were given, if we look at those eight characteristics or traits, there’s submodalities to the trait. So for instance, a great learner asks lots of great what?

Jonathan Levi (06:21):


Rock Thomas (06:21):

Yes. So could you become really good for a week or two or a month at just practicing asking really quality questions?

Jonathan Levi (06:31):

I love that, I love that. And one of the things that I find about questions and I’m glad we’re going into this because you know a lot of times when I do interviews about the book we go straight into the memory palaces or straight into the speed reading. But there’s so much beautiful nuance to this or to preparation. One of the biggest difficulties for people, and I had this because I was that kid who everyone in the class knew, well, I’m not going to ask questions because Jonathan’s not going get it and the teacher is going to stop and explain and I’ll just listen when Jonathan gets the next explanation. I had to learn not just what the right question was, but how to get over the social stigma of I asked the question no one else asked, therefore, I must be dumb. And there’s a couple different ways around that.

Jonathan Levi (07:13):

One is to develop the self esteem and continually reaffirm to yourself, I’m not dumb, I’m intelligent. I just learn differently. Because how many times has someone come up to you and said, what’s your name? Oh Rock. Well, I’m really bad at names. I’m terrible at names. So it’s like we just have these preconceptions that we’re slow learners, that we have bad memory. So getting to that point of, you know what, I’m not dumb. I think in a different way and getting to a point of pride, but also learning how to ask questions intelligently. In other words, there’s a huge difference between saying I don’t get it, explain it again, versus, so let me see if I understand what you’re saying, Rock. You’re saying that because so many people… And so asking those questions intelligently gives you the psychological safety to then raise your hand in the middle of the Tony Robbins seminar where everyone’s just spellbound out and go, Tony, I’m sorry, I’m not clear on this one thing you said.

Rock Thomas (08:07):

So you dropped a lot there. So let’s unpack that a little bit because what you’re really are intimating to is, is we all want to connect and belong. We all want to matter, we want to grow. But the fear is that we’re not enough. So by raising our hand, asking a question that might appear to be unintelligent, then we’re like, Oh my God, they’re going to think I’m an idiot. So we stay quiet and we hide and we isolate, which is very much against what we want, which is to connect.

Jonathan Levi (08:37):


Rock Thomas (08:38):

So one of the things that I try to remind people is that the words that follow, I am, follow you. As you described yourself and you say, Oh, I’m not good with names or I’m not a good learner or whatever it is. You’re reminding yourself to behave that way.

Jonathan Levi (08:54):


Rock Thomas (08:55):

So there’s no stronger force than this force that we want to remain consistent with how we describe ourselves. And you did this in the notes before as you said I am an excellent learner or you used an adjective somewhere there, super learner. And I say the same thing. I say you’ll rarely find somebody that’s as good a student as me because I’ve learned to learn to apply, not to learn to learn, learn to learn to apply and learn to learn to teach. Do you agree with that?

Jonathan Levi (09:24):

Yeah, they’re a couple. Absolutely. And these are a couple of the criteria of the adult brain when it’s going to learn. Children and adults learn differently and people take that as an excuse to claim being the old dog and learning new tricks. But actually it’s a very simple hurdle. You see children learn more easily because to them everything is new and exciting and applicable. It’s like when you teach a child to tie their shoes, Oh my gosh, this is going to change their lives. Whereas when you teach a PhD student a new way to use the Oxford comma, it’s like, ah, I may or may not use this. So simply by doing exactly what you said Rock, by immediately making it second nature. In self-development circles we had this idea of cognitive reframing. Something bad happens to me immediately train yourself to go, how could this be good? Same thing with learning.

Jonathan Levi (10:12):

That anytime you encounter something new, immediately go, how am I going to use this? Because just doing that is going to change your neurochemistry. It’s going to change the amount of attention that you pay and it’s going to change how memorable that is, is visualizing yourself using that piece of information. This is one of my issues with the way so many people learn today, and I won’t pick on academic institutions, but it’s like why, once I’ve taken the test for this class, is there not other opportunities to apply it? So essentially we know that self testing, even self testing works incredibly well and yet we don’t do it.

Jonathan Levi (10:50):

We let the student take that one final exam and then off they go. So there are so many different things Rock that you can do throughout the process of learning, whether it be improving your preparation, whether it be something called spaced repetition, where you’re going back and consistently reviewing things over a longer and longer timeline. Or like we talked about, self testing, applying the things that you’re learning to actual real world uses. And that’s before we get even into the whole world of mnemonics and retraining the brain and memory improvement and speed reading and all of that.

Rock Thomas (11:23):

Yes. So how does somebody that doesn’t believe that they’re a good learner transition to becoming a better learner? What would you give them of some tools?

Jonathan Levi (11:32):

Yeah. Well, one thing that I like to do is first and foremost is get people to change their self-talk. I mean, when we came out with our chorus, we started serving people. And in the first week, really the only thing that they’re learning is about how the brain works, a little bit of background knowledge, really connecting it so that they have a basis for what they’re going to learn. And yet in the surveys, people would start saying, I can’t believe that this course is already working. And my team and I were sitting there and we’re scratching our heads. We said, there’s no, there’s no way it’s already working because you haven’t learned anything practical yet.

Jonathan Levi (12:02):

What we realized is, and we called this, we renamed this the Intellectual Pygmalion Effect or the Memory Pygmalion Effect after the Pygmalion effect studied by a psychologist. And we realized that people started changing their self talk from, I had a lousy memory to, I’m in a memory course and I’m improving my memory, I’m learning faster, I’m already gaining benefits. So that’s the first thing. And one of the things I really like to do when I get on stage is I’ll actually trick people into memorizing something. Because at the core of every single memory expert or learning expert, there’s really only a finite set of techniques that you can do to dramatically improve your memory and therefore improve your learning.

Jonathan Levi (12:40):

All learning of course involves memory and we like to give memory a really bad rep, but at the end of the day, if you’re going to learn something, you’re going to have to remember it. And so it involves getting people to visualize all kinds of different strange images, whether it be around the room or just in their minds. And then convincing them, wait a second, do you guys realize how much you’ve just memorized and connecting it back to the information. So recently I went to speak to Shell’s top 150 salespeople at their global key accounts leadership conference. And I had them visualize a bunch of strange symbols and weird interactions involving Vladimir Putin and cruise ships. And then I had a few people stand on stage with their back to the board and I said, just play back to me what you remember.

Jonathan Levi (13:29):

You said, well over in that corner of the room you talked about this person doing that. And then there were diamonds involved. And as they did that, I showed a document that they had all supposedly read. None of them had read of course, because who has time to read 180 page document the week before a conference no less. And I showed them that they had actually memorized every single piece of information in that document, but they’d done it in a fun and engaging way, which is visual mnemonics and memory palaces, which we can go into in more depth. But the moment that you convince someone, Oh my gosh, I just did this and I didn’t even know what I was doing, imagine if I applied myself. Everything changes for them because as we talked about earlier, the self-talk has changed.

Rock Thomas (14:09):

So how much of it is putting importance on the learning of the information? Because think about in school, most of the time half of us are bored out of our minds as we’re trying to digest information that we think is useless. How much of the whole process is just putting meaning to the learning process?

Jonathan Levi (14:27):

I don’t know the percentage. I mean if I had to say, I would say that’s about 20 to 30%, but it’s a disproportionate 20 to 30% because if you don’t have that meaning, then you won’t be able to focus and if you can’t focus, if you can’t get your cognition and get your brain fired up to learn something, well it doesn’t matter how well the techniques are working for you. So one of the reasons that we start out with a super skill that we call pre-reading is because so many people when they come to a learning course or book or whatever, it’s because they’re actually having difficulty focusing and getting through the material that seems otherwise boring.

Jonathan Levi (15:04):

Now, at the end of the day, there are going to be a lot of things that we have to learn in life that are not really fun. Learning how to file your taxes, if you do your own taxes, that’s never going to be fun. But we can find ways to make it more engaging, at least on a neurochemical level. Find ways to get the brain more engaged so that we can enhance our focus. And I would say that’s a huge part of it because until you have that, I’ll be the first to tell you, memory techniques, speed reading, these things take a lot of energy and a lot of focus to do properly. So if you can’t muster that up first, you’re in a pretty tough situation.

Rock Thomas (15:38):

Okay, so let’s change gears a little bit here and talk about, I have these 10 rules that I came across when I was doing a lot of coaching and I discovered that anybody that was violating the rules would struggle and rule number one is 30 minutes a day of personal development. How has that kind of a habit affected your life Jonathan?

Jonathan Levi (15:57):

I mean it’s changed my life. I wouldn’t say it’s affected my life. I’d say it’s changed my life completely. And to give you an example, six years ago I went to business school to try and figure out, seven, I guess, I went to business school and graduated six years ago, because I was trying to figure out what I was going to do next. And I tried a start up and I didn’t know if it was going to take off and as most startups don’t, it didn’t take off. And so I found myself in a position where I kind of had no next plan. My plan A hadn’t worked out. I had no plan B. And I thought this online learning thing is really interesting. I’d taken some online courses. What if I just took this skill that I had learned from a couple of private tutors and I just taught it to other people.

Jonathan Levi (16:38):

I would translate the materials, I’d work with them. I learned it in Hebrew, translated to English, but I didn’t know anything Rock about online courses. I didn’t know anything about podcasts. I didn’t know anything about video production or recording or really marketing either. And I locked myself in a room and I opened up a bunch of browser tabs at and I bought a bunch of books and watched a bunch of webinars. And about a month and a half later, we released our first online course and it just skyrocketed. And then a few months after that we realized, well, we could do this and we could do that. And then a year later we realized we could do a podcast and then I realized that I could hire people all over the world and outsource work all over the world.

Jonathan Levi (17:16):

And so at every single step of the way, I’ve found a challenge that I don’t know how to conquer. But having this daily learning habit of, well, all right, I don’t really know how to write sales copy, but I bet I could figure out if I read a few books. Or I don’t really know how to manage an online platform, but I bet I could figure it out. Has changed everything for me, both on a professional and on a personal level.

Rock Thomas (17:39):

So Jonathan, it begs a question to me because for me, in working with so many people behind every action or inaction, there’s a belief. It’s kind of like Ford says whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right. So somebody listening to you say, well, I guess I could lock myself in a room and write some sales copy. I can figure it out. If they don’t believe they have the capacity, they have the gift of administration or the ability to write code or whatever that particular thing is that they don’t know that they don’t know, what’s the belief you have that I could figure anything out as long as I’m committed, I could probably do it. What is that belief that you have?

Jonathan Levi (18:19):

Yeah, well, at the end of the day I realized that I have the same equipment as anyone else and really we know that so much of intellect is not genetic. I mean there’s a very certain small part. If your parents and grandparents were very intelligent, you have a very small upper hand. But we all know people who are first generation college graduates and go on to be multimillionaires. So I know that I have no little or no more at my disposal than other people. I may have less prior experience and that’s a real disadvantage, but I can close that gap. If I can learn three times faster than anyone else, then I can close that gap and if tomorrow I decide, Hey, I really want to figure out how solar energy works because I want to start a company in that field, I know that I can close that gap if I’m willing to work not only harder but smarter and there are different ways to learn that are going to be so much faster than your traditional path.

Jonathan Levi (19:18):

That’s one. And then looking back on my track record and saying, I’ve been in this position before where I feel like how am I ever going to get through this amount of learning? And I’ve been able to learn my way out of it. Or how am I ever going to figure this out when I’m so far behind everyone else and just trusting in myself and trusting that the only thing between me and anyone else is their knowledge.

Rock Thomas (19:40):

So your identity now, is that a of a serial entrepreneur? You’re a published author, you’re a life hacker. And how old are you now?

Jonathan Levi (19:49):


Rock Thomas (19:50):

  1. So are you willing to share with my audience a little bit where you’re at, what your businesses look like, how many courses you’ve sold, what your lifestyle is? Just a little bit of a background because I work and talk to a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of people I think would like to follow the path you’re on. Can you give them a snapshot of where you’re at?

Jonathan Levi (20:11):

Absolutely. So earlier this week, at the time of this recording, we’ve rebranded everything because we had podcasts and online courses and we’ve rebranded everything to which has the Superhuman Academy podcast that has over 3 million downloads. We’ve produced about 14 different courses under our brand and a bunch that we do for other thought leaders that I work with as a consultant. In total, I think we’ve done about 220,000 paid enrollments in all of our courses and about 6,000 of those are on our own platform and those are kind of our higher end flagship courses and later on today actually we’re launching a subscription program where people can get unlimited access. It’s called Superhuman Squad to all of our courses for one fixed monthly price. Then in addition to that, I do a little bit of real estate investing on the side. I have a separate business, it’s called Branding U Academy where I teach the ins and outs of the content creation business, whether it be podcasting, creating your own books, creating online courses and on and on and on. And that’s essentially the majority of my focus at the moment.

Rock Thomas (21:20):

Really cool. So what does your team look like? How many contractors do you have spread out around the world?

Jonathan Levi (21:26):

It really depends how you count. I would say that our full time team is eight people including myself, but one person, actually a 40 person design agency, that does all of our design and we’re, I’m pretty sure, their largest client. And then we’ve got some part time contractors kind of all over the world. The majority of my team is in the Philippines and then I’ve got some folks who are nomadic. I’ve got someone in Greece, got some part time people in the US here and there and even someone in Bosnia of all places.

Rock Thomas (22:00):

Yeah. Cool. Bosnia’s cool. I just went through Eastern Europe. So may I ask you what your gross sales are like or just to give context to that for people? Are you able to sell more than a million, 10 million in gross sales?

Jonathan Levi (22:14):

Yeah. So I don’t know what we’re going to do this year, but I know we’re over $1 million a year in sales. We were significantly larger before all the changes of Facebook ads and GDPR and all those like, Cambridge Analytica. We had a really, really solid business in Facebook ads and funnels and now part of the reason we’re launching the subscription program is we’ve realized that our unique ability, to borrow a term from Dan Sullivan, is not really so much around the marketing and the creating the funnels and all the cold traffic, we’re really good at creating content.

Jonathan Levi (22:46):

And the game that I want to be playing is not so much waking up every single morning and going, okay, who are the next five people we’re going to find to pay $500 for our premium course? I’d rather play the game of, okay, we’ve got a thousand people subscribing. What do I need to do to keep those people happy? What content do I need to create to keep them engaged and keep them consuming and keep them as satisfied customers? I just think that’s a much more fun game, at least given my skills, to be playing. So that’s why we’re really moving towards the subscription model.

Rock Thomas (23:17):

Yeah, well I would agree with that. I always say to people, there’s two businesses you’re in. One are providing the service, which is the content in your case. And the other one is finding the fricking client, which is the hard part for all of us. And it’s usually the part that, especially the shy introverted person adverse to rejection really, really struggles with. And quite frankly, that’s usually the part that I help people with is because I’ve got this kind of a hunter mentality and I believe that if you don’t ask, you don’t receive and it’s a muscle, like you’ve got a learning muscle you really focus on, I help people grow their unstoppable muscle, if that makes sense.

Jonathan Levi (23:56):

I love that. And I’ll add, even if you’re a proficient learner, and I really do believe myself to be, marketing today has become so technological and it really is a full time job to keep up with what are the latest funnels that are working and the latest ads that are working and what are all these different offers. And you really have to be dedicated to it full time to keep up with all the changes that are happening in the world of digital marketing. And so we did that for a few years and we kept up and we were at the front running of it. And we just, it’s exhausting.

Jonathan Levi (24:31):

I’d so much rather take the audience that I already have and really work on refining what I offer to them. And of course that doesn’t mean we’re closing our doors to new customers. I mean, we’re publishing this new book coming out, The Only Skill That Matters, because we want to reach all new audiences in that way. But in terms of spending 50 to $70,000 a month on Facebook to try and get as many handshakes as we possibly can and therefore get as many customers, it’s going to be a long time before we go back to that well.

Rock Thomas (25:00):

Yeah, it seems like kind of pissing in the wind. It’s like man, does it work? You don’t know, you got to change. Like you said, it’s a full time job. I’ve been down that road and certainly haven’t mastered it and we’re always trying to find ways to… The thing is for people, I think like you and I is, we want to impact people, we want to change and transform lives. That’s the drug we’re on. Would you agree?

Jonathan Levi (25:22):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and it’s almost painful to think like, but I’ve heard this said so many times, in genius network and from other thought leaders, in order to be able to impact people, you have to get really, really comfortable with selling. And not everyone likes that. I mean my sisters in law always liked to joke and make fun of me, Hey there, this is Jonathan Levi and stick around cause in this video I’m going to tell you… But you know what, that’s the price that I pay and that’s the amount of kind of like, in Russia and they have a term like selling of my face that I have to do if I actually want to get through to people. Like I have to be out there, I have to be vulnerable, I have to be on YouTube and podcasts and telling my story and being a little bit of a salesman.

Rock Thomas (26:04):

Yeah. I mean I agree. And I think that in life we’re always selling. I mean you, you want to, you’re engaged now, you made a sales pitch there and obviously she bought, right? And you’re going to one day try to convince your kids to go to bed or make them to clean up their room. So I don’t know if I look at it as sales, more as really caring about what’s important to people. And I always gave my kids choices. I said, listen, it’s time to go to bed, Oh, I want to watch they know the end of American idol. And I say, that’s great. And tomorrow morning you’re going to have to make a decision as to whether it’s going to be easy for you to get up or or maybe more challenging if you don’t get the quantity of sleep that your body wants at this time. So just keep in mind to notice that. Become aware of how you feel tomorrow morning if you choose to stay up later.

Rock Thomas (26:56):

So people have consequence and if somebody doesn’t choose to learn how to learn, there’s a consequence to that. So for me, selling is listening to people, caring about people, asking what they want, what’s the net gain you want. You want to become really financially free over time while you’re investing in real estate. You took some courses on that. Guess what? Real estate’s passive income. I have six figures that comes in a month without having to work. I don’t have to work because I made decisions 20 years ago that’s impacting me today. Was it easy then? No. Did it take a lot of work? Yes. Did I plant seeds that didn’t harvest until five or seven years later the way I wanted to? Yes. But I had the vision and the foresight and the willingness and all that kind of thing. I don’t know, sales I think is if you are passionate about learning like you are, is it really sales Jonathan, or you just getting to communicate something you believe in?

Jonathan Levi (27:53):

Well, I tend to believe, and I thought this years and years ago, like you said, I think everything in life is a sale. I think when you show up to a meeting and you shake someone’s hand, you’re selling, right, you’re selling yourself. I think when you go on that date, you’re selling and likewise, you’re either selling or being sold. And I know that that’s a Jordan Belfort kind of like, scammy Wolf of Wall Street thing. But it’s true. It’s absolutely true. And I see this so much with my wife who’s Israeli, and we live in Israel and she’s not a, I guess she is a sales woman, but she’s trained as a lawyer. And we’ll go somewhere and there’ll be closing in two minutes and the person will tell me, listen, you know, we’re closing in two minutes. I can’t let you into the store.

Jonathan Levi (28:35):

And he sells me on that. And I’m like, Oh, you know, being the polite American that I’m like, all right, all right, I’m sorry I bothered you. And she’ll come in and she’ll be like, listen, I just need to go in, I just need to get this one thing. And if it’s not there, I’m just, and she sells him. And I’m like, God, first off, I love this woman. But second off, like that is a sales interaction that just happened there. And if she wasn’t able to close that sale, well we would have had to go the whole weekend without a campfire.

Rock Thomas (29:00):

Right. Well, I’ll add a nuance to that is that he or she with the most certainty wins. So she had certainty in that situation that she was going to convince him that she needed something. And that’s another way to look at it. When you are a seeker, you know what you want, you have clarity on what you want and then you arrive in a situation because you’re so clear, you’ve worked on your leadership muscle, you’ve worked on your ability to ask, maybe you spend some time learning the negotiation strategies. Boom, you’re in a position to create or to impact what you want.

Rock Thomas (29:38):

So I look at, it’s interesting, I look at things as these little pieces to a puzzle and somebody like that, that doesn’t know how to negotiate or doesn’t know the six human needs or how to influence people or doesn’t know the behavioral assessments DISC model or something might not be able to create rapport, influence and impact that person to the same degree as the person who’s got that kind of knowledge behind the scenes on human behavior. Does it make sense to you as well?

Jonathan Levi (30:07):

Absolutely. It makes perfect sense. And I always say, coming back full circle to the beginning, we all have different things that we’ve learned and different skills and one of the things that I’ve learned that’s so incredibly valuable from my wife is her EQ, exactly the things that you said. Her EEQ is off the charts. And so she’s able to look that person in the eye and go, you know what, this is a good person. If I just play on this quick card and I just say, listen, we’re going camping and we really, we’re going to be stuck out in the cold if you don’t just let me.

Jonathan Levi (30:36):

I mean she, and it’s not manipulation. It’s really she can connect with that person and I have to say we have this model in society coming again full circle of either got it or you don’t, but it’s not true. In two years of observing her and watching her, my own EQ has so dramatically increased. Whereas in the past I used to think, I’m just more introverted. I’m just not as personable or as empathetic. And lo and behold, I mean look at all the things that I’ve learned from her.

Rock Thomas (31:05):

Yeah. And I mean there’s cultural stigmas too. I mean, I’m Canadian, so we’re supposed to be these super nice people, right? We apologize for everything. And there’s people that come from cliche wise from the middle East or from other parts of Asia that are, they’ll negotiate everything. It’s almost rude if you don’t negotiate. Thinks you’re rude if you don’t ask for what you want and push. So there’s all those things that are stuck internally and some of them can be learned and some of them unlearned. And we could probably talk about learning for another five hours. But let’s talk a little bit about where people can get in touch with you so that they can get on the path to learning even better.

Jonathan Levi (31:45):

Yeah, absolutely. So everything that I do, thankfully now is merged into one website, whether that’s podcast, online courses, free courses on improving your memory. You can check that out at And then I would also just encourage people to check out the latest book coming out September 3rd that’s called The Only Skill That Matters. I worked with Tuck [inaudible 00:31:07] who’s a legend in the nonfiction world. I think it’s the best book I’ve ever written by far and it’s a really great gateway drug because it has a lot of stories and a lot of interesting metaphors and it’s just a really fun way to get into this world and start learning how dramatically you can improve are learning capability by changing your habits.

Rock Thomas (32:27):

Very cool. Can people preorder or anything like that?

Jonathan Levi (32:31):

I do believe there will be a pre-order available. I’m not sure precisely when, but yeah, it’ll be on Amazon as soon as the publisher gets that all done.

Rock Thomas (32:41):

Okay, well make sure to make a note to let me know so I can let all the listeners know, get it in the show notes and that sort of thing in case it happens in the next little while before this is released. That would be outstanding. The favorite book other than the one that you just wrote, maybe something that has impacted your life, Jonathan.

Jonathan Levi (33:01):

Yeah. It’s, it’s not going to be an original one I think for you Rock. But I’ll tell you the story and it was when I was 13 years old, I had a lot of issues socially. I was depressed, I was contemplating suicide and a mentor of mine who was my father’s uncle, closest thing that I had to a grandfather on that side of the family, handed me a book and he said, this has everything that you need to know for any personal problem you might ever encounter. I was like, wow, Uncle Ernie, I’ll be happy if I can just get two friends to string together.

Jonathan Levi (33:32):

And it was a copy, a very old and dogeared copy of Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People. And reason that that book changed my life so much, and I think to a large extent why I do what I do today, is I realized that a couple of words on a piece of paper could fundamentally change who I am and how I show up in the world. And that was an addiction and a starting to an addiction that I’ve never been able to get over is I can just learn something and become a better human being. It felt like me to this amazing hack to the life trajectory that I was going to be on. So that would be the one.

Rock Thomas (34:11):

So yeah, you kind of summed up the whole call really well is that the skill of connecting with people is something that’s learnable. We’re not born with all these skills on the art of communication and making eye contact, smiling, being open, asking quality questions and that sort of thing. But I too learned from that book, and I too was shy and introverted and I too didn’t feel like I belonged and then somebody directed me to that book and I can appreciate where you’re coming from.

Rock Thomas (34:43):

So I love the whole message that you share, Jonathan, is that everything’s learnable, it’s a skill if you’re willing to pour into it. So may I invite everybody to be passionately curious about the area that you want to grow into and dive in whole hog and realize that when you have some of the skills or I should say tactics or tools that Jonathan offers, I’d invite you to go check out his stuff and then supercharge your learning to give yourself the edge. Final parting words, Jonathan?

Jonathan Levi (35:17):

Learning is not a spectator sport. Don’t expect to sit back passively and learn all the things that you want to learn. Get in there like Rock said. Get your hands dirty, learn, relearn, unlearn. You’ll be a much happier, healthier person for it.

Rock Thomas (35:31):

That’s fantastic. Thanks so much for joining us and everybody please remember that the strongest force in human nature is this desire to remain consistent with how we describe ourselves. The words that follow, I am, in your inner narrative are the things that are the building blocks to who you eventually become through your behavior. So describe yourself as a passionately curious learner, as an amazing super learner, as somebody that wants to go get the things that you want to get, insert the words, they’re free. Your voice is your choice. So go out and get it. And this has been a beautiful session with Jonathan Levi. Thanks again, Jonathan.

Jonathan Levi (36:09):

Thank you for having me, Rock.

Outro (36:11):

This is the I Am Movement podcast. To find out more about how you can join the I Am Movement and take your life to the next level, go to

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