David Meltzer Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur, and Consultant

Interview on the Jason Hennessey Podcast 02-02-2022 - Episode 16
David Meltzer

Business guru David Meltzer digs deep in our touching conversation

Today we’re extremely grateful to be sitting down with the unbelievably wise, passionate, and truly motivating David Meltzer.
He’s the Co-Founder of Sports 1 Marketing agency, and the former CEO, whose dramatic rise and fall was the real-life inspiration behind the iconic film, Jerry Maguire.
Join us as we talk about David’s journey from growing up poor, to being a millionaire just 9 months out of law school, losing everything, and building it all back.
Be it quantum healing workshops in India, building high schools in Africa, or leading his 21 years of free trainings, David is on a life mission to “inspire 1 billion people.”
Mr. Meltzer has also been a best-selling author, an executive producer, a podcast host, and has been recognized as Sports Humanitarian of the Year by Variety. As he says, if he’s wanted to try something, he probably already has.

He is truly a sound-bite machine, and packs so much knowledge and wisdom into this episod that you may have to listen to it twice.
So buckle up and get ready for a vulnerable and unfiltered conversation that’s about to blow your mind!
Thank you for joining us again on the Jason Hennessey Podcast. Please enjoy today’s compelling episode.

In this Episode

[01:20] Jason and David meet for the first time and immediately sense each other’s positive energy. David says he feels the same energy from the crew at the studio, and it’s the first thing he clocks when meeting new people.

[02:11] Jason is interested in David’s method for identifying energy frequencies and would love some tips. David introduces him to theta meditation, and gives us his motivations for his practice.

[03:53] Jason looks through David’s Instagram and references a sweet photo of him and his daughter. They proceed to chat a bit about each other’s growing children.

[05:27] Jason and David share their humble experiences growing up and being mainly raised by their mothers. They talk about how they were both “money motivated” as kids, in order to help their financially struggling moms.

[08:01] David describes his massive successes during his 20s and early 30s, and how they negatively affected his health, family, and ego. He also formulates his equation on why coincidences happen.

[10:25] Jason asks David about his first entrepreneurial job. David recalls being the top salesperson in his first college job, selling educational books to new parents and making huge commissions.

[11:27] Jason is interested in whether David’s relationships with hometown friends fizzled at all, due to his fortune. David recounts the wise words someone told him about humility, and having faith no matter the failures and setbacks.

[13:41] Jason and David discuss the importance of failing forward, and Jason is curious if David felt shame when he hit rock bottom. David tells us the touching story of his mother’s reaction to the news of his bankruptcy, and losing the house she lived in.

[18:23] David teaches us the Four Basic Daily Needs impressed upon him by his mother, which everybody should tend to in order to become and remain successful.

[19:03] Jason shares his relatable rock bottom story, and similarly, what his mother did when he told her that he lost everything. He wonders if their children would have the skills and life experiences to rebuild if they were in a similar predicament.

[21:32] Jason brings up a book their mutual friend has written about gifting and gratitude. Jason proceeds to ask David when he decided to make gratitude his personal mission. David recounts his wife almost leaving him, and the impactful lesson his father taught him through a pocketless jacket.

[24:55] David looks back on the value his mother instilled in him that has helped him be grateful for everything he has and has given. Jason also shares his appreciation of the great support he’s received from his wife throughout the ups and downs of his journey.

[26:24] Jason asks David to define happiness. While explaining his profound definition, he mentions his friend’s book, and says he still calls Chris Gardner to tell him, “Happiness is the Pursuit.”

[28:05] Jason mentions another book that has positively impacted his life and career path called The Fred Factor. David’s inspiration to find love in everyone and everything, even in taking out the trash, stems from that book.

[29:22] Jason brings up David’s tweet, which urges his followers to be open to being helped in order to help the helper. He explains that asking for help is one of the best things you can do to invest in yourself and the person helping.

[30:50] David further details his concept of the benefits of asking for help, and the appreciation it brings by allowing the cycle to continue and grow. The more help you receive allows you to multiply your giving.

[32:32] David expresses that taking care of your health enables you to continue helping others. Jason asks about David’s methods he uses to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

[33:48] Jason imagines meditation being difficult for David’s busy brain. David confirms his brain’s struggled to remain silent during his first year meditating, and gives us the tips that his sleep coach gave him to help him achieve prolonged, fulfilling morning meditations.

[36:37] Jason and David continue to bond over their similar life paths through our signature segment: “Hennessey Heart-to-Heart.” We learn that they have the same favorite childhood book, about David’s spiritual journey, what makes him feel most alive, plus much more.

[43:27] David answers the last question of “Hennessey Heart-to-Heart” detailing his typical day. He breaks down the time he dedicates to family and routines. Jason shares an anecdote about the importance of family time.

[45:49] Jason and David end today’s insightful conversation with David telling us how we can learn more about him. They exchange thank yous, and vow to keep in touch and continue their budding friendship.

Transcript

Jason Hennessey: David Meltzer, thank you for coming on the show.
David Meltzer: Thank you so much. This is an amazing studio. Thanks for having me. I’m certainly looking forward to this conversation.

You know what? You and I have never met in person, but when you walked in, your energy, it feels like I’ve known you for forever.

It’s funny you say that. I am an energy person. And so, the first check I do with people is an energetic one. And I want to see what frequency they’re at, as I call it, so that I understand the spectrum in which I’m going to communicate in, because I really have learned over the years, it’s not talking to people, it’s understanding what they listen for.

I really have learned over the years, it’s not talking to people, it’s understanding what they listen for.

And then I also under my trust and vet kind of philosophy in life, I want to see if it’s the positive type of energy. And every single person that I met from the minute I walked in the door has an elevated frequency, positive, the right people and the right ideas. That’s what you surrounded yourself with.

Thank you. So, how do you pick up on that? What’s a tip?

Yeah. So, for me, meditation is a huge component of it. I’ve practiced, studied in India, what’s called theta meditation. And that meditation is specifically around vibration. So first, you have to have an understanding that you can only be aware of that which vibrates equal to or less than you.

Okay.

So, that’s what motivated me to understand vibration because I wanted to raise my awareness in a capitalistic way, not in a woo-woo, spiritual way. The guru that I met on a plane on accident, or coincidence, as they say, I was rejecting her for all her like, “You have so much light. You’re blocking it. I got to teach you how to meditate.” I’m like, “I don’t got time to meditate. Do you know who I am?” I was so arrogant.

And then she finally hit me where it hurt. She said, “Well, I could teach you to know when to buy or sell. Is that interesting?” That got my attention. But I learned about the frequency, that the earth vibrates the slowest, then plants, animals, humans, sound, then light, and then thought. And the thought that vibrates the fastest is the truth.

The thought that vibrates the fastest is the truth.

And so, I’m always trying to pursue that potential or truth, and really starting with that awareness or frequency, how do they make me feel? And are they bringing down my vibration or are they elevating my vibration? And so, the minute I came in here, like I said, as you have a rare rainy day in LA.

Yes.

I hate being late. And to show up, I was really trying to regulate my vibration. And I’m like, this is a place I want to be.

Awesome. Well, thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah. Energy is a big thing for me too, except I learned it later on in life.

So did I, by the way.

Did you?

I’m just old. Yeah. 15 years ago.

And now I’m still trying to understand it. I watched a lot of shows on it, books, and all that other stuff. I was looking at your Instagram and I see this beautiful photo of you, and it looks like your daughter or daughters.

It’s one of my probably daughters.

Daughters.

Oh no, that’s Ellie Zeiler, who’s a family, family friend who started her TikTok. And she has millions of TikTok followers. And that other one in the Indiana shirt, it’s my daughter, who goes to Indiana. It was father’s weekend, this weekend. So, we were there.

 

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Fun. So, how many children do you have then?

I have four, three daughters: 20, 22 and 17. And then a son, 11.

The son, 11.

Yeah. “Baby Oops.”

Baby Oops.

I’m public about it. So, he’s okay with it.

11.

I always tell him he’s the best mistake I’ve ever made. And I’ve made a lot of mistakes. He’s just the best one.

Yeah. We have a lot in common, actually. I want to talk a little bit about that. So, same thing with me. I got two boys: 19 and 17.

Right there.

And then we started all over with a little girl, 5 years old, who’s amazing.

Wow.

Her name is Brooklynn.

They’ll keep you young.

 

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Yes. So, we got the little girl, the little princess. And boy, what a difference between raising a girl and boys? Yeah.

Tell me about it. That’s amazing. Just wait till she’s a teenager, then you’re really going to know the difference between boys and girls.

And then, same wife like you, right?

Yeah.

People always ask like… They don’t ask. I state, “Hey, by the same wife.”

Just to make sure. Right?

Yeah, just to make sure. Right.

Especially in LA.

Especially in LA. So, my story is similar to yours, but not on the level that yours is. So, I came from very humble beginnings. Single mom, had me at 17 years old, really young.

Nice. Where?

Long Island, New York is where I grew up. My grandfather was like my father figure. My father wasn’t in the picture. And we didn’t have nothing. We didn’t have a car. We didn’t have nothing. And so, at an early age, because I didn’t have money, I was very money motivated. I was driven. I joined the Air Force out of high school because I couldn’t afford college. Paid for college. And then I got out. And that was it. I went on this entrepreneurial journey. And then I built it all up. Lost everything in 2008.

There you go.

Because I was an investor. I was buying houses back in Vegas. I had like 12 homes and I was 23 years old. Then I thought I was going to be a millionaire, billionaire, whatever.

Billionaire. Right.

I was reading Rich Dad Poor Dad back in the day. And then comes 2008, and just knocked me on my ass. I had bought my mom a car. I think that was one of your goals in life.

House and a car.

But yeah, I came crashing down and I had to build it all back up again. And that’s your story. I want to hear kind of, it’s similar. Right?

Yeah, very similar. Grew up, single mom, six kids though.

Six kids.

Yeah. Five boys and a girl. My mom was a second grade teacher who packed our dinners in a paper bag in Akron, Ohio. Taught us, doctor, lawyer, failure. Everything was about education. That no matter what it was going to take, the fetus wasn’t fully developed until after graduate school.

We were just so poor, but my mom was a school snob. All of us were going to go to Harvard, which all five of my siblings went to Harvard, Penn, Columbia, all Ivy League, full scholarship.

Wow.

I wanted to be rich. I remember sitting in the station wagon together with my siblings, and they were telling me to study, and I was like, “I don’t need to study. I’m going to be rich. I’m going to buy my mama a house and a car. And she’s not going to have to fill these turnstiles with greeting cards at the 7-Eleven, just so we could eat.”

I always thought that people thought they were better than me, because they were richer than me.

And sometimes we had to have food stamps to eat. And I always thought that people thought they were better than me, because they were richer than me. And I had a huge chip on my shoulder. I just naturally thought they were looking down at me because I had a terrible car. It didn’t work. Or my mom was crying because of financial stresses. And I had to lie all the time about why I couldn’t go places.

I hardly ever talked to my dad and I had built him up to all my friends of how rich he was. And it was terrible.

The first company that I worked with, we sold for $3.4 billion in 1995.

Anyway, I was a multi-millionaire. I was a millionaire right out of law school, multi-millionaire. The first company that I worked with, we sold for $3.4 billion in 1995.

Wow.

I married my dream girl from the 4th grade in my late 20s. And then by the time I was 32, I ran Samsung‘s phone division, multimillionaire, 33 homes in San Diego alone, a golf course, a ski mountain, and was married to my dream girl. By 2006, I was running Leigh Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, the most notable sports agency in the world.

Show me the money.

Yeah. Show me the money. But the weird thing about that, it wasn’t just the money, it was, I had access. So, beyond money, I was going to the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl, the Masters, Kentucky Derby, Breeders’ Cup, ESPYs, Oscars, Grammy’s.

My ego was out of control. I was surrounding myself with the wrong people.

My ego was out of control. I was surrounding myself with the wrong people. And my bottom, I lost everything in 2008, over $100 million dollars. But in 2006, that’s when I hit bottom and I started changing my life.

I was actually more prepared for 2008 than I was for 2006, when my wife told me I better take stock in who I was and what I wanted to become, because I was going to end up dead and alone. And that hit me so hard.

My wife told me I better take stock in who I was and what I wanted to become, because I was going to end up dead and alone. And that hit me so hard.

Did you have kids at the time?

I had three daughters.

Three daughters at the time. Yeah.

Under 8 years old at the time, gorgeous daughters, healthy daughters, gorgeous. Literally, my wife is my dream girl. She skateboarded by my house when I moved from Akron to San Diego, and my heart fluttered. And in the sixth grade camp, I asked my best friend to ask her to go study for me. And she said, “No, tell him to ask me himself,” and I threw an egg at her.

Wow.

So, I went from the time I was 9 years old until 27 years old trying to date her.

You sound like Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years, man.

Right on.

We just had Dan Lauria on the show as well from the movie.

Great guy. And so, somebody pushed me into my wife in Mexico. And she wasn’t my wife at the time. And that’s when we reunited and I convinced her to give me a chance.

Just coincidence, you were both having to be in Mexico or what?

Yeah.

Is that right?

She was partying. I was partying.

Not a coincidence.

Coincidences to me are a mathematical equation: What I pay attention to, and what I give intention to, equals the coincidences in my life.

Right. So, coincidences to me are a mathematical equation: What I pay attention to, and what I give intention to, equals the coincidences in my life. And so, I actually am very pragmatic and intentional about coincidences.

It’s not a coincidence. You’re exactly right.

I could tell already.

Money motivated, you said as a kid.

Completely, totally money motivated.

What was your first entrepreneurial job?

My first entrepreneurial job, real job, was in college. And I got a job at night selling books. They called them… I forget what it was, “Child System.” So, they bought leads from hospitals, from new parents or soon-to-be new parents, and you would have two appointments a night, if you were lucky.

And you would go into these new parents and I’d give them the whole story about, “all my siblings went to the Ivy Leagues, and it’s because my mom read to us when she was pregnant. She gave us the book. Reading was it.” And this was a $45 a month system from the time your baby is born until they’re 18. So, it’s huge commissions.

Sure.

You’re locking in, it’s encyclopedia sales with a whole bunch of other books. And so, that was my first venture. And I ended up being their top salesperson while I was in college, making a lot of money, and really set me on the path of keeping my options open, even though I ended up in law school to keep my mom happy.

So, here- you were this wildly successful kid from Ohio. When you would go back home and see your friends and stuff, what did that feel like? Because a lot of them are probably going to community college, still living with their parents, right?

It took me a long time to create this idea of radical humility.

Oh yeah. And still today. It’s really interesting. It took me a long time to create this idea of radical humility, because I was so money motivated, that it actually ruined a lot of the relationships, because I would go back and I would brag. And I’d relate everything to money. I’d name drop. And I do, I forgive myself for it because I’ve learned a lot of lessons about humility and studying, as you said, energy and spirituality.

But the problem was that I didn’t know four things about myself, that I already was happy, healthy, wealthy and worthy, even when I was broke, meaning as a kid. And I just had to figure out what I was doing to interfere with it because that was the major shift in my life, this faith about…

I didn’t know four things about myself: that I already was happy, healthy, wealthy and worthy, even when I was broke, as a kid.

Somebody told me when I lost everything, “Dave, you know the way you feel about your daughters?” And you feel this way about your kids, I’m sure.” I said, “Yeah.” “What would you do for them?” Like anything in the world. “What would you give to them?” Anything I could. “If you knew the future, what would you tell them?” And I said, “Exactly what would be best for them.”

And then he said, “Well, if you believe there’s an omniscient, all powerful, all-knowing source, call it what you want, but if you believe in that,” which I do, I believe there is an omniscient, all-powerful, all-knowing source that created all of this, “well, that source feels the same way about you, that you feel about your children.”

I believe there is an omniscient, all-powerful, all-knowing source that created all of this.

So, when you have pain, mistakes, failures, setbacks in your life, it’s not punishment, it’s protection. The same way as when you were 3, reaching your hand into a fire and your mom slapped your hand or yelled at you, and you thought you were being punished. She just knew she was looking out for what’s better for you.

So, when you don’t get the job or the business deal doesn’t go through, or the girl breaks up with you, this is because you have an omniscient, all-powerful, all-knowing source that loves you so much, that they’re just pushing you to something better, a better situation. That one aspect of faith changed my life.

Wow. It comes down to your outlook and how you perceive things, right?

Give meaning to everything you see, right?

Yes. There’s a great saying, “Fail forward.” Right? In fact, Denzel Washington gave a commencement speech. It’s amazing. You got to listen to it. And that’s the whole thing, just failing forward. Right? You’re going to hit rock bottom and that’s okay. What are the lessons there? How do you fail forward?

So, my question is, you had mentioned that the best thing that ever happened to you was losing everything, right? Now, were you ashamed? Because you were the kid that would go back to the hometown and you built it all up, and now you hit rock bottom. What were you feeling?

It’s funny you say that because I was in shame, blame and justification. If somebody would’ve told me that I was going to lose everything, I may have considered, if somebody told me that was going to happen, killing myself, because my entire identity was in my bank account. If my bank account went up, I felt great, if it went down, I didn’t feel good. My whole identity was tied to what it was worth.

I may have considered, if somebody told me that was going to happen, killing myself, because my entire identity was in my bank account.

So, imagine this, I lose everything. Not only do I have to tell Leigh Steinberg, Jerry Maguire, the reason he hired me was, I was the mightest CEO, right? He could use me, put me up onto a pedestal to the parents and say, not only am I the greatest sports agent of all time, but our CEO is a multi-millionaire. “He’s going to show your kids and empower them to take care of their financial success and happiness. Financial literacy is part of what we’re going to teach you being a client here.”

“And he’s philanthropic. So, 10% or more of all that your son or daughter makes has to go to a charity or cause they believe in.” This is the premise, the difference of what we did in a hyper competitive field.

I have to go tell them I’m bankrupt. I lose my iconic status for the kids. He didn’t care at all. And then even worse, I had to go tell my mom.

Well, now I have to go tell them I’m bankrupt. I lose my iconic status for the kids. He didn’t care at all. And then even worse, I had to go tell my mom.

That’s the worst.

That was the worst. Forget my friends. And the worst part about telling my mom, was that the only reason I wanted to be rich, was for my mom. It wasn’t even really for me, it was, I wanted to buy her a house and a car. Anytime I saw her crying, it was because of finances, a car broke down. It throws you off so much.

And so, I realized as I was driving down, because remember, I own 33 houses, just in San Diego, by the way. I own a golf course, a ski mountain. I have stuff moving around and I’m running a sports agency at the time. And I’m trying to deal with all this. I have to go tell her that I forgot to take her house out of my name.

Her credit.

No, forget her credit. She had to move.

Oh my God.

I homelessed my mom.

Oh my.

And so, I had to go tell her. I knock on the door and I’m like, “Mom.” I start crying. “Are you okay? Are the girls okay? Are you okay?” “I’m fine. I’ve lost everything. I claimed bankruptcy. I lost your house. You need to move.” “Are you okay?” No, mom, you didn’t hear me. I lost your house. You need to move.” “Are you okay?” “Mom, did you hear me?” I thought for sure she was, like, blacking out. And she said, “David.” And I’m crying while I’m saying it.

Yeah, of course.

“David, I heard you. Are you okay?” I’m about to cry. “Do you need anything? Can I give you some money?” At that moment, that’s when I realized that, my money had nothing to do with my success.

Of course.

In fact, 2 years before that moment, when my wife told me to take stock in who I was, and that if I didn’t change, she was leaving for sure, and I’d end up dead. She also said one thing before I went to bed that night and it shook me. She said, “If I told your mom everything you were doing, would she be proud of you?” And I- that went through my head all night long. “What are you doing? Your mom taught you gratitude and forgiveness, and accountability. You’re an inspiration. You’re a motivator. What are you doing?”

She said, ‘If I told your mom everything you were doing, would she be proud of you?’

I was doing drugs and drinking, and hanging out with bad people, doing bad things. And what would my mom do if she really knew all the things that I was doing at that time. Would she be proud of me? And the answer was, my money meant nothing then. It meant nothing when I lost it all. And somehow in my mind, I thought my mom was weak because she needed me to take care of her. And then I started thinking, what was I thinking? She raised six kids on her own.

I was going to say the same.

The answer was, my money meant nothing then. It meant nothing when I lost it all.

Went to the Ivy leagues, all of them.

Wow.

I got a scholarship to college, so I could play football, which was my dream. But what was I thinking? She was such a higher vibrating individual than I was. And that I had so many lessons of humility to learn about-

My mom says, there’s four things you need in life. That’s it. And you should work on these four things at all times. Number one, you got to eat. So, eat well. You need to hydrate yourself. So, make sure you have a plan to hydrate yourself. You need to breathe. You need air. You need food, you need drink, and you need air, and you need sleep.

The basics.

If you focus on those things, everything else will come your way. The people who eat the best, sleep the best, breathe the best, and drink the best, are the most successful, passionate, purposeful and profitable people I know. You go ends down with these biggest entrepreneurs you know, they all have nutrition, hydration, sleep and air.

Yeah, they do. Yeah. So, as you were telling that story and getting a little emotional there, it brought me back to my story. So again, didn’t come from anything. Mom raised me.

I made a promise to her when I was young, because she always says like, “Look at that Corvette. One of these days I’m going to own one of those Corvette.” And I knew on the money that she made, she would never own, like, a Corvette. Right?

The people who eat the best, sleep the best, breathe the best, and drink the best, are the most successful, passionate, purposeful and profitable people.

So, here I am, I’m like 22 years old living in Vegas. I just got out of the Air Force. I’m making really good money. I was doing some sports betting at the time.

Good.

Yeah. And so, I was following a guy and making, like, pretty big money. I turned like $5,000 into $300,000, just doing sports betting, dangerous. Almost got me divorced.

So, I remember I flew back home with like $50,000, going through like TSA. I’m like, “Oh, please don’t check my pockets. I don’t want to get arrested.” Right? What’s going to happen? 

And so, I took my mom to the car dealership and we drove the Corvette right off of the showroom floor. It was the best feeling I ever had in my life. Right? Coolest thing, because it was a promise that I made to my mom.

But then years later as I hit rock bottom, and I’m like, I don’t know what we’re going to do, the mortgage, this, that. Who was the first person that wanted to sell the car? Oh, of course. And she did.

She did.

She did. And that hit hard. Right? Because I built this up. She drove the car for a couple years or whatever, then she had to sell it. And I had to build it back up again. 

But I think the one thing that you and I both have is when you come from nothing, it’s a lot easier to rebuild it than maybe our kids.

Yeah.

Right. Because our kids, whether it’s fortunately or unfortunately, they live a more entitled life. Right?

So true.

And so, I don’t know if they were in the same predicament as we were in, would they have the skills to rebuild?

Or perspective? Right. I say all the time I speak around the world, and I’ll go on a big stage, one of my first questions is: “Anybody here grow up with nothing?” And half the audience always raises their hand. And then I say, “I feel sorry for the rest of you.” Right. Because I can’t teach you what I’ve learned through my experience. The dummy tax that I paid, I can’t teach you. I can’t teach you.

What I can teach are values and daily practices in order to effectuate the ability not to lose everything.

But what I can teach are values and daily practices in order to effectuate the ability not to lose everything, the ability to enjoy the consistent, everyday persistence-without-quit pursuit of their potential.

Yep. So, I know that you focus a lot of your life now on gratitude. And we have a mutual friend.

I’m sure we have many mutual friends.

We probably do.

Yeah.

But one that comes to mind is John Ruhlin.

Yeah. He just texted me.

He’s a great dude. Oh, did he?

Yeah.

I told him you were coming down.

That’s awesome. Yeah.

Yeah. He wrote the book, Giftology.

Giftology. Which is a strategy I’ve used before. I even read his book.

Is that right?

So, that’s how we got so aligned. And we’re doing so many different, wonderful things together.

Yeah. So, when did you make that part of your personal mission as far as gifting and gratitude?

I thought my wife was perfectly happy.

Gratitude for me became a practice when… I thought my wife was perfectly happy. You would’ve thought like I should have known that she wasn’t. I literally looked at her and said, “Are you kidding me? You’re not happy. I have a Ferrari and Porsche.” My mind was so skewed towards money. “Money buys love and happiness. How are you not happy?”

And anyway, she threatens to leave me. And I go to bed and I’m pissed because I think she’s not grateful. I’ve made all this happen, me, me, me. And so, I go to bed and I’m sitting there. And I wake up in the morning thinking about what divorce lawyer to call, how I’m going to take her, “She wants to be unhappy. I’ll make her unhappy. I’m going to take all the houses.” I’m a lawyer.

I going to show her. Right?

I’m going to show her. And I look over, and my father on my 30th birthday gave me a jacket. Ironically, when he gave me the jacket, it was the first present he had given me in 20 years. He had forgotten my birthday when I was 10, told me and hurt my feelings, not just forgetting my birthday, but when I approached him about it, he said, “I didn’t forget your birthday. I don’t believe in birthdays.”

And I distinctively remember thinking, “Hero to zero.” My dad was my hero. And then I caught him lying, cheating, manipulator, over-seller. And I hated him. I told him, “I hate you.”

You’re not going to be able to take anything with you when you’re gone.

Well, at 30, he gave me this jacket. I was so excited that he had changed his mindset. And I thought we would have a relationship. He tore the pockets out of the jacket and I was furious at him. I’m like, “Why are you always trying to teach me a lesson?” He said, “Dave, I’m worried about you. Money does not buy love or happiness. This jacket, hang it in your closet. It’s not for wearing. It’s to remind you every day that you’re not going to be able to take anything with you when you’re gone. I want you buried in this jacket. I want you to remember you’re not like me. Money doesn’t buy love and happiness. And I want you to remember, you don’t need to be the richest man in the cemetery. It’s going to get you nowhere.”

At that time at 30, I wasn’t ready to hear it. So, I told him the same thing I told my wife the night before, “I hate you.” Right?

Yeah.

“You’re not grateful. You’re a liar, a cheater, a manipulator, over-seller. I hate you. You don’t appreciate.” Right? So, I’m sitting there about to call the lawyer, and I look over in the closet and just like the movie, The Natural, remember when the light came down on the bat.

Of course. Yep.

I hadn’t seen that jacket in years. And I don’t even know how. When I looked over there, I saw that stupid jacket and I just broke down crying.

Wow.

I saw it. And I thought to myself, “I don’t hate my wife. I don’t hate my father.” I hated myself. I was a liar. I was a cheater. I was a manipulator, overseller and backend seller. And I sat there and I thought to myself, “I’m going to take stock in who I was.”

I hated myself. I was a liar. I was a cheater. I was a manipulator, overseller and backend seller.

And I started thinking of all the lessons my mom taught me. And the first one was gratitude. My mom had taught me, I couldn’t even come down to the table without an attitude of gratitude. Even though we had nothing, every night before I went to bed, she made me say thanks for what I had. Every morning when I woke up, I had to be thankful for what I had, not what I didn’t have, not what was missing, but what I had. In other words, I learned to appreciate everything that other people were wishing for.

And so, gratitude became a cornerstone of the values that I live by. Forgiveness was another one. Accountability was another one. And effective communication was the last one. And those four values changed my life. It’s what I write my books about. It’s what I teach about, leading me to a mission that I’m on today to empower over a billion people, to be happy with those values, to create a collective consciousness of those values.

Wow. Yeah. And you said that your wife was with you when you had nothing. And then she was with you on the journey when you had everything. And then you lost it. All right. My wife was on that same journey with me too. Right? And there was times in my life too, where I’m like, “I’m the sole provider. Who pays your car? Who pays for the house?”

Gratitude became a cornerstone of the values that I live by.

Look around you. Right.

You know what I mean? And yeah, she didn’t join my life after I was successful. Right? She was with me the whole journey when I was making $300 bucks a week working in the Air Force. Right? There’s a valuable lesson there.

Well, you can’t give meaning outside of you. Right? I tell people all the time, you give meaning to everything you see, in all relationships that you have. And if you can’t find it within you, you’re not going to find it outside of you.

Exactly right. What is your definition of happiness?

Happiness is the ability to enjoy the consistent, everyday persistent, without-quit pursuit of your own potential. Happiness is not derived by comparison, judgment, or condition. It’s derived by your own potential.

Too many people will seek happiness from what other people want for you, for what’s missing or what they don’t want. And then they end up with what other people want for them, what there is missing, or what they don’t want. And then they wonder why they’re not happy. And they wonder why they’re resentful or offended, or always feel as if there’s a void shortage or obstacle in their life.

Too many people will seek happiness from what other people want for you.

Yeah.

When you can enjoy the journey- See, I’m friends with Chris Gardner who wrote the book, Pursuit of Happyness. Will Smith started that movie. And I call him all the time, I go, “You got it backwards, man. It’s not the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is the pursuit.” And if I can get people to pursue what they want, which I created five daily practices to help people do this: Know your “what,” your “who,” your “how,” your “now,” and apply your “why.”

So many kids, especially young entrepreneurs and the following, and brand that I built, they’re always, “Mr. Meltzer, I got to find my why. I want to find something I’m passionate about. I don’t know what to do. Should I go to college? I’m trying to find…” Your why is there. You already have it, my brother. Let’s figure out what you want, who can help you, and who you can help, how to get this done, and then prioritize correctly by what’s important to you, according to your what, your who and your how. And when I can get people to look within a pragmatic context of something that is very subjective, happiness, it’s amazing how much happiness they have in that enjoyment of the pursuit of their potential.

Figure out what you want, who can help you, and who you can help, how to get this done, and then prioritize correctly by what’s important to you.

There’s a book that I think about often, it’s called The Fred Factor. Have you ever read it?

Yeah. The awesome book.

Yeah. It’s a short little read. Right? But it’s about a mailman. Right? But he loves his job. Right? He’s just the happiest person in the world, because he gets to meet people and he builds relationships. Through snow, through storm, he delivers mail. And I think it’s based on a true story too.

It is.

Right?

Yeah. And I actually, that book inspired me. I tell people to find the light, the love, and the lessons is a definition of gratitude. Are you capable? Is it worth it to you? And the great chain of feeding and breathing to find the light, love and lessons, because there’s light, love, and lessons in everything.

There’s light, love, and lessons in everything.

Well, trash to me was my nemesis. It was my kryptonite. And I taught myself to learn to love it, because everyone, when I was little made me take it out. My fraternity in college, I was the smallest football player, they made me take it out. I had three daughters, everyone made me take it out. I built up this resistance and resentment towards trash.

Once I shifted my meaning of trash and I found the light of, “Hey, you get to take a break for five minutes a day when you take the trash out and think about what you want.” Now, I love taking the trash out. People love me for taking the trash out. I think my wife has attached emotionally that, “Wow. When he takes the trash out, he really loves me.” So, it’s a double bonus.

So, you posted something recently on Twitter, which I loved. And it says, “When you ask for help, you honor the other person by allowing them to make an investment in you.” Right?

Yep.

I’ll read that again, “When you ask for help, you honor the other person by allowing them to make an investment in you.” A lot of times people are afraid to ask for help, right? And you changed the whole perspective there.

So, it’s the core of what I tell people. People ask me all the time, “What’s the number one thing you would tell yourself, your previous self? What do you say to an 18-year-old?” Ask for help. See, Ben Franklin wrote, “The best thing you can do is ask for help because you become an investment of that person.”

Ask for help. everybody loves to give.

But even more than that, everybody loves to give. See, what I think is the most counterintuitive thing of asking for help is that if I asked you for a favor and you were able to do it, you would feel terrific.

It makes me feel better.

And you’re giving someone an opportunity to feel better.

Yeah.

Like, “Can you open the door for me?” A simple ask. When you open the door for the person who’s holding bags at the shopping mall, and they’re like, “Can you open that for me?” And you open it, you feel so good.

You totally do.

And when you’re able and capable of helping others, and we deny the essence of appreciation. And let me explain why. Your mom and my mom taught us one rule, and I promise you, she taught you this: The more you give, the more you receive. Your mom probably told you that because she’s in the position she is. Here’s the problem. They forget to tell you the first part, which is you can’t give what you don’t have.

So, here’s how this idea of asking for help works, is, if I have this much today and I appreciate it; appreciation is the process of adding value to it. Gratitude is appreciation.

So, if I am grateful for what I have, I actually mathematically expand what I have, simply through appreciation. Then like our parents taught us, when you give it away, it’s true acknowledgement. The only way you know what you have, is to give it away. When you give it away, you have a bigger void to fill.

Now, if you don’t ask for more, you don’t ask for help, whether it’s universal or to another person, what happens is you’re diminishing your vessel because you’re not filling it. It’s a mathematical equation to me. So, if I appreciate it, acknowledge it, give it away, now, I ask for more, it fills that again. I appreciate it. It wides it even more. I give that away. I ask for more. You got to ask for help. The easiest way to get to where you want to be, is ask someone that’s already there for directions. I mean, you’ve done it. I’ve done it.

The easiest way to get to where you want to be, is ask someone that’s already there for directions.

Mentoring is such a huge part of my life. I either have at least three mentors still today. I’m 53 years old. And I also mentor as many people as I can, either for free. I’ve been doing free trainings for over 21 years. I have groups. I have one-on-one. I do consult. Everything in my life is this mission of giving away everything I have. But I also, guess what? I’m asking for more. I’m not just giving away everything. I am continually asking for more, so I have more to give. I’ve purest intentions.

You’re selfish.

Right. You know me.

Yeah. Because you know why? Because it’s the most selfish thing you can do is to give somebody else something else, because of the gratification that comes back to you.

No doubt.

It’s a selfish act.

Yeah. And in the end, people do that with their health, right? They don’t take care of themselves. They give everything to their families. Then families have to take care of them, which is counterintuitive to what their purpose is. They don’t want anyone to take care of them. So, they take care of everyone else except for themselves.

That’s why I tell people I have a non-negotiable health. If I give one piece of advice to everyone in the world it’s: Find something that’s good for you health-wise, minimum of an hour, a day, every day for the rest of your life.

Find something that’s good for you health-wise, minimum of an hour, a day, every day for the rest of your life.

Yeah.

Because if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll never be able to take care of anyone else.

And what’s your way of being healthy?

So, for me, it’s that non-negotiable, I have adaptable and set routines. So, 20 minutes of meditation. I focus in on those four things that we talk about: my nutrition, my hydration. I have a sleep coach, which is extremely essential to me. And breathing, which is through meditation.

And then I have cardio stretching and a lighter weight routine. And I have a doctor, who actually not only prescribes natural supplements, doing live and dead blood tests for me, but also exchanges my routine according to what my sleep coach tells him, as well as my travel schedule.

So, I’m heavily prepared with a set routine and an adaptable routine to make sure I’m taking care of the four necessities of life.

So, as far as meditating, did you find it hard to do? I can’t imagine a guy with a brain that runs as fast as yours.

It sucked.

I can’t do it.

Yeah. It’s a practice of being quiet. And then I had to go through a transition, because the thing that helped me most with meditation was- I meditate first thing in the morning. I don’t believe in man-made constructive time anymore, because the speed of thought moves faster than the speed of light. So, I live in the speed of thought, which is faster than the 186,000 miles per second that it takes a particle of light to get from the sun to the earth, which is the 24 hours of activity that you’re given.

The speed of thought moves faster than the speed of light. So, I live in the speed of thought.

I live in a different realm. I live in a thoughtful realm. So, my tomorrow starts today. And I do that through an unwinding routine that puts my body, my mind and my soul in a position to not only recover but to receive.

So, the body recovering is a simple one. You don’t take alcohol, drugs, caffeine, et cetera, in a certain amount of time, but also negative energy.

So, even my wife, if she’s going to have a conversation with me, she knows you can’t have it after 9 o’clock. You can’t start talking about my daughter’s boyfriend breaking up with her, unless it’s an emergency. Of course, everything is in this realm. I make exceptions.

Sure. Of course.

But my daughter’s boyfriend breaking up with her can save till tomorrow. I do not need to be upset because I’ll immediately be hurt if she’s hurting.

Sure.

When I sleep in the right way, I’m accessing information.

So, I can hear that in the morning. So, an unwinding routine, but most importantly, understanding that when I sleep in the right way, I’m accessing information.

You want to hear one of the dumbest things the majority of the people on earth do? They go to sleep, they rest, and they wake up more tired than they went to sleep at.

Why?

Because they’re interfering, right? They have drugs, alcohol, caffeine, negative energy, blue light, all these things I’ve learned from my sleep coach.

See, when I pass out, somewhere between 9 and 11, because I’m unwinding, that I go to REM faster than anyone, and I receive the information. Then I use my meditation, first thing in the morning to transcend the information, the higher level of vibration or frequency I’ve received to raise my awareness to what I should do during the day, and my what, my who, my how, and my now.

Meditation originally was supposed to be finding a higher baseline in the morning. Now, it’s changed for me. It’s transcending information by a practice of being quiet. And once I did that, but yes, when I started, oh my gosh, I was going, it was like I’m mad, man. I’m like, “This is stupid. I can’t do this.”

And then I had someone guide me through meditation, theta meditation, practice, practice, practice. I started with 2 minutes. Could I stay quiet for two minutes? That was my goal. And it took me a year.

Could I stay quiet for two minutes? That was my goal. And it took me a year.

Quiet is the easy part, just stopping the brain.

My mind, quiet for 2 minutes. It was impossible.

So, we’re going to do a segment. This is called “Hennessey Heart-to-Heart.”

Nice.

I’m just going to ask some simple questions, and the first thing that comes to mind, right? Which childhood book have you never forgotten?

Monster at the End of this Book.

That’s the same one as me!

It’s the best book.

Seriously?

Well, how can I make it up?

Oh my God. We did not know that, man. That’s the same one I would give.

I literally cry when I talk about that book.

Wow.

That’s the story of life.

It really is.

You’re the monster at the end of your book.

You’re the monster at the end of your book.

Wow.

Just you, lovable, cuddly Grover.

Man, that’s awesome. I would not have thought you would’ve picked that one from the blue. Yeah.

Awesome.

I love it. Well, when do you remember first feeling like an adult?

When my dad left. I was 5.

Five. Okay. If there is a heaven, who would you most like to call there?

Jesus.

Okay.

He causes so many problems. I just want to know the truth.

Do any of your children have significantly chosen names?

All of them. So, all my kids start with an M to be named after different family members, and they all have different meanings. So, they all do.

Okay. What do you do when you feel fear is bubbling up?

I have a mythology of stop, drop, and roll. Identify the fear, then needs of the ego, which is the need to be offended, separate inferior, superior, anxious, frustrated, angry, guilty, resentful. I stop, I breathe, I drop, and I roll in the right trajectory. I don’t accelerate in the wrong direction.

I stop, I breathe, I drop, and I roll in the right trajectory.

Who inspires you the most?

My wife.

Your wife?

Yeah.

What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

Kindness.

Good answer. What’s something that you’ve always wanted to try but you haven’t?

If I wanted to try it, I probably have.

Gosh. I believe freedom is the ability to do whatever you want. So, if I wanted to try it, I probably have. That’s a really hard question. I’m going to have to think of a new one.

Okay. Well, text me.

I will. That’d be great.

Can you share a personal fact people might not ever guess about you?

With these brands, it’s hard to  think of something someone wouldn’t know ‘cause I try to eliminate as much as I can.

A lot of people don’t know that later on in life, like a year and a half ago, I went to therapy.

I think a lot of people don’t know that later on in life, like a year and a half ago, I went to therapy. And I’m a big proponent of people going to therapy. I was sexually abused when I was young. And I- here I’m giving advice to everyone else to seek help, and somehow I didn’t think that I needed to talk about or to work through traumatic childhood things that everyone has happened to them. So, me going to therapy is probably something a lot of people don’t know.

What’s your favorite summertime memory from your childhood?

Summertime memory?

Yeah.

Oh man, for sure, beginning of football practice. I can still smell the grass. I played college football, so I was 22 when I finished. The next year in law school, I smelled the grass and I was like, that’s the only time, I mean, I almost cried because I missed it so much.

Something nostalgic about it. So, that’s the same for me. So, when I’m feeling down or depressed, or whatever, I try to go to the baseball field, because I grew up playing baseball. 

And just seeing these little kids so happy and joyful out on the field, that’s what I look forward to as a kid, like the end of the bed- day, you know you’re going to put your uniform on, go down to the field and play. Right? So, that’s kind of my happy place, I guess, if you will, where I can go. Do you have a happy place?

Yeah, football stadiums.

So, the football stadiums. Just still the same. Okay.

Yeah. It’s still the same.

 

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What do you admire most about each of your parents?

Work ethic.

Okay.

Yeah. They’re like the little trains that could. It’s awesome.

How have you changed through marriage now? It seems like you’ve been married for how many years?

24 years.

I’ve been 23.

Yep. Figures, Right?

Yeah.

My wife has taught me, trained me, coached me, mentored me, how to allow things to happen, to be humble, and to love myself.

Ego. So, the biggest is radical humility. My wife has taught me, trained me, coached me, mentored me, how to allow things to happen, to be humble, and to love myself.

Speaking of marriage and wives. First of all, what is your love language?

Oh, my love language is vocal.

Words of affirmation.

Words of affirmation, for sure.

That’s mine. And then what about your wife?

It’s definitely not-

Words of affirmation.

No, definitely not mine. It is the actions like doing things for her.

Okay. My wife likes to receive gifts.

Yeah. Those are my daughters. Those are three teenage daughters.

Completely opposite.

Yeah. My three daughters. It’s expensive.

I don’t care about gifts. That doesn’t do anything for me.

Trust me.

Just tell me that you’re proud of me.

Exactly. Thank you. Lie to me. Say I’m handsome, that you adore me. I’m like the sexiest man you’ve ever been with, but just lie to me. It’s fine.

What calms you down when you’re upset?

Breathing.

Breathing?

Yeah.

What’s been your most spiritual experience.

Incredible spiritual enlightenments. I’ve been blessed in that manner.

I think going to India and doing a quantum healing workshop. I’ve worked with Master and Dr. Sha. I worked with Sadhguru, Deepak Chopra, just incredible spiritual enlightenments. I’ve been blessed in that manner.

What’s one thing you would include in your dream house?

World peace.

World peace. What’s something that you miss about your childhood?

Playing till the lights went out, man. That’s by far.

What position did you play?

I played running back, and punt returner, cornerback in football. Baseball, second base.

But one thing, I built some schools in Africa and community centers. But the one thing about Africa that just blew me away is, you had to pull me off the street from playing at night. These girls that we built this high school for, literally, they feel the same way about education as I felt about sports. And it changed my entire perspective. They wanted to study from 5 to 11 at night.

Wow.

That’s how much they wanted to learn.

And you are literally saying, playing outside with your friends until the lights came out, right?

Yeah.

That’s when you knew it was time to go home. Right?

Exactly.

We didn’t have cell phones and text messages.

I’d have played in the dark, if somebody would allow me.

Same thing. What makes you feel the most alive?

Empowering others to empower others. So, I’ve been blessed to be coaching for a long time. And I’m old enough now where I see the kids who have learned what I’ve done. They’re millionaires and they’re good people with happy families. They’re healthy, happy, wealthy, and worthy. And they’re teaching other people the same thing.

That is to me the ultimate: elevating others to elevate myself.

And so, when someone says, “Oh my gosh, you are Dave Meltzer. I learned, so and so mentors me.” One of my mentees. That is to me the ultimate: elevating others to elevate myself.

So cool. Great words. And then I guess lastly, so what does a day look like for you? You’ve got your camera guy in here. You got your entourage. Where do you start?

So, it starts at 9 p.m. with an unwinding routine. I wake up at 4 a.m., 20 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes to get ready, minimum of an hour a day there on my health.  Then I put everything off and spend a minimum of hour a day with my family. So, non negotiable with the health.

 

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And then 30 minutes with my wife, minimum. 30 minutes with my 11 year old, minimum. Every day, 7 days a week, minimum of 2 minutes a day with each of my teenage daughters, minimum; 1 minute with my mom.

Best advice about parents. If you call your mom every day and tell her four things, your relationship will change immensely. One, tell her you’re happy. Two, tell her you’re healthy. Three, tell her you appreciate her, meaning, she adds value to your life. And then four, that you love her. If you call your mom every day, 7 days a week, minimum of 1 minute, your relationship will be beyond what you can imagine.

If you call your mom every day, 7 days a week, minimum of 1 minute, your relationship will be beyond what you can imagine.

Same thing probably for your adult children, right? That start to leave the house, right?

Yeah.

Yeah. It’s an interesting story. So, it brought it up. So, I remember it was maybe about 9 months ago or so. It was during the pandemic. I’m working for my home office. I’m on my computer, just working away. And my daughter walks in. Right? And she’s got slime. She made slime at a birthday party. Right? And she walked in and she’s like, “Daddy, daddy.” And I’m like, check an email. I’ve got a million things going on. I’m stressed out. “Daddy, daddy, look at my slime. Look at my slime.” And she’s 5, right? 

And I looked over, I’m like, “Oh, that’s awesome.” Right. And then I went back to what I was doing. Right? But the lesson that I learned there is that was such a big deal to her. And I missed out on that opportunity. I should have just stopped what I’m doing.

For one of a thousand emails that you’ve got.

It’s amazing how we pay more attention to, and care more about people we don’t know, or people we barely know, than we do the most important people.

Exactly. Right. And I felt so bad and my heart sunk later, but it was such a valuable lesson. I learned something about life in that moment because of slime.

Yeah. It’s amazing how we pay more attention to, and care more about people we don’t know, or people we barely know, than we do the most important people.

When I see people leave a dinner table with, like, a beautiful family to take some sales call or business call, that means nothing. And it won’t mean anything later on.

No. And you got to make other people’s big deal, your big deal.

For sure. It’s a great lesson.

Yep. So, you’ve got books, you’ve got shows. Tell everybody how people can find out about David.

Yeah. Well, the best way is david@dmeltzer.com. I give all my books for free. So, I’ll sign them, pay for them, pay for shipping, even. Ebook, audiobooks are easy. But I have podcast called The Playbook, both the sports edition and the entrepreneur edition. I have Elevator Pitch, Office Hours and 2 Minute Drill, TV shows. I have several books, and I speak around the world. I coach.

But you can just reach out to me david@dmeltzer.com or google my name: David Meltzer, @DavidMeltzer. Luckily, I’m easy to find.

Well, I love how vulnerable you were today. And I love how you made your mess your message.

I love that.

Yeah. Thank you for coming in, man.

Well, you’re my new best friend. We got so much in common. I can’t wait to go out with you.

Yeah, looking forward to that, man. Thank you.

Thank you so much, Jason.

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Listen to The Playbook on Apple Podcasts

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