Hard Time at School to Huge Success with Michael Stein – PART 1- Episode 27

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[00:05] Jenna: Hello, happy people, and welcome to Office ADHD. Welcome to office, ADHD. I have the pleasure to introduce you today to Michael Stein. Michael is an entrepreneur, actor, writer, director, producer, stand up comedian, and personal development expert. He's also a member of our adult ADHD tribe. Welcome to the show, Michael. We're excited to have you.

[00:36] Michael: I'm excited to be here. This is a nice, sweet spot of a subject.

[00:41] Jenna: And can you tell us a little bit we just introduced you with so many titles. Can you kind of give us a little bit of your background, a little about your journey?

[00:50] Michael: It all starts with the ADHD journey. I guess I didn't know I had ADHD. I do a podcast called Longshot Leaders, and the reason why is because I consider myself a long shot. My grandmother escaped the Russian concentration camps on a way to America. My dad was a New York homeless street kid, made millions of dollars. Then he lost it all. He was homeless again. So I had to grow up in the same room with my grandmother because I was the youngest, and I'd have to hear that helicopter story. Wow, concentration camps and all that. My mom said I was an unplanned child. She's like, I ran up, down the stairs. I drank, I smoked. But he survived. Like, mom, you don't have to tell everybody. Tell me if you want plastic or paper. Just that's it. Unless it's on.

[01:33] Jenna: Yeah, you don't have to tell them that I was an accident.

[01:37] Michael: Everybody has to know everything. So I grew up with a lot of volatility, crazy family. A lot of I was unhealthy. I had a weird stutter because my mom talked so fast. So I was around that environment, big family, and I didn't have a lot of success. And I was put in a special needs school at UCLA called Fernall School. I think it was like around eight, nine. I didn't know why I was there. They didn't know that there was no such Add or ADHD. There was none of that in the late 70s. So basically, I just felt like, okay, you guys think that there's something wrong, but maybe I just need to improve and white knuckling it until I saw the movie Rocky, and that kind of inspired me. I said, here's a guy like me. He doesn't succeed a lot. He fails a lot, but he keeps on getting back up. And he's funny because that was my only success when I was a kid. I made people laugh at my they made him laugh at me or my self deprecating.

[02:32] Jenna: Well, because that's part of our thing. We're quirky and creative.

[02:36] Michael: So I said, I'm going to do it. The only difference to this guy is he's physically fit. And I was in a basket case. So I said, I'm going to work out every day like this guy. So by the time I was 16, I became a physical fitness trainer. I said, oh, okay. Time plus effort can equal a more probable successful result. Hey, I'll just keep on doing that. So my high school tutor, she says, hey, you're going to graduate in about a week. What do you want to do? And I said, I want to be an entrepreneur, a stand up comedian and an actor. And she goes, not everybody's meant to do what they want to do. You might want to work with your hands and be a gardener or something. Paraphrasing a little bit. I said ask for you. My dad never finished the 8th grade. What happened was I started a business a day after high school, did well. The first hour failed miserably after that. It wasn't right for me. I was like phone sales in my house, but I picked up my sleeves. And then six months later, I did stand up comedy. Brought a lot of people in. So from there, I said, oh, I could be a nightclub promoter, because in La. At that time, dance clubs and nightclubs were big. I was I said I wasn't going to do, like, stand up comedy there. I was going to just bring in people because I was getting popular with this. So six months after that, I become the number one nightclub promoter in my age bracket because I was very hyper. I stamped all seven nights a week, seven days a week, promoting my nightclub off the wall. And then from there, I was able to get my first acting role, meeting people. I played Dirt Diggler and the Dirt Diggler story which led to me being Boogey Nights also and became a filmmaker. And then I had a long journey with film that we can get into, but in a crazy lifestyle. And I didn't know why, but I said I knew I was going to have to I got close to a movie deal with one of my films, and it didn't turn over to a movie deal. So I said, I'm going to make my own movie. But I was in broken in debt because I left my nightclub business. And I said, I'm going to start my own business on the Internet. So I started selling Tarps, which is a long story why, but it just tarps for a particular nichey item. And within six months, I had a half a million dollars to make my movie Love Hollywood Style, which stars two time Academy Award winner Fade Dunaway, andy **** Coolio, Steven Toplowski, many actors, and I acted in it myself, wrote, directed, produced, and acted since then. Many things had happened, a lot of volatility, and I didn't know, why is my life so crazy? But since then, I've taken this business and built it into $100 million plus business. It's made well over $100 million. And I was just telling you, in the pre game, before we talked, I said, this guy started working for me. He's like 1% or 1% of mensa, really smart dude. And he was working for my company, and after several months, he's like, his wife had ADHD. She was diagnosed with it. He goes, It's like eight years ago, seven years ago, he's like, you got ADHD. And I was like, Screw you, man. You're just being a ***** because you want me to, like you want to push me down. And then I kind of looked into it, and I said, well, I don't know if I want to give myself a moniker because I've done so many years of personal development, even though I had a lot of volatility. But I will tell you that a lot of the traits that they said that people have ADC, I was like, hitting, like, every box.

[05:52] Jenna: I believe it.

[05:54] Michael: And to end my encapsulation of my explanation of who I am, I guess, at this point. And that is since then it's been good because I've really kind of attacked. I ran towards the problem and kind of and since I'm cognitive of it, certain things have helped me a lot along the way in the past several years because of being aware of people think that I have ADHD well.

[06:19] Jenna: And that's one of the things that I love about it is once you know, then it's like, oh, okay, I can use this. I can say, okay, now I can use this as a skill instead of trying to pretend that I'm normal or I guess they say neurotypical or just don't know.

[06:40] Michael: Why do I do that? There's so many problems. I mean, so many things like having a brand new Escalade gets stolen and you didn't have insurance on it because it was two weeks past the insurer when you first bought it. And I was like, those are embarrassing things which my brothers never let me live down. But there's so many other problems and things throughout the years. I was like, oh, my God, I was quiet when I was supposed to speak up. I spoke too much when I was supposed to be quiet. I was very impulsive. So many accidents when I was a kid and bike accidents and skateboards. So much impulsivity and so much I'm like, that must have been because it was more than the average kid.

[07:21] Jenna: Yeah, and even the fact that you were able to say to yourself, though, hey, I'm in debt. I'm broke. But you know what? I'm going to start a business, and then we're going to make this movie that's your hey, we're risk optimism people too. But like you said, we also have that impulsiveness. And to be able to say, hey, I'm not lazy, I'm not stupid, these are just things that fall through my brain.

[07:50] Michael: Yeah, you know what's interesting about that is that growing up, because I didn't have a title, I just knew I thought I was, like, eccentric. Plus, I grew up in a very wonderful place for my personality. I grew up in Los Angeles, which meant people looked at me and like, you're special, you're talented. As to where I think if I grew up in a small town, I'd be not so good really, because grew up in La. It's like, well, this guy's totally wacky. I mean, he could be something special. So that kind of happened a lot. But I was used to doing a lot of things. Like I was super hyper and doing so many things at once. Look how many things I could pile on at once and do a bunch of these things. I took pride in that. So whenever before somebody told me and I started looking into it, that was a good thing. But then also it was out of control. So the gift has been to now, kind of. I got to tell you, when people say I don't want to give it up title, because you got to be careful because you don't want to send yourself off in the wrong direction. But since that's why I got a picture behind me that has like a bunch of characters on here, like Albert Einstein, who they say had ADHD. And that is because, look, if you're going to use the negatives, you say, well, you can't do that because you have ADHD. I'm like, well, you know what else I can do? Because you say I have ad. I can do this, I can do that. Michael Jordan had that. Albert Einstein had ADHD. This guy had ad. So you know what? Maybe I'm a genius. Maybe I'm able to do this because of that. Now, if you're going to believe, you might as well believe the good that's going to enable you to get you what you want.

[09:22] Jenna: I totally agree. Well, and just speaking of, I think it's an Albert Einstein quote, but I could be somebody else's quote. But where he talks about if you tell a fish to climb a tree, he's always going to think he can't.

[09:34] Michael: Do things, that is an Albert Einstein quote. I think he paraphrased a little bit, but that is an Albert Einstein quote. He also said, and I'm paraphrasing, what do you attribute all your success? And he's like, curiosity. ADHD. People are very curious from the traits. By the way, my daughter, my 14 year old shoes, at six years old, seven years old, she had a formal test, which I never had. And she has ADHD. I have two daughters, the younger one and older one and the younger one. And I'm reliving all these things like she has, and she'll slip into that. Dad, because of my brain, I'm like, don't tell yourself that because of my brain. Tell yourself that you have a gift and here's the people you can compare yourself to. And I told her, if you're going to believe, sometimes I'll swear for effect. She's 14 now, she doesn't swear at all. But I will swear for an effect to say look, if you're going to believe the book, it's going to help empower you. I don't know whether she's pretty dense, but she comes along. Kids are dense. All kids are, but they come along eventually. If you're stubborn and you got the ADHD and you're stubborn and you got a kid that say, I have ADHD and you're stubborn with it and you push them, then they'll finally get it eventually and you're patient with it. Like, my wife, she doesn't have this. She gets so frustrated, and I'm like, I don't get frustrated with her because I'm like, I totally get her. I know what the problem is.

[11:04] Jenna: Yeah. You're like, you know that she needs to let it settle in her brain. Sometimes we just need to let those ideas kind of mole over and sink in for a while.

[11:15] Michael: Hey, you know what? On my podcast, I talked to somebody that was like a brain, a mindset. He was some type of degree in something, and we were talking about ADHD, and he said, well, it's the type of learning there's not a problem there. He said, I'm paraphrasing. He says, basically, it's the type of learning that your mind prefers. He's like a person that with so called ADHD is not going to want to listen to a speech. They're going to zone out. But if they are interactive, if they are involved, if their nervous system can get involved with the lesson, then the retention level is off the charts.

[11:58] Jenna: Yeah. If I buy into what you're talking about, I am like, okay, I'm there, and then I become interested. Yeah, I love that. That's cool. Yeah.

[12:09] Michael: If you can also talk to your teacher and ask questions intermittently during rather than listening and writing notes on a speech because you want to write notes because that's a part of being interactive. But then also the more interaction that a person that has ADHD has with the lesson, it's almost like, I don't forget stories, I don't forget faces. It's like uncanny. Almost like a friend of mine, she has hyperthymesia, which I think is like only like 38 people have that in planet Earth, which where you have not photographic it's like where you don't forget a date or something that was said to you. And I don't have it to the length that she does, but I have a very strong and I think I hear a lot of ADHD people have picture sounds and feelings that are almost photographic to where they might forget your name. They might forget but if there's a story, it's almost like or a face. They're not going to forget the face, they're not going to forget the story. Depends on the person, too. But I think because when there's interactive learning, people with ADHD are able to absorb more than the average person.

[13:20] Jenna: Yeah, no, I've never heard it put in that way, but that's amazing because it's true. I mean, thinking back, I think of my favorite teachers were the ones that let me banter back and forth with them about what was going on in class or even just last night with my son, who also has ADHD. We were trying to remember something, and we could see it, we could almost touch it, and we were just trying to remember the name of this character.

[13:52] Michael: Yes. The more senses that you involve tactile or even arguing, which you would consider arguing, you grew up in a Jewish family like I did. You would argue with your parents, but that's a good thing because now at least it's my personality. It's like, well, wait, let's challenge that theory. And you're back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And now you're attaching your emotions to something that's getting in your nervous system deeper. Now you're using pictures, sounds, and feelings because you're self motivated. And then if there's something like an object that's involved, that makes it more tactile, there's more senses to record these things and you learn more.

[14:31] Jenna: Yeah. No, I love it. Now, one of my things that I use, I'm just going to be honest while we're doing interviews, is because I will go down a rabbit hole like nobody's business. And I know I looked at it, so I keep my questions.

[14:47] Michael: That's so funny. I do the same thing.

[14:50] Jenna: I run a podcast too.

[14:52] Michael: I don't know if I can swear I run a podcast too, and somebody's interviewing me, and sometimes I'll go on a rabbit hole of an explanation, and I was like, Was that even your question?

[15:02] Jenna: Doesn't matter. Honestly, this is my favorite thing about running an ADHD podcast, is that the rabbit hole is great because everybody listening has ADHD too. And so we're like, yeah, rabbit hole, let's do it.

[15:19] Michael: Hey, since this is what you do, let's talk about can you tell me, please, what are some of unique traits that because I've read all the articles, but can you give me a recap of the highlights of ADHD? What are some things that you encounter? And I want to see how much it clicks with me.

[15:39] Jenna: Oh, well, actually, this is a great thing. I'm actually just about to send out like a five days, five ADHD superpowers thing that people can sign up too. But there's a lot of great things about ADHD. So one thing we've talked about already is we are very much prone to jumping into risk situations because we tend to see the very optimistic side. We tend to look at a situation and we're like, oh, pet the lion. Yes, he's going to be soft and fuzzy. That's great, let's do it. Or like, we're actually very good in a cris because our Dopamine levels are already low. And so if you give us an exciting situation like that that raises our Dopamine levels, then we actually go into a more of a hyper focus situation. So instead of where everyone else is panicked and crazy, we can suddenly focus and we're like, okay, yes, we can organize all of these 20 things going on, and we can keep track of that. And they've actually found that a lot of people that are EMTs and firefighters and stuff like that, that they will rely on the ADHD in really bad situations because they're the ones that can get it all going.

[16:52] Michael: That tickles me. It tickles me so much because and I didn't know what this was. I was like, Well, I thought because I grew up in a really screwed up family, that there was always something bad or crazy or traumatic happening every other week my whole childhood. It's a long story we can get into if you want, but I thought because I grew up with that I dealt with high stress, volatile situations really well, but I think maybe it could just be my personality type of ADHD, because I didn't know what it was. But I'm like, oh, I take pride in this. Oh, yeah, something crazy happens. And also, I don't know if anybody else is like this. It's just a regular thing, but I can get a phone call or if somebody doesn't talk right away, I think, who died, murdered, raped, whatever, what bad news is going to be on the phone like, oh, everything's okay. Yeah. Do you get that?

[17:47] Jenna: Yeah. Well, because your brain suddenly just hits overdrive. And that's kind of the thing, too, is like, if somebody doesn't message you back, as soon as you think they're going to message you back, you're like, oh, no, what's wrong? And suddenly your brain will go into a million situations because your brain's bouncing off everything. You make more connections than most people do, too, when you're reading. Often you'll solve mysteries faster than other people because you're connecting everything that happened at the beginning of the book to where you're at, to five other books you've read, to this other thing that happened the other day that's interesting.

[18:26] Michael: I've scored really high on IQ tests, and then I told that to that guy that was working for me, that 1% of one percenter, and he goes, no, you didn't. Come on. I was like, Wait, if you're going to believe all the bad stuff about ADHD, you might as well believe some of the good stuff, because I heard that as a point as well, because your brain kind of lights up, so to speak.

[18:47] Jenna: Yeah, ADHD testing is actually kind of difficult because we like novel new situations. So you throw us into a testing situation and then we suddenly focus. And so I don't know what the testing is like right now, but when I got tested, it was basically this really long test of ones and twos bouncing off the screen. And I really think that the whole thing was about making it long enough and boring enough that eventually I would be like.

[19:15] Michael: You'Re the perfect person to ask this particular question I want to ask. I've done a podcast now for about two and a half years, and I got to tell you, sometimes when you have ADHD, you don't listen to somebody.

[19:29] Jenna: Yeah.

[19:30] Michael: But because I'm so hyper focused and want to do a good job and I do love people, it has forced me in a good way to listen to them. And I truly believe that you could work out the weak points of anything, like a muscle. Yeah. And I really think that podcasting has improved whatever inadequacy the weak points of ADHD. I actually think it's built the muscle and improved them a little bit. What are your thoughts on that?

[19:59] Jenna: Oh, I totally agree. So for one thing, I am a huge believer in neuroplasticity. It's been kind of a thing that I've looked up a lot is that your brain can grow and improve. You can learn. Like you said, it's a muscle. So just like, how you can improve your muscles, that you can improve your brain. And I know for me, one thing that really helps is that I know that I am more visually distracted than I am audio distracted. So when I notice myself getting distracted, sometimes I close my eyes. Podcasting helps with that. And like you said, it helps because I know I have to pay closer attention because I need to know what's going on next. I agree.

[20:46] Michael: What are some of the highlights? I want to interview you. What I do, how you interview. What are some of the highlights? Without naming anybody in particular of interesting stories that you've heard in your podcast for ADHD years.

[21:03] Jenna: Oh, my gosh. Honestly, my number one thing that I love about interviewing ADHD is just the fact that we get the conversation style, that we can talk like this. We can go back down a rabbit hole, I can go back on the chart, and then I can come back off of it. We don't always finish our sentences. Sometimes we start a sentence and suddenly we're like and now I'm off on this thought. I'm sorry my mouth couldn't keep up with my brain, and that's okay. And I love hearing how people have figured out my favorite thing is hearing how each person figured out that it was okay for them to have to do things differently. Yeah. And those chimes mean that. This is the end of part one. Come back next week because we have so much more to uncover with Michael, and I'm super excited to share it with you. Talk to you guys later, and I hope that you all have an absolutely amazing day. Thanks for listening and remember to, like, share and subscribe. Thanks so much for listening. To learn more about anything we talked about today, head over to officeadhd.com. Remember to, like, subscribe and share. And have a great day. We'll see you next time.

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