It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.”

Charles Dickens

Last weekend at Armand Morin’s Big Seminar, several people told me they’d either been bumped off my email list or that I must not have done a mailing in months. Maybe you’ve been wondering the same thing. It’s the latter.

It’s been four months since I posted my Dad’s eulogy. While it was certainly rough losing my Dad, that isn’t the reason I’ve been silent all these months. Actually I’ve been working on something totally new and very exciting.

I’ll explain what it is in the very near future but today I want to talk about something far more important than how I spent my summer vacation. And that something is Y-O-U.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or, like some of us, don’t regularly follow the news, you’re probably feeling pretty uneasy right now. Or worse. After all, we’re all headed for a recession right?

The stock market is in the toilet. And the media is loving every minute of it. They know that a crisis means more people tuning in so they’re delighted to fan the flames.

Obviously, our government can’t solve the problem although they swear they could if it weren’t for those evil folks on the other side of the aisle. Yeah, right. I feel reasonably comfortable relying on them to get a letter across town (if there’s no rush and it’s not too terribly important) but that’s about it. Well, that and trying to get their hands on as much of our hard-earned income as possible.

Other than that, they can’t fix a pothole without first forming a committee to study the situation for a year or two.

So the situation looks pretty bleak, doesn’t it? Pretty scary, too.

But is it really?

It depends on how you look at it.

When I look back over the timeline of my life and focus on the lowest valleys, I see they were usually followed by some of the highest peaks.

For example, in the early fall of 1980, I appeared to be on top of the world. I was just shy of 21 and sold vintage guitars to some of the biggest rock bands in the world. I lived in a beautiful loft apartment filled with the latest stereo and video gear and an assortment of expensive guitars. I drove a brand-new Corvette.

But I wasn’t quite living my dream, which was to be was on tour with one of those big-name rock bands as their tour manager.

In order to start on that path, I needed to cut my overhead to the bone and spend a year or two paying my dues as a roadie while working my way up the ladder. The problem was, I was afraid to make those sacrifices. I didn’t want to give up all my ‘stuff’. What if I failed? I’d be left with nothing.

Well, in addition to all my fancy toys, I had something far more expensive: a nasty cocaine habit. And by the time I turned 21 in November of that year, I was well on my way to losing everything.

I remember one day hearing a knock at my door and I used the peephole to see who it was because I was too high to deal with a visitor. Good thing I didn’t open it because it was a sheriff’s deputy serving me with an eviction notice. Fortunately, he couldn’t see me because it was dark and the power company had already shut my electricity off. Most of my stuff had been replaced by an inch-thick stack of pawn slips. I’d officially hit bottom.

My friend Tab Nesbitt helped me move my furniture and my few remaining possessions into a mini-storage. Eventually, I lost the stuff I’d stored, too, when I couldn’t afford to pay the bill.

My car was totaled when I was hit by another driver from behind at a stoplight. He was going 55 mph at the time. It turns out he was a diabetic with extremely low blood sugar. He hit me so hard it totaled the car in front of me. My head hit the windshield not once but twice. The car was barely recognizable and I remember gasoline being everywhere. I was lucky to be alive.

I had four witnesses that all happened to be attorneys. I had a concussion and my back was pretty messed up. But I didn’t make any kind of personal injury claim because I was afraid the doctors would discover my drug habit. I got a check for the car and promptly blew that on more drugs.

Now I was homeless and didn’t even have a car.

Pretty bleak, huh?

Well, when you hit bottom every opportunity is a step up.

I had nothing left to lose so when Tab, who was a drummer for a local band offered me a job as a roadie and, temporarily, a couch to sleep on, I was all over it.

I didn’t have to worry about drugs because I had no money. So I dove right in to my new gig. Within a few months, Tab’s band broke up but I was offered a better paying gig running sound for another local band. Within a year, I landed my dream gig as tour manager for British rocker, Steve Marriott & Humble Pie.

The lesson here is that until you become willing to do whatever it takes, you’ll never find success. But sometimes that willingness can be difficult to come by and it takes something drastic to spur us into action. Back then, it took a self-imposed disaster to turn my life around.

I had a similar experience after getting two DWI arrests within a six month period in the late 80’s. That led to me becoming willing to get and stay sober for the past 19 years and learning to live a different way of life. And it’s led to more miracles.

Disaster was there to lend a hand again in 2001.

After retiring from music in 1999, I’d temporarily taken a job with an airport limo service while also teaching a music business seminar on weekends and writing my first book. The temporary job turned long-term while I racked up over $50,000 in credit card debt. At the end of the summer of 2001, I was barely keeping my head above water.

The good news was that I was learning about marketing and absorbing every book and audio program I could get my hands on. One of those audio programs was Joe Vitale’s, “The Power of Outrageous Marketing”.

I absolutely loved Joe’s marketing lessons and began searching for more of his material. I noticed that Joe lived in Houston, just like me. I visited his website and we even exchanged a few emails.

When I heard Joe had a new book coming out called “Spiritual Marketing”, I eagerly ordered a copy.

When I started to read it, I was quickly disappointed. Rather than marketing tactics and strategies, Joe was suggesting I follow steps that involved ‘manifesting my dreams’ and asking “Angels” for the things I wanted in life.

“What the hell was he talking about? Where are all the PT Barnum stories and marketing lessons?”, I wondered. I tossed the book aside. This wasn’t for me.

A month or two later came a day that changed all of our lives: 9/11.

It was, literally, my last day in the limo business. Planes stopped flying so I had no customers and we had no idea how long they’d be grounded and if anyone would get on board when air traffic resumed. I couldn’t afford to wait it out so I turned my car in. Suddenly, I had no car, no job, no prospects and a mountain of debt.

Suddenly, I was willing to do whatever it took… even if it meant talking to angels.

I picked up Joe’s book and followed his suggested steps. Well, almost. Joe recommended getting very clear on what you desire. If it’s a car, then write down the details. The exact model. The color. The interior. Everything.

But I didn’t do that. I just asked for a car and a job. No specifics.

Within 48 hours, Kim Coates, a friend I hadn’t spoken to in years called and offered to lend me a car for as long as I needed it. It was a 13 year-old Honda with 175,000 miles on it. Not exactly a dream machine but I got exactly what I asked for, a car. A couple days later, my Mom gave me my late grandfather’s ten year-old Oldsmobile.

Two days later, a friend whose license had been suspended called and offered me $150 a day to drive him to and from work. Not very glamorous but exactly what I’d asked for, a job. It was a long drive in Houston traffic but it covered my living expenses and gave me plenty of time to write and work on my new website. I also got a call from a seller I’d met on eBay offering me $2,000 to write a sales letter. Now I had two jobs and two cars.

Hmm, maybe there was something to this whole law of attraction business.

I decided to go through Joe’s steps again. Only this time, I did exactly as he suggested. I got specific about what I wanted.

I named the exact car I wanted, even the color. I described the type of relationship I wanted and where I wanted to live. I listed what I wanted to do for a living and how much I wanted to make. All the details.

I found the perfect real estate agent and within a matter of weeks and in a bad, post-9/11 real estate market, I sold my house for about $50,000 more than I expected. I paid off all my debt.

I walked into a dealership and paid cash for a brand-new, silver, Toyota SUV. Before long, I got every single thing I’d put down on my list. And much, much more.

A few years later, when “Spiritual Marketing” was re-released by a major publisher under the title, “The Attractor Factor”, it included my story among many others.

Today, I live in a beautiful house right around the corner from the man that wrote the book I’d originally tossed aside. He’s now one of my closest friends and mentors. We’ve written two best-sellers together including “Meet & Grow Rich: How to Easily Create and Operate Your Own Mastermind Group for Health, Wealth, and More”. We’ve also shared the stage at a number of seminars and workshops.

A few weeks ago, Joe released a brand-new edition of The Attractor Factor. I began reading and experimenting with Joe’s 5-step method once again including some new twists he’s added to this new edition. And I’m seeing some interesting results.

Last Saturday at Armand Morin’s Big Seminar, podcasting expert Paul Colligan was talking to Kirt Christensen and me about why he’s switched from a PC to a Mac. He made a pretty convincing argument for why Kirt and I should switch, too. And I said, matter-of-factly, that I was going to win one from Armand during his prize giveaway that night.

Paul and Kirt weren’t the only ones. I told at least twenty people the same thing including Pat O’Bryan, Craig Perrine and everyone seated at my table that night for dinner. When Armand called out my winning number, I wasn’t the least bit surprised as I’d seen it happen in my mind all day long. Now I’m the proud owner of a new Macbook Pro laptop. [Btw, Thanks Armand and Mary Ann! Big Seminar Rocks!]

One of the other things I intended when working Joe’s steps was to generate some extra cash to pay the taxman on the 15th. I’ve been very busy working on a project and haven’t had time to put a promotion together to cover the bill.

A few days ago, I walked to our mailbox and discovered a check for $4,000. It was a small inheritance from the estate of a relative I barely knew that had passed away several years ago. Last August, I’d been invited to a family reunion. I didn’t really have time to attend but I felt compelled to go anyway. I’m pretty sure that there’s a connection between me following that hunch and the check’s arrival.

Now at this stage of my life, getting a laptop and a check for four grand, aren’t life-changing. But seeing evidence of what is possible when you’re willing to suspend disbelief and try something different IS. What I saw in my mind’s eye before winning the laptop wasn’t wishful thinking. I already knew I was going to win.

So what does all this mean? Does Joe’s book contain some kind of magic?

I honestly don’t know. Maybe no more than the kind practiced by stage magicians. But I believe it is something far more powerful. Either way, the results are the same. If what you want is the rabbit to come out of the hat, does it really matter how it got there?

What I can say with certainty is this: when I’m willing to put skepticism aside, take chances and do what’s suggested by people that have been down the path before me, amazing things happen.

Unfortunately, it’s often required times of desperation to spur me into taking action. But I’m learning to become willing without the painful down payment.

And if I can do it, so can you.

I recommend you order The Attractor Factor: 2nd Edition on right now. Don’t wait until you’ve dug yourself into a deep (or deeper) hole.

While you’re at it, another great book to read in times like these is Napoleon Hill’s “Think & Grow Rich”. At a time when America was experiencing The Great Depression, Hill, with the assistance of Andrew Carnegie, interviewed people that were succeeding wildly despite the bad times to find out their secrets. Hill’s message is just as valid today as it was 80 years ago.

Another suggestion would be to turn off the news. News networks make their money by feeding us a constant barrage of negativity along with totally useless celebrity gossip. You’ll find nothing there that will benefit you in any way.

If you live in the US, I can hear some of you disagreeing with me. You’ve got to keep up with the presidential race.

No you don’t.

Are you really undecided about how you’ll cast your vote at this point? My guess is you made up your mind a long time ago. So why waste time following the daily mudslinging? How is it serving you in any useful way?

How do you feel after tuning in? Happy and fulfilled or angry, bitter and frustrated?

If you think either one of these candidates are going to solve your problems, especially economically, I think you need a checkup from the neck up.

Until they start coming out with television that’s uplifting, stop tuning into what my friend, Daryl Snyder, refers to as the Constant Negative News network.

Read an uplifting story.

Take a walk. Meditate.

Sit down and actually have a conversation with your signiciant other or your kids.

Jump on a trampoline. Call an old friend. Focus on the solution rather than the problem.

Try something different.

Break out that ebook or Internet marketing course that’s gathering dust on the shelf and start feeding your mind with something useful. Start building your online business now so you can control your own financial destiny.

Finally, I want to remind you that you don’t have to go through these times alone. If you don’t already have one, form or join a Mastermind group. A mastermind will provide the support, resources and advice you need to prosper in any economic climate. If you’re not familiar with masterminds or how to start a group, read my book, co-authored with Joe Vitale, “Meet & Grow Rich”.

The water may be rough for a time but it’s up to you if you sink or swim. You can struggle to stay afloat, you can drown or you can view this as an opportunity to build muscle, grow stronger than ever and cross an ocean. You always have a choice.