Story by Michael Abedin and Lola Jones. Photos by Lola Jones.

You are the masterpiece of your own life, you are the Michelangelo of your own life. The David that you are sculpting is you. Joe Vitale, on Larry King Live.

In the old days, when journalists walked twenty miles in the snow every day to research a subject, you got ready for an article about someone by digging through news files, reading books, and maybe even talking to neighbors and rummaging through trash cans. Nowadays, all you have to do is Google your subject and toss something together. This doesn’t work with Joe Vitale. For starters, he was about thirty references shy of the two million mark on Google at press time and still counting, something you could probably expect from someone who lists the title The Buddha of the Internet and The Charles Atlas of the Internet among his many credits, along with Mr. Fire. He’s the author of so many books that his own office has lost count, ranging from the only book on P.T. Barnum’s business secrets, There’s a Customer Born Every Minute, to The Attractor Factor, a two-time number one bestseller that even beat out Harry Potter.

Vitale’s one of the stars of The Secret, the hit DVD about the law of attraction that features interviews with some of the top motivational authors, teachers, and philosophers in the nation, and he appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live on November 16 with some of them. He’s also an ordained minister, a certified metaphysical practitioner, and a certified hypnotherapist who’s the founder and president of the Hypnotic Marketing Institute– so you’d better figure if you’re going to his house, you might want to be careful about watching anything shiny that he might dangle in front of you.

Going to his house is easier than it would seem for someone who hobnobs with Larry King and outsells Harry Potter, because Vitale lives just outside of Wimberley. He’s a patient guy who doesn’t seem to mind that the interview has to go straight into a photo session because the light’s getting low on a beautiful fall day, and, sure enough– one of the first things he does is dangle something shiny.

On the phone, Vitale mentioned that he’s just bought a new car, even though he hardly ever leaves his house, so it seemed like a good bet to ask about it. He lit up like a kid, disappeared into the garage, and rolled out in what appeared to be a laser-red jet fighter with no wings– a Panoz Esperante, a truly remarkable sports car, one of only 300 handmade by a company near Atlanta. Wow, he says. Thanks for asking about it. This automobile is a work of art. It’s even signed under the hood by everyone who worked on it. If you’ve seen The Secret, you know Vitale’s story, how he was homeless in Dallas in the late Seventies. “You don’t ever want to be homeless for a single day”, he says in the film, “but I was for a short period of time. But throughout it all, I was always maintaining my vision, my goal, my focus. I want to be an author. I want to write books.”

Visualization and manifestation are hot topics these days, and Larry King asks about them. �€œI don’t think visualization by itself is quite enough.�€� Vitale tells him. �€œA lot of people are using mental imagery and they are getting some results, not always the results that they want, not always as fast as they want. You have to add feeling to it. When you’re visualizing that you’re in this new car or in your Maui home or whatever it happens to be, you don’t just see the picture of it�€� you feel it, you see it, you live it. When you do that, you accelerate the manifestation process. You go way beyond positive thinking.�€� After you focus on what you want and visualize it with feeling, Joe tells King, you take action. In The Attractor Factor, he listed five steps to achieving whatever you want, but he�€™s boiled it down to one. �€œBe happy in this moment. Be happy now. This is the point of power. Everything else is in the past or in the future.�€� Right now, in this moment, Joe has a question. �€œWant to see the catarium?�€�

Vitale�€™s house is in the woods, so he built a huge soft mesh enclosure in his backyard so his cats can go outside without being catnapped by foxes or coyotes. It looks pretty much like the monkey house in a zoo, but it�€™s an outdoor aquarium for cats– a �€œcatarium�€�– and it�€™s connected to his house by an overhead walkway. �€œA catwalk,�€� he says. Behind the catarium is a compact personal gym with state-of-the-art exercise equipment that can give you a complete workout in about four minutes. Seems Vitale once weighed about three hundred pounds, and now he�€™s winning fitness contests. On the gym wall is a color poster of Steve Reeves, the actor and bodybuilder who was Hercules in the movies a few decades ago. �€œHe�€™s one of my heroes,�€� Vitale says. �€œHe did all that naturally, without steroids.�€�

Sports car, catarium, and personal gym. �€œIf you’re focusing on lack, you’re going to get more lack,�€� he says on King�€™s show. �€œIf you focus on abundance, you’re going to get more abundance.�€� Vitale got that abundance by being a writer and one of the pioneers of Internet marketing, using well-established sales techniques that dovetail nicely with the principles of hypnotherapy, something he readily admits. His original company, after all, was The Hypnotic Marketing Institute, but he�€™s not in the business of putting people into trances, he�€™s in the business of getting them to wake up.

The techniques he teaches in his books, courses, and websites are important, but Joe Vitale has a quality that makes him a true teacher– the feeling that you�€™ve learned something from him simply by hanging around with him, something that you might not even be able to put into words. He comes close, though, when he looks out the door of the gym at the remnants of a beautiful afternoon. �€œSometimes I just sit here on a bench picking at my guitar, not even thinking about what I�€™m playing, and I�€™m so overwhelmed with gratitude that it brings tears to my eyes.�€�

At the end of Larry King Live, a caller asks how to find peace and happiness. �€œFind things to be grateful for right now,�€� Joe tells him. �€œRight in this moment. The fact that you can ask this question, the fact that you are alive, the fact that you’re breathing, the fact that you’re living wherever you’re living. Find a reason to be grateful. Out of that gratitude, you will find more things to be grateful for, and out of that gratitude you will find happiness right now.�€�

Each Panoz Esperante leaves the factory with a name, and Joe�€™s is named Francine. Her license plate says ZSTATE for �€œZero State�€�, described in Zero Limits, his new book coming out in 2007. Look for an in-depth interview with Joe Vitale in the January issue of Austin All Natural, and meet him at the AAN Christmas Party Dec. 16. (See page 21.) For information on his courses, books, and other activities, go to MrFire.com.

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