The best book I read in 2017 was probably Ray Dalio’s Principles.
I say ‘probably’ as I read a bookstore full of books a year, and many get lost in the shuffle of turning pages.
If a book stands out, I tweet about it.
If it really sits up and rolls over, I write a blog post about it.
Dalio’s Principles made the cut for 2017.
I don’t know Dalio personally and actually never heard of him at all before I read his book.
He’s a billionaire entrepreneur and investor. He’s highly respected and successful.
After a lifetime of paying attention to what works in business and life, he compiled his “Principles.”
Apparently they were first put online.
They were downloaded over three million times.
When his book came out in 2017, it went to #1 on the NY Times bestsellers list.
Why did I buy the book when I didn’t know Dalio or his work?
A strong intuitive nudge urged me to preorder it.
Something about the title just said, “Read this next.”
As I’ve learned to do, I acted on that impulse.
And I’m glad I did.
The book is huge at almost 600 pages.
And it’s packed with wisdom.
I felt I was reading a software manual for life.
While Dalio sometimes comes across as a computer programmer, he’s actually more of a keen observer of life. As he finds insights that hold true, he writes them down as Principles.
Underneath Dalio’s drive is a prime directive that basically reminds him that he doesn’t know it all.
But the combined mind power of others could help him see objective reality and make clearer decisions.
At his TED2017 talk, he says, “Rather than thinking, ‘I’m right,’ I started to ask myself, ‘How do I know I’m right?’”
I love this question.
“How do I know I’m right?”
I love it because it’s so easy to deceive ourselves with our own thinking.
We can be illogical and not even know it.
When I coach or consult people, I often hear them say things they don’t hear as limitations. Until they invite outside input, they will continue to believe their own limitations.
It’s because thought is circular until you invite objective input.
Dalio solved this quirk of human nature by creating a way to judge the merit of an idea.
You don’t judge the person or the situation.
You judge the idea.
He calls it idea meritocracy.
Finding the merit of an idea.
One of the most unforgettable passages in the hefty book is when Dalio is told he has to have his esophagus removed.
Remaining as detached as he could, he decides to measure the merit of that recommendation.
He finds four other medical experts.
They all openly share.
They agree to a retest.
The result is Dalio kept his esophagus and changed a few basic lifestyle habits.
But he may have lost it due to the first doctor had Dalio not questioned the merit of his recommendation and been open to other experts opinions.
There’s abundance in this book.
I’ve folded back pages and underlined passages.
There’s no way I can memorize all his material. I have to keep a few basic principles in mind, such as –
“Reality is optimizing for the whole – not for you.”
“Pay attention to people’s track records.”
“Make your passion and your work one and the same and do it with people you want to be with.”
“Train your ‘lower-level you’ with kindness and persistence to build the right habits.”
“Almost nothing can stop you from succeeding if you have (a) flexibility and (b) self-accountability.”
Those principles seem stark and naïve sitting alone on the page.
Of course, those are only a handful of his principles and you’ll need to read his book to understand them.
But the book is friendly, easy, deep, and unforgettable.
Out of the thousands of books I’ve read and still own, only a handful make it to my desk, sitting at arms reach, to be seen or grasped at will.
They include legends, like Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernectics.
Today I am placing Ray Dalio’s Principles in that little lineup of success classics.
PS – See my “Best Books Ever” list of 2015 at http://www.mrfire.com/law-of-attraction/best-books-ever/ for a sense of the books I read and like.
Happy New Year!
What are you going to do now?
What are you going to do that’s new?
What are you going to do different to create a new year and a new you?
You know that if you do what you did last year, this year is going to be a re-run.
You’ll get the same-old same-old.
It’s time to make a course correction.
It’s time to add a jolt to your direction.
If you want a mega-terrific 2018, you better do some new things now that scare you a little and excite you a lot.
For example, get off your butt (lovingly said) and get into my famous Miracles Coaching program.
The fastest way to transform, accelerate results, and make the new year the birth of the new you is with a trained Miracles Coach.
This has been repeatedly proven to work.
But you’ll never know if you don’t act.
You can do it – but only if you do it now.
I believe in you.
Happy New Year.
Happy New YOU.
Because I wrote a popular business book on P.T. Barnum, called There’s A Customer Born Every Minute, numerous people have been telling me about the new movie titled The Greatest Showman.
The movie is a musical loosely based on the life of “The Greatest Showman” – P.T. Barnum.
I say “loosely” because the movie isn’t concerned about the facts; it focuses on the spirit of Barnum.
After all, the real “The Greatest Showman” didn’t dance, or sing, or run, or look or sound like the actor playing him, Hugh Jackman.
But Barnum would have loved the movie.
And I loved it, too.
“The Greatest Showman” is a big scale, old school Hollywood production, with a large cast, huge sets, big music numbers and fast dance routines, and more.
It is hugely entertaining.
It is fun for the whole family.
I found “The Greatest Showman” inspiring, uplifting, nurturing and contagiously happy.
Actor Hugh Jackman does a wonderful job of making Barnum understood and liked within the context of the times “The Greatest Showman” lived.
Barnum did in fact promote the unusual, and he was indeed a man behind “humbugs” and “hoodwinks.”
He lived in the 1800s, and his promotions were new, unusual, entertaining, educational, and highly curious.
He never said “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
People loved his shows.
He was the Disney of the 1800s.
But he didn’t have a fling with Jenny Lind, and he didn’t open a circus tent right after his museum burned down, and he didn’t retire to watch his children grow.
In reality the real “The Greatest Showman” wrote his autobiography, went into politics, lectured on the speaking circuit, made partners (like General Tom Thumb) rich and famous, and promoted even bigger events and shows, including the circus, right up to his death in 1891.
Still I loved this movie.
As long as you turn off any fact checking in your mind, you can sit back and enjoy one of the most entertaining movies of 2017 and early 2018.
And if you do care about the facts behind “The Greatest Showman,” then go get my book: There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
PS – The Greatest Showman – the real one, not the Hugh Jackman movie version – used 10 “Rings of Power” to make himself and his businesses so famous that we still make movies about him 100 years after his death. Get the real story in There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
“If you’re going to excel in business, learning about a showman like Barnum and applying some of the lessons he taught can give you valuable insights. Joe Vitale has captured ten of these lessons (he calls them ‘rings of power’) and shows how you can apply them in a way that will open your eyes and stretch your imagination. There’s a lot of money-making and fun wisdom here.”
— Joseph Sugarman, Chairman, BluBlocker Corporation
Here’s the true story of yet another person who went from homeless to great success using The Law of Attraction, The Secret, and other self-help books and principles.
I’m in Bangkok, Thailand as I write this.
I was flown here to present at a two-day seminar on The Missing Secret to success.
The people were warm and loving, the event was sold out, the traffic was awful, the food was amazing, and the Thai massages between my presentations were deeply and unforgettably relaxing.
But that’s not the good part.
One of the organizers is a young man from Sweden. His name is Andres Pira.
He left Sweden 15 years ago out of desperation.
He was 20 years old and unhappy.
His life was going no where, he was tired of the ten months a year of darkness, and he needed a way out.
His grandfather died, left him two thousand dollars, and he used it to buy a ticket to the warmest country he could get to fast.
That turned out to be Thailand.
But Thailand was not an easy road for a young man with no contacts, no experience, and no ability to speak the Thai language.
Within a short period, he was homeless.
He slept on the beach.
He was too embarrassed to ask his family for help.
He contacted a friend and confessed that he was desperate.
The friend said, “I won’t send you any money, but I’ll send you a book that might help you.”
Andres was upset.
He’s starving and his friend is going to send a book?
The book was The Secret.
Andres read it.
And as he did, something awakened within him.
He started to realize that his thoughts were creating his reality.
Since he was homeless, he didn’t like what his thoughts had created.
He decided to learn and use the Law of Attraction to create a better life for himself.
The next book he read was Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich.
After that, he read my first book on ho’oponopono, Zero Limits.
He was committed to change his life.
He succeeded, too.
Today he runs 19 companies, has 150 employees, and is a billionaire.
He is one of the largest real estate developers in all of Southeast Thailand.
One of his biggest properties in 2018 will be managed by Best Western Premiere.
But he also owns a gym, a law office, a gas station, several coffee shops and more.
He’s only 35 years old.
He told me this story after picking me up at the Bangkok airport.
I was fascinated.
Even though I had just spent 24 hours traveling – with 20 hours of that in the air – I was engaged and wanted to know more.
“You have to tell your story,” I said. “This is inspiring. People look at you and see a billionaire. They don’t see the homeless man who read self-help books and took action to recreate his life.”
“I have never publicly told my story,” Andres confessed. “It would seem like bragging.”
“It’s not bragging to admit you were homeless,” I explained. “How is being homeless a bragging point?”
I told him of my own struggle from homeless through poverty on to global success.
I tell my story not to brag, but to inspire.
I wanted Andres to do the same.
“You are hosting your first event this weekend,” I said. “Why not stand up at it and tell your story?”
He had never considered that idea.
Andres was nervous, but I coached him on how to present his case.
To his credit, he agreed to make his speaking debut at his own event.
He did, too.
And he was great.
People loved this young man and his honest rages to riches story.
Andres explained how he read The Secret, and then moved on to other books by the teachers of The Secret, including me.
In fact, Andres is so grateful for my books and audios impact on his life that he is taking me to Phuket, Thailand for a week of rest, all at his own expense.
As we continued our ride, he told me of various turning points in his life.
One was about giving.
Both he and his fiancé decided to start giving on their birthdays.
The traditional custom in most countries is to receive gifts on your birthday.
But Andres and his soon to be wife liked the Thai custom of not getting but giving.
So on his birthday, he went to orphanages with bags of gifts.
His fiancée did the same on her birthday.
They felt fantastic in making a difference in these children’s lives.
But Andres discovered another benefit to this giving.
“Right then I noticed my businesses began to grow and multiply. Somehow my giving triggered a receiving that I didn’t expect.”
Of course, I’ve written about giving in numerous books, including Attract Money Now.
But it’s always fortifying to hear of others proving the power of giving.
The more I spoke to Andres, the more I realized he deeply integrated what he learned from me and other authors, and yet made it his own and went beyond it.
I told Andres that he needed to write his life story, including his life and business lessons, and his meditations and visualizations.
Whether he wrote it, I wrote it, or someone else wrote it, I could see it transforming millions of readers.
Andres and I will be spending more time together in Phuket, so I may be able to get a fire started under him to share his life with you.
I hope you find this story as inspiring as I do. Again and again, we keep seeing evidence that the Law of Attraction works. But you have to not just read about it, but also apply it.
Andres did, and look at him now.
You can be next.
PS – Great news! I convinced Andres to let me help him with his book. You can expect it in 2019. It’ll reveal his story, secrets, principles, meditations, extreme sports insights, multiple business practices, and more. Meanwhile, learn from him and his wife, as I have. My birthday is this month. I plan to turn the tables on custom and my past and make this 64th birthday one of giving on the day I usually receive. You don’t need to wait to your birthday to give. Look around. Someone needs your kindness. Why not give right now?
Whenever you attempt a new goal, no matter what it is, you have to be aware of critics or criticism.
I’ve had my share of them over the decades.
It used to trouble me, as I didn’t understand how some people could be so negative or hurtful.
But an insight from science helped me.
It came from my favorite science author, Loretta Graziano Breuning. Her book on cynicism, Beyond Cynical, explained that critics have a chemical that goes off in their brain when they criticize someone.
In short, they feel good about themselves because they feel superior to someone else.
This feeling of “one up” comes from a serotonin shot in their brain.
Emmet Fox, a legendary author of metaphysical books, explained, “Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting.”
When someone puts down you or your idea, it makes him or her feel smarter than you; better than you.
Critics like that feeling.
Loretta’s book, Beyond Cynical: Transcend Your Mammalian Negativity, grabbed me as soon as I read the back cover copy:
“Cynicism feels good because it triggers the brain chemicals that make us happy. It triggers dopamine by making things seem predictable. It boosts serotonin by making you feel superior to ‘the jerks.’ It stimulates oxytocin by cementing social alliances. Cynicism relieves cortisol as you fight or flee in your mind. Negativity is natural, but you can go beyond it if you choose.”
Now criticism makes sense.
Critics spread their negativity not to help others, but to help themselves.
It’s a type of drug addiction.
Only the drug is in their brain.
In other words, critics often criticize simply to (unconsciously) make themselves feel good.
They get a chemical rush in their brain, they like it, and they want more of it.
And thus a critic is born.
But are critics or criticism helpful?
I’m not talking about professional critics.
An employed critic’s job is to review art, movies, books, food, music and such. I’m not convinced they truly help people, but that’s another article for another time.
I’m not talking about inner criticism, either.
Getting past your own “monkey mind” of self-talking negativity is part of the awakening process to achieve your goals. But that’s also for another time and another article.
I’m not talking about invited criticism, either.
Visionary giant Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX advises to constantly seek criticism. He says, “A well-thought-out critique of whatever you’re doing is as valuable as gold.”
What I am talking about here are the people who offer their criticism without your asking for it.
These are the people who show up and rain on your parade, before you even begin parading.
They don’t even like the idea of a parade, let alone your own parade.
And they don’t like rain, either.
How do you handle these people?
My rule of thumb is this: when you are starting a path to a goal, don’t share your dream with anyone except those who can help you attain it.
I have a ten-year-old great nephew who wants to build a car company.
Yes, a car company.
He has ideas for the make, model, name, and more. I’m in awe at his enthusiasm and creativity. I marvel at his ability to dream big, fearlessly and relentlessly. I wasn’t like that at age ten.
I was at a party with him once.
He started to share his auto design ideas with a relative.
But the relative started to bat down and criticize my great-nephew’s ideas.
“That’s been done before,” this critiquing relative told him. “None of your ideas are original.”
This same critic added, “Don’t be afraid of criticism. Welcome criticism.”
The critic’s comments were not helping my great nephew.
They were not practical suggestions.
They were not improvements or refinements.
They were dismissals.
Of course, most ideas have been done before.
The trick is to combine them and reinvent them and extend them so they become something new.
There will always be “new” cars that are “just” refinements of other cars. And some of these new cars will sell well.
So my nephew has as much a chance as anyone to create a car company that succeeds.
Besides, he’s only ten. Let him dream.
I don’t think my great nephew was swayed or stopped by the unsolicited criticism, which is a testament to the fortitude of him and youth.
In fact, when I checked on him later, he was still exuberant about making cars.
He told me, “You’re getting the first one I make, Uncle Joe. It’ll just cost you one thousand dollars for parts and stuff.” (He’s a kid. He has no idea of money yet.)
But not everyone is like that.
Even today, I keep my big goals to myself.
I don’t invite negativity.
I only invite support and input from people who might be able to help me achieve the goals.
You have to protect your dream in the early stages.
It’s much like an unborn child. You don’t want people judging you or it before it is even born.
If you are wanting to start a business, for example, I wouldn’t invite criticism.
Instead, invite people who have acknowledged success in the area of starting a new business.
Ask their advice, suggestions, and input, but not criticism.
I see uninvited critics as people who kill dreamers and dreams.
“If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize It.” — Mark Twain
I agree with Twain.
If you have something to offer to help a dreamer achieve their goals, then offer it.
But to condemn, criticize, complain, or any way rain on the parade, or darken a person’s sunshine, isn’t helpful. If that’s all you got, you should remain quiet.
Mark Twain also said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
My own policy is to encourage people.
“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” — Charles Schwab
Since I have no idea what the future holds, there’s no possible way for me to accurately predict if any idea will work or not.
So if I see or hear of someone pursuing a dream, I cheer him or her on.
I got the nickname “Mr. Fire” decades ago for this trait of always “lighting a fire” under people to go for their dreams.
Besides, encouraging people lights up my brain.
It’s my brain drug.
It feels good to help, to serve, to encourage.
Goethe said, “Correction does much, but encouragement does more.”
I’ve found being encouraged a type of fuel for my success.
Actor Kevin Bacon said, “A good director creates an environment, which gives the actor the encouragement to fly.”
When I was filming my first acting role, the director (Liz Tabish) made me feel safe and encouraged me.
As a result, my first starring role in an indie movie was easy and fun.
And according to the early reviews of Cecilia, I did pretty well, too.
In the end, you have to follow your dreams to feel fully alive, despite encouragement or criticism.
Of course, at some point you have to complete your project and release it to the world.
And that’s when you can expect critics and criticism.
When I was recording my first album back in 2012, a musician friend warned me, “Gird your loins! When you release your music, everyone will slam it. Just remember there are people who don’t like the Beatles, and I think they were gods.”
A friend of mine once said that “success breeds contempt.”
It helps explain why so many of my friends turned against me when my levels of success started to escalate beyond the sky.
It stirred the critics.
My point here is to keep your plans to yourself until they are complete.
And after that, remind yourself that there will always be critics.
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Life is really about pursuing your own passions and purpose, despite the odds and the critics.
Whatever your goal, whether to attract money or health or a relationship or some big audacious dream, there will always be people who will say you can’t do it, or explain why it won’t work.
“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn–and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” — Dale Carnegie
Just remember that critics are drug addicts.
They get high on putting down others.
So understand them and forgive them.
And also realize there are always people who will cheer you on, believe in you, support you and encourage you.
“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” ~ Epictetus
Look for those cheerleaders in your life.
Surround yourself with them.
And let the critics criticize and complain.
Stay too busy going for your dreams to even notice them.
To quote author Elbert Hubbard, “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.”
PS – You can find clarity and support in my Miracles Coaching program.