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
I’ve been writing about hypnotic stories since the 1990s.
My first e-book, Hypnotic Writing, described them.
I created Hypnotic Writing out of two passions of mine in the 1980s and 1990s: literature and copywriting.
Jack London, Mark Twain, William Saroyan and other great story telling authors fascinated me.
But so did great copywriters like Robert Collier, Bruce Barton, and John Caples.
After speculating on how each wrote their stories, I developed Hypnotic Writing as a way to explain it and teach it.
In short, I combined both styles of writing to create a third style.
I’ve written about this in many of my other early marketing books, including Buying Trances.
Of course, my book on P.T. Barnum, There’s A Customer Born Every Minute, is packed with hypnotic stories.
But I just discovered even more proof that hypnotic stories increase sales, influence, and more.
Let me explain:
I came across a project called Significant Objects.
The idea behind Significant Objects was to create a scientific study to see whether creative stories about mediocre objects could persuade people to buy near worthless stuff.
In other words, the authors would take a simple object that you might find at a garage sale for one dollar.
Then they would write a fictional story about it.
And then they would list the item, with the story, on eBay.
Surprisingly (or not), the item sold for many times its original price.
They did this for 100 objects.
The results were astonishing.
Objects that originally sold for around one dollar, were each placed on eBay with an accompanying made-up story.
The story triggered sales.
Those meaningless objects, now given meaning, sold for thousands of dollars in total.
For example, a Missouri shot glass, which looked like trash to me and originally sold for $1, had a fictional story written about it.
The story and photo were put on eBay.
That shot glass then sold for $76.
That’s a $75 profit from a hypnotic story.
That’s the power of a story.
The point being, the stories did the selling.
Of course, I’m not at all advising you to write fictional stories about your product or service.
But you have stories.
They are from you (how you began your business or why) or from your customers (testimonials from satisfied people).
It’s those hypnotic stories that can increase your sales and influence.
In my book, The Seven Lost Secrets of Success, I advised revealing “the business nobody knows.”
In other words, tell the story behind you, your product, your service, and/or employee.
Your hypnotic stories will bring your business to life.
There’s a site you can visit http://significantobjects.com/ that fully describes the Significant Objects study, and their stories. It’s worth a look.
Their site opens saying, “Significant Objects, a literary and anthropological experiment devised by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, demonstrated that the effect of narrative on any given object’s subjective value can be measured objectively.”
Meanwhile, what’s your hypnotic story?
PS – My newest book is out this week: Dr. Joe Vitale’s “Greatest Law of Attraction Quotes.” You can find the printed and Kindle versions at Amazon. Open the book anywhere and see what “hypnotic story” begins for you. 🙂
I spent two months trying to figure out my career – my rise from nothing to something – so I could explain it in some comprehensible way to the Austin, Texas writers group of the National Speakers Association.
I knew no one would care about my story unless I gave them something to care about.
I knew that the Law of Attraction alone wasn’t enough for most people.
Telling my birth, struggle years, first tiny successes and list of failures, shooting star moments and such, could be lengthy.
It might fit in an autobiography, but not in a short talk.
So I decided to answer the question, “Can people change?”
To begin, let’s look at the me of 1974.
Brace yourself –
I was broke, alone, unhappy, angry, and driven to be an author.
But my drive was more obsession than passion.
I modeled my life after self-destructive authors like Ernest Hemingway (who many said I resembled at the time) and Jack London.
And as a result of the unconscious belief that I needed to struggle, I went through homelessness and poverty and many “dark nights of the soul.”
I didn’t know that the Law of Attraction was in effect, matching my reality to my subconscious beliefs.
But, today, I am happy, successful, healthy, in a long term relationship, with fans around the world.
Look at me now –
This is what I wanted to explain to the Austin special interest writers group of NSA members.
With that in mind, I created “The APS Formula.”
“The APS Formula” is a 3-step strategy for going from nothing to something – like I did.
I delivered the formula at the private event for 12 people.
I stayed away from Law of Attraction and just focused on visible, practical, doable steps.
Afterwards, the group leader told me, “Out of a scale of 1-10, your presentation was a 17.”
I know you weren’t at the event. So I’m revealing the formula here for the time first ever in print.
Here it is:
The A stands for author/authority.
If you aren’t an authority, few will listen to you with any respect.
The best way to be an authority is to be an author-ity; write a book.
My 1984 book Zen and the Art of Writing proved I could write. Later books, such as Turbocharge Your Writing and Cyber Writing and Hypnotic Writing, all did the same thing.
My first clients all hired me for writing, including a businessman who paid me the largest fee of my life to write his book.
My first talks and classes were all on writing and publishing.
When the Internet came along, I wrote articles about copywriting, sales letters, marketing; and they were posted online. This made me one of the first cyber promoters and cyber copywriters.
Some people today still know me as a copywriter from this early period.
Today I’ve recreated myself as a musician. I wrote a little book, Healing Music, to establish my authority as a singer-songwriter.
And because of my self-help books, such as The Attractor Factor and The Key, I’m now considered a self-help, self-improvement, and spiritual teacher.
Again, you want to be an authority and being an author can do that for you.
The P stands for promote/product/passion.
I learned if I didn’t promote my own work, it died.
I also learned I had to create more product, which I did with Hypnotic Writing, Project Phineas, and others.
I also followed my passion, as when I wrote The Seven Lost Secrets of Success. I was on a mission. The book made people know me, like me, and want to do business with me. One company bought 19,000 copies of the book. (!)
Project Phineas was my home study course, recorded in my bedroom with pillows under the door. I recorded it with my passion for “Phineas,” P.T. Barnum’s first name. It eventually became my first Nightingale-Conant product, The Power of Outrageous Marketing.
It was my passion for metaphysics that led to Spiritual Marketing, which later became The Attractor Factor, which led to an invite for me to appear in the hit movie The Secret, which led to redirecting history for me.
Same with Zero Limits (and later, AT Zero) and my passion for ho’oponopono.
Same with P.T. Barnum and my book, There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
These were all products that I was passionate about and heavily promoted.
I went on the cover of Austin All Natural magazine to promote myself as a musician, shortening a one-year program into three months to get it done and seize the publicity.
Again, you need to promote your book, create more product, and follow your passions.
The S stands for speaker/salesperson.
I found that I could reach people and sell people if I got on stage.
At first it was just breakfast groups. But those led to other groups. And adult education classes through Leisure Learning in Houston. I had six people in my first class and was so terrified I nearly passed out. But word got out that I was worth hearing.
And, over time, I got better.
I developed products to sell in the back of room at my talks, like Hypnotic Writing.
I’ve been a keynote speaker at the national NSA meeting.
I’ve spoken to 20,000 people live in Peru.
But I started with six people.
And I turned my success at speaking into a product too with Hypnotic Speaking.
The APS Formula is a greatly simplified explanation of my successes.
When I think about it even deeper, I intentionally and usually un-intentionally used all 10 of the steps I reveal in my book on P.T. Barnum.
Anyone wanting massive success should read, study and apply the steps in There’s A Customer Born Every Minute.
Finally, I also think “The Great Something” was behind my rise from nothing to something.
I wrote a song about it, with a little inspiration from Melissa Etheridge, and it is on my new album, The Great Something.
If I can go from homeless nobody to famous somebody, you, too, can achieve your dreams.
Yes, people can change.
At least start here, with The APS Formula.
PS – It’s always wise to get help. Check out my Miracles Coaching program.
My wife, Nerissa, drives the Chevy Volt and loves it. She’s had it since 2012. Her electric car never fails, always looks great, contains what feels like enormous room inside, and rides smooth on our errands and trips. It’s a great car.
It’s so great that we just went and traded it in for a brand new 2017 Chevy Volt.
But not all electric cars are so cool or so reliable.
I owned the Fisker Karma a few years ago.
It was the opposite.
It was a nightmare to drive, though it was stunningly beautiful.
There were over a dozen things wrong with it, and the company.
Eventually the company went bankrupt, and I sold the car at a big loss.
Of course, Tesla is all over the news.
I called them when they announced their limited edition of 100 Roadsters around 2008.
But Tesla talked me out of buying one, saying they didn’t have service stations in Texas and wouldn’t be able to repair my car without transporting it to California or sending a technician to me.
Good thing I passed on that roadster, as even Elon Musk today admits that his first car was a disaster.
In a June 2016 Road and Track article online, Musk was reported as saying they had “no idea what we are doing,” and characterizing their original efforts as “completely clueless.”
Tesla is still getting lots of the media attention and I’m glad to see it.
Tesla’s new cars look hi-tech, dependable, and safe.
But I live in Texas, where I have seen the car on the road but have never test driven one. (I asked for a test drive and so far, over three weeks later, no one has replied.)
Besides, I’m not all that keen to get into another electric car, given my trauma with the Fisker.
And the most recent news was of a man killed while using the auto driving feature on his Tesla.
Apparently, the long range electric sports car is not yet out of the woods.
But all of this got me wondering about the origin of the electric car.
In an episode of Jay Leno’s great new TV show, Leno’s Garage, he drove an electric car from the early 1900’s that could get 90 miles on a charge.
What happened to it?
What happened to all the other early electric cars?
So I did some research.
Turns out in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the most popular car was the electric.
There were steam driven cars, which no one liked, and a few gas driven cars, which no one knew how to drive or fix.
But people were ready for something new, as the feces and urine filled streets where horse drawn carriages turned the roads into a sewer of slosh, was just too much and too unsanitary.
The electric was clean, dependable, and smart.
Or course, there were few cleared roads then.
And no driving schools.
And no battery chargers.
And few people had electricity.
And even fewer could actually afford the much more expensive electric car.
And a single battery cost more to replace than the Model T would cost to own.
For example, the price of a Detroit Electric car in 1914 was about $2,650. If you wanted to upgrade to the Edison Nickel Iron batteries, then the price went up about $600. At the same time, you could buy TWO NEW Model T’s for that same $600. (!)
It was an uphill battle for the electric car.
Of course, many tried to make it work.
Some entrepreneurial companies saw a business in an electric car taxi service.
The problem was, the cars could only drive about 10 miles before needing a charge or a battery replacement.
This was an incredible nuisance for the passenger — you could only go 5-10 miles away (!) – as well as for the driver and not to mention the cab company.
As a result, electric cars were made, but they weren’t sold easily: first because they were too expensive to buy, and second, they were too expensive to keep replacing batteries.
Most of the electric car companies went bankrupt.
And then Henry Ford enters.
Ford actually wanted to invest in the electric car, and make them.
He bought an electric car every other year for years. He and his wife loved them.
But the electric car companies created a coalition to block any competitors they didn’t like.
In short, many electric car companies got greedy and tried to create a monopoly.
Ultimately, they drove themselves off the pages of history.
The electric car simply wasn’t convenient or affordable at the time, and many electric companies were ruthless and competitive.
But that’s not all that happened to make the electric car lose power.
Thomas Edison inspires Henry Ford
It was actually Thomas Edison who threw the switch on making the gas powered car the vehicle of choice.
Edison, the king of all things electric, met Henry Ford at a now historic dinner in 1896.
The inventor listened to the car creator describe his idea of an ideal car: affordable, dependable, efficient, and requiring almost no maintenance.
In fact, Ford wanted his car to be low priced and maintenance free.
Edison heard all of this and slammed the table with his fist.
He then said these now historic words to Ford –
“Young man, that’s the thing; you have it. Keep at it. Electric cars must keep near to power stations. The storage battery is too heavy. Steam cars won’t do, either, for they require a boiler and fire. Your car is self-contained—carries its own power plant—no fire, no boiler, no smoke and no steam. You have the thing. Keep at it.”
As a result, Ford moved the world with his new car, which was a public hit.
The electric car drifted out of awareness, except for a few failed attempts over the decades at resurrection, and the fossil fuel driven car won the race.
By 1919, virtually all electric car production was stopped, and the electric began to fade away.
It wouldn’t be until the 1970s, when gasoline prices hit record highs, that the mass public started to look for an electric car again.
I’m joining in that search.
A decade ago, when I met the people who make Panoz race cars (I have two of their street legal beauties), I told them if they make an environmentally friendly sports car, I’d buy it.
They haven’t yet.
When I heard of Ronn Motors inventing a hydrogen driven sports car, I ordered the first one, bought stock in the company, invested in the company, promoted the car on national television and on the front page of local magazines.
The company went bankrupt.
When I heard of a sports car that could run on sea water, I contacted the German company and asked if I could invest in it and order a car.
No one answered.
When Porsche made a one-of-a-kind 918 Spyder electric hybrid sports marvel, I asked the price.
They said $845,000. I passed (and almost passed out).
When BMW (a car maker I’ve always loved), developed the electric hybrid sports car they called the i8, I ordered one.
But after half a year of waiting, the salesman said it would be three more years before I would get my car.
I cancelled my order.
I could go on.
Today the marketplace is ready for an electric (or solar or sea water or any environmentally safe) car that is affordable, dependable, convenient, and attractive.
Tesla is working in that direction.
I’ll keep watching them, and other auto makers like Audi, Acura, and Nissan, to see who wins the next race. I may be a specialist in how to attract a new car, but the car also has to exist. 🙂
Meanwhile, we now have Nerissa’s 2017 Chevy Volt.
Let’s charge up and go!
PS – Some of my resources for this post include —
That’s how many times I’ve watched the Netflix documentary, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, which was released on July 15, only days ago.
I’m in the movie The Secret and I haven’t watched that film three times in ten years.
So why am I so captivated with this film about Tony?
It’s raw but real.
Hard-hitting but healing.
Profane but profound.
I found myself crying throughout it.
I found myself having internal breakthroughs just watching it.
I found myself relating to Tony’s inspired approach to change.
The film captures Tony’s closed-door week-long event called Date with Destiny.
In some ways the event reminded me of the old Werner Erhard est program, and to today’s Landmark Forum.
This film puts you in Tony’s secret space, much like Luke Rhinehart’s The Book of est puts you in an est event.
In both cases, you can safely observe the sometimes rollicking emotions people experience.
And in both cases, you can experience transformation just by going for the ride.
All you have to do is pay attention and feel.
Oh, there are holes in the movie.
Tony says change happens in a moment.
Yet later in the film, when he’s asked how he changed, he says there was no one moment.
Tony comes across as the trigger for change and not any method or principle.
Yet if Tony is needed for change, then methods don’t exist; there is no method. It’s him.
But I’m not a critic of the film; I’m a fan.
That’s why I’ve seen it three times – so far.
I let any holes or inconsistencies slide by as I focus on the good in the movie, the breakthroughs, the insights, the energy, the sharing – all of which act as a catalyst to awaken viewers who aren’t even physically in the seminar room with the giant king gorilla.
This makes the film itself a tool for transformation.
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore told Joe Berlinger (the director of this film on Tony), “I believe it will actually save lives.”
I believe it, too.
A few more reasons why I love the film –
Tony goes past the little problems people offer and goes deeper, to the operating system under what they present.
When a 19 year old says her problem is her diet, Tony digs deeper to discover her issue is with her father, not her diet.
The movie helps prove why we all need coaching; without a trained person’s objective feedback, we will continue to blame our problems on others or on little things and entirely miss the big hidden operating system below our conscious awareness.
And I love statements such as, “You know what your biggest problem is? Thinking you shouldn’t have any.”
Tony goes on to explain that problems are gifts.
I don’t know Tony personally — we spoke at the same event in Chicago years ago, but hours apart, so we have yet to meet* — and I get nothing for endorsing this film from him or the director or anyone else.
But I urge you to watch it and let it stir your soul.
PS – My own television show, all fourteen episodes, is edited and in the hands of Amazon. Stay tuned for details. Meanwhile, go watch the film about Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru. It’s stirring, soulful and spellbinding.
* You can read about the event where I spoke on the same stage as Tony, Trump, and others at http://blog.mrfire.com/a-tony-robbins-first/