My father passed away last month. He was 93. One of my proudest moments was turning him into an author when he was age 90. Here is that moment:
My 93-year-old father was moving some old furniture around when he discovered a few long lost black and white photographs.
One of them was of me.
At the age of ten months.
I had never seen the photo before.
But as I stared at myself of almost 65 years ago, I saw a happy child.
My father told me, “Joe, you were one happy baby!”
Maybe I was.
But I certainly wasn’t happy shortly after growing up.
And I went through long periods of unhappiness as an adult, and as a struggling writer wanting to be a success.
What happened to that happy child?
What happened to that uninhibited smile?
Oh, it’s still here.
People can see the baby smile in my adult face today.
But where’d it go for so long?
My guess is, it never left.
And I’m guessing your original innocent smile is still in you someplace, too.
Lately I’ve been encouraging people to look for their very early baby pictures.
Not the ones where you are still in diapers, and not the ones where you are going off to school.
I want you to find the baby pictures where you are showing signs of awareness and your “original smile” is still on your face.
Get that photo and use it as a meditation.
Stare into the smile.
Let it expand from within yourself.
Feel the original innocence of bliss today.
Because it’s still there.
And if for some reason you can’t easily or quickly find an early photo of yourself smiling, then consider looking at my photo. Or someone else that makes you grin or giggle. Or draw or paint one.
The point is, that original smile is not lost.
It’s in you.
I used to teach a form of meditation where you imagined an inner smile within yourself. As you visualized it, it grew. Before long, you had an outer smile.
Your inner child is still within you.
And it is still smiling.
It’s time to find it again.
PS – I also believe there is something like an “original laugh,” too. That’s where you laugh without control or inhibition. Recently author-singer-TV celebrity Lisa Winston and I held a Facebook Live to discuss our forthcoming event, “Own the Stage.” We were so open and playful with each other that by the end of the broadcast, we were laughing so hard we were crying. Where is your original laugh? Where is your original smile? I urge you to look within and see…
My favorite book of last year was Ray Dalio’s bestseller, Principles.
While the book is 600 pages of wisdom and insight from the life experience of a billionaire, the single biggest takeaway for me was this one question –
“How do I know I’m right?”
Dalio learned to question himself and get the feedback of others in order to discover the best answer or action in any situation.
I almost never ask myself that question.
Stay with me for a minute and let’s explore this.
It’s easy to think and come to conclusions, but how do we know our conclusions are logical, practical, and the best of what can help us?
How do we know we aren’t deluding ourselves, or sabotaging ourselves, or missing better answers and solutions?
After all, our thinking happens in a confined inner world created from past experiences and limiting beliefs.
We can’t easily think “outside” of our thinking because we are the ones doing the thinking.
(Meditate on THAT.)
A feeling can be a disguised limiting belief.
(Pause to let that sink in, too.)
So, what can we do?
For me, there are three solutions –
1. Get in a Challenging Mastermind Group.
Being in a select group with eight other people can elevate your thinking and expose you to new ways of thinking. It’s a smart way to pool resources and expand your mental paradigm. A mastermind has been the secret of the greats. I’ve created and been in many masterminds. I’ve even coauthored a book (with Bill Hibbler) on how to make your own mastermind in Meet and Grow Rich. I’m currently putting together an exclusive mastermind of high profile, high achievers to truly challenge us all to stretch and achieve at levels we only imagined before.*
2. Get a Miracles Coach or Zero Limits Mentor.
Having a trained person listen and reflect back to you your thinking can be enlightening and empowering. We rarely hear our own limiting beliefs but someone skilled in active listening can help you discover them with love and focus, and then help you begin to change them. Change your beliefs and you get a different reality. This is the main reason I created Miracles Coaching more than ten years ago and am currently creating Zero Limits Mentoring. A secret to success is to have someone who believes in you almost more than you believe in yourself.
3. Absorb diverse books.
Dalio’s book introduced me to new ideas and a way to question myself. But I also read other books to keep my mind expanding. It’s also why I write mind expanding and consciousness raising books, such as “The Miracle: Six Steps to Enlightenment” and my newest book, “Anything Is Possible: 7 Steps for Doing the Impossible.” Reading has always been a key secret to the success of high profile people.
I’m sharing this with love.
Act as you feel inspired.
*Note: If you are interested in my exclusive Rings of Power Mastermind, contact my office or leave a comment below and I will see that you get my new manifesto describing it.
PS -The soulful Lisa Winston interviewed me recently on a subject you will love. Here it is:
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