I’ve been practicing giving for decades. I believe it’s good for your business and good for your soul. But there’s the “other side” of giving. When it happens, as it did to me recently, it can leave you speechless and in tears. Watch this video and see for yourself. Enjoy.
Jaime Vendera is a famous vocal coach who challenged me to write a book on using Law of Attraction and mind power etc for musicians. I threw the challenge back at him. The result is our new book, already a bestseller, titled Mind Over Music. Here’s my introduction, which explains the back story:
Why Anything Is Possible
An Introduction by Dr. Joe Vitale
One day I checked Facebook and there was a curious message from Jaime Vendera. I knew Jaime from his books on singing, which helped me with my own vocal technique. I had gone from zero to musician in the span of a few years, and Jaime was one of my never-met coaches along the way. I had bought and read his books. I knew he was a badass vocal coach. His ideas had helped me, and still do.
So I looked at his message. He wrote:
“Listen up, Vitale, the Universe smacked me again to put this in your brain…and I am pretty sure I told you this a few years back:) You REALLY need to write an “LOA/Ramp up your music making mojo” type book. It’s not a book about the art songwriting, but more a book lining out the steps to get a musician off their butt and finishing their songs and recording/releasing them… You are THE perfect person to write this considering what you’ve accomplished!!! If you don’t write this, that voice in my head will never leave me alone. It will pester me to pester you until you hear it too;) There, I told you, just as I was instructed to do. So now please write the book so it will make the voices stop, hahahaha;)”
I admired his playful audacity. I’ve written over 70 books and Jaime knew it. He also knew my expertise in self-help methods, as well as the Law of Attraction, applied to would-be musicians, would be a hit.
He also knew that my appearance in the hit movie The Secret, and my books on the Law of Attraction (LOA), made me qualified to teach musicians.
But I also felt that this idea was his, not mine. I suspected he was just tossing a monkey at me and hoping I’d adopt it. I already had enough monkeys.
So I wrote back to him saying:
“hmmmm Maybe it’s in your head and not mine so you write it and i add to it to be coauthor…”
Seemed like a fair counter offer to me. Jaime could blow me off but at least I didn’t dismiss him. I was acknowledging his idea but turning it back in his direction. I was sending the monkey home. To my surprise, he accepted my challenge.
He wrote back saying:
“Hahaha well that will work then. I just had this image of you explaining how you knocked out so many songs so quick. I’m knocking out 4 new products right now but I’ll start writing soon.”
He did, too. Not only did he start writing, but he caught on fire and wrote the entire book by himself – in only four days.(!)
A week later he wrote to me saying:
“Just letting you know I never back down from a challenge;) I am writing three new books, filming two new videos, two new audio programs, and writing/recording as we speak, and it is all part of the focus of this book. feel it should be called MIND OVER MUSIC and show the musician that Writer’s block is only a state of mind, as well as teach them how to get it out of their heads and recorded in record time. So, I had a quick question for you. Do you have a musical bio I can copy/paste. i want to mention the day you decided to become a musician and record and ALL the albums you have released since then. I am blown away by your energy and what you’ve done. It is soooo refreshing.”
He was referring to my becoming a musician with 15 albums recorded in about 5 years. That seemed impossible to most people. But I teach “Anything Is Possible” (and wrote a book titled that very statement.) I sent him the material he wanted and he inserted it into his book. Then I read the book.
Now it was my turn to be blown away.
He wrote the book with a passion I rarely see in other authors. And he gave steps and secrets and insights along the way. He included me and my story of becoming a musician, beginning with zero experience, and going on to record numerous albums, study with rock icon Melissa Etheridge, and even overcome terror to sing on stage with my Band of Legends.
In short, he had created the very book he wanted me to write. And he did it without me.
But being the kind and generous soul that he is, he wanted my name as coauthor because he said I inspired the entire project. He wanted me to have credit. That’s the kind of loving person he is. So I accepted.
The good news for you, the reader, is you get to benefit from the combined experience of two authors, teachers, coaches, and musicians: us.
I’m living proof that you can dissolve blocks and get in the studio and on stage, no matter who you are, where you are, what your level of experience, your age, or much else.
And Jaime is living proof that when you adopt his methods, you will shine in the studio and on stage, too.
All in all, you are about to read an illuminating guide to getting past the excuses and blocks and into the studio and onto the stage. Bright lights and applause await, as well as the deep satisfaction of sharing your music with the world.
And now, curtain up…
PS – Our bestselling book, Mind Over Music, is more than Law of Attraction and self help principles; it is about facing fears and overcoming doubts so you can get in the studio or onto the stage. It is on Amazon for Kindle and in print at https://smile.amazon.com/Mind-Over-Music-Through-Blocks/dp/1936307456/
I’m not actor Bruce Willis, and I’ve not met him yet, but I know something he may not.
Let’s call it “Bruce Willis Manifesting.”
It’s a way to use your mind to attract what you want.
It’s something you already do when you think of your favorite celebrity, and it’s something you can consciously direct to manifest what you want.
It’s actually a very cool way to speed up the manifestations of your goals, desires and intentions.
Let me explain:
Recently a woman was about to interview me, but couldn’t calm down.
“You’re a legend!” she kept repeating. “You’re a legend!”
She was going gaga for me.
I certainly know the feeling of being star struck in the presence of a celebrity.
I was that way with rock icon Melissa Etheridge.
I was that way with actor James Caan.
Same when actor-bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno came to my house.
I met President Jimmy Carter twice and couldn’t speak either time.
If and when I meet Bruce Willis, I’ll probably be star struck with him, too.
At least for a few minutes.
I propose the reason you and I are in awe of stars we like is a clue on how to manifest what we want faster.
So give me a moment to explain.
Last year I was invited to act in my first indie movie.
A woman came to my music show last July at The Townsend in Austin.
She heard my Band of Legends and me and afterwards invited me to act in her movie.
I haven’t acted since kindergarten. I was one of the three little pigs in a kids’ play.
But I told this delightful woman I’d do it.
And I did.
It was the movie Cecilia.
When you see it, you might experience the manifestation strategy I’m wanting to discuss here.
But even if you don’t see that movie, maybe you saw me in the movie The Secret.
If not, I’m in about 15 other movies, with three more coming out this year.
And of course I’ve been on Larry King Live national television, twice.
All of this public exposure is making more people recognize me.
And when they do, some are star struck.
I remember landing in Peru and a bunch of people ran up to me.
It spooked me because some of them were security guards.
I thought something was wrong.
But no, they wanted to meet a star from a movie.
They wanted photos.
At baggage claim.
So let me get back to explaining:
We watch a movie we like.
We see a star we like.
There is emotion.
Our brains “brand” this emotion onto our minds.
We “link” the visual of seeing our favorite star with the emotion of what the movie is triggering in us.
Then, if we ever see our star on the street, the mental switch is triggered.
And we go gaga.
If you don’t know a celebrity, and he or she walks by, you won’t think anything of it. That star hasn’t been inputted into your brain to have any meaning.
There’s no “programming.”
There’s no emotion.
There’s no “link.”
But if you see a celebrity that you go gaga for, that you watch in all their movies, that you feel love for, you will flip out.
This is “Bruce Willis Manifesting.”
The movie star has activated the Reticular Activator System or RAS in your brain.
Your RAS responds to emotion, imagery, and repetition.
Anything you think about with emotion, imagery, and repetition will act as a new program in your brain.
And you will unconsciously use the Law of Attraction to bring it into your life.
So, if I see Melissa Etheridge on stage, and on television, and on DVD, and I watch her moved by the emotion in her songs and her performances, and I do this repeatedly for two decades, then the day I meet her is going to feel like lightning struck my spinal cord.
And that’s what it felt like when I went to her home for my songwriting lesson with her.
I was star struck.
My RAS had been “Melissa Etheridge” programmed
So let’s take this concept to a deeper level.
I’m a huge fan of actor Bruce Willis.
I’ve seen all his movies, bought all his music, and follow his career.
His movies, from Die Hard to 16 Blocks to Death Wish, all do something for me. (16 Blocks is one of my all time favorite movies.)
Whenever I get to meet him, I’ll probably be star struck and silent, at least at first.
Because he’s branded in my brain with the three ways you engage your RAS: imagery, emotion, repetition.
This imagery, emotion and repetition has wired Bruce Willis in my mind.
But you can use this “gaga” switch of the mind to attract more of what you want.
And this is where you should take notes.
You can use this “Bruce Willis Manifesting” Secret
I’ve written about this formula in numerous books, including the brand new one, Anything Is Possible.
You have just used the three step system that stars innocently use to get in our heads: imagery, emotion, and repetition.
It’s also the same three things that your RAS requires to make a change.
So we can thank our favorite stars for showing us a way to control our mind.
Your Mental Movie
One way to make this formula work is to create a mental movie of what you want, complete with the sensory experience of imagining that it is all complete and real.
In other words, when you watch a film on television or in the theater, your mind is being programmed.
You are seeing a visual, feeling emotion, and repeating the experience throughout the film.
But you can use this same technique to program your mind intentionally: by creating a mental movie.
By Creating a Mental Movie!
And instead of feeling like a star struck little child when you meet your favorite star, you can thank them for showing you a way to manifest what you want.
And now you know something even Bruce Willis doesn’t know – “Bruce Willis Manifesting.”
What will you create next?
Make a mental movie of it and step into it.
And then, Expect Miracles.
PS – Here’s Bruce Willis showing you how it’s done with emotion, imagery and repetition:
In late 2014 I challenged guitar builder Tony Nobles to create a visionary Dream Guitar.
But I didn’t want it to be my dream guitar.
I wanted it to be HIS dream guitar.
Three years later, Tony succeeded.
He announced, “There is no guitar like this on the planet.”
I’ve now seen it.
And played it.
And he’s right.
It’s a masterpiece.
Let me tell the story behind it:
Tony has been building guitars for almost thirty years. He’s made them for celebrity musicians such as Joe Walsh, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Alejandro Escovedo and others.
He’s also made them for lesser known collectors and players, like me.
I have a collection of a hundred old and new guitars by great luthiers, known and unknown.
Some of them (to name drop) are Bean, Baldwin, Collings, DK, Manzer, Maton, Versoul, D’Angelico, Veillette, Bacce, McElroy, Teye, Oxbow, Huss & Dalton, PRS, Santa Cruz, Fylde, Gigliotti, Trenier, Tesla, Trussart, and Zemaitis, as well as vintage Martin and Gibson models.
I’ve also seen impressive private collections, like that of rock icon Melissa Etheridge.
Guitars are playable art.
And sometimes a good investment.
I love them.
And no, you can never have enough.
I suspected a luthier with Tony’s decades of experience might be open to a bold idea.
I wondered –
What if I acted like a patron saint of the arts and commissioned him to create something visionary from his own mind, not mine?
Tony accepted the challenge in 2014.
For the next two years he read, thought, dreamed and wondered.
He also came to my home and spent a day examining my own collection, from the Fylde guitar made out of a former Scotch whiskey barrel, to Danelectros with their lipstick pickups, to an Oxford Guitars baritone electric made from gem stones and prehistoric wood.
I would also supply Tony with coffee table sized books about some of the greatest guitars of all time.
One book in particular became the resource for what would become the Dream Guitar.
The book was a hefty volume called Archtop Guitars: The Journey from Cremona to New York.
It displayed artistic photos and inside stories of museum quality guitars from three legends, D’Angelico, D’Aquisto and Monteleone. I had bought it from Rudy Pensa, the author and owner of Rudy’s Music in SOHO in New York.
Tony would later tell me, “Whatever I created had to be of the caliber of these guitars in this book, else what was I doing?”
Fast forward to October 20, 2016.
After almost two years of research and incubation, Tony showed me a sketch of an idea.
It was a light pencil outline on a torn off sheet of butcher paper, but I could see the vision being born.
The 1970’s Ibanez “Iceman” guitar inspired Tony. Paul Stanley of KISS made the Iceman electric famous.
“I like how that guitar sits well on your knee,” Tony explained. “Builders often forget the guitar has to be comfortable.” (Tony is a player, too, being in the band The Beaumonts.)
But that was only the beginning.
He knew he wanted an archtop, like those in the Pensa book, and he wanted an electric pickup.
My only request when I commissioned this guitar was a Bigsby or whammy bar. I love them.
Otherwise, Tony had a blank canvas to create per inspiration and will.
Tony was now off and running.
Using sinker log redwood, rare Brazilian Rosewood, and more, he began to carve and build what would become the world’s first Dream Guitar.
“I wanted the fret system to be different,” he says, “so I used what’s called True Temperament.”
Those are “wiggly” shaped frets that look odd but help the guitar stay in tune better and longer.
Things got even more unique when it came to the pickup.
“The Austin Sidewinder pickup was made specifically for this guitar by Bob Palmieri of Duneland Labs in Chicago,” Tony says. “I’ve never heard anything like it.”
When I finally saw the Dream Guitar in late December 2017, right before Christmas and just days before my 64th birthday, my jaw dropped.
But then I held it.
The guitar is feather light.
I thought of the term “floating guitar.” Tony says it’s less than five pounds. It sat on my leg as if it was tailor made to fit my knee.
Playing it was a surprise, too.
Each note has a distinct ring, and a sustain that is clear, rich, and drawn out.
The odd shaped frets weren’t even noticeable as anything different as I played, and may have made my chord fingering easier.
Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon, who I’ve made several bestselling instrumental albums with, was with me for the unveiling of the Dream Guitar.
He said, “Tony has undoubtedly created a masterpiece.”
I play the guitar every single day.
It’s already inspired two new songs.
And it’s inspired a new instrumental album that Guitar Monk and I have started “allowing” to happen.
The Dream Guitar is, well, a dream.
I saw that Tony had stretched in making this guitar.
Tony told me, “The little push you gave me down the path of uncertainty really did spur some growth.”
For me, seeing a man exceed his perceived boundaries and go pass tradition was inspiring and gratifying.
My books, music, coaching, mentoring, and presentations are all encouragements to do more and be more, to dream and achieve.
Even the album I made with Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster, and producer Daniel Barrett, was all about stretching, so much so that we called it Stretch.
And the new book I have coming out soon about strongman feats of strength, titled Anything Is Possible, is all about exceeding what we think is impossible.
I feel I succeeded in inspiring a builder to stretch, just as his one-of-a-kind Dream Guitar is now succeeding in inspiring me to create and play new music.
What would you do if you forgot tradition, perceived limits, and everyone’s expectations of what was possible – including your own?
PS – Tony Nobles can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/tony.nobles.5
Note: The professional photos of the Dream Guitar were by Rodney Bursiel.
Bonus: Here’s a 23-minute video about the making of the Dream Guitar:
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.