Recently I began writing my 14th book, which will be book one of a trilogy (or maybe even a trilogy of trilogies) on living a life of prosperity. The intro begins with the story of when I had my pizza joint seized by the IRS and auctioned off for my delinquent payroll taxes. It got me thinking about yes, how much drama and trauma I’ve experienced in this life – but also how those challenges have strengthened me and led to greater blessings.
This was my second big entrepreneurial venture and my second big disaster. My first had happened I was 18 or 19. Sold my furniture, slept on the floor, and ate macaroni and cheese three times a day. Not Kraft, the good stuff, because that was three boxes for a dollar. I ate the Grand Union store brand, because that was four boxes for a dollar.
Make no mistake: If you have never sold all your furniture and slept on the floor – it sucks. I mean totally sucks. Selling a few lamps and end tables is humiliating, but not that life altering. But when it comes down to the kitchen table, sofa, and your bed, suck reality hits quickly. If you’re like me, the last thing you sell is the TV, because you while away your insomnia watching mindless sitcoms and infomercials of get rich quick schemes to try and forget your life of loud desperation. (I can still hear Tom Vu ringing in my head: “If you don’t buy my program – you deserve to be broke!”)
But still, at that age, there is still something surreally romantic about it all. Making your way back, building brick and board bookcases, finding someone’s old sofa on the curb you can throw a blanket over, fighting the valiant fight. But when you’re 30, your friends are married with kids and houses, and you know, jobs…that perverse romanticism fades real quick.
Making it all worse, my business failures were just the beginning of my drama. My plethora of health challenges and toxic relationships were also culminating at the same time, to create the perfect storm of a dysfunctional, miserable existence.
And today I am so grateful it all happened…
Because I realized that not only did I hate my life, but I hated myself. Looking at who I had become, I couldn’t stand that guy. He was weak, ignorant, and a professional victim. So I killed him. And set out to make a better model.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, so I set out to learn how to be healthy and energized. I hated working 18-hour days in a greasy restaurant and had always dreamed of being a writer. I wrote a story and submitted it cold to Jim Mullen, the editor at Miami New Times. He bought it. I took the General Equivalency test to get my high school diploma and enrolled in courses at Miami Dade College. I would love to say that everything changed in an instant, but that would be a lie. It took about two years, but at the end of that time, I felt as if I had completed remade myself on the cellular level. Coincidentally, Deepak Chopra says it takes approximately two years for your body to replace every cell in it.
I honestly believe none of these changes would have happened if I hadn’t completely dive-bombed my life. I would still be sweating 18 hours a day in a grimy pizza joint.
Anything here resonate with you?
Have your greatest accomplishments come from some of your greatest challenges? Did one door slam shut and lead you down a different and better path? Letting go of a version of you that you don’t like is the ultimate expression of the vacuum law of prosperity. Sometimes version 1.0 of the software isn’t the one that works in the market. (And sometimes neither does version 2.0 or 3.0.) But as long as you’re willing to keep fixing bugs and making upgrades, you eventually get to the version that works.
And that’s what it’s all about.
Do you really realize how monumentally fucking insignificant Black Friday, FOX News Alerts, Instagram likes, CNN BREAKING NEWS, Monday morning quarterback controversies, Trump’s latest megalomaniacal tweet, office politics, the current Iowa poll, and the Lexus December to Remember really are?
You, working on you – striving to become the highest possible version of yourself – is the destiny you were put here for.
And to make that happen, you’re going to have to be willing to let go of (or kill off) the old you. And forgive the old you...
Which is where we will pick up on the next post. Until then, would love to see your comments below.