'There are no rules here – we're trying to accomplish something'. - Thomas Edison
IntroductionLet's begin our time together with a little experiment...
I'd like you to put the book down and swap shoes with the person nearest you. Now, if you're in the bath, or reading this all alone in the middle of nowhere, I understand that might be a little bit difficult. But, otherwise, go for it. Take off your shoes, go up to the person nearest you and ask them to swap.Done?
OK, let's talk about it.Nobody questions the fact that our feet are different from other people's feet. Different size, different shape, different appearance. There may be people you know with similar feet, but no one with identical ones to yours. And the reason you almost certainly didn't do what I just asked you to do (and if you did, for goodness sake swap back!) is because you understood immediately that it was ridiculous.
The chances of someone else's shoes fitting your style and taste (or, more importantly, your feet) were as slim as a pair of single E loafers. Yet to them, their shoes might be the most wonderful shoes in the world – comfortable, practical, attractive, and with great memories attached as well.What's less obvious to most of us is that the same principle holds true of our beliefs and practices in the world. Setting goals, meditating for thirty minutes twice a day, doing the latest diet, or practicing yoga might be as painful, uncomfortable and inappropriate for you as trying to squeeze into your favourite movie star's underwear – but you might still try to do it because it looks so good on them!
What if you don't need to do things someone else's way in order to live a happy, successful life? What if everything you've ever learned about success was just wrong?This book is about what happens when you use your head, listen to your heart and follow your bliss. It's about what happens when you stop doing all the things you think you should be doing and start doing what you really want to be doing – when you stop listening to everybody else and instead turn up the volume on the still, small voice within.
By the time you've finished reading, you'll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can have whatever you want in life: more money; better relationships; a new job; or anything else that makes your heart sing and your soul come alive. The only question you will be left with is whether or not you really want it!
Let's face it – most people spend their lives chasing someone else's dreams, then wind up being disappointed that they never achieved them or even more disappointed that they did.As you explore the ideas in this book and put them to the test in your one and only life, you will get back in touch with your own dreams. You will discover what actually works for you, regardless of whether or not it works for anyone else. And best of all, you will finally be able to truly enjoy the journey every bit as much as the stopping points along the way.
Debunking the myth of the experts
'The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.' - John F. KennedyHaving grown up in a family of scientists, I was thoroughly immersed in the myth of the experts, which can be summed up in the phrase 'Follow the advice of the experts – they know best'.
The idea is that there are these people out there called 'experts', and what they do is study everything there is to study about a field, and they find the best ways of doing things. Then they tell you what they've learned, and even if it feels wrong to you, you should do what the experts tell you – because they're experts.Makes sense, right?
Well, it made so much sense to me that I grew up and became an expert in my area of psychology called Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP. I've studied hundreds of books and worked with thousands of people over the past fifteen years, including a foreign prince, numerous millionaires, and famous (sometimes infamous!) members of the Hollywood elite. I'm an unquestioned expert in the field of human behaviour.Yet I'm not going to give you a single bit of advice about what you should do with your life.
Why?Because even if what I say is true in my experience, it may not be in yours.
In theory I may know better than you, but in practice you know best (or at least you have the potential to know best) what will work for you.In fact, I'll go so far as to say this:
You are the expert on you.But here's the catch...
Most of us have never claimed our expertise – we've never made a study of ourselves. And if you're going to step up and be your own best expert, one of the most useful things you can do is to begin tapping into your own inner senses and inner genius on a regular basis.While no one can teach you exactly how to do that, it is something that can be learned – and I've designed every sentence in this book to act as a catalyst in the process of bringing your genius to life.
The idea of 'genius' being a measure of intellect is actually fairly recent. In its original form, the word had two primary meanings. The first refers to that natural inclination that we all seem to have which draws us towards some things more than others. This is different from cultural conditioning, which would have us all want the same things and agree that only certain things are 'good' and 'right' while everything else is bad and wrong.The second root definition of 'genius' is djinn or 'genie'. And like the genie in the magic lamp, when you learn to unleash your inner genius, you will find your 'wishes' to the universe are granted more easily and effortlessly than you may have ever thought possible.
How it all worksIn Part I – Creating a Life That Makes You Go 'Wow!' – I will share with you the same stories and techniques I use with my clients to help them unleash their own inner genius and put it to work in creating their lives. You will learn the keys to knowing yourself, trusting yourself, inspiring yourself and even loving yourself – what I call the four pillars of an extraordinary life, because each one provides a core structural element in supporting you on your journey, and together they form an unbreakable foundation for living the life of your dreams.
You'll also learn some of the foundational secrets of effortless success – that kind of success where it seems as though you got what you wanted without even trying. We often think about these experiences as anomalies – happy accidents while we are getting on with the 'real' business of creating what we want in our lives. In fact, your experiences of effortless success are the keys to finding and walking along what I like to call 'the path of inspiration' – that unique blueprint for success, happiness and fulfillment that is being drawn on your heart and in your life each and every day.In Part II – An Obstacle Course to Success – I'll walk you step by step over, around and through the nine key life obstacles that people use to stop themselves from having everything they want in life. This section is packed with simple tips, techniques and proven action strategies for getting unstuck and moving forward with your dreams.
Throughout the book, you'll also find a number of boxed sections called 'From theory to practice...' These are based on a simple but important idea:
The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice – but in practice there inevitably is.
Each of these sections will contain an experiment or two that you can do for yourself to find out if what I'm saying works for you – if it enhances the quality of your life and moves you closer to having more of what you want.
Instead, I'd like you to think about each one of them as an invitation to learn more and have fun doing it. As with any invitation, you don't have to accept it – but if you don't, you might just miss the party.
How to NOT change your lifeOne of the core skills of NLP is learning to use language 'hypnotically'. I have put these skills to use and have written this book in a way that your life will change for the better just by reading it. Despite this, there are still a few ways you could avoid making your life better if you really want to...
1. Dismiss it all as New-Age happy-clappy bubble-gum pop psychologyIf you're already thinking about hiding this book inside a porn magazine so you don't have to be embarrassed about people seeing you read it, there are a couple of things in here you may find difficult...
First, there are times when I use words like 'love', 'happiness' and even 'God' (gasp!).Second, I tell the occasional 'little bunny FuFu' story. You remember little bunny FuFu, don't you? The one who went hopping through the forest, scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head?
You don't have to work out exactly what these stories are supposed to mean consciously. They're written for another part of your mind – the part that keeps your heart beating and your body breathing, even as you're reading this book right now.
2. Turn the ideas in this book into a new set of 'rules' for how you're supposed to be in the world and what you 'should' and 'shouldn't' be, do, have or want
In the famous story of the blind men and the elephant, each of the men in turn mistook the small part of the elephant they were able to grasp in the moment for the true nature of an elephant. Therefore the man holding the tail thought the elephant was like a snake, the man who grabbed an ear described the elephant as being like a bat, and the man who got hold of one of the legs thought the elephant to be very like a tree.
In the same way, it is the easiest thing in the world to turn any one perspective on life into 'the whole truth' and then expound on it as if it really were the 'right' way to be.
But if you read this book as a manual for how you should be and what you should do if you want to be happy and successful, you will find ways of turning every positive possibility into a limiting straight jacket.
Know this - no matter how well things are going for you or how badly you may be suffering right now, you're almost certainly doing the best you can to take care of yourself, moving towards happiness and away from sorrow in the best way you know how. And as Oprah Winfrey is fond of saying, 'When you know better, you'll do better'.3. Override your inner wisdom by listening to me instead of yourself
The reason why I focus so heavily on experimentation is that until you actually try things out for yourself, you won't know where, when and how they will make the biggest positive difference for you.
Here's an experiment we'll be playing with throughout the book...
It is very easy when reading to get 'lost in thought', particularly if something I say doesn't seem to fit in with what you have learned about happiness, success or life. But if the ideas most people had in their heads about what it takes to live their dreams were accurate, there would be no point in my having written this book and even less point in your reading it now. Therefore, whenever you see this symbol:
check to see if you have disappeared off into your own head. If so, pat yourself on the back for noticing and bring your attention back into your body by closing your eyes and taking a slow, gentle breath in as you focus on your physical heart. You can use these checkpoints as an easy way to reconnect with yourself and your inner wisdom. We'll talk more about why this makes such a difference in Chapters 5 and 6.
So... what do you want?I'm hoping you picked up this book because there are all sorts of things in your life that you want and you'd like some help in getting them. Maybe you want to make more money, improve (or even change) your career or start up a company of your own. Perhaps you are looking for a new or improved relationship, better (or even any!) sex, different friends or a more enjoyable social life.
What you want may be even more personal – more intimate. You might be wanting to save your marriage or get on better with your resident teenager. You might have a health condition you are hoping to overcome. You may even be saying to yourself 'I just want to be happy' or 'peaceful' or 'loved'.
The good news is, you can have what you want, even if right now it seems too remote a possibility to even wish for. That's not to say that just because you want to go out with your favourite movie star, you automatically will (although one of my clients did – her story is in Chapter 2), but rather that you will come to realize over the following pages that the universe runs on a fundamental and oh so wonderful principle:
When you get really clear and honest about what you want,
Are you ready to begin?