I hated myself. I hated that I was alone.
I hated how I became a loser drenched in so much debt that I was terrified I’d end up homeless. My thoughts were like a faceless darkness drilling pain deep into my mind. How could I escape this? Would I need to die?
Ever felt like that?
I did. Then I found daylight.
I found a way to relieve my worst emotional pain. I freed myself from debt, built wealth, and fell in love with an amazing woman. We’re now married.
But you’ve heard this story before. “My life sucked and now it’s perfect. I did it and you can too!” We’ve all seen this from the world of self-help.
Ever gotten seduced into that world?
I devoured self-help for years. After I set goals, thought positive, and visualized what I wanted, feeling like I was shooting up joy into my bloodstream, the high wore off and I had nothing to show for it but how frustrated and confused I felt as my dreams shattered.
I got desperate enough to try that law of attraction stuff. The only thing I manifested was more debt. I also tried meditating, which made me feel hazy and restless. All the techniques that were supposed to work…didn’t work. I felt hopeless. Angry. Betrayed.
Ever been there?
That’s when I felt like killing myself. I drank vodka every morning to drown the darkness.
But I was too stubborn to give up – there’s a reason my mother called me “pigheaded” – and my persistence led me in a different direction. I found a practice from a spiritual tradition that’s thousands of years old. I stopped the modern self-help tricks and started training in an ancient practice, beginning with one minute per day.
I was surprised by the results. The practice wasn’t about changing my thoughts, yet my thoughts turned from hurtful to happy. I wasn’t trying to imagine a different life, yet when my emotional pain healed, I erased my self-sabotaging behaviors and leaped into a new career.
I escaped the darkness. Even better, I excelled – I built wealth doing what I enjoy and married the woman of my dreams. The journey wasn’t easy or pain-free, but I feel blessed that I got to walk it.
This book tells my story and how you can use this practice to transform your life.
“Hey!” the woman shouted as she crouched and lunged at me, limbs pumping and body weaving like a two-legged spider.
She closed the sidewalk distance between us and wrenched out her arm.
“What’s this?” she growled. The black spots of her missing teeth looked like a pair of giant dice in her mouth.
Her hand clenched my inner thigh, like a toothless dog chomping me with its gums.
As I lurched back, she scampered away, cackling, “I told you this was my sidewalk!”
I was on the southwest corner of Broadway and Nassau Street in Englewood, Colorado, a regular stumbling ground for drug addicts. To the north, the buildings of downtown Denver floated and shimmered as if a mirage. Heat pulsed from the concrete of the sidewalk, the asphalt of the road, the cinderblocks of buildings, dull red and grey paint chipping. A row of thirsty bushes lived in a bed of rocks beside the road. A single nearby tree sprouted from another pile of rocks, shading the rubble.
For 40 hours per week – excluding a half-hour lunch and two 10-minute breaks – I stood on this corner waving a sign. Every workday morning, I shimmied into a costume that looked like a giant $100 bill – ten times more than my hourly pay.
Because thousands of cars and trucks chugged by me daily, the smock got caked with a combo of exhaust fumes, sweat, and the occasional BBQ sauce stain from a co-worker who used the costume as a bib for his lunch. Hours of high-elevation Colorado sun baked everything into the fabric. Sunburns stung my skin and made it feel like rubber. A “Stop” sign cast an octagonal shadow. I looked down to the sidewalk find the shadow of my head and the shadow of the sign and merged them to protect my face.
How the heck did my life end up here? And how much crack did that woman smoke before she grabbed me?
I could answer the first question.
Six years earlier, I dreamed of becoming a millionaire. I fantasized about dating gorgeous women. I studied…. I took action on everything I learned. Six years later, I’d grown a compost heap of entrepreneurial failures and debt. You are such a loser. My thoughts, like starving animals, turned on me, clawing at my brain. I wanted to put a bullet through my head.
Debt-collectors hounded me. Each time my phone buzzed, I cringed and didn’t dare touch it. Even after the ringing stopped, the phone murmured a beep for a voicemail, reminding me that the delusions I’d constructed about growing wealthy were crumbling. When I played the message and heard a voice reading from a script, “This is an attempt to collect a debt…” I pressed the #7 button to delete the sentence before it finished.
My $10-an-hour wage wasn’t enough to pay them off or the IRS debt hanging over my head.
In a few months, I’d file for bankruptcy, which lowered my debt to “only” $50,000.
A couple years earlier, I’d started a business with two partners. One morning, I woke up in my Denver apartment, plopped in front of my computer, and typed my username and password for some of our online software.
The login information you entered was incorrect.
Huh? I slowly typed it again. Incorrect. Once more, this time watching my fingers on the keyboard. Incorrect. I tried logging into a different piece of software connected to the business. Same result.
My gut twisted. They had locked me out overnight.
Typical of my sloppy thinking, I hadn’t bothered to get listed on the corporate papers or bank account. With just a few taps on a keyboard, they’d guaranteed I’d never see a dime of the profits. There weren’t any shouting matches, demands or drama. I didn’t even bother trying to sue.
That betrayal was the last morsel of rotting food to top off the financial compost pile I’d built. Which was why, instead of enjoying a prosperous career, I was a 25-year-old college dropout who worked as a living, breathing punchline on a street corner.
If you were one of the thousands of people who drove by me, you might have looked at me with a sad smile.
Plenty did, including a couple of high school kids who stopped in front of me on the sidewalk as if viewing a zoo exhibit, shook their heads, and, deciding to talk to the animal, said, “I’m so sorry.”
“Oh, don’t be!” I replied.
Even though it appeared as if my outer world was burning down, my inner world was already rising from the ashes. My dreams of riches were splattered on the sidewalk. But something was different inside me.
I felt the happiest I’d ever been — in my entire life.
My thoughts were encouraging, I buzzed with energy, and I smiled way more than in the past.
How could this be?
I was practicing a unique way to rid myself of emotional gunk and re-write my mental programming – and it was working. Rather than the latest self-help fad, which always failed me, this secret was thousands of years old…