Dr. Wayne Dyer has always believed in following your passionate life purpose. He himself took a big chance to find his life purpose when he left his tenured teaching position at St. John’s University in New York to spend his time pitching his first book—Your Erroneous Zones. Here’s the story of that risky move as he explains it in his memoir, I Can See Clearly Now:
New York, 1977My world has changed dramatically since I made the decision to go it alone as a self-employed writer. I have spent the past year working full-time to promote my first book for the general public, Your Erroneous Zones.
On a joint conference call with my agent, Artie Pine, and my editor, Paul Fargis, I am told that there are two pieces of news that are going to blow me away.
The first is that Your Erroneous Zones will appear on The New York Times bestseller list on Mother’s Day, May 8, 1977, as the number one best-selling book in the country. The second is equally exciting: Your Erroneous Zones has been put up for bid at an auction with all of the paperback publishing houses. The bidding has exceeded well over one million dollars, and Avon Books will be bringing this book out as their number one lead book for the fall of this year.
I have just been informed that I am the author of the number-one-selling book in the country, and I have also just become a millionaire as a bonus! I am over the moon with joy. I put the phone down in my little rented house on Long Island and put my head into my hands, and tears flow down my face.
I have been doing nothing but following my own vision and advancing confidently in the direction of my own dream, and endeavoring to live the life I have imagined. It is what I read on the wall of the Thoreau Lyceum in Concord, Massachusetts, when I visited and lay on the bed where Henry David Thoreau slept back in the 19th century. And this great teacher of mine, who guided me through so many roadblocks when I was back in high school, was so right.
I have met with a success totally unexpected in common hours. I am overcome with emotion.
I call my mother in Detroit to give her the news. She receives my news with the same sort of ecstatic shock that I’m feeling. She is sobbing with joy as she playfully reminds me that my book is such a huge success because she was the one who typed the manuscript before I gave it to the publisher. This beautiful woman—who sacrificed so much to get her broken family back together after being abandoned by my biological father, who worked every day of her life without complaint—is the mother of a millionaire author, who’s written the most popular book in America.
Before hanging up she says, “My son the doctor! I’m honestly not surprised, Wayne. You were always looking at the stars. I love you so much.”
I hang up the phone and say a profound prayer of gratitude for this enormous blessing that has arrived in my life.
I feel humbled by the fact that I have come from such scarce beginnings, and I pray for help in remaining unaffected in any egotistical way by all of this external bounty. I make a commitment to make certain that my two brothers and our mother will never be saddled with a mortgage payment.
I Can See Clearly Now
What stands out most clearly to me today as I relive those glorious moments of achieving such exalted status in the publishing world is the biggest fear that I had inside of me. It concerned my ability to handle the financial uncertainty at the very beginning of my decision to leave the university and head out on my own.
I loved the feeling of freedom that was so nourishing to my soul; however, my head was filled with dread over money worries.
“What stands out most clearly to me today as I relive those glorious moments of achieving such exalted status in the publishing world is the biggest fear that I had inside of me.”
I grew up in an era of pretty severe poverty. My parents weathered the Great Depression and money was always a very big concern. I was weaned on a shortage mentality, and placed in foster homes largely because there simply wasn’t enough money to take care of the most basic of needs. My mother, who had three children by the time she was 24, worked first as a counter girl at a five-and-dime, and then as a secretary.
My father, who was jailed for stealing on more than one occasion, just abandoned his fatherly responsibilities and disappeared. I grew up working from the time I was nine years of age. Money was a big issue everywhere I lived. A lack of money and fear of monetary shortages—and remembrances of being hungry and not having enough food to eat—were imprinted on my subconscious mind rather emphatically.
Consequently, heading out on my own with a family to support at the age of 36, with no guaranteed income, was a monumental thing for me. I loved the idea of being my own boss, but I dreaded the thought of not being able to provide for my family and myself.
What feels much clearer to me now as I look back on this risky move is the importance of feeling the fear—acknowledging it rather than pretending it wasn’t there—and then doing what my heart and soul were telling me I had to do.
It was my willingness to align my body and its actions with my highest self, which could no longer handle living a lie.
“…heading out on my own with a family to support at the age of 36, with no guaranteed income, was a monumental thing for me. I loved the idea of being my own boss, but I dreaded the thought of not being able to provide for my family and myself.” — Dr. Wayne Dyer
As I traveled the country, and then the world, doing what I knew was my Divine purpose, everything began to fall into place.
When that conference call from Artie and Paul announced my new fiscal status as a millionaire with unlimited earning capacity, I realized a very important truth. It was spelled out by Patanjali some 2,300 or so years ago. This great spiritual master offered the kind of advice that spoke to me back there in 1977. He said, “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world.” Then he added, “Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
I love this passage—especially the part about dormant forces. These are forces that we often think are dead and inaccessible, but he said they come alive to assist us when we are inspired by some great purpose and acting upon it. I realized I had a lot of worries and fears about money that I’d grown up with and lived with my whole life, and that they dominated much of my thinking. What Patanjali offered was true for me in a big way.
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds, your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world.” Then he added, “Dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
As I followed my dream—stayed in-Spirit; that is, inspired—I made more money in the first year after I gave up my employment than I had made in the previous 35 years of my life.
Somehow I see it so clearly now: When we stay on purpose and steadfastly refuse to be discouraged, accepting our fears and doing it anyway, those seemingly dormant forces do come alive and show us that we are greater people than we ever dreamed ourselves to be.
We discover that we are one with our Source of being, and as Jesus put it so perfectly, “With God all things are possible.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer has written over 20 bestsellers on many spiritual topics, including making the shift to connect to Source, keeping the balance in your life, and transforming your life with the power of intention.
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