There are people online who I seem to be drawn to. One of those people is author and spiritual leader Joe Vitale, best known for his appearance on The Secret. He has an amazing story, going from being homeless to finding abundance. One of his many topics he discusses is the power of taking action. Inspired, I decided to reach out to him on Twitter to see if I could interview him. I was afraid at first to reach out, but he agreed to chat, and as a result I had a great conversation. I wanted to share the best parts of my interview with him to help you gain perspective on how to take action and achieve your own personal goals.
Joe is known for speaking on the law of attraction, a principle that states that what you tend to pull into your life is a match to your subconscious beliefs and feelings.
The conversation started around the importance of daily awareness. Joe calls it a gift.
If I took for granted any successes or anything I’ve managed to own and just assumed that was mine by what I’ve done, I would be deceiving myself. It’s all by grace. It’s all a gift. My life is a gift, anything that I have. I’m looking at my office and I have pillars around me. They’re gifts, they are momentary. I don’t get to keep them forever. I don’t get to have life forever. So the daily awareness that it’s all a gift keeps me from being, I don’t know, absorbed by it all or obsessed by it all. I’m detached.
This interview was a gift to me, and I wanted to summarize the main takeaways as my gift to you.
I asked Joe what some practical steps would be for someone looking to explore how to tap into the power of the law of attraction, and he gave me seven things to think about.
1. Intentions versus inspirations?
Joe shared with me his love for intentions and explained that they help to avoid a victim mentality of just reacting to whatever life brings you. He went on to explain in more detail.
Intentions are what you state as desired outcomes. And by stating an intention, you’ll start to move in the direction of it. You send a signal to your body and mind that this is what I want, and you will start to take actions to go that way.
Intentions are great, but intentions are also limitations. Most people who stayed in intention are basing it on what they believe is possible and what they believe is possible is based on their life experience. It’s based on what they’ve seen, what they’ve read, what they’ve heard. And so they’re basing an intention of what they want on a limitation of what they think is possible.
An inspiration is something that comes from the unconscious, a higher power or the universe itself. It comes outside of the ego and it can often surprise you with the depth and breadth of it. An inspiration can seem miraculous where an intention can seem great. So intentions are great, but I think inspirations are better.
2. The missing secret: counter-intentions
Personally, I am aware that my limitations can undermine my ability to achieve the success I know I deserve. Joe calls these types of negative self-thoughts and beliefs, counter-intentions. I asked him to break down the role that they play in stopping us from our own greatness.
Counter-intentions are the missing secret to all of self-development because everybody’s working on the superficial. They state intentions and they may even state inspirations, which are goals, which are what they want, but unless they look at the limiting beliefs opposing their intentions, they will probably not even take action to get what they want.
A counter-intention is a counter-belief, it’s a limiting belief. If somebody says, “I want to attract money,” but they subconsciously think money’s bad or money corrupts or money is evil, that counter-intention, the negative belief, will veto their intention. So counter-intentions need to be recognized and they need to be cleared in order for us to get the results we intended.
3. Clearing counter-intentions
With a better understanding of how counter-intentions do not serve us, I asked Joe for his advice on getting rid of them.
Unfortunately, most of us have been programmed in a way where we don’t believe we deserve abundance, or we think that there isn’t enough for all of us. We’ve been programmed to believe negatively rather than positively. So then, how do you clear and clean those counter-intentions?
There are numerous ways to clean up the counter-intentions. One of the best is simply awareness. When we become aware that we have a limiting belief, we’ve already weakened it.
The next thing we can do is question the limiting belief. So when we become aware of a limiting belief or a lack of deservingness in our lives, which is a version of a limiting belief, we become aware of it, which weakens it, but then we can question it. And we can say, “Well, do I actually believe this?” And that direct question might loosen it. Or we can go deeper and say, “Why do I believe this?” And you’re looking for whatever evidence you might have, because once you look at the evidence, you might see, “Oh, it doesn’t actually hold up.”
And then there are other things you can do like tapping, which is the emotional freedom technique sometimes called “psychological acupuncture.” I also do Ho’oponopono, which is the Hawaiian spiritual technique that I’ve written about in a couple of books.
Joe reminded me that there are so many different things we can do to limit our limiting beliefs. There is no right or wrong way, what is important is that you experiment and find what works for you to become aware of them, question them, and ultimately release them.
4. Silence behind the thoughts
When I pushed more about how to quiet my own thoughts, Joe simply said,”You are not your thoughts. You are separate from your thoughts.”
Nowadays, with everything going on in the world, most of us are consumed with negative thoughts because of what we’re going through. The question I asked Joe was, how we can manage to navigate through all the thoughts?
I think the greatest meditation any of us could do is attempt to look at the silence behind the thoughts. In other words, even a lot of science, such as a book called You Are Not Your Brain by Jeffrey Schwartz, MD, says, “You are not your brain, you are not your thoughts.” In spiritual traditions, we’re teaching people to be a witness to their thoughts. So whether your thoughts are positive or negative, you’re not actually those thoughts. You are the background, and a great meditation is to see how closely you can get to the background of your thoughts, because it will free you from being influenced by them.
And that’s basically what I’m doing. When I have thoughts, well first of all, those are not my thoughts. They’re just kind of bubbling up automatically. And then second of all, I’m not a trained dog. I don’t have to listen to those thoughts. I can question the thoughts, I can be detached from the thoughts.
And then third, I can choose. If there’s a thought that makes me feel lousy, well, I’m not going to choose that way. If there’s a thought that makes me feel great, I’ll choose that one. I’ll ride that for a while.
So I think becoming aware of our thoughts is one of the greatest meditations we can do.
When I reflect on my life and my greatest accomplishments, I believe they came when I was focused. So have you been able to stay focused even though we’re kind of overwhelmed with news changing by the minute, and just overwhelmingly negative news?
5. A mainstream diet
Let’s face it, every day we are bombarded by bad news through mainstream media. I’ve actually had patients who go into some kind of cardiac arrhythmia while watching the news. As a result, I’ve been telling my patients, “Don’t listen to too much news, it can be bad for your health.” I wanted to know Joe’s thoughts on how news of the world’s issues can negatively impact our thoughts.
Well, I tell people to turn off the mainstream news. It’s just going to contaminate you. It’s called programming for a reason, so I don’t watch the news. If people are really concerned about what’s going on in the world, they can go on a mainstream news diet and watch it for one minute or five minutes to get the headlines and get out.
It’s the same thing with negative people, don’t hang around them. Social media and the negativity of it, don’t participate. I want to remind people, you have a choice. You can choose what you listen to, watch, and hear. So watch things that make you feel better, are more positive and healthy.
6. From scarcity to abundance
Learning Joe’s story, I was fascinated with how he went from a mindset of scarcity (being homeless), to a mindset of abundance, over time. I wanted to know more about the specific mindset he found to help free him from being homeless. I asked if he had a particular coach he followed to help him change that mindset.
I did. When I was in poverty, there was a coach by the name of Jonathan in Houston, Texas. And he saw something in me and decided that he would coach me. He didn’t charge me, but he would meet with me weekly. And out of that coaching, I rapidly got rid of counter-intentions that had been with me for most of my life. And I think that was one of the turning points.
7. Finding your calling
As I build my personal brand, I oftentimes question what I am doing, and why I am doing it. I asked Joe if he had any guidance on finding purpose, and how to find out what my life’s mission really is.
You can find purpose by looking at what you would do even if you weren’t paid to do it. By looking at what brings you joy, what brings you happiness, what brings you serenity no matter what it is. Thinking that something needs to be divine or it has to be bestowed in some sort of heavenly way makes people think that your mission is going to be something like being Gandhi or Mother Theresa. Your mission could be as simple as writing a cookbook, raising great kids, being a Boy Scout leader or any number of things. It doesn’t have to be a big, booming voice from God, “You are the one to cure cancer.” It just could be “You’re the one to write cartoons for kids about self-image,” or anything else.
If Joe just sat and visualized writing 80 books, meditated and wished for the books to be written, but never went to the typewriter or the computer, he would have zero books. Joe showed me that life is co-creation, and the secret is that we all have something to do to help create whatever it is we want.
Joe inspired me to look within and not look outside for validation. It is simple and powerful advice that has been hiding in plain sight. As a doctor, I know the power of medicine, and Joe reminded me of the power that we all have when we truly become present in our own thoughts, intentions, mission and vision for our lives. Our interview also reminded me that the power of thoughts can just as easily work against us. Take Joe’s advice, and listen to the silence behind your thoughts. You might find yourself, and that is the biggest gift of all. Follow Joe Vitale @mrfire and Tweet me @ReyzanShali if you want to connect! And if you are intimidated too, like I was to reach out to Joe in the first place, I dare you to try because you have nothing to lose.