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Dr. John Chuback: “Here are 5 things you should do to become a great author”

The second major impediment to success is the fear of success believe it or not. This concept is not as straightforward as the fear failure. In the fear of success, typically one progresses steadily toward their goal up until some critical point. For example, the person who decides they want to be a pilot and […]

The second major impediment to success is the fear of success believe it or not. This concept is not as straightforward as the fear failure. In the fear of success, typically one progresses steadily toward their goal up until some critical point. For example, the person who decides they want to be a pilot and takes flying lessons at the local airport. Typically, these people are having a wonderful experience up until the day where the instructor says, “You’ve succeeded. You’re ready to fly alone. You’re ready to make your first solo flight.” This defines the moment at which many people will actually quit. Their success has suddenly become inextricably linked to a heightened degree of responsibility. The same could be said of many medical students who begin the first year with the goal in mind that they will one day become a surgeon. Then they ask themselves, “But what if I succeed? What if I make it? Will I be able to handle it on my own?” This is an important question. This is also the moment most quit — prior to ever starting.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. John Chuback, MD. John A. Chuback, M.D.. John is a Personal Development & Success Training Expert and Author of Make Your Own Damn Cheese: Understanding, Navigating and Mastering the 3 Mazes of Success. He is also Board Certified in General Surgery and Cardiovascular Surgery. He received his MD from Rutgers University and has been in private practice in Paramus, New Jersey, for 16 years. Dr. Chuback is also a successful entrepreneur: he is the founder and Chief Medical Officer at Chuback Medical Group, founder and managing member of Elant Hill, LLC, and the nutraceutical company BiosupportMD and founded Chuback Education, LLC, which offers audio programs on subjects like weight management, smoking cessation, personal development, and academic achievement. He is also author of Kaboing! 50 Ideas That Will Springboard You To Academic Greatness.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

Ialways enjoyed creative writing in school and did very well in classes which focused on those skills. I think I’m an artist at heart; and, I am by nature a passionate person. I love words and language and always felt I was a good communicator. That might be a nice way of saying, “I talk too much.” Writing books gives me an opportunity to share with others what I have learned in the past 50 years of formal education and professional life in hopes that they can use some of the ideas to build a phenomenal lifestyle filled with success and happiness. I suppose in the sense I have been a student of personal development my whole life; but I’ve been formally studying the subject for the last 20 years or so. About five years ago, I felt I had something to contribute to the conversation when I wrote, and self-published, my first book: Kaboing! 50 ideas that will spring board you to academic greatness. That’s when I got the bug and knew that writing and teaching would be an important part of my life forever.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

In a sense, I think the most interesting thing that happened along the path of my career as an author is the amount of skepticism and cynicism I faced when I began writing and told people I intended to publish a book. The reaction was typically along the lines of: “what do you know about writing a book,” or, “who’s going to read a book written by you?” or “is it a book about surgery?” Keep in mind that these were the statements I heard from my friends and family, not strangers or adversaries. I call this “The crab phenomenon.” I’ve heard that when crab fishermen trap crabs they transfer them to large open buckets of seawater with no lids. There’s no need for a lid because every time a crab tries to crawl out of the bucket the other crabs grab him and pull him back in. Consequently, what you wind up with is a churning bucket of live crabs with none escaping. It’s an interesting and somewhat disappointing commentary on human nature that those closest to us often don’t want to see us grow, change, or move forward. I think they feel left behind in away. It’s a strange phenomenon, but I’ve seen it many times.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I don’t know that I really made any mistakes. On the other hand, in a sense everything I did was a mistake when it came to my burgeoning career as an author because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had no formal training as an author — I was trained in medicine and surgery. I had no guidance, no mentor, and no roadmap. All I knew was that I wanted to write about what I was feeling, and I did. I would write for a few minutes at a time at my desk in between seeing patients and performing surgical procedures. You can get a lot done if you don’t waste all those little bits of free time. They really add up. That’s exactly how I wrote Make Your Own Damn Cheese. The lesson I learned as a result of this early experience is — there is no substitute for work. I don’t even call it hard work– It’s just work. I mean, I’m not digging ditches in the hot sun or anything like that. I’m just writing down my ideas and expressing myself. The key here is, don’t pay attention to the naysayers. My mantra is, “what they think of me is none of my business.”

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I have a couple manuscripts already completed and ready for publication after Make Your Own Damn Cheese. So, I’m hoping it will do well enough commercially that those other books “get to see the light of day.” I feel very fortunate to have been picked up by HCI Publishing. They are the group that gave Jack Canfield his first shot also with the original Chicken Soup for the Soul which became the legendary worldwide bestseller. The next project slated for publication is a book based on the power of words and how the right vocabulary can be used as a blueprint for an extraordinary life. That said, I am working on another exciting project now, but I can’t give it away — it’s still a “secret.”

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?

I would say the one thing which is really more a characteristic than a habit that I think is indispensable as a writer is self-esteem. You have to have the confidence in yourself to put your ideas and beliefs out there to be judged by the public. If you can’t tolerate the idea of judgment and the potential for criticism, you can write all you want, but you can’t publish anything. And getting published so others can read your work is really the whole point, I think. Of course, you need to be disciplined and persistent and all that too, but if you don’t have belief in yourself and the value of your ideas you don’t stand a chance to be successful as an author. I guess surgery is the same way in many respects.

Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

I think one of my favorite aspects of the book is helping people to understand the connection between the conscious and subconscious mind. In order to help demonstrate this relationship, I pay homage to one of my mentors, Dennis Waitley, who has been a major figure in the personal development field for roughly 40 years. I paraphrase a little poem that I learned from Dr. Waitley which beautifully describes the intricate interplay and struggle for power that exist between these critically important components of human mind. The poem goes as follows:

I have a little mouse-robot that goes around with me

I tell him what I’m thinking, I tell them what I see,

I tell my little mouse-robot all my hopes and fears,

It listens and remembers everything it hears

At first my little mouse-robot followed my command,

But after years of training, he’s gotten out of hand

It doesn’t care what’s right or wrong,

Nor what is false or true

No matter what I try now,

It tells me what to do!

If one can truly understand this concept, they will have a major insight into the human mind and condition.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

Very simply, I want the reader to have a greater understanding of how the human mind works and how they can take control of their personal destiny through the practical application this understanding.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

I think the biggest challenge I faced becoming a best-selling author was actually getting published. I’m sure many authors will tell people this. There’s no candy coating the idea that this is a difficult process. I would think if you’re not really passionate about it you’ll quit somewhere along the line. First, one must possess an idea they really believe in. Then the writing takes time, concentration, and commitment; but these steps are perhaps the easiest parts. I know the most difficult part for me was to find an ethical, professional and interested literary agent to sign me. For me this was a massive step forward. This process in my case took more than 2 years with many rejections along the way. Ultimately, I was fortunate to find Nancy Rosenfeld in Chicago through a friend who had worked with her in the past. She liked my work and took a chance on me as an unknown author. That being said, my first book was not picked up for publication and I endured many more rejections in that process. Typically, the response from publishers was, “We love the book, but who are you? We’re afraid we won’t be able to sell it since you’re an unknown entity.” Despite these difficulties, I continued to work and to write and produced two more books which we then pitched about a year later. Finally, I was offered a contract with HCI Publishing for Make Your Own Damn Cheese, which was the final piece of the puzzle. Moral of the story… NEVER GIVE UP!

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

Despite the fact that I am now seen as an authority, I remain a huge fan of personal development literature. It’s just about all I read in fact. For some reason, I just fell in love with this subject matter and am seemingly insatiable when it comes to further study. I’m always reading something new — or something old for that matter. I simply can’t get enough. I find it to be the most fascinating subject in the world. It encompasses science, psychology, philosophy, health, entrepreneurship, etc. It’s limitless. It also leads me to other great literature as I research the background materials many personal development educators allude to including but not limited to biographies and autobiographies.

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

I hope my writing makes people think more. Most people aren’t thinking much at all. We often confuse mental activity for thinking. I hope my work inspires them and encourages them to be more introspective. The idea I want to put across more than anything else is that no one is better than you and no one is smarter than you. I want people to get deeply emotionally involved with the truth, which is: they are in possession of a magnificent mind which has virtually limitless power. I want them to understand how the mind works, and how mastery of the mind can be used to transmute thought energy into physical manifestations in the material world.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

My advice to someone who wishes to become an author is simply to do it. Don’t think about doing it, don’t consider doing it, don’t even prepare to do it. Just sit down and begin writing. If you don’t have a laptop — I don’t care. That’s no excuse. Get a piece of paper and a wooden pencil if you have to and write down your thoughts and ideas. If you really want to write, you’ll find a way. Just begin. If you write, you’re a writer. If you don’t, you’re not. Nothing else matters. Either you write or you don’t. Get out of the way and let it happen. We are too often our own worst enemies and our greatest personal impediments to progress and success.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

The five things I wish someone had told me when I first started writing and wanting to become a published author was what I call the five major impediments. The first of these is the fear of failure. This one is pretty obvious. No one likes to fail in front of other people — especially when you have told them that you have some goal or ambition that you are trying to pursue like writing a book. We all tend to be egocentric and live in a world of mirrors. It’s normal to feel that we are the most important person in the world; so when we fail to achieve our goals it can be embarrassing and even humiliating.

The second major impediment to success is the fear of success believe it or not. This concept is not as straightforward as the fear failure. In the fear of success, typically one progresses steadily toward their goal up until some critical point. For example, the person who decides they want to be a pilot and takes flying lessons at the local airport. Typically, these people are having a wonderful experience up until the day where the instructor says, “You’ve succeeded. You’re ready to fly alone. You’re ready to make your first solo flight.” This defines the moment at which many people will actually quit. Their success has suddenly become inextricably linked to a heightened degree of responsibility. The same could be said of many medical students who begin the first year with the goal in mind that they will one day become a surgeon. Then they ask themselves, “But what if I succeed? What if I make it? Will I be able to handle it on my own?” This is an important question. This is also the moment most quit — prior to ever starting.

The third obstacle to our success is the fear of criticism. The fear of criticism is closely linked to the fear of judgment and the fear of rejection. This is where one says to oneself, “What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t like my work? What if they don’t like my book? What if I’m ridiculed in public?” The fear of criticism isn’t even dependent on failure or success. If we use politics as an example, we see that whether you succeed or fail you’ll be criticized. Half the voters will hate you either way. In fact, the public doesn’t even wait until the election day to start judging and rejecting. The moment a candidate declares that they’re running for office the public begins to criticize. The media will criticize the candidate, as will the others in the race. You must be prepared to manage criticism, judgment and rejection in your own mind so that you may continue to pursue your dreams, undeterred by the opinions of others. This is where I advise young people in any profession to say to themselves: “What you think of me is none of my business.”

The fourth major stumbling block to achieving one’s goals is again what I referred to earlier as the “crab phenomenon.” This is when the people closest to you try to hold you back.

The fifth and final hurdle, which one needs to clear, is oneself. Ultimately, it is only you who can hold you back. As I said before, the best thing you can do it if you want to achieve something is to let your success happen and get out of the way! Don’t overthink things and don’t talk yourself out of the success you truly desire. I believe that if one were to actually follow these five points of advice they would have a much greater chance of succeeding as an author or anything else that they wish to become.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If there were one thing that I could do that I believe would have the greatest influence on people and produce the greatest amount of good, it would be to implement personal development and the study of positive psychology in the educational system beginning in grade school. As a physician, I feel like if I could take what I have learned in the last 20 years of studying personal development and fill a syringe with it, I would spend the rest of my life sticking it into the backside of as many people as I possibly could. I would literally inoculate them with the knowledge. Unfortunately, I can’t. Life doesn’t work that way. Sadly, very few people study personal development in any serious or meaningful way. Perhaps 1% or less of people are serious students of themselves, their minds, their lives, their incredible potential and their futures. Hopefully through my books, articles, radio and television interviews and live educational events, I can do my small part in raising awareness of this incredibly important field of study.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Your readers can follow me on Instagram at @johnchubackmd and at Chuback Education on Facebook. They can also visit www.chubackeducation.com to keep up with news and information about educational programs and seminars.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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