We are often taught to look at life like a buffet – Here are the options you have. Pick what you want.
But in reality, life offers an à la carte menu. You don’t have to pick from a finite bucket.
If you want something, you have to put it out into the universe and it will, just like stating it, help clear path and also will attract people that will help you achieve it.– Michael DiTullo, Design Entrepreneur
Stories like that of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp have tried to subtly talk about the power of manifestation, which in simpler terms, is the innate ability of the human mind to create reality.
You Pick from These Buckets.
But thanks to thinkers like Aristotle, a lot of us have seen the world as a buckets – good or bad, true or false, present or absent, and so on. In the Newtonian world that we live in, we’ve been made to believe that Time is finite, while Space is infinite. That’s further made it difficult for us to believe in the infinite power of the human mind.
"I've got to become a doctor or an engineer."
"If I did take this route, people will call me a failure."
"I'm too old to pursue my interests in music."
There’s no magic lamp.
What was left unsaid in the story of Aladdin, was that every time Aladdin rubbed the magic lamp, he was manifesting a reality. He was putting out a thought into the universe.
But Aladdin and the Magic Lamp is Just a Story!
I know you’d say that. That’s why, in this article, I want to share three conversations I had with real people who literally manifested a life they chose.
Yes, meet the real-life Aladdins!
1. He Was Obsessed With Drawing
As kids, our ideas are shaped a lot by the incidents that happen around us, people and the ideas that are presented to us. Michael DiTullo was no different. He took interest to drawing, and the influence from his uncle to draw in perspective, only made this interest grow even further.
Drawing things from the future.
He was obsessed with drawing things from the future, and his parents knew it too. He recalls a time when he was in school, when he was caught drawing in his class.
When I interviewed Michael early this year for my podcast, he told me how the above incident led him to joining the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). That decision to join RISD took him on a path that many could only dream of.
He rejected a job at Nike.
They say that when you are obsessed with something, you don’t see anything else. Even if there are shiny objects along the way, you only see that thing that you are obsessed with.
In Michael’s case it was no different. When he was in his final semester he got to intern with Nike. They were so impressed with him that they ended up making him an offer to join them. But Michael was perhaps too obsessed with drawing and design that a job offer seemed to trivial. He told me that he rejected the offer. When I asked him why, he reflected that it was perhaps that it went to his head a little bit.
Then joined Nike and worked with Michael Jordan.
Michael went on to work with another company, Evo Design, where he ended up working with Nike as a client. Eventually he joined back Nike and went on to become one of the company’s youngest design directors.
He later went on to work with Michael Jordan in designing the Jordan sneakers and even working with Sound United in designing speakers and more.
He always put out what he wanted to the universe.
Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about this in his book Becoming Supernatural. He says, when you combine your thought with emotions, it’s like an electromagnetic field that attracts everything in the universe that can help manifest that thought to reality.
Michael did just that. He’s always been in the pursuit of drawing things from the future. After all these years of working with the biggest of brands (because they let him draw and design things from the future), he opened his own design studio to do this a few years back. He continues to draw and share his work everyday.
2. This Multi-millionaire went Bankrupt and Bounced Back.
If Michael’s story is one about creating a career around your obsessions, John’s story is one about rebuilding his life and career brick-by-brick.
John Sanei was a successful businessman in South Africa. In fact, he was a multi-millionaire that ran multiple businesses. But as luck would have it, a series of uneventful circumstances led to him losing all of what he’d built. He even lost his marriage.
He went into a downward spiral.
In this interview John talks about how he got stuck in what he calls a victim mindset, where we end up complaining and blaming everyone else for what’s happened. He was not taking responsibility for over 5 years of being depressed.
Then came the upward climb with a simple realization.
Quoting Dr. Joe Dispenza, John talks about a simple realization that started changing everything for him.
“…it’s that everybody has a mind, and this mind is made up of a personality, this personality is made up of behaviors, these behaviors are made up of habits and these habits are made up of rituals. And when I understood that our reality is made up of minute-by-minute, second-by-second rituals, I was able to change my thinking bit by bit.”– John Sanei, Futurist and Speaker
From not being able to pay rent, to living in two of the most beautiful cities in the world.
This transformative realization took John from a state of depression and cash crunch to a life where he now lives in Cape Town and New York.
It all started with a simple change – changing daily rituals.
3. A Refugee from Afghanistan to Working with Celebrities in LA
The third story I want to share is that of Walid Azami, who I also had the pleasure of interviewing sometime back. In the 1980s, he was smuggled into the United States from Afghanistan. He continued to live a life that most refugees in the United States do – washing cars and doing odd-jobs.
The Oddly-long Obsession-driven Cover Letter.
But one day, he noticed an opening for Madonna’s movie company, Maverick Films, and applied for it. He was so obsessed with getting a job like that he wrote a long cover letter along with his resume. Noticing his passion and the oddly-long cover letter, he was invited to an interview for a job that he finally ended up getting.
Listening to your gut instincts.
But after working with Madonna for a few years, Walid did not want to settle in the management side. He was obsessed about production and wanted to pursue a career in it. So he quit the Madonna job, confused and unclear. That’s when Jaime King, a creative director on Madonna’s team (and now Walid’s good friend) gave him a piece of advice that changed his future.
“He said, Walid…the closest you’ll be to God, energy, the universe, mother nature, Allah, Buddha, whatever you think is bigger than you, is when you listen to your gut instincts.”– Walid Azāmi, Celebrity Photographer and Creative
Going All-in on Photography.
He went all in, and even purchased a professional camera with all the money he had. With a camera in hand and no money to pay a rent, he moved into his parents’ house and practiced photography every day. It was then something happened.
A call that changed his future.
One day, Walid receives a call from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend. He tells him that Usher (the musician) had just fired his tour photographer and checked with Walid if he was interested in taking up that job!
Things completely changed for Walid ever since. He later worked with celebrities like Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, and so many others.
Michael, John and Walid were not lucky!
- They believed in putting out their thoughts into the universe and let the universe take care of the rest.
- They were all obsessed with something. So much so that they didn’t see anything else.
- All of them followed their highest excitement, and did those daily rituals religiously.
- They attracted opportunities instead of chasing them.
- They went All-in.
What is one thing you want? Is it a career? Is it a lifestyle? Is it health?
Whatever it is, be obsessed with it, go all-in and do the tiny rituals every single day. Remember, life is an à la carte menu and not a buffet!