Like everyone else on the planet, I received my engraved invitation to participate in the recession. Normally, I send regrets to those kinds of offers.
I learned ages ago that opportunities for pain and suffering are always going to be available and that if I was going to live with intention, it's best to steer clear. I'd have never become the author of 15 books, a reporter for People magazine and a world traveler if I'd accepted the onslaught of "negative invitations."
"That's not possible," naysayers always insisted on telling me. "It's hard to write a book. Even harder to sell it. You're an unknown from Kansas. You got B's in your journalism classes, for God's sake."
"Talk to the hand," I'd always say to those voices. "That may be your way of seeing things, but I choose a different reality, a higher path."
But in 2008, after three years of ever-increasing income, even being in a position to turn down a fourth project for National Geographic, I took the ego's bait.
By then, a constant stream of bad news dominated the headlines. My profession, journalism and book publishing, was among the hardest hit by the global downturn. Publishers were cutting back their lines, lowering their advances. Many of my colleagues in the newspaper business were suddenly without work.
Again, I normally don't listen to such nonsense. I much prefer a spiritual reality that proclaims abundance no matter what the circumstances. But by 2009, after little by little letting the dire news seep in, I plucked the aforementioned recession invitation out of the trash. I decided to take just a peek.
The party was in full swing. My agent was repeating the "nothing's selling" mantra over by the punch bowl. Regular clients were on the corner sofas, moaning about the economy and their need to buy less.
Before I knew what happened, I bunny hopped right into the middle of the celebration. I began singing the "ain't it awful" blues along with the party's deejay. I told anybody who'd listen about my hard times.
Before long, I convinced everyone I know that my career as an independent author was over. I even fooled them into believing that, after all these years on my own, I was old, washed up and as yesterday as the History Channel.
I actually reveled in the sympathy.
Then one day, I got out my beat-up copy of Think and Grow Rich. As I read Napoleon Hill's words about "thoughts being things," I suddenly got it.
Look how powerful my thoughts and words had been. Look what I'd done to myself. If I can create this disaster with nothing but my thoughts, I can just as easily create the opposite.
When I think back about it now, I'm slightly embarrassed. How could I have fallen so bumpily off the wagon I'd use so successfully for so many years? I know good and well how this stuff works. I know that I create my own reality. I know that listening to dooms-dayers is the most futile exercise in the world.
I wasted no time using Hill's famous advice.
Within a week, I had two new assignments. A new book contract came next. Rather than live frugally, the advice my friends were freely passing out, I decided to spend the summer overseas, volunteering and letting my newly-recovered faith pay the bills.
That decision to say, "I am prosperous and, of course, I can afford to travel overseas to volunteer" was the beginning of a more fruitful life.
Needless to say, I've taken that beautifully-engraved invitation and ripped it to shreds. And don't bother sending anymore. Because from now on, my RSVP's to any negativity will say one thing, "Have a good time. But don't expect to find me there."