Most of us look for guidance from others when we feel like we are struggling, or facing challenges, or having difficulties. Sometimes we simply feel that our lives could be more fulﬁlling and more fruitful, but even this comes from a sense of having difﬁculties with the way life is at the moment. And I completely understand that.
Let me take you back to a bleak period in my life. I know it’s not the most pleasant or positive way to get things started, but I have found in my own life that truly dark nights eventually turn into bright lights – and they can in your life too.
The year was 1992, and I was struggling. I spent large chunks of my day alone with my head in my hands, and my thoughts racing, as I tried to take stock of my life. I was trying very hard not to call myself a loser but I sure felt like one. I was a loser with nowhere to turn, a loser who had stuffed up big time, a loser who was no use to anyone. But, truthfully, I was a loser trapped in a nightmare of my own design.
Months earlier, at twenty-six years of age, I’d sold my ﬁrst business enterprise for $1.5 million. The company had been sold in good faith and I’d given the buyers everything that was required of me. However, payday came and went without the ‘pay’ part of the equation being honoured.
The buyers had given me a small down payment, with the balance to be paid twelve months hence. As the twelvemonth deadline approached, the buyers accused me of selling my customer database to the opposition. Without going into too much detail, it was a groundless accusation – but that didn’t matter, because now it was a legal concern: solicitors, big money, all the serious stuff. Coming from such a startling high, I was now facing a miserable, soul-destroying low.
On top of that, I’d started a new venture that was chewing up money fast. I was desperately in need of capital. Having become a ﬁnancial success story so young in life, it looked like I was heading for bankruptcy just one year later.
It was such a frustrating and humbling time. I had no idea how to approach life. I had so many questions: Why had I trusted these people? Was this how the business world operated? Was I out of my depth? Would this be the end of me? All of this was consuming me, day and night. The shadow of failure clung tightly, and I felt powerless to turn things around.
I spent quite some time feeling sorry for myself; eventually I thought I’d hit rock bottom. I had exerted all of my energy in an attempt to remedy the situation and I had failed. I could think of nothing else to try. Emotionally I was exhausted, and I had lost sight of my dreams and goals. I felt empty. I felt I had nothing more to offer the world, and vice versa.
Thankfully one thing remained with me, and that was the knowledge that I’d been in bad situations before and pulled myself out of them. I realised one day that the only way from here was up and I needed to look for ways to turn my life around. I was sick of being filled with so many depressing thoughts. I decided that I needed to start creating some new thoughts – thoughts that would make me want to get out of bed in the morning. I realised that I was in control of what was going on in my mind. Sure, at times it felt as though some other being were trying to take over, but I was in charge of my thoughts and I needed to take command.
I knew that anything good would take time, even though it felt like I didn’t have a whole lot of time. I needed to try something new, using my thoughts to change my life. Desperate times demand desperate measures and I had to come up with something to get myself out of this situation. And it had to be something different from what I’d tried in the past.
When things are going well in our lives we tend to continue to think in the ways we always have – usually, most of us think conservatively. We may have grand thoughts now and again; we may imagine that our lives could be different. Fundamentally, though, we don’t really believe that things will change, and in most cases that doesn’t really matter to us: we accept the status quo. That’s not easy when you’re down and out. At such a time, it’s a real leap of faith to dream differently. When you have other alternatives, a leap of faith doesn’t always seem very attractive. Take away those alternatives, however, and you have little choice – you simply have to believe that change can happen. At the very least, you try new things because you feel as though they can’t make you any worse off than you currently are. You have nothing to lose.
I believe that you can never fully embrace the warmth of the sun on a beautiful summer’s day unless you have felt the chill of a cold winter’s night. And I was in the depths of a blizzard at that time!
So, I started to really feel what I wanted from this life. I started fantasising – literally using my imagination to dream up what I wanted. Say I wanted a productive meeting with the buyer of my business, the man who was withholding the money from the sale – I would start visualising that meeting, imagining myself sitting in that boardroom with him and him coming around to my way of thinking. Everything that could go right with our relationship was being played out in my mind. And it felt really, really good.
If nothing else, I would go down with a smile on my face; if it didn’t work out, it was my own mind I was messing with – nobody else’s. Considering how desperate I had been for the past few months, it was easy to be fearless. In a way, choosing this path was a relief. It felt like a big experiment of my own creation.
At that point I didn’t fully realise what I was doing with my thinking. I had little understanding of why my thoughts were affecting my circumstances, but it felt right. And the more I did it, the more it seemed to work.
That’s not to say that all my difficulties disappeared overnight. It was still painful, but I was determined. That determination led to conﬁdence. I started making phone calls that I would never usually consider making because, in the past, I had thought the results would be negative. However, now I was getting positive results. I began to expect good things to happen, and as they did I grew more confident that I actually did have some power to change what was happening in my life.
It worked in a few ways outside of my business as well: I was achieving surprising results in my personal relationships. People whom I’d considered unapproachable in the past were easy to approach and, more importantly, suddenly took an interest in me. Now I really was becoming confident!
For the ﬁrst time in a long time I was smiling every day. Financially I was still struggling, so most people around me probably thought I was crazy. I knew better. I knew that from the outside my life appeared to be running off the tracks, but inside my head I was going in the right direction. I was just taking a path of my own creation. But as I stuck to this new reality in my mind, my level of success and circumstances began to change and one of the greatest trials of my life – sorting out this terrible business situation – began to change for the better.
After three months of getting nowhere, the new managing director of the company I had sold my business to agreed that I was right and said that they would pay. What a win! It was a great moment in my life, and not just ﬁnancially: I had tried and proven a method of making things happen in my life that was to become my foundation stone and, indeed, the subject of this book.
When I look back at that time, I don’t like what happened – it was so depressing, really – but without it I wouldn’t have pushed so hard for a solution. And I certainly wouldn’t have found the greatest knowledge that anyone could ever ask for. It is this knowledge that now allows me to control my life and brings me unending happiness and success. And yes, of course, the ability and enthusiasm to let other people – like you – know just what they are capable of and what grand resources we all have at hand to make our lives anything we want them to be, through the way we think.
Some might call what I was doing wishful thinking; I think that those people have given up on the magic of life. What I have learned, through regular trial and error, is that this approach that worked for me – and continues to work for me – can work for anyone. I have my own proof. And I know that absolutely everyone on this earth has the power to bring into their lives whatever they want. They can create for themselves a life they would presently only dream of but don’t think they can really have.
And take it from me: I have put this power to work, not just in the ways I described above but numerous other times and ways all through my life. What I have to tell you has been tried and proven by me. Through much study and research I have found it to be a core truth of our universe, something we are a part of and were born to use to assist us in our lives. If you are not utilising it, life will always be frustrating.
At the time I asked myself how all this worked. What was really happening was that my thoughts were becoming reality. It took me a long time to ﬁnd an answer as to how and why it worked, but after many years I have realised that the main reason we have problems in our lives is that we feel we are separate from everything, when in fact we are connected with everything. But convincing ourselves that we are one with a universal force is not easy: most of us are fooled by the grand illusion of separation.
You are probably wondering how being connected with everything means that your thoughts can become a reality; you are possibly also wondering what I mean by ‘a universal force’. We will get to that – I promise. It’s just too big a concept to encapsulate in a couple of lines.
Many spiritual teachings believe that we are one with everything around us but give us very few facts to support that belief. We are sometimes expected to just accept it. But if you’re like me, you want to be able to understand the fact that you are one with the universe in a logical manner and so be able to see how being one with the universe can actually help you.
And when your conviction of being one with the universe has come from exploring the logical facts, you will be more conﬁdent and capable of using the powers within you to bring about any circumstances and situations in your life that you wish.
It requires a bit of work to understand – and it’s totally worth doing the work. So, please bear with me – and, more importantly, bear with yourself.
Some parts of this book may sound familiar if you’re into improving yourself. We’re not reinventing the wheel here – I’d like to think that we’re simplifying it. Other books tend to get a bit fancy and overcomplicate situations that are really second nature or can be easily explained. Most things in life are fairly simple, but people like to jazz things up as a matter of course. I don’t. I’ll try to give everything to you in as easy-to-understand a way as possible.
Of course, everyone is different. Over the years I have shared experiences with people from all walks of life. Some stick very strongly to what they have been with doing their parents, while others are more comfortable with doing the searching themselves. When it comes to faith, I was raised as a Christian and I still believe in many of the principles that guide the Christian faith. That being said, I’m well aware that some religions are frustratingly slow to change and, as a result, they tend to have little relevance in today’s world. Applying a simple test will generally work: if the religion’s teachings do not ultimately lead its followers to happy and successful lives, they’re out of touch with reality.
It’s all well and good to keep an open mind, but taking things on face value can be dangerous and lead to all kinds of misery. Keep in mind that the recognised ‘holy texts’ of many religions have changed immeasurably since they were ﬁrst introduced. The heart of the text might be in the right place but, over time, the message has been lost in translation.
Of course, the world is constantly changing at a cracking pace – twenty-ﬁve years ago this book would’ve been written on a typewriter! I don’t want to insult any reader’s current beliefs. All I ask is that you try to use the information and techniques within this book with an open mind and see if they work for you.
In some ways, I’m probably a lot like you, especially if you’re on a life journey to better yourself. Everything I’ve learned over the years I had to test myself: Is it practical? Is it effective? Is it overhyped? Is it easy to apply? For the last twenty years I have been learning and applying teachings and techniques, using what worked for me. I’ve done the testing so you can reap the rewards, as all of these teachings and techniques are designed to get you living your dream life as quickly as possible.
Allow me to also say that there is nothing worse than the guy who writes books for the sole aim of making money. I’m not that guy. Writing this hasn’t been that easy, especially for a guy who types with two ﬁngers. Slowly! That’s a lot of keystrokes when I have so many other enjoyable distractions in my life. You’re getting it straight from someone who’s been there – and is still there. I don’t need your cash, but I want to see your smile.
In addition, I’d like to tell you up front that I haven’t been an angel in my life. The last thing anyone needs is an angel coming down from above to tell them what is right and wrong. I’ve tried many experiences that I wouldn’t consider doing now, but they’ve all given me a special understanding of life, leading me to this point in time. Unless you’ve been there yourself, you simply can’t tell it like it is. To put it another way: you can be told not to touch the burning stove, but unless you actually touch it, you will never learn the real lesson. Let’s just say I’ve touched the stove many times in my life, and what I’ve learned from doing it is what I pass on to you now.
Excerpted from The One by Nick P. Smith. Copyright © 2013 by Nick P. Smith.
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