Dr. Joe Vitale shares his top tips on book writing success, miracle results with the Law of Attraction and Ho’oponopono to live a life with Zero Limits. You’ll love this interview with Dr. Vitale, who was a keynote speaker at the Inner Game of Writing, Creativity, Profit Summit (2022). We dive into questions like: Where do you get your ideas? What makes you so productive and prolific? (He has written 80+ books and 15 music albums). And how do you edit and market your books? [Hint marketing is always on his mind, even while writing a book].
Listen to the end as Dr. Vitale reveals the number one secret he’d tell his younger self. It’s may not be what you think!
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CARYL – Dr. Joe Vitale is a globally famous author of 80 plus books – and counting – marketing guru, movie, TV and radio personality, musician, and one of the top 50 inspirational speakers in the world. He shot to fame when he appeared in the movie The Secret, was interviewed on Larry King Live, and has since become the world’s most famous Law of Attraction expert, sharing the ‘missing secret to miracles and manifesting’ and ‘Attracting Money Now.’
He is both a thinker and a healer certified in modalities like NLP, Reiki, Qui Gong, clinical hypnotherapy, and an ordained minister and Doctor of Metaphysical Science. I’d just like to mention some of my favorite – and maybe some of your best-known bestsellers before you come on Dr. Joe. They are: The Attractor Factor, Attract Money Now, Zero Limits and At Zero (about Ho’oponopono) The Miracle – anything is possible, and The Art and Science of Getting Results.
Welcome Dr. Joe.
JOE – Great to be here. Thanks for the invitation. I’ve been looking forward to this.
CARYL – I met you 20 years ago at your Miracles Weekend. You kindly wrote the Foreword to my book, You Can Break-Free Fast EFT Tapping. Today is the first time we’ve actually been on since then so will you give us the 30,000-foot view of your life, of where you came from. I love your origin story.
JOE – A long story made short, I wanted to be an author since I was a teenager. I had wanted to be a lot of different things. But I loved books, which you can tell from the background here – I still love books – that I decided I wanted to be an author and I began that pursuit as a teenager. But it was not an overnight success. I struggled, I was homeless for a while, I was in poverty for 10 years.
Throughout all of it I was writing and sending out manuscripts. You have to remember that was way before the internet. I wasn’t published as an author until 1984. That was my first book. That’s when I learned that publishers don’t know about marketing books. That was a turning point because I had to learn marketing for myself. My next book wasn’t for another 10 years, around 1995. By then I had learned about marketing. I started to make those books – that one and the ones that followed – pretty successful. Then the internet was coming along and I was one of the first to go online as a pioneer – kind of stumbling my way around like all of us were doing back then.
I wrote one of the first books on internet marketing back in ’96, or ’97, called Cyber Writing, so I was gaining a reputation as being an internet marketer, as a copywriter, as an author. I was fumbling my way around the internet and I got a bit of an online fame from that. The big turning point was when I was invited to be in a movie – because of one of the books I wrote. That movie was called The Secret which blew me and my reputation into outer space. They know me on Mars now because of that. I’d been all around the world and, until the pandemic, was continuing to travel to countries I didn’t know existed when I was growing up and all because of The Secret – all because of my books.
Even now, while being chained at home during a pandemic, I’m still writing books. I have five or six books that came out in the last couple of years. I have a couple of other ones that will be coming out very soon. So I’m still following that childhood passion. Yet it was not an overnight success and that’s the thing I want people to know – I was persistent. I had my intention and I kept going towards it. I kept working, I kept trying. I kept falling, I kept getting back up. There were breakthroughs and breakdowns along the way to achieve this level of kind of minor league celebrity success. Pretty cool.
CARYL – Of course I followed you from South Africa before you were famous in The Secret. I think your one book was Spiritual Marketing. I was part of your Hypnotic Marketing course. A part of me doesn’t want to ask this question but I’m sure you get asked it over and over: Where do your ideas come from? How can you be so prolific?
JOE – I love that you ask the questions you don’t want to ask. I think that’s where we should all go. Just be authentic. If you have an itch to ask something – here’s your chance, grab it. Where do ideas come from? They come from everywhere. I will be reading a book and as I’m reading, a thought will occur to me as a trigger to the stimulus of whatever it is that I’m reading. One of the best examples I can give you is from way back around 1990.
I was reading a book called The Robert Collier Letter Book. Robert Collier was a metaphysical writer. I didn’t know until I read that book that he was also a marketing guy. So I’m reading the Robert Collier Letter Book and as I’m reading it he had a mention in there about a fellow named Bruce Barton. Something in me just said, ‘Who’s Bruce Barton and what happened to him?’
Suddenly I was on a mission, I was on a quest, I had this new idea. I had to find out who Bruce Barton was. And remember now – I’m broke. I’m unknown. I’d had one book published 10 years before. So there’s nobody urging me on, nobody paying me, nobody encouraging me, nobody dangling a carrot saying, ‘Hey, if you go and pursue this, you’ll turn it into a book and you’ll get fame and fortune. None of that. I’m doing it because it’s an idea I believe in, even when I can’t explain to you why.
I persisted, I did all the research and I ended up writing a book about Bruce Barton that became one of my early phenomenal successes, called The Seven Lost Secrets of Success. It was published by a small publisher – it was his first book, he wanted to be a publisher and I needed a publisher at the time. Together we made that book notorious. There was one company that heard me on a radio show talking about The Seven Lost Secrets of Success and they bought 19,000 copies of that book. The book is in print now and other publishers picked it up. I’ve expanded it. So it’s had a long history from 1990 / 1992.
The idea came as I was reading the Robert Collier Letter Book. 1,000s of other people, if not millions, have read the same book, but they didn’t get the idea. I believe we’re all getting ideas all the time. We get them whether it’s from reading, we’re walking through the park, or walking our dog, or going for an airplane ride, any number of things.
Ideas come to us. Most of us dismiss them and talk ourselves out of them. They’ll say not me, not now. I don’t have the experience. I don’t have the connection. Who cares? I could have said any of that and I’ve written over 80 books – as you pointed out. I can tell you stories of where the ideas came from pretty much for every book, plus I’m a musician, I have 15 albums, I can tell you stories of where the ideas came from. The only difference between me and somebody else is that when the idea came, I went, ‘oh, cool idea. Let me go do it,’ where somebody else probably got an idea and they said, ‘I don’t have the time.’
CARYL – That’s a perfect answer. And once you get that idea, how do you get it out so quickly? Do you give yourself a sprint?
JOE – I love that question because there is a secret to getting ideas produced quickly, and that secret is this: when an idea comes to any of us there is a charge to it. It’s a happy charge, we go, ‘Wow, that’s a cool idea. That’d be great if somebody did that.’ Then you start to think, well, that’d be great if I did that and in that moment there’s that energy that’s coming in with the rush of a good idea.
In other words it’s that very energy that I use to create the idea. A lot of people might go, well, that was a great idea. They get their pen out and at best they make a note… Good idea. If they get to the note weeks or months or even years later, they look at it go wow, it’s still a good idea. But the energy that came with it is gone.
The lightning strike that hit when the idea came to you has a bunch of energy to it. You can ride that energy. I have done that. Let me tell you another quick story. I was given my first PC when I was living in a dump in Houston, it must have been around 1990. I was given the PC by a wealthy man who came to one of my adult education classes, teaching writing. He had seen me and he believed in me and he said you need a computer, and he gave me his used old IBM PC. You know that kind with a floppy disk and you got to put the disk in, and then when you go to save it, you got to take the disk out.
The day I learned how to operate it I wrote a book. I was learning how to put the disc in and I’m learning how to type on it. I got the big monitor. It’s my first computer and I’m kind of giddy. I’m a little kid and I’m broke. I’m not known. And I remember thinking ‘I think I’ve got the hang of this.’ So I wrote a little booklet that was called Turbocharge your Writing. It revealed a seven-step formula for writing which was the very seven steps that I was using at the time. I just thought, ‘well, this is kind of cool.’ So what does that mean?
An idea was coming to me and I didn’t delay. I said, well, the computers here, I’m here, I’m excited – let me start typing, and I wrote that little book that afternoon. Because I was teaching those writing classes at the time, the next writing class I went to I said, ‘Hey, I have a new book.’ I had gone to Kinkos, which at that time was a local print store with my little manuscripts and I just said, ‘Turbocharge your Writing …$20,’ and people would buy it. The point is I acted on the idea, and the idea got done, because of my enthusiasm that came with the idea.
CARYL – I love that. Do you then say, ‘the energy’s in this book, I’m going to send it now to the editor’ ?
JOE – I would say for the first 75 books I was ruthless about my own editing process. This is a writing tip for anybody that wants to write anything. I had learned to divide the process of writing and editing as two very separate distinct processes – this is what I taught in my writing classes. The idea was that when you sit down to write, you just write. You don’t edit, you don’t second guess, and you’re not critical. You’re doing your best just to get it on paper, or just to get it on the computer. Brain Dump it and don’t care if there’s mistakes, or things are left out, or it’s out of order or it doesn’t seem to make sense. All you’re doing is dumping. That’s it.
So when I was done I knew later I’d have to go edit it, in a separate process. I didn’t want anybody touching it. This was my baby. I don’t have biological kids, but I have 80 kids. These are the ones that came from my brain, my soul, my heart, my spirit. So I had learned to fine-tune my writing. I remember I had written a book on PT Barnum called ‘There’s a Customer Born every Minute.’ There was an author that I greatly admired, who inspired me, and he called me and said, ‘I read your book on PT Barnum – it’s fantastically written, who was your editor at the publisher?’
I was kind of shocked because I thought, ‘do people use editors at publishing houses? I thought you did it yourself.’ So I said, ‘I didn’t use an editor.’ Over the last few years I relaxed a little bit, and allowed other people to edit the book. I still write it, then I go in to edit it and I make it the best I can make it. Then I’m more relaxed and more trusting and I’ll let an editor come in to look for typos and look for sentence structure, for inconsistencies, and things like that.
CARYL – What about the marketing, which you learned in the early days was going to be up to you? Do you get help with it?
JOE – I get as much help as I can, but it all begins with me. So first of all as I’m writing I have an eye on marketing. Just to go off of the story I’ve already shared, when I wanted to write that book on Bruce Barton I knew not to call it Bruce Barton. From a marketing standpoint, people watching right now don’t know who Bruce Barton is. So if I had written a book called Bruce Barton it would have been a dud. So from the beginning I had to be thinking, ‘Okay, I want to write about this guy, Bruce Barton, but I can’t write it as a biography because the market would be next to nothing. I have to think of what will bring in the most readers that would then learn about Bruce Barton.’ Because I was writing self-help books it was a natural extension for me to go ‘well, let me see what his success principles are’ and so it became The Seven Lost Secrets of Success.’
That is purely because I’m thinking as a marketer, but I got Bruce Barton’s name in there, and I did it in a way that still had marketing in my mindset. So as I’m writing, I have a little bit of awareness of the marketing from day one. I think that’s really important because once the book’s done, who’s going to buy it? If I wrote it all because of me and just my interest, then the market for it is going to be very hard to find and probably very, very small.
Marketing is a never-ending process. I tell people either you have to market it or you have to hire somebody to market it. But as soon as you stop marketing it, the book will die – even Bruce Barton’s whose books were bestsellers. He wrote numerous books, some of which are still in print right now, like The Man Nobody Knows – you can go buy it on Amazon. But he is forgotten, because he died in 1967. Even before that he stopped his own marketing. As soon as the marketing stops – unless there’s a rare case where a book is so great that the underground swell of supporters causes a movement to keep it alive – most books will die.
CARYL – Okay, talking of an underground movement, let’s move on to the Ho’oponopono story, Zero limits and At Zero. Would you say that was a bridge in your life from a spiritual or consciousness point of view?
JOE – In many points of view, you are absolutely correct. The irony is I discovered Ho’oponopono as the movie The Secret was coming out. The world was rushing to look at The Secret and talk about the Law of Attraction. I went on Larry King Live (the TV Show) twice. And Oprah and other people are doing these big features, and I’m being asked to talk around the world on the Law of Attraction. It’s at that whirlwind of interest in the Law of Attraction, and in me, that I discovered something that was better than the Law of Attraction.
It was Ho’oponopono. Here I am learning about Ho’oponopono and almost not wanting to talk about the Law of Attraction because it’s like I just left first grade, I’m going on to the higher levels here. But I had to juggle both and you are correct, Ho’oponopono was a turning point in my life and in my career.
It’s something I still refer to – I’ve written three books on it at this point. The first one, as you mentioned, was Zero Limits which told a most remarkable story. I’ll give a condensed version of it, because it’s incredibly powerful. It’s a true story of a therapist who helped heal an entire ward of mentally ill criminals at a state hospital in Hawaii. The interesting thing was he didn’t heal them by working on them directly, he healed them by working on himself. When I first heard the story I dismissed it thinking, ‘I believe in magic and miracles but it sounds like an urban legend. How does anybody work on themselves and change other people?’ You’re talking about mentally ill criminals, criminals who would have to be shackled or sedated because they were violent, in a hospital for the criminally insane.
I heard the story a couple of times and I thought ‘if it’s at all true, somebody needs to tell it.’ I found the therapist – his name is Dr.Ihaleakala Hew Len – he’s still around. I talked to him on the phone, then he invited me to one of his events. Then – long story short – I did events with him and together we wrote the first book Zero Limits, explaining what he did. What he was doing was this Hawaiian healing method called Ho’oponopono, where you go inside yourself, your awareness is inner-directed, and you say four key phrases as a kind of prayer or petition to your connection, to what I call the divine.
Somebody else can just call it nature, or the cosmos, or God, or all that is the great, something Joseph Campbell called the great mystery thing that’s bigger than all of us. The four phrases you’re saying inside yourself as a prayer are I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
So you’re saying these inside yourself and what you’re doing, and what he was doing, is your best to remove the feelings and the perceptions and the judgments of what you were seeing. So when he looked at the mentally ill criminals he largely looked at their charts and he’s feeling repulsed. He’s feeling anger, he’s feeling grief, he’s feeling embarrassed, he’s feeling helpless. He’s trying to reduce the feelings in himself so we can get to a place of peace, serenity, neutrality. The interesting thing is as he reduces those feelings within himself, the patients get better.
This is the miracle. As I said, I’ve written three books, Zero Limits, then 10 years later I wrote At Zero, then I think it was last year I wrote The Fifth Phrase. I’ve been hearing from people from all walks of life that have been practicing this since I brought it to the world around 2005. Sick people have used this for health concerns, for financial concerns, their pets don’t feel well, their relationships aren’t well, their sales are down, they have cancer, they’re dealing with audits with the government, the IRS. They’ve used it for everything. And I have too. It’s a deceptively simple method of deluding your own inner beliefs and limitations, so that you can create and allow and attract the reality you would prefer to have.
CARYL – That’s beautifully put. It’s always stuck with me that you said you used to clean on your books before you sent them out into the world. I’m asking people for their inner game, some of their habits and rituals, would that be one of yours – that you clean with Ho’oponopono on every book you write?
JOE – Yes, ever since I learned it. This is actually a big subject. Because first of all I was homeless, as I mentioned, and I was in poverty for a very long time. I didn’t realise I had beliefs in me that in order for me to be a successful author, I had to struggle. That’s one of the big beliefs right there. So I had to erase that belief. Then there are beliefs, that were in me and that are still in a lot of people, that money is bad, money is evil; that money corrupts in some way, shape, or form. That money is a dark force. I had to clean that in me because money is neutral. It’s just paper and coins – there’s nothing magical about it, we all feed meaning to it.
So I had to work on myself to be okay with success and not having to struggle for it. To be okay with books coming to me easily and not having to bleed at the typewriter as Ernest Hemingway said…’You just sit at the typewriter and bleed.’ Maybe for him, but you know you don’t have to do it that way. I was greatly influenced by Jack London. He was dead by the age of 40 – as a suicide. He wrote 50+ books and some of them are American classic literature, like The Call of the Wild, Martin Eden and The Sea Wolf. I was trying to model my life after his – where I should have just modelled his writing style and not his lifestyle.
CARYL – But you had to learn to do that.
JOE – I’m bringing it up because I want everybody to hear it. If they’re wanting to write, I want them to know it can be easy. If they’re wanting to be a success, I want them to know that they need to make peace with success and make peace with money. And yes, I’m cleaning on my own books, just as I was cleaning on myself, so that my books can go out into the world to touch people. They’re babies, they’re gonna go into the world without me there. I want them to touch with potency, and power and purity. So I’m cleaning on me, my books, my relationship to them, and to the world at large.
CARYL – In the book, The Art and Science of Results, where you say that there’s a science and then there’s an art – you mentioned four stages of consciousness. Let’s go through those four stages, because along the way you’re clearing beliefs. One of them is EFT Tapping, my favorite, and another is Nevillizing. Talk us through the four stages and belief clearing in all its many forms.
JOE – First of all, when I wrote Zero Limits, I said there were three stages of consciousness, which shows that’s what I understood at the time. But as we continue working on ourselves and clearing our beliefs and our limitations, we keep growing, we keep expanding. Since then, because of all the inner work, I now know that there’s four stages of consciousness, and I write about them in The Art and Science of Getting Results.
The first one is victimhood and it’s not a stage of awakening at all. It’s a stage of feeling like the world’s out to get you – that you don’t have too much power or control. Henry David Thoreau said the vast majority of men – and today he would say women – are leading lives of quiet desperation. That’s how I felt during the homeless and poverty years. It’s like, I have a dream. I want to be an author. But look at me, I’m suffering, I’m desperate, I’m not happy, I’m feeling like a victim.
So the first stage is victimhood and the vast majority of people are there. They’re complaining that they feel stuck. They blame everybody and everything else but they’re not taking any responsibility, largely because they don’t have the consciousness to know better. If they’re lucky maybe one of my books, maybe the movie The Secret, maybe some other books, some other movie, some person, enters their life. And suddenly there’s an Aha.
Then they enter the second stage of awakening, which is empowerment. Empowerment is wonderful because it’s exhilarating. You now feel like ‘I can have, do, or be anything, I can visualize it, I can achieve it.’ You can read Napoleon Hills works, Think and Grow Rich – and all the other ones – and take all that to heart and start to use it, and you can start to get results. It’s a wonderful place to be – it certainly beats victim. Yet it’s only the second stage.
There’s a third stage. At some point in empowerment you butt heads into something you can’t change. In my case my father had died, my mother had died, my best friend had died, a family member attempted suicide. I went into a divorce that ended up being a three-year persecution of my life and business. The pandemic hit, shut down my travel, which is the biggest income source. All of that was something I couldn’t do anything about. I can feel empowered, but I can’t bring my father back to life, and I haven’t been able to cure COVID yet. So at that point, you realise you don’t have total control.
You’re not a victim, because you still have control of yourself, and you have limited control over what you can do in the world. So you end up moving into the third stage, which is surrender. Surrender isn’t the negative thing where you wave a white flag and say, ‘I give up.’ It’s the surrender where you join forces with a higher power. A higher power, an atheist would say, is just nature, or a more spiritual person could say, ‘it’s the great something, it’s the divine, it’s God.’ You’re more powerful then because you joined forces.
It’s not just your ego which was strutting around feeling empowered, but now you join forces with the supernatural, the superhuman, the super force of all time. So you’re more empowered than ever before, because you surrender to the higher power. That’s the third stage.
There’s a fourth stage – what I call awakening itself. You can’t make an awakening, you can prepare for an awakening, but you can’t make it happen because that would be your ego trying to outsmart your own ego. It’s a game you can’t win. Awakening comes by grace – that’s when the great something bestows on you the awakening that you are the great something, and it lives and breathes and speaks and writes through you. That’s the quick overview.
CARYL – So Dr. Joe, to wrap up this fantastic interview, which I really feel on fire about – I can see why you are mrfire.com
In conclusion, I want to ask you…’What’s the one tip you would tell your younger self?’
JOE – I was on a radio show recently and they asked a similar question. They asked: ‘Joe, with everything that you’ve written, and with everything that you’ve read, and everything that you’ve done and everything you’ve accomplished…what’s the ONE thing that always works?’ Sheezus, that’s really put me on the hot seat. One, only one? I have to give only one thing?
It did occur to me there is one thing and this one thing beats talent. It beats luck. It beats connections. It beats coincidences. It beats virtually anything anybody can mention. And what’s that one thing? PERSISTENCE. Persistence wins the race. If you get up every day and you keep going for your dream, knowing some days you’re gonna fail and some days you’re gonna win, some days it’s gonna rain and some days it’s gonna be sunny, some days you’re gonna slip on the ice, and some days it’s gonna be easy peasy. If you just keep going. You will win.
CARYL – Where can people find you online and get your free gift?
JOE – Vitale is my last name – they can go to VITALELIFEMASTERY.COM where there are several things for sale. But there are also several things that are FREE – courses and things like that. I also have a membership program where the first 14 days are free. So VITALELIFEMASTERY.COM is probably a fun place to go. My books are on Amazon – just go to Amazon and type in my name. My music is everywhere – from Amazon, to Spotify, to iTunes, to wherever you might hear good music. If people haven’t seen The Secret, I would encourage them to because it’s helped a lot of people. It’s on Amazon and Netflix and I think it’s at www.thesecret.tv
CARYL – Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us today. It’s been a real pleasure connecting with you. And I wish you all the best going forward.
JOE – Thank you for this opportunity.