Wayne Dyer, initially known as the motivational coach, died this past weekend at the age of 75. He was the author of over 40 books, half of which made the Bestsellers list. Last year the Mind Body Spirit magazine ranked him as the eighth most influential spiritual person in the world. With these blogs, I want to offer a tribute of thanks to the man, highlighting what I have learned from his many teachings.
Even if you disagree with some of his suggestions, we have to pay respect to his personal perseverance. In his first book, Your Erroneous Zones, there were no buyers, so he purchased all the copies of the book, stuffing them into the trunk of his car. Then he spent the next year, on his own, driving around America. In each small city, he would go on the early morning local radio show. Later in the morning, acting as an interested fan, he would call bookstores in the area, asking for his book. Later in the afternoon, as the author, he would appear at that same local bookstore, offering the store the chance to carry his book.
Bit by bit, small city by small city, bookstore by bookstore, he sold all the copies of his book. A year after starting on this lonely quest, the book made the bestseller list and he found himself on several national TV programs. For a moment, forget the content of his message. Just appreciate the amount of hard work and singular effort, day after day, which he modeled for the rest of us. If you have a passion, you can succeed. It just depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice. That’s a message that needs to be heard by more and more people, especially today.
Here’s another example that applies to all of us. Wayne Dyer saw a man searching for his car keys under a light post. He stopped and helped the man for 15 minutes. When they could not find the keys, he asked the man,” Is there any chance you could have dropped the keys over there on the lawn where it’s dark?” The man responded, “Yes, that’s exactly where I dropped them.” Confused, Wayne asked, “Then why are you looking over here?” The man did not hesitate, “I am looking over here because there’s some light over here. Over there it’s dark.” Wayne Dyer implored all of us to look into new areas, especially those areas where it seemed darker and more mysterious.
As a parent, I loved his recommendations for raising a child. He would ask, “What do you really want for your children? Do you want them to be wealthy? Or do you want them to be happy?” His own answer was more expansive. He focused on what a parent should do. He believed that the parent should raise the child on love and praise, limiting any criticism. He believed in accenting well-being and positive images. He wanted parents to encourage their children to take responsibility, not be “blamers.” He wanted children to be inner directed, following their own gifts and passions, not the desires of their parents. He wanted the children to be confident in themselves, not obedient to their parents.
In summary, Wayne Dyer wanted a world where people did not chase wealth; they chased after their own dreams. Better yet, they chased after those dreams with a sense of self-respect, self-worth, and self-motivation. He wanted people to be appreciative of life, but he wanted people who were willing to take risks – and willing to accept the setbacks that come with those risks. He wanted people to be successful in chasing their dreams because he wanted those people to be contributors to the world, not consumers of the world’s products. More importantly, he wanted people to reach a new level of happiness, far above material possessions.
Wayne used to tell the story of the two cats. One cat was the educated cat from the “Cat Philosophy School.” That cat was taught that happiness was the purpose of life and that happiness was found in its tail, so that cat was always going round and round in circles, constantly chasing his tail in an attempt to find happiness. There was a second cat, an alley cat, which was not educated. But that cat also knew that the purpose of life was happiness and that happiness resided in your tail. But that alley cat also knew that if you went about your business, following your own passions and pursuing your own goals, happiness – much like your tail – would follow you wherever you went. So, you did not need to chase any tail. You just needed to stay on your own course – and happiness would come to you.
In these blogs, I would like to share more of those stories.
I would like to share some of Wayne Dyer’s better insights.
I would like to pay my respects.