Emotional Direct-Response Marketing – Friday, 4:04 am: anger, health, your family, and a very unusual dream
I had an extremely unusual dream last night. Unusual because of the subject matter, the completeness and thoroughness of what I did in my dream, and because it was all extremely vivid.
This is going to be somewhat of a long story, but as all good stories go, you can’t paint a beautiful canvas on a postage-stamp, so here goes…
I graduated from City University of New York, in 1986. But I started college five years earlier at a school in upstate New York, where I stayed for two years.
I wasn’t prepared to go away to college. I was very immature, incredibly angry, and suffered from dangerously low self-esteem, as some young men often do.
I’d grown up in a very chaotic home atmosphere (in my book, I get into this in greater detail – one thing I talk about is that “walking into my home, you never knew if it was going to be a “weekend in paradise, or… a weekend in Beirut), rife with abuse. And in virtually every way, my programming was completely geared for me to be a failure.
In fact, failure and oppression were considered the norm. “That’s how life is and that’s what you should expect,” was the overriding message.
With a backdrop like this, it’s no mystery why I was so angry, is it?
Anyway, when I went away to school upstate for the first two years of college, all of these things caused me to basically break down. I was rude, obnoxious, loud, confrontational, and extremely bitter. And this acrimony I carried, seeped out into every single thing I did, like spilled acid pouring through the cracks.
When I look back at myself, frankly, I am embarrassed at how I behaved, and sad for the people I came into contact with, who had to suffer through this poor behavior.
I was also overweight, smoked cigarettes and anything else around, and in poor physical condition.
I don’t think about this often, but nevertheless, it’s a door inside my mind I never like opening.
And who does like opening these doors, right?
We all have our demons, our skeletons in the closet…. but most often, thankfully… the closet stays shut. We find ways of letting the past stay in the past, and moving on with our lives.
Which is why this dream I had was so weird.
I dreamed I was speaking in front of all the people who lived in my dorm, and all the members of my fraternity. I reckon, with the exception of one or two people, few of these folks would have any good memories of me, or much regard for coming into contact with me today.
So I’m standing in front of all these people, and they are asking me how I changed.
Again, this is incredibly odd and I’m still wondering what the hell prompted any of this, but the dream was as vivid as any dream I’ve ever had. I even know the clothes I was wearing – a red Affliction t-shirt, jeans, and black shoes.
Anyway, I tell them there are three things responsible for any changes I was able to make:
1. Taking care of my health.
The truth is, you can’t treat anybody any better than you treat yourself. And if you’re not putting a great deal of effort into your own body… your own mind and spirit will follow suit.
I’ve been lifting weights and doing cardio work now for over 20 years, and thank goodness for that. I attribute the very high mental and physical energy I have, 100% to this, in addition to the diet I eat.
Sure, I snack once in a while, but really not very often.
Two years ago, I even stopped drinking soda (it is AMAZING how much different you feel, and it’s also quite scary how your body reacts to this – withdrawals similar to tobacco withdrawals!). And 6 months ago I stopped eating red meat, because I had a slightly high cholesterol reading (now 30 points lower).
I’ve learned the most valuable thing you have, is your family. In my case, certainly not the family I came from, but the family I’ve created – my wife, our two sons and our daughter.
And let me tell you, time flies quickly when it comes to family. I’ve worked thousands of hours every year for the last 11 years, but I also coached sports… helped with homework… and never missed one of my kid’s events, birthday parties, or our anniversary.
And thank goodness for this, because I’m not sitting here with any regrets over these things.
My older son will be 21 later on this year, and I still remember the song that was playing on the radio when he was born. I remember carrying him on my shoulders and pulling him in the red rider wagon as we walked our dog… and I remember dropping him off at school.
Time flies faster than you know it, and if you’re not focused on making memories with your family, you’re going to have a ton of regrets. No one looks back over the course of their life thinking about all the deals they’ve closed, the cars they drove, or the toys they collected, I assure you.
I’m not sure how, or frankly, why I focused so much on family, given my own background. But… all I can say is life is full of mysteries sometimes, and I’m very glad I didn’t miss out on this.
As much as you possibly can, eliminate anger from your life. It is, perhaps, the most destructive emotion – both physically and mentally. It will, quite literally,”eat you alive.”
Anger suffocates you and prevents any good from coming out, or from getting in. If you are harboring anger, then I encourage you to do what ever you have to – whether it’s joining a support group, getting into some personal therapy as I did, or (as I also did), read books and then go deep inside yourself to figure out what’s going on.
This alone — eliminating anger — will have the most profound long-term impact on every single aspect of your life.
And that was my speech.
Right after this, a few minutes after 4am, I woke up, extremely puzzled.
But I guess, after thinking about it, there’s probably a fourth thing that’s going on here:
Forgiveness. I think this dream was a sign that it’s finally time I forgive myself for my bad behavior and move on. The truth is, I did the best I could do at the time, and had few coping mechanisms or people to reach out to, that would let me perform any better.
I’m not the kind of person who believes in ghosts and goblins, but I am very keen on listening to “signs” are out there. And this was my sign that it’s time to move on. I’m OK with how I behaved in the past. I’ve forgiven myself.
I’m just glad that your past has nothing to do with your present, unless you want it to.
Reality is, every day is the beginning of your future.
Have a great weekend.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
P.S. If you want more information and insight about some of the things I’ve done – both good and bad – and how they’ve contributed to my success (again, both good and bad), then here are two resources for you:
The Introduction and First Chapter of my book – the one that took 9 1/2 years to write. And…
How To Make Your Dreams Come True – which shows how I made the transition from running a financial planning practice to getting involved with writing copy and marketing (now price reduced)
If you enjoyed this, forward it on to a few of your friends and business associates. And if you have any comments, just leave them here on my blog