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So What Do You Do, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Bestselling Author and Speaker?

"I don't write the books -- God does."

By Jeff Rivera - February 22, 2012
Selling millions of copies of his books, CDs and movies, raising over $150 million for PBS, and hosting a weekly Internet radio show was never something Dr. Wayne Dyer set out to do. Long before jet-setting across the world to give sold-out talks in some of the most prestigious venues in the world, this retired college professor was a "dirt poor" orphan who struggled to buy out the first printing of his debut book and schlepped across the country to sell them out of the trunk of his car.

Though he has countless fans around the world now, there are still those who call his teachings a bunch of bunk, accuse him of shrouding real life problems under a cloak of metaphysical psycho-babble, and point to his recent health battles as evidence that his teachings simply don't work. Such mumblings have heated up as he approaches the March airing of his next PBS special, Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifestation, based on the book of the same name.

However, Dyer says he doesn't need to convince his detractors of anything. "If people believe what I'm saying is just a bunch of nonsense, then they're right."


Name: Dr. Wayne Dyer
Position: Author and motivational speaker
Resume: Put himself through college and became a professor at St. John's University in New York. Wrote his first book, Your Erroneous Zones, in 1976 and financed his own promotional tour, which lead to 35 million copies sold and 64 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Has since written over 30 books, including several national bestsellers, and has been branded the "father of motivation."
Birthday: May 10, 1940
Hometown: Detroit
Education: Doctorate from Wayne State University
Media Idol: "Dinah Shore, because she exuded kindness, passed no judgment, and treated everyone the same no matter what their status -- kindly."
Favorite TV show: Real Time with Bill Maher
Guilty pleasure: Poke with avocado. "I eat it four to five times a week."
Last book read: Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani
Twitter handle: @DrWayneWDyer


You sold your first book out of the trunk of your car. What was the first moment that you knew you were onto something much bigger?
Your Erroneous Zones was the book that went over the top simply because I believed in it so much. But here's the thing: My publisher had a list mentality, meaning, once they sold 5,000 copies, they would have considered it a success and moved on to the next author on their list. They wouldn't have done anything else. I just couldn't see myself doing a four-month thing. I started talking about the book, bringing it to the university where I taught at the time, giving talks, appearing on the radio, but that wasn't enough. I kept calling the publishing house asking them, "How's the book doing?" They got so tired of me.

So, I decided to take things into my own hands. I became a bookstore. I ordered all the rest of the books in the first printing. Then, they had to print the second printing. I did the same thing after about two months. Meanwhile, I was willing to do as much media as I could. I got a lot of breaks along the way, hired my own publicist because the publisher wouldn't pay for it. We tried to get big national shows but none of them had heard of me. So, I did what I had to do. I packed up my car, took my 9-year-old daughter with me, and we went to every state, did any and every local media my publicist could get me. Finally, somehow, Johnny Carson got a hold of my book, and the rest is history.

"If you got fired from a job, then that's the universe's way of telling you, 'You've been doing this long enough.'"

There are a lot of people who are unemployed or under-employed right now, particularly in the media business. What can people do to stay motivated?
I think about that all the time, every time I see these stories about these people. They're just going through unemployment benefits and complaining that they can't get any work but, if you put in your resume and there's already a thousand resumes for that same job, you're just going to be one of a thousand. But there are opportunities everywhere if you're open to them.

I was walking in Central Park not long ago, and there was this 10-year-old kid there named Shawn who was juggling. He had a unicycle too. "What are you doing?" I asked him. He said, "Well, my dad left; my mom is hurt so she can't work. I've got two brothers and a sister and this is how I earn my money. I can earn as much as $200 a day." I asked him how he learned to juggle and he answered, "All you have to do is Google 'How to juggle' and it's right on there." See? You have to be open to the opportunities you're surrounded by.

Look, if you got fired from a job, then that's the universe's way of telling you, "You've been doing this long enough." Ask yourself what motivates you. What do you really love? And figure out a way to make a living at it. There's so many ways to make money in the world. When I was an orphan, I was the richest kid at the orphanage, because everyone else was complaining about not having anything. But when I discovered that you could get two cents for a Coca-Cola bottle, I would follow people around who were drinking it and ask them if they were almost through with it.

You say to attract something in your life, you should "contemplate yourself as surrounded by the conditions in which you have it." But how do you do that if you're worried about bills?
It isn't that I don't feel bad about the people who are struggling. Remember, I came out of dirt poor conditions with absolutely no parents. I speak from first-hand experience. Instead of waiting for the government to do it, or for the factory to re-open, they can put their attention on abundance and prosperity will show up in your life. First of all, I'd be grateful that I didn't have to work at that factory any longer. Put yourself in a state of gratitude. Then, act on those feelings and you will be guided. This is an abundant universe. There are angels out there. The fundamental truth is you become what you think about. If you're thinking about unemployment, or how bad the economy is, or all the reasons why you can't do something, you'll get exactly that. Instead, align yourself with the type of energy you want to attract and those kinds of people will show up in your life.

There are critics who say that all this talk about the Law of Attraction and metaphysics is a bunch of hoopla. To what extent do you rely on science or your own research to prove that your teachings work?
"Whether you believe you can do it or whether you believe you can't do it," said Henry Ford, "either way, you're right." If people believe what I'm saying is just a bunch of nonsense, then they're right. They've got themselves convinced. I don't try to convince them of anything. I don't need science to validate what I'm saying. Inside each and every one of us, we have a divine intelligence. When people think they can't do something and they act upon that thought, they shut themselves out of the opportunities that exist around them. If they're focusing on all the things missing, blaming the economy or the President, or the weather, or whatever else, they're closing the doors. Yet, if you align with the world and see the goodness in it, then you elevate your life.

"Your success as a writer isn't determined by what position you hold on a bestseller list or how many books you sell."

Authors, in particular, go through some lean times early in their careers. Is it unrealistic for them to want more wealth and to become bestsellers?
One of my favorite quotes is from Michelangelo, and it says "The greater danger is not that our hopes are too high and we fail to reach them, but rather that they are too low and we do." Authors who are focused on becoming bestsellers are very likely to be disappointed almost all the time, because your success as a writer isn't determined by what position you hold on a bestseller list or how many books you sell. Your success is based upon being able to express yourself in writing. And if people like the idea, then they'll get it. My reputation is outside of my control. If I give a talk to a million people, there will be a million different reputations. Some still think I'm the biggest jerk that ever lived. I have nothing to do with any of that. You can only focus on your character. You have to let all the rest of the stuff, including your bestseller's status take care of itself.

There is a lot of competition out there for New Age and thought leaders. What have you done to separate yourself from the pack, and how can aspiring authors do the same?
I don't write the books. God writes the books and delivers the speeches. He's doing this interview right now. He builds all the bridges. I don't own any of these words. I don't know where they're coming from. I don't take any credit for any of this. The essential lesson I've learned in life is to just be yourself. Treasure the magnificent being that you are and recognize first and foremost you're not here as a human being only. You're a spiritual being having a human experience. That's who you are. That is all you need to know. Then, detach yourself from what other people think and from the outcome or how well you're doing, how you stack up to others. Just trust it and be at peace with it.

What steps did you take to create such a massive empire and how can other authors create multiple streams of income?
I don't have a step-by-step plan. You're asking me to come up with a linear answer, and this is all non-linear. One thing though was that I was willing to do what I needed to do. If I needed to pay for my own expenses to travel across the country, I did it. It was worth being brave for. I define professional and personal success the way that David Thoreau described it, "If you advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with success, unexpected in common hours." Follow your dreams. Be willing to place into your imagination anything that you would like to manifest and be unwilling to place anything in your imagination that you do not want to manifest. So, don't think, "I'm sick" or "I'm poor." Contemplate yourself as if surrounded by the conditions in which you have your greatest desire and it will come to be.

NEXT >> AvantGuildSo What Do You Do, Mark Victor Hansen, Co-Creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul?


Jeff Rivera is the author of Forever My Lady (Grand Central) and a GalleyCat contributor.

© WebMediaBrands Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The foregoing is the sole property of WebMediaBrands Inc. The opinions and views expressed in the interviews and/or commentaries are solely those of the participants and are not necessarily the views of WebMediaBrands Inc., its affiliates or subsidiary companies.



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