According to independent studies, 80% of Americans are not passionate about what they do. That’s not acceptable to us. With the advancements in technology and communications, the growth of the Internet, and the simplicity of tools now available to most people in the developed world and even many people in the developing world, there is no excuse for anyone to be doing things they don’t love.
After taking thousands of people through the simple process Janet dubbed “The Passion Test”, we realized that while simple, this tool can stimulate profound changes in people’s lives. From our own experiences, we also realized that the secret to living a passionate life “to choose in favor of your passions,” can require great courage and can be scary at times. So, we incorporated Janet’s amazing story of following her own passions with all the ups and downs, the remarkable synchronicities and the miraculous outcomes she experienced in the hope that such a real life story would help readers apply the lessons of that story to their own lives.
Did anything surprise you, or anything surprising happen, during the course of writing the book?
Writing the book was a passion in itself. First for Janet who wrote the original ebook version on her own, and then for me. It was remarkable to see how choosing for our passions as we went along continued to create new miracles. We did teleconferences and sold a few thousand copies of the ebook version. Then Janet asked me to work with her on rewriting the book. She hired an assistant named Chris Strodder to help with her business responsibilities and we found out after hiring him that he had not only written a book of his own, but had been a magazine editor previously. He had taken this job just to have a break from what he’d been doing. He read and re-read the early versions of the book many times and his suggestions substantially improved the final product.
Watching the book go to the top of the bestseller charts was thrilling.
What writer or writers have had the greatest influence on you?
For the fundamental truths that are imbedded in the book, I would have to give credit to His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I remember my first reading of his Science of Being and Art of Living. It wasn’t a novel by any means, but I just couldn’t put it down. The deep understanding of the nature of life that he provided had a huge impact on me.Tom Clancy, John Griffin and Robert Ludlum also have had a big impact. I love reading for the fun of it, and my desire has been to write in a way that the reader would be engaged and have fun reading.
Lastly, Mark Joyner, author of Simpleology: The Simple Science of Getting What You Want, gave me the idea for the style of interweaving an interesting story with practical points in one of his marketing emails. Mark’s simple, yet very direct style is inspiring to me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
For non-fiction writers, my advice is to learn to write good marketing copy or at least articles for publication before you go about writing a book. Good marketing copy is engaging, fun, interesting and provides valuable information. If you can do that well in a long letter or a web page, then people will find your books engaging as well. The great thing about marketing copy, especially on the Web, is that you get an immediate score from readers on how well your writing touches them. In essence they evaluate your writing based on their behavior.
The other advice is similar: let many others read your manuscript before you submit it for publication. Get as many different perspectives as you can on what you’ve written. Then take the advice, suggestions or feedback that makes sense to you and do your best to incorporate it.
Why did you become a writer? Was it a lifelong goal?
No, it was not a lifelong goal. I’ve written in the past mainly for business: proposals, marketing text, business letters, etc. and have always gotten good feedback on my writing. Writing a book was different and fun at the same time. It was possible because I love the topic that we were writing about, I felt strongly that the tools we had to offer could make a real difference in people’s lives and it allowed me to share many of the lessons that it has taken me years to learn. It was and is my hope that our book can help others learn these lessons much more quickly.