The A File: I Can Do That
I WROTE THIS ON OCTOBER 22, 2008. I AM POSTING IT TODAY AS I WROTE IT THEN. The topic of today’s entry is “I Can Do That.” I’ve been threatening to articulate my belief in the power of positivity for a while now. Well, here it is—my modest manifesto on the meaning of life. When I left LAW in December 1977 and moved to Mississippi I was emotionally exhausted. Eight intense years on the road had taken its toll. It was, in many respects, like being married to four people at once, without the sex. Leaving the band was like getting divorced from four people at once. Four times the disappointment, four times the stress. So when Bob DiPiero said, “why don’t you move to Nashville with me?” I balked. “No, my friend” I said, “I’ve got to drop out of the game for a while.” Bob went on to become one of the top country music songwriters in the world. I went on to become many other far less glorious things; everything but the one thing God intended. Thirty years later John Hanti discovered me and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So here we are, one year later, with a catalog of quality songs to sell, on an upward curve that continues to grow more solid with each passing day. At last I am doing what God intended. There is no way I could have arrived at this point without practicing on a moment-by-basis positive visualization and without rejecting the negativity I encounter nearly every day in so many forms. One of my hugely talented friends calls my way of thinking “pie in the sky.” She has so much to offer, but her literary output goes largely unnoticed because she is incapable of viewing life from a positive perspective. Unfortunately for both of us, many fine songs will remain unwritten because of that. Soon after moving to Mississippi I cut my hair, bought a couple of ties, and went to work for a debit insurance company (Combined) founded by W. Clement Stone, “Door-to-door, store-to-store, floor-to-floor till there ain’t no more.” That was one of the company’s many motto's. Stone was an early pioneer of the Power of Positive Thinking. In the early 1930s he wrote this line in his book “The Success System That Never Fails: “What the mind of man can conceive and believe the mind of man can achieve.” Truer words have never been spoken. Combined promoted Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) because there was nothing whatsoever gratifying about the work itself. In order to motivate its sales force its sales managers would lead morning PMA exercises before we hit the streets. We would visualize the results of our work--the money, the houses, the cars, the boats, etc etc.—and keep it in our minds throughout the day, I bought into it and it worked. The first year I was in the top ten nationwide every week. I would routinely sell a hundred policies a week, Then for some reason my mind turned back to music one day and from that moment on my sales started dropping. I was using the same pitch, the same rebuttals, the same outward enthusiasm, but my heart was no longer in it and my prospects picked up on that. Soon afterward I met a young man who wanted to get into the music business and whose father was one of the wealthiest men in Mississippi. He put up the money to buy a big block of time at a local 24 track studio and suddenly I was back in the game, I left Combined behind, but it was an essential step on this journey and I am grateful for the experience. In the ensuing quarter century I encountered many curves and bumps in the road, some good, some not so good. I may have failed to practice Stone’s principles, but I never forgot them. I can cite two concrete examples of the validity of those principles. The first was college. When I enrolled in Mississippi College in January 1982 I made a commitment to my parents and to myself to graduate in three years. My PMA was back and I sustained it throughout those years. I missed the mark by only one semester. The second example came about two years after separating from my first wife in 1990. During those two years I couldn’t land a single date. I couldn’t even pay to get a girl to look my way (rhetorically speaking of course). I’d lost my self-esteem and I was in a negative frame of mind and the women I met responded the same way my prospects had. No sale. Then I joined a band that included my old Ohio buddy Birdie of Val and Birdie fame and just like that my self-esteem was back. I looked the same, but my attitude changed. Suddenly the girls I couldn’t get a few months earlier were knocking on my door. It was my re-discovered positivity that made all the difference. Some would say, aw it’s just because you were in a band, but that alone would not have done it. A decade later I went through another similar period. This one lasted five long years. Then, in May 2007, I made a conscious decision to change my life again. I started losing the 246 pounds I had gained. I started writing in earnest again, I joined a couple of Internet dating sites and started getting a little action again. And then John Hanti popped up. I entered into our partnership with complete confidence in myself and in Hanti. Somehow I knew that I could do this, that I could write and produce hit songs. Hanti believed that too and has never wavered. He’s guided me when I’ve strayed off track, he’s criticized me when I’ve fallen short of excellence, but he has always encouraged me, and it’s working. Now, the more I write the more I believe I can write and tHat I am capable of writing anything I set my mind to. There are no limits. I listen to current hits and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I can do that. Some techniques and styles are still beyond my current capabilities, but they are within reach. Furthermore, I am attracting people into my life constantly who are in positions to further my career in one way or another. These positive changes extend even to my physical condition. My vocal chords are getting stronger, which is evident in my singing. My range has increased considerably. Even more miraculous, my vision has improved dramatically in the last six months. At the start of this year I couldn’t recognize a face from thirty feet away without glasses. I didn’t dare drive a block without them. Today I don’t need glasses at all except to drive and even that is changing. Hanti theorizes that the changes in my vocal muscle system are exerting pressure on my eyeballs and changing their shape and that is changing my eyesight for the better. It’s the Law of Attraction at work. The best selling book and DVD, The Secret, defines and expounds on the Law of Attraction and I am living proof that it is indeed a universal spiritual law—you attract that which you think about. Your outward circumstances are a direct manifestation of your innermost thoughts. This is nothing new. W. Clement Stone was saying the same thing seventy years ago. Jesus was saying it two millenniums ago. Yet so many people have yet to discover this “secret.” They could change their lives, they could put an end to most of their problems, yet they fail to see it. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. I will cite one more example, a trivial one, but typical. I got a speeding ticket a few weeks ago, my first ticket in ten years. I pleaded with the cop to give me a simple warning, but he was unsympathetic. I continued to believe that I could get out of the ticket somehow and decided to appear in court and plead with judge for mercy. The day of my court appearance arrived and when I got there they told me “Your ticket has been taken care of, it’s been converted to a warning.” How in the world did that happen? It was the Law of Attraction. So yes, I can produce hits. I can win this game. Whatever it is in the world I can conceive and believe, I can do that.