During dinner the other night, one of the people in our group looked at me and asked the question I didn't want to hear --
"How did you become homeless?"
By now most people have heard my story
of being on the streets of Dallas in the late
1970s and struggling in poverty in Houston
for many years after that.
But I had never explained exactly *how*
I ended up in such dire circumstances.
When I answered the question at dinner,
everyone at the table stared at me.
The woman who asked the question sat there
with her mouth open and eyes un-blinking.
She asked, "Why have you never said this?"
Mark Ryan was sitting there, also staring,
and said, "As long as I've known you,
you've never told this story before. It's
riveting. This changes everything."
They all said I had to tell the story now.
"Given the current financial crisis and
with people losing their homes and their
jobs, this story needs to be told more than
ever before," Mark said.
I heard them and realized I agreed.
So here's the story... (You can also read
this on my blog at http://blog.mrfire.com )...
I knew I wanted to be an author when I was
a teenager. I wanted to write books and
plays that made people happy. Everywhere
I looked I saw un-happy people. I believed
I could help them with humor and stories.
During that time of the mid-1970s, I watched
sports. I don't today but back then the Dallas
Cowboys were the rage. Roger Staubach and
Tom Landry were heroes. I got caught up in
the excitement and felt the place for me to
make my name was in Dallas, Texas.
I lived in Ohio at the time. Born and raised
there. I worked on the railroad as a trackman,
doing heavy labor all day long, working
weekends and summers. I saved my money,
packed up my bag, and took a bus to Dallas.
It took three days to get there.
I was lost in the big city, of course. Being born
in a small town in Ohio didn't prep me for the
hustle and bustle of a city the size of Dallas.
Before long, I wanted out.
But I still wanted to be an author.
Well, major companies were building oil and
gas pipelines in Alaska and the Middle East,
and offering to pay big bucks if you were
willing to go to either place.
I wasn't keen on going to a foreign country
and doing more labor, but I saw a chance to
make money, save it, and then go on a
sabbatical where I could write for a few
months or even a year.
It seemed like a brilliant strategy.
I answered one of the newspaper ads that
promised to get me pipeline work at a
extraordinary hourly wage. I went in their
office, met an upbeat sales person, and
ended up giving him all of my money --
my entire savings -- about a thousand dollars
at the time -- based on his promise that
I'd have overseas pipeline work in a week
You might guess part of what happened
next - but you won't guess all of it.
Within a week or so, the company that
took all of my money went out of business.
Their doors were closed, no one answered
the phone, and no forwarding addresses
could be found.
Shortly after that, the company went bankrupt.
And not long after that, the owner of the company
There was no one left to try to get my money back.
I was alone.
I was broke.
I was in Dallas.
I confess that my ego got in the way here. My
family back in Ohio would have taken me
back in and welcomed me back home. But
I was head strong and determined to somehow
Well, I did survive -- by sleeping in church pews,
on the steps of a post office, in a bus station.
It wasn't an easy time, as you can imagine,
and I never used to talk about it. It was too
When I told this story at dinner, everyone agreed
I had to share it with you.
They said that people are finding themselves in
the same situation -- they trusted a government,
or a corporation, or a person, and now they are
losing their homes and their jobs.
Hearing that I went through the same thing three
decades ago and not only survived but prospered
to a level that the Joe Vitale of thirty years ago could
hardly imagine, ought to be inspiring to you, too.
I got off the streets and out of poverty by
constantly working on myself -- reading self-help
books, taking action, scrambling at times by
taking whatever work I could find, but always
always always focusing on my vision: to one
day be an author of books that helped people
be happy and stay inspired.
If you're in a place right now that doesn't feel
so good, I urge you to remind yourself that
this is only temporary.
This is the cure for despair.
As I say in my book, The Attractor Factor, this
is simply current reality, and current reality can
You can help it along by doing what you know
and need to do.
But remember, the sun will shine again.
It always does.
Your job right now is to focus on what you want
and keep it in sight. Yes, keep taking action;
yes, stay positive and surround yourself with
positive people; yes, be of support to others.
But remember, if I or anyone else can survive
homelessness, poverty, job loss, or any other
hard time, then *you* can survive it, too.
Please hang in there.
One last thing:
I admit that there were times I wanted to throw
in the towel and get myself out of this life.
Thank God I stuck around. Had I left early,
I would have missed a life of magic and wonder,
success and fame I never dreamed of before,
priceless relationships and experiences, and more.
I have no idea what wonderful good is headed
your way -- and neither do you.
What you have to do is stay the course and
follow your heart.
And remember --
Dr. Joe Vitale
Founder of the movement to end homelessness
Note: If you've found this story valuable,
please forward it to family, friends, and
coworkers; post it on news groups and
blogs, and in any way you feel appropriate,
share it with others. Thank you.
Dr. Joe Vitale
"Aude aliquid dignum" *
A Star in the movies "The Secret", "The Opus"
and "Try It On Everything"
Author of way too many books to mention,
including the bestsellers "The Attractor Factor,"
"Life's Missing Instruction Manual" and ooohhh
so many more, including the head spinner,
"Zero Limits" and the mega-hit, "The Key."
His latest book is, "Expect Miracles"
Latest audio program is, "The Awakening Course"
See it all at http://www.JoeVitale.com
Member BBB 2003 - 2008
* 16th century Latin: "Dare something worthy"