Growing Within with David Essel

Episode 321: Growing Within with David Essel

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REIS 321 | Growing Within


As simple as changing the way you start your day can make a big impact in your life. This is what David Essel, the author of Focus!: Slay Your Goals has implemented on his daily routine that has worked wonders for his success. By growing within – that is, changing our mindset – David has revolutionized our possibilities of achieving our goals. With this, he shows some key steps to moving up the ladder and getting to your destination. He also talks about the importance of action steps and self-affirmation.

I have Dave Essel. He’s changing the way we talk about mindset. He’s the new wave of how to present mindset and how to change your thinking so that you can achieve all the things you want to achieve. One of the most important things I caught when I was reading the bio is his book, Focus!: Slay Your Goals was ranked right in the top 100 of the best goal-setting books ever written right up there next to Dale Carnegie. When I saw this bio, I said, “I’ve got to get this guy on this show,” because I know so many people out there are being limited by their thoughts and they don’t even know. There was a long period of time in my life when I didn’t know either that I was being limited by my thoughts. Honestly, we are all still always limited by our thoughts. I’m happy and proud to announce David Essel. How are you doing, David?

Mitch, it’s great to be on your show. Especially with the background that I’ve found out about you, this makes this interview even more powerful. I’m excited.

I always said one of my greatest blessings is that I didn’t go to an institute of higher learning. I like to tell them when I graduated from the La Calle U and the audience is probably sick and tired of hearing me say that. I avoided at least four years’ worth of brainwashing of a bunch of dumb asses that aren’t teaching anything. I got myself painted in a corner where if I didn’t go out and do my own thing, no one was going to pay me. I decided, “I’m going to go out in the street and if I can’t make $15 an hour out in the street, then shoot me.” The only thing I had to do was not go back. People have heard the story before so I don’t want to repeat it, but I believe that this body would figure everything out. If I had enough water and enough food, what are the chances I was going to starve in America? In downtown San Antonio, we’ve got enough tacos around here to support the world.

I said if I cut off everything, then I’d have to figure out how to survive without a boss. The first months and even the first year was tough, but I figured out how to replace my income pretty fast because the good news was I didn’t make any money. Sometimes when you don’t make a lot of money, it can be your greatest blessing. It doesn’t take a lot to replace the BS in your life because you don’t make a lot of money. After that when I figured out how to make the next $10 per hour increase, I was 100% recipient of that increase. How to make another $50 an hour or another $300 a day or whatever it was, I was 100% recipient of that increase. You look up one day and you make $800 an hour and you go, “I’m not so sure I needed that certificate.” I’m not bashing people that go to college. I’m not bashing colleges per se except for there are a lot of people out there that are getting sucked into that stream that maybe they don’t need to be there.

As a matter of fact, the people that go through and get general degrees that aren’t specific in nature these days in 2019 are behind the eight ball. They come out with $50,000, $60,000, $100,000, $150,000 in student debt. They have a general liberal arts degree or something that is not marketable. They’re suffering because they haven’t figured out their passion. They haven’t figured out how to even earn money and they’ve got this $50,000, $100,000 monkey on their back coming right out of the gate. I have to tell you this, I happen to have a lot of schooling, but one of my greatest years of schooling was taking an entrepreneurial course at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1980. It opened up my mind. This was early. There weren’t a lot of colleges teaching entrepreneurial classes back then.

We know what you were doing in Boulder, Colorado. We know it opened up your mind.

It did. The Rocky Mountain High.

First of all, I got excited about the topic and I skipped right over your credentials. Tell the audience a little bit about your credentials. Don’t spend a whole bunch of time on credentials because I have seen them before. We could take half a show on your credentials.

REIS 321 | Growing Within

Growing Within: The very first thing in the morning is the most important time to begin to change your mindset.


For the past years, I was a counselor, a master life coach and a number one bestselling author. I’ve been involved in the world of personal growth full-time. This is my love. What you do is your love. I wouldn’t want to do anything other than what I’ve been doing for years. I feel blessed with that.

I don’t have a lot of students because of the nature of how I want to teach, which is pretty much one-on-one or closely held. I’m not subbing it out and I’m not a mill house. I do it for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons I do it is for the emotional high of helping someone change their life and get a handle on it. Help them see past wherever their vision was at the time, to get past that, to get into this thing. We all have to have it. I have a coach and trying to get to the next level. I don’t think you ever finish.

In 1986, I met my main mentor, his name is Joe Cirulli. Joe was homeless. He became a multimillionaire in an industry that people said no one could earn money. He did it in a town of 150,000 people. He’s still there now. He’s still making millions of dollars in an industry that people say you’ll never make a penny and that is the health club industry. He is amazing. What he told me in 1986 when he accepted that would be a mentee of his is, “The very first thing you have to do is go out and get involved with mastermind groups and you need to hire a business coach.” This is 1986 and I looked at him and said, “I’m sure I do need that, but how important is it?” He started laughing and he said, “That’s why I continue to make the money I make.” When I talked to him in 2019, the answer is the same. Like you and me, he has coaches. He has mastermind groups in order to help us keep moving forward. Let’s talk about the brain. The brain’s natural default mechanism is negativity.

I read that in the book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Maltz. It was now been taken over by a lady named Sommer. If you haven’t read that book, please read it. It is one of the life-changing books in life because the person that we talked to the most is ourselves. What are we saying to ourselves in our self-talk? If you start listening to yourself, it doesn’t take long to figure out that you’re exactly right. Most of the things we say are negative.

In his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz talks about that he was a plastic surgeon. These people would come in with outrageously large noses, cleft lips or some real disfigurement. He would do this magical plastic surgery. When he took the bandages off and they came back to see him, so many of them would say, “I don’t see any change at all.” That’s what got him thinking like, “It’s not just the physical world where you have to change. It’s the mental world as well.” Sometimes people say, “Why is the default mechanism for the brain negativity?” It goes to a portion of the brain called the amygdala.

The amygdala is the fight or flight syndrome. It’s what the caveman had years ago, that everything that moved in the bush was a threat. We still carry that now. That amygdala is still in the middle of your skull, just like in the cavemen time, but we don’t have the threats they have. If you leave your mind on attended, it will always go back to, “I’m not thin enough. I don’t have enough money. My relationship isn’t good enough. I don’t have a deep enough path with God,” or whatever it might be. We start looking at all that isn’t working instead of what we have in front of us.

Let’s talk about the first step. Let’s say you’re taking stock of yourself, you’re not as successful as you want to be or not successful at all. Let’s say you’ve got your run of the mill job and you’ve been doing that for ten to twelve years. What is the first step? How do you change this? How do you move up the ladder and get some personal satisfaction and get where you’re going?

We say the first step is the first thing in the morning. When you wake up, what we encourage and we write in our bestselling book Focus!: Slay Your Goals is we say the very first thing in the morning is the most important time to begin to change your mindset. If you get up and you turn on the weather channel, the stock market, the news, if you go immediately to Facebook or social media, you’re already losing the most important time of the day to change your mindset. What we say in the book is the very first thing you get up should be the time that we’re doing journaling, meditation and to meditate. We’re doing our prayer, affirmations and visualizations.

We keep looking at all that isn't working instead of what we have in front of us. Share on X

We’re doing things that what we say in our book will account for 20% of massive success. In other words, massive success will start in the brain by what we do first thing in the morning. It continues or discontinues by our action steps during the day. For every audience out there that doesn’t have the life they want, I would say get up the first hour of every day. A minimal of 30 minutes, but the first hour should be reading inspirational quotes, books or autobiographies of successful people. One of my favorite books then and I’m sure that you love this one as well, is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

It’s another book that changed my life because I was very depressed. Things in my life weren’t going the way I was going. My mother picked this book up at a yard sale of all things. It’s one of the greatest books. She had no idea what she had picked up. Someone told her about this book while she was in the yard sale and she begged me to read it. I was so naive and so dumb quite frankly. There you go, it’s that self-talk again. I looked her straight in the face and said, “What’s this book going to do for me?” It’s funny because I didn’t read a lot of books at the time and it’s the book that started me reading. She begged me, “Read ten minutes a day, read ten pages,” and I could never stop at the ten pages.

When I got done with that book, I was feeling better about myself because part of the issue I was having was I was brainwashed thinking I didn’t have a college degree. My friends are all off with $80,000 jobs. This is many years ago. They’re all doing good. I’m not doing anything. I’m a bartender. That book opened my mind to say that wealth could come from anywhere and in fact, you may even have a better chance of being successful if you weren’t trained in traditional thought or if you got yourself painted in a corner where you had to do whatever it is you had to do. The human body is the most adaptable thing in the world. A lot of these people that were billionaires in this book couldn’t even write. Some of these people couldn’t read or write.

You know what’s so wild about that book is that the title is 100% marketing. It’s not true that you can think and grow rich because every story in the book is what you said. Every story is of these people with no education. The people that can’t hear, people that have no job and are homeless that are becoming millionaires because they were willing to do action steps that most of us would never want to do because we want to stay comfortable. We don’t want to risk. We don’t want to fail. We don’t want to get rejected.

Let me jump in right here. Another book that I read that probably you and most people haven’t heard of that was a big impact on me was Self-Made in America by John McCormack. Have you read that book?


This guy poses the question, “How can immigrants come to the United States and be financially successful within eight, ten to twelve years? We dummies that are born here on the corner of opportunity and success can live here for 65 years and never ever get free.” The bottom line was these people recognize the paradise that they were in. They recognize the opportunities before them, and they were willing to sacrifice at way higher levels than we were willing to sacrifice that. After reading that book, I readjusted my sacrifice level to a much higher bar. When I got done with that book, it was obvious that the reason why I’m not successful is I have not given up what it takes to get to where those people are. Now, that I’d see it, I’m ready to do it and I did.

I spoke to a seminar with for disadvantaged kids and it was from sixth grade through twelfth grade. At the very last table that I spoke at, there was a group of athletes. I asked them how many of them were willing to do for as long as it took to achieve whether it was financial or athletic gain. There were several kids at the table that raised their hand. I said, “Let me tell you a story about Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt who is the fastest runner in the world and wins every gold medal in any event that he enters was interviewed after the last Olympics. They said to him, ‘What separates you? How is it that you’re able to not only destroy the competition, but dance and sing and have a blast afterward when everyone else is sullen or if they win, they’re not as exuberant. What’s going on?’”

REIS 321 | Growing Within

Growing Within: Don’t waste your time chasing a dream that isn’t for you because it may not match who you are.


He said, “The answer is simple. Every day, I do what I don’t want to do. It’s that simple. I will do what other people won’t even come close. Let me give you an example. I hate mornings. I am not a morning person. At 6:00 AM, I’m on the track six days a week. I hate lifting weights. At 2:00 PM, I’m in the gym lifting weights for several hours every day but it doesn’t end there. At 6:00 PM, I’m back on the track for my third workout of the day. If you look at the amount of time I put into my craft, I should be number one in the world. I don’t think people realize that it’s a decision you make to do what you’d rather not do that creates success.” I thought it was brilliant.

It’s like the 10,000 hours.

I had a story in my book when I started public speaking. One of my other mentors, Richard Gerson came to me in the early ‘80s and he said, “What’s your greatest goal?” I said, “I want to be one of the top motivational speakers in the world.” He said, “Go out and speak 200 times this year for free.” I said, “What do you mean speak 200 times for free?” He said, “Until you’re good, do not ever try to charge people until you’re a master at your craft.” He was so dead on. I went out and spoke 200 times for free. The very next year I got my first paid gig. It was $200. It was 1986. It was in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s the funny thing. They paid me $200, but I had to cover my flight, meals and hotel.

They cost you to go there.

I went but here’s the fascinating thing, when we talk about how many hours it takes to be good at something. I had spoken 200 times a year before for free. This is my first big gig and Dr. Richard Gerson flew to Atlanta to observe my work. He was sitting in the back of the room and it was packed. It’s an hour and a half presentation, people were screaming and there was a standing ovation at the end. I’m signing autographs. I get back to Richard. I said, “Wasn’t that amazing?” He said, “You did pretty good. Sit down.” I go, “Good? I got a standing ovation and people are asking for my autograph. What do you mean good?” He started smiling. He turns a pad of paper around and he had 122 marks on the paper.

He said, “What does that mean to you?” I said, “Nothing. I have no idea what those marks are.” He said, “That’s how many times you said the word, ‘Um.’ It’s 122 times in 90 minutes. You have a lot of work to do.” He was right and I had to go out and do another hundred speeches for free. All of a sudden after doing all that, I was on the road for six straight years, 40 weeks a year, traveling the world as a motivational speaker. These theories work. Your attitude will account for 20% of your success. 80% will be all about are you willing to do what you don’t want to do on a daily basis? If you can master that, you can master financial success.

We’re talking about step one, it’s in the morning. You journal, do your affirmations, read a book for at least half-hour or preferably an hour. You get yourself started on something meaningful or personal and you’re honing into your core like, “Who am I figuring?” You’re figuring out yourself, figuring out what you want to do. What’s the second step?

The second step is to hire an accountability partner that will help you walk through, which is the right goal to go after at this time. I’m going to get into the bad side of positive thinking, but too many times people hear an ad or read an ad on the internet, “Join this network marketing group and put 45 minutes in a day and earn an extra $5,000 a month,” or something ridiculous. Those things drive me absolutely crazy. What you want to do is get an accountability coach, a counselor, someone that has a lot of knowledge and experience that can help you figure out what is step two. Don’t waste your time trying to figure it out on your own. Our mindset is so programmed to negativity that if you are with us and you’re saying, “I’m not appreciative of the work I do. I don’t like it. My money isn’t where I want to be,” we’ve gotten ourselves into this situation.

As Einstein said, “A brain that’s troubled is not the place to go to find the solution.” It’s interesting. If you haven’t figured out money yet or you haven’t figured out your career or you haven’t figured out whatever your block is, don’t waste your time trying to recreate the wheel. There are experts out there that can help you cut in third, half, even maybe 90% of you chasing your towel. They can sit and walk you through it. Number one, get your attitudes start to turn around. Number two, before you waste your time chasing a dream that isn’t for you, it may not match your personality, it may not match what your passions are, get with someone to help you figure that stuff out. Stay with them so they can hold your feet to the fire to do the daily work we don’t necessarily want to do.

You’re hitting on all cylinders here, but of course you would. When I first started coaching, I was trying to tell people how I did things, but it became apparent that a lot of people were blocking themselves. I didn’t have near the study and the investment of psychology that you do, but I had to go do something for them because they were stuck in this place. One of the guys was my partner and he was 25 years old. He’s now my partner. He’s 32 years old. We’ve done 350, 400 houses together in the last years. It was about raising private money. He did well around his family and he got all their money. After that, it dried up.

Your attitude accounts for 20% of your success; 80% is about your willingness to do what you don't want to do on a daily basis. Share on X

I said, “You do good getting money with your family, but then it ends there. You don’t even call on anybody else outside your family. What’s with that?” He said a lot of things that weren’t true and I knew they weren’t true. I let him sit with it for a little while. It wasn’t true. Finally I said, “You need to figure out why that is because what you’re telling me is not the reason why.” He comes back and he goes, “I figured out what the reason is.” Sometimes you have to figure out the reason why you’re stuck so you can figure out how to fix it. He goes, “I’m 25 years old. I don’t even own my own house. Why are these wealthy, elderly successful people going to give me their money? Why would they do that?” It was simple and it’s changed like this. He started going and getting money. I said, “Mike, it’s not about you. It’s about the deal. Charles Manson should’ve been able to get this money from prison. It didn’t matter how many people he killed. You’re going to borrow $50,000 on a $100,000 house, and if you don’t pay the man, they’re going to get your $100,000 house. Who cares how old you are?”

That reminds me of a story of a friend of mine, Ray Higdon, that we tell in our book, Focus!: Slay Your Goals. It was around 2008 of the big financial crash. He had been flipping houses. He had been making a lot of money and then when the market crashed, he went down and he lost everything. He was a single dad, he had two kids and he found out the bank was foreclosing on his house. He called me up and he said, “Can we meet for an hour? I don’t have any money to pay you. When we meet, can we meet at a restaurant to eat? I’m starving.” I said, “Absolutely.” I loved the fact that he was so upfront.

We sat down and Ray and I were talking. At the end of the lunch, I looked at him and I said, “Ray, you have a lot of energy. You’ve got a lot of passion. I know you’re filled with fear right now. If I was a single dad with two kids losing my house, I’d be filled with fear too. Let’s not take that off the table. Let’s accept that that’s the way you are, but this is what I want you to do. I want you to go home and find a product that you believe in to sell. The real estate market is not where to put your time and money right now. You just lost everything. Let’s find another product because you’re a natural-born salesman.”

This is what happened. On the way home, he stopped at a bookstore because a friend of his told him that the answer to his problems was in the book, The Secret. He bought the book and in the book, it says, “Don’t worry about doing work. Put what you want out into the universe and the universe must bring you what you say.” It’s the biggest bunch of crap ever written in the world of personal growth. We destroy it all the time. I don’t even know who the author is. It’s not personal against her, it’s just the book is filled with lies. He bought the book and it said, “Don’t worry about a thing. Do your vision board. Say your affirmations.”

Thirty days later, he calls me. He says, “I’m in a worse situation than I was when I saw you. I have now gotten myself even behind the eight ball trying to follow this stuff called The Secret.” I said, “Let’s go back to what we talked about. Find a product.” We found a product. Here’s something interesting. It was in the world of network marketing. He’s trying to sell this product and 30, 60 days go by and he’s not selling a thing. He can’t recruit anyone to come with him. One of his upline, a very smart person says, “This is the only advice I’m going to give you. Go after twenty rejections a day, five days a week. Do not stop meeting people, calling people every day until you have twenty noes.

When you have twenty noes, you will start to sift through and you’ll get some yeses, but don’t call me again. Do what I’m telling you.” Ray’s back is against the wall and he goes, “I might as well try it.” He’s dead broke a year and a half later, he’s making $50,000 a month. Now he’s making over $1 million a month doing what other people won’t do, going after those rejections every day to create the business that you desire. He is making a difference in so many people’s lives with his story. He didn’t have a genetic gift. He didn’t have a family backing him. It was his work.

I have a partner, his name is Raymond Braun. We have a loan company and we loan money to our competitors who happen to find great deals before we do. We only loan $0.60 on the dollar, but if that’s what you need, I’ll loan it to you. I introduced him to an MLM, which they call them direct marketing companies now because MLM got a bad thing. I watched him fly right past me doing something that no one else wanted to do. He held a meeting in six or seven towns in San Antonio and around San Antonio every night. He was there if one person showed up or if twenty people showed up and he never stopped. He does extraordinarily well. His particular MLM is WorldVentures. He travels. He’s selling is luxury travel and there’s no inventory. His job is to travel and show people how fun it is to go to these great places for hardly anything. I did notice, he and his wife put in. They never stopped.

They never got down. They kept going. Now, there are 25,000, 28,000, 30,000 people underneath them. When I started out, part of the big problem with real estate investors is they don’t have money and that’s a big mind screw. They think they have to have money. We go through all these ways and you don’t have to have money. You have to be a professional deal writer-upper. I put that word writer-upper. You go out and you get a house worth 3x and buy it for X and a half. Under the contract, it doesn’t matter that you don’t have the money as long as you have some time, 30 days, 45 days. Someone with the money is going to partner with you. You go around making 50% of this profit instead of 100% because 50% of something is way better than 100% of nothing. It’s still more than you’re usually making with a lot of jobs.

REIS 321 | Growing Within

Growing Within: Your action steps will change your mindset long-term, not your mind.


There comes a time when you can decide, “I don’t need partners.” However, I have partners in my whole life. I have six or seven partners in six or seven different businesses because businesses need more than one point of view. Every business I’ve ever been in, there’s the yin and yang, the paperwork guy and the get out in the street guy. There’s the “I can talk to the rich people” guy and then there’s me, I can walk out in the street and talk to the gang bangers out there. I can say, “Where can I buy a house?” They’ll tell me one. I have a way of talking to anybody.

You get up in the morning, step one, you journal, you do some affirmations. Number two, you hire an accountability coach, but for a specific reason to figure out what the first goal is. When I’m teaching first goals for my people, like don’t worry about becoming a millionaire or billionaire, figure out what your overhead is. Get that little amount of money coming into that mailbox because there’s your freedom. You’re free. You’re going to be able to spend 365 days a year on you. Let’s worry about making their freedom number. What’s your freedom number? Is it $3,500 a month, $5,000 a month, $6,000? That’s the only problem we got right now. I think you’re saying the same thing. When you’re trying to figure out what your first goal is, tell me about these first goals. What do they look like?

This is an important point. We say to people that when you find that coach, that counselor, the therapist that’s going to help you find the pathway to where you’re going to make your money, only focus on one massive goal at a time. Don’t say, “I’m going to get into real estate and I’m going to get into network marketing. I’m going to get into personal training and on the side I’m going to do real estate.” Choose one strong area to go after and lock in. Let me tell you the trip up that happens with so many people when they set multiple big goals. You know the famous statement, “Multiple streams of income.” We’ll have people come in and go, “I’m ready to make my million dollars a year,” which by the way is $82,000 a month.

There are not a lot of people in this world that have the drive, the knowledge and the discipline to make $82,000 a month. Is it possible? Yeah. The percentage is as small because most people won’t put in the effort. They’ll go hard for two months or six months selling real estate and buying homes. If things don’t work the way they want, all of a sudden they start calling back. In our book we say it, focused. You have to get focused. You choose one major goal and you set a time limit. Is it a year? I wouldn’t say less than a year. If you have passion for that, I would say at least a minimum of 365 days with a coach or a counselor that you’re doing work six days a week to start to create that momentum. At the end of the year, if you do the work and you follow the advice of the expert and it doesn’t turn out the way you want, that’s okay. Learn from it. If you need to switch horses, switch horses, but don’t do it short of a year.

Take your own regular schooling. You start out in kindergarten and you can’t do anything. In ten years, you’re reading, writing and doing complicated math, look at that. They’re not even very good at teaching. A lot of people that are even there don’t even want to be there and they’re still getting it done. Imagine if it was your passion. Some people are speaking two languages. I had to take Spanish or something. Most of us got by in that department, but some people by the end of ten years of education were speaking two languages. They could read and write and look at how far you’d come.

Even in one year, it’s amazing what people can accomplish six days a week, several hours a day for 365 days in a row. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking weight loss and we’re talking about making money, we’re talking finding a new career. A year, six days a week, several hours a day, that’s going to help you shatter through the mindset. Here’s the cool thing. Your action steps will change your mindset long-term. Your mind cannot change your mindset long-term. If you rely on your positive thinking to stay up, it’s not going to work, because the minute you’re not doing that, your brain’s going into the negative default mechanism, worry, anxiety and doubt.

The action steps, like with me, with being a public speaker, I could have positively thought my way every day of, “I’m going to be a great public speaker. I am a great public speaker,” but it wasn’t until I did the 200 or 300 presentations for free that I became a great public speaker, but that’s a lot of work. That’s okay that it’s a lot of work. I feel Mitch, in a lot of areas of our country, we’ve gotten extremely soft because of books like The Law Of Attraction and The Secret and all this nonsense that says, “Just put your thoughts out and the universe must throw you checks in the mail.”

As a matter of fact, Dr. Joe Vitale is an acquaintance of mine. He was one of the stars of The Secret. For 27 years, I hosted a nationally-syndicated radio talk show. We’re on SiriusXM and I told Joe I wanted to have him on as a guest and he was great. I love Joe. We came out and I go, “Joe, there’s only one thing I’m not connecting the dots with that you’ve got to help me with.” He said, “What’s that?” I said, “In the book The Secret, it said you were homeless and you imagine checks in the mail and you became a millionaire. That’s mind-blowing. I want you to tell our million-plus listeners right now what that thought was that brought checks in the mail because it’s never worked for me, Joe. I’m dying to hear it.”

Reaching your goal means committing to your timeline and measurable action plan. Share on X

He started laughing. He goes, “David, let me be honest with you. That book and that movie left out so much information. A lot of us aren’t happy with that. Here’s the truth, I was homeless. I was a positive thinker. I worked for years, seven days a week, fourteen hours a day to make my first $1 million. That’s when The Secret found me. After I had put in all these hours and years of work and all they wanted to focus on was the beginning of my story, that I was homeless and I wanted to be a millionaire.”

That says it all right there. We’ve gotten soft. When people read those books, they think, “This is so great.” In The Law Of Attraction it says, “If your daily work doesn’t feel good, stop doing it.” In our work we say, “If rejection doesn’t feel good, keep going after it,” because after a while you won’t even recognize the rejection. It’s going to be, “Okay, next. Let’s go to the next person. We won’t take it personally.” I love to dispel the myth, even though I’m a huge positive thinker and I have been my whole life and I love it. It isn’t enough to create the success that you and I are talking about.

I saw a poster of a lion and it says, “I knew I was going in the right direction when life became uncomfortable.” I want to share something. I haven’t gotten many standing ovations in my life speaking, but I got one time and at the end of the talk, someone says, “What’s the greatest book you ever read?” I had this immediate flash. It was the Bible. It was the greatest book ever written. It covered everything. The second thing that flashed in my mind was, is this appropriate to talk about here? The third flash was, “If I deny my God, he’ll deny me.” Right out of my mouth comes the Bible, it was in split seconds. I said, “It’s obviously the Bible. Everyone’s been copying it, from The Secret to whatever.”

All those principles were written 2,000 years ago. The only thing I said is, “You could call it sending out a message to the universe, but to me that’s prayer. Whether you believe or you don’t believe, that’s not my issue, but I believe. When I’m sending that out there, I’m not just sending it out to the universe. I believe I’m sending it to the person that created the universe and that’s my meditation and how my affirmation works.” It’s useless without action. It may be the only thing left to do and there may not be any action left to take in some circumstances, but for the most part, if you don’t take action, why would you expect anything to happen? What do you deserve if you don’t take any action?

Two things pop into my head. First in the Bible it says, “Prayer without work is dead.” Let’s think about that. That’s a huge thing. Back in what you said, Mitch, it’s important. The other thing is this. In 1996, when I broke away from the positive thinking Law of Attraction world, I actually was exposed. I was interviewing one of the most amazing people that ever walked the earth. He’s changed so many millions of lives. He is no longer with us, but the Beatles and him brought meditation all over the world. The guy’s name was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He’s the Founder of transcendental meditation. In 1988, I went through the course to be able to do the meditation on a daily basis. I found it amazing.

In 1996, Maharishi contacted us and said, “I’m going to celebrate the 40th anniversary of transcendental meditation and the only media outlet is your show. Do you want me on?” I said, “Yes.” He could’ve chosen Larry King, Howard Stern or any big name back then. We were so honored. He comes on the show and he was amazing. He was wiser than wise. During one of the breaks, he said to me, “Several times you’ve mentioned how much you love affirmations.” I said, “They’re my world.” He said, “Are they your reality?” I said, “What do you mean?” He goes, “When you’re saying an affirmation, is it true? Is it in your present world or are you lying to yourself hoping it will be true? Tell me your favorite affirmation.”

This was my favorite affirmation at that time, “I am David Essel, a child of God, happy, healthy and sober.” He said, “Is that your favorite one?” I go, “Yes.” He said, “Is it your reality?” I lied and I said, “Yes it is.” He said, “Good. Keep using it. If it’s not your reality, be careful because you’ll be tricking yourself into believing something that isn’t true.” What I found at the end of that interview was that I had been lying to myself for twenty years waking up every day, all excited, “I am David Essel, child of God, happy, healthy and sober.” I was a raging alcoholic for 25 plus years. I had to look in the mirror and say, “There’s a negative side to positive thinking.”

REIS 321 | Growing Within

Focus!: Slay Your Goals

When I woke up every day and said I was sober, that made me feel great. It was a complete lie. It was an absolute lie, and it got me going through the day. “I’m David Essel. I’m sober, I’m doing great.” At 8:00 every night I started drinking again. I was living out of integrity. If we’re saying affirmations, “I am a millionaire,” and we’re not, we’re lying to ourselves. If we’re saying, “I’m a size six,” and we’re a size eighteen, we’re lying to ourselves. The way we’ve been taught to use affirmations, I shattered in 1996 and we started using realistic affirmations that are exciting and powerful. We’ll talk about money.

A great financial affirmation for someone that wants to become wealthy would be something like, “I am earning $50,000 this year, which will be upgraded to $75,000 in six months by doing these action steps on a daily basis.” We combine it now. We make it realistic. We’re not going to lie and say, “I’m earning $82,000 a month, which is $1 million a year if we’re not earning that,” but we can get excited saying, “I’m earning $50,000 in six months, it’s going to be $75,000.” If you’re motivated, you can say, “In six months, it’s going to be $100,000.” You have to say, “What am I going to do to make that my reality so you’re not lying to yourself?”

That’s big because when I was doing my affirmations or whatever, I didn’t even call them affirmations. I didn’t even have a word for them. I imagined where I wanted to be. I had read in that book, Psycho-Cybernetics, that if you visualize something enough that your mind wouldn’t let opportunities to achieve it past you. It will catch it when there is time to take action. If you’re walking around and saying, “I want to be a millionaire,” but if you’re dreaming about certain stuff anyways, you’d catch it. This is a personal question. I had a goal to be a millionaire or any number. My goal was to be better next year, to be better next month. Whatever I’m doing, how can I one up it? How can I improve it? How can I expand it and multiply it? What can I do? I was always trying to be aware. If I’m buying one house a month, how do I buy two? When I got to two, it’s like, “Can I do three a month?” and then try to figure out.

I worked my way in to 100 houses a year. It didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t wake up and say, “100 houses.” No, I grew into it. I took things around me and then I noticed when I was stuck and I say, “I can’t do anymore right now. I gassed. What do I do? How do I get unstuck?” I’m talking to people and they said, “You’re going to have to hire somebody because you’re doing all this stuff now that doesn’t have anything to do with buying houses. You’re caught up in the business of everything.” I said, “Okay.” I hired a guy and all of a sudden I got freed up again. What do you think? I always thought people would scoff that I never had a monetary goal or I never had that goal. What do you say?

We did something similar that you’re doing. A number of years ago we came up with a goal of a number of people we wanted to positively lift every day. We started with 100,000. This was years ago.

One hundred thousand people? Why so small, David?

We had never put a number on it, so we decided to put a number. Now we’re at two million people and it’s right on our website. Our mission is to positivity live two million people every day through the work that we’re doing. We’re on radio and television multiple days a week. We have 1,500 YouTube videos on positive thinking and we have free online courses we give away. When we get closer to going past that two million, we’re going to have to up it again, but that’s our philosophy. Instead of getting too hung up on a number of financial value, what can we do regarding service as our goal? Your goal was to do a house a day or a house a month to start with, how you can serve people, get people into a home that maybe they couldn’t have gotten into on their own. Now we’re being of service and that’s what we did. We started out with a tiny number of 100,000. We’re up to two million and my goal, I’d love to see in two more years for us to be at three million a day and we can do it.

Try to have a higher purpose besides just yourself. The work that you do, it’s helpful if it has a higher purpose. It’s not about me. The way that I approached it in my naivete was to make sure that it was a win-win in everyone’s calling. Whatever I was doing, everybody in the equation had to win. Everyone had to get what they were looking for. A lot of people fight back against it. I buy houses at steep discounts. I live where there’s chaos. I live where there are major problems and people are losing houses. I am buying houses at steep discounts.

People said, “How do they win? You bought their house at half of what it’s worth.” I said, “You have no idea that the strife that some of these properties cause people or some of the things that happened in those properties. They don’t ever want to go back to it again.” Other times, they’re about to get nothing and if I can get to them before the foreclosure, I can get them $10,000 to $15,000. I’ve got to get to them before that time clock ticks over. That doesn’t mean that I solved all their problems with that, but I did put some positive in their mark for that property other than vanishing in an auction somewhere.

The big thing for a lot of people on this show is we’re putting people in houses that probably would be relegated to be renters for the rest of their life. I wish it was more for a lot of different reasons, but I’ve put 2,400 people in a house that may have never been able to own a house. We know that a home is one of the biggest financial assets of most people. It’s important. You’re going to give away a two-hour video. It’s a course. It’s like a $99 value. It’s Focus!: Slay Your Goals. That comes right from the book. If you want to go to 1000houses.com/focus, there will be links there. There will be contact information for David Essel and there will be anything you want over there. Get over there and get your two-hour video if this interests you. I want to know about step three. One, get up early and do your journaling. Two, find a coach to pick the right goal to start with. What’s number three?

Number three is to commit a written action plan six days a week, multiple hours a day that is measurable and timelined to achieve your goal. If I’m working with real estate agents or even real estate investors, I’ll say to them, “How are you going to go out and prospect? What are you doing on Monday? For how long? Who are you prospecting? Where are you going? Is it phone calls? Is it in person?” In other words, we help people get so focused that they know throughout the week exactly what they’re doing prospecting-wise, what they’re doing closing-wise. They know everything on Sunday night of what they’re doing throughout the week, where they’re putting their time, what they’re doing. It’s not enough to say, “I’m going to contact ten, twenty people now.”

We have to say, “I’m going to contact twenty people now and this is how I’m going to do it. These ten people I’m calling, these three people I’m meeting for coffee and these four people, I’m doing this. I’m emailing or texting,” whatever it might be, but we get super specific with what are the tasks and how much time you’re doing. When the real estate market crashed around 2008, I got a call from a realtor that was in Florida and his wife didn’t work. He had two kids. He was dying on the vine and he said, “I’m calling for your advice. Should I switch careers? We’re in a recession or depression, whatever you want to call it. I’ve got to support my family.”

We looked at all the options and he didn’t have any options. I said, “Let’s do this. I’m going to work with you five days a week, fifteen minutes a day so you can afford it, because I know you’re almost flat broke. Let’s just do fifteen minutes. It’s going to be 8:45 to 9:00 five days a week. From 9:00 to 11:00 is full-out prospecting. We are going after rejection. I don’t care what happens.” At the end of that year, he made more money in the recession or depression selling real estate than he had in the three years prior that were all good years.

You have to adapt and shift. There was chaos all over the place. You had to figure out how to manage that chaos to put a dollar in your pocket. It wasn’t listing million-dollar houses anymore. It was something else. You morphed. Keep morphing. The guy was an expert. It was great advice not to jump ship because then you have to learn a whole new career. We got three steps out of this. There’s a whole bunch of steps. I hope we got you interested enough. Go over to 1000houses.com/focus. Get your two-hour video and more of David Essel. There will be everything you need to know. David, thank you so much. What’s one last word of advice to the people that are struggling out there?

Never give up and don’t do it on your own.

Thanks for stopping by to get you some David Essel. I wish everybody out there is making your goals. 1000houses.com, please spread the word and check out my sponsor, TaxFreeFuture.com. Check them out. There are 37 videos over there. You need to know how to invest tax-free or tax-deferred. You won’t believe what your financial advisors are not telling you because they don’t get paid if they tell you. You’ll go do better and not have to pay them. We’re going to tell you. Go to TaxFreeFuture.com. David, thank you so much.


Important Links


About David Essel

REIS 321 | Growing WithinDavid Essel, M. S. O.M.,  is a number one best-selling author (10), counselor, master life coach,  international speaker and minister whose mission is to positively affect 2 million people or more every day, in every area of life, regardless of their current circumstances. Celebrity Jenny McCarthy says “David Essel is the new leader of the positive thinking movement.”

His newest book went #1 bestseller in 3 months, a mystical romance novel set in the Hawaiian Islands called ” Angel on a Surfboard”, which offers the 6 keys to deep love.

Another #1 best seller ” FOCUS! SLAY YOUR GOALS…THE PROVEN GUIDE TO HUGE SUCCESS, A POWERFUL ATTITUDE AND PROFOUND LOVE”, was recently selected by the influential blog BOOK AUTHORITY.ORG  as one of the top 100 GOAL SETTING BOOKS OF ALL TIME!

David’s work of 38 years is also highly endorsed by the late Wayne Dyer, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”  author Mark Victor Hansen, as well as many other celebrities and radio and television networks from around the world.

He is verified through Psychology Today as one of the top Counselors and Life Coaches in the USA, and is verified  through Marriage.com as one of the top relationship counselors and coaches in the world.

David accepts new clients every week into his 1 on 1 programs from around the world at www.davidessel.com


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