By Philippe Matthews
It was Mark Victor Hansen who reintroduced me to the wealth building phenom, Bob Proctor. Although, I remember seeing Bob speak at my church when I was only ten years old at Christ Universal Temple in Chicago, I never knew I would grow up and have the opportunity to share the platform with him and have him endorse my first book, How to Make Millions When Thousands Have Been Laid Off!.
Recently known as the star of the Secret, Bob Proctor is an author, lecturer, counselor, business consultant, entrepreneur, and teacher of positive thinking, self-motivation and maximizing human potential through the Law of Attraction. In that endeavor, he follows in the footsteps of such motivational giants as Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale and Wallace D. Wattles. But Proctor carries the message of these great teachers a step higher and explains in terms understood by tots and tycoons alike how a person goes about recognizing their potential and how to apply this effort in setting and achieving life goals.
My first question to this wealth-building guru came from a question that was posed to me some years ago that I could not answer until this interview. The question was why do some people believe it’s a sin to be rich and holy to be broke? Bob Proctor quickly responded, “I think we’re programmed. I think it’s for a lot of reasons that we believe a lot of other nonsense. It’s genetic and environmental programming. People don’t think and live with what they are programmed to believe. Moreover, there’s so many poor people around that it would seem to make sense – they can’t all be bad people. I think we’re conditioned genetically. It’s not an accident that you look exactly like your uncle Harry. The genetic conditioning is very strong and on top of that you have environmental conditioning. Unfortunately, we’re programmed to take everything and reverse it. It’s like we live from the physical to the spiritual when we should be going from the spiritual to the physical. We live through our senses. If you go by your senses, you’re going by the appearance of things and the truth is very rarely in the appearance of things.”
Bob’s book, You Were Born Rich is not just a title but an affirmation. What a concept to believe and know we are all born rich. “We’ve got deep reservoirs of talent and abilities within us,” Bob explained. “There’s so much power locked up in us and it’s never used. We’re rich resources – everyone is, most people are just a little short of money but riches…the most erudite scientist alive won’t guess at what you and I are capable of doing.” In You Were Born Rich, there’s a chapter that asked the question, How Much Is Enough? When I posed that question to Bob, he launched with a belly laugh and replied, “Well it depends on what you’re doing. To accumulate money just for the sake of accumulating money is a fool’s game and you will usually end up pretty unhappy, probably a sick person. Money is an instrument and it’s used for two things. One is to make you comfortable and the other is to extend the service that you offer beyond your own presence. You’ll hear people say, I really don’t want money, I just want to do good, well Wattles [Wallace D. Wattles] pointed out many years ago if that’s the case you should get rich first because the good you can do without the money is limited to your own presence. So money is an instrument that enables you to extend what you’re doing far beyond where you are.”
He believes that money is a servant and we shouldn’t serve money. “It is a wonderful servant but makes an absolutely terrible master. Money will do whatever you tell it to do. It’s greatly misunderstood. Almost everything we’ve been taught about money is false. Money has nothing to do with race, religion, gender, geography, it has nothing to do with formal education, it has nothing to do with your background, and it has nothing to do with your intelligence. There are some very intelligent people who are broke and there are people who are not very bright at all who are multi-millionaires! Money is based on one thing…decision. You decide you’re going to have it or you decide that you’re not.“ Bob’s wisdom of wealth led one of the attendees at his wealth building seminars to offer: “Bob Proctor… brings all the great wisdom of Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles and others into a coherent whole that anyone can take home and apply…”
The Book That Changed Bob’s Life
Perhaps the reason Bob Proctor is so insightful into the factors that limit peoples’ success is rooted in the fact that he lived an aimless, purposeless existence for the first 26 years of his own life. Born in a little town in northern Ontario, Canada with the low self-esteem that often befalls a family’s middle child, he performed poorly in school, dropped out and did a hitch in the navy. Afterward he drifted from one dead-end job to another until a friend recognized potential in Bob that he had no awareness of himself. The friend introduced Bob to the concept of self-development through Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich. With the spark generated by Hill’s words, Proctor found the initiative to start an office cleaning business, which he grew to international scope in his first year of operation. From that experience – after seeing what he had been able to accomplish with just a rudimentary knowledge of personal motivation and goal setting – he hungered for more information. His quest took him to the Nightingale-Conant organization where he exhausted every opportunity to study under his mentor, Earl Nightingale. His intense study earned him an invitation to join the organization where, once on board, he rose swiftly through the ranks. Moreover, while the Nightingale-Conant organization assumed the forefront in wide-scale distribution of personal development programs, Bob felt the need to take his ideas and methods directly to the individual, to the one-on-one level, which had proved so successful for him.
In the mid 1970’s, Bob established his own seminar company and secured a contract to work with a few hundred agents of Prudential Life Insurance Company of America in Chicago. During his first seminar Bob made the suggestion that any agent present could write $5 million in business that year if the agent made a decision to do so. The fact that the seminar took place in July with the year half over and that no agent in that region had ever written so much business in the 100-year history of the company made Bob’s suggestion appear to be outrageous. However, when the performance level of the entire division increased substantially with more than one agent actually accomplishing the deed, Bob’s reputation as a change agent was established. Over the ensuing years, Bob has shared his special message and expertise with hundreds of business entities worldwide and, through a program of live seminars, with thousands of people of all ages in all walks of life.
Meanwhile, in addition to his international best-seller You Were Born Rich, he found time to author other works as well, including Mission in Commission, The Winner’s Image, The Goal Achiever, The Success Series, The Success Puzzle, The Recruiting Puzzle, and Being Your Very Best. The experience of hearing and seeing Bob Proctor lecture is a memorable one, packed with the information, inspiration and wisdom to transform the lives of everyone in his audience. Unlike many programs, which convince you, that you can do anything you set out to do, Bob Proctor’s programs complete the creative cycle by explaining what you must do, why you must do it and, more importantly, how you must do it.
You Were Born Rich
His extraordinary teaching ability has won Bob acclaim around the globe and has carried the Canadian-born motivator to the far reaches of the earth. He is as well known in Australia and Malaysia as he is in Alberta and Mississippi. Testimony to his ability to reach people and teach them how to become successful is his work in the insurance industry. In this bastion of self-starters and personal motivation – where competition, denial and rejection are awesome negative forces – Bob regularly conducts corporate sponsored seminars worldwide for some of the world’s largest insurance companies. To his credit, he has generated a long list of phenomenal individual success stories.
One of Bob’s most powerful principles in his book, You Were Born Rich is the principle of letting go and letting God. He explains, “If we take it and relate it to goals, where people get hung up on goals is that they’re trying to figure out how it’s going to happen before they set the goal and anyone who has every accomplished anything of any consequence has never known how it’s going to happen. I always point out that how is God’s job and what is your is your job. You decide what you want done, and God does the work with and through you. Clarence Smith is a man who I haven’t seen for years but he’s a brilliant guy who I asked what was faith to him and he said, ‘faith is the ability to see the invisible, to believe in the incredible and that will permit you to receive what the masses call impossible.’ The ability to see the invisible…there’s a power flowing into your consciousness and you have creative faculties in your consciousness that enables you to build an image of anything you want – anything…no limits! No one can alter it, no one can shorten it, and no one can change it. You have the ability to picture anything you want – to see the invisible – you see it before its moved into form. To believe in the incredible…its incredible to believe that there’s a power that’s resident in every cell of your being and when you take that image and mentally let it move into the subjective form of your mind, that part of you will instantly and automatically alter the vibratory rate of your body, change your behavior and change what you attract into your world. It will manifest the image you hold in physical form. It’s an absolute law!”
If it’s so simple then why don’t we take action and make it happen Bob? “Well, we don’t think. We don’t see it because we’re trained to see just through our eyes. I remember spending five years working with Earl Nightingale many years ago and he said, ‘if more people said what they were thinking they would be speechless.’ When you hear that it sounds pretty funny, but if you think about it, it’s true. Most people mistake mental activity with thinking but it’s not. They’re going to old movies and if you stand back objectively and observe peoples behavior, it’s obvious that they’re not thinking or they never would do what they are doing. On the other hand, if you listen to their conversation, it’s obvious that they are not thinking or they would never say what they’re saying. I think it was the late and great doctor Ken McFarland that said, ‘two percent of the people think. Three percent think they think and ninety five percent would rather die than think.’ Thinking is the highest function we’re capable of and if you want to do something and you think about how you can, the way will be shown.”
Bob sees himself as an educator with a gift to reveal to others the secrets that turned his life around and the incredible power and potential they hold within themselves. An unabashed entrepreneur, his philosophies are set forth in his international best seller You Were Born Rich, where it encourages people to prepare for their own success by revising their attitudes toward wealth. Paraphrasing, he says it’s good to be wealthy and that money is good as long as the individual rules the money and not the other way around. Further he explains how to employ self-imagery, incorporate, and develop each individual’s spiritual side in the quest for wealth and success. Bob’s deeply held beliefs and common sense approach to teaching creates a new set of mental reflexes to guide people to properly set goals and thereby improve their lives. “Many of our decisions are made purely on the mental reflexes we’ve built up through similar decisions made hundreds of times over the years. In fact, we spend a great deal of our lives on autopilot,” he says. Bob does his best to get people off autopilot and into success.
Helping employees grow, improve and adapt to change, Proctor’s wide-ranging work with business and industries around the world extends far beyond the pep rally syndrome. Instead, it encompasses working with business entities to develop strategies that will assist employees at all levels to grow, improve, and adapt to the ever-changing nature of all commercial enterprises in today’s business atmosphere.
Bob believes that you must have vision in order to create wealth but there are many ways to envision something, especially wealth. “It has to be service oriented because wealth is a reward received for service rendered,” Bob explains, “You have to have an image of doing something that’s extraordinary and I think everyone wants to. I believe we’re spiritual beings and the essence of the human is spirit and spirit is always for fuller expansion and expression. That means there’s something within you that wants to express itself in a greater way and that will keep you wanting more than what you got, wanting to do more – jump higher, run faster, make it bigger… It’s not to have it or to do it, it’s to create the awareness that you can. You have to have a vision of what you want. Most people compromise, they’re not going after what they want at all, they’re going after what they think they can do. Going after what you think you can do is never going to inspire you so you’ll probably quit. We should ask ourselves ‘what do I want?’ and throw away all of the limits. It doesn’t matter what it cost, what help you’re going to need or what’s required – just what do you want? When you decide on what you want and you take that in your mind, you will attract everything that is required for the manifestation of that image.”
So, there’s a difference between want and need? “I think a person should look after their needs because if they don’t take care of their needs, they’re going to have a very difficult time focusing on their wants. However, taking care of our needs is such a puny, little thing to do – anybody can take care of their needs. If a person is not thinking, they may have difficulty. There was a time when I didn’t think and I had a difficult time taking care of my needs but as soon as I began to think, I never had a difficult time taking care of my needs and I’ve always gotten what I wanted.”
Expect An Abundance
On page 92 of You Were Born Rich, Bob says, “…before any of us can even begin to overcome the poverty which surrounds us in our external world, we must first conquer the impoverishment that is buried deep within ourselves.” Bob explained further in our interview, “That goes back to the conditioning again and the conditioning controls the vibration you’re in. The vibration dictates what you will attract. When we start to understand our relationship with Spirit or with God and how our mind functions then it’s easy to start to expect great things to happen because you know what the creative process is. When you really understand the creative process, expectation is a natural thing. Expectation is a mindset that controls the vibration you’re in and that controls what you attract into your life.” So, expectation is then faith in action? “No, I don’t think so. I think expectation is more of an intellectual thing and faith is more of a subjective thing. Faith comes from understanding. Faith is an emotional thing – it has more to do with the subjective mind. Expectation without faith is useless – it’s wishing. It’s the understanding that gives us the faith. With knowledge, you wouldn’t need any faith. This is really paradoxical because the more knowledge you have the more faith you have and the more knowledge you have the less faith you need. It’s a real paradox.”
If someone is born into poverty and is never exposed to the possibilities of wealth and freedom, how do you convince these people that they are not living their true potential? “The odds of them making it are pretty slim, however, I do believe a person born into dire circumstances and there are certainly a number of them, I think spirit is resident there and it’s omni-present. I think spirit is pushing at their consciousness to do this. If they let the old paradigm control them they won’t do it but every now and then you’ll see a person come out of the ghetto or out of a very bad situation and they follow that impulse from inside and they step out and things start to happen and they do it. I also believe that you and I have a responsibility to try and reach out and wake those people up. That’s what I spend my life doing.”