1977 to 1979: Wanting the easy good life...I even tried my hand at professional tennis... I never made any money. I tried pool hustling and playing backgammon... YES, I even turned to gambling out of my desire to make some easy money. You can imagine the result of that!! Finally I decided that since I couldn't make any money myself because I was as "confident as a wet blanket" maybe I could find someone who already had some. So I came up with my success strategy #1... I would find and marry someone who was already rich.
Astonishingly, it worked. I met a girl whose parents owned one of the biggest real estate companies in Australia and were worth over $300 million back in 1979. I spent the next 6 years in the company of one of Australia's wealthiest families at that time. We had free rent in Sydney's posh Double Bay, free petrol, free trips to Surfers Paradise, free skiing (my fiancés father even owned a ski resort) I even got a job with the family firm. First as a builders labourer on a site in Paddington Sydney, then as a property manager and later I even got my real Estate agents license. I bought my first 3 properties one in Sydney and two in Melbourne following my Rich Dads father in law's advice... I was making money and I thought I was set up for life...
1984: To top it all off our wedding was held at one of the hotels that my wife's father owned in Sydney's CBD and we got the promise of a million dollar HOUSE in Sydney's Double Bay as our wedding present. To celebrate we took off on a ONE YEAR round the world trip... Our honeymoon. And that's where the cracks in my 'perfect' future began... On the plane back from Hawaii to Australia and a secure future (Or so I thought) my wife turned to me and said... "I want a divorce." It was like being hit over the head with a brick. I was stunned.
There went my future. I had no money, (I sold one of my properties to pay for the honeymoon and the other two had no equity yet) no skills and as far as I was concerned NO future. We tried to work things out in the next few months. I cried, I pleaded, I cajoled and screamed... all to no avail. My wife's decision was final.
Here's what I did next ...The date is March 25th, 1985. (Just 4 days short of my 28th birthday)
The time is about 2:30 am in the morning. The place is my car, a Datsun 200B parked outside 85 Manning rd. Double Bay. (The home where me and my then wife were going to spend the rest of our life together in perfect happiness, or so I believed) It's pitch black, and the only sound is the engine running. I am sitting in the car, gripping the wheel feeling angry, lonely and depressed. There are lots of thoughts running through my head.
I am broke. I have no skills, no wife and, as far as I was concerned... no future. My life is over and it's all their fault!! As I bitterly recount what happened I feel a growing anger, frustration and I blame my wife, her parents and even my parents for making me feel this way. I remember all the hurts and frustrations I felt that they caused me.
But now I am going to show them. And make them sorry for what they did to me. Because when I am gone then they'll appreciate me and want me, but it'll be too late!! I'll make them suffer like I am suffering.
I turn the engine off and get out of the car, teary eyed. I pull a vacuum cleaner hose from the boot of the car and jam it into the exhaust. (Yes, I put it there a few days earlier just in case I needed it at a moment like this) I place the other end into the rear window and wind the window up so the hose will hold in place.
I get in the from seat and start up the engine again.
The smell of the engine fumes begins to fill the car. The dials in front of me are getting hazy in the acrid smoke. My right hand is holding the driver's side door handle and the door is just 8 inches open. In my mind there is only one thought now...
Do I close the door or don't I?
Do I choose to die or do I choose to live?
I know that if I close the door there is no second chance...
My mind is getting tired... and sleepy. I can hardly keep my eyes open now.
The next thing I remember, is lying on the wet grass next to the car. Dawn is breaking and there is a man with a black dog leaning over me asking me... "Are you all right? Can you hear me?" My head is still spinning and I just nod weakly. I can't really see his face clearly, but I notice he smiles at me kindly and then just begins to walk away with the dog following behind him.
A few moments later as my head begins to clear I sit up and look around for the man and his dog who probably saved my life. I am not even sure whether they were really there, or if it was just a dream I was having, but they are nowhere to be seen.
But I do notice the engine has been turned off. My keys are still hanging in the ignition and the vacuum cleaner hose is gone. So someone must have been here. I never believed in guardian angels, until this moment. But if they exist then for years I thought this man was certainly mine. But one day I actually figured out that I went into the car at 2:30am and the man was there at 5am – 2.5 hours later. He couldn't have saved me. What actually happened was that I had lost consciousness from the fumes BEFORE I shut the door and I fell out of the car... which saved my life. I was such a loser I couldn't even kill myself properly... Are you glad you are reading this book buy a suicidal loser? I am joking here. Because that morning was a turning point in my life. A moment where I decided to make some changes because obviously my life was not working...
Anyway, I got up, took my shoes off and started to walk across the wet grass. I don't know exactly what happened, but I seem to remember looking at the world around me as if I had a new pair of eyes. My awareness seemed to have changed. Everything seemed much clearer and sharper.
The sounds of the birds singing. The wet, cold feeling of the grass beneath my feet. The crisp smell of the fresh morning air. And seeing the trees full of leaves and the clear blue sky above with the first rays of sunshine suddenly overwhelmed me with emotion. I began to sob and cry for the joy of simply being alive.
And, as I walked across the dewy grass, I made a decision to change. To really live and make my life count. To find out what I could so that I would never want to be in a position like I was just a few hours ago. From the depths of despair, depression and almost death, my shattered spirit arose like a phoenix from the ashes and I began the journey of my new life.
Making Changes To Take Charge Of My Life...
Did my life instantly change? Yes and no. Firstly I wanted to be more emotionally strong. I began to devour anything I could lay my hands on to learn what made me the person I was and what I could do to change. I read hundreds of books on self-development, real estate and business.
Next I wanted to have more energy. To be healthier. I changed my diet. And gave up meat, dairy products, bread and processed foods. Started drinking fresh squeezed juices, salads and more wholesome and natural food. I also stopped drinking alcohol for 20 years. I did ten day water only cleansings of my body and went to mediation retreats. The result? I lost 20 kilos in 3 months and never had to take headache tablets or any antibiotics or medical drugs since. I felt fantastic. I made it my life purpose to become a better person. To make myself into the sort of person that could inspire others instead of blaming and feeling sorry for myself all the time. To take full responsibility for everything that happened to me and to make the most of everything that life serves me up.
Then I wanted to create my own wealth. I started my first business manufacturing spa baths. I worked like a demon 16 hours per day 7 days per week for the first 3 years and 16 hours a day 6 days per week for the next two. I made some money and lost it as my business expanded and fell victim to the recession we had to have in 1992. I did not let this deter me. I no longer felt like a victim, blaming the economy like so many other businesses that failed in that period. Instead I took the opportunity to make a change of environment and move to sunny Queensland.
But even after all that, in 1992 I was still broke and on the unemployment benefits. My phone was about to be cut off and we did not even have enough food to feed our first baby girl. (I've had another 4 children since then)
But... I was determined to succeed. I set my goals and focused on the purpose of why I am here. What meaning has my life got. I made sure I was in excellent health, because while I may not have had the skills or the mindset to be successful in business, I knew that keeping good health was way more valuable than material success. Since I had no money, I would at least keep mentally and physically alert and bide my time until I did succeed.
You will read the rest of the story in this book. But the reason I am telling you all this is to make you aware that nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. I too was down on my luck and desperate. Broke and frustrated. And if I could go from the depths of despair and being broke... You can too. This is my story of how did it. May it inspire your life journey... Here is what I realized on my journey...