I’ll just start with what many of you want to know based on the title. Have I walked on fire? The answer is yes. I have walked on fire 7 times.
I was trained by a man called Bob Samara. Bob was a ‘point man’ in Vietnam with a German Shephard. Point Men in Vietnam would lead the troops into the jungle and would be exposed to the first line of ambushes, trip wires, booby traps, etc that would be on the trails and in the jungle. The dogs that accompanied point men are called War Dogs. Point Men were much more effective as front-line scouts of a unit when accompanied by a dog since the dog could pick sounds, smells, etc outside of normal human perception and possibly warn of impending danger.
Here is my story. In 1995/96 I was broke and in debt up to my eye balls. I was 5 years out of college and was in the eyes of the world and my own eyes an utter failure.
I was worse than a failure. I had just married my college sweetheart and had to break the news to my Father-in-law that I was a loser, that I was broke and $70,000 in the hole.
I had learned growing up that, how hard you work determined where you got to and your trajectory and velocity in life. This approach was the absolute determiner of success I learned. The robust Irish Catholic suffering mentality was all that I knew. I tried it and tried it and tried it again……and cried.
This formula wasn’t working.
In retrospect, in small ways I did succeed. My first job out of college was for a salary of $21k and was 9 hours away from my home. I was hired by a big company to sell plumbing supplies. This job got me started in the real world but it was not for me. I left within 4 months because I didn’t aspire to a cap on my income and I knew that I, personally, could get nowhere selling plumbing supplies. I started work immediately with a great insurance company. The product was stellar, I loved helping people and, my gosh, it felt entrepreneurial. I would walk into hospital and clinic cafeteria lines during breakfast and lunch and introduce myself to Doctors in long coats entering residency, so I could sell them insurance before they really got successful.
In my first year I sold $30k in commissions, but had almost 100% backed out of my commissions to pay expenses that the Insurance company recovered back from their agents (office space rent, fax machines, phone calls, etc etc). The second year I made $40k in commissions. Again since I was paying back expenses I was underwater again. I was succeeding selling but was not making it work financially. My hard work was not paying off.
This was a hard reality to face since I was told by my father that hard work = success.
So what did I do? I started to study metaphysics, religions, meditation, philosophy, mindfulness, self help, sales training in huge amounts…massive amounts. Reading and listening to tapes continually. Something had to break for me. It was during this process where my perception and belief systems started to crack.
ign: left;”>I met Bob through a sideline endeavor which I was trying to make a few dollars with in order to stave off the inevitable demise of my insurance career. He developed a big interest in human perception, and human perception of fear after his experiences in Vietnam. He told me to drive to South Carolina and meet up with a group in order to face the biggest fear of my life. I wasn’t told what I was driving down to, only that I was going to face the biggest fear of my life.
In the middle of a big field with 20 or so people I walked across 1200 degree coals for the first time (3 times that day and I returned again a year later to walk an additional 4 times).
Bob trained us in a relatively short amount of time “how” to think and “what” to think as you approach and take your steps across coals which are hot enough to pour an engine block. He taught us to hold an image in our mind of an ideal state that would be a counter balance to the fear and dread that we were all facing. Being burned is a massive fear for most people and the possibility of walking across coals is just ‘mind bending’. I don’t just casually mention this to people I meet at a cock-tail party. For me though I needed to see where the limits of human performance were. I had tried working hard and had not been able to succeed.
What I learned growing up about success did not work for me. YET, YET, YET a human being with little or no effort can walk across hot coals when a human being can’t even put a bare palm down on a 300 degree hot stove.
What happened for me after this experience is that a different reality was burned into my DNA. I started to access this state in the different challenges that presented themselves over the following 15 years. I paid back my $70k in debts in 2 years not 5. I started a successful business after rebuilding my financial life. 2001 was a big year for me. My business was started in August 2001 which was was one month before 9-11 (post-9/11 was an enormously tough business environment). Our first child was born and I moved into my first house. I remember coming home and not being able to bend my wrists due to the stress I was experiencing.
We are now 15 years beyond my firewalking experience and 10 years since starting my business. I now own 4 businesses employ directly 20 and indirectly several more, attained a black belt in Taekwondo, had 2 more children, and competed in an Ironman and a couple ½ Ironmans. Business is not the gauge of my success or my identity anymore (not even remotely close), but it is important for our readers to understand that there are technologies that are beyond the limits of human perception and understanding, that you can explore for yourself in order to craft your own path in this world.
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Warm Regards, Bill