Life coach, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker Micheal Taylor used to think that having “the house, the wife, the 2.5 kids, and the 401K” would make him happy.
“Once I attained all of those things, I realized I was actually miserable. It wasn’t until I went through a divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, depression, and being homeless for two years that I decided to ask myself what it meant to be human,” he said.
The self-introspection and transformation that followed taught him many life lessons that he’s felt compelled to share ever since. His new book, “The Good News Is, The Future Is Brighter Than You Think!” aims to inspire others to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
The Epoch Times: You’ve overcome significant hardship in your life. How did you manage to pull yourself through those toughest moments?
Michael Taylor: First of all, I have to acknowledge my mom for my optimism and resilience. She is the primary reason I was able to overcome a lot of the adversities in my life. If there is such a thing as a resiliency gene, she definitely passed it on to me.
Although she was a single mom with six kids back in the ’60s who relied on government assistance to get by, she never complained about her situation. She always told me if I wanted something badly enough no one or nothing could keep me from attaining it except myself, and she led by example. No matter what challenge or obstacle she faced, she always figured out a way to deal with it.
The Epoch Times: You describe yourself as an “irrepressible optimist.” How do you maintain your optimistic outlook?
Mr. Taylor: First and foremost, I do not believe the hype of the negative media. I recognize that 80 percent of mainstream news is negative and yet, I believe there are a lot more things that are right with the world than are wrong with it. Therefore, I focus my attention on what’s right.
If you look at the trajectory that humanity has been on for the past few hundred years, there are a lot of reasons for optimism. One of my favorite quotes states: “All of the water in the ocean cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside of the ship.” So too, all of the negativity of our media cannot “sink” us unless we allow the negativity inside of our thinking. I spend most of my time reading, learning, and thinking about positive things and therefore my outlook is always pretty positive.
As I reflect over my life and think about all of the adversities I’ve had to overcome, and then look at my life today, there is no way I can think negatively about anything.
The Epoch Times: Many people are finding a sense of optimism hard to come by these days. How, in your view, is the future brighter than they think, as your new book proclaims?
Mr. Taylor: First of all, it’s important for people to recognize that mainstream media shows us a very small portion of what is actually going on in the world. Since the primary focus of the media is on negativity and sensationalism, the media rarely focuses on good news.
My belief is, if a person becomes willing to focus on their own inner transformation and growth and pays attention to what they are thinking, they can begin to see life through a different perspective. It’s been said that what you think about you bring about. If you are constantly thinking about how bad the world is, guess what is going to show up in your experience?
There is a guy named Mike Dooley who is famous for saying “thoughts become things.” If you want your future to be bright, it begins with your willingness to think positive thoughts. This doesn’t mean you are denying the challenges facing the world, it means you are the creator of your reality and by changing your thoughts you can change your life.
The Epoch Times: If a reader of your new book could take away only one concept, what would you want it to be?
Mr. Taylor: The premise of the book is to support readers in understanding they are 100 percent responsible for their lives turning out the way they want them to. It is easy to point fingers and place blame on the government, our ex-wives or husbands, our age, our educational level, or our ethnicity. But it isn’t until we are able to declare, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me” that we gain control over our lives… So the takeaway from the book is as a human being you have the capacity to be, to do, and to have anything you set your mind to.
The Epoch Times: As a father, what are the most important life lessons you’ve passed onto your children?
Mr. Taylor: My children are 40, 37, and 34, and I must admit they are well-adjusted adults who are doing extremely well in their personal lives. The lessons I passed on to my kids were pretty simple:
I taught them they were lovable and loved.
I taught them that it was important for them to think for themselves and it was OK if they didn’t believe some of the things that I believed. In other words, I raised them to be independent thinkers and never forced my beliefs on them.
I taught them the importance of enjoying life and having fun, and to take life sincerely but not seriously.
I passed on a love for reading and learning new things no matter how old you are.
I taught them to respect all people regardless of ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic background. I’m a firm believer in treating others the way you want to be treated.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.