How to set goals for the next few years ? – Bill Gladstone
DAVID LAROCHE: Hello Achievers! Today, I am with a new amazing guy. Maybe you know him. He's the bestselling author of The Twelve and his last book was The Power of Twelve.
He's William Gladstone. He's with me and he's one of the bestselling authors and publishers. You will love him. He is next to me.
So, hello, William!
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Hello! It's wonderful to see you, David.
DAVID LAROCHE: How are you today?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Wonderful! It's a beautiful day here in Southern California. It's a beach day.
DAVID LAROCHE: It is my favorite place in the world.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Except for Paris.
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes, Paris. I prefer Paris.
I have a lot of questions for you. I would like to know more about your first book, The Twelve. Why did you write this book?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: The better question is, why did my life evolve in such a way that the book could be written.
Everything that happens in The Twelve is based on reality. It's a novel but it's based on reality.
It's based on a very unusual reality that I had to experience including going around the world [inaudible] 0:01:25.1 in search of ancient mysteries when I was younger than you—a long time ago.
I had all these interesting experiences including a near-death experience which revealed to me the hidden meaning of my own life and purpose. And it was, literally, to find the twelve.
And so, I wrote a novel in fictional form about the twelve. The purpose of the twelve is very similar to the ancient kabbalistic belief in the 36 righteous souls upon whom the destiny of our planet depends.
But 36 characters would have been too many; I could handle 12. So I basically took that theme, combined it with my own experiences, and wrote the novel, The Twelve.
But, originally, the novel, The Twelve, was supposed to climax in the year 2000 and to be about the second coming of Christ.
But I didn't get it done in time, so I had to think. What is the real time that this book was meant to be published?
It turned out to be the Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012.
It was only after I have made that decision, after I wrote the first draft of the book that I learned that my own personal destiny, including my actual date of birth, was directly related to the energy of the end of Mayan calendar.
DAVID LAROCHE: It's amazing!
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: So it was very interesting how the book came about. And there were things in the book that I wrote that I didn't even know were important until after the book was published.
For example, when I was in India, I had a very unusual out-of-body experience travelling to a different universe; and when I returned, the clock said, “4:44.”
I didn't know 444 was a sacred number for the Hindu monks who, when they meditate, always choose 444 to start their meditations.
DAVID LAROCHE: Wow, it's amazing!
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: And there were many things that happened in the writing of the book. On Christmas Eve (I believe it was in 2008 when I was writing the book), I stepped away from the computer for 10 or 15 minutes and when I came back, an entire page of numbers and letters had been written by the computer itself.
I didn't have anything to do with it. I called some people and said, “What is this about? Has this ever happened?”
It's called “auto writing,” and there have been some recorded cases of this.
While I was on the phone trying to get an explanation, the computer wrote another half page; and then, it stopped.
I kept this page and I, still to this day, do not know the meaning of those words and numbers. Some of the names were names of people I knew, but I didn't recognize the pattern and the numbers; and some of the names were names that I didn't know.
DAVID LAROCHE: What are your explanations?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: I think that the other side is trying to communicate through and with me information that's vital for the survival of our planet. I don't think it's about me. I think it's about our entire species and the role that human beings are meant to be playing at this particular moment.
Interestingly, I also have a background as an anthropologist at Harvard University.
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes, that's my next question.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: I had already studied the Mayan calendar and I'd spent time with indigenous people. And so, when the novel came to fruition, I started to remember things that I had forgotten about what the indigenous peoples had told me.
And then, I interviewed some Mayan shamans. Everybody hears things that the Mayan calendar says it's the end of the world. They said, “Not at all. It's the end of a cycle. When one cycle ends, a new cycle begins.”
And that's really what the message my new novel, The Power of Twelve, as well as The Twelve, is about.
What is this new cycle? What are we here for? Why are we here at this particular time? And what actions do we need to take to ensure that a thousand years from now, there's still a Planet Earth with human beings on it who are living comfortable, enjoyable lives?
DAVID LAROCHE: That's great. I would love to have your point of view on our future.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Our future is very much up in the air. There is no guarantee—I mean, our immediate future for the next 10, 20, and even 30 years.
But beyond the 30-year window, it's pretty clear from scientific evidence that unless something extraordinary happens such as the development of cold fusion where you can have energy without any extraction of natural resources, we're going to run out of fuel.
And, in the process of running out of fuel, we will have polluted the planet to such a degree that global warming will be so catastrophic. We could create a second, what they call, “Permian extinction” which happened 250 million years ago where 95 percent of all life on Planet Earth disappeared.
We could actually create the conditions that not only destroy ourselves but virtually all life on Planet Earth.
So that's the negative scenario.
The positive scenario, of course, is that we do actually start thinking about our role as co-creators of the future with our responsibilities not just to our immediate survival but for the survival of future generations and the survival of other living species on our planet and start to take actions, which are still possible, that will prevent catastrophic decline and that could actually result in more joyful, more creative, and more abundant living but not more abundant in the sense of material consumption.
Right now, we're so focused on material consumption that we think the definition of a good life is “whoever has the most toys, can eat steak and lobster every night or whatever they prefer…”
DAVID LAROCHE: What is your definition of…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: We're changing. Frankly, to some of the older generation which, unfortunately, I have to include myself, it really doesn't matter that much if I became a vegetarian or didn't; it would have a very small impact.
But in terms of future generations, in terms of the three billion people under 15, most of them probably should be pursuing a vegetarian diet because it's much more sustainable. The production of meat is a very costly way to maintain life on Planet Earth.
That's just one small thing. But, then, you multiply that by a hundred different decisions that people need to make in terms of how they spend their leisure time, how they wish to live, whether they need to have a life that's dependent upon having their own automobile.
These are things that most of us in developed countries like Europe and the United States take for granted.
But the reality is, it may not be viable to continue the level of consumption and what we consider essentially individual freedoms that we take for granted. They may actually not be viable when we're looking at the whole of what is necessary because the pollution that we create doesn't just affect us; it affects everyone on Planet Earth. And we have to take that into account.
DAVID LAROCHE: It's amazing. I was talking with Dennis Waitley and he's 80 years old. He said that, in China, they are trying to do the same as the Occidental side; and the same mistakes…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: I was just in China. I was actually a co-organizer of a very important conference in Hangzhou, China (the number four highest-ranking member of the Communist Party was there and many of the dignitaries of China as well as mayors from the United States and scientists from all over the world) specifically on the topic of (which they chose) ecological civilization.
The Chinese who are aware of ecology as an issue are positing that once we passed the industrial age, we went into the information age; and, now, we are emerging, if we are to survive, into the ecological age.
The ecological age has to do with circular economy where we recycle things. It has to do with zero growth and many, many things that actually the mainstream Chinese government and people are not interested in at all at this time because the majority of people in China are striving to duplicate what we, in the West, accomplished 40, 50, in some cases, 70 or 80 years ago of economic independence and mobility.
And it's a very hard situation for the Chinese because on the one hand, they look at us and they say, “This isn’t fair. You had all these goodies. You had all these toys. You had all these cars. And, now, you're telling us that we can't have these?”
And the answer, unfortunately, may be, “Yes, we're telling you that you can't have these because you're going to pollute and choke your own livelihood as well as that of the rest of the world.”
So it's a very awkward situation when you're looking at it at a country like China which also does have traditions of harmony, beauty, and aesthetic balance. And these are actually the values that we need to resuscitate not just in China but throughout the world.
So there are, at least, individuals and groups within China who want to be leaders in what they're calling “ecological civilization.”
Even it's only dialogue at this point in time and it doesn't result in immediate policy changes, it's good to have these dialogues starting now.
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes. A lot of people know that we have to change but they are thinking—oh, I'm too small. If I don't change, it's okay.
According to you, what could be the actions for each individual?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: I think each individual is a separate individual case. Every single human being has to make his own decision.
For example, I'm not perfect. I have been habituated. I eat meat. I drive fast cars. I play golf.
None of these activities from an ecological point of view are activities that I would applaud or suggest that every human being participate in.
In my own case, if I stop doing these things, it's not necessarily going to make a difference, and I'm only one person. But in terms of setting direction for other people, it could be important.
I have other things I can do which don't conflict with my habits, if you will, and what I'm used to in my normal life that can make an ecological difference. I think every one of us needs to look at our life and we need to make decisions.
And, when possible, we need to make decisions that go beyond our immediate comfort zone; and that's not easy. It's not easy for me and it's not easy for the people who are listening to this.
But we have to start even if it's only one small thing.
Okay, so I eat meat. Maybe I'll eat a little less meat. Maybe when I have a chance to carpool, I'll carpool. Maybe the next car I get will be a Tesla rather than a BMW…
DAVID LAROCHE: Do you have some goals on that for the next few years?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: For me, personally, I'm really taking it as it comes. I mean, my contribution is much more in where I do have influence. I represent many authors. I've been able to place important books about ecology that will get out and that can have an influence, hopefully, on millions of people.
So, yes, as an agent, I'm spending more of my work time focused on the kinds of books that can make a positive difference in a big way. For me, I think that's more important than if I eat meat or don't eat meat or make some of these other small changes that I should probably make from a moral and ethical point of view but I may not be ready to make from a personal point of view.
But I think every one of us is in a different position.
If I were working in a large corporation where I had influence on policies, then, I think that's where that I should focus on. What policy changes can I make within my company that are going to make a big difference?
If I were just a student, for example, in a school (and many students have done this), what can I do to increase recycling? What can I do to imbue more ecological wisdom into the curriculum for the other students?
I think there are things that all of us can do no matter where we are. And I don't think it's about judging people harshly because they're not “green” all the time. That's a nice goal but I think, realistically, it's going to take some time.
But if we do things well, it's very possible that 50 years from now, 90 percent of the human population will automatically (because it's comfortable for them and it's what they've been programmed to do) be living lives that are green and sustainable.
So I'm more focused on the future.
DAVID LAROCHE: The main thing we have to do, maybe, should be about education.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Absolutely! I think education information is the start. I can't say, “David, I don't think the way you're behaving is appropriate. You have to change your behavior.”
You're going to say, “Who is he to tell me? He doesn't know my conflicts. He doesn't know why I'm doing this.”
Whereas if I'm just saying, “Look, here's information. This is what happens when human beings act in this way; this is what happens when human beings act in that way.” And if you get the information enough times and you get it in ways that are trustworthy will, I think, have a major impact on young people.
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes. I will be a dad and I can say to my son, for example, “You have to do that,” but I am wondering that if I am not doing that, it will be the same as China.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Exactly. You have to walk the talk, as they say. You have to change your own behavior. And it's a challenge. The younger you are, the easier it is to meet that challenge.
I have many friends who are set in their ways. I would not necessarily say they are good models. It doesn't mean they're not good people.
And you have to have compassion even for people who are not behaving in ways that we would like our children and our future grandchildren to behave. You have to have balance rather than just judgment.
DAVID LAROCHE: You have more than a job. It is a passion for you to be an agent. What is an agent?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: In the case of books, being a literary agent, I'm an advocate for book authors. So authors come to me and they say, “I have an idea for a book. What do you think?”
Sometimes, I say, “Well, I think it's a good idea but you're not very famous. I don't think I can sell your book” or “That's a really good idea. I think I can sell your book.”
Like most older agents, 0:16:15.7 I'm more comfortable with authors who are already established because it's much easier to place an established author than a new author.
But my role is to negotiate the contracts and to try to create a good marriage between the editor and the author to have the best book and to also be able to discern which publishing company is likely to do the best marketing and promotion for a particular book.
DAVID LAROCHE: So the author would go to an agent with his finished book.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: For non-fiction, not finished. I actually prefer just a book proposal and then I can pitch the idea and the concept. The idea, concept, and the author’s platform for non-fiction is more important.
But you're right. With fiction, you better come with a finished book unless you're Stephen King or Grisham or someone with a big track record.
DAVID LAROCHE: The author comes with his goals and ideas, and he talks to you. He finishes the book, and then you choose the publisher and you do all the marketing.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: We know the publishers in the United States; and through my international agent, we know all the publishers throughout the world. So we deal in every country in the world.
DAVID LAROCHE: Just to have an idea, for book that sells $10 dollars, there is a publisher, the agent, and the author. Usually, what are the…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: It depends. Every situation is different. And it depends whether it's hardcover or an e-book or a paperback book. Every single one of those books has a different royalty rate.
As an agent, we make 15 percent of what the author makes; and the author, as a rule, makes between 10 percent and 15 percent of the retail price of the book if it's hardcover and, usually, 6 percent to 8 percent of the retail price if it's paperback.
Just recently but not with all publishers, we've been able to raise the e-book royalty to 25 percent for the author.
DAVID LAROCHE: So the publisher has the higher…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: The biggest… but, traditionally, the publisher had the highest cost. They're paying for the printing of the book. They're paying for the marketing of the book.
But, in today’s world, and this is why publishing is changing so quickly, the publisher is bringing less and less to the party. They're not able to sell the book anymore effectively, in some cases, than an individual author particularly when we're talking about e-books.
What does a publisher do to sell a book online that an individual can't do very well?
And I wouldn't say “nothing.” They do some things. There are some ads they can buy.
But the important ingredient still is bookstores. An individual cannot, as a rule, get their books into the bookstores in the United States…
DAVID LAROCHE: Without a publisher.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Without a publisher. And that was very important. Not long ago, bookstores or retail stores represented a hundred percent of sales. Then, Amazon came along and online started to represent 25 to 30 percent of sales.
Now, e-books have come along to represent another 20 to 25 percent. So, the actual retail sales of books are down to about 50 percent.
So, if you can get a hundred percent of your e-book sales and you can still get your book sold online, maybe it's not that important to have a book publisher. Things are changing.
I, of course, am committed to the book publishing model with printed books; and, fortunately for me for, at least, another five or ten years, that model will still be viable. But it's changing rapidly.
DAVID LAROCHE: And for someone who is an expert, the people you are working with like Eckhart Tolle and Greg Scott Reed, maybe it would add more impact to have a hardcover book.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: It definitely has more impact and you will be able to, if you're an established author with a major book publisher, have money spent on marketing which is a great benefit. They’ll put the book, if they spend enough money, in the front of the bookstores. Even if people end up going online or buying the ebook, in many cases, they will be aware of the book because they saw the book in the window of the bookstore. So that's where there still is value.
For example, we have bookstores in airports and those are the most coveted space in the United States for books because it's free advertising. But it's not free.
The reality is, in many cases, a publisher has to pay as much as six dollars for every book in an airport bookstore.
DAVID LAROCHE: Wow!
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: But there's value. And, as an individual, you would never be able to get that space. Even the big publishers have to compete for that space because some bookstores are very small, the kiosks in the airport, and they might only have 40 or 50 books.
DAVID LAROCHE: Just to understand, when you are a publisher, can you sell the book online?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Yes, but very few publishers do because they would alienate Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other independent bookstores which have their own websites.
So, traditionally, publishers have not taken the role of wanting to sell books direct even from their own website. They've taken the position that they're there to promote their partners. So they’d rather make a little less on every book and have the partners push the book and sell more books.
DAVID LAROCHE: I understand that.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: But small publishers, sometimes, will push their very much to sell the book directly because they're not selling that many.
DAVID LAROCHE: With the [inaudible] 0:21:43.4 of the kind of expertise and experience to feel… I don't know how to say that… what is maybe the next bestseller?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Well, it's really intuition. It's an intuitive sense. In my case, it has much more to do with the people than the writing.
For example, I know you just interviewed Jake Ducey. Jake is not someone who really had access to a major publisher because at the time he came to me, he was 19, completely unknown, and his book was kind of outrageous on the level that “how can a 19 year old write an autobiography?” I mean, they haven't lived that much.
I did make a couple of phone calls. He very much had the hope that he would be published by Hay House, and I play golf with the CEO of Hay House. We were good friends and it's a great publishing company.
And Jake had actually even met Louise, the founder of the company. So the door was open.
But it didn't stay open. I discussed it and they said, “Bill, you know we're really publishing big name authors now. Most of the authors that we publish have hundreds of thousands of followers and have sold, at least, tens of thousands of their previous books.
That's why we have Balbo Press. It's perfect for someone like Jake. Just let him go to Balboa Press and if he sells ten thousands and more copies, we'll have this discussion then.”
In that particular case, Jake was a little offended. He said, “I'm ready now.”
I said, “Well, Jake, we another way.”
So we actually became his publisher in this case; and because he is so dedicated, it was more him than the book. The book, I think, is good but Jake is really great. He's really amazing. He's so dedicated. He's so focused. He's good at promoting which is very important today; and he's good at promoting quickly.
DAVID LAROCHE: His own book.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: His own book.
DAVID LAROCHE: How did he do that?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: We only published in April but I think we're going back for a second printing with the physical book. It may not sound like a lot but five thousand copies for a first-time author in two months is a lot. It's good. It's a very good beginning. And I think he sold, at least, another three or four thousand e-books.
So this time next year, it could be 20,000 books which would be very good. It would be in the top five percent of all books published. And this is someone who has no background. It's his first book.
DAVID LAROCHE: According to you, what are the main things…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: There's a good message to the book. It is a good story. It is well written. It's a good book.
But the real key is that Jake is absolutely focused and dedicated every minute of every day to marketing his book. He's doing videos out on YouTube. He's meeting with other authors. He's going to Farmers’ Market. He's selling the book door to door and he's having his friends sell the book door to door.
He's just doing whatever he can. He's planning on going to universities where they won't even pay him to speak just so he can get exposure and sell the book.
So he has the time, the energy, and the ability to inspire other people particularly young people. And I think because of that, he's going to be very successful as an author.
DAVID LAROCHE: And just to understand, why is he doing that? The fact that his book will become a bestseller…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: It will change his life. It will enable him to achieve his dream which is to influence millions of people. That's what his goal in life is.
DAVID LAROCHE: The book is not to get money first?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: He needs the money so he can do what he wants to do but the money is secondary to his passion which is really…
He had an awakening at a very young age and he felt that he was here for a reason, and that reason was to communicate with his generation as to the necessity of changing the way his generation looks at the world, to get away from this focus on personal success and personal aggrandizement.
He was headed to be a basketball star. He could make a lot of money as a basketball star and he could live very well. But he felt, in the end, if he pursued that dream, he wouldn't be happy. And so, he's finding another way to fulfill what he thinks is his true destiny.
DAVID LAROCHE: And the fact that his book became a kind of bestseller, [inaudible] 0:25:56.3 as an expert in this field, right?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Yes, he’ll become a motivational speaker which he already is. He will get invited back to the colleges in the future; and, hopefully, in the future, they'll actually pay him to go there. And he’ll be able to do what he wants to do on a very large scale.
DAVID LAROCHE: So the book is a big door…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Opener, yes.
DAVID LAROCHE: A big opener of opportunities.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Yes. If he didn't have a book, none of these opportunities would be happening for him.
DAVID LAROCHE: It's amazing.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Yes. So it makes a difference. It's good.
DAVID LAROCHE: It makes me think about what I have to do.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: It's one thing what people think. Of course, you represent Eckhart Tolle and you get a million dollars or more, and then the book sells five million copies. And you get a lot of money; and you can do things with money.
But it actually gives you almost more joy when you take somebody whom nobody has ever heard of and people start paying attention and you see how he's life is so transformed; and, in the process, he's going to transform a lot of other lives.
So it's equally rewarding. But, of course, as an agent with employees, everyone needs salary and health benefits. You can't just represent unknown authors because the majority of them take a long time to develop. So you need to balance.
DAVID LAROCHE: Do you see common points between each bestseller?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Yes. The common point is the passion of the author and the sincerity of the message of the book.
Eckhart, for example… I could imagine two people more different than Eckhart and Jake. It's not to say that Jake is anywhere close to Eckhart’s level of success. But what's true about each of them is that they're totally honest in their books. They're totally committed to the message in their books in the way they live their lives and the way they promote or, in Eckhart’s case, doesn't promote his book.
Eckhart is really a phenomenon. He's one of the few authors who (except for when he did the event with Oprah) does almost no promotions whatsoever for his books.
DAVID LAROCHE: It's one of the most inspirational books in this country.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Because part of it is about letting go of the ego. He has totally let go of the ego. So when you meet him, you're aware that this is what it means to let go of your ego.
DAVID LAROCHE: So maybe the first thing we have to understand is that we have to walk the talk.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: You have to walk the talk no matter what your book is. If you're doing a book about jumping out of planes, you better be the best in the world that's jumping out of planes.
Whatever your topic is, you better really understand your topic and be really dedicated to see the importance of it.
DAVID LAROCHE: And maybe whatever we are doing, if we are parents, teachers…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Exactly. That's why I have books on soul parenting…
DAVID LAROCHE: What is it?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Soul parenting is parenting soul to soul. You have a soul. Your child has a soul. It's not worrying so much about what other parenting books tell. But, really, on the soul level, what does your child need? Why is your child here? On what level is your child here to teach you to fulfill your soul’s higher destiny? And then, in exchange, how do you fulfill the higher destiny of your child’s soul?
That's just one book. Annie Burnside happens to the author. It's a great one. Unfortunately, we haven't sold a hundred thousand copies yet.
What I'm saying is that every book has a purpose and the author who writes a good book is successful whether the book sells a thousand copies or a million copies. It's just not about the number because they're able to express something that they know is true for them.
And even if it's only a thousand or five thousand who grasp the book and understand the message, that’s five thousand or a thousand people that have been changed by one book. That's big.
DAVID LAROCHE: So you think we have to focus on what change we could make with the message and not how many people we could reach?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Both are important. I negotiated a deal today with an established author. Unfortunately, they're offering about half as much money as we would like because they said, “The numbers aren’t there. The last book didn't sell.” So the numbers do matter.
DAVID LAROCHE: Because the book is finished.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Well, not just because the book is finished but, I mean, once an author starts selling, you get your own expectations. And everything’s relative.
I was joking at a writers’ conference a couple of years ago. I said, “Business is tough but we did four six-figure deals in the last month.” Six figures—that's hundreds of thousands.
Everybody on the panel looked at me and said, “How did you do that? It's such a tight market. Everyone is paying less.”
I said, “Oh, it's easy. These authors used to get seven figures.”
And it's true. Everything is relative.
So I [inaudible] 0:30:45.7 get a $150,000-dollar advance. Well, that sounds good but not when the author got $300,000 or $400,000 on the previous book. So everything is relative.
But once you're at a certain level, it's hard to go back. You're disappointed. And then, you have to start thinking—well, if I'm only going to make $50,000 or $100,000 dollars on a book, is it worth writing?
Whereas if you take someone new—“Fifty thousand, they'll pay me fifty thousand to write a book. I'm in heaven.”
So it really depends where you are in your cycle, your career, and your life.
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes, I think so. I'm writing a book about my journey and about self-confidence because I was shy.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: You don't seem shy. You were shy.
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes, I was sick every week. 0:31:25.8 I didn't know how to improve myself.
I don't have an agent now but if I would like to help my agent to find the best publisher, what are the main things I have to keep in mind?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Become very famous. You need to become very famous. And then, it becomes easy for your agent.
DAVID LAROCHE: But how do you show to your publisher, “He's famous”? Can I say that?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: No, you can't just say it. You have to be it. That's statistics. It's very simple. So you're going to launch these interviews on a website.
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: And you're going to be in most of the videos.
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: And, hopefully, a year from now, you'll be able to say, “Ten million people visited my website.” Now, you're famous and we know that ten million people know your name and have seen your face.
Okay, let's go to town. If you only get ten thousand people, that's not enough.
DAVID LAROCHE: So you can show the number of viewers.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: And there are other things that happen also. I don't know the market intimately in France. But I know there are major television shows, and if you get yourself on a major television show, if you have a newspaper column…
DAVID LAROCHE: The press…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Yes, the normal things combined make up becoming famous. But it's hard. And you're not likely to be famous quickly. The odds are against it. But that doesn't mean you shouldn’t try.
And, of course, you need to have a good book. You need a good book.
DAVID LAROCHE: Do you have some life lessons that you would like to share to the youth?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Life lessons…
DAVID LAROCHE: What have you learned from your experiences?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: I think there's a famous quote from a baseball player, Yogi Berra. I was always a big baseball fan, a Yankee fan; and Yogi Berra was a great catcher. And he probably has a hundred sayings. I think he even did a book on Yogiisms.
One of them was something about, “Don't look back. The past may be gaining on you.”
I would say it's more important to look forward including in terms of ecology and in terms of mistakes we may have made in our lives.
You can't undo a mistake. It's done. But you can take this moment and you can make decisions that are going to make things better in the future.
So I think the most important thing is to focus on the present and the future. Learn from your mistakes in the past but don't dwell on them. We've all made mistakes no matter how successful.
The other thing I would say that's really important is imagination.
DAVID LAROCHE: I love that word.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: The word “imagination.”
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: You know, Einstein is considered one of the most brilliant human beings who ever lived, and I think he said something about… I can't remember the exact quote.
DAVID LAROCHE: She knows the quote.
JULIE: I guess he said that it's better to have imagination than knowledge.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Yes. Particularly today, you can go on the Internet and you can find anything you want. But what we really need are creative, imaginative people who are going to look at a situation and instead of saying, “Oh, it's hopeless,” say, “Ah, maybe we could do this. Maybe this is possible.”
In the end, the most joy, I think, you get in life is from creativity and imagination. So it's something that's good to nurture in ourselves and in others.
I think that you do have to be flexible going forward in life. The world of 50 years has been very different. If you look at life 50 years ago, it's very different today than it was 50 years ago. But the amount of change we're going to have in the next 50 years will be a hundred times more. And, right now, I can't even really imagine what life is going to be like.
But I do know this. It will not be pleasant if we don't change drastically many of the human behavior modes that we just accept as “that's the way it is.” We have to start thinking differently.
We have the resources. This planet is still beautiful. It still has unbelievable virgin territory. I mean, it's hard to believe because there are so many people—seven billion people.
I've been in the Amazon. I've been in exotic locations in Alaska. We still have a lot of land. We still have a lot of open space.
We need to preserve all of this and we need to find ways for human beings to enjoy and feel powerful that don't detract from the planet itself. And they don't detract from other human beings.
If we think of ourselves as competing with each other all the time, we're doomed because, then, you never have enough because no matter what you have, “Well, I have to have more. I have to have more guns. I have to have more energy. I have to have more money. I have to have more oil. Whatever it is, I'm in a race to get more.”
There's a wonderful song by Modern English. I used to watch the race in the human race—long gone bye—because that race is doomed. 0:37:02.2 It's doomed. The way that we have traditionally thought about success as individuals, as families, as societies, and as nation states is over.
You cannot imagine any country living well if the entire world is not living well. It will not work. We have to change our own definition of what success is.
DAVID LAROCHE: Right. I love that.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: And it's true. It's not trying to be moral or altruistic. It's just factual because when you have a world that's completely interconnected as our world is, you cannot thrive… I mean, when things were more isolated, when economic systems were separated, you could be successful over here while another part of the world suffered. You can't do that anymore today.
If one part of the world is suffering, eventually, the entire world is suffering.
DAVID LAROCHE: I love that. One of my next goals is to build a one-year school for students who are 18 years old. Let's consider that we build a program together. In one year, I would like them to have the foundations of success, happiness, and communication. And after one year, they're ready to build their life.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: What would you include in the curriculum?
DAVID LAROCHE: Yes, in the program, to help them.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: You need a lot of variety. And in 20 minutes, we're not going to come up with the answers. You're going to want to consult with a lot of educators and a lot of brilliant people.
But you want to create tremendous variety. You want to create situations where people can fail.
Failure is actually a very important part of success. Literally, you learn more from failure than from success. And you want to give individuals both experiences. You want people to know what it is to fail. You want people to know what it is to succeed.
I don't want to speculate on what the specific courses should be, but there should be tremendous variety and there should be breadth in the curriculum. And it should be organized in such a way that there's plenty of room for individual experimentation that will allow for successes as well as failures.
DAVID LAROCHE: Not only courses but maybe projects and challenges…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Practical projects… I think, independent study, if you will, and projects. I think the more you can to do to have young people and old people working together on projects. The concept of mentoring is very important. I think that you can learn from people who’ve sort of been there and done that.
One of the most important things I do in my work… an author will come to me with an idea and I'll be able to immediately tell him, “You know, somebody tried to do that and failed very badly because…”
“Oh, okay…” and they’d go on a different direction.
DAVID LAROCHE: Do you include the mark?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Grading? Give grades to people? I actually do…
DAVID LAROCHE: In this kind of school, do you think I have to…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: To grade people. Well, yes and now. I've experienced both. I happen to be a very good student so I like the grading because I always had A’s and A-pluses and that made me feel superior to everyone else.
But I think it depends on the subject. Things that are black and white like Math, yes, I think you absolutely have to give grades because until you master a field, you can't go to the next. And I think it's also true in practical things. Learning a foreign language, for example, you can very easily measure someone’s proficiency in the language, and it's appropriate to give grades.
Now, there are other fields where it's more nebulous and I think that the criteria between an A and a B is less clear; and maybe we would just go with pass or fail. Either they've got sufficient comprehension to move on to the next or they don't.
But the grading, in and of itself, is not as important as people believe. It's more on how the interior of the human being has progressed.
And you really know, in most cases, if you care about a subject and if you've mastered it or not. It's that internal sense of mastery and your self-grade, if you will, that, ultimately, is more important.
DAVID LAROCHE: So maybe in every field that would need creativity, you don't need to grade people. For example, projects…
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: You might do a combination where you have some outside grading but you also allow the individuals to grade themselves; and their peers can grade them.
I would call it “feedback.” When it works well, what is the grade? It's just feedback. You're ready for the next. You really are superior in this field.
DAVID LAROCHE: What is good in what you're doing and what you could improve.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Right, exactly. A lot of it in today’s society has so much to do with just material gain, so we use grades: “They're not as good as these guys so they get to go to the elite school.”
“Oh, they're in the elite school; they're not as good as the other guys so they're the elite of the elite and they're going to get the hundred thousand-dollar-a-year jobs.”
We use grades as a way of filtering people out. And that's not necessarily the best use of education.
DAVID LAROCHE: My last question is a funny question. I ask everyone this. I have to explain why. My question is on how to become a loser.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: How to become a loser? That's easy.
DAVID LAROCHE: Are you ready?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: I'm ready.
DAVID LAROCHE: I have a question. It's a serious question and I'll ask you to stay serious, please.
How do you become a loser?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: It's easy to become a loser. Be selfish. That's the quickest way to become a loser. Every time you make a mistake, get angry with yourself. That will get you to be a loser faster.
DAVID LAROCHE: Criticize.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Yes, self-criticism will go far in helping you become a loser.
Cultivate your mean qualities. Be mean. The more mean you are, the faster you're going to be a loser.
Never give credit to anyone else. Whenever anything works, take all the credit yourself.
DAVID LAROCHE: Criticize also.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: And criticize others. That's a quick way to become a loser. When something good happens for somebody else, ignore it. Never give them praise or any kind of appreciation. And that will be a very good loser.
DAVID LAROCHE: Be jealous. Wow, it's great! I love that. Thank you very much.
Julie has two questions for you.
JULIE: The first question is about education.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: I like the questions on education. One of my early contemplated careers was to be a college president. That was something I thought I might want to do. But, then, I realized that’s really like being a politician so I decided it wasn’t for me.
I like the loser question a lot. You'll get a lot of viral place 0:44:34.2 on the loser question.
DAVID LAROCHE: I was very inspired when I got this idea in Paris. Yes!
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: That was good.
JULIE: According to you, I would like to know how we can improve education.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: How can we improve education? It's a big question.
Number one, it should be free. Education needs to be free. We need to use online. We need to share the resources of the planet with everybody on the planet. We need to take the master teachers and share their techniques with other teachers. We need to be much more collaborative. We need to realize that the future of the planet really depends upon our ability to educate young people and to put education as the most important priority.
We don't need to overspend on physical schools and physical equipment and we don't need to be sure that every teacher in the world is well paid. Obviously, you have many groups that are concerned about those issues.
We need to be much more creative and much more frugal with teaching. The normal school, whether college or high school, is much too expensive on every level. I think there's tremendous waste. They'll [inaudible] 0:45:53.0 educational systems.
I think that we're at a point where all the information and actual knowledge that any single student requires could be available to them on a small tablet device that could be produced for less than a hundred dollars, and that every single student in every location on this planet deserves to have such a device.
Yes, we still need teachers but we don't need one teacher for every twenty students; that's not viable. When you look at the population of the world, it would be almost half a billion teachers. It's just not going to happen.
So we need to really leverage technology; we need to make learning fun; and we need to focus not just on the practical aspects of “you need to learn this so that you can have a job so you can make money.” That's going to happen automatically.
We also need to focus on “You need to know about this because this is part of your culture.” Then, you need to expose people on “This is beyond your culture; this is somebody else’s culture. And, ultimately, this is what it is to be a human being. This is what it is to be on a planet that affords all of these opportunities. And this is a way that you can find your own unique place on this planet and your own unique way of contributing.”
And that's what the focus of our education needs to be.
JULIE: Thank you. I agree. It's great.
My second question is about your vision of the world. What are three actions human beings can do to make this world a better place to live in?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: The first thing human beings need to do is to realize that this is an experiment. This whole human existence is really an experiment and that there's a much larger context to our own lives.
What happens during our individual lifetimes is not all there is; there's continuity. There is such a thing as “eternity,” and we're all part of it.
Having had a near-death experience, I can personally speak to the eternal nature of consciousness in life. Our bodies, if you will, are on loan and they're wonderful. But even when our bodies are no longer alive, we're not actually dead. Our consciousness survives. And I think that perspective is important.
We've had some major world religions which are focused on this. Unfortunately, most of those major world religions, I think, have gotten off track in glorifying one particular way of being, one particular God.
It's not about that. It's really about the sanctity of life and the sanctity of intelligence throughout the universe, not just on this planet.
And if we have this broader perspective, I think it can be a great catalyst to living lives that are more thoughtful and more in tune with the harmony of the universe itself.
I was going to say the “harmony of nature,” but it's just not nature. There are patterns throughout the entire universe. It's not an accident the way our world was created, the way our universe was created. There is an intelligence that drives all of existence.
And each of us has an opportunity to touch into that intelligence and to be an expression of that intelligence. And when we realize that larger context, life can become joyful no matter what the immediate circumstances.
JULIE: Great! I have one more question. Do you know how to touch this intelligence?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Well, yes and no. I mean, it comes and goes. When you get distracted, you're not going to be in touch with it. If you're driving down the road, you better focus on your driving. If you're in the middle of negotiating a book contract, you better be negotiating the book contract.
Your activities need your attention. When you're not absorbed in a specific task, I think there are many ways of touching into this greater intelligence and this greater awareness.
For me, it's walking on the beach. Nature is a great way to connect with this.
For some people, they have meditation practices, and meditation is very useful.
I think every single person has to find his own way to connect with this greater intelligence.
I was co-author of the book, Tapping the Source, that's focused specifically on one technique created originally by Charles Haanel on how to focus and how to touch this greater intelligence.
Then, we made a movie, Tapping the Source, which actually explored over 120 people’s connection on this very question.
So I don't think there's one answer, but I can assure you that each one of us has a way to tap into that intelligence. And the more we incorporate that technique, whatever it is, on a daily basis, the more joyful our lives are going to be and the more productive and the happier not just we're going to be but everyone that we are in contact with.
JULIE: Great! Thank you very much.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Okay.
DAVID LAROCHE: I have a last question. It is without me, just you.
According to you, what are the key factors of success?
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: There are several key factors to success. The most important is self-confidence. If you're not confident in your abilities and in your purpose, you're unlikely to be successful.
There are many keys to gaining self-confidence. Most of it will come from hard work. Each of us has some natural talents. We should explore those natural talents and focus on areas where those natural talents are rewarding. And success will breed success.
Another key to success is to surround yourself with successful people who support you. None of us can be successful alone.
So, number one, develop your self-confidence; number two, surround yourself with successful people who will support your success.
DAVID LAROCHE: Great! I would like to have a testimonial from you.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: About you?
DAVID LAROCHE: Okay.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: Okay, I can just go.
DAVID LAROCHE: My name is David Laroche.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE: I've just been interviewed by David Laroche. I strongly recommend that you allow yourself to be interviewed by David Laroche. He's charming. He's authentic. He has a higher purpose to bring important information to as many people as possible. He will be generous in promoting you; and, hopefully, you can be generous in promoting him.
DAVID LAROCHE: Perfect.