Rags to Riches; Belief

There’s no running from this anymore:

My name is Joseph Clifford, and I am a king.

There’s a lot I want to talk about in this post. Writing, life circumstances, dreams, commitments, wealth, finances, personal responsibility, and the difference between personal and public.

I’m going to start out by saying that sharing this will be hard for me. I am introverted, and for the longest time I have struggled over the boundary between sharing my soul and cashing out, so to speak. Writing is a personal outlet for me, it is the most holy thing I’m capable of doing; it seems to be my talent, one of the most potent things I can share with the world. It heals me, and it is extremely hard to share it sometimes: when the subject matter is personal, having it ignored or discounted feels the same as rejection. At the same time, it’s impossible to write anything of quality without dipping into the well of inspiration within. As such, a lot of the finished pieces I put up here are initially personal in nature, but come out on the other side processed and with a few extra coats of paint; veneers and masks attached so as not to give me away. I know that not everybody wants to wallow in my heartbreaks and existentialism. The really good essays are like loaves of bread made with just a few drops of holy water.

So this won’t be a personal post, a bleeding-heart kind of thing, because sharing that kind of thing all the time makes me resent writing and resent my process; my most important skill and niche in the world. That’s no good.

It will, however, come from a personal place, and I want the message to remain as distilled as possible so that it may penetrate the layers of each of your respective veneers and have a spiritual impact. That is my message and my methodology; that is what I hope to accomplish by writing this.

So I will start with a bit of personal background. If you’ve been following this website for awhile and reading my writing with any sort of regularity, it’s very possible and in fact easy to read into my emotional states projected by the pieces of writing themselves. To make a long story short, I’ve gone through a few different stages: romantic optimism, delivered by exceptional life circumstances and personal achievement some years ago; intense deliberation, caused by the collapse of that potential dream and the uncovering of darker sides of myself; and deep episodes of depression, caused by feelings of stagnation presented by my fixed environment clashing against the great personal liberation I have felt in the past. To make a short story ever-so-slightly longer, these stages were all related to women. (Ain’t that always the case?) And I am forever, eternally grateful and loving towards all of the people who have played a role in my life. You are incredible. You are important to me. I owe you everything.

Through all my relationships and life experiences I have learned a lot about my own patterns. I have learned about my clinginess, about my seriousness, and about my proclivity to romanticize the past—really, my tendency to romanticize in general, and to hold on to things tightly, for too long. I am sorry if I ever did any of those things to you. It’s just who I am—based on things that happened in my youth, patterns of trauma, and things that I feel to be emotionally difficult. But I am learning. I am growing.

Recently, as in really recently, I have entered into a phase of great abundance and confidence. Over the course of these years, I have slowly realized that I must do things for myself to build, brick by brick, the life that I want so feverishly and constantly dream about. It’s been a long time coming, and I didn’t want to see the truth. I really didn’t. I didn’t want to grow, I didn’t want to accept the responsibility that this placed upon myself, and I was afraid that it would diminish my capacity to love if I was not rapacious and fanatically devoted to my partner; moreso than myself, moreso than anything. Like a werewolf shot with a silver bullet, howling over the luminous madness and inspiration presented by the full moon, I’ve been cured in a sense, and brought back to normal life through transformatory pain and anguish. If you read into the poetic meaning of this piece, here is the bullet in the bullet hole.

It took someone coming into my life who I admire greatly, who I cherish like a little sister, and whose example I look to as one that I can model myself after. It took me falling in love with her (that part came very easily, actually), and it took her moving on, away from me and my desire to cling and hold tight out of fear, in order to pursue her own path of greatness for me to finally wake up and smell the coffee and realize that I have to get out there and pursue mine. This was the tipping point.

It also took a damn good book.

You Are a Badass at Making Money is an awesome, awesome book. Before I go any further, it’s worth noting that this influential person is Christian—very, very Christian, which is something I definitely am not, and which was probably a sticking point in our relationship. Which is fine. Although I disagree with religion—or maybe I just can’t wrap my head around it—there are certain tenets and principles that I think are absolutely effective and objective in terms of the achievement of one’s individual dreams. Prayer: the envisioning of a desired outcome; mentally placing yourself in the situation so as to strengthen your ability to make it real. Practicing gratitude and love; love thy neighbor. What’s not to be gained by this practice? Most importantly, the principle of faith: the ability to dream of a perfect, delicious, completely amazing life that exceeds your wildest expectations. One that is simply tailored to you, where every last wish and desire of your innermost soul is fulfilled. I have struggled with this. If you look at my writing, you will see that my faith comes and goes, capriciously, as I fall in and out of cycles of depression. (Perhaps this is why I fall into those cycles of depression.) Although religion irks me in a lot of ways, and there are things I disagree with or don’t understand—the concept of an afterlife, the acceptance of something as truth based on feeling and the way you have been in the past instead of ways you might be in the future; the lack of broadening of horizons—faith is a concept that is actually central and indispensable in my own life. To me, it is the belief in the self. Rather than the jargon and terminology of Jesus, or God, or “The Universe”—all, to me, religious terms—I believe in the power of the self to actualize and execute that life that delivers on every level imaginable. My influential person’s belief was astounding; it had brought her to a new state to live, to impressive levels of fierce badassery, and to the fruition (and continuous fruition-ing) of her dreams. It brought her path into contact with mine, and this happened to be exactly what I needed.

You are a Badass at Making Money presents a platform of beliefs based on the Law of Attraction. (I’m sure you’ve heard of it.) Initially, upon reading, I was quick to dismiss this line of reasoning as bullshit. That’s the cynic in me talking; the person who I have been in the past two years or so. That was the response that I was conditioned to give based on my personality and the beliefs I’ve had about myself and the way I operate. However, I realized that my cynicism—the picture of me as someone who rejects any sort of belief in an external vision—was, in fact, a belief in its own right. Here I was, holding myself back, because I was afraid to be attached to anything anymore. It makes sense, in a way; hadn’t I suffered great losses? And yet, after going through the same routines and same machinations and seeing no potential improvement in my future, I realized I’d thrown the baby out with the bathwater. I was my own enemy; I had been standing in my own way. Although I haven’t pinned down my own definition about the way that belief works, e.g. “prayer” or “attraction” or “manifesting” or “achievement,” this book helped me believe in the process a little more. On a practical level, Jen Sincero provides tools and exercises for the removal of limiting beliefs about yourself, and goes into detail about the different ways these beliefs hold you back from committing to making more money.

One of the most important things she outlines is taking bold, decisive action in the direction of your dreams. So there I was, full of a newfound sense of responsibility, my own new-best-friend, committed to digging myself out of a financial and emotional hole, and I thought: “Fuck it. I am going to pay off all of my credit card debt by April 1st.” This was an outstanding balance of over $2,000 dollars. Historically, I have overdrafted my bank account every month during the process of paying rent. This commitment was something that scared me shitless, but it was the old me; the me that couldn’t hold onto money, who would spend it all on coffee and burritos and immediate provisions of comfort because I couldn’t accept the burden of responsibility that came with the idea of becoming rich. I have committed to this change, as it is part of the ideal life that I have envisioned for myself—the life that we all secretly envision for ourselves every single day—and because being jaded and being a cynic is lame. If this is you, snap out of it! Life is too short to waste. If you’re not on the way to getting where you really want to be, you’re doing it wrong. There’s nothing more worthwhile  than crafting the life of your dreams.

It feels good to get these thoughts out in the open. These are things I’ve held inside for a long, long time. I hope you’re liking them.

What’s scary—again, what I was probably running from—is ownership, is personal responsibility. If you want to get rich, you need to own it; you need to put in the work to change your life around, which seems frankly unappealing to our reptilian brain. You need to wake up and kick ass every morning, and you have to risk other people not liking you because they want your life to serve them in one way or another—and it can’t if you’re really serving yourself. This is another thing I was, and still am, deeply afraid of. But I know it will work out: the reward is too great, and the opportunity cost is too painful.

I said that the other morning I woke up feeling like a king. I was hungover, but those words popped into my head. “My name is Joseph Clifford, and I am a king.” They drove me out of bed. I walked to the store to treat myself to a healthy breakfast which would drive the alcohol out of my system—everybody makes bad decisions once in awhile, but a king spends the money to put himself back in regal standing. I felt all of the affirmations I had been practicing flowing through me; I was relaxing into myself, letting my energy out, and “attracting” (whatever that means) new experiences to myself. I ordered my juice, and the cashier at New Leaf (who I have immense respect and admiration for) asked, “Wanna see how powerful I am?”

I said “Fuck yeah, of course!”

. . .Well, not really, but based on my state of mind at the time, that might as well have been my response.

“Large Works!!” she said, and the woman behind the juice bar handed my juice to me.


I have my credit card down to $1300 dollars right now. It will be zero by April 1st, 2018. I have made some changes that scare me in order to make more money; I will be doing new things and reaping the benefits. The life that grows out of this uncomfortable metamorphosis will be more aligned with that perfect vision within. I have other goals—move out of my current house into a better living situation, get a dog that will run around town with me, find love, and buy a lot of really, really comfortable pants—and I believe, truly, that they will happen. I am changing to meet their demands. In fact, they must happen, because without the belief in your goals, life is bleak. You must pursue your goals, with crazy, unrelenting, balls-to-the-wall belief and determination. That’s where I’m at right now, and with that I have brought you mainly up to speed. If you too have these inner goals, you must pursue them. This is imperative! The purpose behind me writing is to reach through the air-waves of the internet and, with my content, unscrew your brain and plant a few really awesome, inspiring ideas inside. I’m hoping to make your life better, and in doing so begin supporting myself and building that lush, lucrative life of my dreams.

If you found this post inspiring and worthwhile, remember that you can DONATE to me through this link, and I will be forever grateful to you and that much more likely to continue sharing my life experience with you via words. I have other financial goals, too, most notably to finance a car to increase my independence and freedom, and to completely pay off my student loans by the end of this year; December 31st, 2018. This one in particular has me close to shitting myself. But it’s gotta happen, sooner or later, and the more I set my mind to it the closer it will come to reality. As Jen Sincero said, what you focus on, you create. “If you want to change your life, change your life.”

I’m doing it—you do it, too.

If you think that this book would improve the quality of your life, like it has mine, I’d highly recommend buying it using either this affiliate link, or the one above in the post. 🙂

Here it is for Kindle: http://amzn.to/2CMORtG
Here it is in paperback: http://amzn.to/2EY3DE7

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1 Response to Rags to Riches; Belief

  1. I have enjoyed your post. I’m proud of you for making changes that will positively and exponentially impact your life now and for years to come.

    Remember that none of us have it all figured out. It’s okay to fail, learn lessons and try again, as this makes the victories so much sweeter and creates wisdom that you can then share with others.

    Jesus and faith in Him has not so much to do with religion, as it does with a personal relationship with Him. I’m more than happy to share with you more about that anytime you want.

    ….AND….we are especially fond of your friend too. 🙂

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