How to Get Want You Want and Want What You Have: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Personal Success

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Here's the book to help you get what you want - and be happy with what you have. John Gray, the man responsible for helping millions of people improve their relationships in his bestselling Mars and Venus books, has written the essential guide to personal success. Combining insights from Western psychology and Eastern meditation, he presents an innovative and proven method to become happy, confident, and at peace.
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Here's the book to help you get what you want - and be happy with what you have. John Gray, the man responsible for helping millions of people improve their relationships in his bestselling Mars and Venus books, has written the essential guide to personal success. Combining insights from Western psychology and Eastern meditation, he presents an innovative and proven method to become happy, confident, and at peace.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765594082
  • Publisher: Harper Large Print
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 389

Meet the Author

John  Gray, Ph.D.

John Gray, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading relationship experts, and an authority on improving communication styles for couples, companies, and communities. His many books have sold more than fifty million copies in fifty different languages worldwide. John lives with his wife and children in northern California.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
    2. Place of Birth:
      Houston, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A., M.A., Maharishi European Research University; Ph.D., Columbia Pacific University, 1982
    2. Website:

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How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have

Chapter One

Money Can't Buy Happiness

Many people have achieved a lot in their lives, but they lack peace. The world is filled with unhappy millionaires who cannot sustain loving relationships. Yet they and those who emulate them continue to think that more money or more of "something" will finally help them feel good about themselves and their lives.

As we all know, money does not buy happiness or love. Even though this maxim is familiar, it is still easy to get caught in the web of illusion that outer success can make us happy. The more we think that money is capable of making us happy, the more we give away our power to be happy without it.

As you read this, some part of you is probably thinking, "Yeah, I know that money can't really make me happy, but it sure can help." Although this thought is reasonable, it is important to recognize that it is a misconception that robs you of your power. To reset your direction in life, to make sure you are moving in the direction of personal success, you must recognize that money can't make you happy. The experience that money makes you or others happy is an illusion.

The Nature of Illusion

Let's explore for a moment the nature of illusion. When you experience the sun moving across the sky each day, another part of you knows that the sun isn't really moving. Although your senses register the movement, your mind knows that the sun is not moving. Though you feel stationary, you know the earth is spinning on its axis. Your mind knows that movement of the sun is an illusion, and that in truth you are moving.

Comprehension of thisillusion requires abstract thinking. A young child cannot figure it out. Schoolteachers notice a shift from concrete thinking to abstract thinking in a child's development. In most cases, the shift happens practically overnight. One day, the student can't even begin to understand an algebra equation, and then suddenly, when the brain is ready, the student gets it. If the brain is not yet ready, no amount of instruction will help a student understand.

To comprehend or recognize an illusion,the brain must reach a certain level of development. This shift in children from concrete thinking (the world is what you see) to abstract thinking (concepts are real as well) generally happens around puberty. As a child reaches twelve or thirteen, the brain has developed enough to comprehend concepts adults assume are obvious. Just as a child develops, the brain capacity of mankind develops over time as well. Ideas that challenged the greatest minds in history are now comprehended by fourteen-year-old science students.

The Making of Common Sense

Just five hundred years ago, everyone thought the earth was flat and the sun moved across the sky. They were not ready to comprehend this simple illusion. Their brains were not yet ready to comprehend the abstract thoughts necessary to recognize that the earth was moving and the sun was stationary. When Copernicus described the phenomenon in 1543, many could not accept the challenge to their beliefs. He was perceived as a threat by the church and imprisoned in his home for the rest of his life.

After relatively a few years, his discovery became accepted. Mankind had taken a leap. What was impossible for most to comprehend became fact. Right now mankind is taking part in another leap forward to understand the secrets of personal success. All the great teachings and religions have led mankind to this point. Yet as we venture forward, these important traditions will continue to be a strong foundation. The algebra student will always depend on basic "concrete thinking" math skills to progress.

At this exciting time in history, many illusions are being recognized as such—for example, the illusions about relationships between men and women. I am always asked, "Why didn't someone write Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus before? It is all so obvious. It just seems like common sense."

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The simple answer to this question is that it is an idea whose time had come. It would not have been so popular fifty years ago or even twenty years ago. When I started teaching Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus in the early eighties, some people were still getting upset with me, misinterpreting and misunderstanding what I had to say. They just could not comprehend the notion that men and women were different and that both were equally good. In their minds, if men and women were different, one had to be superior. Since I am a man, people assumed I was saying men were better than women. Gradually, during the course of fifteen years, the ideas in Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus have been accepted as common sense not only in America, but around the world. This shift in comprehension is global.

The common sense of one generation was always a new discovery to previous generations. Just fifty years ago, the theme of the women's movement was that we are all equal because we are the same; women are not different from men. To earn equality, women had to prove that they were the same as men. At least society was letting go of the notion that one sex was better than the other. Now, once again, it is common knowledge that men and women are different, but we realize that being different doesn't mean one is "better" than the other.

The common sense of one generation was always a new discovery to previous generations.

How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have. Copyright © by John Gray. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Money Can't Buy Happiness 9
2 Outer Success Magnifies Our Feelings 17
3 Selling Out to Outer Success 25
4 How to Get What You Need 33
5 The Ten Love Tanks 41
6 Understanding the Ten Stages 49
7 Filling the Ten Love Tanks 79
8 The Value of Meditation 95
9 How to Meditate 105
10 How to Decharge Stress 117
11 Letting Go of Negative Emotions 137
12 How to Get What You Want 155
13 Find Your Magic Star 165
14 Giving Up Resistance 179
15 Honoring All Your Desires 191
16 Removing the Twelve Blocks 215
17 Practices and Healing Meditations 265
18 A Brief History of Personal Success 305
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Interviews & Essays

On Thursday, January 28th, welcomed John Gray to discuss HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT AND WANT WHAT YOU HAVE.

Moderator: Welcome, John Gray! We are honored that you could join us tonight. Your new book, HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT AND WANT WHAT YOU HAVE, has a powerful title. Why is it that we, as humans, never "want what we have"?

John Gray: Well, quite often when we are in the process of getting what we want, we forget what we have. We forget to appreciate what we have and remember it is important. In life it is actually much easier to get what you want than want what you have. To continue wanting what we have, we need to learn to open our hearts and acknowledge our needs as well. Our needs for love, fun, for friendship, for giving back to the world, and our need for feeling a spiritual connection. When any of these needs are not being met, we tend to stop wanting what we have.

Blanche from Dallas, TX: This is somewhat of a departure for you, Mr. Gray. Why the switch from relationships to personal success?

John Gray: In the new personal success book, I do include relationships as the primary means to getting the love and support we need in order to become more successful. Prior to writing MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, which made me very well known, I also taught many seminars on achieving personal success. Now I have trained over 300 people to teach Mars Venus workshops. This freed me up to teach another subject that is dear to my heart -- How to Get What You Want and Want What you Have.

Janet from San Francisco: Mr. Gray, was there a trigger (or eureka moment) for your own personal success? What helped you shape the philosophies behind this book?

John Gray: In my 20s, I was hungry to discover what makes people successful. I spent ten years studying and teaching the principles of success. In my 30s, I was able to reap the benefits of that research and became very successful in presenting my ideas about making relationships successful. MEN ARE FROM MARS became so successful that I focused on that for 12 years. Now I can go back and share what I consider to be secrets about achieving success that most people don't know. With this added advantage, I think anyone can achieve success.

Christine from Chicago: Will you be on "Oprah" soon?

John Gray: It was on today and will be on tonight in Chicago, talking about this new book.

Margie from Seattle: If we aren't getting the love and support from our family that we need to make us happy, where is the first place we should turn?

John Gray: When we are not getting what we need from our family, we need to focus on creating friends to support us and focus on our connection to spirituality through regular meditation and prayer. While in the past meditation may have been difficult to practice, a shift has taken place in the collective consciousness, and as of the last few years it seems everyone I meet can easily learn and benefit from the most advanced of meditation techniques. These secret techniques were not taught before because they won't work for most people, but now they do. I have taught meditation for more than 28 years. The immediate progress people experience today is phenomenal when compared to the kinds of experiences people had 5, 10, or 20 years ago.

Hannah from New Rochelle, NY: Do you think we are experiencing a vacuum of spiritual values in the U.S.? Are you optimistic for the new millennium?

John Gray: I am very optimistic for the new millennium, and I would agree that there is a vacuum and that we have become overly materialistic. The good news, however, is that a vacuum creates suction, and this is very helpful to draw in divine energy, healing power, creativity, or whatever you want to call it. It is this vacuum, plus the increased sensitivity that people have today, being more in touch with their feelings, that allows them to immediately benefit from the highest spiritual practices. Suddenly what used to be extremely difficult and tedious and would take a long long time to achieve can now be experienced quickly and very easily, even from reading my new book. However, learning to meditate is more powerful in a group setting with an instructor who has proficiency. A schedule of personal success workshops is available at my web site --

Brigitte from Vermont: Hello, John. I just saw the Oprah show and got really hit by one of your last comments about weight and being the black sheep sensitive to the other's energy. Well, you were basically describing Moi! It was very revealing, how you talk about positive energy. How do you basically regenerate it -- beside breathing, visualizing, and meditating (those don't seem to work for me)? By the way, can't wait to read your book! Thanks...

John Gray: For those who didn't watch the Oprah show, let me briefly recap that information you are referring to and then answer your question. Whenever a person has positive loving energy, if he shares that energy with someone feeling down, depressed, or negative in any way, there is an exchange. If you are the positive one, your positive energy will go to that person and make them feel better. They feel better because their negative energy has lifted out of them. That negative energy goes to the person who gave the positive energy. That is the exchange. If I am hot and you are cold and we touch, you become warmer and I become a little cooler. This exchange of energy is always inevitable. Women tend to give a lot of positive energy and receive back negative energy. If one is not in touch with their nurturing feeling there is less of an exchange. But when the giver is in touch with nurturing feelings there is a greater exchange of energy. As a result, nurturing women tend to draw in a lot of negative energy. Too much negative energy will make you sick. One of the ways our body protects itself from negative energy is put on weight. When we have lots of feelings, putting on weight numbs us and protects us from negative energy. Unless you find and practice a method to successfully release negative energy, it is almost impossible to lose weight even if you stop eating. Yet, once you learn to release negative energy -- a process in my book I call de-charging -- it becomes much much easier to lose weight and come back to your natural state for you. In my book I describe a variety of easy-to-use practices for de-charging negative energy. The first step is learning to open the channels in the fingertips. Through a series of specific meditations you can learn to draw in positive energy this way. Immediately your fingertips feel tingling or pulsate with warmth. As you learn to draw in the positive energy, you practice a series of meditations to send the negative energy out of your fingertips into specific objects of nature. Fire, water, live plants, trees, and particularly flowers absorb negative energy. Even without using these particular techniques -- just spending time in nature breathing fresh air will make you feel better and de-charge much of the negative energy. However using the techniques I describe in my book makes this natural healing exchange many times more powerful, effective, and efficient. Instead of needing two weeks sitting in the sun by the ocean breathing fresh air to de-charge, you can do it in ten minutes at home sitting in the bathtub.

Julie from Australia: John, has there ever been an era when men and women did communicate well and also could achieve personal success without difficulty? If you could choose which time you could have been born, when would it be?

John Gray: Without a doubt, the time I would choose to be born is right now. This is such an exciting time for both relationships and success. Although in history there have been times of greater harmony between men and women, there was never the opportunity for such intimacy that both sexes hunger for today. Likewise, although at times in the past people have been more content in their lives with their success, never has there been such an opportunity for people to break free from the limits of their childhood and past experiences to create everything they want and make their dreams come true. Having been a teacher of relationships, self-help, and success for more than 28 years, I clearly see that in last few years our ability to actualize our inner potential has become dramatically magnified. Many people, because they tried self-improvement techniques 5, 10, or 15 years ago, don't realize that a shift has taken place and that if they were to apply renewed effort they would be much more successful now, as opposed to then. A schoolteacher knows that you can't teach algebra until a specific shift takes place in the student's brain. This shift occurs in one day. One day a child can only comprehend concretely, and the next day they are capable of abstract thinking, yet that child would never know this shift has taken place if they didn't have a teacher to teach them algebra. If at an earlier age they tried algebra and failed, they would not know that now it would be much easier. Likewise, a shift has taken place in the world. Meditation and self-healing techniques that worked a little in the past can now work much more effectively. However, we must make sure that the techniques or the approaches we use are not for beginners. That is why these advanced techniques I teach are so effective.

J. B. from Chicago: Mr. Gray, this may seem a bit simplistic, but when did you realize what you wanted from life? And how did you react to that realization?

John Gray: When I was 18, I realized that I wanted to find God. At 28, having been a monk for nine years, I experienced my connection with God and then realized that what I wanted was to make a difference in the world. I had grown up with the philosophy: "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and then all else will be given unto you." In my life story, this definitely occurred. At 28, I had found God but I was very poor. Then I began to pray for outer success and material abundance. I learned to balance my mind and soul's desires. I prayed to God to "show me the money," and within nine years I became a millionaire and very successful in the outer world. Fortunately, I had found first inner joy and peace of mind. Many people mistakenly think money will make them happier. More money will magnify what you already feel. If you are already happy then outer success will make you happier. If you are miserable and seeking outer success to make you happy unfortunately more outer success only makes you more miserable. Your problems become even greater. If one if miserable and yet has achieved great outer success, it is still not too late to find greater peace, joy, and love in your life. While some people are happy and do not have a lot, other people have a lot but are not happy. This program for personal success that I teach in my book applies equally to these two different categories of experience. Personal success is finding both inner and outer fulfillment.

Steve Irwin from Georgia: I have heard a saying, Where attention goes, energy flows. I strongly believe in this, and I am wondering how far this goes.

John Gray: I agree with that concept. I use it in a variety of ways in this program. By learning to put your attention on your already present connection to God, or Divine Power, you are able to draw that into your life. As you experience greater power, your emotions become stronger. As you navigate on your journey, negative emotions arise to bring you back into balance. Some people disconnect from their personal power by not knowing how to feel and release negative emotions. Instead of feeling their emotions they suppress them or deny them or rationalize them away. They are afraid that by putting their attention on negative emotions, negativity will increase. This is only true if we don't know how to feel and release negative emotions. This is a very important skill that I teach in the new book. Sometimes having a positive attitude will block success because it doesn't include an acceptance of negative emotions or the skill of releasing negative energy. On the other hand, some people are very open to feeling what they feel and unfortunately become stuck in negative feeling. Some feelings will provide a release while other feelings -- I call them blocks -- will keep you stuck. There are 11 blocks that, when we feel them, cause us to become more stuck. They are blame, depression, anxiety, indifference, judgement, indecision, procrastination, resentment, self-pity, confusion, and guilt. In the last part of my new book, I explore in great detail how to identify these blocks and release them through feeling specific emotions that are linked to each of these blocks. I also provide special meditations for each of these blocks as well.

Julie from Australia: I tend to look at new projects as mountains. In my efforts to take it one step at a time, what would you suggest as a stepping-off point to personal success?

John Gray: When you read the new book, HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT AND WANT WHAT YOU HAVE, it is such easy reading that within a few days you will have devoured it. That is the time to go back and focus on one of the many practices, techniques, or methods of creating great success. I suggest you immediately focus on the chapters on meditation and then on de-charging negative energy.

Linda Rochelle from Sarasota, FL: If I were to take away one thing from your new book, what would you want it to be?

John Gray: As I mentioned in the previous question, focus on learning to de-charge negative energy. Over the past 25 years, self-help and self-improvement techniques have been widely taught and practiced by millions of people. For many, the common experience was that these techniques worked for a while but then they lost interest. It was as if they stopped working as well. The reason for this becomes clear as we understand the exchange of positive and negative energy. If every day for several years you practice meditation, or affirmation, or yoga exercises, or prayer, or whatever practice to raise your consciousness and create positive energy, by raising and expressing more positive energy the effect is a gradual exchange with the negative energy of the world. Unless you are able and learn to release, or de-charge, this negative energy, then instead of your life getting better, your life begins to get worse, and really you lose interest in the approach to creating positive energy. When the technique stops working because you are attracting negative energy, many people stop the approach, while others become addicted to the approach. Although their life spirals downward, they cling to something to pull them out. This attraction of negative energy is only a problem if we don't know how to release it.

Ray from New York: How do you get what you want, what you lost, from someone who is dead? How do you let go of them?

John Gray: Letting go is a gradual process requiring a lot of grief and time. When we loose a loved one, often it breaks our heart, and we need to heal our heart. Since this doesn't happen every day, most of us are unfamiliar with what is required to successfully heal our heart. I focus on that healing process in another book I wrote last year, MARS AND VENUS STARTING OVER: A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR FINDING LOVE AGAIN AFTER A PAINFUL BREAKUP, DIVORCE, OR THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE. This process of letting go of someone we are attached to can create much despair and depression if we do not know the correct procedure of healing our hearts. As you are able to heal the pain, one day you will be able to think about that person, and love will fill your heart, but the pain will be gone. As you reach that point, without a doubt, your heart will be open to receiving the love you need to continue to enjoy your life to the fullest. It not only takes time but also the right kind of support.

Moderator: Thank you so much for joining us tonight, John Gray, for a fascinating and powerful chat. Before you go, do you have any last words of advice for your online audience?

John Gray: For those who are interested in more information besides purchasing my books and audiocassettes, there are more than 300 Mars Venus workshop facilitators and hundreds of Mars Venus counselors who have been personally trained by me to share these ideas in greater detail, in either one-day seminar format or one-to-one counseling. For information contact us at Also at our site, you can find the current schedule of personal success workshops that I am teaching around the country. Thank you very much. May you always grow, and love, and enjoy greater success.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2002

    A Wonderful Read!

    This is a wonderfully written and very inspiring book. I would highly recommend it. One of his best yet!

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