STEVE MARABOLI “The Most Quoted Man Alive”

Wednesday February 1, 2017

His quotes slay millions of hearts around the globe from their razor sharp truths, whether these address hopeless romantics, motivational mindset, or those who have gone through life in general.

Steve Maraboli’s simple but powerful words will move you to reminisce about love, life, joys, and triumphs. His powerful messages reach about 50 million followers each month just on Facebook alone and hundreds and thousands more through other social media fora.

From fields of Behavioral Science, Business Methodology and Social Philosophy, Steve is hailed by A-list celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Leonardo DiCaprio. Global leaders like Sir Richard Branson, motivational gurus and the world’s top business experts regard him as the best there is in his field. Steve’s great understanding of human behavior and his ability to portray it with the written word has been compared to those of Aristotle, Twain, Thoreau, and other men in history.

Within a few minutes of meeting Steve, I surmised that this interview experience was going to be filled with humor, intelligence and straight talk. Steve Maraboli is down to earth but cunningly quick and intelligent to decipher human behavior, and, listens deeply to connect right to the heart. He put me at ease immediately and by the time the interview was over, I was made to feel that I left with a lifetime of friendship.

Where to begin with this deep thinker, philanthropist, and global phenomenon who has written four international best-selling books? Let me take you on a journey to his humble beginnings and what made him the beautiful and inspirational man he is today. He has been dubbed by INC. Magazine as “the most quoted man alive” but life did not start out that way.

Today, Steve who is hailed as one of the most brilliant minds of our times, travels around the world and speaks to millions of people and impacts live. Among those in his fan base, some go as far as tattooing his quotes on their bodies, however, he was ‘labeled’ by his own teachers as “learning disabled” and he barely passed high school. He found this to be extremely fascinating and he adds, “Isn’t it amazing, that for the same goals and ambitions I have achieved now, I am called a Visionary, but before that I was called delusional”.

Today, universities give him degrees without him having to even set foot in their buildings to honor the contributions he has made to the areas of Behavioral Science and Business. But in high school, “Dr. Steve” jokingly says he thinks he even failed lunch! He joined the military right after graduation and it changed his life through the influence of discipline.“Regardless of hopes, dreams or delusions, reality has the final say”, he says. Joining the military for 4 years allowed him to recognize his capabilities, who he was, and who he was not. He learned to be the driven version of himself and life became beautiful. “Every day is its own entity and if you can make the most of out of each day, life success and all this things are not something you have, it’s something you experience when you are living accordingly.”

Steve’s parents came from an extremely poverty-stricken family and emigrated from South America. They worked hard to provide a better future for Steve and his brother, a highly accomplished military hero in Special Forces with multiple tours of duty in war, and, his little sister who possesses a brilliant mind, and is now a top executive in her company. His parents, who were married for 40 years prior to his mother passing of cancer, had worked diligently to raise their 3 children to be legacies. The start of Steve’s journey to Behavioral Science… Steve shares a story that when he was a military policeman, he was called into a domestic disturbance situation.

He was met with a scene of a 10 year old boy beating up his mother. Steve, whose background includes expertise in martial arts and ground combat, reached for the child who in turn threw him across the room. So Steve got up, thinking he was off balance, grabbed the kid the second time and the boy threw him towards the other side of the room.

By the time his partner was done laughing at him, Steve asked the mother if her son was on steroids to which she replied “No, he has autism.” In the early 90’s no one knew what this meant. The mother explained her son cannot be taught that 10 year olds are not supposed to be that strong. That statement became so powerful it rooted in his belief that “Your Agreement with Reality defines your life”. Steve adds that people who think they can… do, and the people who think they can’t… don’t, because they talk themselves into or out of it.

Some people fall into the “victim” mentality and blame everybody and everything for their failures. Steve realized that everyone points at other people for killing their goals, the reality is that each person needs to take accountability. “If you have a disempowered agreement with reality, success becomes impossible”, he says. This entire experience with the 10 year old boy’s unknown limitation is what started Steve’s journey into cognitive behavior studies and eventually, he became a Behavior expert.

On becoming the most quoted man alive… Steve never expected to be named as the “most quoted man alive”. He knows that he is fortunate that his words resonate with people because they are real. When referring to his writing, Steve says he “bleeds” on paper. When he gets betrayed it hurts, when he wins, it feels amazing and when he loses it sucks. Steve says he is just like everyone else. The difference is that he writes about it and shares it. He believes his writing style is captivating because his thought patterns are a mix of behavioral understandings, psychology, and inspiration. His books and incredible quotes are really just notes to himself and when he writes it, the words resonate with people because his story is their story as well.

An Interesting Juxtaposition about Gurus and the Who’s who… Steve considers himself a Behavioral Scientist and Business Consultant. He doesn’t seek profit from inspiring the world and gives the money earned from his books to humanitarian programs that include efforts for global literacy, women’s programs, vetran’s programs, and educational programs. Yes, you read that right; four international bestsellers and he gives that money away. Driven by Dr. Martin Luther King’s mantra of “Dangerous Unselfishness”, Steve belives in simple living and impacting the world as much as he can. He jokingly says, “I give a lot away… share my success. It’s a great way to live, but a horrible thing to bring up on a first date.” He has a simple mission: To speak to as many people as he can, help as many people as he can. The schooling came with curiosity and the practice come with clients who help him learn more about people and their different endeavors. The surprising factor is that people’s mindsets are the same even if the circumstances are different.

Steve often writes about his Mom’s wisdoms. Some of the most interesting gurus he has met have been most interesting because they are not who they say they are and seem to be playing a character. This helped him see where he could identify with this in his own life, to personally cut out his own nonsense and strive to be more authentic and transparent. Steve built his own publishing company so that he can not be influenced by the industry or have to answer to any company trying to make him the next big guru. His independence from the “Guru” industry enables him to not compromise his mission or ethic because of a marketing strategy that would require him to play a character.

He adds that he believes that the pretend gurus are probably not bad people, but they have to compromise their integrity for survival in the industry. Unfortunately, the result of this is that millions of readers are hooked on gurus who aren’t real and methods that don’t work. He has been remarkably unimpressed with the “who’s who” in the guru industry because of its culture of selfishness.

Steve looks for impact. He is looking for people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joanas Salk, Princess Diana, Gandhi, and others who took action to make the world a better place. He is inspired by people who aren’t concerned whith what happens to them, but are more concerned with what happens to others. Steve feels blessed to understand the human experience in such an empowering way and wants to make sure that he gives everyone else the inside wisdom.

Steve is looking for authenticity in people. People who not only want to make the world a better place, but who act upon it. The Deeper Look One of the most powerful moments in Steve’s life was the impact his own father’s words had on him. He was given an aptitude test when he was a young teen. He scored poorly on it and he thought his Dad was going to kill him when the school authorities told his father that thought that Steve had a learning disability and wanted to put him in slower remedial classes. To this his father replied, “Thank you very much, for now, I want you to keep my son in regular classes” and asked the teachers if they minded if Steve walked him back to his car. He then tells Steve, “Son I want you to know two things: first, we are never telling your Mom about this, and second, everything you heard in that room was a lie. You are the smartest person we know. We can’t read the books you read.”

Steve continued to do horrible in school but he never felt inadequate again. In Closing… Asked what quotes Steve lives by, he responded, “Until you have won a victory for humanity, until you have DONE something for humanity, you should be ashamed to die.” (Horace Mann.) Steve’s ultimate legacy is that he knows he can die any day and be at peace knowing that at the present time, he has touched so many lives. He reminds us that we are under no obligation today to be who we were yesterday and that everyday offers us the opportunity to propel ourselves. “When it comes to relationships, always set a standard for yourself. Stay true, stay honest and work on being the best version of yourself”, he advised. Asked what he thought one quote his mother would come up with to summarize Steve’s life journey, he responded “My past has not defined me, destroyed me or deterred me, it has only strengthened me.”

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