The Commodity of Emperors

To me, success is the ongoing process of striving to become better. It is the opportunity to continually grow creatively, emotionally and financially while contributing with your art to the lives of others. The road to creative success is always under construction. It is a journey not a destination to be reached.

The point of my story is simple. By applying the storytelling principles you will learn in this journey,  you will not change only the way you feel aout yourself but also the results you are producing in your life and art and be able to do so in a major and measurable way. The purpose of this journey is to share with you what made the difference in changing the life of artists like Michelangelo for the better. It is my sincere hope that you will find the storytelling strategies, skills and philosophies taught in this seminar to be as empowering for you as they have been for me. The power to magically transform our lives as artist into our greatest dreams lies waiting within us all. It is time to unleash it!

What do great artist as Michelangelo, Bernini and Fellini in which footsteps we travel in Rome have in common other than astounding, prodigious success? The answer is of course ….. the power of their story.

Power is a very emotional world. People’s responses to it are varied. For some people, power has a negative connotation. Some people lust over power. Others feel tainted by it, af if it were something venal or suspect. How much power do you want? How much power do you think is right for you to obtain or develop? What does power really mean to you?

I don’t think of power in terms of conquering people. I don’t think of it as something to be imposed.  I’m not advocating that you should, either. That kind of power seldom lasts. But you should realize that the power of your story is a constant in your world. You share your perceptions, or someone shapes them for you. You do what you want to do, or you respond to someone else’s plan for you. To me, ultimate power of your story is the ability to produce the results you desire most and create value for others in the process. Power is the ability to change your life, to shape your perceptions, to make things work for you and not against your. Real power is shared, not imposed. It is the ability to direct your own personal quest – your own thought processes, your own behavior – so you produce the precise results you desire.

001_large Fellini

Throughout history, the power to control our lives has taken many different and contradictory forms. In the earliest times, power was simply the result of physiology. He who was the strongest and the fastest had power to direct his own life as well as the lives of those around him. The emperor, surrounding himself with the symbols of his realm, ruled with unmistakable authority. Then in the early days of the industrial age, capital was power. Those who had access to it dominated the industrial process. All those things still play a role. It is better to have capital than not to have it. It is better to have physical strength than not to.

We are no longer primarily an industrial culture but a communication one. We live in a time when new stories, new ideas, new movements and new concepts change the world almost daily. If there is anything that characterizes the modern world, it is the maassive, almost unimaginable flow of stories – and therefore of change.  Those with the creativity and means to communicate stories have what the emperor used to have – unlimited power.

The exciting thing to note is the key to power today is available to us all. If you weren’t the emperor in roman times, you might have had a great deal of difficulty becoming one. If you didn’t have capital at the beginning of the industrial revolution, the odds of your amassing it seemed very slim indeed. But today any kid can create an empire that can change the world like Fellini did. In the modern world, stories are the commodity of emperors.  Those with access to certain forms of stories can transform themselves and, in many ways, our entire world.

We are left with an obvious question now.  When all these opportunities exists, why do some artists generate fabulous results, while others just scrape by? Why aren’t we all empowered, happy, wealthy, healthy and successful?

The truth is that even in this modern age, creativity is not enough. If all we needed were creativity and positive storytelling then we all would live our creative dream life now. Action is what unites very great success. Action is what produces results. Your story is only potential power until it comes into the hands of someone who knows how to get himself to take effective action. In fact the literal definition of the word ‘power’ is ‘the ability to act’.

What we do in our creative life is determined by how we tell our story about ourselves to ourselves. The quality of your life is the quality of the story you tell yourself. What we picture and say to ourselves will determine how much of what we have as creative talent we will use.

Often we get caught in the mental trap of seeing enormously successful artists and thinking they are where they are because they have some special gift. Yet a closer look shows that the greatest gift that extraordinary successful artists have over the average person is their aility to get themselves to take action. It is a gift that any of us can develop within ourselves.


We all tell two forms of stories from which the experience of our lives is fashioned. First we tell internal stories: those things we picture, say and feel within ourselves. Second we tell our external stories to others with which we communicate with the world. Every story we tell is an action, a quest set in motion. And all stories have some kind of effect on ourselves and on others.

Storytelling is power. Those who have mastered its effective use can change their own experience of the world and the world’s experience of them. All behavior and feelings find their original roots in some form of storytelling.  Those who affect the thoughts, feelings and actions of the majority of us are those who know how to use this tool of power. Fellini, Michelangelo, Bernini,  Benetton, Ferrari. What these men all had in common was that they were master storytellers. They were able to take their vision and communicate it to others with such congruency that they influenced the way the masses thought and acted. Through their storytelling power they changed the world.  Just as these artists are able to move the masses with storytelling, it is the tool we also use to move ourselves.

Your level of storytelling mastery in the external world will determine your level of success with others – creatively personally, emotionally, socially and financially. More important, the level of artistic success you experience internally – the flow, the happiness joy, ectasy, love, passion or anything else you desire – is the direct result of how you tell stories to yourself. How you feel is not the result of what is happening in your life – it is your interpretation of what is happening.  Successful artists’ lives have shown over and over again that the quality of our lives is determined not by what happens to us, but rather by what we do about what happens.

You are the one who decides how to feel and act based upon the ways you choose to perceive your life. Nothing has any meaning except the meaning we give it. Most of us have turned this process of internal storytelling on automatic, but we can take that storytelling power back and immediately change our experience of the world.

This journey in Rome ‘The Artist’s Journey” is about creating your own powerful story and act massive, focused, passionate, congruent on it that will lead to overwhelming results. Maybe you want to change how you feel about yourself and your world. Maybe you like to be a better artist, be a better storyteller or earn more money. You can create all of these things for yourself, and much more, through the effective use of the storytelling tools in this seminar. Before you can produce new results as an artist, however, you must first realize that you are already producing results. They just may not be the results you desire. Most of us think of our creativity and most of what goes on in our minds as things that happen outside our control. But the truth is you can control your creativity and your behaviors to a degree you never believed possible before. If you’re in a creative block you created and produced that show you call creative block. If you are in a creative flow, you created that, too.

It is important to remember that emotions like a creative block, do not happen to you. You don’t ‘catch’ creative block. You create it, like every other result in your life, through specific stories you tell yourself to yourself about yourself and your art. You have to view your life and art in specific ways. You have to say certain things to yourself in just the right tones of voice.  My point here is siimply that it takes effort to create ‘creative block’. It is hard work and it requires taking specific kind of actions. Some people get so many secondary gains – attention from others, sympathy, love and so on – that they adopt this style of storytelling as their natural state of living. Others have lived with it so long that it actually feels comfortable. They become identified with creative block. We can, however, change our story we tell ourselves, change the actions we take and therey immediately change our emotions and behaviors.


You can become ecstatic by immediately adopting the internal story that creates that emotion. You can picture in your mind the kinds of stories and scripts and actors that create this feeling You can change the tone and content of your internal storytelling to yourself. You will experience ecstasy.  You might think of the process of producing emotional states by managing your internal storytelling as being similar to Fellini’s director job. To produce the precise results he wants Fellini manipulates what you see and hear. If he wants you to be scared he might turn up the sound and splash some special effects on the screen at just the right moment. If he wants you to be inspired, he’ll arrange the music, the lighting, and everything else on the screen to produce that effect.  A director as Fellini can produce a tragedy or a comedy out of the same event, depending upon what  he decides to put on the screen. You can do the same things with the screen of your mind. You can direct your mental activity with the same storytelling skill and power. You can run your brain as skillfully as Fellini runs his set.