Bestselling author Richard Paul Evans, who just finished the third installation of his wildly popular "Michael Vey" series, spoke Friday as part of the events organized for Glenn Beck's "Man in the Moon."
The speech had both funny moments, and those that brought tears to the eyes of many.
Above all, Evans wished to convey that nothing can happen if you don't dream it first, and that there are three "cages" in which we trap ourselves that prevent us from achieving those dreams.
He described the first cage, the "cage of paradigm," as "the most insidious." In it, you're content to have "what everyone else is having," limiting yourself to the so-called norm.
The second cage, "victimhood," is more controversial, he said.
"We live in a culture of victimhood," Evans asserted, and there are many categories of victimization. There are those who have been abused, those who have medical issues, those who have suffered terrible accidents, and "because we don't want to re-victimize the victim we let them go, and they stay in their chains and go nowhere in their life."
"We see them all the time; they cling to these chains," he continued. "They cling to resentment and resist forgiveness."
"[But] the ship releases the anchor not because the anchor is worth anything -- but because the ship is."
And living with a victim mentality ignores a "fundamental truth," Evans concluded, "that the greatest blessings we achieve usually come from adversity. "
Evans said people have challenged him on what adversity he has possibly faced. He told the heartbreaking story of how his mother tried to kill herself over and over as he was growing up, sharpening knives when she became agitated. As a twelve-year-old boy, he remembers pleading with her not to leave them, hiding the knife sharpener under the sink so she couldn't slit her wrists once more.
But horrifying as those experiences are, they are what allowed him to write books like "The Christmas Box" that saved the lives of countless others in equally unbearable situations. He could live his entire life clinging to the chains of his childhood, he said, but he doesn't. Instead, he grew from the adversity.
The third cage, according to the bestselling author, is "fear."
"The greatest shackles you will wear in your life are forged of your own fears," Evans declared. "What are we afraid of?"
In most cases, he said, we're afraid of failure. But while "ships are safe in harbors, that's not why we build ships!"
He spoke about when he was first trying to make it as an author, attending an event with a panel of "bestsellers" up front. There was an empty seat among them and, though the potential for embarrassment was enormous and the temptation to fall into a victim mentality great -- "the deck is stacked against me...it's impossible to break into this field" -- he walked over and joined the likes of John Grisham and Mary Higgins Clark as a "bestseller."
A year later, he had actually achieved the goal.
"These are the three cages: paradigm, victimhood, and fear," he concluded. "Live beyond that. You'll never live the dreams that you don't first dream. Go ahead and dream. That's what liberty is about."