Huffington Post: Mike Ragogna: Obstacle Illusions: A Conversation with Author Stephen J. Hopson

Obstacle Illusions: A Conversation with Author Stephen J. Hopson

Mike Ragogna

Mike Ragogna
Radio Personality on Solar Powered KRUU-FM, Music Biz Vet

Posted: March 17, 2011 12:50 PM

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Stephen J. Hopson, transformational speaker and author. The cover and title of his book, Obstacle Illusions: Transforming Adversity Into Success, caught my eye. Born profoundly deaf, and a risk-taker, he’s managed to accomplish a lot in his life so far. How did he do it?

A Conversation with Author Stephen J. Hopson

Mike Ragogna: Stephen, how did you come to write this book, Obstacle Illusions: Transforming Adversity Into Success, and what do you mean by obstacles being illusions?

Stephen J. Hopson: Well, Mike, this book has been in the making for the last 10 plus years. I began writing soon after quitting my lucrative 6-figure career on Wall Street. Eventually my writings morphed into a bunch of stories, a few of which were submitted and subsequently accepted for publication in books like Chicken Soup for the College Soul. That boosted my confidence and eventually I ended up with a manuscript for a book.

Based on my experience, obstacles are illusions. They are all in the mind. Yes, we certainly have challenges but how you perceive them will determine the way you deal with them. For instance, are they truly obstacles/problems, etc.? Or are they opportunities in disguise? I choose to see them as opportunities in disguise and learning experiences.

MR: You were born profoundly deaf. How did you learn to speak so well?

SJH: For about 20 years I’ve had speech therapy one-on-one with a speech therapist in school and during the earlier years in elementary school, with my mother. I was told by one of my reviewers that one of the most fascinating stories in the book was about how I learned how to speak and lip-read. I enjoyed spending time with my mom in the afternoons after school, looking through picture booklets and learning how to pronounce words. I’d spend one hour with the school speech therapist and then another hour or two with my mom after school.

MR: Early in the book you talk about how difficult it was being deaf and that you had a hard time dealing with it. Who or what helped you overcome this challenge?

SJH: One of the most powerful defining moments was when my fifth grade teacher said three simple inconsequential words that forever rocked my little world when I bravely raised my hand to answer a question she asked the class one day. That’s when I realized I was smart after all and that I’d one day make a place for myself in this world. I still remember the incident as if it happened yesterday.

Despite that stupendous moment in her class, I still struggled with self-esteem and doubt. Eventually I “woke up” and realized that I was here for a very special purpose and that being deaf was not an accident. That’s when I had another life-changing moment and everything began to make sense thereafter. How it happened is described in the book when I took a break from the hectic hustle and bustle of Wall Street and went south to Florida for a week. I had a spiritual revelation one morning on the beach. To put it simply, I realized the universe had spoken to me and told me in no uncertain terms that my destiny was not to be a stockbroker (more like a pit stop) but to be a transformational speaker and author. That’s when I really “woke up.”

Read the rest of this fascinating interview here in The Huffington Post.

Today, March 17, 2011, was the National Book Launch. It turned out to be a lucky day for Stephen, being St. Partick’s Day. Obstacle Illusions peaked at #355, out of 8 million titles, on Amazon’s Bestselling Ranking, #4 in Books on Happiness, and #13 in Books on Success! So we can now say Stephen Hopson is a best-selling author!

Here are some links:
Stephen’s Facebook page:
Obstacle Illusions landing page:
Video promo:
Stephen’s website:
See related posts on Stephen Hopson here.

I had contacted Stephen and offered to proofread his book. It was a very inspirational read. We soon met, and, like so many other people, I offered to help. When you work with Stephen you soon discover that all things are really possible with him; there are no obstacles, and if there are, they do turn out to be illusions. Collaborating with Stephen continues to be a blast. I hope he fulfills his dream to become a #1 bestselling author. If anyone deserves it, he does. And thanks to Mike Ragogna for this great interview! Buy the book for yourself. Buy it as a gift for a friend. Buy it today, if you can. Thanks.

And thanks to Jay Mattsson of Hedquist Productions for this reminder: Stephen has been featured in a cover story for Careers and the Disabled, and interviewed on CNN, Detroit Fox 2 News and Buffalo News 4, to name a few. He has been profiled in numerous newspapers including The New York Times, The Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, Macomb Daily and has appeared on the national LEEZA talk show (Paramount), several cable television programs and countless radio shows including The Mitch Albom Show (author of best-selling “Tuesdays with Morrie”).

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