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Like Water Over Stone

A Family Memoir of Resilience
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The Code

The Code

A Book of Wisdom for Men
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also available: Paperback
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Excerpt

DRAFT
Why this book?
Technology and feminism have changed everything. Women have undergone a revolution in their thinking. No such revolution has happened for men unless they have taken it on themselves. Most men have been left feeling confused and disoriented by the social changes around them. Their traditional roles have disappeared as have many of their traditional jobs. We need to have conversations about what it means to be a man today and how to live one’s life as a man in a new kind of world.
This book is meant to be a guide for men who would like to live their lives on a deeper level. We live in a shallow culture, and no one is showing us the way. It is hard to be a man today because there are so few good role models. Many men want to think things through, to figure things out, but they don’t know where to start. We feel like we are always making it up as we go along. We all need guides – someone to point the way or at least point out a possible way that we can choose to take or not. It is hard to go it alone. Take this book with you.

How to Read This Book
This book is made up of short passages. Each one stands on its own. There is no overall logical flow or development to follow. You do not have to start at page 1.
There are three possible ways to read this book:

  1. Pick it up when you feel confused, depressed or bored. Open it anywhere. Don’t think about it. Just open it. Synchronicity will lead you to the passage you are meant to read.
  2. There is an index at the back of the book that organizes the passages according to themes and topics. Choose the topic you want or need to think about.
  3. Start at page 1 and read it from cover to cover.

You decide which way is best.

Confusion
Confusion is the pre-requisite for wisdom. Don’t worry about feeling confused. It is the most natural state in the world. Before you figure things out, you must be in a state of confusion. One leads to the other. So, when you feel confused, have hope – know that the answer is coming. When you feel confused you are motivated to search out answers. That is the great gift of confusion. It leads us to new understanding. Take advantage of those opportunities. It may take a day or it may take years. Trust the process. Bob Dylan wrote, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” There is nothing wrong with confusion as long as you keep working at the questions – trying to untangle the ball of string. The answer will come. Always be growing, changing and learning. So many adults have stopped. They have decided what’s what and there is nothing more to learn. These are sad people to be around. They just keep saying the same thing over and over again. Don’t let this happen to you. Never be done. Never stop growing up.

What comes from the heart speaks to the heart
You can end up living in your head. Don’t lose touch with your heart. When you were a little boy, your heart was so alive, and it felt good. As you grew older, you dampened down your feelings. People want to know what you feel, and when you speak with feeling, people will respond with enthusiasm, and you will feel more alive. When your heart is closed, people can feel it and you can feel it. People don’t respond fully. They feel cautious. They know it’s not you. When you speak from your heart, people are drawn to you because their heart hears yours. Similarly, when you are drawn to someone, it’s because their heart speaks to your heart. Pay attention to that. Move closer to the people you feel speak to your heart.

Courage comes from the heart
Courage comes from the heart, not the guts, not the muscles, not weapons. A person with courage is willing to risk failure, rejection and humiliation. Courage means doing what you know is right, no matter what other people think. Courage means speaking up or doing what needs to be done. Courage is motivated by love for yourself and for those you love. It means being willing to take a risk. We think that a courageous man is invulnerable, but the opposite is true. A courageous man is vulnerable – and yet he takes the risk anyway. A fearful man tries to make himself invulnerable. He puts on a face, shows no emotion, and pretends he is tough. He is afraid of getting hurt. His tough stance is an act, trying to ward others off. He is afraid of others. Have the courage to let other people in. You are strong enough to handle what might happen.

People will take their lead from you
When you are worried about how other people are going to respond to you, remember that the attitude you have about yourself is the attitude others will adopt. If you think well of yourself, others will too. If you think poorly of yourself, others will too. Be confident and strong in who you are, and others will treat you with respect. If you want others to have a certain opinion about you, then you must have that opinion about yourself. You can decide what it will be. I am a strong person. I am a capable person. I am a confident person. If you aren’t there yet, then “fake it till you make it.” Adopt the attitude toward yourself that you would like other people to adopt toward you. It is there in seed form, and the seed will grow when it is watered with practice and experience.

Stay humble
Being humble does not mean putting yourself down or understating your abilities. It means acting on the gifts you’ve been given. It is a mystery why some people are given certain abilities and others not. If you have an ability, you did not create it. It is a gift. If you nurture it, you can be proud of that. Be grateful for whatever gifts you have – and use them. We sometimes say that the opposite of humility is pride, that humility is good and pride is bad. There is nothing wrong with feeling pride about your accomplishments. We just have to remember that we are not the creators of our own gifts. We are simply the ones who develop them. We do not get to decide what we start out with – our parents, our physical and intellectual abilities or the socio-economic situation into which we are born. There are so many external factors that influence who we become. Some people start out with many advantages; others with few. Humility is simply the profound acceptance of who you are and working from there. It is not about being better or worse than others. It is about being yourself – whatever that is.

Karma is real
When you do good, good comes back to you. Be kind to people and people will be kind to you. “Look out for Number One” means look out for yourself first. People who live by this motto might have safe, predictable lives, but they do not get much love from others. When you are generous with your time, your attention, your love and your money, you will get so much more back. Of course, there will be times when the principle of Karma does not seem to be working. You do good and get nothing for it. Your kindness goes unnoticed or seems like it is actively ignored. Remember that the principle of Karma applies to the bigger picture. It is not about being paid back equally for each good thing you do. It is much more subtle and long-term than that. When you are a person who does good, it ends up colouring your whole life. You will live on a happier level.
Take care of yourself
Men are known for not going to the doctor until there is a problem. On average, men do not live as long as women do. Men are conditioned not to take care of themselves. Men are trained to be strong and independent, not to have any needs. The body and the soul have needs. If you don’t take care of them, you will suffer, and perhaps cause others to suffer. Taking care of yourself is good for you as well as for those you love. Taking care of yourself implies that you care about yourself, that you consider yourself worth taking care of. When you don’t take care of yourself, it is an indication that you don’t think much of yourself that you don’t think you’re worth it. You are worth it – to yourself and to others. You are the only self you have. This is the only life you will have. Living it fully means taking care of yourself.

You get what you expect
Expect good things to happen and they will. Our thoughts have a direct influence on our lives. Tell yourself you’re going to have a good day and you will. Tell yourself you’re going to do well in that interview and you will. You have the power to create our own reality by the attitude you bring to it. If you think positively and say positive things to yourself, good things will happen. Why do we focus on the negative when we could just as easily focus on the positive? Some of us grew up with negative voices around us, and we are simply repeating that pattern. You have a choice about how you think and this will have a direct influence on how your life goes. Choose to think positively.

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Everyone's An Artist (or At Least They Should Be)

How Creativity Gives You the Edge in Everything You Do
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