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Belove reveals a truth that is the antidote to suffering. When you align your thoughts and behavior with this truth, you will rise to your highest level of success. Your life will be filled with meaning. Your relationships will be blissful. You will feel great. You will live without fear. Your life will be a legend.
The highest form of truth is love. We all know what love is, but few know how to live within its energy and how to unleash its power by escaping the ego. Ego is the opposite of love. Ego is what holds us back from being love. It offers nothing. Love offers everything. This book reveals the sickness of ego and the power of love to transform your life.
* Cover by Zuzana's Paper Art
Sometimes a cup of tea with the right person can change your life. A few weeks ago, I met with an acquaintance who I hadn't seen for some time. The conversation became very personal and something I said must have inspired her to recommend a book called The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Too often, I have ignored recommendations in conversation. Rather, I pretend that it is possible to remember a name or a title at some point of the future (it usually ends up forgotten). Maybe it was the way she spoke of this book that convinced me, but for whatever reason I wrote it down.
My friend told me how he writes about self-love, that we can't actually look to others or rely on others to love us or make us happy. The place to look for love is within ourselves. To be honest, I didn't believe this premise. Self-love is not something I had ever given any thought to. But I also recognized that I had become too needy about love and have been constantly in-need of attention coming from others. Not only has this led to ridiculous, addictive behaviors like checking messages every 10 minutes, it has also resulted in my tolerating what has oftentimes been an unhealthy relationship with my partner.
The next day, I started researching Don Miguel Ruiz and found out that his most well-known work is called The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. The premise of the work is that we all make "agreements" with ourselves (sometimes referred to as narratives or mental models). Many of these agreements come from "the world". These are beliefs and ways of doing things that have come from thousands of years of history and have been passed down by billions of ancestors. The author uses the concept of "the world's agreements" and "hell" interchangeably, and I tend to agree. In other words, if we accept the world's way of doing things and allow ourselves to be "domesticated" to live in accordance with the ways of the world, we are sure to live a personal hell.
It is up to you whether you want to create a life of happiness or misery, and this depends on the agreements you make with yourself. If you tell yourself that you deserve abuse, you will accept abuse from others. If you define your worth through the opinions of others, you will be disappointed and led astray.
Indeed, it is the stories we tell ourselves that hold us back from achieving happiness, freedom, success, and love. We can replace those unhealthy agreements with positive ones, and the author takes us through exactly what those positive agreements should be.
The Four Agreements changed my life and helped me through a challenging time. So, just over one week later, I decided to read the book my friend originally recommended, Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship. I have come to believe that this is a must-read for anybody in a relationship or anybody who wants to be in a relationship (in other words, everyone).
He writes “the real mission you have in life is to make yourself happy, and in order to be happy, you have to look at what you believe, the way you judge yourself, the way you victimize yourself”. When we take on guilt and fail to forgive ourselves, there is the potential that others may abuse us. We allow this abuse only because we tell ourselves that we deserve it.
I have done things in the past for which I had not yet forgiven myself. Yet, paradoxically, I have always known that I have done these things not to harm anyone; rather, for the simple reason that I am who I am. I have not always behaved in accordance with the world's rules. I have lived according to my truths, my agreements with myself, my feelings, and my nature. Over the years, I have been convinced to accept the belief that my actions have hurt the person who I love. As a result, I have been unable to forgive myself for this until now and I have allowed myself to be abused because of it.
What I realized now is, as the author writes, "I don't need to hear your cursing all the time. It's not that I am better than you; it's because I love beauty. I love to laugh. I love to have fun; I love to love. It's not that I am selfish, I just don't need a big victim near me. It doesn't mean that I don't love you, but I cannot take responsibility for your dream. If you are in a relationship with me, it will be so hard for your Parasite, because I will not react to your garbage at all." This, as the author points out, is not selfishness. It is self-love.
This book has changed my life. Before reading Don Miguel Ruiz, I was controlled by fear, driven by guilt, and felt that I deserved garbage in my life for doing nothing other than being who I am. As I have come to forgive myself and accept myself, I am opening myself up to relationships that are built on generosity, freedom, and love.
"If you cannot love your partner the way she is, someone else can love her just as she is. Don't waste your time, and don't waste your partner's time. This is respect."
Forgiveness of the self, forgiveness of the other, and self-love; this is the path toward happiness and love. The love we crave cannot be expected to come from someone else, it must come from within. With self-love and an attitude of acceptance and forgiveness, we can create the most beautiful, healthy, nurturing relationships based on mutual respect and freedom.
Pay attention to recommendations. Read this book.
To create something fresh requires that you seek out, delete, and destroy everything that feels stale.
Whether in music, writing, fashion, film, business, or problem-solving...the goal is to be innovative and to make something new. Even when you produce something of the highest quality, it will not be valued unless it also feels fresh and new. But in pushing things forward and innovating, you are helped along by the process of nature. You are helped along by evolution itself. Your audience will be ignited and they will care. That reaction will be a natural expression of their nature.
To create something fresh requires a certain mind-set. You have to remain constantly critical. You also have to ask others to openly critique what you create and trust their opinion when they say it is uninteresting or unoriginal. To create something fresh and new requires listening to your inner-voice, your intuition, and it also requires that you are up-to-date on what's going on in the world. You need to stay current and you need people around you who are current.
When you fail to create something that feels fresh, new, and exciting, your work fails to become relevant. But, to the extent that you achieve it...that's when you find that the world makes room for you.
I want to thank the guys in my band for helping me to understand this prior to going into the studio earlier this year.
Click the gray box below to listen to this week's podcast.
Stephanie is a remarkable and interesting young author of fiction from Utah. I really enjoyed our conversation and wish her lots of success.
Click on the gray box below to listen to the podcast:
Retired Attorney and Author Boyd Lemon discusses his painful yet rewarding process of self-discovery through writing.
"The good fight is the one that's fought in the name of our dreams. When we're young and our dreams first explode inside us with all of their force, we are very courageous, but we haven't yet learned how to fight. With great effort, we learn how to fight, but by then we no longer have the courage to go into combat. So we turn against ourselves and do battle within. We become our own worst enemy. We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize, or the result of our not having known enough about life. We kill our dreams because we are afraid to fight the good fight."
- from Paulo Coelho, "The Pilgramage"
You can download the pdf or epub version of my recent political manifesto, Love It or Leave It: The End of Government as the Problem here. Read more about it, listen to audiobook samples, and check out interview clips here.
Friends often ask me how it is possible to get everything done that I do. I don't believe in false humility, so I can say that I'm quite satisfied with this partial list of what I've gotten done this year so far:
- I left one job with a company in Boston and two weeks later found a better one with a company Canada. In my first quarter, my measurable sales output was equal to the other 7 individuals on my team combined.
- Wrote and published my book, Love It or Leave It: The End of Government as the Problem
- Gave 16 radio interviews
- Recorded an album
- Lost 20 pounds by changing diet and exercising up to 6 times per week
- Spent 3 weeks visiting my family in Wisconsin with my wife and child
- Went to Greece for a few weeks, visited Budapest for a weekend, and spent a few weekends in the High Tatra mountains in Slovakia.
- Improved my guitar and vocal skills by practicing up to 5 times per week
The larger point is, it is possible to accomplish things like this even if you have a 1-year-old. Furthermore, it is possible to accomplish all of this while spending plenty of time with your family or doing whatever else it is that you value. All of this is possible if you can work from home and do so in a highly effective, efficient way.
Each morning, I get up with little Isabella and spend a few hours with my family as we have breakfast. I see her and Sofia from time-to-time as I get coffee, take a break, or have a shower after a workout. I see my family at lunch, am available most early evenings to have dinner with them, and we manage to get our 1 1/2 year old to bed by 7:00 every night (part of the reason I believe she is so well-adjusted is that she gets plenty of sleep).
I spend almost every night away from my computer with Sofia (we also get a baby-sitter and go out at night once or twice per week). Weekends are spent either going to festivals in the area, visiting Sofia's parents (eating and drinking way too much of course), going on mini-trips, or sometimes just hanging out on the balcony listening to music and playing with Isabella.
I'm grateful for this lifestyle I have designed, but I'm not entirely satisfied yet. My goal is to work even less, make even more money, and establish a larger audience for my music and writing. I've been reading the 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. I found out that there is one other person out there who has come to so many of the same conclusions as I have...well, not philosophically, but in terms of how to structure and live your life. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to maximize the potential of their life. Some of what he says and does is a bit crazy and extreme (even to me), but if anyone wants to live a fuller, more successful life then I would certainly recommend this book.
Of course there is no standard, cookie-cutter way for anyone to design a life that is right for you. Your ideal lifestyle is as unique as you are. Your profession and work skills are different from mine (though inside sales is a pretty good profession if you want to escape the office), just as your idea of what you want to do with your days is different from mine (Tim Ferriss mostly likes travel and competition while I like to use my time for creating and searching for truth / meaning). The goal is to cut out all of the crap you don't want to be doing (work) and make time for doing everything you actually want to do.
When I told friends, 5 or 6 years ago, that I only work 2 hours a day (though I had a full-time job), they thought I was lazy, crazy, and that I was sure to get fired. What they didn't know is that, if you do only what actually gets the results, it only takes 2 hours a day! The rest of it is done out of habit or guilt! When I cut out all of the bullshit that goes on in the office, I found myself far more effective and successful in the same job I had when working in the office (though I had just moved across the world). The trick is to make sure your boss doesn't know your hours, and the only way to do this is to work from home. Better yet: start a business and avoid having to justify yourself to a boss at all. That's next on my list.
I just wanted to share this because I think that anybody's life could be better if they found ways to eliminate the crap or to outsource it to India (I'm only half-joking). Your time is precious, your life is short, your dreams are real and possible. There is so much you can actually accomplish and become in your actual life...in time...with persistence and intelligence.
Yesterday this interview aired on a show that supposedly has 460,000 listeners. Click on the gray box below to listen: