In a Nutshell

Everything I’m going to tell you boils down to a few simple ideas. Putting these ideas into practice is what takes the work, but the dividends paid, while not  always immediate, are enormous.

  • Take responsibility for your own development. We don’t become better, happier people by just hoping for the best.
  • Learn to meditate. An unruly mind, which oscillates between Attention Deficit Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive just isn’t fit for the job.
  • Exercise vigorously at least three times a week. Find others to exercise with and commit to them. Accountability to others is the best way to ensure we stick to the task.
  • Eat healthily. Keep it simple, just get sugar out of your life and the weight will fall off you. Look at the back of the packet and see how much sugar it contains. If it’s more than 3 or 4 grams per 100, walk away. Don’t worry about fat content, that’s a red herring. It’s the sugar, especially when combined with fat, that does the damage.
  • Eliminate negative thinking. This one is a full-time job.
  • Consider some form of therapy. Even a few sessions with a good therapist can help you see some of your dark side, the hidden bits that everyone else thinks are glaringly obvious, but you can’t see. Patterns learned in your childhood can hold you back, limiting ideas your parents taught you.
  • Develop strong faith. People often equate faith with belief. It is not necessary to belong to a church to have faith, and many people with strong religious beliefs have little faith. And faith is not something you either have or don’t. It can be strengthened with practice, just like learning the piano. At the beginning you won’t have much, and you won’t know what to have faith in. With practice you’ll learn what can be relied upon.
  • Practise gratitude. Give thanks several times a day. This is often hard first thing in the morning, when you wake up with the black dog on you. But do it anyway. Eventually you’ll get good at it, and even start to feel it!
  • Forgive. As with gratitude, regular practice makes it easier.
  • Love the others who have been given to you. Remember some day you will be parted, and then it’ll be too late.
  • See things from the other person’s point of view, in addition to  your own. Take as many perspectives as you can. Remember, just because it’s your opinion doesn’t give it an advantage.
  • Get out of toxic relationships, whether at home or at work. Never let another human being persecute you, neither your spouse nor your boss.
  • Get rich, become a millionaire. An old hippie saying has it that life is shit, but the more bread you have the less shit you taste. Don’t be ashamed of wanting to have plenty of moolah, backsheesh, filthy lucre. Only poor people say money is the root of all evil. Rich people who are nasty were arseholes before they ever had money. Money makes nice people nicer, and gives you the freedom to be creative and generous.
  • Pray constantly. This means to live consciously as much of the time as possible. Show loving-kindness, forgiveness and gratitude. This is the way of Jesus, Mohammed and all the Buddhas of all the realms. You don’t have to join a religion to do this. Start  your own religion of one. This will give you a free pass into any church, temple or mosque in the world.
  • Never  listen to naysayers. Have nothing to do with negative ideas, existentialism, nihilistic philosophies, militant atheism, or angry people of any stripe. They will only drag you down and make you feel frightened and angry. And when they tell you that they have ‘the Truth’, ignore it. Only you have the Truth, and since you get to pick your own, choose wisely.
  • Put no head above your own. Think for yourself.
  • Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.