Stop Being Self Obsessed and Help Yourself From A Self Help Dilemma

I finished reading “Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies For Modern Life” by Sakyong Mipham the other day. In short, this book is about the importance of moving away from the “what about me” attitude and how to live a meaningful life based on the ancient strategies of the warrior kings and queens of Shambhala.

If you tend to be alerted by a cheesy, preachy, motivational, and even spiritual self help book written by a self-proclaimed guru as I do, I can reassure you that this is not one of such books. I highly recommend you to take a look at this book and to read it.

What particularly caught my attention is its emphasis on the importance of moving away from the “what about me” attitude, which many of us tend to have.

From the way I ridiculed self help books as above, you may have guessed, but I’m inclined to think that the whole self help genre is a little bit fishy. Of course, there can be various motivations for desiring to help yourself, and I’m sure not every self help book or author is cheesy and preachy, but there is something about it that turns me off.

I mean, I have read more than a handful of books that belong to this genre, and I have been interested in improving myself so I can become a better person. One friend of mine described this blog as a self help blog, and perhaps some of you take it that way too. On the contrary, a self help blog is the last thing I want this one to be, and I never want to preach like a guru either.

What I do want is to have a conversation with you all and to influence each other. For me, this whole thing is more like training martial arts together. Yeah, I’m talking about love and relationship. Let’s talk about love and relationship and deepen our understanding together. I’ve been thinking a lot about these things from the perspective you may not have considered before, so I may have some ideas you may never thought about before, and that’s how I can contribute to your growth. It’s not like I’m a guru standing somewhere higher than you and telling you what to do. There are too many of them, especially on the Internet anyway. So, let’s do something else here…

Back to the “what about me” attitude and why it caught my attention. “Ruling Your World” is a fascinating book and its content is superb. But more than anything else, it gave me a clue as to why I have been unhappy about the whole self help thing. Why? It’s exactly this “what about me” attitude.

I believe the ultimate goal of self help is to… help yourself, or to find your own happiness. That is, the most basic question in self help is, “how can I be happy?” I have nothing against you being happy and I’d be happy if you are happy. But, if you are simply focusing on your own happiness, I believe it’s unlikely that you will find it, at least you won’t find the highest form of happiness, whatever that looks like.

Happiness is a bit abstract, so let’s talk about money. If you are focusing on your own wealth without thinking about how to make other people wealthy, I believe you won’t be able to get the wealth you want to enjoy.

This is very interesting to me, because I read some top entrepreneurs writing that running a business is a great way for personal development. I think personal development and self help are two different concepts, but they are similar enough and used interchangeably, I believe… What makes me curious is what the major differences between business and self help are. What comes to my mind straight away is that business focuses on helping others while self help focuses on helping yourself.

Instead of happiness or money, we can talk about sexual pleasure as well. If you are focusing on your own sexual pleasure without giving it to your partner, again, I believe you’ll miss out something so much better than the sexual pleasure you can have by focusing just on pleasing yourself.

What’s going on?

One possible way out of this self help dilemma would be to use what you learned to help others. No, I’m not suggesting you to write a self help book or to start a cult, though you might be able to help others by writing a self help book or starting a cult.

Or perhaps another solution is to stop assuming that you are someone who needs self help and to enjoy improving yourself by doing something meaningful and beyond yourself rather than by reading self help books.

What do you say, my dear readers?

How to Make Connections by Sharing Beautiful Moments

You meet someone attractive. You feel as if you are out of league and not interesting to that person at all. Or you feel you’ve got nothing to talk about.I

f you are familiar with these situations, here’s a little tip I want to share with you.

(By the way, it’s most likely the case that you’re already attractive. Don’t worry about that part.)

Think of a beautiful moment you’ve ever experienced.

  • Why did you find it beautiful?
  • What’s the story behind that moment… how did things lead up to that moment and how did you feel about that moment of beauty?
  • What happened afterwards?
  • What’s significant about your experience of this beautiful moment in a bigger picture about your life?

Think about these questions.

When you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have interesting things to talk about and to share with people you want to connect with. The next time you interact with people you want to get to know deeper, bring up this topic about beautiful moments, ask them about what I asked you to think about, and share your experiences with them as an example.

What? You don’t know how to bring this up naturally, especially when you’ve just met someone? The easiest way for you is to mention this post and to talk about it.

You could say something like… “I read this blog post and it was about beautiful moments… it made me think about my experiences. I wonder what’s one of the most beautiful moments you’ve ever experienced. For me, it’s…”

If you want to be able to bring this up naturally, you need to practice. Try to ask people around you about their beautiful moments and share your beautiful moments with them as well.

Here’s what I like about sharing beautiful moments with others – when you share these moments with others and make connections with them, that moment when they come to share these beautiful moments with you becomes a beautiful moment as well.

If you have any questions or if there is any particular topic you want me to write about, please do let me know via e-mail or by leaving a comment below. I’m here to help you all bring more love to your life.

So, what’s one of the most beautiful moments you’ve ever had? I’m curious…

Keep Watching The Sky

I went to see FC Five‘s show last night. FC Five is a hardcore punk band from Japan, and I believe they are the best Japanese band in this genre. I’m pretty sure most of you are not interested in hardcore punk, but bear with me. I want to tell you a story and it doesn’t matter whether you are interested in this genre of music or not.

I’ve known FC Five since 2001. They were a relatively new band, they had just released their 2nd cassette tape, and they were about to get popular.

In the late 2001, my friend decided to bring an American hardcore punk band, Reach The Sky, to Japan and to do a Japan tour on a DIY basis. I was helping him with this project. Since we had no idea about how to make it happen, we needed help from others. So, I posted a message on an online forum, seeking supporting bands. FC Five was one of the bands that replied to me immediately. In fact, I remember that 3 members of FC Five wrote to me separately that they wanted to be part of this project. 3 out of 4 members. It may have been all of them, actually. But I can’t remember.

This Reach The Sky project didn’t work out in the beginning due to double booking, and we only came to realize that we had double booked Reach The Sky after we announced their Japan tour. Some people got mad at us as if we were trying to take advantage of supporting bands or something.

As I think about it now, it was one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever experienced. I felt extremely sorry and bad, and felt as if I gave false expectations to a number of people. Even though I was only helping my friend and my friend must have felt upset more than I did, it was tough for me as well. How upset was I? I could hardly eat. For those who know me well, this must be a surprise, because I love eating. For those who know me only via online, yes, I love eating. I accept breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner invitations any time.

Thankfully, there were people who decided to stick with us. The members of FC Five were such people.

We decided to give it another try, and we managed to bring Reach The Sky to Japan in May, 2002. The tour was successful. I made some great memories through this tour and this whole thing as well as great friends like FC Five.

Let’s go back to FC Five.

They amazed me a lot in the last 9 years. They were a good band already, but they worked really hard to get to an international level.

When they read some sketchy post about Reach The Sky’s Japan tour on an online forum, they didn’t hesitate to respond to the poster. When it didn’t work out, they decided to keep supporting us instead of turning their back against us.

I don’t know what lessons the members of FC Five learned from being a supporting band for Reach The Sky and going on a tour with them. But, I believe they must have learned a lot.

My friend started bringing other bands after Reach The Sky. FC Five became a regular supporting band for these visiting bands and went on a Japan tour with them. What happened is, FC Five established a friendship with these bands, such as Bane and Comeback Kid, and FC Five started going on a world tour with these bands eventually.

It’s not luck, but pure effort and willingness to put them forward that made FC Five so successful. I’m a huge fan of FC Five’s music, and at the same time, I’m a fan of these guys as people.

So, their show last night was amazing. Their fans ran around, moshed, stage dived, sang along, went to grab the singer’s mic, and every other mischievous behaviour that is totally acceptable within the context of a hardcore punk show (if you want to see what it’s like, watch this). The members of FC Five were positive as always. People were smiling even when they got accidently kicked in the face by stage divers. These acts may sound violent, but it’s just an extreme form of expressing yourself with the understanding that others around you are doing the same. You need to be prepared to help others too. It’s totally chaotic, as people keep flying over your head, but there’s something beautiful about this chaos too.

Towards the end of the show, FC Five announced that they are going to break up next year. They are in the process of creating a new album and planning to do a few more tours, but their journey as FC Five is coming to the end. This announcement surprized and saddened everyone there.

Everything comes to an end sometime, but when they end, there will be new beginnings as well.

I’m glad I met these wonderful people and saw them growing as a band and being internationally recognized in the genre. There’s a lot for me to learn from them.

FC Five will always be a role model for me and remind me of the following insights, which I believe are the keys to their success.

  1. Put yourself forward.
  2. Believe in what you do.
  3. Practice, practice, practice.
  4. Connect and make friends with people.
  5. Have fun.

Nothing fancy, but simple things. They did these things extremely well. I don’t know if they had a clear intention of becoming an international band or if they didn’t have any self-created barriers that held them back from succeeding. Perhaps both of the cases are true for them.

Dreaming big and taking action to make it happen. It’s easier said than done, but really?

How many days did you waste uselessly?
How many hopes did you give up easily?
How many times did you wait for daybreak?
Come To The End, FC Five

(If you like rock, you might be interested in FC Five’s music. Check this and this.)

Photo by xharekx33

Invincible By Choice: A Love Challenge For You

Invincible By ChoiceHere’s a purpose you can add to your life.

Choose to love your life no matter what.

You can choose whether to love your life or not. You’ve got that choice right here, right now. Do you choose to love your life?

Ultimately, it’s about your desire. Do you want to love your life, or not? If the answer is yes, choose to love it no matter what.

This choice should be made independent of what your life brings to you. You love it because you choose to do so, not because your life has given you some beautiful experiences today. Likewise, if you ever choose not to love it, do not choose that option because your life has given you some shitty experiences.

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.
Friedrich Nietzsche

I believe that if you choose to love your life no matter what, that choice will give you strength. If you can choose to love your life no matter what, you can always stand up even after something terrible happened to you. If you are never defeated, you will be invincible. You can be invincible by choice… by choosing to love your life no matter what.

Imagine the last moment of your life where you say, “I loved every moment of my life”. It would feel amazing. But, to be able to say this, you need to choose to love every moment of your life. It sounds easy, but it’s probably harder than it sounds for many of us. In a way, it’s a life long battle. You need to show up every day and to stand up when you get knocked out. The trick is to learn to see the beauty in the ugly and to celebrate the positive in the negative, I believe. That would make things easier for you. It all comes down to, though, making a choice right this moment.

Like we probably do with our loved ones, you might get grumpy at or frustrated with your life. That’s OK. This is not a chant that demands you to be positive for 24 hours a day. If you feel grumpy, that’s OK. But choose to love your life anyway while acknowledging your grumpiness. Never miss that big picture.

Love your experiences. Love your feelings. Love your thoughts. Love your body. Love your vision. Love your dreams. Love people around you. Love what you do. Love your life.

My dear life, throw me a punch if you like. I’ll hug and kiss you anyway. You don’t have to throw me a punch, by the way. I’ll always give you hugs and kisses.

This is not a feel-good-motivational piece of writing. This is an invitation as well as a challenge to myself and to you all. Do you want to love your life? If you do, do you choose to love it no matter what?

(By the way, I’ll give you a bonus point if you ask me what the heck it means to love your life.)