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Section 1: Understand the problem

I have wasted half of my adult life so far. Looking back at the years that have been given to me since I left the custody of my parents, I realize that so many of those years were held captive from me by fear. The poor programming that I received as a child made me afraid of everything. The source code that I relied on to navigate the world that laid before me said that I should approach fear and uncertainty with anger and contempt.

I was dreadfully unaware of the potential and power that laid inside of me. I had no idea that I was capable of so much based strictly on the fact that I was one of the most magnificent species in the known universe.

A human being.

My blindness to the awesome strengths of my species were fueled by 15 years of madness, violence, emotional ineptitude, and complete disregard for how the actions of a parent can sway the growth of a child. I was cursed at, spat upon, hit, kicked, torn down, chewed up and spat out on a daily basis in my first decade and a half on this planet.

That upbringing truly blinded me to what was possible in this life. The worst part is that I hung on to all those ridiculous pieces of code that were forced into my Ethereal Operating System (EOS) for almost 2 decades after I was freed from that place. I refused to look at my own code to see what was wrong with it.

Even if I did look at that code during my first 30+ years on this planet, I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at. It would have been foreign and unintelligible. The bad code that was placed in me would have not allowed me to decipher what was going on.

It really is difficult for me to pinpoint the moment that the code began to make sense, but it is easy to find the point when I began to decipher it.

After a very long line of failed relationships, I was fortunate enough to fall into the favor of a beautiful young woman that was incredibly tolerant and patient with my shortcomings. She somehow found a way to see the real me underneath all the bullshit. She looked through my crappy exterior and saw that the real me was waiting to come out.

That is until I pushed her patience too far. After a few years of short-tempered outbursts and absurd fits of anger, she had had enough. As she confronted me about this issue, she laid out an ultimatum.

Change or be alone.

Little did she know that I had been alone my entire life. There were so many people that had tried to make their way into my life, but I put up a humongous wall and wouldn’t allow anyone to come in. The place inside of me where others were supposed to be was empty. Unbeknownst to me, I was the exact opposite of what a human is supposed to be. I was empty, cold, lonely and angry at the whole world.

I was already so tired of being alone and resented the thought of having to live like that anymore.

It was at this moment that I decided to pop open the hood and figure out what the fuck was wrong with my engine. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no manual and I had no idea of knowing where to begin. If you had asked me what was wrong or even how I hoped the entire thing would turn out, I wouldn’t have had an answer.

I was just dumbfounded.

Here I stand many years later with a phenomenal outlook on who I am what I want. Each and every interaction I have is calculated and precise. My decisions and choices are controlled and fueled by logic instead of emotion. I am proactive and not reactive.

I am happy and have a purpose.

Most importantly I have grown tremendously in so many ways and learned more than I would have imagined at the beginning of the journey.

The struggle was real, and I was almost defeated for a number of reasons. Looking back on the whole experience, I often remark on how helpful it would have been to have a roadmap. A set of instructions or a guidebook to assist me in that process. Something that could help me to know where to start and help me define a destination.

Since I didn’t have one, I decided to write one for anyone else that may be embarking on a similar journey.

Think of this book as a field guide. This is not an exact map. No one can make an exact map for you to follow as you embark on this quest to change your life. This can, however, help you to know where to look to solve common problems and how to approach those problems from a different perspective than you are used to. This field guide will help you to sort out issues, give names to nameless situations and experiences, and ultimately allow you to reshape your life into one of excitement, pleasure, and purpose.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Figuring out, in exact words, what you want to change about yourself

As you begin this journey, it’s very important that you’re able to define in very clear terms exactly what it is you’re trying to solve. Because, ultimately, that’s all this journey is about. Problem-solving.

Along this journey, we will be using various tools and thought forms in order to rewire and restructure the way that you view, not only yourself but the world around you.

That’s why it is so important that you clarify what it is that you are trying to reshape. We need to identify the problems and issues so that you can purge them from yourself in the appropriate manner.

You must have a starting point. A place from which to measure your progress. In order to do that, we’re going to have to take a long, deep look and where you are now, and how you view yourself. Then, we’re going to have to refine it even further than that.

Just as you cannot have vague goals you cannot have a vague starting point. A marathon does not start from “somewhere over there.” It has a very specific starting point. The same with a border, a fence, where a plane takes off and lands, where you get into your car and where you get out of your car. Adding a specific starting location is beyond important.

Let’s walk through the exercises required to put your issue into words, together.

I am assuming that since you are reading this book, you are not happy with the course your life has taken, or you are not happy with your inner monologue and how it controls the way you view the world. More than likely, you are attempting to seek some sort of change in your life for the better because you are not happy with the way things are.

But what is it that is making you unhappy?

Are your finances in bad shape? Are you bitter and jaded at the world around you? Do you find yourself to have high anxiety? Are you a bit of an a****** to be around?

Whichever one of these things you are, and even if you’re some of the things I didn’t mention, I’m sure that you are a much more nuanced version than any of those blanket statements could have covered. Drilling into the issues you have is your first step to finding your way out of this rather unfortunate current situation.

You don’t need to know the root cause of some sort of deep-seated anger. I mean sure it would be handy to know that, but not every one of us has a psychologist sitting in our back pocket. I know for a fact that I do not have a shrink on speed dial. But once you define exactly what it is that is plaguing you enough to want to pick up this book, you’re going to need to be able to reduce that into a single sentence. Let me give you an example

“I don’t know why I am angry all the time, but it is hindering my relationships with my friends and my family and I want to change it.”

See. Nice, clean, concise, and to the point.  This was my statement when I began. You state what your problem is and you also state your intended goal. You want to change the problem. Once you have that defined, we can carry forward with the rest of this book and help you understand what you will need to do in order to achieve your goal.

Don’t move forward until you have done this. Once you have it in your mind, write it down on a piece of paper. BY HAND!!!!

We are going to call this statement your “Ethereal Contract” because so much of who you are is wrapped around that statement and it is a declaration of what you would like to change about yourself.

If you can put your figure on the pulse of what needs to change then you can find a way to begin the changing process.

Bear in mind that your goal may adapt and change as you progress through the steps of this book. You may gain a deeper understanding of your original issue, or you may find there are more issues that need to be resolved. You may even discover that what you think your difficulty is now isn’t actually the case. It is highly likely that, for example, your anger is caused by something hiding underneath the surface.

Perhaps it is something you want to express to the world yet have restricted yourself from.

Whatever you find as you travel through this book though, it is very important that you remember that this is a process. You don’t just wake up one day and suddenly have all of your problems and issues solved. Not only does life not work that way, but the human mind, soul, and heart are tricky places to navigate. Without the proper guidance or a map, you can often find yourself getting lost and winding up right back where you started.

Your beliefs around yourself and this problem

When I began this journey my beliefs about myself were in bad shape. I believed that I would never succeed at anything, and would wind up exactly what my mother and father told me I would be. A waste of air. Worthless. A piece of shit that didn’t deserve to live.

Now that you’ve been able to clarify exactly what it is that you are declaring your problem to be, I want you to take that sentence you wrote down, your Ethereal Contract, and keep it somewhere with you. Keep it in your wallet, keep it in your pocket, keep it in your purse, put it on your nightstand, plaster it all over your desk, pin it to your front door, put it on your refrigerator. It doesn’t really matter where just make sure do you have easy and quick access to this statement.

This Ethereal Contract will be a reference point and we will look back at it to track your progress throughout this book.

Now that you have written it down before you go stashing your Ethereal Contract away in a wallet or a purse, I want you to take a good, hard look at it. Put it in front of you and stare at it for a few minutes. You’re looking for something very important as you gaze at this statement. We are going to try and understand what your belief about yourself is through that little piece of code.

Your belief in yourself, or your self-image, function kind of like the Ethereal Operating System of a computer. It dictates how you process information, interact with others, understand and perform tasks, and carry out the day to day routines that we have all become so oblivious to. Unfortunately for us, there are as many different versions of this Ethereal Operating System, or EOS, as there are humans. The codex that comprises your EOS is unique to you. No one else can read your code. We can only guess at how it is written by how you interact with the world around you.

As you are looking at your piece of Ethereal Codex, I want you to ask yourself a couple of questions.

The first question I want you to ask is, “does this statement sound like my voice or the voice of others?”

Oftentimes, our self-image and our statements about our self-beliefs are forged, sculpted, and shaped by the viewpoints and opinions of other people. We tend to take those viewpoints on as our own because we have put more stock into the opinions and beliefs of other people than we have into our own opinions and beliefs.

We take other’s ideologies and mindsets and we infuse them into our own Ethereal Operating System. Thus, we let other’s write our codex for us.

We want to make sure that if this is someone else’s viewpoint or code, you have adopted as your own, we make note of that.

Throughout the course of this book, we are going to be digging into your EOS and rewriting that code. We need to know whether we are looking for a codex that you have written or codex that someone else has installed in your EOS.

The second thing I want you to ask is, “how powerful is this statement?”

How much does this statement control, arrange, dictate, and force the direction of your life? If this is a major stumbling block on your road to happiness, or to what you perceive success to be, then you may need to elaborate upon this codex or rewrite it. If this is a smaller thing that you are attempting to solve, fix, or get rid of, then your journey may be a bit less cumbersome.

Regardless of where this Ethereal Codex about yourself comes from, whether it is infused in you from others or whether it is a codex you have written yourself, it must be addressed.

The only reason it affects your life is that you believe it.

If you did not put any weight or stock behind this piece of code, it would not affect you in the slightest. You would go about your day, not paying any attention to the existence of this codex because you would not believe it to be a problem. But you are here, reading this book, so we must assume that you believe this to be a problem.

The funny thing about belief systems is that we tend to look past facts and reality if it disproves our beliefs.

Let me give you an example.

In the past few years, our political system has been rampant with politicians that lie. It happens on both sides of the aisle and neither party is innocent when it comes to this topic. However, if you ask a politician’s followers if that politician was telling the truth or not more often than not they would swear up and down that their favorite politician is the most truthful ever. Even though we can actually prove that they are lying. You could put the evidence right in front of their face and they still wouldn’t believe that their favorite politician was telling untruths.

This is known as Cognitive Dissonance, and it is a topic we will jump into much heavier later into this book. For now, let me give the short and sweet explanation of what it is. Cognitive Dissonance is when you choose belief over fact because fact contradicts your beliefs, and you don’t want to be proved wrong.

Before you go any further in this book, I need to make sure that you are going to open your mind and put Cognitive Dissonance aside.

I am going to present several ideas and forms of thought that will be contradictory to these belief systems that you have about yourself. If you close yourself off from these different theories and concepts and continue to believe these negative thought patterns about yourself, you will purposely be engaging in Cognitive Dissonance and this book will not only have wasted your money but your time.

What complications does your problem bring into your life?

Still with me? Good. Now that we’ve become very specific about what our internal belief system is, it’s important for us to take a good long look at how this affects our lives. When you’re looking at a situation like this and examining how an action or set of actions, mindset, or belief affects your world you have to remember that you’re not just looking at only the things you experience.

When we throw a rock into a pond it is common practice for us to look at the ripples that the rock leaves behind. Often, we neglect to pay attention to, or even imagine the disruption that the rock is causing beneath the surface of the water. The rock entering the water created a disturbance and forced ripples to radiate out from the point of impact. However,  just beneath that point of impact, the rock is still pushing its way through the water underneath towards the bottom of the pond. It is creating currents, however small they may be, and disrupting the flow of things beneath the surface.

When you look at the ripples your belief system is creating, you must take a good long look at what is happening underneath the surface. You’re going to have to engage your imagination and really think about what else is being affected by your actions or belief set. Let me give you an example.

When my wife and I first got together I was having some pretty serious issues dealing with my anger. I would break out in sudden bursts of aggravation and frustration. If something I was working on didn’t go my way, I would throw something, or slam my hand down on my desk. Sometimes I would drop what I was doing and walk away and huff and puff in a tizzy.

I saw this as creating a minor disturbance. Like a pebble breaking the surface of the water. The ripples would die down soon enough and I would come in, cool off, apologize to my then-girlfriend and tell her that I was sorry I lost my cool.

This would happen over, and over, and over again. At least two or three times a week. It was creating more difficulty than I realized. After a while, she had grown tired of my outbursts. Not only was it eroding her confidence in me, but it was also eroding our potential for a strong relationship going forward. She didn’t want to be in a relationship with an aggro asshole that lost his cool at the smallest thing.

It also made her more timid, skittish, and nervous to make decisions or to have something go wrong around me. If something would break, fall or not go the way it was supposed to, instead of trying to solve the situation she would instantly look at me and wonder if my reaction was going to be one of hostility.

But I couldn’t see this because I was only looking at the ripples on the surface of the water.

This is why it is so important for you to look at what is happening beneath the surface of the water. Whatever your issue is that you are trying to solve, there is more damage being done than you know. The additional damage is probably hidden in your blind spot. Take a few minutes to think about everything that’s happening and write that down. Create a journal of the issues that you think might be caused beneath the surface of the water. Something that might be happening beyond the ripples, this is going to be very important as we are dialing in your new path.


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