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Therapist John Kim (The Angry Therapist) shares his own experiences with failure and heartache in this entertaining and helpful memoir-cum-guide for living intended to help men in need of guidance on how to turn their lives around.
Kim concentrates on what he considers the hardest areas for men to change: processing emotions, developing open communication, defining healthy relationships, and maintaining a healthy work/leisure balance.
Kim advises that cultivating self-awareness (which takes hard work) coupled with three steps (accept what is, lean into it, and have the courage to change) will help readers through tough times. With chapters explaining such topics as the difference between (for boys) being nice and (for mature adults) being kind and how indecision can be a sign of immaturity, Kim’s blunt tone and easy-to-follow tips will appeal to any man looking for self-improvement. (source slides 1 and 2: https://www.publishersweekly.com/9780062856340)
1. Being a man is a way of life; it's about everyday choices that lead you to live toward your potential.
2. The self is a fancy word for answering the question, Who are you? And the answer is created through action.
3. You will be doing only what feels good and easy in the moment, and that is my definition of a boy. Not a man.
4. I lived most of my life with a "to-me" mindset. Something happened to me. She dumped me. He took something from me. Life did something to me. Or nothing happened to me. When something happens to you, you're in victim mode -- the most powerless state.
5. You are a conduit, and something greater than you is working through you to project your unique gifts into the world.
6. When I play back my life, my douchery was the most prevalent when I felt the most insecure. Being a douche is like turning on a black light that exposes your insecurities.
7. Truly confident people don't need to prove anything. They focus on giving their value instead of announcing it.
8. What if you didn't feel the need to prove anything? What would that look like in your everyday life? How would that change your dialogue, behavior, attitude and energy?
9. Focus less on outcomes. Instead, focus on the process. When we put all our chips on what we need to achieve, our ego is on the line. Because we tie our worth (ego) to our ability. We believe that if we don't accomplish -- close the deal, land the raise, get the girl, win the race -- we are diminished, "less than."
10. If you allow your purpose, the greater good, to be your true north, you will be less concerned about your problems and fears and more concerned about the kind of dent you can make. Always hang your purpose above your passion and your ego will fall in line, be checked. Your purpose not just in your work, but also as a father, brother, husband, and friend.
11. As men we have a responsibility for our own happiness. Whining and complaining only make a bad or difficult situation worse.
12. We must realize that our differences aren't what's lacking in us but rather are what makes us valuable.
13. Life is not about waiting. It's about seeking, discovering, learning, growing, and in this process producing joy. Because happy doesn't fall into our laps. We must produce it.
14. Seek joy, always, in everything you do. It doesn't matter if you're doing the dishes, going on a date, or building an empire; this mindset will allow you to be open and aware, to unlock yourself so that you can unleash your gifts. The world needs you. You were meant to change it.
15. [On meditation] You just have to sit still and focus on your breath for fifteen minutes a day. But every... single... day. You must commit to it. Make it a priority. Because there's something at stake. The person you could be.
16. The best way to practice mindfulness is to hang it on an activity. When you're eating, don't inhale your food. Instead, chew slowly. Take in the taste, texture, color, smell -- use all your senses. Eat like it's your last meal. When you're working out, don't just focus on reps and weight. Be fully present by noticing your body and your connection to it: your breath, what hurts, what feels good. Notice the feeling of the weights in your hand, and challenge yourself to push through the discomfort.
When you're kissing someone, let it be more than just a gateway to sex. Notice the softness of her lips, the shape, the energy, the dance. Kiss like it's your last time. Pick one activity to hang mindfulness on. Then build on it until mindfulness comes naturally as a way of life. The world will brighten.
17. Here are some things I do daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to help myself appreciate the moment and get more mindful:
18. Any opportunity you get to travel, just fucking take it. Life doesn't give us an invitation to go anywhere. We have to make it happen.
19. A well-traveled man is a wise man.
20. A man's diet is a direct reflection of his self-control, discipline, and how much he loves himself.
21. Cook meals like I'm cooking for someone, even if it's just me.
22. Laughter is life.
23. The difference between feeling good and feeling alive is fear. We are not afraid of things that make us feel good. A safe job, a comfortable relationship, twenty minutes on a treadmill. These things don't require much effort. We are not scared of them. But if you want to feel alive, there must be an element of fear.
24. Good falls into our lap. Alive doesn't.
25. If you're content with good, content is all you'll ever be.
26. Boys have something to prove because they need approval. Men let their work speak for itself.
27. It's about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
28. When we respond, we don't just deflect our pain or frustration. We understand it, which gives it less power. W react, we are picking scabs. When we respond, we are applying ointment.
29. Men who can't admit when they are wrong are basically refusing to grow. In every relationship, if you're not growing together, you are growing apart. So if you won't admit it when you're wrong, it's just a matter of time before your partner feels as if she's outgrown you. Plain and simple.
30. Admitting when we are wrong isn't a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. It takes courage to acknowledge our mistakes, defects, and shortcomings. Make "I was wrong" (or, if it's easier, "You were right") your new superpower.
31. Your house is your safe tree, your temple, and a direct reflection of what's happening inside. Keep it clean. Set the tone.
32. What you do doesn't determine your true value. Your value lives in your character and capacity. Your heart and your story.
33. "If you can't find something to live for, you best find something to die for." Tupac
34. Every man must ask himself two questions: First, Where am I going? And second, Who's coming with me? If he reverses the order, he will be going alone.
1. Worth is not something you believe. It's something you build.
2. It's not about how many times we fight. It's about how we fight. Fight fair. Understand before trying to be understood. And don't walk away.
3. Treat people in service -- valets, servers, bartenders, hosts -- extra kindly. Don't treat them like they are beneath you. They are making your life easier. The way you treat people in service is a direct reflection of your true character.
4. Do not exchange your truth for membership.
“Every man must ask himself two questions: First, Where am I going? And second, Who’s coming with me? If he reverses the order, he will be going alone.”
-John Kim, I Used to Be a Miserable F*ck: An Everyman’s Guide to a Meaningful Life: An Everyman’s Guide to a Meaningful Life
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