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Excerpt for Grab Life by the Ass by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Grab Life by the Ass














Published by storiesbydennis.com December 27th of 2018


Smashwords Edition


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any form, including digital and electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the Publisher, except for brief quotes for use in reviews.

Table of Contents


Introduction

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17


Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.


-Lao-Tzu



Introduction


Let me begin this book with a story. When I was thirteen years old, I had a recurved bow. I got bored with firing arrows at a bale of hay, so I started letting them loose all over my grandma’s property just to watch them soar. The property was rife with oak trees, and some of those arrows vanished, never to be seen again.

One cloudy day, a storm threatening rain and winds blowing, I was walking around the back end of the property. I was standing beside the trunk of an oak, my mind wandering aimlessly, when something on the ground in front of me drew my attention. I can’t recall what it was, nor do I recall if I discovered what it was, because no sooner had I taken a step that something else drew my attention. I turned around.

A blue arrow had sunk about six inches into the soft ground where I had been standing. That arrow would have sunk right into my skull had not something made me move. It might have killed me, or it might have just left me a retard; it really doesn’t matter either way. What was important was the fact that I knew then, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that life ends. Life is short. There are no survivors on this earth.

Perhaps I was fortunate—obviously, I was fortunate enough to survive, but the question was why? God’s will? Perhaps, but more importantly than my survival was the lesson I received from the universe: You have one shot—not one shot at happiness, or true love, or following your dreams; you have one shot at life, and to waste even a single moment of it is beyond idiotic. Life is too short for missed opportunities.

I’m in my thirties at the time of writing this book, and since that day, I’ve maintained a special state of awareness, one that involves feeling the ever-presence of death, and before I make any decision, I ask myself if it’s a decision for which I’m willing to die. You see, if something hadn’t drawn my attention when I was thirteen, that might have been the end of my life, so a decision as seemingly insignificant as taking a step meant the difference between life and death, and each decision we make leads a little farther down the path of life, or it might lead us to our demise. My life since then has been lived with a magical feeling, and every action I perform, I perform with joy and alertness because it could be my last one.

Something as simple as driving to the store for a beverage can lead to a deadly car wreck. Leaving for the store at five instead of six can lead to my doom. Drawing money from an ATM can lead to a run in with a gun-toting mugger. Walking through a park during a storm might mean getting struck down by lightning, or the wind blowing a rotted branch, making it fall onto my head.

Do I dwell on the eventuality of death? Nope. Instead of focusing on the negative aspect, I choose to harness the potency of the positive aspect—I’m not dead yet, so there is still time to enjoy life, but then, why would I ever waste a minute doing something I don’t want to do? Why would I ever place myself in a position in which I don’t wish to be? Why would I ever perform an action for which I don’t care? My life is precious—every single second of it, so, too, is yours.

I’m writing this book because I don’t like the world in which I live. Don’t misunderstand that sentiment. I enjoy my life. I love the earth, but the world of which I speak is the world as perceived by mankind, a world of hurt feelings, regrets, wasted moments, comfort zones, poor decisions, and an overall disregard for the beauty, the commodity, and short expectancy of life. Too many of us don’t regard life as the magical thing it is, and by disseminating this knowledge, I’m putting something out into the universe, so, too can you.

Chapter one- If you tell people what they think, they’ll believe you


It’s true. You know that, and now that you’ve read that statement, you can verify it for yourself. Just observe people, yourself included.

Everyone, since your birth, has been telling you what life is like, and now you have little choice but to believe what you’ve been told. You exacerbate that facet of yourself with your internal dialogue, telling yourself that life is the way it is, but maybe, life would be different if you told yourself that life was different. One of the secrets of life is in what you emphasize.

Our internal talk is what upholds the world, or rather our perception of the world—its description. When we tell ourselves things such as: I can’t do this, or my boss has it out for me, or I have too many bills, we are focusing on the negative aspect of the world, and we act towards that world in a negative fashion; we consistently reaffirm the difficulties. It’s that constant reaffirmation that leads to the same feelings, the same actions, and overall, the same life.

The positive version of the above statements might be something like: Can I do this, or my boss is a difficult person, or I’m going to find a way to handle my bills. You see, I can’t do this, and the subsequent reaffirmation, forces you to expect failure, and when you see signs of failure, you will abandon yourself to it, and the more failure you accumulate, the more you will believe that things can’t be done. The more positive version of can I do this will change your perspective, and it will help you to, at the very least, look for solutions; it will help to alter your perspective, your description of the world.

In the case of my boss has it out for me you force yourself into the position of a victim, but if you instead focus on the fact that some people are just miserable, you remove yourself from the negative equation. In the case of bills, which we all have, the more positive I’m going to find a way to handle my bills forces you to keep your eyes open for a solution. These are just examples, and they may seem silly at first, but start paying attention to your thoughts, and consider that you’ve spoken to yourself every single day of your life in the same manner. You know that if you spoke to yourself differently for a long enough period, your life would change accordingly.

You see, if you tell people what they think, they’ll believe you can be applied to yourself; if you tell yourself what you think, you’ll believe it, so change what you tell yourself. It’s very easy, and since you know your time on earth is limited, you have nothing to lose by making this small adjustment.

When you wake up, give yourself some positive reaffirmation. I can handle anything today can throw at me. I’m in charge of my life. I’m in charge of my decisions. I will only do what I want to do when I want to do it.

Sure, you may have to do something you don’t enjoy, but if it leads you to where you want to be in life then it is something you want to do, so you need to spend some time figuring out what you really desire out of this life; it’s the only one you’re ever going to have. You know that. You’re reading this book because you are not satisfied with the way your life has been going. You want to change directions. You can. You are changing directions by doing something you haven’t done before. Simply by reading this book, you are committing to a new action, and new actions have new consequences; one thing will lead to another, and maybe today, maybe tomorrow, certainly, one day soon, you will be living the life you want.

If you tell people what they think, they’ll believe you.

For instance, if I find a girl I like, I may say to her something like: You like my shirt, don’t you?

It doesn’t matter if she does or doesn’t. It doesn’t matter if she answers or not. The thought has been implanted, and every time I see her, I’ll tell her that she likes something about me. The constant reaffirmation forces her to focus on positive aspects, which lead her to feeling about me in a certain way.

I know some of you are now thinking that I’m sounding like a pick up artist, and I am, but this is only a personal example to prove a point. That girl may not ever be interested in a relationship with me—it happens—but she will begin to like me as a person, and eventually all I have to do is throw out the question: You like me, don’t you? I may ask instead: You enjoy my company, right?

You can verify this for yourself with friends, family, coworkers, or you can verify this by paying attention to commercials; they tell you what you like, too. What’s important to notice is the positive emphasis. I don’t ask people: Do you like my shirt? I don’t ask: Do you enjoy my company? I tell them something, and then suggest that they agree. I tell myself something, and then I agree with it: I look good today, right? I do look good today. Then, I focus on the aspects of myself that I like; my hair, my eyes, my tattoos.

Regardless of when it’s done, why it’s done, how it’s done, the important point is that you are learning to focus on the positive aspect of your life until all you can see is the positive aspect. Even when times are bad, and they get bad, you know that somehow you will survive—you will get through it—and when you are blessed with another day on this beautiful earth, you will know that you have the strength, the resolve, to tackle the worst of what life can throw at you.

Chapter two- Only morons do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result


You are not a moron. If you were, you would not be reading this book. You are every bit as intelligent as you need to be to enjoy your life, because you understand that it is short. You know that one day it will end. You know that every moment is precious, and there is no time to waste in crappy moods.

I know a guy named Bill. Bill’s a nice guy; he’s a hard worker, a great dad, a wonderful husband, a perfect friend, but Bill has pessimistic tendencies. He has always enjoyed his work, but his commute used to take him about an hour and forty five minutes even though the actual distance driven was less than seventy miles from his home to work. Considering that he works nine hours a day, six days a week, his time invested in work was twelve and a half hours a day, six times a week because of that commute.

That commute was ruining his life. Every day, he felt he was throwing away three and a half hours of his life. Focusing on negativity led him to arriving at work in a bad mood. He then left work, and made it home in a bad mood. It affected everyone around him. Bill confessed to me that he felt like he needed to do something different; simply telling himself that life was short wasn’t enough to find the silver lining. He wasn’t able to reaffirm the positive because he was unable to see anything positive.

I recall we were sitting on my deck. It was June or July; it was hot, and the mosquitoes were bothering us, so I turned on a fan and pointed it at us. Mosquitoes don’t actually fly very well, so a current of air can keep them at bay without bug spray or zappers, and something in me clicked. I had performed a new action, which led to new results. You see, smacking the mosquitoes on our arms wasn’t solving the problem. I am not a moron. I will not do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, so I began to ask Bill some questions.

I asked him if he was happy. He said I knew he wasn’t. I asked him why, and he enumerated the reasons. I asked if there was any single thing that had the power to bring happiness back into his life. He said that he was willing to try anything, so I asked if he had considered changing careers. He said that was an impossibility, and he explained why. In the end, I agreed with him, but I pointed out that the path he was on was going to lead him somewhere dark; his sour demeanor had begun to affect his home life, and he risked the danger of losing his family.

After a thorough scrutiny of the issues, it became evident that if Bill didn’t have to throw away three and a half hours a day, his life would certainly improve, so I asked the simplest question possible: Is there maybe a different route you can take?

He admitted that there were numerous routes, but that the one he took was the shortest. It seemed a perfect analogy to me; his life was a road, and he was taking the same road everyday, blindly wishing for something different to happen. I advised him to try the different routes just in case. It turned out that one of the slightly longer routes had less traffic, fewer stop lights, and no officers; he was free to speed, and he shaved off forty five minutes of traveling twice a day, six times a week, for a total of nine hours a week. He also saved money on gas. He also got to sleep a little later everyday. Bill found a solution to his problem by literally taking a different approach.

We all have problems in our lives, but that’s okay. Problems aren’t negative. It’s our perspective that is often negative. Every problem has a solution, and if what you’re doing isn’t working, you need to try something different. If the way you have been talking to yourself for the past thirty years hasn’t gotten you where you want to be in life then maybe it’s time that you talk to yourself in a different fashion; if you tell yourself what you think, you’ll believe it. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, try something new. Something will work. You know that. Your life is too short to avoid trying something new. You know that.

Find some new music. Make a new play list. It’ll create a new mood. It’s a different approach, though it may sound simplistic, but a fun song to which you whistle can make others see you differently and treat you differently, and then you’ll see yourself differently, and like a ripple in a pond, it can make all the difference in the world.

Chapter three- Ritual behavior is effective


You exercise to get in shape. You diet to stay healthy. You go to work to earn money. You express your feelings and desire to pair bond. You do more than think about what you want from life; you commit actions that fortify your intentions. The more you commit, the more you think, the more you talk to yourself, and so you doggedly create and uphold your perception of life.

Since you obviously want to change your life, you have to change your thoughts, but you also have to change your actions to match those thoughts, and subsequently, you will alter your perception of the world through new ideas and new actions. Because of this, you create a routine you uphold. This routine becomes so ingrained that all of us often find it difficult to change course in midstream, but that’s okay. To change your course and alter your perception of life, to find positive aspects of life, it becomes imperative to do more than just tell yourself what you think. You must also commit to new actions in order to fortify this magical power we all posses.

Certainly, the first step in taking control of your life is to tell yourself that it can be done. I have the power and efficiency to change my life, right? Yes, I do have that power. I know that. These statements are paramount to begin your new journey, but these statements need to be backed up by the knowledge that life is short, and that it will end. Finally, you need to employ new behavior.

You’ll recall my friend, Bill, accomplished this by taking a new route to work. He committed to a new action, a new routine, and it changed the course of his life, literally. It was a small step, but then everything in life, whether it is a goal you wish to achieve or a plan you wish to set in motion, is a small step, and numerous, small steps will lead you to where you wish to be, especially if you don’t bow to expectations and accept failure as a consequence. In this case, rather than thinking that failure is a possibility, it becomes necessary to think that you have the power to change course when failure begins to manifest.

I once had an interesting conversation with another friend, Janet. She expressed that since her divorce, she had lost the confidence to find a new partner. The first thing I asked her to discuss were her priorities in life.

She stated that above all else, she just wanted her daughter to have a good life. I thought that was admirable; all parents should put the needs of their children before theirs, but when someone takes on a negative view of life, they often get sulky, morose, and their effectiveness in anything can waver, even their effectiveness as parents, yet I believed she was off to a good start. I asked her to continue, and she said that next, her top priority was furthering her career as a nurse. She was an LPN and wanted to become an RN, but that meant going to school and spending money and time she didn’t have. I asked her to explain how finding a new man was going to solve that, and she admitted that it wasn’t going to, but that she still felt empty inside, that having a man love her was important, if not a priority, and that really, she wanted to feel loved, appreciated, and desirable. The first thing I did was to assert that she was in fact loved, appreciated, and desirable, but that if she didn’t believe that, it was because she constantly told herself otherwise.

Naturally, I began by pointing out that her life, as everyone else’s, was going to be over all too soon. Next, I pointed out that her negative thoughts were holding her back, and that her actions, routine as they were, were keeping her from altering her thoughts. She failed to see how such a thing was possible, so I recommended that since she had nothing to lose by trying something different, and that doing the same thing over and over wasn’t going to bring about a new result, she needed to begin each day and end each day with some positive reaffirmation; I suggested something as simple as: I am a great mother. My daughter loves and appreciates me. I am a beautiful person. She laughed, but I reiterated that she had nothing to lose. We joked and laughed about our friends, her coworkers, and some of the horrible dates she’d had recently, and went our separate ways for a while.

I met up with Janet again a month or so later and asked her to tell me if her life had changed at all. She said it hadn’t, and that she had tried to remind herself of my positive reaffirmation, but that she often forgot. I asked her to be honest with me, to tell me if in reality she just hadn’t committed because she didn’t believe change was possible. She stated that that was part of the problem, so I asked her something seemingly silly; I asked her which sock she put on first when she dressed. She gave me a sly look, but I maintained my question. She always put her right sock on first; I recommended she begin putting her left sock on first. She wanted to know why, so I explained it as a ritual.

I told her that as she put her left sock on first, she use my positive reaffirmation, and that when she took her left sock off first, she employ that same reaffirmation. I asked her to trust me because I was her friend, and I cared about her. Taking a big breath in skepticism, she just looked at me as if were half cocked. I pointed out that she had nothing to lose, but she wanted to know what that was going to accomplish. Janet was a very practical woman.

I explained that such a small step, coupled with positive thoughts, was going to prove to her that change was possible. From dealing differently with socks, she then had the knowledge, power, and confidence to try something else new, such as eating something different for lunch, talking to a person she didn’t normally approach, listening to different music, and even going out with me, as friends, to places she didn’t normally visit. Each change led to another change, and she did commit to new thoughts and new actions.

Due to her change in behavior, she met new people, and while she did not find a new husband, she ended up having some great dates, especially when she stopped expecting things from people; she simply enjoyed the dating process and began to realize that she was in fact loved, appreciated, and desirable. Once her daughter was old enough to go to school, Janet also managed to go to school to become an RN, so change was possible, but only when she came to understand that life is short and magical, that telling herself what she thought led to a new perspective, that doing the same thing day in and out won’t bring about new results, and that ritual behavior is a catalyst.


Chapter four- Cut your expectations


It seems like not having expectations is an impossibility. You expect that working hard will lead to more money or promotions. You at least expect it will keep you from losing your job, but lay offs happen, and more often than not, it isn’t the hard workers who receive promotions, it’s the people who have a great relationship with their bosses.

You expect that your spouse appreciates you; you expect the same from your friends and family, but sometimes, those people don’t appreciate you, or you might just fail to notice the appreciation because it is more subtle than what you expect. When your expectations of such facets of relationships don’t meet your preconceived notions, you can grow resentful and even unwillingly sabotage relationships. Eliminating expectations removes the possibility of resentment, self-pity, anger, remorse, or any kind of hurt feelings.

We all expect all kinds of things; all of us do that. I know that when I graduated from high school and enrolled in college I expected to finish college in two years, get a degree, and find a decent job. The plan was to then go back to college and earn my bachelor’s degree. My mother had instilled in me certain expectations by consistently telling me that if I kept my head down, worked hard, and went to college, I would find a great job and make lots of money. It hadn’t occurred to me for the longest time that I didn’t even want to keep my head down, work hard, go to college, and make lots of money. It hadn’t dawned on me that there are numerous roads in life, and that if one of those isn’t making me happy, I can just change course.

When I first enrolled in college, I was working for a grocery store as a stocker. I had a place to live. I had a vehicle. I had great friends. I didn’t hate my job, but I didn’t like it either, not that it mattered; my goal was to finish college, get that degree, and find a new job. By the end of my second year in college, I learned that it was impossible to work part time and be able to afford a full college schedule; I had to work part time and go to school part time. Due to a chronic, but non-life-threatening health condition, it has always been impossible for me to work full time at any job for an extended period, so working full time and going to school part time was an impossibility, but I knew life was short, and since I lived with that magical awareness, I decided to cut my expectations, and reorganize my life.

I changed jobs and quit school for about a year. While working at a diner, I met some new people, had some new experiences, and grew as a person. I’ve always enjoyed reading, so I also read a ton of books, found a new career path, and went back to college. While studying, I began to think about how my life might turn out if I followed that path. I had originally expected that that path was going to lead me to where I wanted to be in life, but the longer I walked that path, the more I realized my attitude was suffering. I had grown somber, and I wasn’t enjoying the company of my peers. I never had any money, and I had no time to enjoy each day. I knew my life wasn’t endless, and I just knew I had to do something different; what I was doing wasn’t leading me where I wanted to be, so once more, I dropped out of school, and changed careers.

By then, I had an idea of what I wanted to with my life, a solid idea, and it had nothing to do with a career. All I wanted was a job I didn’t hate. Apart from that, what I wanted was simply to enjoy my friends, family, and leisure time. With the money I had saved from not enrolling in school, I was able to try new things like kayaking, mountain biking, and even sky diving. Everything was looking good except my chronic health condition was keeping me from being able to work full time.

Since I was working as a surveyor through a temp agency, which meant low pay and no benefits, I spoke to my boss about what I needed to do to earn employment with his company—working directly for the company meant more money and health benefits, which might have allowed me to work full time because I could afford the operations I needed as well as the medicine to stay healthy. By the end of our conversation, he agreed to do whatever was necessary to help me achieve full time employment. Once again, I had the expectation of living the life I wanted, but the universe didn’t reply in kind; the company was bought out by another company, and I even lost my temporary employment. I was pissed off. Life threw me another curve ball, and I didn’t know how to handle it because I had set myself up for the expectation.


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