Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here.

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here.

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Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your questions here.

Primarily, I am creating this topic for the sake of those who have signed up to be mentored by me. But anybody who has bought my book is welcome to post their questions for me here to get my advice about any topic, which will also help mentees since they may have similar questions about similar matters.

I am happy to offer my advice about and and all of the following:

If you are in my mentoring program or may want to take part in it in the future, please do use this opportunity--right here, right now--to post any and all questions you have for me.

This is not merely a favor from me. I am requesting you to do it for my sake too, and for the sake of everyone else in the mentoring program.

For those in my mentoring program, I am essentially insisting that you use this opportunity (starting now and moving forward), to ask any and all questions you have for me that don't need to be kept private. Unless there is some significant reason your question or my answer needs to be kept private, please ask it here now.

The reason is because this will save us all a lot of time. Many of my mentees will have the same or similar questions. Even when the questions are different, many times the answers and advice will still be the same. For example, the formula for "how to get really good at boxing" versus "how to get really good at dancing" will be almost entirely the same. The formula for "how to get my shoe-selling business off the ground" will be almost entirely the same as "how to get my hat-selling business off the ground". Reading my answer to one will likely answer the other, or at least mostly answer it such that you will have much fewer unanswered questions left, which will help us both greatly.

To illustrate the value here by example, I won't be able to mentor anyone effectively if I have the same ten-hour one-on-one private conversation with each person separately. That won't be good for you or for me. It would wreak the whole thing for everyone. Instead, we will reserve the time-consuming one-on-one private conversations for things that specifically need to be private.

I'm not just talking about killing two birds with one stone here. I'm talking about potentially killing millions of birds with one stone. It's much, much better for all of us. Don't worry about the birds, they are just figurative. No birds will be harmed in the making of this program.

One reason I have explained my reasoning for this post in this post in such detail is because I think that explaining myself as such will itself act as advice and help those I mentor. This concept of killing two birds (or more) with one stone is extremely crucial to the fundamental formula I use to be so successful in business, finances, and other areas. Wealth is not a zero-sum game. It can be created. So, like I encourage in my book, let's be creative!

My friends, I say, let's get our loving free-spirited creativity going! :D

Let's work together in a mutually beneficial way to create wealth and succeed together. After all, we are in this together.

For those who already signed up for my mentoring program, even if you have not yet completed the initial 100-day startup period (i.e. "Phase One"), please still use this opportunity to ask any and all questions you have for me now, both right now and as they pop up in your head or come up in your life moving forward.

I'm here for you, right here in this thread.

When replying, make sure the little box "Notify me when a reply is posted" is checked so that you get notifications of new posts.

I suggest you continually read through all the questions by others, and then if even partly applicable to you, read through my answer to them.

One reason is because of the role of reasoning from first principles that will often come up in my answers. While superficially it might at first seem that a question is unrelated to your own life, when you read my long in-depth answer, especially the logic and reasoning behind the answer, you will likely see that those first principles from which I reason, and thus much if not all of the reasoning itself, apply greatly if not just as much or more to your unique situation. More interestingly, seeing how seemingly different problems can be resolved and solved by the same few fundamental processes will indirectly teach you those tools as well, so that you can solve your own problems in the future without having to ask me, both in terms of (1) teaching the incredible empowering value of these tools and (2) teaching you by example what they are and how to use them.

By reading my replies to others in this topic, you will not only be getting mentored by me, but you will also be learning how to mentor others (and in sense mentor yourself). You will not only be getting the fish you want, you will be at the same being shown how to fish and how to provide fish for others. There we go killing two birds with one stone again. ;)


With all that said, let's do it! Fire away! Please ask your questions now. I am happy to do my best to give you my best advice about anything. Right here, right now.




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My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Damian Keyes »

I have a question: What do you do when you get discouraged on your way to achieving your life goal or dream?
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Damian Keyes wrote: March 19th, 2023, 1:37 am I have a question: What do you do when you get discouraged on your way to achieving your life goal or dream?
Hi, Damian Keyes.

Thank you for your question! :)

May I ask, what do you mean by discouraged exactly? As you use the word, how would you define the word discouraged?

I don't use it often that I recall. Breaking it down, I would look at it as being similar to the word disarmed, except instead of having your weapons stripped from you it would be having your courage stripped from you.

If so, then I do think it is a bit of an oxymoron, as I see things. Bravery is a choice. In other words, courage is a choice.

The only thing one needs to choose to be courageous is fear. You cannot have courage without fear.

If fear is like the metaphorical water in which you might drown, courage is learning to swim. But you can't swim without the water.

When it comes to inner peace, spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), and courage, I believe nobody can take it away from you, which is something I talk about a lot in my book, In It Together.

Other people and other things out of your control (e.g. sheer luck) can take away your wealth, take away your physical health, and even take away your life itself. But I believe they cannot take away your inner peace, your honesty, your integrity, your self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom), and the choice to be courageous (i.e. your choice to transcend fear). Thus, there is a certain invincibility that comes with such things, or, in other words, an incredibly empowering grace.

In short, nobody and nothing can discourage me. In a very important way, my courage is invincible.


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott



Courage is a decision. In other words, bravery is a choice.
Courage is a decision. In other words, bravery is a choice.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Bertha Jackson »

Scott wrote: March 20th, 2023, 3:17 pm
Damian Keyes wrote: March 19th, 2023, 1:37 am I have a question: What do you do when you get discouraged on your way to achieving your life goal or dream?
Hi, Damian Keyes.

Thank you for your question! :)

May I ask, what do you mean by discouraged exactly? As you use the word, how would you define the word discouraged?

I don't use it often that I recall. Breaking it down, I would look at it as being similar to the word disarmed, except instead of having your weapons stripped from you it would be having your courage stripped from you.

If so, then I do think it is a bit of an oxymoron, as I see things. Bravery is a choice. In other words, courage is a choice.

The only thing one needs to choose to be courageous is fear. You cannot have courage without fear.

If fear is like the metaphorical water in which you might drown, courage is learning to swim. But you can't swim without the water.

When it comes to inner peace, spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), and courage, I believe nobody can take it away from you, which is something I talk about a lot in my book, In It Together.

Other people and other things out of your control (e.g. sheer luck) can take away your wealth, take away your physical health, and even take away your life itself. But I believe they cannot take away your inner peace, your honesty, your integrity, your self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom), and the choice to be courageous (i.e. your choice to transcend fear). Thus, there is a certain invincibility that comes with such things, or, in other words, an incredibly empowering grace.

In short, nobody and nothing can discourage me. In a very important way, my courage is invincible.


Thank you,
Scott
Fear is the biggest motivator for some people. To overcome one's fear one must have the courage to do so. In doing this, they overcome their fear, thus they have courage.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by JUSTIN CHRISTENSEN »

Alright I've got one for you. What recommendations do you have for increasing confidence? Specifically, are there any practical techniques, mental exercises, or daily habits that have helped you increase your self-confidence?

I would also appreciate your thoughts on how to measure progress in this area. Thanks in advance!
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How to be more confident | Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice)

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Hi, JUSTIN CHRISTENSEN,

Thank you for your question! :)

JUSTIN CHRISTENSEN wrote: April 4th, 2023, 12:40 pm Alright I've got one for you. What recommendations do you have for increasing confidence? Specifically, are there any practical techniques, mental exercises, or daily habits that have helped you increase your self-confidence?
Have you read my book, In It Together?

I ask because my top #1 recommendation by far would be to fully read that book, from beginning to end, twice. Many readers get a very different and much deeper experience the second time, perhaps since they aren't worried about where it's going. After the first read, you will already know the details about the conclusion, which is essentially all about achieving inner peace and incredible invincible graceful confidence. So reading it a second time let's you better see the logic and path that leads to that conclusion, since you already know what that conclusion is.

So that's my number one top tip by far.

After that, this question reminds me of when people ask for help or advice or a method to meditate better or quiet their mind. A big tip I have about those two things as well as countless others is this that I previously posted on Twitter: If you are trying at all, you are trying too hard.

But, again, that's something that's explained in much more detail with much more reasoning in my book, In It Together. My book explores in detail the idea that "there is no try".

I think confidence and grace are interlinked, if not two words for the same thing. So I also suggest you read my short poem, What Grace [and Confidence] Mean to Me.

It's not different advice per se, but the same advice in a different medium with some different phrasing. For example, the above poem includes the line, "To do, without trying".

One way to look at is that confidence is a symptom of free-spirited inner peace and the love and unconditional acceptance and love that goes with that. If you lack the true happiness of inner peace, then your day-to-day happiness or pseudo-happiness is affected by all sorts of external things like the weather or how good an opponent is in a sports game. That dependency on the external, meaning things out of your control, begets--in some sense reasonably--an intense constant anxiety and worry about those externals.

When you lack the consistent true happiness of inner peace, then it's in some way only reasonable to be terribly anxious about all the luck-based different yin-yang-like externals out of your control that can affect your moods and feelings and make up yours ups and downs in your bipolar way of living.

In contrast, when you find the consistent true happiness of all-loving free-spirited inner peace, you have no reason to worry about such things. You know you will be happy regardless, in the sense of having that all-loving free-spirited inner peace.

It's unreasonable to have confidence if you worry about the proverbial cards you are dealt. In that case, there is no path to that conclusion because it's an unreasonable--and impossible--conclusion.

In contrast, when you unconditionally accept the proverbial cards you are dealt, and find your happiness in playing the cards you are dealt to the best of your ability, then you know you will always be happy. And from that comes a graceful and invincible confidence as surely as 2 + 2 equals 4.

For more on that, I also suggest you read the following topic of mine, which explicitly discusses confidence:

Transcending all worry & anxiety about the future— Find the happiness in doing your best, and you will always be happy.


For a different angle on confidence, which includes a very wise quote about confidence that I've heard others say, please also see my topic:

Dualism is an illusion. We are truly one. In terms of the real you and the real me, I am you, and you are me.

Here is an excerpt from that topic:
Scott wrote: March 10th, 2023, 4:05 pm
In terms of the real you and the real me, I am you, and you are me.

There is no real other to compare yourself against.

My book liberates you of the stressful, lonely, and egoistically competitive illusion of separation.

From that, there comes an incredible confidence, an invincible loving inner peace, and an empowering grace.

I've heard it said that, "Confidence isn't walking into a room thinking you are better than everyone else; it's walking in and not having to compare yourself to anyone at all."

[Read Full Post]



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JUSTIN CHRISTENSEN wrote: April 4th, 2023, 12:40 pm I would also appreciate your thoughts on how to measure progress in this area. Thanks in advance!
I don't think I'd recommend attempting to measure it at all.

As the quote from other post that I gave above explains, confidence is, in part, not having to insecurely compare and measure yourself against others as such at all.

Moreover, and perhaps more to the point, most often that would seem to me to put the cart before the horse. The confidence you will have is almost merely an incidental and even accidental afterthought that happens to come along with the true happiness of all-loving brave free-spirited inner peace.

If you had to choose between being confident or being truly happy, which would you choose? In a way, I'd say the latter, but it's a false question because confidence comes as a symptom of that invincible unwavering true happiness that is inner peace. When you know you are going to be happy no matter what, then you are also confident because you know you have nothing to worry about.

Regardless, the instinct to measure it seems like it would typically itself be a symptom of insecurity and lack of confidence, one that can exacerbate it with a self-perpetuating feedback loop, like a cancer.

In analogy, it's like constantly asking oneself verbally while meditating, "how clear-minded am I? Am I doing a good job meditating? How can I quiet my mind more?!" Doing that stuffs yet more loud thoughts into an already very crowded and very loud mind.

Trying harder to not try has the opposite effect.

Likewise, measuring your confidence might just give you another thing to be unnecessarily insecure about. One might say, "my confidence sucks! I am not confident enough! I wish I was more confident like all those cool confident people I've seen!"

If you are going to measure anything, I say measure the root issues that manifest as confidence, such as bravery, spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), and practicing the principle of fully and unconditionally accepting what you cannot control. Measure how unconditionally accepting you are of the cards you are dealt, versus how much of your limited time and energy you take away from playing those cards to resent the cards or otherwise engaging in nonacceptance of the unchangeable cards.

In short, I suggest striking at the root rather than branches.


I hope my advice on this was helpful! If you have any further questions, please do let me know. :)


Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Kirsten Schuder »

Hi Scott (Eckhart),

Thanks for giving me a chance to catch up when I can and then reply and share almost every single thing you post in Twitter :).

Scott, if you had the goal to sell a million science fantasy novels, how would you go about it (in addition to participating in the Online Book Club)?

Notice how one would have to have a lot of confidence to make this happen. :). Yes, I read your thread on confidence.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Kirsten Schuder wrote: April 5th, 2023, 2:34 am Scott, if you had the goal to sell a million science fantasy novels, how would you go about it (in addition to participating in the Online Book Club)?
Hi, Kirsten Schuder,

Thank you for your question! :)

One chapter from my book In It Together that might be surprisingly applicable is the one titled, in part, "Do Less, Better".

Similarly, the following old social media posts of mine are relevant:

Any time, money, or energy I put towards the 99% of things I care least about, I take away from the 1% I care most about.

I am well accomplished through intentional laziness. I set as few goals as possible, then go full-force at those few goals with all I got.

Let's consider a category of goals that I would call huge goals. This includes things like losing 200lbs and keeping it off, or going from being unable to even jog a mile to being able to run it in under 7 minutes, or making a million dollars, or selling a million books, or going from 0 followers to over a million followers on a certain social media site.

When it comes to huge goals like that, it means sacrificing almost everything else.

It's similar to having $10 to spend in a toy store. You can buy one super cool $10 toy or ten different small $1 toys. Neither choice is right or wrong, but what is wrong--meaning impossible--is buying or choosing both. You can not have the $10 toy plus the ten little ones. In fact, you can't have even one of the little toys if you want the $10 one. You have to let all ten of the little toys go, each and every one, to get the big $10 toy.

I can give you the map, and I will. But that's not actually the roadblock.

A person doesn't fail to achieve those kind of huge goals because they don't have the secret recipe. Losing weight, gaining weight, or running a mile faster is not brain surgery. It's easy in terms of getting or having the knowledge of how to do it physically. It's easy in the sense--no more and no less--than it's easy for an alcoholic to know how to not drink. Knowing the physical mechanics and executing them are two very different things.

I can, and will, give you the map, but that will be like me telling an alcoholic that the way to stop drinking is to not put alcohol in their mouth, and stop going to bars and such. The map isn't the hard part, not at all. It's easy to generate one, and you don't need me to do it (but I will do it for you).

The would-be hard part is you making the actual choice. And neither choice is right or wrong. If you choose to not buy the one big huge $10 toy, so that you can enjoy all the little ones instead, then that's totally fine too. It's just as fine. It's up to you. It's simply about what you want.

There are no wrong choices here, but what is wrong is to not understand that there is a choice.

So I suggest you write down your top 10 goals that you most want to achieve over the next 1-10 years or so.

Assuming one of them is the one you asked me about, are you sure you willing to give up all of the other 9?

I'm not saying you would have to give them all up, but you might, and you will almost certainly have to give up most of them.

You cannot run full speed in two different directions at once. That's simple physics.

You can go Northwest, but you can't go North at full speed and West at full speed at the same time. More of one is less of the other.

If you want to go at one with all you got, then that means letting go of everything else. So, I ask, is that really you want?

That's not a rhetorical question. It's key. It's very key.

The map I gave you has essentially no value to the degree your answer to that question is, "no". "No" is a fine answer. Many would say it is the wiser answer. I don't see either as being wiser or righer or wronger, but only you can answer. It's your choice. It's your life. It's your art.

And, to the degree your answer is yes, my map will be only a little assistance, because to the degree your answer is yes, you are almost certainly going to get where my map points you with or without my map.

Making the map is easy. Following it is not really easy or hard but rather just a choice. As my book In It Together explains, choice cannot really be easy or hard, since you are 100% in control of your choices. As I wrote in the book, "When it comes to your choices, you always get exactly what you want."

Kirsten Schuder wrote: April 5th, 2023, 2:34 am Notice how one would have to have a lot of confidence to make this happen. :). Yes, I read your thread on confidence.
I suppose you are right. It reminds me of some of the advice I gave in my short 2015 book, Achieve Your Dreams: Why You Don't and How You Can Kindle Edition.

It also reminds me of this quote from In It Together: "An imaginary roadblock can be as effective as a real one."

If someone believes their dream is impossible, then indeed they won't go after it, at least not wholeheartedly. If they don't go after it, they won't achieve it. The lack of confidence is self-fulfilling, and likewise so too is confidence.

I say, be confident. Be confident because the facts are on your side: I don't doubt at all that if you truly choose to make selling a million books your #1 goal and top priority by far, such that it's not merely your top goal but really your only goal, and wholeheartedly go after it with everything you've got, then you will achieve it.

Lack of confidence can actually be a comforting delusion. In analogy, an alcoholic is in many ways comforted by saying "I need to drink" versus saying "I am choosing to drink". An alcoholic is comforted by thinking about the question of whether it's possible to stop drinking, rather than simply assuming it is possible and then deciding what choices to make based on that knowledge. Do I choose to go to bar today? Do I choose to keep alcohol in the house? etc. etc.

The illusion of hopelessness can distract us from the power and responsibility of choice.

So for the sake of argument, even when talking to yourself, I say completely assume that you can have your goal of selling a million books if you choose to have it.

But, just remember, the size of the goal determines size of the cost. Extraordinary goals have extraordinary cost.


As to the aforementioned map, if you haven't already, I suggest you read and follow my short guide, 10 Step Plan to Promote Your Book: Online Book Marketing on Any Budget. If you haven't already read it, let me know, and I can buy you a copy. I'm not looking to sell you another book. It's only $1 anyway. I'm happy to buy it for you.

I've guaranteed that anyone who follows the 10 Step Plan will sell 100 copies bare minimum (or I will buy the difference myself). So far I haven't had to buy any books, meaning that guarantee has held up so far for years.

I have thought about writing a longer A-Z guide that comes with a guarantee to sell 10,000 copies of a book. Perhaps you can be my first test case on that. But there would be a lot of work and a lot of cost involved both in time and money.

If your goal is to make money, I strongly recommend you do not become an author. Or, more accurate, I at least recommend you don't attempt to get rich by becoming an author. To that latter point, I've known a lot of rich and/or famous people who have then become successful authors often by sharing the methods they used to become famous or rich, and others just to cash in on their fame, and others just to use their wealth or fame to enable a hobby of writing. I'd suggest buying billion-dollar lottery tickets to get rich before I'd suggest writing and publishing books as a way to do it.

If making money is an important goal to you, then you likely cannot succeed the goal you've asked me about, at least without first succeeding at that other goal. You can't fight two battles on two fronts if you want to achieve huge goals. Like I said, you can't run North at full speed and West at full speed at the same time.

In any case, whether it's money, books sold, or the member at a website like OnlineBookClub, getting from 10,000 to 1,000,000 is easier than getting from 0 to 10,000.

To go back to the analogy of an alcoholic, many times it's going to be the first week of sobriety or first month that's hardest. The first month might be harder than the next ten months combined.

In an airplane, liftoff takes more energy than staying in the air.

Fame begets fame, and wealth begets wealth.

If you do the 10 Step Plan to get to hundreds sold, and then we do the A-Z plan to get to over 10,000 sold, the last step (going from 10,000 to 1,000,000) will be the easiest of the three for you.

Please do let me know if you already read and followed the 10 Step Plan, and if not then please do both (1) let me know if you would like to buy you a copy, and (2) let me know once you have completed all 10 steps. I look forward to working with you on this goal! :)


Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Kirsten Schuder »

Hi Scott,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my post.

I already own your book, the 10 step plan. I bought it months ago through another post, and I have it in my Kindle Library. I have to fix my dishwasher and patch my roof, and then after that, your book is at the top of my list to complete in this six-month period before my novel is released.

Selling hundreds first and then 10,000 is a goal that makes sense, so I want to do that, and then we'll see where it goes.

Your advice echoes an author/book consultant, Tim Grahl. He stated, if you ask him how to sell a million books, "Tim gets sad" because no one can really tell you how to do that. However, if an author can manage to sell 10,000 books in two years, that author's chance of selling 100,000 books becomes possible. It's a numbers game. And then he says he gets happy to tell you that because that goal is obtainable and can open up larger book sales over time.

So, for a short-term goal, I will begin with 10,000 books and see where it takes me.

No, I do not expect to get rich being an author. I tell all my clients to keep their day jobs! Selling a million books, to me, is a milestone, but I don't expect to do it in a year. It's a long-term goal I wish for. I used to want to be on the bestseller lists. I personally have known an author who did it, but the world was different back then. However, I read a lot of things that said these tagging a book as a bestseller is really up to the editor of the publication rather than who sells the most books, and they are not accurate because they choose certain outlets for the count rather than all (and leave out Amazon.com), so I felt that selling a million books would be a better goal. If you shoot for the stars, you can land on the moon. I'll take the moon any day. A. G. Riddle sold a million copies of Atlantis, and he said he did it because he was lucky enough to know how to market online. I would love to crawl inside of that guy's head for a little while!

As to why I want to do it, I believe the root of it is because I have had people tell me to my face that I will fail, my very own father included, so I should just give it up. I love taking the soul-crushing disappointment I have felt from people close to me who don't believe in me and turning them into successes. I have had recognition for some projects already, such as an international award for a nonfiction book, and being in a best-of anthology for one of my short stories, and when good things happen like that, it feels really good to prove the doubters wrong. Funny thing is that I was not looking to achieve those things. For the award, my coauthors and I did not have to bribe anyone, schmooze them or take them out to dinner. Only three months after the publication of the book, we won an award for it. Considering I am the one who put all my coauthor's research into book form and organized and rewrote the entire thing in ten days in time for the first hemp expo in Knoxville, TN, it was a great feeling and honor. The book actually got a lot of attention. It wound up in the hands of senators and the head of the FDA at the time the feds and the states were still trying to find a way to regulate industrial hemp, which opened the door for the legalization of marijuana. You see, we made a very strong point that expressed our concern, that unsafe growing practices will produce an unsafe plant. Many companies in the beginning were claiming during those Wild West times that processing the plant for CBD will take care of any toxicity, which is an outright lie. This also countered a lot of advice our government was giving on growing practices: growing hemp in old tobacco fields. We countered that you can do that only if you plan on throwing out your first crop. Hemp is a sponge, meaning that it will soak up toxic materials from the ground. Toxic soil produces toxic plants, and there is nothing more toxic for the soil than growing tobacco. The other thing, using industrial pesticides, which we again successfully countered. As a result, the book's advice on safe natural pesticides to use on the plants wound up almost word-for-word in federal regulations for growing practices. We also encouraged companies that sell the products for consumption to regularly supply lab reports with their stuff for potency and safety, which most CBD companies now do.

It felt really good, making such a big difference in an entire budding industry. Yeah, maybe that pun was intended. It's also super nice when the local news interviews me and my coauthors as experts to comment on the legalization of marijuana in our state. It even feels great when the company I work for asked me to write an article about ChatGPT and how tutors can spot papers generated with AI. It provides me with more than just vindication. There is something more important than that, fulfillment. Now, I can leave the doubters in the dust and turn my attention to other pursuits.

Success is addicting. I relish it now because I could not see myself being successful in anything while I was growing up and as a young adult, and with what I have shared, I think the reason for this is obvious. The successes I listed do more for me than just vindicate me and prove people wrong. They help maintain my self-confidence. It also provides me with a message to tell others who are in the same exact position I was in: obtaining a life's dream is possible.

So, while I am going to listen to advice from those wiser than me, which includes people like Tim Grahl and you, selling a million books will still be a goal of mine.

Like you said, though, it will mean I have to make a choice, and when I make that choice, I will have to sacrifice certain things in my life to make it happen. You do have a good point. I have always been a burn the candle at both ends type of a person, so this was a good thing for me to think about. I do have a thirteen-year-old daughter, and being part of her life is my top priority. I already work almost fifty hours a week just to deal with inflation and give my family a better life, so this has been tough for me, and finding time for promoting my novel coming out this September will be challenging indeed. However, everything is a family affair around here, and we involve our kids (one is already grown) in all our projects. They will most likely accompany me to any bookstore signing I attend. Having my family by my side will help me feel like we all did it together and I won't have to miss out on anything. Plus, I have help :).

I also took your advice and made a list of ten goals. This makes sense. Babe Ruth's "called shot" is a lot like goal setting, knowing what you want, and then having the skill and drive to obtain that home run. I could only come up with a handful, and not necessarily in this order:

Devote myself to producing excellent work in all capacities in my career and personal life, regardless of what I do. If my company wants me to take out a million staples from documents, then I will be the most excellent staple-puller the company has ever seen. Excellence is my focus in being the best person, wife, mother, and friend I can possibly be. It has brought me success and fulfillment and provided me the engine to fuel a constant state of self-improvement.
Sell a million books so I can secure my family's future, see my books on the big screen, and write every single day for the rest of my life.
Successfully raise my daughter.
Lose weight and maintain my health so I can enjoy my husband and kids until they even grow old.

I guess I'm lucky enough to finally, and at last, be single-minded. When I had a list of ten or more, I did not have the self-confidence to pursue what I really wanted, so everything seemed attractive. I have one main career goal, and my personal goals are very simple.

I am not materialistic. I just want to be able to fix my leaking roof, my dishwasher's motor, and have enough food on the table and clothing on our backs. Maybe that's a goal too? Plus, have a nice, reliable car with four wheels and a motor.

Really, if I take a deep dive inward, I really must have the last two. If I don't have my health, it's very difficult to obtain anything else. If I don't have my family, then any success I obtain will not be meaningful.

The first goal drives everything else. It permeates every aspect of my life. I will always strive for excellence in everything I do because it allows me to be self-accepting for where I am now and gives me hope for the future of where I want to be. Excellence was my focus for our nonfiction book, not the prize. We had not even sought it out. It was simply offered. During times my self-confidence falters, I can rely on the fact that I always strive for excellence, which gives me something to fall back on and nourish my soul and my efforts.

The second, selling a million books, would be nice and get me closer to my goal of making my books into movies like Stephen King. It offers me a chance to write for the rest of my life. If I can sell ten thousand books over two years, I can probably take a year off of my job to write and promote my books full-time. With the ability to take time off, who knows how much I can accomplish. Freeing up two hundred hours a month is monumental!

I do look to authors who have done it, like Stephen King and A. G. Riddle. If they can do it, sell a million books or more, so can I. I know the odds are against me, but then again, they always have been.

Thanks, Scott, for the chance to work this out! I appreciate the space to self-reflect. It took me a couple of hours to write this up, but it's time well-spent in this process of chasing success and ultimate fulfillment.
Bertha Jackson
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Bertha Jackson »

One thing I can say about this topic is that every time I read this book, I gain confidence. For this reason, when I am having negative thoughts I pull this book off my shelf and read the pertinent parts again. It never fails me.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Mounce574 »

Toxic people. How should they be handled if they are family members? Should I avoid interacting with them?

My mother and sister have both spread hurtful gossip about me to people and have cost me friendships. Now I am aware that my mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer. While I waited to find out what level, she and my sister contacted my ex-husband and started up some rumor mill again. I responded to this by telling them both that I am blocking them from my life. I can forgive them, but I don't know if I should ever confide in or trust them. Should I just refuse to mend the relationship or should I try to fix the issue?
"Facts don't care about your feelings." Ben Shapiro
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." NF from Motto
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Kirsten Schuder »

Hey Scott, hi Wisdom. Scott, hope you don't mind me replying in this forum. I'm in the same exact position you are in, practically! My sister actually died last week at the young age of 51 and a half years old. Yet, when I spoke to my father after twenty years of not keeping in touch, my choice, somehow, even when he was informing me of the bad news, he made it all about him. Sometimes, people are just too narcissistic to fix anything. My husband and I discussed my family, and he said they are obviously nowhere near the point where they will take responsibility for their own actions. In my eyes, I have absolutely nothing to discuss with them until that happens. I believe I have read Scott talk about personal responsibility. Relationships work best when both people act like adults and take responsibility for their part. If they don't, you're better off dealing with kindergarteners. At least most of them are open-minded enough to listen.
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Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Mounce574 wrote: April 10th, 2023, 6:13 pm Toxic people. How should they be handled if they are family members? Should I avoid interacting with them?
Hi, Mounce574,

Thank you for your question. My primary suggestion is to let go of the concept (or pseudo-concept) of 'should' or 'ought'.

I believe my book as a whole makes the best, clearest, and most convincing argument and explanation for that. So if you have not already read my book in full in order, I suggest reading it in full in order. If you have read it once, I suggest re-reading it.

While reading (or re-reading it), I suggest highlighting the first sentence with which you disagree, and highlighting the first sentence you don't understand.

Then, please do post a reply in both of the following topics:

- Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

- Do you agree with everything in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what is the first sentence with which you disagree?


That way we can work through the book one disagreeable or non-understood sentence at a time, until you feel all sentences have been understood, and ideally agree with all of them. (Of course, it's also possible you will make me aware of some errors in the book, which I will then happily fix in the next updated edition with deep gratitude to you for bringing them to my attention.)

After that, I believe you will be liberated of the idea that there is anything you 'should' or 'ought' to do in regard to your sister or mother, or anyone or anything. I think you will be liberated of having any expectations at all towards others (e.g. your mother and sister) or yourself. Accordingly, among many other benefits and liberations, that will protect you from the risk of toxic codependency, a subject my book discusses a lot. Things like toxic codependency aren't black and white, so it's typically something we can all choose to take steps to more effectively reduce in our lives.

Once we are freed of all expectations and freed of the false idea that there is anything we 'should' do, many times we then realize that there is nothing we want to do about a situation. Once I let go of the false idea that the lion shouldn't be eating the antelope and let go of the false idea that there is something I 'should' be doing about it, then I often will realize that of the many things I can do about it I don't want to do any. I can just let it be. Either way, that clarity and inner peace is empowering, so that if I do decide I want to do something about it, it becomes much easier to see what my options are and to execute the chosen one effectively.

If for some reason I do want to help the lion catch the antelope, or help the antelope get away, I can both (1) see that fact and (2) much more effectively act on that desire to get that aimed outcome.

Even more figuratively speaking, by unconditionally accepting the proverbial cards I am dealt (e.g. letting go of all expectation and all 'shoulds'), I am thereby able to play my cards much more effectively.


Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Bertha Jackson wrote: April 6th, 2023, 9:56 pm One thing I can say about this topic is that every time I read this book, I gain confidence. For this reason, when I am having negative thoughts I pull this book off my shelf and read the pertinent parts again. It never fails me.
Hi, Bertha,

I am so glad it has helped you in that way! :D

By the way, don't worry; I'm still going to do the book tour. I haven't forgotten about it. ;) :)


Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
User avatar
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Posts: 5780
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Favorite Philosopher: Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Kirsten Schuder wrote: April 11th, 2023, 12:46 am My sister actually died last week at the young age of 51 and a half years old.
I'm very sorry for your loss, Kirsten.


Kirsten Schuder wrote: April 11th, 2023, 12:46 am when I spoke to my father after twenty years of not keeping in touch, my choice, somehow, even when he was informing me of the bad news, he made it all about him. Sometimes, people are just too narcissistic to fix anything. My husband and I discussed my family, and he said they are obviously nowhere near the point where they will take responsibility for their own actions. In my eyes, I have absolutely nothing to discuss with them until that happens. I believe I have read Scott talk about personal responsibility. Relationships work best when both people act like adults and take responsibility for their part.
Wisely said! :)

Part of taking self-responsibility is not taking undo responsibility of others.

In other words, proverbially, part of cleaning one's own backyard is not trespassing on other's to impose one's own version of cleanliness on others' backyards.

The ones who only exercises the amount of self-responsibility others (i.e. mimic those around them by stooping to their level) will only tend to have average self-responsibility.

Once cannot be exceptionally happy, exceptional free, or exceptionally successful if one only does what others are doing.

Once cannot be exceptionally happy, exceptional free, or exceptionally successful if one only does not accept that others will not be on that level of spiritual awakening and such.

Going around expecting other humans to take exceptional levels of personal responsibility would be more absurd than expecting lions to not eat antelopes. We can instead appreciate the mere humanity of other humans while ourselves seeking to become something of a superhuman.

If one is to be exceptionally spiritually awakened, one must be willing to accept being around and even appreciate being around sleep walkers who do the silly things sleepwalkers do, like behave in very selfish narcissistic ways or not take personal responsibility. To that, I would smile and see beauty in the same way I smile and see beauty even as I watch a hungry lion chase an antelope.

I don't seek to be like the hungry lion or frightened antelope, and in many ways I'm happy I'm not and sometimes part of my smile is for that very reason. But I still fully accept them as they are and appreciate their beauty. The same goes for the proverbial sleepwalkers. I wholeheartedly accept them as they are.

But as you wisely express, Kirsten Schuder, we enlightened folk still take responsibility for ourselves such that we realize and act on our ability to keep our distance from such things. I might appreciate watching the sight of a lion hunting an antelope as a beautiful aspect nature, but that doesn't mean I thrown myself into the lions mouth. I keep my distance, or at least recognize it's my choice to get myself caught up in someone else's circus when I have the choice to keep my distance. I can appreciate that a thief is the way he is, but I still don't hire him to work the cash register at my business. I can appreciate that a toxically abusive human is the way they are, but that doesn't mean I ask them to move in with me, or don't choose to move out and cut ties if I find myself living with one somehow.

As you wisely express, part of having personal responsibility ourselves is setting and enforcing healthy boundaries of our own choosing that match what we want to do from a truly loving free-spirited self-disciplined mindset, not based on codependency or addiction, not based on failing take responsibility for ourselves, and not based on taking responsibility of others (i.e. trespassing on someone else's backyard instead of focusing on cleaning our own backyard).


Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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