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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Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Stephen Christopher 1 wrote: March 26th, 2024, 9:11 pm Hi Scott

I'm 9 days into the 100 days, and I got the email to ask my question, so here it is.

Actually it's more my purpose for needing your mentorship.

I'm 55 and still struggling to get my work/life balance correct. I moved from Australia to Thailand 8 years ago. I'm currently a digital nomad; I write website content. I'm a freelancer, so while I no longer have a traditional boss, I do have clients and deadlines.

Being a freelancer is a step in the right direction, as I set my own schedule and have found that's made a huge difference. But it's still not enough. I've been in the workforce since I was 15, so that's 40 years, yet I still need to work a 30+ hour week.

I'd like your help and advice on how I can reduce these hours further, whether it's via a passive income or some other idea; I'm all ears.

Thanks
Stephen
Hi, Stephen Christopher 1,

Thank you for your question! :D

As always, my first piece of advice is to read my book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.

In fact, I recommend you read it twice. The reason for reading it twice is explained here.

The reason why reading In It Together is a very important first step towards achieving any alleged goal is given in my answer to the following earlier question:

What are the general steps to take in order to become extremely successful?

In the answer to that earlier question, I wrote, in part:

Eckhart Aurelius Hughes wrote: March 4th, 2024, 4:05 pm The reason that reading my book is the first step I recommend for any goal or aspiration is that the advice in that book is the foundation of all other more superficial or specific advice given to specific people for specific things. You cannot build the basement or foundation of a house after you have already built the house. The details of the house such as the paint color and layout can be more unique for each person but the foundation is roughly the same for everyone. There's unlimited diversity of form but yet a single shared spiritual essence and single common human struggle uniting us all beneath the diverse forms and different outfits and figurative clothing we wear at different points in spacetime.

If you start with an incorrect foundation (i.e. without already following all the suggestions and advice in my book In It Together), then you will end up having to later bulldoze down the proverbial house you build using any other additional advice and suggestions I give you to then start over by putting in a correct foundation. I'm not really helping you if I help you build a house on an incorrect foundation; then I'm only helping you waste your time.

In practice, what that means is that, if I start giving you personalized advice geared towards your specific career and aspiration before you read my book In It Together and fully apply that advice, you will end up using my extra advice to go down a path that isn't right for you and end up having to re-start, come back with new aspirations, and ask me about those. It will end up being a huge waste of your time, and a little bit of a waste of mine. This is heavily related to what I wrote in my topic, "Typically, the best way to destroy a man is to give him what he thinks he wants".


With that said, one of the next earlier steps I would suggest for any general goal that someone gives me is to make it specific. For example, if someone tells me their goal is to "lose weight" and they ask my advice to achieve that goal, I'll respond with a question: How much weight do you want to use exactly? What is your goal weight exactly?

Not only would I need that information to sufficiently and accurately answer the question (or really even fully understand it), but moreover there is this important fact: setting a very specific goal is itself a huge step in the direction of achieving it, both in the sense of achieving the specific goal (e.g. "losing 10 lbs specifically") and the general goal of which it is a specific instance or type (e.g. "losing weight", amount unspecified).

The person who sets a specific goal with a specific measurable target amount and specific target date is far more likely to achieve it.

For example, the person whose goal is "to lose 10 lbs" is far more likely to lose weight than the person who's goal is just to vaguely "lose weight".

The person whose goal is to "increase net worth to $500,000" is far more likely to increase their net worth than the person who's goal is to just vaguely "increase net worth".

There are many reasons for that including but not limited to the following: (1) the power of visualization (a.k.a. the law of attraction) and (2) that it is a symptom of seriousness and commitment. In the case of the latter, if someone hasn't even set a specific goal (e.g. they say they want to lose weight but not exactly how much and not exactly by when), then that indicates to me it's not something they have fully thought through and it is likely not really a goal they have. It's just vague talk, and talk is cheap, especially when it's vague.

For similar reasons, it's also ideal to set a specific timeline or target date (e.g. "I want to lose 10 lbs within the next 3 months", or "I want to increase my net worth to $500,000 by July 2026".

In another analogy, imagine someone says (i.e. claims) broadly and vaguely that they allegedly want to "drink less alcohol" maybe even vaguely talking about going to AA "one day" or "sometime". But imagine they have no specific dates, no specific plans, and no specific amount of how much "less" they are going to be drinking. It's probably not a real goal or intention. It's probably just talk. Talk is cheap, and I've never seen a dog bark and bite at the same time. Barking dogs don't scare me. Quiet ones can.

You might ask, what's this mean for you?

Here's the outline:

1. Ask yourself if you have read my book yet. If not, then ignore the rest of the steps below and just read my book first. It's likely your stated goals will have changed once you finish reading my book. So anything you do to achieve your current alleged goals before reading my book will likely be wasted effort.

2. If you already read my book, ask yourself exactly how much less hours you want to be working per week professionally and by what date you want to achieve that goal (e.g. "my goal is to be working 20 hours or less by January 2025" and/or "my goal is to be working 10 hours or less by June 2025" etc.). Specific ambitious achievable goals act as the outline of the plan. The goal becomes the plan; the would-be or so-called obstacle becomes the way. If there is a cookie across the room that you want, then in one phrasing the floor and space and distance between you and the cookie that you would have to cross and push through and go through to get there is the miserable obstacle keeping you from your cookie, but in reality the obstacle is the way. It's how you get the cookie. In that sense, even calling it an obstacle is revealed as a bit of misnomer. It is the way. It is that path. It is the means. It was what you are going to be going through to get the real goal that you are honestly choosing to get. Success is a choice, and the would-be obstacle is the way.

3. After completing the above two steps (i.e. reading my book and then setting a very specific goal with a very specific timeline), if then at that point the path to your goal still has not become utterly clear to you, and you are not confident you will achieve the stated goal in the stated way in the stated timeframe, then come back here and post a new updated version of your question, making sure to explicitly state that you read my book in full, and making sure to explicitly state what your specific goal is (e.g. exactly how many less hours you want to work) and what the goal date is for that goal (i.e. by what date or month you want to be working that few hours).

From there, I will help you achieve that specific goal using much more specific advice tailored more specifically to you and your specific goal and timeline. Needless to say, my advice can only be as specific as your question and stated goal.

Aside from the suggestion of reading my book as the important first step, if your stated goal is not specific than my only advice is to make it more specific. And that's a huge piece of advice. That alone will drastically increase the odds you achieve the goal, and it will likely make it so you don't even need any further advice.

I will leave you with one very practical tip: Typically, the easiest and quickest way to afford to work less hours is to simply spend less money. Most people who claim to have an income issue that would be resolved by more income actually have a spending issue that will only be resolved by less spending. If starting right now you cut your spending in half, you can then likewise afford to cut your work hours in half. But that kind of thing can tie into setting an accurate and very specific goal. It's very different to set the eight-word goal of "working less hours while also making more money" than to set the simpler less specific two-word goal of just "working less". The eight-word goal will take longer than the two-word one. Likewise, it's very different to set a two-word goal like "losing weight" or "losing fat", versus setting more specific detailed nine-word goal of "losing fat but also building muscle and getting stronger". The two-word version will be much faster to achieve.

In my experience, 99% of the time a person claims to be having trouble achieving their goal, they haven't even actually set a real goal yet, at least not one that is specific, complete, and accurately and honestly reflects what they actually want.

Someone might say their goal is to drink less alcohol. But actions speak louder than words on such things. Someone might say their goal is to not cheat on their spouse, but actions speak louder than words on such things. When I say success is a choice, I'm not talking about in relation to stated goals. It's not about what people say their goal is. It's about what they actually do and actually choose. When I say success is a choice, it means almost the exact same thing as when I say actions speak louder than words. It's mostly two different ways of saying the same thing. When I tell you to make your stated goals very specific and detailed including specific timelines, I am thereby advising you, in part, to more accurately make your stated goals much your real goals (i.e. make your words match your actions)--and that's because it will be harder to lie to oneself when one is being very specific about the goals, timelines, and path. The alcoholic isn't just lying to us when he vaguely claims his stated goal is to drink less, but with no specific plans or timeline; he's lying to himself. The difference between his stated goal and his choices is a manifestation of self-deception more than anything. It's a comforting lie he tells himself while he choosing to drink.

Simply setting the goal is at least 99% of the battle, if not the whole 100%. Generally speaking, success is a choice, but you can't choose to succeed at a goal if the goal doesn't even really exist yet. And, at least when it comes to big goals, you have to specify what you would be choosing with extreme specificity and honest detail before you can do the infinitely easy thing of simply and truly choosing it.

If your real #1 goal is nothing more than to merely "work less hours" with no more specificity, then just stop working. That is such an easy goal to achieve, one of the easiest I've ever heard. Just quit. Spend less money. Be homeless if you need to.

Otherwise, if that 2-3 word phrase does not accurate reflect your specific actual goal (if you have one yet), then create and put into words a real honest goal, with extreme specific detail, and then you can choose whether or not have it, versus the infinite other options you could choose instead.

Write down what you would be choosing in specific detail with specific timelines, and then simply decide whether to choose or not.

Neither choice is right or wrong. As my book says, whatever you choose to do becomes right--becomes true--because you choose it.


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



success-is-a-choice.png


---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
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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Post by Stephen Christopher 1 »

Hi Scott
Thanks so much for the detailed reply. Yes, I've read your book once, and I understand the importance of reading it a second time, which I'll now do. I'm also going to work on creating a more detailed goal, and come back to you when that's done.
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Post by Dera Ezeakolam »

What are some effective strategies for reducing and eliminating debt to achieve financial freedom?
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Post by Risper Ouma Lisa Anyango »

Goal setting is very important because it lays a foundation for your future
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Post by Alida Spies »

As a result of the choices I made, I am stuck with an enormous amount of debt. I'm receiving treatment for life-threatening diseases and various related factors influence what I can/can't do, how often I can do it, etc. I have very limited income. How do I get rid of the debt?
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Post by Shirley Labzentis »

Hi Scott, I would like some advice on physical fitness and losing weight. Let me first start out by telling you that I am not a youngster. I am a retired 72-year-old with fibromyalgia, herniated disks in my back and neck, arthritis, migraines, etc. I have always been involved in swimming and dancing and went to the gym on a regular basis (3-4 times a week). Lately, my health has gotten the better of me, and I have not been able to do anything physical. Even walking makes my hips hurt significantly. Of course, because of this, I have put on a bit of weight, which has made my afflictions worse. It's a vicious cycle! I try to turn on music and just dance around my house to get some sort of movement, but my back will always stop me sometimes only a few minutes in. I try to eat healthy with fruits and vegetables and hardly any red meat, but I find that at my age if I don't get the heart rate up and go with cardio, I don't lose any weight. The doctors all give me the same advice: eat fruits and vegetables and exercise. What is your advice? I am getting very discouraged, and I hate myself and the way I look. I don't want anyone to take a photo of me as I am disgusted by the person I have become. I need your help, oh wise one!
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Post by Moisés Alcántara Ayre »

Hi Scott,
At the moment, my only question is how to focus on actions and less thinking. I've red from you that thinking too much about small decisions may not be helpful, and the best thing is doing. I still think too much about even small things, and though I know that too much thinking is not good, I'm stuck there. Which micro habits would you suggest that could result in my doing more and thinking less?

Moises
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Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

If you haven't already, you can sign up to be personally mentored by Scott "Eckhart Aurelius" Hughes at this link.

Kajori Sheryl Paul wrote: March 26th, 2024, 10:08 pm Hi, Scott,

What do you do when a loved one really wants you to make an important life decision and you feel that you are not ready for it, even when you see your peers are taking that step?

Thanks and Regards,
Kajori Sheryl Paul
Hi, Kajori Sheryl Paul,

Thank you for your question! :D

This is very similar to my answer to the earlier question about someone being repetitively asked about choosing a career path.

In short, when a loved one--or really anyone--asks me to do something I am not ready to do or otherwise don't want to do, I simply don't do it.

There is a huge amount of loving kindness in being completely honest and extremely assertive, such as by saying a polite, firm, clear, brief, assertive "no" when asked to do something, give something, or commit to something.

This is covered in my book in the chapter titled "Do Less Better".

Surely, you (and all those reading this) can imagine many times in your own life in which you asked someone to promise to do something or make some commitment to you and the real honest answer was no, but they didn't say no, at least not clearly, quickly, and upfront, and for you it would have been much more convenient and appreciated if they had just been honest and clear upfront. If everyone followed the easy-to-follow advice in my book, then there would be almost no affairs and cheating in romantic relationships--mainly because those who would cheat wouldn't make the unkeepable promise in the first place. Yes, my book instructs readers to keep the promises they make; however, the primary advice it gives is to make fewer promises and commitments in the first place. A reader of my book wouldn't promise to be monogamous to someone unless they were very sure they actually would (and genuinely wanted to) keep that promise. In contrast, the average person might--given the opportunity--promise five different hyper-attractive people across the span of a day to be monogamous to all five, which is, of course, impossible. Of course, romantic relationships and promises of monogamy and lying about cheating (i.e. breaking those promises) are just a tiny example that thus acts as an analogy of the way yes-people's overcommitment necessarily leads to disappointment and frustration. It's because they overpromise and overcommit that they, therefore, must then break promises and most disappoint. Typically, they are extremely anxious throughout the whole process as they desperately try to please everyone (which is impossible) and desperately try to keep their unkeepable overcommitments. These people put themselves into such excessive debt that they physically can't ever pay off the debt and cannot ever keep up with their bills. They suffer from terrible anxiety as they work so desperately hard to do the impossible.

It's often in the name of kindness that annoying people-pleasers and dangerous yes-people do their people-pleasing and excessive and dishonest yes-saying, but it's not kindness. They may, at some level, think it's kindness, but it's not. It's dishonest over-commitment and causes immense frustration for everyone, including themselves. It's the opposite of kindness. It's toxic and abusive. It's abusive both of others and of the self. With the abused others, most of all, being anyone who is at the receiving end of the lies and inevitably broken promises and inevitably broken overcommitments.

Simply put, it's not true kindness; it's toxic.

Hence, the word 'toxic' in the phrase 'toxic unassertiveness'. Unassertiveness is truly toxic to everyone involved in many ways.

If someone is asking you to do something (e.g. kiss them, have sex with them, convert your religion to theirs, give them your shoes right off your feet, etc.), and you don't want to do it, just say no. Do you love them? That's irrelevant. Are they a loved one? That's irrelevant. Still: Just say no.

If you want to do it because you love them, that's a different story, and in that story, you would say that you are happily doing it because you want to because you love them. The key three words in the preceding sentence are "you want to". That ties into the discussions of self-responsibility in my book, in that the issue isn't just cases where others manipulate or pressure us but also where we dishonestly use others as a scapegoat for what we choose to do rather than take self-responsibility (e.g. "I didn't want to do X, but…"). A helpful topic that explores these in more detail is:

I have inner peace because I shamelessly know I do only what I want to do, and I don't ever do what I don't want to do.

If you want to do it, be honest and self-responsible and say, "I am doing it because I want to."

If you don't want to do it, just say, "no".

Don't get distracted or manipulated by irrelevant details that make it seem more complicated than it is. It's simple: Just say no.

Just be honest. If the honest answer is no, then just say no.

Don't make the answer complicated if the answer is simple because that would be dishonest. Just say no.

If someone asks you or begs you to go on a date with them, but you don't want to go on a date with them, just say no.

If your mom asks you to Thanksgiving dinner or begs you to come to Thanksgiving dinner, but you don't want to go, just say no.

If your best friend or beloved sibling asks to borrow money and you don't want to loan them money (or perhaps, like me, have a personal policy against loaning anyone money), then just say no.

Whatever it is, if you don't want to do it, then don't do it and just say no.

If the answer is no, don't lie; Just say no.

Don't dishonestly make it complicated in your mind (i.e. don't lie to yourself), and don't dishonestly make it more complicated in the way you explain it to those whose requests you are declining (i.e. don't lie to others). If the true honest answer is simply "no", then anything but a simple upfront straightforward firm hard "no" is dishonest.

Just be simple, completely honest, and extremely assertive--which is the kindest way to be.

When you do it, most people won't even think of you as 'assertive' (partly because they falsely conflate assertiveness with aggression, which is the opposite). Instead, most people will notice how incredibly kind and honest you are and how you kindly keep the promises you make. They will notice how you seem to be such an incredibly calm person with very few words. They will view you as a person who has a great way with words and that you clearly express yourself well. With those few words that you do use, they will view you as someone who has exceptionally low levels of anxiety.



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


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---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
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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Post by Kajori Sheryl Paul »

Thank you so much for your response, Scott! This is really helpful. I especially connect with the sentence"Just be simple, completely honest, and extremely assertive--which is the kindest way to be."
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Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Pimporn Chandee1 wrote: March 31st, 2024, 1:53 pm we just had a split up today when some of the family members side with one party (Let's say "A") and the other members with another party(Let's say "B"). I tried to keep peace and be neutral so that one day we are one family again. [...] My sister who was the main person looking after [my mother] has now told me to find a nurse to look after our mother. She is leaving to go and stay with her newly wed husband. [...] My younger brother and his family are siding [with] me ...
Hi, Pimporn Chandee1,

Thank you for your question!

I don't fully understand the situation.

How is anyone siding with you if you yourself are the neutral party between the two sides? In other words, how is anyone siding with you if you yourself haven't taken a side?

You seem to possibly have accidentally contradicted yourself in the way you wrote it.

On the one hand, you say that you are looking to stay neutral between two sides. But, then, on the contradicting hand, you describe yourself as one of the two sides. Maybe I am misunderstanding something.

I understand that one of the two sides is your sister who is choosing to go live with her husband rather than to continue work as an unpaid nurse. I don't understand what the other side is.

Can you explain to me in more detail what the two sides are?

Can you give me the best argument for side 1 that you can come up with?

And then can you give me the best argument for side 2 that you can come up with?


With that info, I am sure I can understand the situation more fully and give you some helpful advice and suggestions. :)


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. 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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Post by Pimporn Chandee1 »

Dear Scott:

Thank you very much for your personal reply to my problem. I will elaborate on the details as follows:

How is anyone siding with you if you yourself are the neutral party between the two sides? In other words, how is anyone siding with you if you yourself haven't taken a side?

I am the eldest in a family of 6 children with 3 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters.

(Family A) My first younger brother divorced and left 1 toddler and 1 baby girl for my mum and 2nd eldest brother to look after. I paid for all their living and education expenses until they decided not to get educated any more. The 2 girls who are my nieces on and off fought all the time and often don’t speak to each other but they usually become friendly to each other again. The two girls are Poom and Por. They now each have their own family and children.

(Family B) My youngest brother divorced and left one baby girl for my mum and 2nd eldest brother to look after. I paid for all her living and education expenses until she decided not to get educated any more. She (Ni) now has her own family and children.

Note: I was fortunate to have won a scholarship at the age of 12 to go and study in England until I graduated with a bachelor’s degree. While studying in England, I did not need any money so I kept all my weekly pocket money and sent what I accumulated to my parents every year to help with their living expenses. After graduation and returning to Thailand, I started working and
from my one salary, I paid for all the expenses in the house, for all my younger brothers and sisters living and education expenses and for the 3 nieces’ (Family A) and (Family B) living and education expenses. I also mortgaged a small house so that we all have a roof over our heads in a reasonably good surrounding.


Neutrality
When the 2 sisters in Family A quarreled, I stayed neutral. When the 3 nieces ( 2 in Family A and 1 in Family B quarreled, I stayed neutral.

Probable reason underlying the final extended family breakdown

Since my eldest younger brother died over 20 years ago, my mother who was then 70 years old became “sick” and needed someone to look after her. We decided that my 2nd younger brother should stay at home and look after my mum. It was not worth his while going to work for over 8 hours a day, spending money on traveling expenses and being paid a small monthly salary. Over a year ago, my 2nd younger brother died of a stroke so my younger sister (Tum) came to look after my mum. When I looked at my sister and mother through the close circuit camera, it seemed that my sister needed help looking after my mum. I was then retired and free so I came to help her look after my mum at the first house that I bought. I tried to make my sister feel that she was the boss in the house. I allowed her to buy whatever food she liked and enjoyed cooking and eating. This is to indirectly thank her for looking after our mum. I tried to make her feel that I was just there to help her. I paid for all the expenses in the house for my late 2nd brother, Tum and my mother’s expenses.

On the 3rd of March 2024, Tum got married and we agreed that she would spend 3 days with her husband and the rest of the week looking after my mum. Since retirement, I have been working as a freelance translator at home to continue to earn for my mum, my sister and my own expenses. I felt that I needed Tum to continue helping look after my mum and that I alone would not be able to do two things at the same time.

One day my mum said she could not breathe and wanted to go to the hospital. Tum talked her out of going to the hospital. My 93 year old mum had a very bad cold for about 2 weeks. On another occasion, a few days later, my mum was sitting and drinking some juice when she slowly fell backward. My niece (Ni) in Family B called in so I told her about the issue. Ni quickly arranged for my mum to go to the hospital. When Ni arrived at my house, my sister (Tum) went out to tell Ni that my mum does not need to go to the hospital. Ni was very angry and shouted at Tum (her aunty) saying “Just because you want to get married, you want a lot of people to be at your wedding so you don’t want grandma to go to the hospital. Are you not afraid that she may die? You are selfish, and only think of the dowery that you would get!”

Since then Tum refused to talk to Ni. Whenever Ni comes to see my mum (her grandma), Tum would either go out or go upstairs until Ni goes home.

Poom and Por (Family A) have been quarreling with Ni (Family B) for some time and they are not on speaking terms. They have been using Facebook to say bad words about each other for a while.

I have been talking to all of them and not siding with anybody. On my birthday this year, I made a loud wish in front of Family A and Tum who were in the small gathering, wishing that we are one family and not enemies.

Tum became arrogant to me after her wedding and “showed off” her “wealth” from the marriage. She paid for my niece in Family A’ s daughter’s school uniform and lent some small amount of money to Poom. Tum also bought working clothes for Por for a small amount of money.

Ni has been shouting at Poom for stealing my money whenever she comes to see grandma (my mum). Poom has asked me to explain why Ni had made such an accusation. I told Poom that I have already told her about the money that I lost, how much and when the money was stolen and by whom. I told Poom that I am not interested in what Ni said to her. Just my translation and looking after my mum are enough for me to worry about. Poom was probably not happy with my answer.

Tum was probably not happy that I did nothing about the bad words that Ni used on the Facebook about Tum.

On the 31st March, Ni and her father (my youngest brother) came to visit my mum. Por (from Family A) was also there. We discussed many things including the fact that I only talk to Tum when necessary because Tum does not listen to me and gets angry very easily. Tum was upstairs because Ni and her father came. Por suddenly said she needed to go out and ask Tum to buy some clothes for her. Tum and Por left my house.

Around six in the evening Tum, Poom, Wan (Poom’s 12 year-old daughter) and Por came back. Tum asked me angrily if she has not been doing a good job looking after our 93 year old mum. I said to her, I have never said that. I have always told everyone both in front of her and in her absence that she has been doing everything for mum and that I appreciated her dedication to mum. Tum said I better pay a nurse to look after mum, so I said OK if she pays for the expenses. I have too much on hand already. Tum said she has had enough and that she was leaving. I was angry by then so I said “I have been waiting for today for a long time!”. I have lost patience with Tum. Tum packed and left my mum who now needs oxygen support and tube feeding in my care. I was not so worried because I knew Wan could help.

Poom came to face me and shouted “Is this what you want?” by which I did not understand what she meant. My youngest brother (Ni’s father) told Poom to stop shouting at me and being disrespectful to me. After Tum left and after Wan tube fed my mum, Poom took Wan (her daughter) away. Before Wan left, I said to Wan if she leaves, and if grandma can't breathe because I do not know how to suck phlegm from her throat, and if grandma dies, it’s OK with her? Poom and Wan still left. I was then alone with my mum and a little afraid that I would not be able to do translation work, look after my mum and sleep when I needed it. Then I rang my youngest brother who has already left and gone to work. I told him that I was then alone with mum. He said not to worry, he, his wife and 9 year old daughter will come and help me.

Since then, I have decided not to let anyone into the house except for my youngest brother, his wife and daughters. Those who have left my mum when she is still sick and has just returned home after 2 hospital admissions can stay out of her and my life forever.

I now don’t need to worry about financially helping Family A when they need help.

I appreciate your willingness to help very much.

Pimporn
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Dera Ezeakolam wrote: April 1st, 2024, 2:44 am What are some effective strategies for reducing and eliminating debt to achieve financial freedom?

Hi, Dera Ezeakolam,

Thank you for your question! :D

My main simple piece of advice for anyone in debt is to read and follow the method explained in the book, Debt Cleanse by Jorge P. Newbery.

Jorge P. Newbery is one of my personal role models, and in that book, he explains the methods he used when he inadvertently got himself millions of dollars into debt.

Beyond that, I have a few tips in general that apply not just to people working their way out of debt but generally to anyone working toward any financial goal:

1. Drastically cut your spending. Most people who claim to have an income issue usually really have a spending issue. For the average person in debt, if their income was suddenly doubled, they would, in turn, double their spending and end up twice as much in debt. For this situation, the following mantra holds true: More money, more problems.

2. Create and stick to a sensible financial budget.

3. Do less better. This is a broad concept discussed in detail in my book that applies far beyond just the realm of finances, but it applies to finances as well. Despite the bad reputation that alleged laziness receives, in reality, I find that restlessness, addiction, and overdoing, not laziness, are the real troubles most people tend to have. Whether it is a shopaholic at the shopping mall, an alcoholic at the bar, or a gambling addict at the casino, most people would likely be much happier and healthier if they just sat at home doing nothing instead of doing whatever they would otherwise do. Perhaps that is the key value in meditating and practicing meditation, even just occasionally. It helps reveal the power and peace in simply doing nothing or at least coming as close as possible to doing nothing.

Most people who want to lose weight can't because they are too busy gaining weight. Most people who want to get out of debt can't because they are too busy spending even more money and digging themselves deeper into debt.

Thus, step one in many senses for many goals is simply to learn how to do nothing (or as my book says, to "do less better"): To not eat, to not spend, to not drink, and to be able to sit peacefully and do nothing. Even when cravings, urges, and bodily feelings like hunger, pain, fear, greed, and discomfort show up, let them pass by like clouds in the sky or a rainstorm.

Bruce Lee said, "Calm is a superpower." I agree, and likewise, I say, "There is incredible power in doing nothing."


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


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---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
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

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Rahul Singh 29 wrote: March 27th, 2024, 2:16 am What strategies have you found most effective in implementing new habits into your daily routine, and how do you prioritize which habits to focus on first?
Hi, Rahul Singh 29,

That question was already asked and answered earlier in the Q&A:

What are some good tips for building habits?

Moving forward, please do make sure to read all the previous Q&As before asking a new question to make sure the question hasn't already been asked and answered.


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. 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 Alida Spies »

Alida Spies wrote: April 1st, 2024, 4:35 am As a result of the choices I made, I am stuck with an enormous amount of debt. I'm receiving treatment for life-threatening diseases and various related factors influence what I can/can't do, how often I can do it, etc. I have very limited income. How do I get rid of the debt?
This probably requires some elaboration. I live in South Africa, hence some of the responses I've seen are not applicable. I've done what is possible within SA legislation to reduce interest and monthly installments and prevent legal action from creditors. I have a budget and have reduced or eliminated expenses as far as possible. Unfortunately, our income is still insufficient to cover it. I have always been the main breadwinner. I've explored various options to work from home, which is what I'm capable of doing at present but if there are genuine opportunities that don't require any investment out there, I haven't managed to uncover them amongst all the fake ads. I don't expect you to find me a job, but you may have ideas that I haven't thought of.

Thank you!
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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 »

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Hi, Pimporn Chandee1,


Thank you for your questions and follow-up! :D

Pimporn Chandee1 wrote: April 8th, 2024, 6:05 am She has been looking after my mum for over a year, with me helping while trying to make money to pay for all the expenses in the house, for my mum's medical care and for my sister's food.

[...]

We decided that my 2nd younger brother should stay at home and look after my mum. It was not worth his while going to work for over 8 hours a day, spending money on traveling expenses and being paid a small monthly salary. Over a year ago, my 2nd younger brother died of a stroke so my younger sister (Tum) came to look after my mum. When I looked at my sister and mother through the close circuit camera, it seemed that my sister needed help looking after my mum. I was then retired and free so I came to help her look after my mum at the first house that I bought. I tried to make my sister feel that she was the boss in the house. I allowed her to buy whatever food she liked and enjoyed cooking and eating. This is to indirectly thank her for looking after our mum. I tried to make her feel that I was just there to help her.
I say this with love, deep sympathy, and politeness: It seems like you have either (1) not read my book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All, or (2) are choosing to not follow the infinitely easy-to-follow advice in the book, namely the 11 numbered suggestions at the end, which are infinitely easy to follow.

May I ask which of those two things is the case?

For the rest of my answer, I will assume it's #1, since if you were so willfully and utterly disregarding the advice in my book, then you presumably wouldn't be here asking me for my advice. In other words, if you thought my advice was worthless, then you wouldn't be here asking for it. :)

In any case, I strongly advise you to immediately start doing your absolute best to avoid even thinking, let alone saying or writing, any of the six misery-inducing words, such as the dangerous and miserable words, 'try' and 'should'.

If you choose to use those words, you will almost certainly not have true happiness (a.k.a. free-spirited inner peace).

If one is unhappy and one is choosing to use words like 'try' and 'should', then we can confidently and truly say of that person that is choosing to be unhappy. In other words, they are choosing to not have inner peace and spiritual freedom. Instead, they are choosing to imagine an imaginary hell and imaginary roadblocks that then really torment and hinder them. As my book teaches, imaginary hells are just as torturous as real ones, and imaginary roadblocks are just as effective as real ones.



Pimporn Chandee1 wrote: April 8th, 2024, 6:05 am Tum became arrogant to me after her wedding and “showed off” her “wealth” from the marriage.

[...]

I told Poom that I am not interested in what Ni said to her. Just my translation and looking after my mum are enough for me to worry about. Poom was probably not happy with my answer.

Tum was probably not happy that I did nothing about the bad words that Ni used on the Facebook about Tum.

[...]

We discussed many things including the fact that I only talk to Tum when necessary because Tum does not listen to me and gets angry very easily.

Tum asked me angrily if she has not been doing a good job looking after our 93 year old mum. I said to her, I have never said that. I have always told everyone both in front of her and in her absence that she has been doing everything for mum and that I appreciated her dedication to mum. Tum said I better pay a nurse to look after mum, so I said OK if she pays for the expenses. I have too much on hand already. Tum said she has had enough and that she was leaving. I was angry by then so I said “I have been waiting for today for a long time!”. I have lost patience with Tum.

[...]

Poom came to face me and shouted “Is this what you want?” by which I did not understand what she meant. My youngest brother (Ni’s father) told Poom to stop shouting at me and being disrespectful to me. After Tum left and after Wan tube fed my mum, Poom took Wan (her daughter) away. Before Wan left, I said to Wan [...] if grandma dies, it’s OK with her?

[...]

Since then, I have decided not to let anyone into the house except for my youngest brother, his wife and daughters. Those who have left my mum when she is still sick and has just returned home after 2 hospital admissions can stay out of her and my life forever.

I now don’t need to worry about financially helping Family A when they need help.
I am speculating, but, from what you have written, it seems to me that, in the current primary conflict/issue with which you have asked me to advise you, you are absolutely not a neutral party, or even really aiming to be one. You are literally one of the two conflicting parties in the current primary conflict about which you have asked me. In other words, you aren't merely taking a side; you are one of the two sides. You can't not take a side because you are one of the sides. The conflict can't exist without you. You're doing the conflicting.

I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing or advising to end the conflict by choosing to not continue conflicting (nor am I advising you to continue conflicting). Conflict and even outright violent war or violent battles can be great things that I would recommend one do in certain situations. A major part of my teachings is to set and enforce healthy boundaries. One can't even really have, let alone enforce, a boundary if they are unwilling to engage in conflict, unwilling to battle, and/or unwilling to go to war. Being conflict-avoidant in a cowardly way and/or in a way that is unassertive (a.k.a. toxically passive) manifests as one either not setting or not enforcing boundaries, which is utterly inconsistent with my teachings. My teachings instruct one to be extremely assertive, essentially 100% assertive, while also being absolutely not at all aggressive (i.e. essentially 0% aggressive) and not being toxically passive at all (i.e. essentially 0% passive). Virtue isn't in the middle here; my teachings say to be an extremist on these matters, a concept explored in more detail in my piece, What Grace Means to Me.


Regardless, the relationships you've described to me sound terribly toxic. To even call this a "family" seems to me to be a very misleading misnomer. As best I can tell, these people aren't family per se, but rather they are enemies who either happen to be related by blood and/or happen to live together. In other words, they aren't family; they are angry resentful abusive enemies.

I don't think you are going to be able get these people to get along and be a real family no matter what you do. Instead, I think that this falls under the teachings in my book about dealing with that which you cannot control. Namely, my book firmly instructs you to fully and unconditionally accept what you cannot control, which in large and important part means that you absolutely never ever 'try' to control that which you cannot control and never ever 'try' to change what you know cannot change (e.g. the fact that this so-called family you've described doesn't get along and probably won't ever get along).

If over the next few weeks, my family (e.g. my siblings, parents, nieces, nephews, etc.) became even 1/5th as dysfunctional as the one you described to me, I would almost certainly cut off contact with all of them. However, you are not ready to mimic that action of mine, and likewise you are not ready to get or take any advice from me at this point beyond reading my book, strictly following the 11 suggestions at the end, and doing what you need to do to achieve total inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness) and invincible full-fledged spiritual freedom.

That's because, until you have true full-fledged invincible free-spirited inner peace, you won't be able to see the subtle and often externally imperceptible differences between things like:

(1) a secure happy introvert such as myself happily cutting off contact with a family member or old friend, or really sometimes the whole of all humanity for a bit

(2) aggressive or passive-aggressive uses of the silent treatment to manipulate or abuse, presumably in a desperate futile attempt to control that which you cannot truly control (e.g. abusively using the silent treatment to attempt to manipulate or bully your family into getting back together and getting along, or do the other things that you want them to do such as help you take care of your sick mother)

That's just one tiny example. Here are more:

Until you have have true full-fledged invincible free-spirited inner peace that my book will teach you to have, you won't be able to tell the difference between things like:

(1) secure happy free-spirited independence, happy aloneness, and/or happy introversion

(2) avoidant personality disorder

(3) narcissism and/or psychopathic aggressive abusive selfishness

(4) anxious attachment disorder and/or toxic passiveness and/or unhealthy extreme low self-esteem or even outright clinical depression


Until you have have true full-fledged invincible free-spirited inner peace that my book will teach you to have, you won't be able to tell the difference between things like:

(1) setting and enforcing healthy boundaries (which is crucial to ever developing and having healthy, stable, non-toxic, non-abusive relationships with other humans, especially with family, roommates, and romantic partners)

(2) dishonest manipulation and other abusive behavior typically done in a desperate attempt to control others and control what one cannot control instead of unconditionally accepting it as it is


Without the incredible clarity of free-spirited inner peace, you won't even see the difference between those things in practice. You might understand them conceptually above, but when it comes to a specific action, choice, behavior, or event in your own life (e.g. you choosing to not respond to a certain text message or you choosing to cut off contact with someone), you won't honestly know which categories from the above that choice of yours would fall under. Without the incredible clarity of free-spirited inner peace, you simply won't be able to see it.

For my teachings, it's not about whether you push people away or allow them in, for example, but rather it's about who you are pushing away or allowing in and most importantly why. It's really not even about the superficial how you are doing the pushing or whatnot, such as whether you use (1) literal violence, (2) persuasive words, (3) a no-contact strategy, (4) filing a motion or lawsuit in court, or (5) infinite other superficially different things you could do to push someone away or seek to lure or keep them in. It's not about that. No, it's really just a little about the who (e.g. a dangerous home intruder versus an invited guest) and most importantly about the why. Why that person? Why that how? Are you looking to control what you can't control? Are you being honest with yourself? Are you happy--truly happy in the sense of having free-spirited inner peace--while you do what you are doing? Those are the kinds of questions that would begin to reveal whether one is following the teachings of my book, not the superficial what or the superficial how. If someone says, "I punched a guy in the face yesterday; is that a violation of your teachings?", I'd say, "I can't know from that limited information. Why did you punch him? What goal were you aiming to accomplish by punching him? Who is he to you and why was he even in punching distance from you?" I'd have essentially the same pattern of answer if instead of "punched a guy in the face" the superficial what or superficial how was "blocked a guy on social media" or "decided to cut off contact with a guy" or "decided to kiss a guy". It doesn't really matter what was done superficially (e.g. a punch to the face versus a kiss on the lips), but why it was done to whom, and in what specific context or situation. Typically, we need to know the what, who, and the how to fully also know the why, but of those four things it's really only the why that directly matters in regard to whether that action was consistent with my teachings or not. Was it done with hate or with love? Was it done with brutal honesty or with lying and self-deception? Was it done with self-discipline (e.g. bravery) or out of spiritual slavery (e.g. cowardice)? Those are the kind of questions that will help us see whether the superficial thing that was done was consistent with my teachings. However, when choosing to do anything, whatever it is, typically the easiest and most informative question to ask oneself to know if one is acting consistently with my teachings is this: "Am I fully and unconditionally accepting that which I cannot control, with an acceptance so full and unconditional it warrants the word love?" In other shorter words: "Am I truly fully practicing the principle of Just Love Everything?" If your answer is anything but a confident honest yes to both of those questions, then you definitely aren't following my teachings. Otherwise, there is a good chance you are following my teachings, at least if you also have read my book and have set a concentrated intention to follow my teachings, namely all 11 of the infinitely easy-to follow numbered suggestions at the end.

I can only see the details of your life as you see them, since you are reporting them to me second-hand. If you lack the clarity of inner peace to see it, then I can't see it either. So, until you have the inner peace and spiritual freedom that my book will teach you to have, I can't advise you on what to do or say specifically to anyone or such, especially not at the superficial level of action (e.g. "kiss him" versus "punch him" etc.). Neither of us can see what's really going on in your situation until you have the clarity of inner peace and of spiritual freedom, and until you have the invincibly calm secure infinite bravery and incredible confidence that comes with that invincible unwavering inner peace. From that place of invincible inner peace, bravery, security, and confidence, you will have the clarity to see things in a way that you have never seen them before, which will be a much more accurate way to see them, and then you will be able to report those new sights to me as you then see them, so that I can then more accurately understand and see what's actually going on, without the distorting clouds and fogs of misery's illusions and comforting imaginary scapegoats. Then, if you do need or want my advice about the specifics of how to handle your specific situation, I can give it to you at that time, once you and I can see the situation as it actually is. Right now, neither of us can see the situation as it is. For either of us to see it requires you to first have the clarity that secure confident free-spirited inner peace provides.

For now, the only advice I can give you is as follows, and these are extremely important first steps that I strongly advise you to follow urgently:


(1) Read (or re-read) my book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.


(2) While reading, if you come across even a single sentence you don't think you understand, stop reading and post a verbatim quote of that sentence in the following topic:

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

Then talk it out with me one-on-one until you understand what I mean by that sentence, at which point you can continue reading the book.


(3) While reading, if you disagree with even a single sentence, stop reading, and post a verbatim quote of that sentence in the following topic:

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

Then talk it out with me one-on-one in the above forum topic until you agree with the sentence or I agree to change the sentence to something with which you do agree.


(4) Once you can confidently and honestly say that you have read the whole book, that you understand every sentence, and that you agree with everything in the book (i.e. that there is not even a single sentence in the book with which you disagree), then at that point put your focus on strictly and consistently following all 11 of the numbered suggestions at the end of the book. In other words, once you complete steps 1-3, then immediately begin to strictly follow all of the 11 suggestions every day, every hour, and every minute from that point forward.


(5) The four-point plan above will certainly result in you immediately having full-fledged inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness) and spiritual freedom. So, once you believe you have completed the above four-point plan, then as the fifth and final step, take some time to double-check with yourself with brutal honesty about whether you then have inner peace and spiritual freedom. If not, double-check with yourself with brutal honesty whether you have actually truly and honestly completed all four of the above steps fully. If you do have inner peace and spiritual freedom at that time and/or can honestly and confidently say you have been strictly following all of the 11 numbered suggestions at the end of the book, then please do come back and let me know the details of your current situation at that time, including any questions you have for me and anything about which you want me to advise you or offer suggestions.

Even if at that time the external world around you is the exact same, your newfound clarity will have made it appear to have drastically changed, like when you take off a pair of dirty colored sunglasses and thus see a very different image, not because the image changed but because your way of seeing did. Thus, likewise, the situation and question that is presented to me will be very different at that time, since I am also seeing your external situation through your eyes, since I am not there to see it first-hand.

Even if, at that later time, the external world around you that seems to objectively exist independent of you and outside of you right now is the exact same as it is now, your inner world will be so utterly different that your overall situation (meaning outside and inner combined) will thus be utterly different.

There is no true evil (a.k.a. should-not-have-ness), but, nonetheless, remember always: when you find yourself in the midst of a brutal seemingly devilish storm, it's infinitely easier and wiser to change yourself than to change the storm.

Happily endure with bravery, confidence, invincible inner peace, unbreakable spiritual security, and grace.

That kind of true unwavering happiness is not the mere so-called happiness in the conventional sense that is like the yin-yang-balanced fleeting emotional high that a drunk feels when putting the whiskey glass to their mouth. No, rather the 'true unwavering happiness' of which I speak of is something that is perhaps much more clearly labeled with words like "unwavering invincible inner peace" or "unwavering spiritual fulfillment" or even "nirvana", "enlightenment", "spiritual awakening", "becoming spiritually lucid in this dreamy world", "spiritual salvation", "being spiritually saved", or "finding grace".

It's not conventional happiness, but rather the so-called "true happiness" that surely Gandhi felt even while experiencing hunger pains on the 20th day of one of his 21-day fast.

It's the 'true happiness' that Martin Luther King Jr. felt while sitting in a cold uncomfortable jail cell one of the 29 times he was arrested.

It's the 'true happiness' that comes from the invincible freedom and sense of deep meaning found by concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl while his body suffered great pains and discomfort in a Nazi concentration camp.

That kind of 'true happiness' (a.k.a. free-spirited inner peace and invincible unwavering spiritual fulfillment) is typically discovered not despite but rather precisely because of great pains and discomforts in the body and precisely because of conventional tragedy and so-called terrible bad luck. It's more likely to be found by a concentration camp prisoner than a very comfortable comfort-addicted trust fund baby. It's more likely to be found at rock bottom than with literal smiles among friends at a comfortable bar. It's harder to find the invincible smile of the spirit when the body is literally smiling. It's easier to find this wonderful, amazing invincible so-called 'true happiness' when your human eyes are crying tears of conventional sadness and bodily pain.

As the Sufi proverb that is by no confidence quoted in my book goes, "When the body and ego weep for what they have lost, the spirit (i.e. the real you) rejoices for what it has found."



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



The all-accepting abyss will see and reveal the monster in you. Are you ready for that dark truth?
The all-accepting abyss will see and reveal the monster in you. Are you ready for that dark truth?



---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
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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Free Will, Do You Have It?

Free Will, Do You Have It?
by Albertus Kral
February 2022

My Enemy in Vietnam

My Enemy in Vietnam
by Billy Springer
March 2022

2X2 on the Ark

2X2 on the Ark
by Mary J Giuffra, PhD
April 2022

The Maestro Monologue

The Maestro Monologue
by Rob White
May 2022

What Makes America Great

What Makes America Great
by Bob Dowell
June 2022

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!

The Truth Is Beyond Belief!
by Jerry Durr
July 2022

Living in Color

Living in Color
by Mike Murphy
August 2022 (tentative)

The Not So Great American Novel

The Not So Great American Novel
by James E Doucette
September 2022

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches
by John N. (Jake) Ferris
October 2022

In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All

In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All
by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
November 2022

The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity

The Smartest Person in the Room
by Christian Espinosa
December 2022

2021 Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts
by Mark L. Wdowiak
September 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021