December 2017


An approach to challenges that is:
1) Action focused
2) Through performance of specific tasks
3) To achieve functional stability

Involves three important steps:
1) Review the information provided.
2) Reflection: this is constant and ongoing by the individual involves accumulation of information and reflecting how it is consistent with the results that they want.
3) Reinforce that direction and goals through repetition of appropriate task.

These steps are dynamic and not static, the results you want may change (see the chapter on change) from moment or over an extended period of time and so these steps may change as circumstance changes (hence the need for constant reflection).

It is ironic that the introduction is actually the last chapter that you write in any project but it makes sense actually - it is only after you have put things down in a manner that finally makes sense to you that you can write the chapter that hopefully helps make sense to everybody else.

It has been quite a journey trying to put down in words, concepts and tactics that I am very familiar with, but for me existed only in my mind I had come to know these things intuitively but did not have words for them - in my mind they are organized the way they need to be and make perfect sense. Articulating it in a manner that it would make sense to someone else has been a challenge and continues to be an evolving process - writing the books (My Handbook & Your Workbook) and creating the website are the first steps in trying to make what I have discovered, useful and understandable to someone else other than myself.

I tried to write the book the way I think and talk (trying to keep it authentic) but as one of my friends who read the draft copy pointed out they were frustrated by my lack of proper punctuation marks and grammatical structure! So I will not be submitting this for an English thesis but would simply point out that the manner in which it is written is deliberate and not accidental and as you start to look beyond the grammar you start to appreciate the subtleties inserted to help change your preconceptions and perceptions.

My son pointed out after reading the book (2 years after I had written) and applying the principles quite successfully that it may be found useful only by individuals who are seeking such an approach and stumble upon it and that for most people it may be difficult to understand or relate to. I appreciate his feedback and understand that this approach will not appeal to everyone my challenge is to make sure that this is not because of my inability to articulate these ideas and it is simply the individual’s choice to try something different.

The ‘hungry person at a buffet’ is an analogy I use to try understand how I can be a better facilitator. Earlier on in my medical career if a patient presented with a psychological challenge I started to think of how best to help them manage it or resolve it and I would often get frustrated by a lack of success with some patients. What I came to realize is that some people like to be hungry at a buffet - they will tell you how hungry they are but will completely refuse to realize that they are at a buffet and even when you succeed in making them see the buffet you still can’t make them eat. Not everyone is looking to resolve the challenges that they have even when they say they are.

This book unfortunately is not designed for a pre-contemplative individual or someone who is ambivalent about their need to do things differently. There are many useful books on the topic of motivation to change (Prochaska & diclemente 1983 are leading authorities on this) and I would advise that if you are pre-contemplative or unmotivated that you put the book down now and don’t waste your time!!

I have a lot of experience and expertise in counselling patients but often have difficulty in articulating this approach in a manner that resonates with individuals within a ‘thriving society’ (real life is not pretty and people who grow up here have been taught to expect and demand beauty)

If you throw a rope to someone who does not realize that they are drowning they would look at it and wonder why you are bothering them - this method resonates with someone in a survival reality or at least perceives a need to know more about surviving before they thrive.

If you find your self still reading despite my warning above then there is a good chance that you are more motivated than you think you are or belong to group that is actively looking for ways to get the results that they want. Indulge me while I make a case for why this approach is worth trying.

Perception is reality, it does not mean that everything we perceive is real however everything we perceive influences how we see and understand things. When my patients get sick they ask me how or why it happened? When you perceive yourself as healthy or when you perceive your environment as friendly that is the question you ask. The reality however is that we exist in a hostile environment (something is always trying to kill us - even our mother’s immune system would have disposed of us if we came to close) and the real question they should be asking when the become sick is why or how it has not happened until now. Dying is a lot easier than we think, living is the hard part. It is incumbent on anything that wants to exist to make every reasonable attempt to survive.

This is the method I have used to approach challenges (getting me from the unknown to a place of knowing) and though that does not guarantee that it will be useful to you I hope that by telling my story and sharing my challenges you would consider the possibility that it holds some of the answers that you seek.

The most important lesson I have learned is ‘Survive first and then thrive’

I introduce the idea of ‘Change’ as something you interact with and propose that this interaction can produce only two results :
1) The result you want or
2) The results that you don’t want (this includes results that you are indifferent to).

Becoming familiar and comfortable with the idea and process of change is an important first step.

If however this concept and my attempt to explain it are too abstract for you simply remember that anything you do can only result in two possible outcomes - the outcome that you want or the outcome that you don’t want - that is all that this chapter is trying to tell you.

Direction is within the context of the handbook is best defined as where an individual is headed at any point in time, it is not where they are facing or think that they are headed but determined by the alignment of their, thoughts, verbalized word and actions as outlined in visualize. I have proposed that the primary direction should always be “survive first and then thrive”.

All you need from this chapter is that you have to do the things that keep you alive (survive) before you can do the things that make you better (thrive).


There are billions of sperm cells that will start the flight

Swimming through a very hostile canal of birth
And as it starts to separate the strong from the weak
Yours will meet up with the egg that awaits at the end

When it all started only those two cells bear your name
Tell me is thinking even possible without a brain?
And yet you hurried out of the fallopian tube all the same
Knowing to implant yourself or be tossed down the drain

You replicate quickly and you instinctively know
That dying is easy but surviving is very hard
And all this could end with one bad nucleic strand
You are like a cellular ninja that keeps hanging around

You spent nine months in water but only five minutes to breathe air
All these things you accomplished long before you knew fear
Amazing awareness though you do not have conscious self
First cry was on your birthday to announce that you are here

In the very early hours you are still blind and quite deaf
And yet instinctively you reach for your mother’s milk.
Armed with bodily systems that will help you adapt
To the ups and downs that you don’t know but lay in your path

You maintain your focus and you continue to grow
Sixty seconds to sixty minutes, twenty-four hours to the next day
You continue to evolve, you change and you continue to learn.
Seven days to the next week and fifty-two weeks to the next year

At every stage of this new existence you have been met
By many, many, countless perils littering your path
Despite what sometimes seemed like unsurmountable odds
You are still around,
you have won the lottery, the lottery of your life

At last comes consciousness, you say why, how and who
Everyday you discover something new that helps define you
And now so many questions about things you should do
You soon find so many questions but the answers are few

Now so many people seem to have more things than you
Now that your brain is working I sometimes hear you say

How you are so very tired of losing at work and at play
And you no longer look forward to a brand new day

So my dear “alive” loser who continues to win
Enjoy the gift of whining that you give to yourself
For your sense of losing is the fruit of winning
And remember all the sperm cells and eggs that didn’t make it here.


The sting of rejection is never easy, but at those times when due to reasons beyond your control an individual or group have chosen to exclude you, it is important to understand that these reasons have more to do with them than with you - your duty is to have presented yourself as best as you could and if there is any lesson to be learned in rejection is how to represent yourself better keeping in mind that what may be viewed as a huge liability in one circumstance may be seen as an extraordinary asset in another setting. It is important to process the impact of the rejection at your own pace allowing yourself to understand that what happens next is always up to you. Rejection can be a “crusher” or it can be a “motivator” - the catalyst that pushes you in the direction that you should have been headed in the first place and what triggers a train reaction that leads to success - what happens next is aways up to you.


I will be my own best friend
When I do not feel like hearing myself
I will find a way to listen
When I do not feel like seeing myself
I will find a way to look
When I do not feel I love myself
I will find a way to care
When I do not feel that I deserve
I will find a way to give
When I feel that no one is there
I will be my own best friend