What’s Up With Self-Help? Part Three: Pulling the Old Bootstraps

two hands trying to pull up boots by laces

“Is it possible to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps? Try it. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.”

We’ve been talking about the issue of “self-help”. In this third installment, let’s look at the phrase, “You need to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.”

I have often heard this phrase… as well as the comment, “I’m a self-made individual. Everything I have – I worked for. No one gave me any handouts.” But is this really true? I went and literally tried to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and you know what? It doesn’t work. Now if I was to pull myself up while grasping onto a pull-up bar… well now that’s another story. It would seem, if you and I think about it, that in order for us to be able to pull ourselves up there must be something above us that we can hold onto. This just makes common sense.

What’s Up With Self-Help? Part One: Making True Decisions

“When you make a true decision, you select a course of action.  You cut yourself off from all other options and begin moving.” – Andrew Seltz

What comes to your mind when you hear the term “Self-Help”?  Perhaps you see an image of a well-dreesed, clean-cut individual who is very enthusiastic about life and has overcome tremendous obstacles… and now this person seems to have everything together.  Maybe you can hear the voices of “self-help” language: you have the power within you to create your world!  All you need is to harness the power of positive thinking!  Speak the right formula of words and you will have all of your dreams for success to come true!

Sometimes I don’t think very positive.  Sometimes I don’t say the “right” things.  There are times when I’ve felt completely overwhelmed by the facts of life… completely overcome by bad situations and circumstances… overpowered by bad personal habits.  What about you?  Have you ever felt like no matter what you did, you just couldn’t seem to get everything in your life together?

What’s Up With Self-Help? Part Two – 3 Questions of Ultimate Weight & Measure

There were 3 questions that were asked of me this past weekend at a leadership retreat.  Theses 3 questions blew me away and I believe, if answered honestly, they have the ability to begin to bring transformation to our lives.

What makes you happy?  What makes you sad?  What is your passion?

The setting for these questions was one of deep introspection, sitting across from another individual – holding their hands and looking into their eyes – the beginning of a level of intimacy that many of us may not feel comfortable with.  When posed with these questions, our first inclination may be to just give surface answers.  However, I believe that the first part of true growth is for us to be honest with ourselves – to be able to verbalize what we are truly feeling and thinking in our heart and mind.  Facades look great on television, in the movies and on theatre stages – but when the lights are turned off and the production is over – all that is left are empty shells.

A Barbarian’s Call!


 Cover Image“The Greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity.” – Erwin McManus, author of The Barbarian Way

What comes to your mind when you hear the term Barbarian?  Erwin McManus confronts those of us who have fallen into the seemingly sweet sleep of laxity and “niceness” with a re-imagined image of a person empowered by the Spirit of God, that harks back to a biblical view of what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. 

48 Days to Changing Your Life


 Cover ImageYou might as well give this book a subtitle: 48 Days to Change Your Life!  48 Days to the Work You Love (by Dan Miller) is a book that is about living from a focus on ”Being” rather than solely on the concentration of “Doing.”  Why 48 days instead of any other number?  Good question.  You’ll have to read the book for the answer!

In a society that places extreme interest on “doing” and “image”, 48 Days is a much welcomed and needed breath of fresh air.  The statistics are staggering of how many people work jobs that they hate, while the dreams that burn within them slowly die from smothered nonexpression.  Dan Miller does a wonderful job at looking at “Work” from a wholistic and historic perspective as well as bringing in practical measures for achieving success in our day to day working lives, whether it be a job, a career, or a vocation.

An EPIC Journey

 Cover Image“Things are not what they seem.  We are at war.  We each have a part to play.” – From the book EPIC, by John Eldredge

 John Eldredge is one of my favorite authors because he just seems to capture the deep desires that live within the heart of humanity… and brings them to the feet of the One with the deepest heart and the deepest dreams for all of us… God.  For everyone who feels as if their life is just a mundane happening of nothing extraordinary day in and day out – I would recommend you read this book.  The author and I concur with the belief that every human being on this planet longs to be a part of something greater than ourselves.  And I agree with the author when he begins to describe what the greater reality of our existence is made of.

Paulo Coelho Captures the Heart in his book: the Alchemist

     Cover ImagePaulo Coelho Captures the Heart in his book: The Alchemist
    A young boy with a dream… an adventure that is his to explore – along the way encountering mystery, foes, allies, obstacles and challenges that lend to the growth of greatness within him. Different lines of thought which weave into a marvelous story of increasing awe and wonder about our lives, the world, the universe and the God who created it all. In reading this book I discovered that I was not only this boy, but also parts of all the main and supporting characters who were at different stages in either discovering or denying their own Personal Legend. Coelho captured the yearning of my heart, which desires to deliberately take this journey through life, breaking through the barriers and becoming more than I perceive myself to be. An excellent literary work that everyone should read to gain insight into their own lives.