Tag Archives: Self-Improvement

Project: Jack Collier

I you try you risk failure, if you don’t you ensure it.

In order to truly become a better man I’ve had to fall back on some of my past strengths and abilities.  Back in the day, I was paid stupid amounts of money to invent, develop, organise, and run major projects ~ ergo I’ve decided that I should treat my becoming the better man as a project.  Think about it, it sort of makes good sense.

It is less about becoming a better person, and more of being better, as a person.  ~  J.R. Rim

This self-improvement, and self-development project would seem to have the following elements;

  • Embrace change to avoid slipping back into my old, negative patterns of behaviour.
  • Have more confidence and self-reliance in my own innate abilities.
  • I should always speak up for myself, and always speak the truth, strive to communicate well with others, especially with those I care for.
  • Keep my close relationships in focus, neither neglect the people I care about, nor have unrealistic expectations of them.
  • Conversely, have increasingly ambitious expectations of myself, and what I will be able to achieve.
  • Get some balance and stability into my life ~ and I may need a lot of help with this.
  • Remain grounded, balanced, and in control of my thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • Be in touch with the Universe and accepting of the realities in every area of my life
  • Develop the endurance to plan and successfully achieve long term wants, needs, goals, desires, dreams, and ambitions.
  • Get fitter and healthier so that I have the controlled energy to make the fullest success of Project: Jack Collier.

Written down like that it seems I have a lot to work to do, and I’m certain that if I thought harder I could add more bullet points to that list.  But, 10 difficult things to work on is more than enough for now.

My Life is changing day to day, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in quite scary ways.  I need to find my path forward, and be the captain, master, and director of my own life.

It’s not about taking control of my life in the sense that I am trying to control everything and everyone around me, it’s about me deciding what it is that I really want, and then striving with everything I have to get it.  I I really want something, I should let nothing stand in my way.  My life is a reflection of my choices, and how I use my strengths and abilities to achieve success.

The goal of life purpose is not what you will create, but what it will make you into for creating it.  ~  Shannon L. Alder.

Some say that success is getting what you want.  And that happiness is wanting what you get.  All I know is that my strength will not come from winning, my strength will be the result of trying very hard.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

parasailing was so far outside of my comfort zone that I didn’t try it

I should have

 

Confessions and Mistakes

How many bad decisions seemed like a good idea at the time?

Over the years I’ve made some really bad decisions.  From time to time I got angry and subsequently did some reprehensible things I now regret.   I have reacted with nasty spite when I should have stayed calm, and I’ve felt resentful for no good reason, which usually turned me into a dangerous Mr. Hyde or a rabid black dog.

And when he was good he was very, very good,  but when he was bad he was horrid.  ~  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Not every time things went badly pear-shaped was my fault.  Not every person I’ve hurt was an innocent bystander.  Some of the people I’ve had uncharitable thoughts about actually deserved my condemnation.  And there have been some people I wouldn’t cross the road to spit on.  But, and here’s the thing, all the time I was an angry, judgemental, resentful, dangerous bastard person, I was still suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, and / or, Bipolar Disorder.  I was always afraid, and I was always running away.

Add the whole lot together, all the anger, resentments, mental illness, and it’s not surprising that I used to be hypercritical, lacking in understanding, and totally unwilling to accept anyone who didn’t measure up to my warped standards.  It’s not surprising that from time to time I could hurt the ones I love.  Sometimes the only things I was good at was causing pain and heartache.

It only takes one word to hurt a woman, a matter of seconds, one stupid, impatient sting of the whip.  But winning back her trust takes years.  And sometimes there isn’t the time.  ~  Nina George

I have actually made a list of all the people I believe I have hurt over the years, (that’s the difficult step 8 in 12 step programmes), and thought about the what, why, when, how, where, and if of making amends to those people.  Of my original list I’ve crossed off some names, because I’m not a saint, so I’m not making amends to everyone I’ve wronged.  And, I’ve underlined some other names, of women I really do need to make immediate, meaningful, and lasting amends to.  (my Goddess Aphrodite and The Girl Riding Shotgun spring to mind.)  But as the quote from Nina George says, sometimes rebuilding trusting relationships takes years.

I have spoken in haste too often, spoken from negative and dark emotions too often, and been thoughtless too often.  But, the recent paradigm shift that I experienced from being way outside of my comfort zone for a week should mean that I don’t make those enraged mistakes again.

Some say there is no such thing as a mistake or a bad decision.  And that the consequences of a really bad decision are a learning opportunity.  All I know is that if I go off the rails there is going to be a painful disaster, and someone will get hurt ~usually including me.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Nobody likes to be with a dangerous jerk.

Be that guy, and be alone in the dark.

Empowerment

Don’t be satisfied with how things once were, unfold a new story.

In the last few days a great deal has changed for me.  Circumstances of my own choosing forced me well outside of my comfort zone, and made me escape a prison of my own making.  And coming down the pike like a runaway a great deal of transition is heading right for me.

It is time for me to embrace a life path that is more true to who I am, and the grounded, enlightened, successful man I want to be.  Now is the hour for me to grow in courage and mental strength ~ no longer allowing my doubts and fears to undermine my dreams, desires, hopes, and plans for the future.  Now is the time for me to be who I truly am deep inside.

You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can  stand in your way.  ~  Richard Bach

That means ridding myself of the emotional burdens of the past.  It means ceasing to be reckless with the feelings of others.  Ceasing to be negligent when it comes to accepting, cherishing, nurturing, understanding, and supporting those I care for.  And it means embracing harmony, strength, and fortitude.  All the mistakes I made in the past are now just learning tools for the future.  Each time I fell off the rails and turned into Mr. Hyde are salutary lessons and cautionary tales ~ reminding me that those dark places and negative feelings are to be avoided and not encouraged.

Hard work bears fruit, and the near future will be bright for me and those I care for as a result of my hard work in the past paying off.  I have tried so hard to be the best version of me that I could possibly become, that I have earned the right to enjoy life now that I can finally see the results of my efforts.  My ‘new’ personality, attitudes, demeanour, heart , and soul means that I can express myself with greater clarity, confidence, and strength today and into the future.

My core values, the things that really matter to me, are what I will live by today, tomorrow, and in each and every day to come.  I need to spend some time in walking meditation to reflect more seriously on my ethics and ethos, to truly identify what I am willing to tolerate, and what I will just not accept.  It is so ingrained in the habits of most people, (myself included), to put everyone else’s needs first, and then forget to take care of themselves.  Yet if we don’t take care of our own needs, our physical, mental, and spiritual health, we cannot grow nor prosper nor be truly happy.  Today and into the future I will take care of myself first, and then nurture and support those I care for to the very best of my abilities.

Un-winged and naked, sorrow surrenders its crown to a throne called grace.  ~  Aberjhani.

Some say I am worthy of a life full of friends, loving connections, enlightenment, and spiritual empowerment.  And that there will be a new love in my life, either platonic or romantic.  All I know is that I am not just going to sit back and wait for things to happen ~ the cosmos does not roll out a red carpet for anyone.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

A new day has come.

Songs Saturday ~ Tom Petty

This above all; to thine own self be true.

Something I re-learned this week.  Your comfort zone is nothing but a prison of your own making.  And that when we allow parents, family, friends, coworkers, or those in authority to rule our lives we are just adding another set of bars to our own prison.

Be yourself, turn up for life, and don’t back down.

Please listen responsibly.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Englishmen say ‘sorry’ as often as Americans say “have a nice day”  ~  and both are meaningless

Nothing Lasts Forever

Great things never came from comfort zones.

Just another day and I’m back in the garret where my psyche tells me I belong.  Not anymore I don’t.  I need to change and the picture of York Railway Station is a metaphor.  To get to anywhere by train I have to change at York ~ in rail journey terms York is the fulcrum.

Some of you may recall that I have been trying to change for years; to grow, to become the better man, to walk the warrior’s path…..  and I’ve had some limited success.  No that’s wrong, I’ve had a lot of success.  I’ve gone from being a celibate recluse, stuck in the garret and afraid to go out, to a chap who has just completed a course of swimming lessons ready for my solo vacation in Crete in a couple of weeks time.

It seems that my fulcrum has been shown me by those self-same swimming lessons ~ the whole thing was utterly outside my comfort zone, and I mean a long, long way outside my comfort zone.  And you know what?  Our comfort zones are not a place of safety, they are a prison.

Have the courage to leave our self-imposed prison and great things start to happen.

What I know now, (what I always really knew), is that I have to accept life as it comes, live in the moment, enjoy whatever the moment brings, open my eyes, and welcome surprise.  Stop cowering in the corner, and stop living a life where today will be pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow will be pretty much like today.  Life goes on, but from now on my life will be filled with adventure and good things.

IF I continue on a wiser, kinder, more mindful, more courageous, more self-loving path, I know that I will be able to embrace the results of all the hard work I’ve put in over the past few years, and discover the truth of my Life.  I know that things WILL improve, even from this good place I am in right now.  And, not in years, or even many months, but in the coming days and weeks.  Things will get even better for me far sooner than my comfort-zone loving heart might expect.

But I have to stay focused and believe in myself, because sitting back in my comfort zone and waiting for the Cosmos to roll out the red carpet just doesn’t work.  Trust me, I know.

We have free will.  We need to use it and leave our self-imposed prisons.  We are the Masters of our Own Fate, we need to accept that, get out of our comfort zone, and live life, even if that means making mistakes.

Some say that all the changes we try to make for ourselves are bad.  And, that we should do as we are told, do what’s expected of us, never question authority, always respect the wishes of our family, and stay in our comfort zone.  All I know is that leaving my comfort zone far behind me is the fulcrum of my Life.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

this is a long way outside of my comfort zone, but the next time I go to Turkey I will be up there

A short break in Wales

Or, how not to drown.

Not so very long ago, during a solo vacation in Turkey, I very nearly drowned in the Mediterranean.

These are my co-vacationers in Turkey- who didn’t almost drown.

As I’m going to Crete in a couple of weeks I thought I should do something about my non-swimmer status, (for all practical intents and purposes).  So casting around on the internet I found Sarah Kentish, ( http://www.swimwithsarah.co.uk/   sarah.kentish@btinternet.com ) who could give me some intensive, 1 to 1 swimming instruction, before my vacation in Crete.  And believe you me, finding some proper swimming instruction in the narrow time-window I had available was nothing short of miraculous.

Sarah said that she could teach me how not to drown every time I went in the water, and she was going to be teaching in the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno. And so, I booked a series of lessons and sent off my payment.  Snag was, I had no real idea where Llandudno is, other than it’s a seaside resort.

Llandudno is in Wales, and about 250 miles from where I live….. which doesn’t sound so bad.  Except I was travelling by train.  The journey there took six-and-a-half hours and involved 5 different trains.  (The journey home from Llandudno was not as bad.)

Still, I got there to find that the Imperial Hotel is a Magnificent Victorian Edifice.  My room was nice, the pool in the basement was nice, and Sarah was nice.  Under Sarah’s instruction, in 5 x 40 minute sessions I went from being effectively a non-swimmer to a chap who was more than just ok in the water.

Other than just how much I needed proper swimming instruction, the most surprising thing about this trip was that the main dining room at the Imperial Hotel is world-class.  They serve the most sublime food in elegant surroundings, (posh frock and expensive shoes elegant).  How they can have a world-class dining room in Llandudno is beyond me.

The downsides were; the trip cost a small fortune, the weather was dreary, and Llandudno by rail from my place may as well be on the dark side of the moon.

Llandudno is a pretty smart place, but it seems to attract the elderly more than cute girls in small bikinis.  On the other hand there is a hell of a lot more to do in that Welsh seaside resort than you’d think.  The Imperial Hotel is fairly pricey, but mostly worth it.  Individual, 1 to 1 swimming instruction is also fairly pricey, but very, very worth it.  It might save my life one day.

And, that’s why I took a short break in Wales.

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

The pool at the Imperial Hotel

Llandudno

Llandudno isn’t pronounced anything like you’d think.

But I like it here.

I like the Imperial Hotel too, it’s like going back in time 100 years or more, and it’s very smart.

I had my first swimming lesson here today ☺☺☺☺☺

And now I’m totally exhausted.

I’ll tell you more when I’m not using a tablet to post with.

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Where I had my very first swimming lesson ever.

Sex, Love, and Heartache

Wherever I go, I always find that special person who is so wrong for me.

In the world’s largest financial centres, I spent most of my career making a hell of a lot of money by exploiting my knowledge of people and what makes them tick.  In London, Paris, New York, and Chicago I learned to read people, and know what they really want, need, and desire.  My skill was in matching the things I could do with what my clients thought they wanted.  And, for a long while, I was the acknowledged world expert in my field of esoteric banking.  But, really, my success was all due to the way I could use my interpersonal skills.

If I am so skilled at the art of interpersonal relationships, how come I can get it so wrong with women?  Some of the time I am forceful, passionate, prideful, self-indulgent, sensual, lustful, and too warm towards women who possess grace, beauty, and charm.  If I am very attracted to a woman I can be far too liberal with my affection, compassion, time, love, and money.  I tend to do a little too much by way of extravagances, and luxuries.  Maybe I send flowers too often.  And, as you would expect, sometimes these women take everything I can give without the slightest show of gratitude, appreciation, or affection in return.

A fool and his money are soon parted, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart.  ~  Thomas Tusser

Obviously I am not doing the right things, in the right way, at the right time, with the right person.  There isn’t the right balance, or sense of equilibrium.  And there’s the rub ~ we don’t choose who we fall in love with.

Something tells me that self-confidence, strength, and passion are a heady mixture which is not always under my control ~ I often let my emotions run away with me, and this can only lead to loneliness and heartache.

My past has been marred by decisions I made that have left me feeling disappointed and bitter.  It’s important for me to remember that I am accountable for my decisions.  What I need to do is reflect on those past choices in a frank and healthy way, without looking at the past through rose-coloured glasses, or sugar coating the choices I made in error.  I have made many bad choices, which then turned out very differently from the way I had hoped.

At times this has caused me much pain, worry, wasted time, and wasted money.  Perhaps I fool myself that I always tried to do my best, and that I always had good intentions at heart ~ but I don’t think so.  I did my best with the cards Life dealt me, but somehow things always took unexpected turns.

There may have been doubts in my heart which I ignored.  I was careless, and not always honest with myself.  I have often acted impulsively, with utter disregard for the consequences.  I have had the feeling of being utterly out of my depth, and I usually pressed on regardless.

Some say that we can only learn by our own mistakes.  And, that we don’t fail by falling down, we fail by  staying down.  All I know is that I’ve made some bloody painful mistakes.

If there’s nothing much about sex in the paragraphs I’ve written above ~ that’s because usually there hasn’t been any.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Exactly the sort of woman I should have never been involved with.  Great legs do not necessarily a nice person make.

 

So, now I need counselling.

Never look to another to tell you who you really are.

A friend of mine has said that I need some form of mental health / spiritual counselling ~ suggesting to me that she thinks there’s something seriously wrong with the way I feel, think, act, and react to events and people.  I guess she believes that I don’t feel, think, act, or react in ways that she likes when it comes to my friendship with her.

I thought about this a lot and very seriously.  I am fully aware that I don’t follow normal rules of behaviour, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and I also know there are, (at least), a couple of reasons for this.

Something happened to me deep in my early childhood, so far back that I don’t know exactly what happened to me when I was maybe 3 years old.  But whatever happened had a very profound effect on me, sufficient to change my personality for my whole life.  It’s complicated, but various mental-health types have said a couple of things; #1 I don’t have bipolar disorder, and #2 I may have had borderline personality disorder, but if I had I’ve recovered.  Well, that’s helpful….. or not. The practical upshot of whatever happened when I was a young child is that I will not willingly accept advice, criticism, or chastisement.  So what?  That just puts me in line with 99% of the rest of the crazy people on this planet.

The second reason I don’t follow normal rules of behaviour is because I’m better than that. I’m enlightened, truthful, open, ethical, grounded, and fucking smart.  And to be honest, with the exception of the people who follow me on this blog, that makes me a better man than anyone any of us is likely to meet in an average day.

So, I thought about this very carefully when it came to finding a therapist / counsellor / spiritual adviser….. and decided that wasn’t going to happen.

I’ve spent the greater part of the past 2, 3, or maybe 4 years trying to walk the warrior’s path.  Trying to find out who I am, who I was, and who I wish to be.  And now, after years of effort, I’m finally beginning to see some light.

It may just be a candle in a hurricane of hellish darkness, but that small light is me.

The little boy may have become a broken man, with a broken spirit and broken dreams, but today I can hold on and today I’m feeling strong.  I know who I am, and I’m not a shadow or the man in the mirror anymore.

No over-qualified, well-intentioned, mental health wazzock is going to be given my permission to dip their dirty fingers into my soul.  There is no chance of me attending therapy / counselling / psychotherapy.  Not now, not next year, not ever.

It turns out that I know who I am, and I like who I am.  And, those that don’t can fuck off.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and please don’t keep in touch.

Some say that humility is the true key to success.  And, that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  All I know is that I’ve tried humility and therapy, and all I got was insanity.

I have a new plan of action concerning my supposed need for counselling.  I am happy to take no action whatsoever.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Marmaduke is as sick of misplaced and unwanted advice as I am.

Wisdom and Courage

Knowledge, intuition, and self-confidence aren’t always enough.

Yesterday I reacted very badly to what I felt was negative criticism, from a very close friend, of some posts I had recently written.  I took the critical comments from my friend both personally and probably more negatively than she meant to sound.  And yet, looking back, I still feel that her comments about my blog were a thinly veiled attack on me, which was really about something else entirely, something else I had done.  It would be nice to know what…..

Yesterday, I broke two of my own rules;

Rule #9  Trust in your own opinions, but always be prepared to listen to the other person’s point of view.

and

Rule #10  Be accepting, understanding, and compassionate.

It’s all very well my not liking what people do or say, but I should have the wisdom and courage to accept and understand that her thoughts and opinions are not my thoughts and opinions.  I should be able to rise above the shit that life and other people throw at me from time to time.  I should not be dragged down into the mire by other people.  I should make a better choice than to feel so hurt and distressed by the things others may say to me.

If a man is going to let his spirit truly fly then he needs the self-confidence to spread his wings.  Sometimes a man also needs wisdom to make better decisions and wiser choices if he is going to realise his potential and manifest his true destiny.  If he is going to walk the warrior’s path to spiritual prosperity and inner peace, then a man needs to walk that path without scepticism, fear, or self-doubt.

I know that things do not get better overnight, that this is going to be a step by step, iterative process, and that to make positive changes in my life I first of all have to show up for life and actually have the courage to make some changes.  Not every choice I make is going to be a good choice, but a golden rule is that if things aren’t working out, then do something else instead.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  ~Einstein

I also have some new tools to help me; I am learning the power of truth, mindfulness, self-care, meditative affirmations and mandalas.  I know that I need to show more gratitude and care through my actions for those who matter most to me ~ including myself.   I know I need to listen to the guidance of those who care for me because they can show me the path I need to take.  I know that I shouldn’t listen when others are attacking me out of their own personal inadequacies.

There needs to be new challenges, new rituals, and new guidelines in my life.  I need to ask a lot of myself, and of those close to me, but I need to be patient, mindful, and caring too.

To make wise choices I need to consider the past, the present, the future, and look at potentialities with some wisdom and reasonableness.  What I need to lose is anger, bitterness, judgementalism, and paranoia.

I have made some changes, and taken some decisions.  I’ve joined a different gym, and I’m going there and exercising regularly.  I’m going to the pool regularly.  I walk everywhere, I’ve changed my diet, and I’m getting better rest and sleep.  I am going to travel more, I’ve just got back from Turkey, and in a little while I’m going to Crete.  After that, well if you can’t find me, I’m on vacation.

Some say that there are wonderful, warm, loving, powerful, indulgent, and courageous energies in the universe.  And, that all men seek and desire; love, happiness, grace, beauty, charm, and pleasure.  All that I know is that I have to act quickly to find my true life path.

The Best is yet to come ~ I may have seen the sun but I’ve never seen it shine, and now it’s raining in my heart.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

the road is long, and mostly lonely

 

 

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