David Masters

David Masters is a writer and blogger who believes in bringing soul to everything he does. He writes about social media with soul at Social Caffeine. You can (and should) follow him on Twitter.

Has the Self-Help Industry Sold Us a Pup?

self-help

English folklore tells of an old swindle. A peasant goes to market to buy his family a piglet. Piglets are much cheaper than adult pigs, and they can be fed on scraps. Once grown and fattened, they are slaughtered to provide a source of food for the whole family through the lean winter months.

The peasant has saved every spare penny to buy this piglet. And when he gets to the market, he notices an extra special deal. There’s a trader selling piglets, already put into sacks, at a discount. With the money he saves from what the thought the piglet would cost, the peasant can buy himself a beer or two on his journey home.

Dizzy on beer, he’s in a jolly mood the whole walk home. In his hut, he opens the sack, his whole family gathered around to see this piglet, a small animal they will put all their hope in to help them survive the winter months. The sack wiggles, the peasant shakes it, laughing with glee. That is, until the piglet emerges. It’s not a piglet. It’s a scrawny little dog.

self-help

You Can’t Be Anything If You Put Your Mind To It

be anything

I feel a little stupid, because it’s taken me nearly thirty years to realize a simple truth. I’ll never be a Major League Baseball player, a Premier League footballer, or an Olympic swimmer. Call me glum, sour, or bitter, but those are the facts.

No matter how much I put my mind to it, no matter how much I conceive and believe, no matter if I had the stubborn will power of a donkey, no matter if I put in my 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, it’s not happening. To believe otherwise wouldn’t make me a go-getter. It would make me delusional. Not all seven billion of the earth’s inhabitants can be elected President of the USA. Not all of the world’s hundreds of millions of blogs can be in the Technorati top 100. Not all of the USA’s 315 million citizens will join the ranks of its 424 billionaires (unless the dollar becomes severely devalued). That’s not doom-saying. It’s simple math.

be anything

Looking For Answers? I’m As Clueless As You Are

looking for answers

I didn’t know what I was doing when, as a child, I begged my parents for a dog. Yet I found myself, 12 years old, with a puppy. I had to get up every morning at a time I’d never before heard of to clean up its mess. I had to go out in the wind and rain and winter-chill to take it for a walk, day after day after day.

Today, I own another dog, and I still don’t exactly know what I’m doing. Sometimes she sits when I ask her to. Sometimes she gives me a look, “so you think you can tell me what to do, huh?” and wanders off to sniff the flowers.

looking for answers

You Are Drunk and this is the Edge of the Roof

edge of the roof

I’m going to share a skill that a child can learn in just a few minutes. But even though it’s a very simple to learn, it takes a lifetime to master. First, a story.

I’m usually a light sleeper. But a few months ago, in the middle of the night, my wife had to shake me awake. “David, I’m scared,” she said. “What’s happened now?” I asked. For the past three nights we’d been kept awake by our neighbour, Kendrick*. He’d been banging the walls with what sounded like a hammer. He’d been having a midnight bonfire in his garden, burning furniture that he threw out of the window. He’d been playing booming music. And he’d been wandering the streets outside our house with a large knife in his hand. Kendrick was a drug addict, and we’d been having a merry time of it.

edge of the roof

Your Passion Is Closer Than You Think

passion

Once you’ve discovered your passion (so we are told) your life will become drenched in meaning and purpose. When you know what your life is about, you can face each morning with energy and vigour. You’ll no longer procrastinate. All your bad habits will fall away. Not even rainy days or Mondays will get you down.

So we are told.

For a long time, I believed my passion would strike me in a moment of inspiration, like a bolt of lightening. My passion would descend from the heavens in a blaze of glory, and I would suddenly know the purpose of my life. A booming Hollywood trailer voiceover would tell me exactly what I should be doing and when. From that moment, my life would have meaning and my problems would disappear.

passion
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