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Being You

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Being You is about reaching your highest potential through authentic living. It helps you to exercise your own choices and feel and act with confidence and effectiveness in every situation-to be free of fear and doubt, to have a life filled with meaning, success, and well-being.

This is the freedom to live according to your unique needs, personality, purpose, and values; to be accepted unconditionally for who and what you are; to feel all life's pain as well as its joys; to live...

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Being You: How to Live Authentically: Unlocking the Power of the Freedom Code and Incorporating the Philosophy of Adaptive Freedom

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Overview

Being You is about reaching your highest potential through authentic living. It helps you to exercise your own choices and feel and act with confidence and effectiveness in every situation-to be free of fear and doubt, to have a life filled with meaning, success, and well-being.

This is the freedom to live according to your unique needs, personality, purpose, and values; to be accepted unconditionally for who and what you are; to feel all life's pain as well as its joys; to live from the heart-trusting your inner nature and your experience of the world-and to accept responsibility for all your actions.

The philosophy of Adaptive Freedom, outlined in the book, shows that the ability to adapt and grow is the essence of personal freedom, which is the core of authenticity. You need to be adaptive to be free, and both make it easier to become truly authentic.

The power to change and realize the life of your highest imaginings lies in the Freedom Code-a set of seven practice pillars-offering a liberation path to self-fulfillment, a code to unlock the greatness that lies within. The seven pillars create new ways to guide you through knowledge to self-awareness and purposeful action. They offer a systematic and holistic framework to help you lead a meaningful, successful, happy, and authentic life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452537818
  • Publisher: Balboa Press
  • Publication date: 1/5/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Being You: How to Live Authentically

Unlocking the Power of the Freedom Code and Incorporating the Philosophy of Adaptive Freedom
By Gerard Doyle

BALBOA PRESS

Copyright © 2012 Gerard Doyle
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4525-3781-8


Chapter One

The Call of an Authentic Life

It is a paradoxical fact of modern life that despite unprecedented accomplishment, apparent happiness and more wealth than the world has ever known (despite recent economic setbacks) many people feel a sense of emptiness or unease deep within themselves. The pursuit of success, happiness, wealth, love and satiation isn't enough. There is a profound need to place the challenges of living within a more fulfilling and meaningful context.

We are conditioned to look for and accept easy solutions to the problems we face. The media and advertising in particular promise that if you buy this or that product you will get an emotional reward. But life is more complicated than these simple solutions suggest. It seems that when we get what we want we always want more.

Consumerism drives us on to buy things we don't need, because we will buy the necessities anyway. We are encouraged to associate products with attractive personal qualities such as beauty, success, status, taste and satisfaction. The aim is to help us feel good which feeds our desire for pleasure. Feeling good is now an end in itself rather than a by product of pursuing a superior goal. Feeling good about ourselves has become almost a 'fundamental right.'

In contemporary culture identity often comes from the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, the people you espouse as celebrities, and the teams you cheer for. For too long we have been living on the basis that affluence was all that mattered: "Rich people have it all, if we all get rich, or richer, we'll all be happy." But now the bubble has burst and the cold winds of economic hardship are everywhere.

This is a real shock to a society that has been conditioned to believe in the god of consumerism. We have been encouraged to work longer and harder so we could buy more things, but now we are faced with the hollowness of that idea.

The spectre of unemployment or the loss of economic independence for so many is not just a personal financial crisis, but a potential long- Term life altering situation. With economic insecurity comes a range of challenges all of which are linked to meaning, self-worth, and self-identity. How can we fulfil our true potential when we find it difficult to match our experience of life as it is today with our hopes and basic values?

Many struggle to cope with life's pressures and turn to alcohol, drugs, gambling, overeating, sex, and all forms of obsessive behavior to alleviate the stress. Many feel their lives are out of control because they can't lose weight, or can't make a decision, or can't catch-up, or are consumed by anger, burdened by debt or caught in unproductive or damaging relationships; or perhaps can't find that special someone to form a relationship with. Others are numb to their own existence—busy working, buying, doing, and accumulating. They have an increased need to escape and insulate themselves from life.

People feel lost and unsure about the future, unable to establish a clear and consistent life-plan. For those in successful careers there is renewed uncertainty not only about the future but of the worth and meaningfulness of the career they have chosen. Others question their faith, community or family ties and constantly ask whether they are being "true" to themselves.

For many, regardless of their economic circumstances, there is an inexplicable unease or longing, a barely perceptible feeling of something missing, of not feeling complete. In others it is the experience of a lack of satisfactory human relationships in the midst of a highly technological, fast-paced, mobile society. And sadly for too many it is the pain of alienation and loneliness, a lack of human understanding and warmth.

The age-old questions of the human condition still seek answers: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Who will accompany me? How am I going to get there? The longing for meaning, purpose and fulfillment in life is as intense as at any time in human history.

Most people begin to seek their authentic self because they feel that something is missing in their lives. They have some gaps that they need to fill. At some level their lives are fl awed or imperfect—they want more from life. This "more" varies from person to person. However, particular needs seem to be linked to our stage in life or what we call our Lifetimes.

Over the period of your life you have five 'life-times':

1. Playing Time: 0-17 years (carefree, full of fun, life is mostly play).

2. Getting Time: 18-30 years (getting qualified, getting jobs, getting married).

3. Giving Time: 31-50 years (rearing kids, working, investing, striving).

4. Being Time: 51-70 years (thinking, taking stock, life-changing).

5. Taking Time: 71+ years (retiring, relaxing, reflecting).

As we move through these lifetimes we come to way-points which challenge us. These are wake-up calls to find our own truths and start living authentically. Adaptive Freedom is helpful for people throughout all these stages.

In the later stages of the Playing Time and early part of the Giving Time young people examine what they would like to do with their lives, what they want from life and how they plan to go about it. But this is usually a secondary consideration at a time when carefree enjoyment of life is paramount.

In the later stages of the Getting Time people start questioning what life is all about. Their confidence in previous life choices may be wavering and issues linked to purpose and definitions of success and happiness become important as they experience challenges in relationships and marriage.

Much of the Giving Time is spent is service to others, especially in nurturing the young to help them create a successful life. In the later stages of the Giving Time people may have a sense that in all the giving they have lost sight of their own life—that time is starting to run out and their earlier life-goals may be unfulfilled. Their career, relationships and lifestyle may not be up to their original life-plan so they begin to either redouble their efforts or change course or perhaps do both.

The transition from the Giving Time to the Being Time is often described as the "midlife crisis"—a period of instability, anxiety and change. During this period people tend to review past choices and think about their final years. Awareness of death is usually a feature of this period as is a sense that despite accomplishment life seems to lack meaning.

For men this can often mean appraising their career in a new light and coming to terms with their past, facing reality perhaps for the first time and examining what wealth truly means. For women this can be a time of discovering their personal identity beyond the partner-wife-mother roles, and seeking self-reliance and independence.

The good news is that your circumstances, environment and conditioning have brought you to the place you are, but the choices you make now can bring you to a new and better place. Experience changes the physical structure of the brain. And since you can chose the kinds of learning experiences you have, you actually have power to affect the structure of your own brain, and life, both for good and for ill. All that is necessary is to exercise that choice—to choose to live a free and authentic life.

However logical it may appear this is undoubtedly not as simple as it seems. If it were there would be hardly any need for a book like this. The call to authentic living is a challenging one because it essentially means to believe in yourself and you may find this too risky. It may be easier and safer to be like others—part of the crowd, or to be what others have consistently told you that you are, to conform to the "you" that gets the approval you crave.

To answer the call of authentic living is risky because it means stepping out, standing up, and saying no, when most of your life up to this may have involved stepping aside, standing down, and saying yes even when your inner spirit wanted to do otherwise.

You may have become conditioned to stay quiet rather than speak out through the harsh lessons life has taught you. Nothing ventured nothing lost. The safe thing is not to venture beyond the comfort zone you have created for yourself.

We find it easy to deceive ourselves. Despite its obvious shortcomings we are good at convincing ourselves that our life is good, that we are living to the limits of our potential and see no need for change. But perhaps we haven't counted those little bits of passion, intensity of feeling or flights of fancy that we have lost along the way. We may be secure, settled, sincere, satisfied and that may amount to a deep sense of a fulfilled life (in which case it is authentic) or it may amount to a barely perceptible sense of loss, unease, anguish or anxiety (in which case it is a stagnant life).

The Challenge of Authentic Living

All ideals of humanity and all the concepts that describe the essential nature of the human person derive from social interaction. They gain general acceptance and become part of our own worldview because of their roots in social, political, religious and cultural history and tradition.

The problem is that in unsettled times these ideals become blurred. In our time the situation is compounded by the seismic shift created by the breakdown in trust and respect for the traditional sources of wisdom and leadership.

The values, solutions and vision for the future of society offered by many of the traditional social, political and religious sources seem to many people to be dated and lacking in credibility. Humankind needs the highest vision of personality, and needs it clearly and vividly. Without it the foundations of our social structures—personal responsibility and accountability—will be hard to sustain.

The most lasting impression on our ideals is always made by leaders and teachers who embody their idealism in the actions of their lives not just in their rhetoric; leaders who are models of their own beliefs. Regrettably they are now hard to find.

The challenge then for each of us is to embark on a personal journey of establishing what it means for us to live an authentic life. We must be responsible for our own life rather than responsive to what others say our life should be. Rather than lament the passing of stern leadership and the imposition of ethical standards from on high we can see this era as the next stage in the maturation of humanity. We are no longer children or adolescents but have come into adulthood and must now shape our world with the tools of reason and intuition, science and tradition.

This requires clarifying and testing our personal values in the fire of our lived experience; coming to terms with our personal power and defining what it means to achieve success and wellbeing in life. We are called to face the challenge of simultaneously living our life and exercising our freedom and power in accordance with those values.

We have become accustomed to taking our values and ideals much like our breakfast cereal—out of a box. The box is that of culture and tradition, family and tribe and nowadays the social conditioning peddled by a voracious media under the guise of 'public opinion.'

The surrender of so many leaders to the alleged primacy of public opinion has been a central feature in the collapse of credible leadership at all levels in society. To be authentic is to have a belief, a position, a view and then to stand-up for that view until convinced by others that it is misguided or there is a better alternative.

The challenge for a free and authentic person is to create your own vision or ideal of what a modern, valuable and authentic society might be, and be willing to stand-up for it. And in the process, not to be unduly swayed by what the media present to you as 'truth.'

This is no easy task. If for instance, you hear that politicians are responding to public anger over some issue or that a certain percentage of people in a poll believed 'X'; you may well be subliminally influenced to take those ideas on board. It is even possible that you will accept them as truth, or take them for granted and so in time build up a range of data sets that can quickly morph into beliefs and even values.

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard had a dislike for public opinion and was suspicious of the media. This was surprising in his day (he died in 1855) when the media was a bare glimpse of what it is today. He famously coined the phrase "the crowd is untruth." The crowd meaning public opinion in its broadest sense or "the ideas that a given age takes for granted; the ordinary and accepted way of doing things; the complacent attitude that comes from the conformity necessary for social life."

In Kierkegaard's view public opinion insinuates itself into your own sense of who you are, relieving you of the burden of being yourself. In his words: "If everyone is a Christian there is no need for me to "become" one."

The choices presented to you in social life and by public opinion are unsure and not always credible. This forces you to look for answers in the experience and action of your own life as lived, with all its baggage and beauty.

You won't, nor should you, jettison the values imbued from your family and friends, your religious and cultural background (even if you are no longer committed to either), your education and professional formation or your past experience.

Rather than looking to them to establish a value or meaning which speaks authentically to your life today, look instead directly at yourself to create a life that is authentic on the basis of your actions and interactions with others. Such a life will be grounded in awareness and reflection not in social conditioning. It will be committed to being responsible for, and accepting the consequences of your actions.

An authentic life is unique to the person who lives it. Your authenticity is your own. That authenticity may be inextricably and exclusively linked to your religious observance or belief in the will of God, or your adherence to norms established by social, cultural or political authorities. In either case these are valid choices only if you make them freely and out of a sense of commitment rather than conformity.

Perhaps you don't have a belief in God, or you did but no longer do, or you may now doubt the wisdom of the authorities you once trusted. In which case all you have left is yourself and your friends, and mentors. You must look then to yourself to shape your own unique authentic life. This process may be informed by many sources but it is shaped by you and you are more than adequate for the task.

The call of an authentic life is the manifestation of the natural drive towards individual maturity and harmony with the whole of humankind. It creates its own dynamic and doesn't wait meekly for you to get on with the job. If you delay, the frustrated natural urge towards fulfillment may surface in an inner sense of unease or dissatisfaction with the state of your life.

The psychological term "daimonic" was described by the psychiatrist Rollo May as the elemental force within us which contains an irrepressible urge not only to survive but to thrive. It is the dynamic unrest that forces us into the unknown, leading either to self-destruction or self-discovery. He described this power of nature as capable of both positive and negative outcomes, and as a naturally occurring human impulse or urge within everyone to affirm, assert and achieve their highest potential.

This inner urge can arise out of a personal crisis or trauma, a psychological illness, or simply neurotic or unpredictable behavior or an aching desire to find meaning and purpose in your life. It is a 'calling' however well disguised, to become your authentic self and it can be nurtured and supported, directed and channelled. Therefore, to set-out on this journey is hardly optional. In fact it's imperative, urgent and critical to your wellbeing.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Being You: How to Live Authentically by Gerard Doyle Copyright © 2012 by Gerard Doyle. Excerpted by permission of BALBOA PRESS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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