To my sons

I may be far from a perfect father, but a few of things I have grown certain of and wish to permanently remind you of, are these:

The first is that I love you and I intend on spending the rest of my life ensuring that the only stumbling block to you feeling that love is the limitations you put on allowing me to express it. I honestly believe that if I can persuade you to exercise and commit to mastering the concepts in this book, I could offer you no greater gift in this life. For this reason I am speaking more to the adult versions of yourselves, when you’re mature enough to consider these things seriously and earnestly implement them. Perhaps when you are approaching the stages of life I am now in, you will begin to appreciate these things a little more than you currently would, as the handsome little rebels you are now.

The second is that this world is genuinely brimming with truly amazing people, infinite opportunities, countless resources, immeasurably fulfilling experiences, and is just seriously flooded with good. I confess to not always being able to see and appreciate it, but I can honestly say that I’ve had the genuine privilege of being able to see and realise such things so many times that my doubt no longer returns during the times that my vision is lacking. There is always far more good going on around you than you realise.

The third is that if you, my sons, don’t quickly become capable of filtering through the noise and clearly differentiating between the valuable and the valueless, the helpful and the hurtful, the good and the bad, you will far too easily slide right into countless, hollow distractions and never-ending merry-go-rounds of confused voices where you can far too easily spend the rest of your life lost and fighting for air sufficient to even momentarily glimpse the too short-lived good you once knew. There are countless people walking around you every single day, living what I can only describe as comatose lives and anybody who doesn’t regularly admit it and fight it, will slip into the same dying state.

Each and every day, the world gets a little more complicated, a little smaller, a little more connected and whether we want to be or not, we become that much more exposed to everything: The good, the bad and the ugly. Unfortunately our most prominent exposure tends to be guided by whoever is yelling at us the loudest and if that’s not the bad you can bet it’s the ugly because both aren’t just dying for your attention, they’re actually dying. They will scream at you, feeding off your attention in an effort to validate their very existence, all while the good things in life can and will quietly carry on without you. The good are full of life and despite definitely wanting you to join in, and being far better off when you do, at the end of the day they don’t need you in order to carry on.

The reality that everyone in this world expects you to become a ‘successful man’ in this world will quickly reveal itself to you, especially as you move into adulthood. However, with all of the aforementioned voices constantly screaming (and scream they most certainly do, to the point it can feel impossible escape) you’ll also quickly discover that the majority of people in this world will struggle to define success without regurgitating the noise of the screamers. Despite the obviously flawed materialistic themes identified from what most will offer up by default, digging below the surface there still remains limitless interpretations of what success means. Furthermore, as comical as it may seem to say, a growing reality is that more and more people are even becoming confused about what a ‘man’ is. Each day it’s easier than the last to drown in the confusion where one can actually wade endlessly, wasting the entirety of their life, experiencing far too few of life’s soul-expanding gifts.

I obviously want you to avoid unnecessary pain. Don’t expect to avoid pain altogether because it plays an essential part in the best stuff life has to offer but you definitely don’t need to go piling up any extra doses for yourself. As for the necessary pain, learn to embrace it, letting it change you into a better, more capable being. To help you decipher between the two, I desire to offer you ‘the lens of edification’. Of all the viewpoints you can take in life, all the voices you’ll hear, all the interpretations you’ll consider, I honestly believe that prioritising this filter, this concept, this viewpoint, will prove to be one of your life’s most valuable advantages. With that in mind I desire to use this book to expand upon the concept for you as well as every son in this world, inviting everyone but specifically you, to commit to pursuing edifying success.

I don’t know everything. The knowledge I do have is forever evolving. Some things I say may not quite be right or perhaps even altogether wrong in some instances. I have however tried extremely hard to refine the truth within each idea so as to present it as best I honestly can. Despite having honestly had seriously soul-changing experiences and being left with doubt-less conviction to the reality and helpfulness of some of these things, each and every one of these concepts are still things that I have only really begun to discover. I’ll never be able to say I know it all, only that these are those that I have found so far. No truth, including what’s discussed here, belongs to me. They weren’t made by me. I didn’t create them. I found them and as I continue to search and experiment with these things I am further enabled to clarify them over time as the lens of my experience provides additional consideration and focal clarity. Forgive my failings. Look through them, beyond them, to that which outlives me. That which is true.

In a very real sense, you connecting to truth itself is even more important to me than your connection to me. It will serve you better than I could, being swamped by my own imperfections, biases and failings, truth will outlive me, outserve me. I love you and of course I want you to love me, but much more than that, I want you to love truth. Correct my work, improve upon it, fix my errors and pass on something better, something even more refined, to your sons. If you take this invitation seriously, compiling and presenting your own truth, your own guide to your loved ones, I suspect it too will equate to one of your life’s greatest offerings, one of your most meaningful experiences, one of your most edifying successes.

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