Believe it or not, you all have one emotional need in common. Sounds extreme for you to be linked with both the hatefulness of Hitler and pure love of Mother Teresa, right?
Of course, but it does highlight the fact that within the human spirit lies unfathomable hate and selfless love. I believe these traits are within us all; the horrors of the 20th century reveal I'm not exaggerating the darkness that envelopes the human condition.
Yet, without this need human kind would not have flourished, it's also the downfall of many a great man too.
And that need is … DESIRE.
Think for a moment. Is there anything you undertake that isn't fuelled by desire? Even the most selfless acts in life foster the desire to be a good person.
Over the past year I've given a lot of time and study to this one topic. And, in my latest fictional book Code of the Conqueror – The Journey, I have introduced how becoming awake to The Six Great Desires of life can propel your happiness and sense of wellbeing or, lead to a life spiralling out of control.
Unfortunately, our desires represent an inner conflict that will never be won. There is no end. The same is true of everyone you encounter too.
But these internal desires must be tamed and understood to achieve a fulfilled life. This is the starting point of my Code of the Conqueror. Without these essential lessons you will forever falter in your quest, to both find and master your true self.
In my opinion desires are the true drivers that emotionally charge our lives and must be the first subject to be handled if you're serious about improving any aspect of your life.
There comes a time in life when you must confront your inner voices or be forever at their mercy. That time is now.
The Six Great Desires
Obviously, the following six desires do not represent every single desire known to man, but I do feel they're the starting point to reflect upon your past choices and future needs.
Within each desire there will always be a light and dark side, a yin and yang, you could say. This simply illustrates how we all choose to emotionalise our desires. Yes, it is a choice, like everything else that happens in your life, it's down to you.
No one has ever craved less power, they may wish for less responsibility but not at the sake of power. We must also remain vigilant of how others try to manipulate us. From the media, to our family and friends. Power resides in even the most unassuming circumstances. Stay observant.
Without action there is nothing. We must desire some form of action or life is pointless. But the desire for action without giving clear thought to its outcome can soon lead to self-destruction.
To be loved and to love is the greatest need of mankind. But far too often we become too agreeable and allow ourselves to be treated wrongly, simply to keep the peace. When we desire good relationships, yet put up with bullying, fakeness and narrow-mindedness, we are heading for a stormy landing. Too often we settle for less than we deserve.
No one knows everything. Submerged in our own importance, we can often see no further than the end of our nose. Only through proper knowledge and training can we open ourselves to the perspectives and wisdom of those who have gone before us. We must continually improve our minds.
Times of lust do not last long, they pass quickly. Nothing in this world can be long enjoyed, yet the harm will stay within. If you are diligent and loving, you may do whatever you wish, but a life out of balance can quickly manifest itself into pure lust and continue forever. Most ignore the lesson.
Have you ever desired less energy? I guess you haven't. No one ever has. After all, energy is the life force of man. There has never been a true leader of men who has lacked energy—at least not in the beginning of their rise to power. The problems stem from excessive energy and overly optimistic attitude, which leads to reaching further and further down a rabbit hole. For what? Many never know, but energy creates momentum which must be tamed, as with all desires.
Even Conquerors need to sparkle.
Those who know me well enough, know I love an acronym; for me I find it easier to recall and use time and time again. And, to complete the framework for DESIRES, within the Code of the Conqueror, I have added Self-Mastery, without it you do not stand a chance of becoming the person you wish to be.
Through Code of the Conqueror - The Journey, I echo many of the teachings of the Buddha, and he valued the notion of ridding ourselves of all desires. Which if you are in a mountain retreat away from civilisation, then maybe many desires can be lessened through meditation and solitude. For us mere mortals though, desire represents a double-edged sword, that will always present it's self in one form or another.
But I feel there is one paragraph from the teachings of the Buddha we should end with, and that is, 'Man's own mind lures him into evil ways, not his enemy or friend. The one who protects his mind from jealousy, greed, anger and infatuation, is the one who enjoys real and lasting peace.'
Until next time, stay true to you and choose your desires wisely.
Writer, dreamer and ragged trousered entrepreneur.
To Hell With King & Country - As seen through the eye's of a Tommy.
To hell with King & country, As storm clouds loom and loom.
Just carry on as normal, so the powers boom.
Yet, off we go to fight, so young and raw.
Thus, begun my story of the Great War.
To hell with King & country,
Ain't done nothing for me.
Cousins of cousins argue,
They aren't my family.
To hell with King and country.
Home of the brave and free.
Assembling guns, humping bags,
Digging trenches and poncing fags.
To hell with King & country.
Let'em live beside me.
Through burning eyes, comes the first attack.
Shells bursting all around, yet stoically we hold'em back.
To hell with King & country.
How can I let my faith see?
In Flanders mud I tried my best.
Where now, my battered body rests.
We died for king and country.
Why? Who knows completely.
But, they said in war victory lies.
Whilst ignoring sixteen million goodbyes.
By Mark Weeks
Here's a little peak at the opening of lesson six from Mark's latest book, Code of the Conqueror - The Journey. We hope you enjoy it:)
'Your energy will not last forever.
The time will come soon enough for you to take your last breath.
And when the time does arrive, be not like those whose
hearts are filled with dread and fear.'
~ Yelu Bao-Zhi
'You have never conquered anything before,' Fear said scornfully.
'So, it will never be done in the future.'
'You are far too brash,' bellowed Anger. 'There are names for those such as yourself.'
'Maybe.' I said calmly.
'The place for those with your upbringing must always remain the same, otherwise—'
'I lived my life long before you all entered it!'
'You were young and reckless back then. You didn't know what you were doing,' Reason added knowingly.
'Maybe, but I've never lost my child's heart.'
Sniggering to themselves, Fear, Anger and Reason turn to Father Time, who raises a mirror to my face.
'Look!' Shouted Reason. 'So, you think you are still young? Your time has come and gone, you didn't make the most of your life. You are closer to death than birth you fool.'
Anxiety appeared from nowhere and pointed to the dark looming clouds. 'Now there's a storm coming, and you cannot withstand its ferocity. You know in your heart how your story ends.'
'Yes, I do,' I whisper. 'I am the storm.'
I awoke suddenly in a cold sweat. I'd never had such a vivid dream before and trembled slightly from the adrenaline rush. Was it really me confronting my negative emotions, or was it a character of my imagination?
Daylight filtered through the gap in the ill-fitted curtains and I looked over to Zhi, who still lay asleep. I quickly checked the time and saw we had both overslept. I would have to speak later of my dream.
Those that know me well enough know I love a holiday and spend my fair share of time in airports. And, being an avid bibliophile, or to some, book hoarder, I love browsing the airport bookshops. But, my past few trips have left me disappointed, so I started playing a 'what if' game to myself.
What if, I could write a book that inspires men to become better versions of themselves? What if, I could write a book that teaches as much as it delights? What if, I could become a best-selling author at the ripe old age of 51? What if, an old bricklayer could do a better job than most internet 'gurus' in encouraging others to dare to dream. (As you can see, I can keep myself amused for hours!:))
So, one warm January morning in the Maldives, where else is there to be in January! I set about composing the outline of The Code of the Conqueror. This quickly formed into Book 1 - The Journey. From there, I stumbled along, gained some positive feedback and hit the inevitable plateaus. Then, I finally finished and the editing started! And, then the re-writing started!!
But, I got there in the end. I have so much admiration for those who write 400-500 page novels. So now what? Now the 'what if's' kick in, there's plenty of marketing to do, and much to learn. But, I'm happy to have got this far and have a book I can take on holiday, one that contains nuggets of wisdom for every day life and, little known historical facts of the Mongolian Empire.
Though I do have one burning question, 'what if' you click the link below and preview Code of the Conqueror - The Journey on Amazon, and found you love it as much as me?
' Everything has been thought of before.
But the difficulty is to think of it again.'
I'm a firm believer everyone returns to their own truth … eventually. We all have the ability to live in a world of self-denial, to carry on as much as every other day, in our predictable lives. Maybe your fine with the same old thing day in day out, and making it safely to death will suit you fine, so you say!
Having just completed the first book in the Code of the Conqueror series - titled The Journey I have delved far deeper in my own psyche and though uncomfortable as it was, I have slowly came to the realisation I am returning to the man I once was. And, though I can dress my fictional characters in a variety of pleasant and unpleasant characteristics, there are tell-tale signs to my perspective and philosophy of life.
For years I tried my best to live my life dictated by others whims, in the hope of keeping the peace. And, being an agreeable type of guy, too agreeable in fact, time started to erode my dreams and desires. So what, you might question, that's what life does to us all. No. It's not what life has to do. The essence of life is to live it to the best of your ability and be the best person you can be for you, period. You have to be kind to yourself before you can be kind to others. You have to have the gumption to stand naked in front of the mirror and not despise yourself. As imperfect as you maybe today, you have to have the courage to move forward and set small goals.
We all have it within us to be better people tomorrow than we were today. The problem is, we are our worst critics and not our best friends. So, change you must:). And, the good news is, everything has been said and done a million times before, but as Goethe said many moons ago, the difficulty is to think of it again!
Don't overcomplicate your life, there are enough marketers out there trying to dictate what you should be doing and buying as it is. Listen to yourself, history leaves clues. And, the history of one man is the history of all.
Return to your own truth, whilst you still have time.
Journey of a Conqueror ~ Poem
Never return, never return.
Never return to the haunts of your youth.
Keep to the path, remain stern,
Even memory distorts the truth.
Never return, never return,
Never succumb to their tireless glare.
Keep to the track, always learn,
They will never meet you there.
Never return, never return,
Claim your destiny.
Cross the bridges, let them burn,
Now let your faith see.
Never return, never return,
Never become your glorious past.
Keep to your path, never adjourn,
Treat every day as your last.
Never return, never return,
Now tame your heart’s desires.
Lest they burn,
Extinguish the damned fires.
Never fall into the lion’s lair.
Keep firm, remain stern,
Your life beckons, if you dare.
By Mark Weeks
Inspired by the works of Felix Dennis 1947 – 2014
English publisher, poet, spoken-word performer and philanthropist.
Journey of a Conqueror is an excerpt from Mark's new fictional self-help book, available on Amazon very soon.
After months of toiling away, indecision and sometimes doubting my creativity, I've reached the point where I can stick my head above the parapet and reveal my latest book.
It's fair to say I lost my mojo for a long, long time; with personal issues at the forefront. But, I persevered and believed I could create something which can inspire others to keep moving forward in their journey through this sometimes chaotic and troubled world. After all, the history of one man, is the history of all!
I hope you enjoy this sneek preview. And, your feedback will be much appreciated
Code of the Conqueror
A 21st Century Crusade for Self-Mastery
First Published In Great Britain 2018 by Azuni Book World Ltd ©
Copyright © Mark Weeks All rights reserved 2018
The Journey introduces you to the hapless Alex and the ideology behind Code of the Conqueror, my complete guide to personal transformation.
With inspiring ancient maxims, proverbs and aphorisms, this book provides wisdom and practical advice for everyday life. It conveys the human condition through the eyes of desire and tackles the unending complexity of change, happiness, suffering and loss. This book also offers direction on learning how to cope with anger, fear and love.
Encompassing a work of fiction, it combines both Eastern & Western self-leadership philosophies - including the teachings of Genghis Khans chief adviser, Yelu Chucai.
~ Preface ~
There comes a time in life when you must confront your inner voices
or be forever at their mercy. That time is now.
Whether you shall turn out to be the conqueror of your own life, or relinquish your power to another, the following pages must surely show. I already know they will amplify your inner world for better or for worse. You must confront your own personal truths. Sure, they can be delayed or ignored for a while, but eventually all will be revealed to you. You can't run away from your inner being forever. Wherever you go, you will still be there.
Allow me, Alex, to explain how I have become an authority on confronting those dreaded inner voices.
In the nine months leading to the publication of this book, an extraordinary series of events took place in my life, which finally shook me out of my self-imposed lethargy. It began while I was trekking the Great Wall of China, alongside a unit of Royal Marines, during which, I had a chance encounter. The adventures that followed transformed my life and, revealed my inner truths in all their naked glory. Being a stubborn son of a bitch, I fought against the inevitable but eventually, I began to take stock of my life and have somehow turned myself around. Believe me, it feels good.
Many of us reach critical points in our lives when our mental strength is tested to its limit, leaving us with little hope and a life spiralling out of control. Be it through toxic relationships, dead end jobs or the grief of losing a loved one. Sometimes, dare I say, we can't even tell what sent us on a downward spiral in the first place. Yet life conspires to keep us shut in, confines us, buries us alive, and seems to place a barrier between us and others.
Could it simply be our imagination's macabre sense of humour? Do we simply accept that life will always be this way? What can free us from such captivity?
Before my chance encounter on the Great Wall, one of the wonders of the world, I didn't know any of the answers and, to be truthful, I still don't have them all figured out, but I'm making continual progress to live a better life and, in the process to help others do the same. Before my personal transformation, I alienated so many good friends and loved ones, out of anger, lust, selfishness and pure greed. I felt there had to be a turning point, but damned if I could find it. Oscar Wilde noted, 'Each man kills the thing he loves,' and I feel this is pitifully true.
Before my trek to China, I had been struggling to establish myself as a self-help copy writer, I knew deep down I could help others overcome their fears and free themselves mentally. But there I was the most tortured soul of all.
Maybe it's the mere possibility of getting what we have desired for years that fills the human spirit with guilt and dread, the feeling that says, 'Why should you succeed, when others work harder, yet have less to show for their efforts.’ But I had this and a head full of other excuses to explain my lack of success.
My fits of depression, frustration and anger finally led to the failure of my marriage. I hadn’t spoken to my father for three years too, but he died of cancer, before I had the opportunity to make amends. It was too late; we always were both stubborn.
I refused help from anyone and simply shut myself away in my solitary home office.
I turned to my work with a vengeance, accepted copywriting jobs by the dozen and drove myself hard. Surviving on pastries, cigarettes and espressos during the day, with a heady mix of brandy most nights; convinced it helped with my creativity. But at fifty-three when was enough, enough? My ex-wife’s accusatory words would return to goad me, ‘When are you going to get a ‘proper job’?’
My overly aggressive approach to life and endurance to work though never waned. But I had begun piling on the pounds and my cute laughter lines from the past were in hysterics. My doctor warned of impending heart problems if I didn't cut out smoking, drinking and sedentary lifestyle. It wasn’t a wake-up call, in fact, I didn’t care one way or another.
Around this time an old friend finally persuaded me to join him on a charity walk. He sold it to me by saying we will do it in memory of those we had lost of cancer. With my weight ballooning and my social skills down the toilet, my friend didn’t take long to shame me into it, and I agreed to at least make the attempt. After all, what did I have to lose, but a few kilos of blubber?
As I said, the decision became the turning point of my life. Through the empowering lessons that follow, I was finally able to accept that everything in my life was fuelled by one thing only - my desires.
The same is true for you, and everyone you encounter for that matter. It's an inner conflict that will never be won. But to achieve a fulfilled life these internal desires must be tamed and understood. This is the starting point of the Code of the Conqueror. Without these essential lessons you will forever falter in your quest to find and master your true self.
I've heard it said before that no amount of reasoning is going to help a person see the way he does not want to see. But whatever challenges you face you must see things from a different perspective, and then take decisive action. There is no other way if you truly want a better life.
Let's move on, I have much to share with you -
Can you imagine getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise whilst the rest of the world sleeps? This is how I have felt every day since my adventure, and it all began with Zhi, the most annoying man I’ve ever met.
'I was like a sleeping man when you came to me.
I was sitting in sadness aforetime and you roused me.'
~ Genghis Khan 1.
A soft warm breeze encircled the crumbling watchtower carrying the feint scent of pine mixed with the fragrant smoke of the morning camp fires. As I looked out from the tower I felt calmer than I had in months.
To my right lay Beijing and a little further the Yellow Sea. And, to the left the ever-mesmerising snake like wall climbing towards the faded horizon, embedded within lush forests and verdant valleys; a few still holding the morning mist in their grasp, so easily the scene of camouflaged forces ready to lay siege to this fantasy land.
As I allowed the stillness of the morning to soak into me I can vividly recall the first words the old man had spoken. I was trying in vain to read in peace and become aware of him watching over me. At the time I had no idea how his thoughts would impact on my existence.
'Words are a thing of beauty,' he said. 'Each is like a magical powder that, when combined with other words, create powerful potions, transforming even the most stubborn minds with imaginations that know no bounds. Yet, so many people choose to ignore such wisdom, continuing to live their lives in the grey twilight which knows neither victory, or defeat.'
As intrusive as the stranger was, he had unknowingly stirred my imagination and also my greatest passion - the power of words. I didn’t wish to be rude and simply smiled, making brief eye contact before I returned to my book, searching for my last sentence. The old man eased himself down onto the rock beside me and without taking the slightest hint from my body language continued talking in broken English.
'Your body and mind must advance as one unit my friend,' he stated.
'What?' I asked rather more abruptly than intended.
'You too tense, you not focused.'
'That may have something to do with you jabbering on and irritating the hell out of me. Why don't you get lost and annoy someone else? Camp breaks in fifteen and we won't stop for two hours, give me a friggin rest.'
Without saying another word, he lifted himself up with the aid of his cane and slowly walked away. Feeling irritated I continued reading, grateful for what I saw as some well-deserved quiet time.
Maybe it's true, the teachers of our lives only become so when the pupil is ready to listen. And, at that moment in time I was far from ready. But now, ten days after our first encounter and in a sombre, more reflective mood, I undid the buckle on my worn brown satchel. Took out my notebook containing the old man’s words of wisdom, and read randomly where the page fell open.
''Some people may snatch a secret from the depths of their hearts and souls that will drive them to find their true selves. But most will continue to wonder… wish… and dream. And then one day will awaken with a shock to find themselves standing in the same spot where they had dreamed as young men and women. Only now, they have lost sight of their dreams and will wonder why life has come to be.''
I’d scribbled notes frantically over the previous week, in an attempt to absorb the teachings of the old man. Yes, I had been given a second opportunity, and heaven knows why he chose me, but this time I grasped it with both hands.
Copyright © Mark Weeks All rights reserved 2018
Mark Weeks has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Would you like to read more for free?
I am looking for several readers to give me feedback on the complete manuscript before I make it available through our publisher.
Please message me on my Facebook page.
This months guest blog is by the amazing Janice Kobelsky. Hope you enjoy the post and take up your own 30 Day Challenge. :)
Better life. Better leadership. A better world. Enjoy today's thoughts & take-aways.
What you do daily is a powerful indicator of your primary values. And where you focus -- over time -- drives your lifetime performance and feeling of achievement. Reality, though, is that too often we just don't stop to think about where our time and attention are going.
So this issue of the Leader's Digest is a practice of renewal. It's a chance to refresh and reconnect with what truly matters, to you. Fresh focus, to initiate new beginnings.
To help you make April count! Your Meaningful Vision, Fulfilled.
“Make something happen that wasn’t going to happen anyway.” -Unknown
Do it for yourself. And... or... do it with those who look to you for guidance or influence. It's good leadership.
2 Easy Steps
First, I'm sharing a quick but pretty profound practice, to help you get clear (or clearer) on priority. It’ll help you (re-)focus on what’s important. It's repeatable, too.
Then, since April has 30 days, it’s a perfect time to complete a 30-day challenge, don’t you think? It’s not ‘my’ challenge or agenda. It’s choosing YOURS. It’s a wonderful way to make every day count this month – AND to “make something happen that wasn’t going to happen anyway.”
So, get started. Have fun. Make it great. It’s a wonderful way to energize possibilities and be a contribution.
Here it is: a 2-step framework, a simple practice, to make the most of your time and life.
1. Focus on what’s important
Performance does not reside in end results; it happens in ensuring that every act is a result in itself. It starts with being mindful of where you're putting your attention and focus.
Begin by considering seven dimensions of life. Think of them as inner drivers that we each experience (consciously or unconsciously). All the time.
7 Dimensions of Life·
. Spirit/Joy: this means inner enthusiasm. Your attitude and vibe. Your sense of connectedness to something greater than you. Irrespective and independent of religion or belief systems, spirit is that animating force we all have; who we are ‘at source’. It is your intangible wellbeing.
· Talent Development: refers to our human desire to grow, to learn, to try new things. Whether formal or informal, talent development is about immersing in change and evolution.
· Career/Vocation: is about your ‘work’ – whether paid or unpaid, formal or hobby. It's your contribution in the world. This is a dimension that is often splintered into what we do for money vs. what we do as an expression. Those who are able to reconcile the two often say, “When you do what you love, you never work another day in your life.”
· Finances & Wealth: is about financial wellbeing. It's the attention paid to how much wealth you have and how well you're managing it.
· Family: does not necessarily mean blood relatives. Instead this refers to your inner circle – your family, your ‘tribe’, those who are your family of choice.
· Community/Circles of Influence: refers to your connections and friendships. It includes your extended reach or community. This could be in-person and/or virtual.
· Health & Wellbeing: is your tangible wellbeing: your physical health, wellness and beauty.
While we may put different labels to them (or we may wish to split some into subparts), the 7 dimensions pertain to us all. The following illustration shows that all 7 are in play – always; all the time. It is a circle.