X Life Lessons to Live By: Introduction

X Life Lessons to Live By: Introduction


Writing is not that much different from other forms of art. Artists have an idea or vision of what the finished product will look like. The path of creating the finished product can be long or short, easy or difficult, straightforward or filled with twists and turns. But truthfully, you don't know exactly what it is going to be until you begin working on it for a while. That's why I like to write the beginning of my introduction when I am about a third of the way done with the body of a book.

This is a self-help book filled with life lessons, which makes it no different from most other self-help books. For the record, I do not have a degree in psychology, psychiatry, business, or social sciences. I am also not a lawyer, doctor, or hold a master's degree in anything. However, I have read a lot of self-help books in my life and have dealt with my own "mental health journey," which is not unlike the journey of most artists. This self-help book is one that was created with new technology that was not available to the public until recently. But in the future, it will probably be as normal as the sky being blue or the internet existing.

A little over a decade ago, I sat in a movie theater and saw a fictional superhero create things with the help of artificial intelligence named Jarvis. That movie is called "Iron Man." As a child, I saw "Hal" take over a spaceship in "2001: A Space Odyssey," along with Star Trek and the use of the "universal translator." I mention these science fiction things to point out that this is no longer fiction; it is science existing in this world we live in today.

I do not think it is going to be possible to press the reset button on artificial intelligence or disconnect the hardwires, kind of like what Dave did in "2001: A Space Odyssey." Instead, I think artificial intelligence will become more like Jarvis, something that began as a computer and then was turned into the Avenger Vision and was a force for good. But what does artificial intelligence have to do with this self-help book?

As a writer, I sat in front of my computer one day and decided to see what ChatGPT was. So I began asking it questions to see if I could utilize it to become a more efficient communicator and writer. Eventually, I began wondering if it could be beneficial to people to improve their mental health. So I started asking it basic mental health questions that I was confident I knew enough about because I have read a good amount of those kinds of books in my past. I was amazed at the quality of answers I was getting from ChatGPT. It was a good vulgar way of communicating complex ideas to regular people. "Vulgar" in the etymological sense of the word means communicating in a way that is understandable to the common person. So I asked it to write an outline for a self-help book featuring 10 life lessons, and this is the book it produced.

This book is written in part by artificial intelligence and ChatGPT-3. The points in the book that are from that program are properly labeled. The voice and ideas in this book come from my own psychology, and I wrote many of the ideas in this book. The point being is that this book is not a fix-all for anybody, but I think it does provide some helpful information to many people, which is why I wrote it. Plus, this was a fun creative project.

In some of my prior books, I have told the reader what they would get from reading the book right from the beginning. This book is no different from others I have written. In this book, you will learn the life lessons from ChatGPT and fictional tales everybody knows. Fairy tales are the basic starting points for many people in learning life lessons at an early age. But this book is not a children's book; this book is for adults. If you are a parent who enjoyed reading fairy tales to your kids, then this book provides useful adult mental health information but also includes a snippet about a fairy tale in each chapter. That way, when your kids grow up into their teenage or young adult years, you can use this book to introduce more complex mental health tips and tricks while also keeping up the practice of teaching life lessons by using fairy tales.

If you are single, this book is helpful because it provides useful information about mental health that is good for adults. The fairy tales in the book also include the real story and history of them, which can also be like a college experience for people. Believing what you thought as a child is not really useful to continue into adulthood. I have to include the original public domain version of the fairy tales to avoid being sued by the Disney Corporation. Basically, it is a good idea to leave childish things behind as a single adult with no kids, which can be done by briefly reliving your childhood and remembering a fairy tale and realizing you don't really need it anymore.

Much of the information contained in this book is also information that you can find in other books. The information or "tools" in any single generic self-help book are pretty much the same in every other one. Some readers fall into the trap of consuming many business/self-help books and become similar to the guy who has every tool imaginable tucked away neatly in his garage but also never gets around to fixing anything or using any of them. This creates a problem of stagnation and just consuming and talking and doing nothing. It is sometimes better to be the guy who purchased a $50 mechanic's toolkit and delusionally believes he can turn his broken-down Volvo into a Formula 1 race car by taking apart everything and putting it back together and doing that again and again and again while also not spending a single dollar on anything else. Eventually, even a clueless person who has no idea what they are doing figures out how to get the engine running again.

This book is intended to be that metaphorical $50 toolkit or another tool to add to your shelf of shiny tools. The information contained in this book could be tried out over and over again until something begins working again, or it could be read and enjoyed by someone who has their car running already and finds the information fun to read every once in a while.

This book is also like a thesaurus for mental health. I've found in my own life that sometimes I can feel blah or that my life is permanently stuck in neutral, where things are not bad or fantastic; everything is running smoothly, but I feel like I'm not going anywhere. If you have a Type A personality, like a race car driver always on the go, all gas no brake, all the time, then being in a car that only runs in neutral is a mind-numbingly dull experience.

For people who sometimes feel their life is in neutral, this book functions like a clutch or thesaurus of ideas. People can try as much or as little from this book as they want, but it is full of mental health tips, ideas, and information to push people into that first gear again and get things moving. Like learning to drive a stick shift, the first gear from neutral is the hardest and most difficult. It can be rough to learn, even for people who know how to drive an automatic, but eventually, it becomes a smooth ride. Mental health is like that sometimes, difficult in the beginning, but eventually, it becomes like driving in cruise control with AI driver assist functions that help you stay in the lane and get to your destination in an efficient and timely manner.

Chances are if you are reading this book you already are doing mostly the right things to improve your mental health. This book was written as my contribution to Mental Health Month 2023. I just hope it has information in it that you may find useful. Just remember not to sweat the small stuff.

And it’s all small stuff.

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