Saturday 5 September 2009

It's all about me

The more time we spend in living yesterday, the less time we have for living today.

That's the advice from Cairns author Andrew Griffiths as he launched his tenth book, The Me Myth, this week.

Andrew says that its quite a personal milestone and he's very proud of it.

"This book is not like my usual business books, in fact it isn’t a business book at all," He says. "It is the first in my new personal development style books which look like they will be heading worldwide next year."

In the Me Myth he shares a lot of his own personal journey and how he survived life's challenges.

Andrew recounts life growing up that could have led him to adopt a victim mentality.

"With these things, its easy to go down a predictable path. My life had a lot of violence in it at a young age, you could easily become the victim, you know, get into crime, drugs and alcohol. I did all that sort of stuff. I was fortunate enough to realise that I was the one in control of all that. I chose an attitude that was an empowered attitude that I can change my life, and I did at a young age."

"I spend the rest of my life to this day, trying to be in control rather than being a victim."

"It shows that if you really want to have a rich and rewarding life, the key is to get on with living – so stop analysing and start living." Andrew Griffiths says.

"Those of you who know me, know that I don’t like to preach. Instead I share my own experiences and what has worked for me – this applies equally to business and life in general."

This book features a lot about Andrew's life story.

Cairns web entrepreneur, Nick Jurd says reading the Me Myth is like you've got a little friend in your pocket, walking you through concepts and ideas.

"It's written in a warm friendly conversational tone," Nicky says. "This is quite typical of Andrew's books, but more so with this one, because it's a personal book you get a real insight into his story."

Nicky says the message focuses on giving more.

"Initial feedback has been extraordinary and I hope if you get to read it – you will take the time to let me know what you think," Andrew Griffiths says.

"My target in Australia is to sell 100,000 copies so that I can establish my own foundation to help people who have struggled to deal with what life has thrown at them," he says.

"My foundation will work with partner organisations to achieve this and I am very excited about that."

In Cairns you can grab a copy of The Me Myth, published by Simon & Schuster, from the Angus and Robertson’s stores at Cairns Central and Earlville, as well as at the Airport bookshop or online.

"I found it kind of fun and more than a little disconcerting to have me starting down at, well, me," Andrew said when he spotting an larger-than-life sized banner promoting his new book this week.

"To all of my friends and fans who happen to have my number - whilst I appreciate the calls - I know the signs are there. Remember you are being watched!"

The Me Myth EXCLUSIVE extract...

  • "I don’t have a birth certificate and I’m not completely certain when or where I was born. I do know that I started life in Melbourne in early 1966, but I wasn’t registered as being alive until December 1975.

    How does someone in Australia not have a birth certificate? Well, let me share some of my early days with you. For some reason my parents left my older sister, Wendy, and me with an old lady, Winifred, who used to live up the street from us. I was about six months old and Wendy was about 18 months old. Our parents never came back and we started living with Winifred. I have an enormous amount of respect for this selfless woman in her seventies who took us in. She had no reason to look after two small children, other than some sense of duty and compassion.

    Winifred was born in 1896 in London. She had moved to Australia as a teenage girl, chasing the man she loved. She had never quite forgiven Australia or Australians for the life that followed. She’d lost all of her brothers in various wars, she’d lost two husbands (again to war), she’d had a breast removed due to cancer as a young woman and her family had disowned her the minute she’d left England.

    We lived a surreal kind of life with Winifred. Although she looked like a petite, well-groomed granny, she was a compulsive kleptomaniac, constantly filling her pockets at the shops and making us kids wander the streets at night stealing things from people’s front gardens. We lived an isolated, gypsy-like existence constantly moving around the working-class areas of North Perth, with a prim and proper public face that hid the darker side of our world. Winifred talked to herself incessantly, and I always remember those conversations were angry, bitter and hateful. She was filled with resentment towards the world for all she had suffered – and it had to erupt.

    She would scream at Wendy or me, inches from our faces, spittle flying, as she told us how much she hated us, how filthy and disgusting we were, and how she wanted us dead. She would drag us around the house by our hair, she would beat us with lumps of wood. I lost track of the number of times I was woken in the middle of the night
    as she attacked me with a shovel or a walking stick, screaming at the top of her lungs. She threw boiling water on us, stabbed us with scissors, smashed our heads into walls and doors, and bashed us with anything she could get her hands on.

    We were always covered with bruises, cuts and burns, with clumps of hair missing. As a grown man I struggle to understand the fear this little old lady brought out in me, but as a child she terrified me. To escape I started to wander the streets of Perth. I remember
    knowing exactly when the deliveries were made at the shops close by and I would treat the milk and bakery deliveries as my own personal smorgasbord. I was out and about at all times of the night.

    There were a number of brothels close by as well. I didn’t really know what they were, but the ladies were very friendly towards me. They all had large busts and smelled really nice. They would take me to a room out the back and give me big cups of hot chocolate and generally make a fuss of me. It was a kindness that I wasn’t used to
    and I was scared by it, but at the same time I craved it. In all the time I lived with Winifred she only ever kissed me once – the day Gough Whitlam, the then Prime Minister of Australia, was sacked.

    From my various safe hide-outs I would watch drunken men swagger across the road to the brothels and re-emerge in about half an hour. I assumed they were all going in to get hot chocolate, and I guess in many ways they were. Eventually the welfare became involved. One day during swimming lessons at our primary school I took off my shirt, revealing a big cut on my stomach and arm from where Winifred had attacked
    me with a pair of gardening shears. I had bruises from head to toe and countless half-healed injuries. The headmaster asked me what had happened. Winifred had always told us to say, ‘I fell down in the garden,’ but the headmaster didn’t believe me for a second.

    The welfare was called in to investigate the suspected abuse. They inspected the house where we were living, they brought in psychologists to interview us, doctors gave us medicals and our teachers gave statements. Winifred reacted to all of this ‘fuss’ with
    anger and bitterness. She blamed it on Wendy and me for being ‘evil’ children.

    The welfare laid down rules and conditions for her to follow. Tough things, like I had to be able to sleep on a bed inside the house. We had to wash daily and if there was any further evidence of violence we would be sent to live in an orphanage.

    Of course nothing really changed. Many years later, when I read the welfare reports, it was clear they didn’t know what to do with us if they took us away from Winifred. They tried to find our parents, but that proved fruitless. Foster parents were thin on the ground and far less likely to take in two battered and emotionally scarred kids. So they left us with Winifred for a while longer.

    I knew that my life was heading down a predictable path. Soon I would either end up in jail, dead in a car wreck or lying on a trolley
    in a hospital emergency room with doctors thumping my chest. One Friday afternoon I was standing at the end of the driveway
    of the house where I was living, waiting to get picked up for a night of partying. I had long since moved away from my foster father and, fortunately, a wonderful woman called Val had taken me in and provided a safe haven for a number of years. Throughout my life there have always been a few angels close by and I think of them

    It was quite a spiritual moment for me as the late afternoon clouds split and the sun started to slide behind the hills. Pondering what was happening around me, it was easy to see the road that so many people follow. I saw Winifred kill herself with bitterness and anger. I saw friends kill themselves with self-loathing in the forms of drug and alcohol abuse, and I saw far too much violence from people who were tragic and lost and looking desperately for someone to be angry with. I was on the verge of heading down one of these dark paths myself.

    I realised right then and there that I had the power to choose my way in the world. I didn’t have to follow the predictable path that I saw so many others on. I was in control and I could change if I wanted to. I knew I expected more out of life and I believed in myself enough to have the confidence to do it. This was incredibly profound for me and I knew that now was the time to break away from the world unfolding around me and to be my own man.

    So that is exactly what I did. From that day on I have tried my best to live my own life, changing what needs to be changed and becoming a better person in any way I can. Sometimes it’s been hard, other times very easy.

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