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David Pelzer : Life Lessons from the 'Boy Called It'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 12 May 2012, 08:17
Dave Pelzer, ‘A Boy Called it’ and his tips on sticking to your plans.

Life Lessons
Dave Pelzer
I like this book for its simplicity; it is also very short. Five or six ideas are enough to keep in your head at any one time; I’m going to pick through the following, chant them, put them in a prayer, remind myself each day what I want to achieve.

1. Be resilient
2. Learn to fly
3. No one is perfect
4. Let go of your past
a. 'You cannot move forward until you free yourself from the shackles of your past.'
5. Deal with everyday problems
a. 'Settle your problems as promptly and as thoroughly as you are able.'
6. Rest your mind.
a. Get a good night's sleep.
i. I go to bed early.
7. Let go, let rip daily.
a. I go down to the sea.
8. Purge your soul
a. I do so in a diary. Confessional would be the alternative were I notan atheist.
9. If you have been subjected to negative surroundings, use them to make you strive for something better.
a. I don't want to be an absent father, not away all week or for weeks at a time.
10. Limit your response to negative settings and, if necessary, make a clean break. 
a. Tricky, very tricky indeed. In the past I did thisand had spells working in the Alps, Lake District and Paris. London would do.
11. Overcome your guilt. Make amends and move on.
12. Don't give yourself away in the vain hope of appeasing others.
13. To help yourself, be yourself.
14. Never go to bed upset.
15. Resolve matters before they envelop you. Compromise. 
16. Hate no one. It is like a cancer.
17. Forgiveness cleanses.
18. When life's not fair.
a. 'Before you quit on yourself when life isn't fair, exhaust all your options for making things happen.'
19. How badly do I want it?
a. Resolve to make things happen to you.
20. What have I accomplished?
a. Ask yourself what can you not accomplish when you truly commit to that one thing?
21. Know what you want and determine to make it happen.
22. What is truly important to me? 
23. Attempt the so-called 'impossible' until it becomes an everyday part of your life.
24. Don't give your best away.
a. 'We allow self-doubt, time, situations or whatever else to erode our dreams. We quit on ourselves. We carry regret, regret turns into frustration, frustration into anger, anger into sorrow. We've lost one of life's most precious gifts: the excitement, the fear, the heart-pounding sensation of taking a step outside our protective womb.'
25. Go the distance.
a. 'Part of the thrill of success is the journey of the struggle. If it were easy everyone would be doing it.'
26. Be happy.
a. The older we get, the more complacent, hopeless and despondent we become.
27. A consistent, positive attitude makes a world of difference.
28. There may not be a tomorrow to count on, so live the best life that you can today.
29. Start saying positive, rather than negative things abut myself (and everyone around me).
30. Focus. If you have no goal or the self-belief that you can accomplish them, you will end up going nowhere.
a. A little bit of adversity can help to realign you, make you humble and make you want it more.
31. Deflect negativity.
a. Flush it away and replace it with something positive (from a positive environment).
33. Every day see the brighter side of things.
My problem? I make lists, but do something else. What's your strategy?
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Jonathan, I read this book when I was 14, then read the whole series before I finished school. I found it very upsetting, but I couldn't stop reading! It is a very inspirational story and I like your list of all the positive things to be taken from it. I totally agree with you, especially the things that are not so obvious... '30. a. A little bit of adversity can help to realign you, make you humble and make you want it more.' So true, if we don't experience sadness or disappointment then how can we appreciate the good things in our lives. Being able to turn the negative into something positive and coming out the other side as a better person... That to me is the amazing thing about Dave Pelzer. Salma

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Great post Jonathan smile


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I read this book too and was full of admiration for David and how he dealt with the abuse.  Interesting how he was able to recognise that his mother was a product of her upbringing and the scene where he visits his mother and finds himself replicating the defensive behaviour of his childhood was interesting.  Afraid I didn't like the book and didn't recognise the life lessons myself.