A Higher Branch is a 21st Century guide to living consciously and the importance of focusing just as hard on your personal life as you would your work and career. This is told in an unforgettable collage of stories using the device of a young boy who is taught wisdom by the Jungian archetype of a wise old man.
It is a universal fable about a young boy, Tom, who loves to climb trees. One day he goes into the woods and loses his way home. The story serves as a simple metaphor for how, as adults, we often lose our way in life. Being lost is a terrifying experience for a child, but as adults we sometimes accept this condition, as a normal way of life. We drift aimlessly without passion or purpose. The story highlights the tragedy that in our evolution into adulthood we are never given a practical guide to life.
In the story, Tom is given that simple guide by a wise old man (Tom as a grown up) who introduces him to the eight trees of life: health, love, family, work, friendship, learning, wealth and charity. The old man takes Tom on a journey through the different stages of his life: the wonder years of youth, the learning years of school and university, the first love and first job, the marriage and parenting years, the working years and finally his retirement and re‐invention.
The story also takes us on the same journey, at whatever stage we may be in our life. We start to relate to the old man as he shares with Tom all his mistakes (lessons) and regrets. The story also dares us to see ourselves as the lost little child. It provokes the question: If you could go back and guide yourself as a little boy or girl, what lessons would you teach? More poignantly, would that little boy or girl be happy with the life you are living right now?
Author’s Statement – What is so special about this book?
It is a fable filled with unforgettable stories that will live in your heart forever. The unique lessons you learn will transform your thinking. It contains a wisdom that has shaped my whole life; by giving me a daily guide to follow and a powerful pattern of thinking that hard-wires me for happiness and achievement. To say that it has changed my life is an understatement. It is my life! And has been since I was eight years of age. It has helped me be:
- a healthy and energetic person
- a loving partner
- a supportive father
- a fun and exciting friend
- an inspirational leader
- a visionary entrepreneur and
- an empathetic and charitable member of society.
I experienced a number of struggles and setbacks throughout my life, most of which were thrust upon me. In 1973, my family fled the civil war in Lebanon in circumstances that were not pleasant. I share this with you to demonstrate the point that no one is born into a perfect set of circumstances. Like many, I lived with fears and insecurities. But despite these challenges, I have been blessed with a life full of love, contentment and purpose. More than I ever imagined possible.
The answer is simple. And it is revealed to you in A Higher Branch.
Eating the fruit on the highest branch in life is not what brings ultimate satisfaction. Sure, it gives you a brief sense of achievement, but it is the simple act of constant climbing that gives meaning and lasting happiness.
What most people call depression is sometimes nothing more than stagnation of the human spirit. This affliction does not discriminate. Whether you are rich or poor, upper class or middle class, third world or first world, if you cease to climb higher, you will lose your way in life. If, however, you choose to keep climbing, happiness and satisfaction will not discriminate either. You will be happy no matter your circumstances.
The real secret comes in knowing what areas of your life to climb and how to climb them.
That is what the story reveals. And it does so in a magical way that is hard to forget.
They say that the best camera is the one you have on you. Well this is what A Higher Branch islike. You will find that the lessons learned in the story will come to you when you most need them and whenever you are faced with a particular challenge in your daily life. That’s what makes it so effective.
About the Author
Sam Makhoul is program director and chief curator of expert speakers and contributors. He is also author of the book, A Higher Branch.
Sam is a teacher at heart who is extremely passionate about bringing value to the higher branch community. Sam’s personal mission is to empower people to become their own life architect and to find clarity among the plethora of confusing information.
Sam holds a Master of Laws degree and is also Founder and Managing Director of MSA National, a law company with a team of over 360 empowered people, specialising in banking and finance law. His clients include numerous Australian and international financial institutions including Westpac, Macquarie Bank and National Australia Bank. As an entrepreneur, he has started several successful businesses during his career and is credited with designing some of the most effective business strategies during volatile economic conditions and an ever-changing digital landscape.
With a curiosity that makes him see the potential in people, Sam is a highly effective success coach with practical entrepreneurial experience across all aspects of business management including strategy, product development, marketing, customer experience, recruitment, training, staff engagement, technology and financial accounting. His strength is in designing customer-centric people operations and is obsessed with providing value. His core values are empathy and humility and he credits his success to his ability to bring the best out of people and mentoring them to their personal greatness.
As a success coach Sam utilises his own proprietary programs that leverage his philosophy, principles and prescriptions pioneered in his book, A Higher Branch. As a keynote speaker dedicated to wellness in the workplace, Sam brings intensity to his message and speaks from experience. He sparks thinking and stirs emotions. His talks are dynamic, challenging and entertaining. He has the natural ability to explain complex life issues through magical and memorable stories.
If you’d like to find out more about Sam, visit www.sammakhoul.com.
Why I wrote the book
A Higher Branch is a book that I was born to write. I poured my heart and soul into it because I wrote it as a life-guide for my three children. I wanted them to grow up to be happy, healthy, prosperous, successful, smart, fun, charitable, loving and loved. But as I wrote it and shared the message with others, I was amazed at how it resonated and stuck in their memory, even after just one conversation. I had friends, colleagues and clients recount the principles to me with ease and telling me how they initiated changes in their life, all from a simple discussion. (I started imagining the results they could achieve if they’d actually read the book). I was receiving text messages with comments like, “I have not climbed the tree of family enough this week” or “I am following the pattern of thinking you told me about. It’s amazing!”
The more I heard such feedback, the more I believed that the book had the potential to be a blueprint for living a complete and happy life in the 21st Century. I humbly share this book and its story with you in the hope that it will change your life, like it did mine.
Interview with the Author
During the writing of the book, I visualised myself as a young boy with my grandfather. In some chapters I also pictured what my grandmother Rose would teach my daughter Amelia if she were alive today. This is how I was able to write with a universal perspective that could be fittingly applied to both men and women.
My ultimate inspiration for writing A Higher Branch came from my childhood experiences growing up on my grandmother’s farm in Lebanon. I loved to climb trees as a boy and was often found wandering the meadow climbing fig and olive trees. I also loved to explore the branches of one particular mulberry tree that grew at the front of her cottage.
I had a strong urge to climb as a boy. It gave me a sense of purpose, achievement, strength and freedom. From these feelings, I developed a confidence and belief in my abilities to do just about anything I wanted to in life. When I was not climbing trees, I would spend my time following my grandmother around the farm watching her tend to her vegetable garden or baking mountain bread. I was a very curious child with many questions about life, love, people, the world we lived in and what I wanted to be when I grew up.
My grandmother, Rose, satisfied this curiosity by telling me stories of what my life will be like when I grew into a man. She would relate to me the challenges that I would face along the way and she identified the lessons that I must learn to live a complete and happy life. She would do this by telling me stories about my grandfather, who died before I was born. (The word grandfather translates as “Jido” in Arabic). Her tales always started with the words, “Your Jido would say…”. I guess she loved him immensely and kept him alive in her heart through the stories; I too loved him through the stories. (In my adulthood, I learned that he loved to read the writings of Kahlil Gibran).
My day-to-day inspiration for writing the book came from going for long walks at sunrise and looking up at the beauty in trees. Looking at them often brought back memories of my grandmother’s wonderful stories.
I hope they will:
- Let the wisdom in the eight trees guide them and become their blueprint for living a complete life.
- Pursue completeness with courage and without compromise. Not to neglect any tree of life, especially their health, love and family. Live from the heart and grow from the mind. A partnership between the two will never fail.
I learned that most of the wisdom that I have acquired on my journey has come from children and grandparents. The young and the old have a lot to teach us about life. Children have imagination and grandparents have perspective.
Take action in life. Act with deliberate purpose. Don’t die wondering. You will amaze yourself at what you will achieve. Don’t be afraid to venture into uncharted territory where you might lose yourself. It is during these times that you will discover your uniqueness and strength.