And Living the Life You Were Meant to Live
WHy I Wrote the Book
I wanted to change my life but I had no idea how to do it.
I was overweight. Drinking too much. In an unhappy marriage. I was angry all the time and I didn’t know why or how to stop it. I had a lot of external success but inside I was a mess.
I tried everything. Psychiatrists. Drugs. Working out. Not working out. Self-medicating.
Then finally one day I’d just had enough. I was going to change. I was going to live the life I always dreamed about. I wanted to see the world and write and find someone I was madly in love with.
And I did it.
I stopped drinking. I went from 225 pounds to 175. I stopped feeling pissed off all the time. I traveled for two years non-stop. I found an amazing, smart, and sexy partner who makes me happy every day I love to make happy every day too.
And I found out the most important secret of life along the way.
We can change.
I changed. And you can too.
This is a book about real change.
This is your life and it’s time to start living it now.
This is a book of action.
It’s not something you read passively and put aside. This is book you take on directly.
If you want to master depression and live the life you always dreamed possible, you have to tackle life in a brand-new way. This book will show you how. It will give you the tools to root out the pain buried deep inside you and help you grow into the person you always imagined.
Throughout these pages you’ll find exercises. It’s absolutely essential that you stop and do the exercises before moving on. It’s not enough to just read the book, or skim the exercises and promise to come back to them later. Be honest with yourself, you won’t come back to them later. Do the exercises as you go along. Commit to it now. This is not something you can speed through or do in a half-hearted way.
These exercises are here for one reason:
To change your life.
And there’s only one way to do that: You have to do the work. That’s the key to everything.
Set aside special time every week to read and do the exercises. Cut something else out, like TV time or browsing the web aimlessly for the fifth time today. The world will never make time for you. You have to make it yourself. If it’s important enough to feel better about yourself then it’s important to make the time.
It’s also essential you find the right time to do this work, not just any old time. Reading this book after a long, brutal day at the office, or when you can’t concentrate because you’re fighting with your significant other, or when it’s late at night as you’re trying to unwind is a recipe for failure.
Of course, you won’t always have the perfect conditions for growing and learning. Don’t use imperfect circumstances as an excuse to put off reading and doing the exercises. Life sometimes gets in the way of what we want to do. Sometimes you won’t finish an exercise in one shot or you’ll get unexpectedly interrupted. That’s all right. This is not a race. Nobody is watching you or grading you. But keep returning to the work.
I have a friend who often misses his work out because he insists that going to the gym is the only option. When I point out that there are great apps you can download on your phone to work out right in the privacy of your own home, he dismisses it, despite evidence that it worked really well for me and lots of other people. If you get stuck in insisting there is only one way to do something you will fail.
If you want to work out, you’ll have to find a way to exercise no matter what’s in your way. The same goes for changing your life. You have to find a way no matter what.
When I set out to write this book I wanted to know:
Can I really change?
And I mean changing things that count, the key parts of myself, the parts that seem hardwired and indelibly a part of me.
I knew people could change little parts of themselves. They could drop bad habits like smoking or they could start eating healthy and going to the gym. But I had already done all that. I’ve traveled the world, worked as a digital nomad, changed careers multiple times, made millions of dollars and lost it and made it again, and I’ve found love and loss in places near and far. I’ve started companies, worked at the cutting-edge of technology, had my articles read by more than 5 million people and given talks all over the planet to audiences big and small.
But I noticed something as I went from external success to success.
Inside, I still felt like a failure.
It didn’t matter how much money I made, what exotic city I touched down in, or if I was dating Miss Universe, I still felt ugly and broken inside.
At one point, I changed nearly every single thing a person possibly could about themselves. After gaining weight for years, I started working out furiously and altered my diet dramatically. I went from 225 pounds to 175 and chiseled. I got divorced and started dating some brilliant and beautiful women. I put everything in storage and moved to Europe with a single suitcase. All my old clothes went in the garbage and I got new ones that fit my new body. I ditched a job with golden handcuffs and took one for less money that let me live and work anywhere in the world. I made new friends, keeping only my closest long-time friends from my past life, as I went adventuring around the globe.
But no matter where I went, there I was.
Inside, I was still basically the same person.
I had a lot more experiences and stories and adventures but I still woke up way too often feeling worthless. There were so many days I couldn’t get out of bed or when I had to lay down in the middle of the day crushed by stinging criticism or something that went wrong that day.
My friends and family and girlfriends couldn’t understand it. They saw a smart, fun and funny man who laughed big and wrote wonderful stories and lived life the way he wanted.
But I didn’t see it.
People saw me on stage or read my stories online and imagined I had it all figured out but I just felt like a fraud as if I’d just fooled them all with a dazzling magic trick that I’d done a thousand times.
I would come off stage and all the energy would drain out of me in an instant. I could feel people pinching in on me, wanting to talk, all of them happy and inspired by my words, but it felt like a python slowly strangling me.
No matter how much my body changed I didn’t feel beautiful. No matter how many people thought I was brilliant I let the few people who wanted to hurt me tell me I was stupid. I didn’t matter if I was dating someone so beautiful that she had to beat other men off with a bat. I felt like a terrible lover the second my lady didn’t feel like making love with me. It didn’t matter if she’d just had a bad day or she was tired or worried about things in her own life, I felt like I was ugly and she wasn’t attracted to me anymore, even if we’d made transcendent, Earth shattering love the day before.
And then one day I was just tired of feeling this way.
I wanted to start over. I wanted to know if I could change permanently. Could I change my most basic wiring? Could I be truly different? Could I be the person everyone else saw? And it wasn’t enough to just ask the questions.
I wanted to prove it. I wanted to see real change in my own life.
So, I did the work myself. I experimented on myself, made myself a guinea pig for psychological self-surgery to find out what actually helped and what didn’t help. I dug into mental model books, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and radical spiritual philosophers.
I started with the basic assumption that none of it really worked.
I had to try it and test it for myself.
If it didn’t work for me, it didn’t work.
If I couldn’t get it to work in my own life consistently then I threw it out, or I asked why it was failing and I modified it. Because of that, this is an intensely personal book for me, with many examples from my own life.
As you read the book you should adopt the same stance. Assume what I am saying doesn’t work unless you’ve tested it yourself. Approach it like a scientist running an experiment. Open your mind. Let go of expectations. Then test the exercises for yourself. Give them a chance to work or not work in your own life. The only way to do something is to do it yourself.
You have to find things out for yourself or you never find them out.
So, what are you waiting for?
Let’s get started.
Read chapter one and find out how to change your life now.
This is a practical book. It’s filled with exercises I know work because I tried them on myself. And I tested them on friends and family and anyone else I could find. If it didn’t work in the real world, it didn’t make the cut.
This is not a book about why you are the way you are. You are where you’re at and it doesn’t matter if it came from mom and dad or bad luck, the best thing you can do is leave the old you behind as quickly as possible and become the person you want to be.
This is not a book about why, it’s a book about how.
About the author.
I’m DANIEL JEFFRIES, author, engineer, pro-blogger, podcaster and public speaker. My articles have been read by millions of people and I’ve given talks all over the world. But despite having tremendous external success, I secretly struggled with depression most of my life until I finally found a way to overcome it for good.
I wrote Mastering Depression and Living the Life You Were Meant to Live to help as many people as I can to beat depression. I want you to live the life you always imagined for yourself, a life of passion, love, fun, and adventure.
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