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The Story of You: Transforming Adversity into Adventure, Taking Your Dreams to the Next Level and Beyond Paperback – July 12, 2016
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About the Author
Dan Miller is the New York Times bestselling author of 48 Days to the Work You Love.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
It pulled me up and out of a dark place where there were parties, drugs, alcohol, broken bones, and jail when I was 17 years old. It took the adversity of getting my face smashed in by a 35-year-old cowboy dude who I rear-ended in a Weiner Dog Drive Thru at 2.a.m. I was so intoxicated, I was like a catatonic punching bag. This very angry dude broke my jaw and fractured the bone under my left eye socket. I don’t remember any of it. I just remember waking up on the cold, hard jail cell floor. As the police officer took my mug shots, he told me what happened. He also told me that my blood alcohol level was so high that I should have died. This was the worst and the best thing that ever happened to me.
Sometimes we all need a beautiful backhand of perspective.
The trouble I was in because of my behavior and the choices I was making paralyzed me. It made me less than the person I could be. I doubted myself and was going nowhere. And then I read a book.
It was something I had never done before. Throughout high school, when my teachers assigned books to read, I never read them. Not a whole book, anyways. But here I was, broken, beaten, and at the bottom of my game. I picked up a copy of Pet Sematary, a horror novel written by Stephen King in 1983, and for the first time in my life, I read an entire book.
I was so excited about reading. I remember going to sleep reading that book and waking up in the morning to read. I became lost in Stephen King’s words and descriptions. It wasn’t a book about how to change my life, but this book did just that. It expanded my mind and changed me forever. That one, first book that I read from cover to cover years ago ignited a passion in me for reading. And as a result, I discovered who I was meant to be.
Before reading Pet Sematary I may have doubted myself, but I never doubted my God. For as long as I can remember, I have always known God and had a relationship with him. I accepted Jesus into my heart and prayer became an important part of my life. Even through the partying, the troubles, and the poor decision-making, I knew God still loved me. I continued to pray and talk to him. But at the same time, I knew I wasn’t being everything he wanted me to be. And as a result, I wasn’t seeing God’s fruits in my life because of the choices I was making and the way I was living.
I have heard it said many times that knowledge is power. But that’s not exactly true. I believe knowledge applied is what truly equals power. You can read 1,000 books, all of which will elevate your mindset, but unless you apply what you’ve read, it is all sadly wasted. I learned this first hand. As I read my way through Stephen King’s words, the descriptions of the setting and events in the story changed my mindset, or my ideas and attitudes. From there I read more fiction, science fiction, and novels of all kinds. I was reading and reading and expanding my mind. The year I started reading, I went from never having read a book, to reading 26 books. Then I discovered reading with a purpose. Just this past year, I have read 65 books on leadership. I chose to do that because I wanted to develop my skills to the next level. I wanted to be the best leader I could be, so I immersed myself in reading.
The more knowledge you have, the more wisdom you have.
It doesn’t stop there, however. Knowledge and wisdom needs to be applied. Once applied, all of that knowledge and wisdom becomes power. From there, that power can be used in different ways. For me, having the power means having more ability to serve other people. Helping people creates a ripple effect of greatness. And this means spreading God’s word. Spreading God’s kingdom is power. Last year, when I read dozens of books about leadership, I read them in the spirit of application. In order to build my team management skills, I used information from the experts who wrote all of those books and then walked their walk.
Application is everything.
Application is power.
Reading that first book all the way through to the end changed my life. This book you are holding in your hands has the potential to do the same for you. It can get you thinking about things from a different perspective. It can get you excited about something that will help you in your own life. And it can change your life.
Welcome to my story. I hope my journey can help you with yours.
One of the pivotal changes in my life was when I started reading. I cannot say enough about how that has changed my life. So I will say it again: Reading alone has changed my life. But once something has moved you to change something within yourself, you become hungry to continue growing. As you continue to grow, there will be more pivotal moments. Mine came next while I was in college.
I started attending Colorado State University in 1998. I looked like every other student there. I was pretty social, had a lot friends, and attended classes like everyone else. Inside, however, I was plagued with voices of doubt and panic. These feelings increased and became overwhelming. It got to the point where I was enveloped by anxiety and felt like I was having a heart attack. My heart would pound in my chest with no warning, rhyme or reason. Beads of sweat would pour down my face. Drenched in sweat and feeling like I was going to fall to the ground and have a full-blown heart attack, I was forced to abruptly leave class. I would run to the bathroom and splash water on my face.
“What is happening to me?” I’d say to the terrified face in the mirror. “Lord, please make this stop.”
After this happened a few times, the anticipation of having another anxiety attack would cause me to be afraid. I was embarrassed and terrified. The fear of something that might or might not happen set me up to have another one.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website, a panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms: pounding heart; sweating, trembling or shaking; feeling short of breath; feelings of choking; chest pain; nausea; dizziness; chills; numbness or tingling; feelings of detachment or unreality; fear of going crazy; or fear of dying. I felt alone, but discovered that anxiety disorders are “one of the most common mental health problems on college campuses.” In fact, mental health conditions have been found to begin during the typical college age range of 18 to 24 years. The National Institute of Mental Health says that 75 percent of all people who are challenged with an anxiety disorder will experience their first symptoms while they are in college.
I was one of them.
In her article about college students and mental health, Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., attributes the significant life transition that young people experience when they go off to college as a factor. She goes on to say that dealing with so many firsts–a new way of life, new friends, having a roommate, and learning to think in a different way–can make some young adults feel ill-prepared. This leads to a lack of confidence which shakes what they know about their own identities. Loss of sense of who we are, says Tartakovsky, can lead to depression and anxiety.
The more I read about anxiety and depression, the more learned about what I was experiencing and what I could do about it. This goes back to applying what you read. I read and practiced deep breathing exercises to settle my heart rate and increase the oxygen in my blood. I knew this was something I had to deal with and it then became another defining moment in my life. I had to find a way to not allow the panic attacks I was experiencing to stop me from going to classes. I turned to scripture. In Isaiah 54:7, I read the “no weapon formed against me shall prosper.” I had to find a way to not allow the panic attacks to stop me from going to classes. I had to be brave. I had to keep going and reading, praying, deep breathing and ultimately, graduate from college.
And I did!
In looking back, I realized that part of my anxiety was due to introspection, my own self-awareness issues and how I thought about myself. In college, I tended to overanalyze what I said to people and what they thought about what I said to them. I would overanalyze to the point that my anxiety level would elevate and cause panic attacks. Then I would wonder if people thought I was crazy when my face randomly turned red and gushed massive beads of sweat. In general, I don’t think it’s bad to overanalyze, but when it becomes an obsession, that’s when it can do some real harm. I even dropped speech class three times in college, terrified I’d have an anxiety attack while giving a speech.
I work on this still. Even though it’s been years, I work at being conscious and aware of my thoughts. If I am quiet and think about something all day, I am procrastinating. Procrastination makes me anxious. Anxiety makes me fearful. After more procrastination-because now I am anxious and fearful and nothing is getting done-I worry. Then I worry about the worry. Ultimately, nothing gets done at all. Procrastination is a form of paralysis. I am not only wasting my time, I am wasting the actions I could be taking. Now when this happens-when I find myself obsessing over something I said-I take action. I counteract those invasive thoughts that in the past have led to feelings of anxiety and panic. I do this by thinking about the now.
Biblically, the whole idea about worrying leads nowhere. In Matthew 6:27, God says, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” In other words, worrying accomplishes absolutely nothing. Proverbs 12:25a says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart,” which tells us that worrying is not good for us. Worrying also takes our focus off God and the things he wants us to do. In Matthew 5:34, God says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”When I read these verses, I understand just how time-consuming and useless worrying can be. So bottom line is when you are feeling overwhelmed and obsessed with thoughts of self-doubt and what others think of you, just starting thinking about the now.
When I learned to focus on the moment at hand, I saw myself accomplish more. And as I am accomplishing more and more with my life, I am learning to manage my time better. By not procrastinating, I find myself getting much more done. It’s not that I am less busy–I own a company, I have five children, and am writing my first book (Thanks for buying it.)–it’s that I have learned to start doing things at this moment in time. Right now. One of the many things I’ve read about truly successful people is that they are intentional about the way they spend their time. Learning to manage my time and not procrastinate is an ongoing battle for me. No one is ever perfect at that. But we can all get better at it. With hard work, I can say that I am in charge of my own time.
Are you in charge of your time?
Something I do that helps me make time for my family and busy work days and everything else I want and need to do is to schedule times in my calendar. I block out time and am intentional and specific about how I it. Let’s go back to the question I just asked you: Are you in charge of your time? Spend a few minutes right now and think about that. Jot down areas of your life that you feel are not getting your full attention. The attention God wants you to give. Maybe it’s spending time with your children. Maybe it’s going out on a date with your spouse. Whatever it is, all things are possible if you are intentional and work as hard as you can to not procrastinate.
What’s so great about getting what you need to get done? For me, it is seeing the fruits that God has promised me. It is being able to love and spend time with my wife and children and family members. It is being able to run an incredible business staffed by caring and professional people. It helped me stay on course as I navigated the system to start my business. And with hundreds of different things that could have stopped my dreams before they even became a reality, my passion for helping people and strength of character won out. But before I tell you how it all began, I want to tell you about Dreamshine.
- Item Weight : 8.2 ounces
- Paperback : 170 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1630477893
- ISBN-13 : 978-1630477899
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.41 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Morgan James Publishing (July 12, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,737,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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