How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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Opening Chapter: How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting

This month saw the launch of my new book How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting. It’s available now in paperback, as an ebook, and (once I’ve finished recording it), as an audio download from audible. Pop along to amazon and select the format of your choice. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from the opening chapter…

To Begin With

On my thirty-second birthday, as I sat at my mother’s dining room table in front of a large cake, thirty two candles threatening to ignite my beard should I lean too far forward, I realised that the only ambition I had left in life – the only dream I hadn’t given up on – was to be married.

Or at least in some sort of steady, loving relationship.

A long term partnership with someone whose ying was a close match to my less than melodic yang.

But even this, this last naive expectation of life, was looking increasingly unlikely. Every candle on that cake was some sort of burning epitaph to just how utterly rubbish I was when it came to affairs of the heart.

There had been relationships in the past – of course there had – but I’d kind of ‘fallen into them’, by accident. And after the ladies in question had tried, and failed, to mould me into the kind of man they actually wanted, those relationships had withered and died. There hadn’t been an ‘accidental relationship’ for a while. Colleagues no longer described me as an eligible bachelor. Some had started to question my sexuality.

So as my family launched into a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ I decided there and then that the prospect of being single for the rest of my days was unacceptable.

Something had to be done.

Around that time there was a BBC TV show called ‘Would Like to Meet’ where a team of experts (a flirt coach, an actor, and an image consultant) would take some hapless individual and turn them into a heartthrob or a man-magnet. It very quickly became my favourite TV show. I’d watch it avidly from one week to the next hoping to pick up some tips. And the conclusion I came to was that I too could do with a similar makeover – albeit without the entire viewing nation of the United Kingdom looking on.

So over the next few weeks I tracked down Image Consultants, and contacted one. Back then, Image Consultants mainly worked for corporations, re-styling senior corporate executives who might otherwise look less than sharp in the boardroom, but I had surprisingly little problem persuading my consultant of choice to broaden the scope of her client base to include one sad and lonely thirty-something guy. She took one look at me, threw away every item of clothing I’d acquired in the previous decade, and in an afternoon gave me some much needed va-va-voom, in the wardrobe department.

And once I’d been completely re-styled, I looked around for a flirt coach.

These days, you can barely move for self-styled relationship experts and flirt coaches – heck, I’m just about to tell you why I’m one of them – but back in 2003 I could find just one. And she ran courses.

I took several hundred pounds from my savings, and booked myself on a ‘flirting weekend’. Nervously, I took my place in the front row, and when instructed I turned and introduced myself to the stunning blonde sitting next to me.

“I’m Peter,” I said.

“I’m Kate,” said the blonde.

Then she smiled.

And I was smitten.

The course wasn’t that much of a success, in that it didn’t teach me how to flirt. Not that it mattered. My strategy had worked, somewhat differently but infinitely better than I’d hoped. On the Monday evening Kate and I had our first date. By the Tuesday I’d officially found myself a girlfriend. A few months later I found myself on one knee. And a year to the day after we’d first met, I found myself married.

It didn’t last.

Two and a bit years later I lost Kate. To a brain haemorrhage. At Stanstead airport.

And when the dust settled – when I adjusted to a world without my wife – I was single again. The loneliness returned. And though I’ll never be able to replace my beautiful blonde, I needed to fill the space that she’d left.

Something had to be done

It’s my considered belief that ‘dating’ – whether that be online dating, speed-dating, “hey – what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” dating – is similar to job hunting; it’s just as brutal, many times more frustrating, and potentially far more heartbreaking.

And just like job hunting nobody wants to become ‘good’ at dating. To get good you have to do lots of it, and the very fact that you have to apply for a lot of jobs – or go on a lot of dates – raises more questions than it answers. It’s not really something you want to shout about. Never the less, I was determined. There was no way I wanted to return to the way things were, before Kate, life’s just too damn short. So date I did.

Many, many, many times.

And finally, after years and years of being completely useless at finding romance, I cracked it.

There’s love in my life again.

Just as there can be in yours.

Welcome to How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting.

If you’ve been sitting around, on your own, telling yourself you should really make an effort and ‘get out there’, this book might be for you.

If you’re already dating – or you’ve tried it – and you’ve encountered nothing but liars and Lotharios, started your own personal collection of dating disaster stories, all whilst beating off people you wouldn’t normally look twice at, this book is probably for you.

And if you’d rather fast forward through the dating stage as quickly as possible, and find someone you’d like to have a relationship with – whatever type of relationship that might be – this book is most definitely for you.

But before you get too excited, let’s establish some ground rules. Buckle up and prepare to learn the hardest lesson this book has to give.


‘How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting’ is available NOW in paperback, as an ebook, and shortly in audio from audible.co.uk & .com
Visit amazon to purchase the book.

You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book. Download the FREE kindle app for your computer, smart phone or tablet from amazon (.co.uk | .com)


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Start Dating, Stop Waiting. 5 Dating Tips

heart-love-romanceBefore I started on my quest for happiness, I was using my problem solving skills to figure out what actually works when it comes to courting the opposite sex. From the pen-pal clubs of the early eighties, to the lonely heart newspaper ads of the nineties, from postal dating services to the more formal introduction agencies – there hasn’t been a dating service that I haven’t tried!

And after many, many years of seemingly making every dating mistake there is – scouring every scrap of scientific research I could get my hands on – I finally cracked it. There’s love in my life. And it wasn’t an accident.

If love, lust or romance feature in your goals for this year let me see if I can impart some of my dating prowess to you now. Here are my top five tips for dating success.

Dating Tip Number 1: What do you want?

Figuring out who it is you’re looking for is probably the most effective thing you can do to kick start your love life. You might think (as I used to) that you can’t afford to be picky, that finding someone who doesn’t repel you too much and is content to remain in your company might be the best you can hope for. I’m here to tell you that the reverse is true.

After months, possibly even years, of less-than-satisfactory relationships with long periods of nothing in-between, I sat down and wrote out what I actually wanted. A list of qualities that I hoped for in my ideal person. And about six weeks later I met my wife, Kate.

Now – that’s not the whole story, obviously. There were a few stages between writing my ‘perfect woman shopping list’ and choosing to sit next to this beautiful blonde I spied from across the room, but a few months into our relationship I looked back at that list and I was amazed at just how many of the criteria Kate met. Coincidence? Perhaps. But for the time it would take you to create your own list isn’t it worth the effort?

Dating Tip Number 2: Go online!

By my calculations online dating websites are responsible for one in five marriages. Include relationships that haven’t got as far as the altar, throw in the likes of facebook and other social media websites, and I estimate 50 percent of all romances probably start on the internet. Which means that simply using your computer to meet people could double your chances of dating success.

Dating Tip Number 3: Pick a good dating website

There are a LOT of dating websites out there – finding a good one can be a challenge. My current feelings are the free-ones can be just as good, sometimes better, than the paid-ones. For extra oomph pick a site that does some form of compatibility matching!

Dating Tip Number 4: To meet ‘the one’, you must first meet ‘the many’

Very, very few people go on one date and hit the jackpot first time. In fact, in the years I’ve been chatting to people about this stuff I’ve never met anyone who has. Dating is a numbers game. If you find someone you like online send them a message. If they respond toss a couple more messages back and forth. If you still like them arrange to meet. Meanwhile; continue to browse the dating sites, continue to send messages, continue arranging dates. Exclusivity should be reserved for that special someone you’ve dated more than once, in real life, and even then only if you want to.

As well as a numbers game, dating is a skill. The more dates you go on the better you’ll get.

SDSW drop shadow colour smallDating Tip Number 5: Have fun!

Dating is tough. It has to be said. Some days it can feel like a slog. But if it always feels like a slog, if it’s tough without being the slightest bit pleasurable, well, then you’re doing something wrong!

Try changing your mindset. Dating can be a fun. An adventure. Exciting. It’s a little like a lottery; Sometimes it’s just OK. Sometimes it’s better than OK. Occasionally it’s a total disaster, but every now and then it’s magical. And those moments make up for everything.

Secondly, make sure you’re doing things you actually enjoy. For me, a good first date takes place in a coffee shop, if it’s going really well I might suggest wandering across to the pub over the road. Dinners and first dates don’t mix well. But that’s just me. Maybe you’re into bungy jumping, or white water rafting or long walks in the countryside. Picking an activity you enjoy will significantly increase the chances of your first date going well.

Want More Tips?

If you want to delve into the detail behind the five tips above, pick my brain for more nuggets of dating gems, or need a little more hand holding, then I have some very good news. How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting, my third self-help book, is available today in paperback and as an ebook. An audio version – which includes the companion guide From Invisible To Irresistibleis also available at audible (co.uk and com)

You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book. Download the FREE kindle app for your computer, smart phone or tablet from amazon (.co.uk | .com)


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Paperback Coming to America

US cover with drop shadowI know what you’re thinking. There’s something different about the website. Something that you just can’t put your finger on.

Whilst you’re trying to figure out what’s changed let me just say that…

From June 4th, How To Do Everything and Be Happy will finally be available in selected Bricks and Mortar Bookshops all over the United States, and from your favourite online booksellers.

Of course it’s been available in the US as an ebook, and in audio, for a while – but now you’ll finally be able to get a paper copy without having to order one from overseas.

To mark this auspicious occasion, my publishers (Harper Collins) have decided to give the US-printed paperback a brand new, all-yellow cover, which in blind-taste-tests 8 out of 10 Americans said they preferred*, hence the subtle re-branding exercise here on the website, twitter and on facebook. What d’you think? Funky eh? There may have to be new badges.

Of course the inside of the book remains exactly the same – this isn’t a new edition – so there’s no need to rush out and buy a new copy of the book if you already have one. Not unless you really, really want to. Although I would certainly understand if that were the case. Just as – one imagines – there might be those amongst you who might see a market for importing the US branded copy of the book, and selling it here in the UK as a collectors edition. I’m just saying is all.

Here’s to World Domination and a new tranche of American Readers. Please feel free to drop by and say “Howdy“.

*I may have made the bit about blind-taste-testing up.


In related news the paperback is also available from selected Australian outlets &  online booksellers as well as India too!

PS. I’m giving away a signed copy of the UK paperback on Twitter. Follow @doitallbehappy and tweet “I’m going to make my life happier with @doitallbehappy http://ow.ly/jsmjB ” Ends 9pm 7th Apr


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Now Available in Shops (honest)! And the return of the FREE BADGE promotion!

bookshop1How To Do Everything and Be Happy is finally available in UK ‘bricks and mortar’ bookstores up and down the country! I believe a ‘Woo Hoo’ is in order so excuse me whilst I dance the around the room, punching the air. Now, obviously the book’s been available for a while in one form or another, so what was needed for this blog post was a picture of me, standing in an actual bookshop, with the actual book. But unfortunately, due to the fact that I’m currently writing this on Tuesday that’s not possible. I did call my local independent bookshop to see if they’d be willing to help me out but all I got was the answering machine and three hours later nobody’s phoned me back. Make of that what you will. But that’s ok. As you might expect from a bloke who’s written a book about achieving happiness, I’m not one to shy away from a conundrum – no matter how insolvable it may seem. I toyed around with the idea of creating a Time Machine, jumping forwards in time to when my book will be in shops, taking a pic, then coming back to today – until I realised it might be easier to simply create my own bookshop, here, in my lounge! Come on – admit it; if I hadn’t told you that, you’d have been none the wiser. (That’s my “ooo how interesting” face by the way. What do you mean you don’t like it?) thebadge smileyBut back to the point. By the time you read this there should be copies of my book all over the place (not just in my lounge). And to prove it I intend to start posting pictures of myself in real bookstores over the coming months (I may or may not be pulling a stupid face). If you’re reading this in 2021, or some other distant point in the future, there should already be a few at the bottom of this page. How spooky is that? If that’s not a teeny bit like Time Travel then I don’t now what is. Anyway, pictures of me might get a little dull, so how about we mix it up a bit and include some of YOU!? I hereby re-instate the very popular FREE BADGE promotion. Send me a picture of yourself holding the paperback, in a bookshop (or anywhere) and I’ll send you a badge – but be warned, there are only 100, and as I’ll be giving them out at the book signing in Feb they’ll be gone before you know it! You can send me your pictures via facebook messaging – or tweet them at me. In the meantime I’m going to have another look at that Time Machine.


How TO Do Everything And Be Happy will be available in US Bookstores from June 2013. Pre-order the paperback now from amazon, or download the ebook or audio and start reading right away. If you’re reading this in an email, click here for the facebook gallery.


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‘Go With The Flow’ Day

pocketful of smiles_smlOne of the things I love about ‘Boxing Day’ is how people have taken the idea, and made it their own. This week, to mark the launch of her latest book – ‘A Pocketful of Smiles’ – author Wendy Steele tells us about ‘Go With The Flow’ Day.

With the evenings drawing in and less sunshine to brighten our days, I can feel lethargic and unmotivated. For me that suggests I need to book a ‘Go With The Flow’ day.

Do you sometimes get tired of the same routine? Do you find that your weekends feel just like working days? Do you sometimes wish you could do just what you feel like doing right now? You need a Go With The Flow Day.

This day is easy to achieve for some, requires forward planning by most but is impossible for very few of us. In order to make this time, you need to book a day in your diary to do it. For those with small children, this may need to be when grandparents are available to babysit, or with partners, decide if you’re going to ‘go with the flow’ together or separately.

A possible Go With The Flow Day for me would be when my children have plans where they are staying over, I’ve seen my mum the previous weekend, there is tasty home made food in the freezer and I’ve worked hard to get washing, shopping, chores etc relatively up to date. Upon waking, I might decide to have my first cup of Rooibos in the garden or the summer house. A leisurely bath with essential oils gives me time to think; a walk in the woods feels like a good idea. Wrapped up warm while walking, I remember the book I bought about spirals on ancient monuments and I indulge that feeling on my return home and curl up in front of the fire with my book. A cat or two comes to join me and I relish their warmth and their company. Before the light fades, I retrieve dahl and rice from the freezer and as I decant it into oven proof dishes, I remember the cooking apples in the cupboard, wash them, de-core them, fill them with brown sugar and sultanas and pop them in the oven with the curry. I return to my book but my mind recalls that I haven’t read one of my favourite books, ‘Moon Magic’ by Dion Fortune for a while and I abandon one book for another.

Everyone’s Go With The Flow Day will be different but try not to get distracted and fall into everyday mode. If you want to work, then please do so. Sometimes I write on these days but don’t feel you have to or you should. If you want to paint the spare room, go ahead, but only if you want to. Treat yourself to a day of doing what you feel.

Book a Go With The Flow Day in your diary now. After one of these days, I return to my routine refreshed. Even the chores seem less tiresome and I feel more in tune with my surroundings.

You can find 100 more ideas to bring happiness to your days in my new book ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles – 101 ideas for a happy year and a happy you.’ Just visit amazon all the books


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What was that link again?

Keith
Reader Keith recently dropped me a line and said

Just listened to the audio version.  I enjoyed it.  Throughout the book and in the acknowledgements you mention several web links, but I was driving as I listened so could not jot them down.  Perhaps you can add a list of links to the website to help listeners like me?

What a superb idea. And pretty obvious too when I think about it. So, for Keith and all my other listeners out there here’s a list of every link mentioned in the book.

The facebook page

This book has a page on facebook where I post a daily musing and fans of the book comment on it. All good fun. You’ll find it at www.facebook.com/howtodoeverythingandbehappy (you probably could have guessed that).

If you’re more of a twitterer I tweet under the handle @doitallbehappy. The odd re-tweet would be most appreciated. You can follow me here: twitter.com/doitallbehappy.

The selective attention video

The ‘selective attention test’ mentioned in the section on focus is below. Press the play icon in the middle of the image, and concentrate carefully on the number of times the players in white pass the ball to each other.

You can find out more about this video, and the science behind it at here.

Webshots.com

Webshots is a great piece of software that changes your PC’s wallpaper automatically. You can download it for free from http://www.webshots.com/page/apps?app=footer

Photobox.co.uk

Photobox is a great website that allows you to create all manner of items from your digital photos. Snapfish.co.uk is pretty good too. Other sites exist – post your favourites in the comments below.

How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim

My next book co-written with the fabulously slender Della Galton. Find out more here 

Folks mentioned in the acknowledgements

Jules my assistant and the balloon baboon, Author Wendy Steele, Alison the Proof FairyEllen for her fabulous cover design & artwork. Author Keris Stainton. Katja and all from Audible (.co.uk | .com), and Adam and team from Rushforth media.

My other website

You can find out more about me, my books, speaking engagements & workshops, at my other website – peterjonesauthor.com

If you think I’ve missed a link then drop me a line or post a comment below and I’ll update this page


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The Second Edition is here!

IMPORTANT! You’re currently in the archives! All sorts of exciting things have happened since this post was originally released, click here to read the latest posts.

TEN THOUSAND sales after its initial release,  the long awaited Second edition of How To Do Everything and Be Happy is now available in ebook and audio format

New Stuff

The new edition has a numerous updates throughout, including some great reader feedback, and the following new sections:

  • Potential Boxing Day Problems‘ (revised and updated)
  • Advanced Boxing Day
  • Potential Now List Day Problems
  • Determining Your Next Action
  • Advanced Diary Tips

Buy the eBook Now!

The ebook (second edition) is available from amazon for a mere £1.99 or local equivalent.

Download the FREE kindle app for your iphone, ipad, blackberry, android phone, pc and mac from amazon (.co.uk | .com)

The ebook is also available from other e-book stores.

But, for me, the most exciting part of this re-launch is the fact that it’ll be available in an entirely new format!

Also Available in Audio!

From TODAY you can also download the second edition of the book from audible (.co.uk | .com), an amazon company and the internet’s largest supplier of spoken word audio entertainment, and listen to the book “read by the author” (in other words, me)!

Happy reading 🙂

Peter