How To Do Everything And Be Happy

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Walking the walk; WTFHIBD Episode 1

click for bigger image Last week I promised you a new monthly-ish feature on this blog entitled What The **** Have I Been Up To, whereby I come clean with what I’ve been spending my time on, and show you how I’ve gone about applying the concepts in the book to my own life.

Now, there will be those amongst you (mentioning no names – Simon, Amaia, Jayne…) who are no doubt expecting to see pictures of me sky diving out of aeroplanes, swimming with sharks, or bungy jumping off rock faces. I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed. Not only are those activities reserved for the completely insane (the glider ride was as exhilarating enough, thank you very much) but even if they did appear on my Now List, for the past six months, maybe longer, the list has remained relatively untouched.

Of course, I’m still having regular (ish) Now List Days (afternoons in my case) but for the most part my Now List Day activities have been spent either researching or arranging things that haven’t happened yet. I can’t remember when I actually ticked something off.

What then have I been spending my time on, you may ask?

Goals.

Allow me to give you a potted career history of Peter Jones.

Back in my early twenties, a series of poor choices and lucky accidents resulted in me becoming self-employed and working for most of the UK’s Credit Card banks as a freelance business consultant. I was (and I suppose, still am) an ideas man, and a fix-it man; wealthy men would ask me how to make even more money using the tools they had at their disposal, and I would tell them. Though it pains me to admit it, the credit crunch is partly my fault – not my idea, but I was most definitely pulling the levers and pressing the buttons that made it happen.

It wasn’t a bad way to make a living – the money was nice – but whilst I enjoyed the problem solving, and the company of the people I worked with, as the years rolled by I became less and less comfortable working in that industry. By the time I met Kate I wanted out, and much of our time together was spent trying to find ways to use the few skills we had between us to find an alternative career. We tried everything from website design, to property investment. None of those things really worked. And when she died, it felt like my dreams of escaping credit card consultancy died with her.

Of course, if you’ve read the book, you’ll recognise that as a “running away from” strategy. It’s little wonder that it didn’t work. You’ll also know that when Kate died my focus changed. Instead of trying to dig myself out of the pit I’d spent almost twenty years getting myself into, I concentrated on using my solution-finding skills to seek out the very thing that I seemed to be lacking; Happiness. Some ideas worked. Most didn’t. But I read a lot of books, made a lot of lists, and tried anything and everything I could think of.

One day a good friend of mine (hello Tina) suggested I ought to write down some of the quirkier ideas. Several months later I found that I’d accidentally written a book.

Around that time one of my banking contracts was drawing to a close, so I took the somewhat risky decision to dedicate the next few months to getting my strange work of accidental non-fiction published. If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, or my author blog, you’ll also know that not only did I achieve that but that the book has subsequently been quite successful. When I say ‘quite’, I am of course being extremely British about the whole thing. I’m using ‘quite’ in the same way that some Americans might use the world ‘wildly’. By Christmas of last year my sales were such that I’d started to wonder if I could actually get away with not returning to my previous life – whether I could achieve the impossible, fulfil a child-hood dream, and become a full-time author.

So, in January I set the following as my primary goal:

“I am supporting myself
doing the things I love & enjoy,
and no longer worry about bills.”
December 2012

Pretty soon into the new year I realised that I’d managed to set myself the most challenging goal ever. To achieve it would take some major effort on my part, and that some things might have to take a back seat. One of those things was my Now List. However, I can honestly say I think that was the correct decision. If I had to choose between a life writing books – the thing I love and enjoy – or two weeks swimming with jelly fish in Australia, I’ll pick the former every time. And besides, it’s not actually a choice. I can swim with Jelly fish next year, or the year after – but I might never have another chance, or at least this chance, to change my career.

I wish I could tell you now that I’ve done it, that my writing-related income now exceeds my outgoings. It doesn’t. Not quite. Which is why putting this blog post out there feels ever slightly foolish – almost suicidal – however I can tell you that it’s within my grasp.

In March I was one of the many authors that took part in the prestigious Essex Book Festival. A few weeks later I signed a three book deal with audible  (.co.uk | .com), the world’s largest supplier of audio books. The second edition of How To Do Everything and be Happy came out in June. The next book – How To Eat Loads and Stay Slimis currently with my agent. And I’m half way through writing the third book. I am quite frankly stunned at what I’ve managed to achieve. Not proud – just stunned. Pride will follow shortly I’m sure, but right now I’m still reeling on a daily basis from how much you can achieve if you set your goals correctly, and put some effort in.

There are so many more things that I’m absolutely bursting to tell you, but… {big sigh} can’t. Yet. But don’t worry – I will. If only so that I’ve got something to write about next month. Ish. In the meantime lets take the focus off me – I’d love to hear about some of the goals you’ve been working on and what you’ve achieved. Use the comments box below.

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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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FAQ

Friend and fellow Author Della Galton (with whom I’m currently writing another book – more about that over on faqpeterjonesauthor.com) suggested that this blog could do with a Frequently Asked Questions section. A kind of Survival Guide for anyone trying out the ideas in the book.

This seems like a fabulous idea. So starting this Friday, and continuing for as long as I can keep it going, I’ll be discussing various problems that some readers have faced whilst trying to do everything, and be happy – as well as what they, you, we, can do about it. And if you have any thoughts of your own you can post them in the comments section below.

This Friday we’ll be kicking off with the first of many posts about Potential Boxing Day Problems, and cover Now Lists, Wish Lists, Goals and Diaries in due course

And remember, you can get these blog posts sent to you by entering your email in the box up there in the right hand corner, and clicking subscribe. It’s totally free, and you won’t get anything other than blog updates.


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This blog, in your email! (What’s a blog?)

Being an observant lot it probably hasn’t escaped your notice that over there on the right hand side is a mysterious box with a button next to it that says SUBSCRIBE.Subscribe-via-Email

See it?

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been wondering what that means, right? What would you be subscribing to? How much would it cost? What on earth is a post? Or a blog come to that?

Ok, ok – settle down.

This right here – what you’re reading right now – is a ‘post’; an entry into a kind of online journal which for reasons that I can’t be bothered to look up is called a ‘blog’. I know. Computer people are weird. But we’re relatively harmless. If you click the blog tab above you can see all the posts in (reverse) chronological order.

New posts  are added as and when, and each one usually invites comments (at the bottom). Feel free to have your say, I read every comment that’s posted – but if you’d like new posts delivered to you via email (thus saving you the trouble to pop back), you can sign up for that via a free service (from google) called feedburner! Simply give feedburner your email address (completing the “are you a human” test), and when the confirmation email arrives, click the link. And you’re done. New ‘posts’ will come to you via email. (If you don’t get a confirmation email, check any spam filters you may have).

It’s all entirely automated. I don’t even get told who’s subscribed or when. And although I can find that information out, I absolutely promise that I’ll never ever pass your email address onto anyone else – the only thing I’ll use your email address for are blog updates.

And if you ever want to unsubscribe, either drop me a line via the contact page, or click the link at the bottom of any of the emails from me.

Everybody happy?

PS. You might also like to subscribe over at my other blog – Peter Jones, Author .com


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