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And I also know that hardening my heart and approaching all relationships with skepticism and distrust is not in my nature, nor do I ever want to live that closed-off kind of life. Additionally, if I hadn't worked on tapping into my deep beauty and inner worth and, most importantly, focused on self-care, I could have wallowed in self-pity. In fact, given the accumulated trauma in just a few short years caused by my family, the loss of my beloved father, and the physical ailments that were now plaguing my body, I could have easily taken a nose dive and given up on life. I chose not to. I am the person who is responsible for my life, joy, happiness, and health. For years, I had worked very hard on my total well-being by developing the necessary mindset with deep determination: by staying laser-focused on my mental, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual health and growth. By the time this experience with Liam took place, I had already done a lot of self-work in developing my inner strength and courage--never looking back or down, walking forward toward the light, believing in myself, and knowing that God was taking care of me completely. I focused on my purpose with the mission of writing books and working to change laws that would help benefit family caregivers. I had a lot of beautiful work to do to make a difference in the world. I remained in Florida, eventually moving two hundred miles away to a location that provided me the lifestyle I wanted and reminded me of California. I discovered a small beach town that met my emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. Yes, I found the perfect place, just for me. I felt at home. I was offered redundancy from my job. Although it wasn't a brilliant redundancy package, I took it. Telling my friend Ned about it, he thought I was mad to take redundancy; I had two children and my wife was expecting another child. I explained to Ned how free I felt and I told him about my plans to start an online greetings card business. Ned still thought I was mad; all he could see were the risks. But my view of the world was one of opportunity and new horizons. Of course I realized it wasn't going to be easy but I would be free from the rat race, I would be my own boss, my time would be more flexible, and I would get to see my wife and children a lot more than I had in the past.

I was excited about the possibilities opening up to me. And if it didn't work out I would do whatever it took to get back into employment. Ned didn't understand. He told me that for him, the security of a full-time job was the most important thing. He said that even though he really didn't enjoy his job - it was stressful, he hated his boss and he often worked long hours - he couldn't see any other way. He felt trapped. Well, as it turned out, I worked at my business for three years and made a reasonable living from it. And I got to spend a lot of time with the children. I eventually sold the business because my wife was made redundant and we figured I'd have a better chance of getting a well-paid employed job. She had also reached a point where she wanted to spend more time at home. Keeping your act together is harder than getting it together because it's easy to think you can relax, stop working, stop trying, stop setting goals, and stop making an effort at the top. It's the mindset of those who reach the top, get too cocky, lose their footing, and fall! The top isn't flat. You can't lay down, rest, and nap. It's pointy and steep. Staying at the top requires constant awareness and hanging on and watching your footing. It requires never getting cocky. It requires watching your back because there's always someone working 24 hours a day to knock off of the top. The minute you relax and become complacent is when someone grabs your leg and starts pulling. If you pay attention and stay aware, they'll never have that opportunity.

Conor McGregor says to remain the champion, work like you're in 2nd place and trying to reach 1st. To train harder than everyone else. He says most champions relax, get cocky, stop training as hard, get knocked out the next fight, and lose the belt. Learn from those who relaxed at the top and paid dearly for it. There's countless documentaries and stories on the web. In UFC 168, Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva, the champion, because Anderson got too cocky. He started putting his hands down, getting cute, talking trash, taunting him, and he caught a left to the jaw. JaMarcus Russell, considered the biggest NFL bust of all time, was named MVP in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, picked 1st in the NFL draft, and got too cocky, partied, gained 35 pounds, and his career when down the drain. It's the reason 80% of NFL Players go broke and bankrupt after leaving the league. They think they no longer have to work. Back in the early days of computers, there was a saying among computer programmers: "Garbage In, Garbage Out." Meaning, that if you give a computer poor instructions, don't be surprised when it fails to execute the task you've given it. The same is true with habitual procrastinators. So, even though Barry's instruction, "Wash whatever is in the kitchen sink" seemed clear to him when he wrote it, once he put his pen down and stared back at it, it seemed to be far less a valid instruction, and much more like a vague want. While Barry still wanted the result, he felt unsure of how to go about it, and as a result, he froze; meanwhile, his mind searched for a distraction with which to fill the empty and unsettling time. In order to understand what's holding Barry back, let's go back for a moment to the section titled "Bear In Mind" in Chapter Ten. The first line of this section's two-row table states: "When writing your task, use clear and simple language, because this is one situation where less is more." The remedy that Barry needs to accept is that the instruction he provided himself with was unintentionally faulty, and that he now needs to rewrite it in a more specific, yet less complicated form. So, even though the instruction, "Wash whatever is in the kitchen sink" appeared at first glance to be clear, Barry's lack of physical action on that task told a different story. What Barry needs to do is to draw a light wavy line through the instruction that gave him trouble. list look like this: Perhaps more than ever before, we are seeing numerous awareness campaigns aimed at educating people about depression and suicide. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) sponsors the National Anxiety and Depression Week as part of Mental Health Month each May as well as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month each September.

Along with hosting awareness events nationwide to help combat the stigma surrounding depression and suicide, NAMI and participating groups also provide online resources allowing vulnerable people to learn more about treatment options and to contact therapists in their area. Among the different awareness events organized by NAMI are the annual 5K NAMIWalks held each May for fundraising and to promote public participation as well as the CureStigma campaign held at different times of the year. Similar awareness campaigns occur each year in numerous other countries as well. In the United Kingdom, for example, there have been popular programs such as You in Mind, the Defeat Depression, and Changing Minds campaigns to help fight depression, suicide, and mental illness. In Australia and New Zealand, there have been campaigns such as beyondblue; Like Minds, Like Mine; and the Community Awareness Program over the past few decades. Along with these national campaigns, there have also been international ones sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of World Health Day. Under the WHO, new awareness campaigns have been held in many developing nations to help combat the terrible stigma surrounding depression and to encourage better mental health care. But how effective are awareness campaigns in changing attitudes about depression and mental illness and in reducing suicide rates? While numerous research studies looking at national programs such as NAMI's mental health campaigns suggest that they can be effective, comparing different programs is often difficult. A 2009 study examining fifteen programs in eight different countries over a twenty-year period (1987-2007) suggests that the benefits of these programs often depends on how long the programs run and what the programs are intended to accomplish. By the way, you may be wondering what happened to Liam. A few months after I left him, he was served with divorce papers--on his birthday. By summer, our divorce was final. Over time, I was able to forgive him completely. And today I genuinely wish him well. Here's the thing about forgiveness: It has enormous power to help you take charge of your life. Without forgiveness, you will find yourself stuck in the past. Not being able to forgive will eat away at your deep beauty and inner worth. It will put a strong wall between your desire to practice self-care and your ability to really take action. But the person I had to work hardest at forgiving was myself.

I questioned my judgment. I wondered if I was totally naive. Over and over I asked why I had made such a mistake. I was ruthless in looking at myself. Now, one thing I want to stress is that self-reflection is a good thing. There are always multiple perspectives on a story. Did I make mistakes in my marriage? Absolutely. No relationship is without challenges. In the end, however, I knew my own truth. And that truth would not allow a liar and cheat in my life. I could forgive, but I could never forget my own values. Lou's positive thinking reflects an open mind and broadens his ideas, thoughts and actions whereas Ned's negative thinking limits and narrows his world, his opportunities and choices. Positive thinking brings hope; the feeling that what you want can happen or that events can turn out for the best. Negative thinking creates a spiral of unhelpful thoughts and difficult feelings. Even when good things happen, negative thinkers tend to see the negative aspects of a situation. Of course, everybody's view of the world is different, but if you think life is mostly good, you'll notice opportunities and good things in your life; if you think life is difficult, you will find obstacles and difficulties in life. Staying with his task and not fleeing from it, Barry spent a few moments rethinking his faulty instruction. After a short while, he broke his task down further and came up with something that seemed a bit more reasonable to him: "Wash the cups in the kitchen sink." Barry then wrote his new instruction on the line directly underneath the task he overwrote with the wavy line. list now looks like this: Having given himself a more reasonable task, Barry immediately follows through with action by washing the cups in his kitchen sink.