I started “Change Your Life in 7 Days” about midway through December, & it’s only now, on the second full week of February, that I finish it; properly this time. (Warning: way too many lists ahead).
There were some things that got in the way of me completing it faster:
- Me having difficulty with Day 2 (I probably spent about 3 weeks on this day)
- A personal rule: whenever I return to a certain day I must redo the “before you begin today” section again
- Christmas & Te Anau
- Focusing on job applications & the like when appropriate vacancies arose
- Getting my left ear blocked for 13 days, just as I finished Day 6. A vital part of the book is listening to a “mind programming” CD, which makes use of both the left & right output channels for different suggestions. I didn’t want my zombification to be impeded by my half deaf ear.
- Taking a ‘break day’ whenever I finish a in-book day
Funnily enough, Days 5 & 6 were the only days I was able to properly get through in one day each.
Before I give my verdict, I want to share one final thing from Day 7 that I found interesting – the 8 happiness triggers:
- Clear goals
- Immediate feedback
- The ability to concentrate on the task at hand
- The possibility of successful completion
- Total involvement (though the book describes this more as ‘intrinsic value’)
- Loss of self-consciousness
- A sense of control
- [Relative] time distortion
- It also mentions a ninth “meta-characteristic” – a balance of challenge & mastery
What I noticed while reading these is that all of them are present in good video-games:
- Many of them feature on-screen objectives.
- Something almost always happens when you interact with anything (even if it’s just a sound effect)
- You’re typically engaged in whatever you’re doing (covering points 3, 5, & 6), & by the time you snap out of it, it’s 2am.
- All games, even ones as difficult as Darks Souls & Megaman, are designed to be completable using the elements you control.
- Lastly, they’ve been designed & play-tested to insure a balance between challenge & mastery.
Now for the final verdict.
The biggest thing I got out of it was a new perspective on myself. This happened while I was stuck on Day 2. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get myself to generate good feelings for the techniques it provided. I kept on trying to figure out how to get around this until I started to ask myself some new questions:
- What do I like?
- Do I like that I like those things?
It was when I started to answer these questions that I was able to see the positives in myself, & in turn generate positive feelings.
- I like that I’m a nerd.
- I like being some weird dude who values his dreams (both literal & metaphorical), rather than what celebrity twerked who.
- I like that I’m someone who fucking loves creativity in all forms.
- I like that I’m someone who would prefer to know the truth, rather than be wilfully ignorant.
- I like that I’m someone who is open minded enough to consider new ideas, instead of closing them off to become a hateful person.
- I like that I’m someone who would aspire to be a game creator, rather than submit to some soul draining office job.
- I like that I’m someone trying to change themselves for the better.
- I’m far from perfect but, hell, there’s actually some things I like about the person I am.
Since then, I’ve attained a sort of ‘inner peace’. Nothing has really changed in my life, but the things I used to feel sad about seem to barely phase me so much. I haven’t found myself listening to some negative voice in my head for a long time. It’s pleasantly weird.
On top of that, as I’ve continued with the book & did the exercises I found myself feeling good, & when I finish reading for the day the good feeling lingers on. I’m not saying this has ‘cured’ me of negativity, but at the very least I’m in a better place than when I started reading it.
My main critique is that there’s probably too much information to take in each day. You’ll probably need to set aside at least a couple of hours to properly do a “day” in the book. Each day begins with you listening to a CD that’s about 30 minutes long (in which you remain in a relaxed state, doing nothing but listen to what Paul says), do a few techniques (an additional 5-15 minutes), then proceed with the day (about 25-40 pages worth of information). I would say to ignore the “7 day” time limit & just take your time with it.
Thank you Paul McKenna for writing the book. I’ll likely be referring back to it some time in the future when things get darker than usual. I do have another book of his I’ll probably return to as well (“Instant Confidence”), but for now I think I’ll proceed with other things.