Iwas only a 15-year-old boy.
I saw this book advertised to me on Instagram. “Have you ever wondered why there are few people living their dream, yet others seem to be slipping further away from theirs?”
I was hooked from the start. I felt an urge inside of me to read what this author had to say about life, and so I ordered it. £10 of my pocket money spent on this book which would turn out to be a changing point in my life.
You see, our life is where it is because of little decisions that we make. If I didn’t go ahead and purchase that book, I may not have got fascinated in the self-development world, and I wouldn’t be writing this article right now.
Every action we take today has repercussions in the future, whether positive or negative.
My actions lead to me reading this book and changed me into the man I am today:
Who Says You Can’t? You Do by Daniel Chidiac
This book basically became my Bible throughout my teenage years.
It discusses self-discovery, the importance of good relationships, having a healthy physical existence and finding fulfillment.
The author begins the book by discussing his troubled life as a young adult; turning to drink and drugs as a teenager after a break-up with his girlfriend. He makes a really good point early on as how his happiness was attained through external things, and it wasn’t until he attained happiness in himself that his life truly changed.
Lesson 1: Happiness can only be attained within one’s self.
The first chapter of the book is all about self-discovery. In this chapter, I completed a task: I took all the doubts I had about myself and wrote them down beginning with “Am I”. My list looked like this:
- Am I going to be successful?
- Am I going to be happy?
- Am I going to have a good career?
- Am I going to have good relationships?
It turned out I was doubtful about nearly every aspect of my life. The task was then to change the ‘Am I’ to ‘I am’. My new list looked like this:
- I am going to be successful
- I am going to be happy
- I am going to have a good career
- I am going to have good relationships
This simple task illustrated how our own success is on our heads. You can either have a doubtful mindset, or an optimistic mindset.
“When we complain, we become the victim. When we are the victim, we don’t get what we want in life, we get more of what we don’t want.” — Daniel Chidiac
I started these positive affirmations, and I would read them to myself every morning and night. I cut complaining out of my life, and I replaced it with happiness.
Lesson 2: You don’t complain because life is hard, life is hard because you complain.
Here’s a list provided in the book of individuals that have faced adversity:
- Beethoven was told by his music teacher he is hopeless as a composer
- Albert Einstein couldn’t speak until he was four years old, and his teachers said he “would never amount to much”
- Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination”
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team
- Marilyn Monroe was told she was “unattractive” and “couldn’t act” by a producer
- Abraham Lincoln’s fiancée died, he failed in business twice and was defeated in eight elections
Do you know what they all have in common? They all fell down, but they all got straight back up. Instead of focusing on the obstacles, they were focused on the outcome. As Walt Disney said:
“You may not realise it when it happens, but a good kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you”
How is it that one person could have all the odds stacked against them and still be a success? Like The Tortoise and The Hare, how can some people achieve their dreams when they have nothing to begin with, yet others have everything and fail to achieve theirs.
In order to become persistent, you must cut every avenue of retreat.
Lesson 3: Failure means step closer to success.
We’ve all heard “you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with,” and whilst that is very true, Daniel Chidiac has a better way of explaining it:
‘I was in an aquarium to buy my nephew a pet fish, and I explained to the worker that I couldn’t have one that grew too large as it was only going in a bowl. He assured me that I have nothing to worry about, because fish only grow in proportion to the size of their environment, and then stop! What a great analogy to the way humans seem to adapt to the people they associate with and the choice of environment they surround themselves with on a daily basis’
Being a teenager reading this book, it was challenging for me. I understood exactly what Chidiac was saying, but I was only a 15-year-old kid. What friends did I know that was as focused on life as I was?
I originally took this lesson with a pinch of salt, but as I grew up I saw it become more and more evident. People I knew that used to be good-hearted people are now taking drugs every weekend. People that used to have ambitions are now just letting life control them.
Remember: it only takes one rotten apple to turn the whole barrel rotten.
Stay true to yourself. Life can be difficult, and finding like-minded peers can be challenging. Luckily, we live in an era of YouTube, podcasts and other forms of content, which you can stick in your ears 24/7.
If you hang out with 4 drug addicts, you’ll be the 5th. If you hang out with 4 millionaires, you’ll be the 5th. If you hang out with 4 of the happiest people, you’ll be the 5th.
Lesson 4: Who you associate with is one of life’s most important choices.
This is still a book that I keep on my bookshelf, purely as a reminder of where my journey all began. I often wonder where I would be if I hadn’t had made that decision to buy it. Would I have began hanging around people with no ambition, or would I have still ended up on my same path? I guess the beauty of it is that nobody knows.