The author of The 6-Minute Diary, Dominik Spenst, tells of the amazing implications of gratitude and self-reflection
As my eyelids open, I feel like passing out again. The air is so humid that I have difficulties breathing, let alone thinking. I’m lying face up on a burning hot asphalt somewhere in Cambodia, trying to understand what just happened.
There is this stabbing pain in my left leg and as I try to sit up. I almost black out at the sight of the gaping wound at my left calf. Slowly, I begin to realise that I’ve been in a motorcycle accident, that I’m alone and that I’m very very very far from home. The thought is so disheartening that I want to give in to the pain, when I suddenly feel someone lifting my head and saying:
“What’s your name?”
I reply with “Dominik”, and this calm and reassuring voice talks back:
“Hi Dominik, my name is Doug and I will get you the hell out of here, but you have to stop looking at your leg!”
The name of my guardian angel was Doug. He was about 65 years old and from Australia. If you are reading this, Doug: thank you for saving my life!
From self-pity to self-development
My devastating accident was followed by 16 weeks in hospital and 12 surgeries accompanied by my constant fear of losing one leg. In addition to the awful situation, two family members had passed away shortly before and I could see that the array of miseries was more than my parents and grandma could take. At that moment, I decided I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and start taking control of the situation. Thus, I set the goal to drag myself out of my self-generated negativity.
I started reading about concepts such as gratitude, the power of habits and positive psychology and soon had my first moments of epiphany. I realised..
- we can train our brain just as we can train our muscles. Thus, with daily practice we can change our brain structure – even way after childhood.
- positive thinking is more than shouting “You can do this!” to your mirror reflection. A positive mindset brings about long-term changes to our brain and measurably affects the way we act and the way we feel.
First my mindset changed, then my life did
Now, I am not exactly an exemplary model when it comes to positive thinking, but these realisations unquestionably sowed the seeds of optimism in my mind. I also learned about the techniques and methods used in the field of positive psychology which help foster a growth-mindset. What I enjoyed most was developing the habit of writing daily and thus, I had soon developed my very own diary routine. Practising daily gratitude and self-reflection helped me endure the never-ending medical procedures. Little did I know about how much these concepts would shake up my life in the future.
After leaving the hospital – luckily, on both legs – my previously aspired “classic business career” (meaning a well-paid job in a prestigious consulting firm), didn’t feel right anymore. I thought “Why should I create a purely financial value for someone else if I can create a personal value for (almost) everybody?” Convinced by my own experience, and the vast research I had done in the field of positive psychology, I was determined to develop a tool which would help other people to apply those concepts to their lives. That was when I started to work on The 6-Minute Diary.
Fast-forward to the end of the year 2018
Two years later, I am working in my own Berlin-based startup with a wonderful team and I couldn’t be more fulfilled. I can proudly say that we have sold more than 200,000 copies across Europe, that the Diary will soon be translated into 15 different languages and that it is now available in Australia, too.
Yet, the moment when I feel truly blessed, is when I receive personal feedback from our users. Some people thank me for simply bringing more joy and peace into their life. Others share their moving stories with me and how the 6-Minute Diary served them as an indispensable anchor throughout dark times. And still others have gone through a massive personal growth using the Diary as a companion. No revenue in this world could ever replace the feeling I get when I read those messages of true personal evolution.
During the 16 weeks in hospital, I sometimes wished I had died on the pavement that day. Today, I am thankful for the accident that has changed my life and that of many others for the better.
What is The 6-Minute Diary?
To put it into our customers’ words: it is a life-changing tool that brings more mindfulness, gratitude and especially happiness to one’s life.
The book consists of a brief and scientifically supported introduction to the topics of positive psychology, habits and self-reflection, as well as a practical diary part which the user fills out him- or herself: three minutes in the morning to practice gratitude and to set a positive mindset for the day, three minutes in the evening to reflect on the small but mighty moments of the day. It sounds simple, it is simple and its long-term effects are mindflowing. Other powerful elements of the diary are the weekly changing introspective questions, the monthly check and the habit tracker. Write yourself happy!
The 6-Minute Diary is now available on Amazon Australia.
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