The Change Manifesto is a guide on how to enact proactive change in your life.
In conversations over decades, it’s become apparent that every person faces a sticking point, usually to do with one of these three fundamental areas of life:
It’s not uncommon to feel competent or at least progressing at a steady pace, in two of these areas.
Yet there always seems to be one, one big part of your life, that you want to improve, to change significantly, to get clarity and a sense of purpose, confidence and results in, yet you never get there.
It might be your career, what you do every day to earn a living, that never feels satisfying, or you never earn enough money, or you keep changing jobs always hoping to feel a deeper sense of purpose.
Perhaps it’s your health. You’re always a bit overweight, or low-energy, have bad skin, feel anxious or depressed, or face other chronic conditions that never seem to completely go away.
Or maybe you’re that person who is always single, while your friends are pairing up and making babies. Perhaps you want to ‘play the field’ and go on many dates, but even getting one a year is a stretch. Or you have no problem getting into relationships, but then you end them because you can’t imagine spending the rest of your life with that person.
I have no doubt you already know your sticking point because you’ve been trying to change this part of your life for years. No matter what you try, it always feels like a weakness.
Hi, I’m Yaro
In 2007, on my business blog Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, I wrote a very popular 9-part series of articles about how to make positive changes in your life.
Those articles formed the basis for a book I planned to publish one day.
That year was special to me because I finally met many of my big financial goals.
I bought my first house, a new car, and was earning more than $100,000 a year from my business. These were all dream goals I had worked towards for years.
That year I also registered a new domain name, ChangeManifesto.com.
My intention was to use this domain to further explore the idea of proactive positive change, covering the art and science of making the BIG changes to those sticking points in your life. It was also to be the title of my book.
I had just spent the previous decade figuring out how to change one sticking point in my life — money.
I was tired of not having enough money, but I also did not want a job, which as you can imagine are a conflicting set of circumstances.
After years of my life invested into starting various businesses, working casual and part-time jobs to make enough money to survive, I finally realized the big change I was looking for.
When I sat down to write a series of articles on how to proactively change big parts of your life for the better, much of my experience from the previous years growing my income was fresh in my mind.
The truth, however, is that money was never my true sticking point.
Making money was a challenge, but it always felt like this part of my life was easier. If I did the work, results came… eventually.
My true sticking point, and I always knew it was, was my dating life.
I was a shy introvert growing up, and I held myself back from dating out of fear throughout all of my high school and university years.
As I became an adult, I continued to fail miserably — at least that’s how it felt when comparing my results to my desires — when it came to women.
I briefly dated a few girls, but I’m sad to report that they were either an ex-girlfriend of my friends or girls I met online back during the very early days of online dating when it was mostly social misfits, like myself at the time, using it.
None of these experiences amounted to much more than frustration and a sense of failure, although I did manage to lose my virginity along the way (achievement unlocked!). I was perpetually single and desperately lonely most of the time.
During my early twenties, like many a young man, I committed to working on my dating life. I pushed myself to talk to people, attend social events, and get the balls to ask girls out.
Unfortunately, it seemed that my techniques more often than not slotted me right into the role of the ‘nice guy’.
I spent many hours listening to girls I liked talk about their perpetually drunk, horrible boyfriends, who they would go home and sleep with, leaving me wondering why they didn’t choose me instead, the guy who was such a good listener and would always treat them well.
Finally, at 25 years old, I met a waitress at a cafe, and managed to get her phone number. I was impressed with myself because I met someone in a normal everyday circumstance.
We went on a date, and after some awkwardness, one of the best months of my life began. Unfortunately, by the second month, I’d learned that the girl I loved (well liked a whole lot!), was moving to England at the end of the year. It all went downhill from there.
At this point, on some level deep inside my psyche, I gave up on dating.
It felt like just as a glimmer of hope would shine through, a storm cloud of frustration would roll in… and the pattern repeated over and over again. I became bitter and negative, and began to expect failure when it came to women.
It was not a great place to be. My sticking point just got more sticky.
While my dating efforts never seemed to be adequately rewarded, my work on business was, so I put more energy into that part of my life. My income grew to the point where I had made a million dollars just before I turned thirty years old.
In my 29th year, I faced a crossroads.
I could continue to grow my business and make more money, but that didn’t feel like it would make me any happier.
I briefly thought the time was right to start work on the Change Manifesto book. However, it didn’t feel right to write about how to change your big sticking points when you still had your biggest one, even if I had learned so much already from my efforts to grow my income.
That’s when I decided to rededicate myself to dating.
I made the choice to do whatever it takes to experience what I wanted to experience with women (which incidentally changed as I became more experienced).
This time, I’d take the confidence I’d gained from other successful aspects of my life, and channel that into solving my sticking point once and for all. I’d keep working until things worked.
I adopted the mentality of a scientist. Failure was no longer seen as failure, it was simply a stepping stone and a learning tool, to get closer to what I wanted.
I’d built my business to the point where it operated on just a couple of hours per day, leaving me with plenty of time to work on myself and my dating life.
First, I got a makeover.
My long hair was cut, and with help from my French friend Alexis, my wardrobe was updated, cutting all the one-size-too-big clothes I used to wear and adding a few basic, better fitting classic pieces.
To meet women, I had a simple strategy.
I’d use each day to look for opportunities to talk to attractive women no matter what the circumstances and do my best to begin conversations. It wasn’t going to be comfortable, but I knew I needed to laser-target my focus and dedication or nothing would happen.
I’d learned long ago not to buy into the idea of things just ‘magically happening’ with a girl at the right time in the right place as all the television shows and movies would have you believe. I was 29 and I was tired of waiting. It was time to be proactive, it was time to take control and enact the change I wanted, not just wait for it to happen to me.
If I was walking the street and there was a pretty girl, I’d force myself to say hello.
When I went to a cafe to write, I’d scan the place first to see if any open seats next to attractive women were available and sit down. I’d learned how important proximity was if you wanted conversations to happen.
I’d explore bookshops and shopping malls, talk to waitresses, practice my flirting skills while waiting at bus stops, swap contact details after five-minute conversations, go on first dates, second dates and more.
I also returned to my old hunting ground — online dating.
Thankfully, in the almost a decade since I first tried online dating, the practice had become more mainstream, especially once mobile apps like Tinder became popular. This meant the pool was much larger and full of interesting people.
The end result of all this proactive focus on dating was an incredible few years of my life. I dated more women in three years than I had in the past fifteen.
I learned a lot about myself. I found my desires changing as I came to experience things I had always wanted to experience.
At one stage I had five dates in one week, but as exciting as that sounds, it was tiring — and not always fulfilling.
As with many things in life, as you begin to experience what you always wanted, you realize it’s not what you want anymore.
Then life handed me a surprise.
I woke up early one day to a phone call. My mother was in hospital. She had had a stroke.
In the following two weeks, my life was like what you see on TV hospital drama shows, including being asked at one stage if I wanted to ‘pull the plug’ on my mother’s life (we didn’t).
My mother was the person I was closest to in life, the person I felt the strongest love for. I was her only child and we shared many personality traits. We would probably have been friends even if we were not mother and son.
From the chaos of a month in the emergency ward at the hospital to sitting beside my unconscious mother in the neurological ward, my life settled into a new, very unexpected routine.
I was devasted, but at the same time, I wanted to do whatever I could to help. Sadly there was not much I could do, besides sit and wait and see what happened.
After three months my mother showed signs of consciousness. She began to wake up, although she could not use her voice because she had a tracheostomy.
From that point forward, life in the hospital turned into a slightly busier routine, but one I wish I never had to experience and certainly wish my mother never had to go through.
I’d spend several hours mom with each day, as would my mother’s partner, Phil. She’d have therapy from various specialists (physios, ENTs, speech therapists, nurses who sucked blood or changed diapers or fed my mother through a tube that was surgically attached to her stomach, and so on).
Most of the time mom simply lay back in bed, since she could not move much of her body, and watched the television mounted on the wall.
One bizarre blessing of my mother’s stroke was that her short-term memory was not good. As a result, she could watch the same movie on television every day and for her, it was new each time (you can’t imagine how many times she cried while watching the end of the ‘Notebook’).
I didn’t expect it at the time, but we’d spend two years of our lives in this situation.
And then, one evening while out with my friends, I received a call from a night shift doctor.
My mother had gone into cardiac arrest… and died.
Our bodies are not built to spend two years in bed, at least that is what the doctors said, and that was that.
I was again devasted, but also on some level relieved, both for myself and for my mother.
As time wore on in the hospital it became apparent that my mother was not recovering quickly.
It didn’t help that the hospital staff would occasionally make mistakes, including a couple that almost killed her and sent her back into the ER unconscious again (to be fair to the staff, they simply didn’t have enough people to provide the constant attention my mother’s unique condition required, but that didn’t make me feel any better… just angry!).
After mom died, I was not happy of course, but I was handling things a lot better than I expected.
On one level, because of my spiritual beliefs, I was thankful that mom was out of her broken body and in a better place.
On another level, I’d gotten used to the idea of mom dying. It was hard to think about, but during many days or nights when I left my ‘shift’ at the hospital, I’d look at her face as I left wondering if that would be the last time I saw her alive.
It wasn’t that I had given up hope, but when you are repeatedly told the situation is not great, you are forced to contemplate what you fear the most.
After two years of considering what might happen if mom died, I faced that reality.
When you feel trapped in one place because of circumstances out of your control, you desire to leave ramps up.
I was never going to abandon my mother of course, but I certainly thought a lot about traveling while I sat in the hospital chair next to her bed, day-after-day, week-after-week, and month-after-month.
After the funeral was over, my main desire was to leave Brisbane, where I’d grown up and spent most of life, and also where I’d just spent two years driving every day back and forth to the hospital.
I wanted to get away from those memories… so I moved to Melbourne.
During a year living in Melbourne, I spent a lot of time alone, well almost alone. I lived with Ramses the cat, who I inherited as a house guest from mom after she entered the hospital.
It was good to be alone and have the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I wrote a lot, briefly dated some girls, and dove into many books and courses to re-ignite my business spark.
The experience in the hospital had shocked my value system. The simplest way I can describe it to you is that I no longer got so caught up in the ‘small things’ as I used to.
As my mother passed on, and I saw what happened to many other patients in the hospital, I contemplated my own death and also how much different life could be.
All it takes is one stroke or one illness or accident and suddenly your life has completely changed. It made me value my ability to simply get up out of bed, something my mother and many of the people in the hospital could not do.
I felt I no longer had the right to ever let myself get down about small things, or complain that life was hard. My life was not hard at all, it was brilliant, I could do whatever I wanted with it, I was in a blessed situation.
Prior to this, I was dedicated to fixing my sticking points. I thought so much about and devoted so much energy to making money and meeting a girlfriend, that I frequently got tunnel vision.
Now, I had a new perspective. These things still mattered to me, but I was more relaxed about them.
After a somewhat cathartic experience in Melbourne spending most of my time with a cat, I decided I wanted to meet more people who were like me — online entrepreneurs, bloggers, podcasters, independent thinkers and trailblazers.
Naturally, my first thought was San Francisco.
It was time to leave Australia, which had been home for so long, and see what was going on up on the other half of the planet.
My plan was to take a detour through two places I always wanted to visit — Hong Kong and Tokyo — then settle in San Francisco for a while. If I didn’t like it there, I’d head up north to Canada, where I am also a passport holder.
I’ve felt half-Canadian all my life because I speak more like a Torontonian than an Aussie thanks to my parents teaching me how to speak Canadian. Plus I’ve always liked Baseball over Cricket, and loved to rollerblade as a teenager, which is only one step away from Ice Hockey, Canada’s passion.
I was 35 years old in 2015 as I boarded the plane leaving Sydney for Hong Kong.
When I was younger, 35 years of age was when I thought I would have children and settle down to write a book after already making a lot of money from my business.
Some of my ideas had come true, I had made some money from business, but I didn’t expect to not have a mother at such a young age.
Since then I have traveled the world as a digital nomad. I’ve lived in Canada, dropped into the USA many times to speak at or attend conferences, traveled through Europe, lived in Ukraine, started a new solar energy business and continue to manage my publishing and media business.
If you asked me where my home is right now, I would say to you — ‘Planet Earth’.
On many levels, I feel a sense of contentment about my sticking points because of all the experiences I have had over the last twenty years, both the good and the bad. The desperation around money and dating has left me.
I’m not married and I have no children, so there are still things I want to experience in relationships.
I’d also like to do more good for our planet and the people on it, and money is a powerful tool to help make this happen, so I want to continue to grow my income.
I continue to work on my health every day, as I know full well that without your health, those other sticking points become somewhat insignificant.
I’ve also started work on what is now my personal mission – The Change Manifesto.
You’ve arrived at my website, home to the ideas and stories I share revealing what I have learned and lived, and how I have proactively changed important aspects of my life for the better.
This is a website for counter-intuitive thinkers, people who want to live differently, take control of their priorities, and make a difference.
Whether you want to make more money, improve your health, explore relationships, or change any aspect of your life that is a sticking point, I know what I reveal to you here, can help, because it helped me in very powerful ways.
Of course, to truly change, you must live the changes you desire. I can provide strategies, tactics, systems and processes, ideas and stories, through my manifesto, but it’s up to you to use them to transform your own life.
Ultimately my goal is to raise the awareness of our species, so we can end suffering and keep our planet a safe and happy place to live and thrive on.
The way I choose to do this is by sharing my journey. I started this process back in 2005 with my first blog, Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, where I talked about my entrepreneurial process.
Today I continue that philosophy.
By sharing and exploring my process to raise my own awareness and attempt to be the best version of myself, I aim to inspire you to do the same.
The challenge is not knowing what to do — it’s to live it every day. You then inspire others to do the same, as they observe your efforts and outcomes.
I believe we are all on some level already ‘awake’ to what has to change. What needs to happen is for each individual to live that awareness on a day-by-day basis.
The Change Manifesto is my attempt to do this. I encourage you to do the same.