Let's get happy

Conversation with Dai Manuel, purveyor of happiness, lifestyle mentor, coach, fitness expert and speaker. Dai's passion is to engage and challenge people to live healthier lives, and adopt a more active lifestyles.
About Dai Manuel.

Dai Manuels Nuggets of Wisdom

  • 1:54 Dai's definition of Happiness
  • 2:50 The feelings of true inner happiness
  • 6:06 Chasing Happiness vs sustainable joy
  • 8:19 Dai's daily ritual - his morning power hour
  • 10:05 His 30-year habit to manage emotions and make daily challenges less challenging
  • 12:19 Keep your couple connected; try this bedtime ritual
  • 14:28 Manage overwhelm, anxiety and procrastination with this tip
  • 18:35 Celebrate successes to increase your happy neurotransmitters
  • 23:18 Your happiness is not contingent on anybody else
  • 24:54 Whenever you "struggle with the juggle", do this first
  • 26:05 3-step process to manage any struggle
  • 28:03 Make your day flow: determine your "big rock" of the day
  • 29:59 Dai's Five-F model to a healthier, happier lifestyle
  • 40:42 The digital nomad life travelling and living in Bali
  • 46:05 With a chronic auto-immune disorder Dai was told he should live in a bubble. How he defied his Dr's advice
  • 47:59 Three questions to ask yourself when you feel it is time for a change

Transcription of Dai Manuel's Conversation with Laura

Laura Warf: Hello, and welcome to happiness habits from the heart where you will find conversations from people who live from the heart and choose happiness and wellness as a way of being I'm Laura. Founder of the school of happiness. And I am elated today. I feel bubbly with joy to introduce you to Dai Manuel.

Dai Manuel: Oh, I'm so excited to be here, Laura.

This is, I mean, wow. This is a, I mean, we're talking about something that's near and dear to my heart, as well as everyone else. That's listening to this or coming to this, you know,

Laura Warf: A long time in the making my friend, we've been talking about this for a while to sit down and have this conversation. So let me introduce you briefly because it's going to all unfold in our conversation.

Um, so Hey, so honored to be diamond unwell for those who are just meeting him for the first time is the. Purveyor of happiness. He's a lifestyle mentor coach. He's been in the fitness and wellness business for as long as I can remember as well. And, uh, author speaker, and just an all around amazing human being.

Who's doing some incredible work out there in this world and such an honor to be able to connect and to share some of your happiness and wellness habits today from. The fitness realm from the business realm from your family, your friends. I know that you're working with a men's group right now as well.

So there's so much to unpack. Let's get started.

Dai Manuel: All right.

Laura Warf: So first question, Hey, let's just kind of unravel di how would you define

Dai Manuel: happiness? Um, what's such a great question. You know, it's, it's quite subjective. Right. And, and I know we all have sort of a different idea of what happiness is. I know at different periods of my life, I would define it differently.

You know, cause obviously in certain periods of my life, I had certain belief systems. I had certain lifestyle, uh, just seasons of my life. And I know I would have positioned happiness differently. Um, it definitely was something that I used to chase. You know, chasing happiness rather than just realizing that everything I had, especially everything I had so much to be grateful for.

And when I, when I take time to actually just slow down and just be in the moment I realized there's so much to be grateful for. And just in acknowledging my gratitudes for everything. That's so amazing that I'm fortunate to have in my life. I feel. Just overwhelming sense of calm, but also elatedness and lightness.

And, and I would call that, that feeling, my happiness, my happy place, you know, and I, I used to always think it was something that I would have to chase externally. You know, it was always, uh, an end result of pursuing something else. And, uh, so for me now, Really happiness is that opportunity to, to just live in the gratitude, you know, live in those moments right now with my family, with my friends, meeting a stranger for the first time and having exchanging just the smile and, uh, It D to know that there's a connection there, that our energies are.

We're sharing a space a moment in time, you know, and, and it might be very brief, but we shared a moment. And, and so it's finding those moments and just enjoying them for what they are, whether they're passing, whether they're lasting, it doesn't really matter. It, it, it still is a reason to smile. So, so for me, that's really happiness is just recognizing the moments in my life that are just.

And, and, and not being worried that they're not going to last forever. Hey, this too shall pass. And so it's really just recognizing that. And I have to remind myself for that though. And I'll be brutally honest that, that at times it's hard to be fully present in the moment. It doesn't mean I stopped pursuing that and practicing that, but it is an ongoing dialogue, you know, to do it, slow down, take a breath.

Look at it. Look at your life, look at what you got to be grateful for. And this is a do that. It's amazing. I just have this warm feeling and I, a smile comes across my face and I would call that house.

Laura Warf: Yeah. So what you're describing there dies really that happiness is an inside job. You know, we can easily get caught up in this outside world with all of our senses, what we see, what we feel in reaction to all the external events, environment, people, situations, media, um, which can take us out of our balance and out of our wellbeing, if we're not careful and sort of.

I say is that we can reel ourselves in when there are those moments and we're all human. We have those moments of feeling, uh, down for whatever reason. And you said that you've overcome different belief systems and thought patterns that have helped you then come back into a state of greater awareness.

So I think probably awareness and consciousness is the inside part of the job rather than just being caught up in the material on the outside that is always has ebbs and flows. But that we can at any moment go within and just through a gratitude practice and looking for what's right around us versus what's wrong.

Can cultivate that sense of wellbeing in that feeling that you describe of expansion and lightness and happy.

Dai Manuel: I think you repeated that back much better than I could say it.

Laura Warf: I'm understanding where you're coming from. And so for me to say it back out loud and maybe for our listeners as well, and this is, you know, when we reflect on those deep, beautiful soulful wisdom words that you just shared, when we think about it, let it land inside and then say it verbally again, we kind of go, oh yeah, that's let me try that

Dai Manuel: on.

And I think it's important to know that. You're absolutely right. And I know when I think about my own life in certain periods, it's I was thinking that my happiness was always contingent on something else. You know, like I was always chasing something else that next thing, and thinking that that would be the key to the door to be happy all the time.

You know? And, and I, I slowly started to realize that there was a clear distinction between happiness and joy. You know, joy is more of that sustained state. I would call it the sustain happiness contentment

Laura Warf: send Tosha.

Dai Manuel: Okay. There we go. Yeah. Fair. Right.

Laura Warf: It's the steadiness of that lightness that you described.

And we do that through consistent practice at the state. And I love that, you know, it really is a state. We can have the heavy state, let me just share quickly because before we got on, on online, um, and to all of my friends out there, cause all of us now this year, especially we're spending so much time on technology and screen time.

How do you feel after you've spent eight hours behind your screen or on tech or on your phone? Well, I was online several hours on the computer before our conversation died and I felt my wellbeing and my happiness factor kind of diminishing because I was so in my head and concentrating on some tasks and some to do's and deadlines like we all have.

And I thought, wow, I'm feeling myself, kind of get uninspired and heavy. It was like, okay, whoa, switch. We all have tools and this is what I can't wait for you to share today that we have tools and rituals and techniques that we can employ and pull out of our back pocket. When we know we need to get into, or we choose to get into a happy state because doesn't it feel so much better to be joyful and content and light than cranky and heavy and negative and tired all the time.

Can we is that that's kind of an easy choice to make, but we have to do the work. So tell me a little bit about how do you cultivate, um, happiness and wellness in your life? Cause I know I'm getting to know you happiness and health and wellbeing is a priority for you in your life. So what are some of your daily go-tos?

Dai Manuel: Um, well thank you for asking that it's for me, I guess there's a lot of rich. In my life, you know, and we can call it routines. We can call it habits, but it really is a ritual, you know? Cause it's, there's a deeper, emotional connection to the things that I do, you know? Sure. There's an action. Like working out.

I went, my wife and I went and worked out together this morning. How to, you know, we weren't working out the same workout, but we were in the space together and sharing that energy and, and just. Moving our body with purpose, getting the heart rate, elevating, getting a little sweat on, you know, did some mobility, do some strength, work, do some core work.

It was just a really nice way to start my day and I love start my day. That way. My partner in life. Uh, but also with one of my passions in life, you know, fitness and that aspect of how it makes me feel. And it affects how I think and how I feel and express my emotions, especially, you know, so that is one ritual that, that brings me a great sense of.

Happiness and connection is that ability to just get into my body and feel it and move it and create certain results as, uh, as I go through the motions, so to speak, you know, and, and it's a daily practice for me. I'm moving my body every day with some purpose. And what's the purpose? Well, the purpose is to show me that I love myself, you know, that I'm willing to move my body in a way that produces a positive lasting well-being effect if you will.

And that makes me feel good. It makes me happy. You know, it makes me lighter. And I know if I get that done, first thing in the morning, it sets me up for a great day. I know the challenges don't seem as. You know, those little things that don't go right, as more free, as long as it's planned to fail and fail to plan, you know, like, um, maybe that was Edison, but, uh, you know what I mean?

Like there there's that aspect to just the day that sometimes can seem daunting. And if I've started my day with showing myself some self-love and doing something that I know makes me feel good. Uh, in a healthy way, uh, it just makes everything smooth, you know, and a lot smoother anyways, and booster for sure, definitely, but also focus.

Right? My mental ability to focus on tasks at hand throughout the day, and to be present with my family, like just all these things. So it is like the one habit that it has been consistent in my life for over, well, I guess almost 30 years. I know since I was 14. And, um,

Laura Warf: yeah, you embody that so well die. And that's what I thought right before our call.

I went, what would I do right now to get into an elevated state, to feel good, to be able to be sharp and think clearly and to feel energized. And so that's what I got. I got 30 minutes down onto the floor, right before our call and did some Pilates and core work and got the juices flowing and some breath work because I was embodying.


Dai Manuel: you know what, Laura, I love that, but also like, think about it this way. You know, I, I often have clients or friends or just acquaintances, you know, we'll get into conversation. We talk a bit about ritual in our lives and what are we doing? That's cultivating, you know, a really positive energy flow versus, you know, something that's creating friction in our lives, you know, and we all have habits or rituals that we know are either moving us forward or potentially holding us back.

And. And we're aware of these for the most part. Sometimes we'd like to turn that blind eye to it, try to ignore it until we can't ignore it any longer. I've been in periods of like that in my life too. So I totally get that. Um, but you know, this, this aspect of just living into the moment and, and, and recognizing that we can do some very simple things that are accessible, that don't cost money.

That really is just a little bit of time. And, and a little bit of movement, you know, and it's, but it's instant. And the cool thing is, is if you think about your day as a. And, you know, we have a practice and we try to do it as often as we can. Sometimes we fall asleep before this, but my wife and I, even at the end of the day, you know, like we're connecting in bed, it's our end of day ritual, you know, we'll talk a little bit about, Hey, how was your day?

You know, is there anything that you're grateful for happening today? And then, you know, some people will do a gratitude journal and I found it wasn't as consistent with the journaling, but if I knew I had that little conversation before. Close my eyes and going to sleep. It was easy to, to review some things I'm grateful for and, and having my partner and I have that dialogue is, is great, you know?

Uh, but there's one thing and I want everybody that's listening to this, you know, when you sort of think on your day and you think about all of the great things that you were able to accomplish, and you think about the things that you're grateful for and, you know, it's a great way to end your day and go into that period of rest and recovery and recuperation.

No one ever, ever, ever, ever would say to me, you know what, I regret having a workout today. No one ever says that, you know, and it's like, oh, I had a salad at lunch. And I regret doing that. There's certain things that we don't ever regret. You know, and, and I think it's important to take note of, you know, asking myself, like, will I regret taking a half an hour into my day to go move my body and show myself that I have.

You know, do something for my wellbeing. Why

Laura Warf: practices that you have every single day, your beginning of the day, your movement and your end of the day gratitude. Right? And there's a day when you're working, like, what are your tricks midday with your feeling like there's that afternoon slump, or you feel that you need to be on top of your game for a meeting or you're giving a presentation and you want to really be in an elevated peak state.

Are there other things that. Pick out of

Dai Manuel: your toolbox. Yes. Uh, one of which is that I encourage everyone or at least invite you to try. It is really getting clear on time blocking, you know, a lot of the stresses that I've experienced in my life usually comes when I'm feeling over. You know, and with overwhelm comes, anxiety comes, stress comes procrastination.

You know, these, these negative aspects that create a negative feeling in me. And, and that will often manifest in how I interact with people, the quality of the work that I do, even sometimes the workouts that are. You know, it will affect, I can tell that I'm in my head, I'm not in my body when I'm working out.

And, and the quality of the practices is nowhere near as satisfying. And I don't feel satisfied, attached to the words, which also affects me. And so, you know, this idea of re. Setting some very clear boundaries for ourselves is critical. And so that's a practice that I've had for a long time where I just, and I'm not so prescriptive.

And, and, and I think some people take me very literally when I say this is, you know, it's easy to say, okay, this every minute of the day, I've blocked out what I'm doing. No, no, no, no, no, no. I, I look at a block. And I prioritize that, you know, so I look at the big blocks and if anybody's read Stephen Covey's seven habits of highly effective people, he talks about the big rocks in our life.

Right. And making sure those, you make room for those first. And so I've taken that concept that, that metaphor he uses with the jar and the rocks and the sand and all that stuff. And if you just look at your calendar, I love Google. Google is great. It's got a lot of great tools that are free. And I, I look at the calendar and I block out and I color coordinate my calendar.

So I know my fitness is blocked in every day. I've got a, an hour block for my health, my fitness, my movement, you know, on your agenda,

Laura Warf: like an appointment

Dai Manuel: it's in there and it's a non negotiable, right. I then in the house, I'll have work commitments, client commitments, you know, family commitments, they all get blocked.

And now I've got a very nice way of taking what's typically seen as an intangible time, but I've made it very tangible and I can literally see my week, but I also see all the white space, which is more or less free time, you know, and it's time that I can use. However I want. Sometimes that's where I have to buy and best creative work is during that time when I know I have nothing else.

But every afternoon, I try to at least leave a little block of time. That's open and free that I don't. I do my best. You know, sometimes if I got something I got to make a last minute meeting or an adjustment for a client, I might block them in there, but I try to reserve that time for me to get outside and go for.

Um, and it is one of the things. So, you know, time-blocking, so you can take control of your calendar, take control of the high 168 hours we have in a week. So you feel like you're more on top of things. So you reduce the overwhelm, you reduce the anxiety, reduced stress, and then you also create some commitments for you to get some fresh air, some regular movement just by walking.

And that's also when I do most of my meditation or I listen to my audio books. You know, so I'm focusing on feeding my mind while I nourishing my. And so that cascades time, now I'm doing multiple things with the same block of time, which creates a really positive effect. And so these are some of the little skills, or I call it rituals now, but at first they were just commitments to trying to be consistent with a habit, but it's not become a lifestyle and there's no.

Set time. I have people say, well, how long is it gonna take me to get to a lifestyle or this I'm like, I don't know. Yeah. And that's

Laura Warf: why you're such a good lifestyle mentor. And that's a great title to have because you instill these lifestyle habits. And I love that of time blocking and, uh, doing the big things first because it's so easy to procrastinate.

And the end of the week, you feel like you didn't accomplish anything. Um, that's a good question.

Dai Manuel: That's hard because

Laura Warf: then when you do get it done.

Dai Manuel: Yes, exactly. And, and celebrate that, right. I mean, come on there. We know there's certain neurotransmitters that we can use to our advantage. You know, why do we like checking things off our list?

Because we get a dopamine hit. What is dopamine? Dopamine is a great neuro-transmitter and it's pretty much the key to motive. It's the reward we get when we accomplish something, when we achieve something, you know, some people get dopamine by watching TV by using social media. And I'm not saying that's a negative, but if that's your sole source of getting that little dopamine hit, it might be some imbalance there.

You know, so looking for other positive ways and improve your health and wellbeing and still gives you that little satisfaction, getting that little dopamine hit. Right. You know, because dopamine is, it's always been called the happy neurotransmitter that along with serotonin, right? Like, so w w there, there's this science behind happiness.

And, and, you know, if you look at some of Sean acres work and his Ted talks, he gets into that a little bit, and even Simon Sinek hints of this. And so it was Tony Robbins. Like, there's, it's pretty cool when you start to dive into that, and I know this is, this is your wheelhouse Lauren, this is where you shine because you are, in my opinion, your miss happiness, you know, so.

Laura Warf: Funny, you know, I mean, I could, I'm not going to go into all my story right now. It says, this is, this is your time, my friend. Um, but probably that stems from the struggle because I struggled a lot with a lot of different things. And so I became a seeker, you know, a spiritual seeker and feelings of well-being and one of the guiding quotes in my life from Dr.

Maya Angelou. People might not remember what you say or what you do, but they'll always remember how you made them feel. And so I, I'm a big feeler, I'm a big sensitive. And so it was learning how to cultivate. And like you say, habits, so happiness habits and wellness habits. To keep that sense of steadiness and so that when we are, and Shawn Achor says it so well in his book, the happiness advantage.

And I think he was one of the influencers key influencers that I started getting into this work. And, um, you know, I draw upon a lot of teachings from a lot of wonderful mentors and teachers that I've had over the years. And. It's, you know, it's not, when I have this, I'll be happy or when I'm happier, I'll do this, but it's like be happy first because when we feel good, just like you, whatever habit you choose, exercise, gratitude time-blocking and feeling empowered, whatever gets you into that peak state of feeling like I'm feeling like a good version of myself, man, do we have more of an impact we're able to.

Feel inspired and only if we are feeling and being inspired, can we inspire and then transmit that naturally and authentically to others? Right. Um, so it's really through the practices that, that shift and that transformation starts to happen. And so these are. So, you know, that's a perfect,

Dai Manuel: I was going to say just one little thing you just sort of, uh, uh, reminded me to when, when one of the most impactful books I've read in the last decade is by Victor Frankl who wrote man's search for meaning an absolute a hundred percent recommend read that, you know, like to, to anybody who's listening to this, because it just, we're talking about perspective as well.

Right. And, and recognizing that.

You know, and without ruining the, the book, uh, I'll just put it this way. And you know, the first half of the book talks about his experience and anecdotal observations while he was being persecuted along with his friends and his family, you know, he survived the Holocaust and he went to some of the worst concentration camps, including Auschwitz and still.

And he talks about all the hardships and what was happening to people in those situations. And, but he sees it through the eyes also, not only of a Jewish man who is being prosecuted, persecuted, but also as a psychiatrist. Right. And, uh, someone that really understands the mind. And so he was almost able to stand outside himself and observe what was happening.

And they were counseling in a very eloquent way and it is graphic at times, and it's not a happy read. Okay. But it can be heavy. It can be quite heavy, but it's like, you know, this. Yeah, there's, there's no ignoring this. It happened, you know, we just celebrated remembrance day, you know, like it's a big deal.

This happened and there's much we can learn from it. And from this experience, you know, he's really become the founder and, or the grandfather of what's called logotherapy, which is this idea of really aligning that passion and purpose together. And because there's one thing that when, when you realize that your happiness is not contingent on anybody else.

Yeah. Nobody can take. And he talked about that in his book as well. You know, he said it, he sort of quotes Nisha where he says, you know, like with a strong enough why we can endure any house. And I just, that, you know, when you said your quote, that is one of the quotes, I just constantly remind myself, you know, like, why am I doing this?

Like, why, why do I want to do this? You know, w w w in, in, at times I remember that and I center myself around that. And, and as crazy as life may seem, and as things aren't going my way, It's okay. You know, like it's okay. I can get through this. And, and, uh, of course my hardships are nothing like what Victor Franco and, and, uh, all those people endured.

Uh, it's again, perspective. It's made me very grateful. I feel a lot of gratitude just to be even Canadian, you know, and to be in a country where I do have the ability to be, to be safe, to be free, to, to have opportunities. No. And so there's a lot to be said by that. And, uh, so I

Laura Warf: just, I felt it was responsibility if at that responsibility, with that opportunity, you know, like you say, it's, what do we do with that?

And, you know, I think our collective mission is spreading happiness and wellbeing. As you know, we know what the opposite is, but regardless of what's happening in our life, we can still choose, uh, to take care of ourselves and use the word, self care and self love and self respect. That's all of these things and how we choose to care for ourselves.

And we can take mini moments in the day that they don't have to be an hour and a half necessarily, you know, because that's often an objection. I don't have time. So, you know, that leads me into an expression that you say that the struggle is the juggle, you know, life is. A juggling act. Sometimes the people have got lots of balls in the air and it becomes a struggle with the external environment.

So when we really, all we need to do just for seconds at a time is tune into the internal environment. So, you know, we all go through challenges. Let me lead in from what you said there. So what would it be? Some important practices, techniques, or rituals that you would suggest when people are in, uh, any time, regardless of the challenge or the struggle, what would be step one,

Dai Manuel: paused you hit pause.

If you think about it, the juggler analogy, right? Like there's a struggle with the juggle and I mean, that is our life a lot of the time, but catch the balls, set them aside for a moment. Take a minute to just pause. Take a breath. Get into yourself again,

Laura Warf: you know, that's easy. I like that. Step one, pause,

Dai Manuel: and then step to breathe.

It's like just pause and take a second to breathe. And it's amazing what happens when we really just slow down and just sit in ourselves, like, you know, meditation, mindful medicine. I mean, there's so many techniques. But at the end of the day, the cool thing is your subconscious. It's got your back. It knows how to breathe.

Try to hold your breath. What happens? Well, I was going to say there's, I mean, we have that reptilian response, you know, like, yeah, I did quite a bit when I was living in Bali the last few years, I, uh, I got into free diving, you know, and, and it is a lot of mind over matter. Mind over body. It's fighting some of these subconscious reflexes that are in us and how stress can manifest in fear, but it's all through the breath and that centering of oneself and getting that control, uh, in a situation where is.

Yeah, your mind's like, you're nuts. You're going down deep. You go on one breath of air you're you gotta hold your breath, but your body's fighting it. You know, you start to get this little thing in your chest, your body's like breathing and you

Laura Warf: realize that anomic response a good thing.

Dai Manuel: I mean, it is our subconscious is got a lot of programming running in the background and we can get.

Uh, think about it like a hard reset. I used to call this a, with some of my clients, but you know, newer clients, especially my younger clients have no idea what I'm talking about, but those that are remembering the old PCs and PCs still today control alt delete. Right? That's hard. It's a hard. Right. And, and, uh, oh my windows doesn't work.

I'll get control. That's the way. That's what

Laura Warf: I'm trying. I think it works when you unplug it for a while, even you.

Dai Manuel: Yes. And that's, that's my point. So it's that pause? Take a breath. Remember, what is the big rock today? What is that big task that I know if I get that done, it's going to make everything else a little bit easier or potentially insignificant, you know, Joseph Keller and his, how Heller in his book.

The one thing talks about that. He's like, what is the one thing you can do that by doing it? It either makes everything else irrelevant or. Unneeded unnecessary, you know? And so it's remembering what is that one thing I could be doing right now? Right. I know if I do it, it's going to make me feel a little bit happier, a bit lighter, more accomplished, you know, what, what is that one thing?

And then, so that's sorta my three-step process when I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. It's like, okay, step away from the computer. Pause, breathe for five minutes or even one minute. I mean, I don't have to quantify that. It's like, just breathe slowly. You know, close your eyes, slow down and breathe, and then ask yourself, what is the one thing that I can do right now?

That's going to make everything a little bit easier or make the other stuff that I'm all worried about. Not so important anymore. Th that's my three steps. I do those all the time.

Laura Warf: Awesome. Yeah. So when we're challenged, regardless of the challenge do that, and I wanted to, um, you also have another model that I discovered in reading a little bit more about you on your website.

You have it there at the, your, your model that you call the five. Um, and, uh, you know, I think there's a lot of wonderful nuggets in each of those categories that can also, um, infuse some lightness into our day. And, uh, you know, when, because like you said earlier, when we feel well, when we take in time to press that pause button, regardless of what's going on in our world, things haven't changed in the external world, but the way we respond versus react is different.

So I do want to talk a little bit about your 5s.

Dai Manuel: Sure. And. Realize it, you know, not everyone may agree because it may be a little bit different, your apps or, or whatever, uh, continents you want to use. Yeah.

Laura Warf: Just an acronym. You know, it's just kind of a model of mine is the eight elements to health and happiness.

We all meet in the middle, you know what you said at the beginning diet and I think what's really important. Sorry. What I've learned to understand is that it's not about the technique you can meditate, do yoga. Did she come do martial arts, read inspiring books, listen to podcasts, exercise, um, eat well, do all these things.

Yes. It's all part of lifestyle as a great lifestyle mentor. I'm sure you talk about all of that, but the reason we do it is to get the experience to reprogram and. Why our circuitry in our brain for happiness and wellness and that it's the feeling we're going for. So we don't need just the external stimulation to feel happy momentarily.

And then we're down. Oh, I have this, I'm happy. I saw this person. I'm happy, but I don't have it. And I'm not happy. Whereas we can sustain the state through our mindset and through. Channeling and managing our own energy and using energy boosters. And I, you probably your model as well is, is one way to do that.

So it's sustainable and steady.

Dai Manuel: Absolutely. And, and, you know, we all will like frameworks, you know, we do, to some extent we want a system, a process, a blueprint, a, a methodology, a philosophy. Uh, it's really just a way of being that we can connect with. And it resonates with us and produces the results or the effect that we're looking to create and sustain.

And, and so. You know, for myself, uh, when I really started to reflect and, and, and the more people I started to work with in groups I started to, to, to work with, uh, I started to realize that, you know, the framework through which I was building my life, you know, it was working really well. And, but metaphor analogy is a great way to understand or simplify.

Ideas to make it more deliverable and obviously consumable and understandable. And so if you envision a house, right house has always built on a foundation and then we usually have four walls and a roof, you know, that's a real standard, uh, idea of what a, uh, sort of post and lintel design home looks like.

Right. And so for me, my foundation has always been. Health first, you know, if I don't have my health, it doesn't matter what kind of home I built any type of life I build. It's going to be on Rocky ground because I don't have that confidence in my ability to thrive, to, to do the things I want to do to connect to the people I want to connect with, to be the provider for my family.

You know, the, the console or the protector, the hunter gatherer. The lover, you know, like to be there, to be passionate with my wife, like if my health is not there and this could be physical health, it could be mental health, psychological health, spiritual health. If you don't have that health, what do you have?

You know? And so that's important to recognize, like, what are you doing to reinforce the foundation? Of your life and what is your foundation? What are you building your life on? What is that thing? That's going to make things more stable for you. And so for me, I've recognized that it's health and for a lot of people that I work with, they, they tend to come to an agreement that health is, is that foundation.

Now from there, we've got the four walls. And so I like to use S I like alliteration again. It's, it's my thing. A lot of people use alliteration. Uh, I found it. Plus it's catchy, you know, and I published a book called the whole life fitness manifesto, which goes through this in a little bit more detail, but my, my walls, if you will, or the pillars are fitness, faith, finances, and family with an overarching roof of fun.

So there's the five F's that comprise this home or my life, you know, this is a metaphor for my life on a foundation of health, you know, And that can include, uh, relationships. It could include immediate family distance family, but I'm talking more. So just about the, the relations that we have. Absolutely.

Yes. Thank you for that, Laura. Um, finances, listen, we live in a world where we need to be financially responsible, you know, like, and I'm not saying I, I count on money to provide me happiness or to provide me, uh, I don't prioritize. I cause some people, they take this out of context and think, well, finances, why we should that be a pillar?

And I'm like, well, we live in

Laura Warf: a world where a material world we

Dai Manuel: do. And I was just thinking, when you said that

Laura Warf: ourselves and have shelter three basic needs that we need to

Dai Manuel: yes. Yeah. That's right. When you look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I mean, a lot of that foundational pieces requires so. Amount of money.

Like you want a roof over your head, you want food in your belly, you know, like you, you want certain things looked after. So, so you, you know, if you don't pay attention to it, what happens to it? Right. And it's like, we pay attention to it. When we focus on a certain area of our life, we can go deep and we can make the changes.

We can make the, the tweaks to optimize it, to make it better, to improve on it, to grow on it. And I used to recognize, I used to avoid finances. I used to make me feel very uncomfortable to talk about it. I didn't want to do ignore it. I'd be the guy that. Not look at the statement at the end of the month.

Cause I didn't like it. I felt I attached so much personal value to monetary value. And so it used to provide me a lot of stress and anxiety created most of the fights my wife and I would ever, ever, ever have was always, almost always a hundred percent of the time money. Right. I was like, this is stupid.

You know, what a waste of energy. I don't like this. I want to change it

Laura Warf: and reframe it. Yep,

Dai Manuel: exactly. Excuse me. Um, and so it's, uh, looking at just how to be financially responsible, how to, and I'm not a financial planner, but I, I, and I don't claim to be it, but I encourage people to treat that seriously in our life, along with the relationships and the community, the tribe, because there's going to be certain things and aspects of our life.

Money will be required. So that's why finance is one of the pillars fitness. We've already talked about that, you know, it's a direct conduit to the health aspect here. You wanna improve health? Well, we know that fitness is a great way to improve physical and mental. It's amazing. I don't have to talk about the science.

Go do your due diligence. You'll see it. That's the way to do it. Do it yourself. Make yourself your own test subject, move, move, and prove me wrong. You can come back and tell me die. I didn't feel any better.

Laura Warf: Oh God. After getting fresh air in a walk and seeing that beautiful scenery.

Dai Manuel: Uh, so family fitness.

Faith. Yeah, the, the sense of, uh, and, and I don't mean this in a denominational way, you know, it could be for some people. Um, but I, I like to believe just the universal spirituality of the world, you know, the, the, the, the, the universe, if you want, like it, I do believe in energy. I do believe that energy

Laura Warf: is greater than us.

That we're part

Dai Manuel: of it for me. You know, when I think of a faith, it's like, I just want to leave this planet better than it was when. You know, like that's, that's it that's that's for me, like through relationships, through serving others, serving organizations, serving my family, like whatever. And so that's where faith, and then, you know what the overarching, all that fun, you know, if you're not having fun, you're probably doing something wrong.

I'm sorry to say that and be so blunt, but

Laura Warf: not pay attention.

Dai Manuel: It's like, if you're not smiling everyday, why. Y, and, you know, I often think back to, uh, the Stanford address by, um, oh my goodness. Steve jobs. I don't know if people listened to that, but he did, uh, uh, And an address to the graduating class at Stanford.

This was back in the mid two thousands and yeah, and it was right after he, you know, give people context on this. Like he had just been, you know, come out of, he's basically in remission when he's giving this talk, you know, so he was dealing with prostate cancer and, uh, um, sorry, pancreatic cancer. And so he went into remission.

So you can imagine. How that makes you feel, right? Like, I've beat this thing. I'm now in a good space and wow. You know, like you just have to, we learn through contrast, right? So to, to, to look at the mortality of our lives and to really accept that and then to come out of it on the other side, Wow. It puts things into perspective.

Right. And, you know, I had this experience with my father a few years ago where he passed from cancer and just to be with them those last six months and be around him. But it was one of my greatest lessons in life to date was it was being around him during that period and to just even observe myself and how I dealt with it and what came out of it after the fact.

And, um, so Steve jobs, you know, he, in his address, he, you mentioned that he's got this ritual where every day he would look into. And he would ask himself. So you can imagine you wake up the morning, you're brushing your teeth and you're looking in the mirror and you would think, or ask himself a question.

You know, if, if today was the last day of my life, would I want to be doing the things I'm about to do today. And, and he said in the address, you know, if my answer was no too many days in a row, I knew I need to make a change.

Laura Warf: Too many days in a row. Yes. Yes. Because see, there are days where you do stuff you don't want to do, but as long as you infuse it and balance it with the fun stuff too.

Dai Manuel: But if you imagine that if every day, you know, you were no, no, no. Oh my goodness.

Laura Warf: What does that do to your spirit?

Dai Manuel: Right. And, and, and so there's that aspect as well. You know, that, that fun part, like what are you doing to create more happiness in your life every single day? And that's why I think our messages resonates so well, or we're on the same bus, you know, you're

Laura Warf: such a great life designer dye, and you've done that.

I mean, we could continue. Our chatting to, you know, how you decided to pick up, move your family to Bali, to, and then be an adventure. You're not just a dreamer, you know, you're a doer, you take action. You're a thought leader. Um, you know, you've been in the digital world for a long time to that. So you're seeing a lot of what's going on, have your finger on the pulse to what people are living and experiencing.

And, uh, you know, I thought that was really inspiring to see that you decided to be the digital nomad for a couple of. Yeah, maybe you can just share that a little bit before we

Dai Manuel: conclude, well, let me put it this way. I was 17 years into a career. And I was a co-founder of a retail company and I loved it.

It was in the fitness and wellness industry. And, uh, I really enjoyed it. I, I grew a lot in that industry and, uh, I, I just, I really did love it. And, uh, and I still have a lot of positive emotions for it, but there comes a point where, you know, you start to wonder. What else do you want in life? You know, and, and I started asking myself that question, you know, like, what are some of my other goals?

What are some of my other aspirations? What are the things that I want for me? And when we started asking ourselves that question and we give ourselves the space to, to actually answer it, honestly, w at least in my situation, I realized that a lot of things that I wanted in the path that I was on at the time, they weren't ever going to come.

Hmm. You know, like a lot of things that I wanted, like I wanted more time with my family. I wanted to travel. I want to see certain parts of the world. I wanted to, to do more, uh, professional speaking and connect with more organizations around the world. Like there was a lot of these other things that I aspired and wanted, and even I wanted to write a book, publish a book, you know?

And so there was all these aspects of things that I really wanted to do. And I realized that the path that I was on, wasn't going to provide. And that was a pretty stark realization. Cause all of a sudden you realize, oh man, this bus would have been on for 17 years. It's actually going in a direction. I don't want to go

Laura Warf: in the other direction.


Dai Manuel: want to go that way. And it's scary because I was very comfortable. I was easily top in my industry. Uh, as far as north America was concerned, it was one of the top. Uh, and I. I, I thought that that's what I was going to be. And I also, Laura, just to be perfectly transparent. I, I attached a lot of quite believed.

I was to a title that I had and what my identity was attached to that role in that position, that company, and that also created a lot of no fear type feelings in me. But, you know, I w I was very fortunate that I was able to also, I was going through a lot of personal growth at the time. I had focused so much on professional development.

I ignored the personal development. And so a few years leading up to that final moment where I said, you know what, I want to do this. And my wife was like, I want to do this too. And, you know, she was dripping on me all the time and it got to a point. I was like, okay, well, I don't want to be that guy 20 years from now looking back and saying, Hey, remember that we had that idea about doing that.

I didn't want the shitter coulda, woulda. And, and so we, we, we made the call. I quit my. She quit a month later, three months after that we pulled the kids out of school, giveaway. All of our stuff, packed up the SUV and just started traveling. And I had to change how I did things. Um, I had to figure out ways of earning an income so we could support us and fortunate for me in the online space and with coaching and just the world that we live in today.

We have a. Accessibility to different types of options. And, and, uh, there's always

Laura Warf: a way I said it earlier, Simon Sinai too. You don't have to know the how, just know your why in the house figures itself out it's really

Dai Manuel: does. And so that's what happens, you know? And so for five years, we. We bombed around a lot in north America, just driving around, especially in the United States and Canada.

And then we knew my father was, was not well. And so we, we stayed in north America and then after, you know, and I, it's funny how things work out because had I not made that switch and had we not ventured into that new lifestyle, that new way of being. I would not have had the opportunity to spend six months back in Ontario.

You know, w I live in Vancouver and my business was in Vancouver and had I not left that, like to go back and spend six months, our family, my two daughters, my wife, myself to be around my family, especially around my father during those final months. Like, I wouldn't have had that option. It would've been very challenging for me to have left the role that I was in and taking an extended period away.

I just, especially the time of year that it happened. And, uh, so I'm, I'm very grateful that, that, you know, things work out and I believe that. And, uh, So, so long story short, uh, after my father passed, we, we, my wife and I, and we were like, okay, you know, we can go overseas now. And, uh, we S we chose Bali. My wife had been there many years ago before she, before we had kids again, before we were together.

And, uh, I always felt a positive, but I also knew it was a great digital nomad location. It was cost of living is a bit lower, you know? Uh, it's a, it's an investment to get there, but once you're there, it's pretty cool. You know? And, uh, what

Laura Warf: was the highlight

Dai Manuel: of living. Well, we went initially for just three months and we loved it so much.

It turned into two and a half years, you know, because the people, the food, the, the, the weather, you know, it's an island it's island life, uh, in a developing country. So, you know, there's a lot of things that we are very accustomed to have in north America. Yeah. Yeah. We switched my kids, you know, there was a bit of an adaptation there, but.

It was so great, you know, and, and the relationships and just the lifestyle aspect. And, you know, I have a chronic auto-immune disease, which, uh, I, I, you know, most people don't even know that about me because most people that have my condition. They don't have a lifestyle like I do, you know, they're, they're not able to, to sustain a lifestyle like I do only because they've allowed the symptoms to overtake their life.

And I own the mindset plays into this as well. And, and, uh, my, my hematology, I remember her joking. Like you should just live in a bubble, like I'm not living in a

Laura Warf: bubble. Well, you've taken charge of your health and your wellbeing with all these habits that you've instilled over the.

Dai Manuel: he was amazing. I do a lot of, uh, blood work and hormone profiles and my vitamin D and my omega is like, so I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to that stuff. And I work with some great functional medicine practitioners. So we test that stuff usually every six months and my numbers, all of my, my, my vitals specifically during that period of this five year journey, everything improved.

And even now I just celebrated my 44th birthday and, and I I'm fitter than most 20 year olds, you know? And all my metrics are greater than that. If most 20 year olds that even my testosterone levels. And, and I'm not saying this to brag, but I'm saying it's a choice to live a life a certain way. Th there's hard data there to show the benefits of what happens when we get our body, our mind, and the spirit in alignment with each other.


Laura Warf: Lifestyle habits make a huge

Dai Manuel: difference. It's everything. It is everything. Right? Like we got one go with this. Let's make the best go at it possible. Like, come on, game on. Oh, awesome.

Laura Warf: Well, any final thoughts or nuggets that you feel that you'd like to share just to conclude our conversation? Cause this is just, you've got a wealth of info there.

Maybe if there's, I feel like I just have to mention this because this is the take home of all take

Dai Manuel: homes. Okay. Here it is.

There's three questions. I want everyone. I invite everyone to write down and keep on your person until you've learned these questions really, really well. That's listen, anytime you're feeling like it's time for a change. These are the three questions I encourage you to ask. Question number one. Can I do this?

All right. Question number two. If I do this, will it work? And question number three. Is it worth it now that's more well-suited for organizations. So if it's a person, if we're asking that third question as an individual, I want you to frame it this way. Am I.

Those three questions will help you gain your footing. So you're ready to change because change happens in an instant, literally in an instant, as soon as you choose to change and then you fall off that's right. It starts there. And then you follow it up with immediate action. That's the

Laura Warf: big one even happens.

You can read all this. You can listen to all these great podcasts, but if you don't take the first step and you know, what, what I've learned in my life transition the last few years is you can only take that first step because you don't have the whole. Because the next step is revealed when you take the first one and then the next step will be revealed only when you're doing it and there's going to be mistakes and yes, you're going to make a wrong turn.

But good news is you can just course correct along the way. And that's, those are the rich life experiences that give you all these wonderful stories to share. And, and that's what life is about. It's makes it so unreal.

Dai Manuel: So true. So well said, Laura, and, and, you know, if people are looking for a fun read, the newest book I just finished was, uh, Matthew McConaughey Hayes, green lights.

Oh, I

Laura Warf: haven't read that

Dai Manuel: amazing and get the audible version because he narrates it. And, uh, it's just, he's got such a beautiful philosophy on the line. He does.

Laura Warf: I've heard some of his talks.

Dai Manuel: Wow. It's just amazing. So it's one book I just is it's easily. My favorite book of 2020, the title again. Uh GreenLights and I, I won't get into it, but GreenLights is actually really epitomizes his philosophy in life.

And, uh, it's a lot of his stories and recollections on his history from childhood all the way up to where he is today. And, uh, just a very inspiring. Book and, and the way he tells it, it's just, it's entertaining, but also enlightening. So, uh, if people are looking for a light lifting type of read and it's my favorite book, so I just thought based on the conversation we've had today, I'm just like, you know, if people are digging on what we're talking about, there's a book it's sort of the cherry on top, you

Laura Warf: know, and that's how we feed our minds with positive, inspiring, uplifting stories, because it gives us that little med sometimes to create our own positive, uplifting stories.

That's right. Make your life your art.

Dai Manuel: Yeah, that's

Laura Warf: awesome. Wow, you are awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing all this fabulous wisdom and experiences and stories and your light and your exuberance. Um, how can people reach you? They want to know more.

Dai Manuel: Oh man. Well, first of all, lots of channels. Thank you for the opportunity to come and connect with you and your community.

And, uh, I hope this is the first of many more opportunities to do more of this. Uh, To me to connect with me, it's pretty easy. Uh, my name's pretty unique diamond. Well, and, and the neat advantage to having a unique name is it is very SEO friendly, uh, which means you're going into any search engine. You type my name you'll find me.

And the cool thing is, is my handle. And all my social media accounts is just my name. So it's really, once you understand how to spell it, D a I M a N U E L. You'll find me on any of the levels. Yeah, and I, and I'm here just to, you know, send me a message. Hey, di I heard you and Laura have that great conversation.

I practice this habit. This is my daily ritual. Like I want to know. So just reach out to me. That's a great way you can reach out. Hey Diane, I heard you on Laura's, uh, interview and. Here's my daily ritual. It helps me increase my happiness. Like I love hearing people's suggestions and what works for them, because again, I take all this in and it just, it helps me create even a greater toolbox of ways to, to help people, you know?

And, uh, so I'm always looking for assistance in building the best

Laura Warf: toolbox. Yeah. I'll have to have the same formula, but then the end, the feeling we're all looking to cultivate is what these tools help us attain. Awesome. But the link will be here on school of happiness.ca with diamond. Well, with our conversation, happiness habits from the heart.

Thank you so much to all of you have taken the time out of your day. I know that you've got lots going on as well, so we appreciate your time and your energy and connecting with us and to reach out any time info@schoolofhappinessdotcadiveonwell.com and. We're signing off right now from the school of happiness.

We'll see you again. Next time. Bye. For now.

About the Author

Laura Warf is the founder of the School of Happiness holistic wellness center whose methods are based on tools from ancient teachings to today’s current research to inspire others to take charge of their complete well-being by following her 8 essential elements to health and happiness. She is a healthy living advocate, passionate wellness educator and mind-body specialist offering services in corporate wellness, yoga, meditation, energetic balancing, and fitness conditioning. Laura is also co-founder of the Mend My Back at MendMyBackProgram.com
For more about Laura visit: LauraWarf.com

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