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“God is real. He is not just an idea.– Daniel Sih



Have you heard the one about the introverted boy whose parents started arguing a lot so he learned to pour himself into his studies? You know, the one where he lacked in the social skills of life, and then developed anxiety and depression from the loneliness he felt. This week’s guest shares how all that pain from early on in life carried into his adulthood, how it affected him and his relationships, and how God healed it all without pharmaceutical medicines. He also talks with us about traveling through Gaza and stopping a rape, getting lost in the desert of Petra, and so much more along his life journey. Then in the second half of the interview he shares with us the importance of, and how to make space in our lives for what really matters. Hence, the title his latest book, The Spacemaker: How to Unplug, Unwind and Think Clearly in The Digital Age. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this week’s episode of the Remarkable People Podcast, the Daniel Sih story!



Daniel is the co-founder of Spacemakers®, a productivity consulting group for busy leaders. His book “Spacemaker – how to unplug, unwind and think clearly in the digital age,” won the Australian Business Book Award in 2021 for personal development. As a trainer, coach and keynote speaker, Daniel has worked with CEO’s, executives, and other senior professionals throughout Australia and beyond, ranging from global corporations and businesses to universities and non-profits. He is the founder of best-selling productivity courses such as Email Ninja, List Assassin, Priority Samurai, with more than 20,000 students online and offline. Daniel lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife, Kylie, and three children, Naomi, Caleb and Jethro. He also keeps fourteen pure-bred chickens who eat a lot of grain and lay too few eggs. To learn more about Daniel and his work at Spacemakers, please visit www.spacemakers.com.au.





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Core Themes, Keywords, & Mentions: 

  • Chinese, Australian, introverted, childhood divorce, silence and violence, silent treatment, nervous twitch, anxiety, sad, nightmares, childhood bullying, physical therapy, loneliness, forgiveness, post viral syndrome, depression, antidepressants, Michael Frost, silence, solitude, journaling, community, stopping a rape in Gaza, lost in Petra, ministry, Bible College, Alan Hirst, Tasmania, Tasmanian devil, space, time, e-mail ninja, making space in your inbox, list assassin, productivity consultant, daily pauses, new patents, daily pauses, tech free time, screen time, TV, tech healthy humans, digital free meals, keystone habits, Unplug, Unwind, Think Clearly, the Digital Age, Making Space, What Really Matters



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While we are very thankful for all of our guests, please understand that we do not necessarily hold or endorse the same beliefs, views, and positions that they may have. We respectfully agree to disagree in some areas, and thank God for the blessing and privilege of free will.

Full Episode Transcript

Daniel Sih | How to Unplug, Unwind, & Think Clearly by Making Space for What Really Matters in Life

Stopping a rape in Gaza, getting lost in the deserts of Petra, and learning how to unwind, unplug, and think clearly in a digital age. All this and more in this week’s episode of the podcast.

Hello friends. Welcome to the Remarkable People Podcast. This week we have a remarkable episode for you today’s guest. Already introverted. And then his parents started going through a divorce. They started arguing a lot and not getting along, and sometimes it was a hostile environment. So because of this, [00:01:00] he learned to pour himself into his studies, but he kinda lacked on the social side.

So he talks about some anxiety and depression and loneliness he felt, and how that carried through into his adulthood, how it affected him, and how God healed it all without medicine. Also, he talks about going through and being in Gaza and having the ability to stop a rape and then getting lost in the desert of Petra, and then so much more in his journey.

And then we get to the point of his new book. Today and his focus and his purpose, as you’re gonna hear right off the bat in the interview, is teaching us how to make space in our lives for what really matters. And his book is called The Spacemaker, How to Unplug, Unwind and Think Clearly in The Digital Age.

So at this time, truly get your pens and paper ready. Today’s guess has a lot [00:02:00] of gold nugget. All along the way. So listen to his story, listen to his journey, stick around to the end for a very special offer from him. And then more than anything, like our slogan says, and like we tell you every week, don’t just listen to this great content, but do it.

Repeat the good stuff each day so you could have a great life. In this world and more importantly, an attorney to come. So I’m David Pasco alone. I’m so thankful you’re part of our community in here today. Please welcome our guest and friend Daniel C.

Copy of INTERVIEW RPP Daniel Sih NEEDS EDITS: Hey Daniel, how are you today? Yeah, I’m really good. Thanks for having me on the show, Dave. Oh man, I am excited to have you here. We’ve been talking for months to coordinate this moment, so I’m so glad it’s happened. I just told the listeners a little bit about you showed ’em your book and they are ready to hear from you, to hear your life’s story and to glean from it.

And like our slogan [00:03:00] says, not just listen, but do it, repeat it so they can have a great life in this world and attorney to come. So at this time, before we get into your story, Daniel, if the listener today was gonna walk away with one main point, what truth is this episode gonna leave them with? Mm, Yeah.

Look, I’m just really passionate about helping people make space to think and rest and. Think about their life and live intentionally. So I think that’s it, to really make space in your life so that the patterns that you create in your life that the decisions and choices you make are actually well thought through and intentional so that you can live the life that you’ve been called to live.

Amen. And that is so important. So many of us just get stuck in this cycle and we just go, go, go, go, go. And we don’t really think about are we even achieving anything that has value. So, [00:04:00] I’m so excited for you to be here. And listeners, as you know, we’re gonna go through Daniel’s life, past, through the present, and then into the future.

And there’s gonna be tons of gold nuggets. There’s gonna be ton of great information. That is just one of the main themes of this episode, is making that space in our lives. So, Daniel, at this. Where were you born? What was your upbringing? Light. The good, the bad, the ugly. Cuz everything that happened made you who you are.

Me who I am, and our listener, who they are. Mm-hmm. . So what was Daniel’s upbringing like? Yeah, so look, I’m from Australia hence my accent. And I was born in a place called Adelaide, which is in South Australia. It’s a pretty dry, really warm place. And so I’m, I’m half Chinese, half Australian, I suppose you’d say.

My dad was from Shanghai originally and he and his family escaped the Red Army when mousey to came through and they ended up in Hong Kong and, and eventually [00:05:00] through a series of circumstances, mainly my dad being pretty naughty at school, actually. His dad sent him to Australia to, to go to a, a Catholic boarding school in Adelaide.

And, and that’s how he ended up there when he was 17, getting on a boat by himself and kind of being sent across the other side of the world really back then. And then my mom is you know, was from Adelaide and, and they had a very different way of growing up together. So you had dad who lived in In Shanghai, in Hong Kong and, and lived in a tiny unit and you maybe ate rice and e and then you had my mom who had, you know, ate rabbit stew and and roast on a Sunday and, and a very different lifestyle.

So my, my upbringing was a bit of that, combined a bit of Chinese heritage, a bit of Aussie heritage. But for me, I was born in 1977. So I’m 45 years old now. I was meant to be born on apparently the the [00:06:00] seventh or the seventh, 77, which would’ve been a pretty cool date to be born. But I came late and apparent, according to my mom it was a darkened stormy night, and I was born on Friday the 13th instead under emergency lighting, she said, although she does tend to exaggerate.

So now, what month was. July. Yeah. So the seven, July 13th, 1977. July 13th. Yeah. Yep. Well, everyone, now everyone can access my bank details. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? I’ve given you my birth date. But anyway, Yeah, that was a fake date. It’s not real. That whole story. No, of course. It’s a completely fake date.

I’m making things up. Yeah. So so I was born in Adelaide. I had a, you know, a pretty happy childhood. I dunno, is this what you wanna hear? Some? Yeah, man. You just keep going now. Like, do you have brothers, sisters? We the only child. Yeah. So I, I, I’m the oldest. I have a sister two years younger than me, and then I have a sister 12 years younger than me, so she.

Obviously came a lot later in the piece. But I certainly remember growing up [00:07:00] with one sister. And then, you know, later on, another one came along when I was a bit more like we were changing her nappies. So it was a bit different that a kind of age group. But yeah, look, I I had a pretty happy childhood from what I remember.

I we, we lived next to a, like a state reserve with lots of olive trees and, and hills. And so we spent a lot of our, I spent a lot of my childhood out there just playing during the day you know, coming home at night. And we used to, you know, throw olive pips at each other as kind of our Nerf guns when they, before they were invented and used to, you know, slide make mudslides and, and just do a lot of outdoor activity.

And that was a really, a good way to grow up. Yeah. So they, you had a really good childhood parents, siblings. I mean, no, life is perfect, but you had a really well balanced upbringing you’d say. Look I had, I had lots of happy memories. So on the one hand, yeah, I had so much good stuff. You know, I had a good [00:08:00] education.

I was always well fed, you know, we all cared for and we had a physically safe house. Look, mum and dad are now divorced and they, they definitely had their problems. Mom had postnatal depression when my sister was born, and so in the early years she was pretty depressed and very, very anxious and up and down emotionally.

And that definitely affected us as we grew up. And as we kind of moved into adulthood, I, it certainly affected how connected our family have been and looked at and mom had just really different. So, you know, dad used to love to, well, loved to gamble. He used to love to play Majong, which is a Chinese kind of game.

I don’t know if you’ve seen it with the blocks. Yeah. Hundred percent. He was a dentist. He loved to go out and eat Chinese meals, speaking in Chinese. Mom doesn’t speak Chinese and neither do we. You know, and, and she loves camping and hiking and caring for the environment. Like they’re kind of polar opposites in many ways.

And and so that was a tension in our family and, [00:09:00] and definitely by the time I was in teenager, that their relationship was breaking down pretty significantly. And so, yeah, there were happy parts of it, but there were some challenges, like everyone experiences in life. I think. No, let ask you a question.

A lot of times when people feel outta control in their life, they clean their surroundings or they start organizing or moving furniture. Did you start as you saw your family kind of having some friction? Is this where your organizational habits started coming into play? Were you always that way or did it happen later in your life when we’re gonna get.

Hmm. Yeah, it’s a good question. I’m not sure of the, the connection. What I would know, What I would say is definitely when I was like 14, 15 years old, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom studying. And I think on reflection, I’ve done a bit of counseling trying to work out, you know, like why I kind of hid away and did a lot of work.

And I think partly because my home environment environment was pretty unstable. And I think it was definitely a, it was a [00:10:00] physic, well physically safe place, but there were times when it wasn’t that emotionally safe to be in my house. And I think it, it was one of those things where, you know, if you do maths you kind of, you know, if you study hard, you can.

The formula and then you can get an outcome. You can get an A or 90% or whatever, you tick it off. And so you put in this amount of effort and you get that much outcome. And I, I think I was finding relationships didn’t quite work that way, , and it was a lot more complex to navigate being at home or being with friends.

I was bullied quite a lot as a kid. You know, there weren’t many half Chinese. Well then when we, there weren’t many non-Western, like Anglo Saxon kids just full stop around in Adelaide when I was born. And certainly not kind of half Chinese or, you know different, different races kind of mixed together.

So, so I definitely got ball lead as a kid and so I, I think I found that I gravitated towards learning and study. Yeah, maybe that helped some of [00:11:00] my productivity habits. I mean, who knows? Nice. Now when all this was going on and you were kind of burying yourself in work and studies Did you have any kind of family around that was witnessing this to kind of jump in and help you?

Or was it just you were kind of alone in your struggle learning to adapt the best you could? Hmm. Look, I definitely had family around. I mean, again, we had a nuclear family. I also had, you know, lots of friends. Well, I had, I had family friends, you know, not so much school friends, but people who were friends through the family network, you know, through our family.

And, and so I definitely, I don’t think I felt particularly lonely, but I am actually quite introverted and I, I still today really enjoy, like, writing a book, for example, you know, locking myself in my room for three weeks on end and, and smashing out a manuscript. So I think there are some really [00:12:00] good things about that stuff.

But yeah, I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. I certainly have a lot. A lot more community now than I had when I was a child, and that’s been a very intentional decision. You as we get to the later parts of my story, you might probably, the two, two of the values that have really shaped me a lot including my faith, which is actually a really big part of my story, is is contemplation.

So the, the value of silence and solitude and learning to reflect alone. And I think I started some of that journey when I was a kid but also community of actually really intentionally living in community and, and sharing life with others beyond yourself and beyond your nuclear family. Those, those have definitely shaped me, but they, some of that came later in life.

All right. So now at, you’re a teenager now, just to be clear, were your parents just fighting during this time or did they get divorced during your teenage years? [00:13:00] Yes. So my. Parents got divorced when I was 17. So really, I was just about an adult. They kind of waited until I’d finished school and my sister had almost finished school before they got divorced.

But yeah, I’m in fighting. My mum’s very vocal. My dad would you, you, you hear about silence and violence and there’s two different ways of doing it. So mum would get animated and yell and shout. My dad would retreat and be silent and give mom and us the silent treatment, which is, you know, equally violent.

And so it just was, they weren’t terrible, but it was certainly dysfunctional. And, and that’s unfortunately what happens when relationships don’t well worked well. My family, like they loved us really well, but they just didn’t do well. Well with each other. Yeah, no, and sadly that’s all too common.

And, you know, too many of us have the same type of story, different events, but same basis. And It’s not how God intended it. It’s not how it [00:14:00] should be, but it’s, it’s the reality, right? Yeah. So, but it does impact us all in similar ways and it infects us all in variable ways. So it’s just interesting to hear you talking about that and knowing where you win in life.

So let’s go there you, Is there anything significant between your birth and that 17 year old Daniel that graduated before we move? Hmm. Yeah, look, probably, and it came out of, well, I dunno how it came out, but I certainly had some spiritual experiences, which really shaped my life and faith. So I’m, I’m a Christian, a follower of Jesus, and that my family weren’t.

So that’s quite unusual. And I remember one particular event, which actually happened a few times, and I can’t remember how old I was. I, I imagine I was probably about 12, maybe 13. But I remember being in my room at night and, you know, feeling fairly sad. There are a few things. I was a very nervous and anxious kid generally.

Like I had a, a nervous twitch and I was had nightmares all the [00:15:00] time. You know, I think I, I was worried about nuclear war, which I think a lot of kids worried about that, particularly in the eighties, I think was a really big thing through the Cold War. That idea that one day we might just all blow up and.

And I remember feeling quite anxious and sad at night, and then some type of spiritual presence, and I can’t describe what it is, It might be an angel or the Holy Spirit, but basically some physical presence came into my room and I actually felt and saw this godlike figure which is quite remarkable when I think about it now.

But at the time, it didn’t , it didn’t seem that strange. And and it was almost like I just experienced this warm hug and this sense of love and comfort. And this happened a few times and it was, I remember thinking, Oh, was my, my friend is back. And, and you know, clearly that started to lead me towards thinking about faith and God and spirituality in a way that my parents [00:16:00] weren’t necessarily thinking about stuff.

And, and, and eventually I’m sure led to me making a decision to explore faith as well. Yeah. And that’s really interesting. How old were you when you first saw that being? Yeah, so my, I’m not sure about 12, 13. That’s my guess. It might have been younger. I mean, I just, as a kid you don’t necessarily remember chronology that well, but you do remember experiences.

And then how do you’re, I mean, the Australian culture as a whole isn’t a Christian nation or wired that way. Not at all. Yeah, not at all. And then your family were not. Religious or church goes, I hate using terms like this because it has every person, we, people in over a hundred countries are listening to this.

You know, the word church means something different to us all. Religion, you know, the real thing which we’ll get into is a relationship with God. That’s what we all need. It’s not about the religion, but what I’m saying is you had that experience and then how did that [00:17:00] transition into the relationship with God?

Like, did you start going to church? Did you have neighbors or some kind of friend that was into, you know, the gospel? How, how did that transition happen for you, Daniel? Look, it’s interesting. So most people come to faith at least in Christianity, I dunno about other religions through an experience of community.

So meeting other people who follow Jesus and somehow deciding to explore faith as a result. And mine was nothing like that at all. So I’d never been to a church service. My family weren’t religious. So I had these spiritual experiences where I, you know, I believe I encountered the Holy Spirit if I look at it in retrospect, but, I, I think I just had a number of experiences.

So I went to a school that was like a kind of religious school. It was more a private school that was founded by religion. But we did go to chapel and there was a lady who taught us some religious songs. And I remember a few experiences, so I remember singing in the shower one day, which is a bit [00:18:00] bizarre.

But I remember singing this song you know, Sing Ho, Sing Ho. That’s a pretty cheesy song. But I just remember experiencing a lot of joy singing this song. And I think I was worshiping God and I didn’t even know it. And, and so that experience also stuck with me. And then, Years later, So, well probably I was about 14 or 13, I think my mum actually did become a Christian, so she knew someone who kept leaving the Bible around and, and she started to have conversations and made a decision to get baptized.

And this was all kind of separate from any conversations we’d had. And then mum asked me and my sister if we wanted to get baptized as well. And I, my sister said no, and I honestly I heard that I’d get some presence and I, I had no soccer that weekend. It was kind of one of those decisions and I said, Yes, I’ll get baptized.

So so I went to my school chapel and I’m not even sure the person who baptized me would call themselves a Christian, which is interesting. But [00:19:00] we got a little sprinkle of water on our head. It wasn’t like an immersion baptism. And I was pretty upset. People gave me like books, like, you know, The Book of Daniel and stuff like that.

And I thought the presence would be like a skateboard and really fun stuff yet at Christmas. So , you know, it didn’t kind of work out like I expected. But I would definitely say I became a follower of Jesus at that point. And because, you know, a few weeks later I remember thinking, Well, if I’m a Christian now, then what does that mean?

So I, I think they must pray. So I started to pray. I remember my first prayer was to say you know, God, I hope you’re looking after my dog who died. God, I didn’t know how to pray, so I just made it up. And then I thought, well, a Christian’s meant to read the Bible. Got a Bible which we had at home. And I read it like I didn’t even know you’re meant to read it in different parts.

I just started at the beginning and I got bored in at the Psalms. I thought, Oh, this is just [00:20:00] so fy And then I, I got bored at the gospels, which is hilarious cuz that’s like the most important bit. And I skipped that through and then I read the rest. And, and a few years later after that, I said to my mom, Look, we’ve been Christians I think for a while.

Do you think we could go to church one day? And she said, I’ve been thinking about that too. So so we went to church. So it’s a bit of a reverse way of becoming a follower of Jesus. But that was my story and that’s fantastic. I’m so glad you shared that. Cuz to our listeners, you know, it says who source should call upon the Lord shall be saved.

You know, it’s a promise from God. And we have people of all different quote unquote religions that give this finite path and you have to go this way. And it is, I am the way, the truth in the life. No man comes to the father, but by me. That’s Jesus words in the Bible. So I’m not saying there’s multiple ways to eternity with God.

There’s not, there’s one Jesus. But what you’re [00:21:00] describing is God has our path so different and you singing in the shower, and that’s biblical to sing Psalms and praises unto the Lord. And you’re doing things naturally that are actually what we should all be doing as quote unquote Christians. And we’re not even doing them.

And you’re doing it naturally as a teenager, as God just grows you. And whether you’re reading the Old Testament or New Testament, The only way there’s no sinners prayer in the Bible, but by faith, Hebrews 11, by faith, you know, every dispensation and every age and every generation, we come to God through faith in Christ.

And it’s just beautiful to listen to your story, how you’re like, Yeah, I don’t know what I was doing, but that’s exactly it. You know, Jesus said, Suffer little children to come onto me. We don’t need to have it all right. But we need to have that sincere heart searching for God and truth and so that’s fantastic.

So now you and your mom come to the decision, Hey, let’s try to go to church. Where did that journey take you? [00:22:00] Yeah, so that was, I mean, that was interesting. It was, it was good. And I really enjoyed what I learned and. It was a positive experience in many ways. Mom didn’t keep going to church for long.

She ended up going on a different journey. And which I, I won’t tell her story, but but I kept going and yeah, but it was also really hard because I was grown. I mean, I, I’d never been in church and really, church is a kind of weird culture for people who haven’t got any religious experience.

And I remember, you know, I remember a few experiences, like we would have communion and everyone would take it and then bow their heads and it was very somber and they would eat, and I just didn’t know what to do. So I just kept opening my eyes and looking around at the. Kind of kids my age around me and tried to copy them.

So, you know, there’s a part of church where you’re just trying to socialize to the kind of the ways people do stuff. Cuz there’s no rule book if you haven’t been in church before. [00:23:00] But then there were some other things, you know, I remember going on camps and they were really life giving. I went on Christian camps and they started to really give me a sense of community.

And, and they were really loving places. And I didn’t have many places where kids were loving around my life. You know, I was bullied a lot as a kid at school. But I remember playing cards once and there’s this game called Black Lady, You might know it as hearts where basically you don’t want to get the queen of spades cuz we’re 13 points and the aim is to not get points.

And someone threw me, you know, I basically got the queen of spades and I, I lost that card game and I just, you know, I. Yelled out the, ah, you know, the F bomb basically, you know, f effing something, because that’s just the way we spoke, you know, And like all the church kids immediately went silent, you know,

And I’m like, Ah, alright, you’re not allowed to give out the f bomb at church stuff by the sound of it, you know, and and so you [00:24:00] kind of learn through, you know, and they weren’t mean about it, it’s just, it’s just a very different culture and that’s really shaped, actually longer term. I eventually became a pastor and as well as a business owner and an author, I’ve, I’ve done lots of things, but even, even my understanding of being a pastor was really shaped by, yeah, this church is a weird place for unchurched people and, and what might it look like to take away some of the culture barriers that aren’t necessarily helpful and yet maintain the historical things that are really helpful.

Yeah, and I love your story and it’s just, if you’re listening to Daniel, I hope you’re picking up on God loves the purity and the heart. He doesn’t need it to be perfect. He doesn’t need it to be an exact way because. If he did, he would’ve rode in the Bible and he didn’t. It’s our culture. You use that word multiple times and that’s what it is.

It’s our [00:25:00] culture, it’s our churches, it’s our circles that puts all these rules and standards in place, which some are very good and they are to help us grow, but some of ’em are just preferential that somebody had along the way and it stuck. So that purity, I remember the first time I went to church, I didn’t know the difference between a bible and a hymnal.

And I remember the pastor was preaching and I was raising my hand and he like in class and he would stop his sermon and answer my question in front of 50, a hundred people, right? And I didn’t know any better and nobody said anything to me, but that’s how I learned and grew. And it sounds like that’s how you’re learn and grow and no, again, we shouldn’t cuss, but how many Christians won’t cuss but they’ll live like the devil in private.

So that’s the hypocrisy that Jesus hated and, and went crazy over. So it’s really interesting to hear your story. So. You’re in a youth group now you’re meeting kids, you’re going to church, you’re growing. So how do you go from there to, like you said, you became a businessman and a pastor. [00:26:00] There’s a gap.

Fill the gap for us in your story, Daniel. Yeah, so look, from, from school, obviously, I I, well, I, I finished, I went to university and that was probably the next stage of my life. So I studied physiotherapy, I think you might call it, physical therapy in the States. So I became a healthcare worker. That was my first profession, and I spent four years studying and, and then you know, ended up in that field for 10 years, which was, you know, quite a significant amount of time working in different rehab settings, you know doing muscular-skeletal physiotherapy, working with amputees and a whole lot of stuff like that.

I, I had some really formative experiences at university. That was probably the next stage, and that really formed me as a person. I think when I left school, I had. I knew how to study and I was good at learning. But I, I had really, I didn’t have terrible social skills, but I had really terrible self, like, confidence around relationships.

You know, I, I, I would, I [00:27:00] would def I would say by the end of year 12, I didn’t have a single person I would call a friend nowadays. And that was so, it was quite lonely. And, and I thought it was me that I just wasn’t a very likable person. And that was something weird about me. But it’s funny, like from the very first day I went to university, I kind of, you get this completely new start and no one knows you, so you don’t have all the baggage from when you’re a kid and from whatever happened to happen at school.

And I remember being like, lining up to go to my first lecture and, and one guy called Bjorn just came up to me and said, Hi, I’m b you know, good to meet you. We’re gonna spend four years studying. And I said, Hi. And we just immediately became friends and. And he was popular. And then I ended up with lots of friends.

And so within like a week, I probably had more friends than I’d had for five years. And, and it never changed. I just had a really different start and I just, I don’t know how that worked, but maybe it was God’s grace, but somehow I think I learnt pretty quickly like, Oh, there’s nothing wrong with me. I just had a bad [00:28:00] reputation and I was the kid that got bullied and in a different environment.

I’m not that kid. And it was really good. Yeah, it was really life giving. That’s awesome. Let’s use that as one of our talking points, Daniel, for the teenagers listen to this podcast. Or even the parents who are in absolute pain knowing their kids get bullied and feel like there’s nothing they can do.

What kind of advice or encouragement do you have for those kids being bullied? Yeah. Gosh. I’m not sure. What were things that helped you get through it? What are things that, looking back, you’re like, Yeah, I did that the wrong way, but man, this really did work. Or like you said, college was a fresh start and there’s a difference between running from our problems and just starting again.

You know, everything’s balanced. But if you were to talk to the kid who’s in school now and ready to quit, what, what kind of advice would you give them? Tips to get through the day, or just encouragement to know what’s short term? It’s not gonna last forever. [00:29:00] Yeah. Look, it’s probably that. I mean all, all I would say is I, Look, I don’t regret any of my childhood and.

Life has worked out really, really well for me, actually people would look at my life now. I mean, I, you know, there are, there are younger teenagers when they hear I’m bullied, you know, people who I’m there, like spiritual uncle and, and they’re like, No, you weren’t bullied. You know, you weren’t onca. And I’m like, Yeah.

I really was like, so and I think you just, I don’t know. Some, some kids are destroyed by being bullied. Other kids just build resilience. And I, I somehow, I don’t know if I have a formula, but it gave me resilience and it, it taught me to I don’t know. It, it taught me to turn to God really. So that was probably my big thing.

I mean, my faith was probably largely shaped by my need to find a father outside of my own family. My, my, my dad’s great. But there were things that I can only get from my heavenly father, you know, and, and, and to, to turn to God when I was struggling [00:30:00] lots. You know, I had to learn to forgive. You know, I remember one moment I was 15 and I was looking in the mirror and I was literally thinking about how I could kill the kid who was bullying me the most.

And I remember feeling like, I need to let that go. I shouldn’t actually kill him. You know? And, and that was a, a , I know that doesn’t sound like a big thing, but those small decisions you make to turn towards goodness and faith. Or, or, or, Right. You know? Yeah. Goodness. Instead of hate and, and revenge. You know, I think those small decisions do shape your heart over time.

But yeah, I, I’m not sure. All I would say is somehow, Life works out differently when you’re an adult and if ever you’re in the worst of times. You know, I thought, I thought the world was ending at sometimes as a kid it doesn’t. So somehow try to see the bigger picture. Yeah, and I’d echo what Daniel said.

Everything you said [00:31:00] I agree with and I’ve experienced something very similar. I got bullied so bad from like fifth grade to high school. And I almost had like a nervous breakdown between, there was stuff going on in my home, then I had a tumor that nobody could find. They had no idea was there. They just kept telling me I was a hypochondriac and they had all these jerks at school, bullying me that I almost had a nervous breakdown.

And then God led, he had a password. It always come knock on my door, always be on the basketball courts, just loving people. And when I was about to like either check myself in a mental institution or go to church, I’m like, I’m gonna go to church and see what happens. And God used that to gimme peace and comfort and joy kind of, It sounds like a lot of what you experienced and it grew from there.

So for you listening and if you have children who are struggling, Man, I hate the term give God. I try it cuz , it’s, it’s all in, right? But really start praying to God, like Daniel said, praying to God is just talking to God. [00:32:00] It’s like you and I talking or me and Daniel talking. And then you hear him through the word of God.

So read your Bible and then when you were being bullied, you know, it’s not acceptable, but like Daniel said, I want to ask you, did you just say, I need to change this? Daniel, did you end up praying for that? Oh look, I, I was definitely praying. Oh, I did, I pray for him. Oh, years later. I certainly prayed when I chose to forgive him in a, in a more full way and prayed goodness in his life.

Cuz that’s, you know, that’s part of the practices, you know, love your enemy and do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you with what Jesus said. But no, as a kid I didn’t get that far. I just decided not to kill him. . Yeah. No, and that’s huge. That could have been a trap that San said for you that changed the course your entire life and we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.

But if you’re listening to Daniel and I like what? That sounds crazy. Pray for the scumbag. Yeah, actually [00:33:00] do. Cuz Daniel, you just said, when you finally prayed for when you’re older, you got forgiveness and you healed. And I had the same experience that when I prayed for them, I started off being like, I don’t want to do this.

And then it turned into, wow, I actually care about their soul. And then for me, it just so happened that my senior year of high school, everything changed and I went from being like the kid that people picked on in groups to, I was like, you know, pretty respected. So listen to Daniel’s story, but understand that when we pray for them and we forgive, we get the blessing and we get free.

And you just, just be able to be able to help them too, and they’re not a jerk to other people. So, So it’s cool that you had that experience. Yeah, I, I do like the the, the analogy or the expression that, you know, not choosing not to forgive someone and, you know, I suppose just keep revenge and hatred in your heart.

You know, it’s a bit like eating rat poisoning and [00:34:00] hoping that they’ll die. And and I think that’s really true. You know, there’s something about choosing to forgive, which actually leads you to be healed. And it’s a really hard process sometimes, particularly if you’ve been really hurt, but, It’s important just, just to literally force yourself to say to God, Okay, I choose to forgive this person for this and this and this and yeah.

And I, I receive forgiveness as well, you know, in Jesus’ name. I find that really has been transformative. And then the next day you might have to do it because you might hate them again, . And then you might have to do it the next day. And eventually you realize, you know, you don’t think about them anymore because it’s gone.

And that’s, that’s a much better solution than kind of holding this grudge for the rest of your life. Yeah. And if you are seriously thinking about hurting someone, harming them, find somebody to help you. Cuz nobody’s worth, You’re really not hurting them. You’re hurting your. . So just walk away and find people to get [00:35:00] you safe and other safe.

But going back to your story, Daniel, so now you’re in college, thankfully you find a group of friends, you find new success socially, you’re engaged in your studies, and then you go off into physical therapy and you spend 10 years in there. So again, between your birth and that point in life, is there anything we missed that we need to cover in that time?

Is that when you started going to church and became a pastor? Or does that come later in life? Yeah, that’s quite a long, long time later. Yeah, look, there were probably two really formative experiences. I mean, like, uni was great, you know, I had some girlfriends and had some breakups and, you know, a lot of the kind of stuff that happens in uni was, it was, it was a good experience.

I had some painful experiences, but overall it was a really formative and positive time. I had two, there were two really memorable moments for me. So one was when I was in third year uni. [00:36:00] I’m trying to get the order right. Anyway, I was on third uni and I actually became really sick, so I ended up with a virus and, and I just couldn’t get out of bed and I just had no energy.

And the doctor called it post viral syndrome. But then it led to depression and I, I actually think it was me not. And, and my parents had been divorced and things were pretty bad at the time. I was living pretty much by myself with my dad, who was just living his own life and it was a pretty lonely place to be.

And I think a whole lot of the kind of stuff related to being in my family and just being part of the breakdown of my family was really staying to catch up with me mentally and spiritually. And and then being physically sick on top of that, kind of all added together. So I ended up on antidepressants and, and the, the biggest thing was that I just didn’t have the energy to.

Going to university lectures, and particularly to do my physiotherapy placements. So I put it off twice and then I basically had a phone [00:37:00] call with the dean of the uni who said you can’t put it off again. You’ll fail and you’ll have to repeat. And I really didn’t wanna repeat third year uni or, or give up altogether.

And about that time I think it was, my mom actually said to me, You know, like in the Bible, people can pray for sicknesses and you can get healed. And I’m like, Oh, you know, it’s just not, I’m not from a Pentecostal background or a charismatic background. No. You know, we believed that you could pray for people to be healed, but you would never pray with them.

You would just pray for them from distance, if that makes sense. But anyway, I I opened the book of Acts and I thought, well, I’d better check it out. And wow, there’s . I’m like, How’d I miss the fact that God heals people? And then I looked at what Jesus did. I’m like, Oh yeah, like God actually heals people.

So I, he just, I think he put a hunger in my heart to be healed. And and so I went to my pastor and I said, Look, I read in the Bible that God can physically heal you. And [00:38:00] you know, I’ve got depression and I’ve been really, really sick and I’m gonna fail my uni. Can you pray for me? And he said, Yes, I will.

And I’m like, No, can you pray for me now? And he says, Oh, we don’t really do that. And and so , he, he said, I’ll, I’ll speak to the elders about it, . So I’m like, Okay. So that was a bit unsatisfactory. And then about. A week later, we had this itinerant preacher called Michael Frost, who, who’s done a bit of stuff in the states and, and he he came to our church in Adelaide and he gave this amazing sermon that really moved me in a deep way.

And then he said, If anyone wants to come to the front and Neil before God and just recommit their lives to him, well then come and do that. And no one ever did that at our church. There were no old calls or anything like that. So anyway, I was being I think I was just determined. So I literally walked up to the front.

The church. And I sat next to the pastor who wouldn’t pray for me and said, I would like you to heal me now. And I closed my eyes, and I bowed my head. I couldn’t do [00:39:00] anything. And so he put his hand on me and said a little prayer. And I just immediately had like this supernatural experience where I just started shaking and, and you know, my eyes kind of went all like I could to see kind of this bright red.

And it was one of those kind of classic Pentecostal charismatic experiences. And he was totally surprised. And it was kind of really weird in my church to see someone shaking and this anyway. And God healed me and I was off the antidepressants the next day. I never went back on them. And I went back to uni the next week.

And that was a really formative experience for me because it was like, Oh, God is actually real. It’s not just an idea. And it really changed the way I read the scriptures and how I. How my faith was shaped. It’s funny, I spoke to the pastor. The pastor spoke to me about two weeks later and said, So what was that about?

I’m like, God, he healed me. And he still didn’t believe it. , it’s just funny. But [00:40:00] anyway, and that’s just it. That’s the problem with religion where I’m not saying don’t go to church, but we all get in these classifications, in these cultural groups and the Bible, you know, if this is balance in the middle, if you go left or you go right, that’s a false balance and that’s abomination to the Lord.

So whether we’re in a charismatic church, it’s way too far, right? Or we’re in a conservative church, you know, it’s way too far to the other side, we need balance. So it’s like there is a real Holy Ghost and there is real healing. And thankfully you had the faith and you trusted that. And it happened not because of you being special, but because you had that pure.

I believe God and then God loved you and healed you. But it’s sad that we have so many churches that are either too far to the left or too far to the right and they cut out so much of what’s in the Bible. [00:41:00] And what’s worse is they add in stuff that’s not in the Bible and they preach it as truth. So that’s really awesome that you went forward and just said, Hey, I’m talking with the Holy Spirit.

Do it. That’s fantastic, man. Pro probably says something about my personality when I decide I want something. But and look, obviously there have been other times in my life lot, you know, lots of times where I’ve had faith and God hasn’t healed me and hasn’t fixed things in the way that I would’ve liked.

So it’s certainly not a formula, but it was a very formative experience and it. It really changed my relationship with God and a whole lot of other things at the time. So yeah, that, that was a really important thing. The other really formative experiences, I went to Vanuatu so around the same time and I was part of a discipleship or leadership development program, and it was a really well designed program.

And basically we spent nearly a year preparing to learn the language. So bis Lamar learning to understand ne [00:42:00] Vanuatu culture and work out what they ate. And it wasn’t about going there to try to fix the people or to preach to the people. It was actually about going there to let them teach us and to serve.

And yeah, it was great. So I went to, I went to Vanuatu for two months, a bit over two months, and I spent a month of that, just me and another 19 year old in a completely isolated village. Like you’d never be allowed to do this nowadays because of safety stuff. But basically I went to this little village On a tiny island.

We were the only white fella, I reckon on the whole island. And we, we had a bush knife and we had to bush bash our way through the jungle for about 30 minutes to get to a, a lagoon. And then we got into a, a handmade canoe and crossed the lagoon. And then we ended up in this village called Lamb bin one village.

And there was no electricity, there was no communication. You hunted, you know, wild boar or caught fruit batch to eat. And there was only [00:43:00] one or two people who spoke English, so we had to speak Biser. And we lived there for more than a month. And it was a pretty amazing life changing experience for me as a person moving into adulthood.

And that was at 19 years old. That’s so cool. And like you said, by today’s standards, there’d be all these, like, you can’t do that. It’s like kids, we had a sign. Like kids today can’t even leave the house without a cell phone. It’s too dangerous. It’s like, come on. Really? I’m like, I wanna leave the house without my cell phone.

But you said you had a cyclone while you were there? Yeah, we had a, so we had a cyclone and then there was some, there was some tough stuff that was happening. I won’t go into detail because of the people involved, but we, we needed to let the supervisor of our group know what was happening, cuz it wasn’t okay.

And so I had to write a letter and then it went off to them. And then a week later I got a, no. Two weeks later I got a letter back again. So that was my [00:44:00] communication. You know, , it’s like, it’s, but gee, you have to just toughen up. I mean, you’re, you’re there by yourself and. You just have to learn to get on with it.

And it was great. It was, it was truly transformational. I think two things that I remember learning, One was I learned about silence and solitude. So I learned about we would, we were, we would spend an hour each day as part of the discipline of that process of writing in our journal. And it would be eaten by mosquitoes the whole time, cuz it was the tropics.

But just to be silent and to reflect on my life. And, and that’s a practice that has always kind of shaped me since then. But I also learned about community. So I learned about contemplation, I learned about community. I, I kind of experienced what I would say as a real community for the first time.

You know, I think American and Australian culture are very similar. We’re so hyper individualized that even when we do kind of community we just do it on our own terms as individuals coming together. [00:45:00] Whereas, you know, a community like this village, they literally shared. Everything in common. They, they, the life was very simple and there were some real challenges to that, but it was also really beautiful to see people truly living in each other’s lives.

And there was a great happiness. Like the one thing about the village is people were really, really happy. There were lots of problems, but people were happy. And, and it was such a contrast to our own culture. And, and I, I came back critiquing my own culture, really recognizing so much of the things that I hadn’t seen in the way Aussies live and they work and wanting to have a life where, yeah, where there was more community, where there was no fences, where we would share more things in common and take shared living much more seriously.

And, and to see that through the lens of faith as well as culture. So yeah, that, that changed me and has given me a trajectory for my life. And talk about that, the importance of that [00:46:00] silence and solitude you learned in journaling. If somebody was gonna try to model that or start that, what would it look like for them to find that same type of piece?

Yeah, so it’s tricky. So I mean, I talk about this in the book which is about unplugging from digital tech and making space for a whole lot of things, including silence and community. Look on, on the one hand, silence is, and solitude is super simple. Solitude means you separate yourself from other people, and silent means you just be quiet.

You know, Ruth Haley Barton says that silence has its way of working on you with time. So what she’s saying is you don’t need a special technique. Turn off your phone, have enough time by yourself without anyone else, and if you do that regularly, you’ll experience the benefits. So I don’t think you need an amazing technique.

The challenge with it is we’re so used to pulling out our phone and distracting ourselves with the internet and with other people’s ideas and with our, our own [00:47:00] self talk and our own self thoughts that are often uncomfortable, that if we give ourselves silence, we start to have all these emotions and feelings that are really uncomfortable because we haven’t actually processed the stuff in our life.

And so silence can feel really, really painful and difficult. And thinking can be really hard because we haven’t actually had enough silence in our life. But if you can work through that painful dip and learn to process the stuff that’s in your life, then you can end up on the other side where being by yourself is actually a real joy and you can enjoy being with God, being.

With yourself being able to just be present and be still and that, that is a tremendous joy that we need to learn. But that only comes with practice. Yeah. Well said, well said. And like we discussed this whole episode, there’s balance. You don’t wanna always be alone. You don’t always be [00:48:00] with a group of people.

There’s a time for everything. Ecclesiae three. Talks with us a time for everything, so, Yeah. Yeah. I mean Dietrich Bon Hoffer wrote a great book and he said that, I can’t quote him, but he basically said that people who can’t do silence, you know, be aware of being in community with them. And he says, people who can’t be in community be aware of being silent, you know?

And so he sees the interplay between both. And I, I’ve seen the same myself. Yeah. So now you have this experience at 19, you go to university at three years in, you’re, what we’d consider in America, your junior year, you’re having depression, but then you’re healed of it. God frees you of it. Where does your life go from there, Daniel?

Yeah, so look, I, I graduated I ended up in a place called Bendigo, which is in country Victoria. So it’s about, I don’t know, I can’t remember. I think it’s about eight or nine hour drive from where I live. But it’s it, it’s like a [00:49:00] regional town near a different city. Oh. You’d know Melbourne. It’s closer to Melbourne than Adelaide.

And yeah, and I, I became a physiotherapist and that was, you know, a really. Challenging experience living by myself. It was the first time I’d truly moved out of home. It was exciting cuz I was living by myself. I had a great flatmate and lots of things were working well for me. Yeah, so look, that was my experience.

There’s probably some stories in there, but I might not share all of them because they relate to people who I wanna honor. But from, from that point on I then traveled. I went overseas for three months and that was really powerful for me. And I had some great experiences traveling through the Middle East, kind of solo backpacking went to Israel, went, I kind of snuck into Garza.

It took me two days to get into Garza and I had to forfeit my passport and ended up quite sick in a hospital. So there was some interesting experiences, but basically I, I traveled [00:50:00] and saw the world, went through Europe, and came back to Adelaide. And pretty soon after that, met my wife. So it’s probably the next part of my life.

Yeah. Well, giddy up. Everybody wants to hear that story, right? . So how does a sh a shy kid who likes to read in his room alone, turn into a world traveler and come back and meet his, his love of his life after Christ? Yeah, I’m the world traveling was interesting cuz I, I have like, I sound like I’m a real adventurous person and yet I definitely would say that I used to be very anxious, very risk averse.

You know it, it was actually again, god throwing, pushing me out into the world, which I’m very thankful for. I really rested with money, actually. Money has definitely been something that I struggled with and, and I, I owed. I owed my, a family member a lot of money who paid for my [00:51:00] university and I had to pay them back and I didn’t have to pay them back in a fast amount of time.

But I really wanted to be free from financial debt and from like fi family obligation. And so I, I decided in my Bendigo year that I would live really lean and try to start to pay off my debt so that I could kind of be free of those obligations. But I don’t think that was a very I think there were some unhelpful intentions in that, you know, there were some selfish things in that it wasn’t just a good idea.

And so throughout that Bendigo year, I really do think that God took me on a journey of learning to surrender money to him. And so, for example, I would finally save 2000 to pay off this part of my debt, and then my car broke down, you know, and, and it cost 2000. And then like, it just continued every time I saved money and I worked so hard.

Something broke down and I had to actually pay that back. And, and there was a time where my mom’s hot water cylinder broke down and I felt very convicted that I had to pay for [00:52:00] that. So that was the next thousand dollars, you know, And, and so I just, it was this lesson that I had to learn all the way through that year.

And then I finally saved up enough money to go overseas because I thought it would be good to just have a very short trip overseas. And then there was a friend of mine who was a single mom who said she’s always wanted to travel overseas. But’s never been able to do it. And it was her dream, and she talked about it for, for ages.

And it was a friend from Bendigo. And I, again, I just felt very convicted that I needed to give her that. And I’m not a very generous person. This is definitely not my nature and it’s not something I’m necessarily followed after this point. But I, I just knew that to be faithful, I had to give her this money.

So I, I gave her my overseas holiday. And, and then I decided I’d travel around Australia instead cuz I didn’t have the money now. Anyway, long story short, I quit my job. I bought a car, I was ready to go around Australia, which I actually, in retrospect, I’m so glad I didn’t do. And this lady gave me the money back and she said, Actually, now that I’ve [00:53:00] got the money, I realize I’ve never really wanted to go overseas at all.

I just wanted to know I could. And and so I had my money. And so I’m like, Well, , there we go. So we went out and see Nice double blessing. You both learned. It was an amazing experience. And it was one of those experiences where I realized, okay, you know, God is good. If I follow him, good things happen. And I’ll also be looked after.

But I’m so glad, you know, and I think if I hadn’t, I’m not sure that the overseas experience would’ve been such a blessing because I had honestly supernatural experience after supernatural experience overseas. Like some random things, like I stopped a rape in Garza and ended up going to court and convicting this person.

But it was a good thing cuz you know, it really protected this person who was anyway, being raped. I had I, look, I just had so many amazing experiences. I was, I got lost in Petra in the, in the desert and I literally had to find a cave just to [00:54:00] kind of get out of the sun. And I was dehydrated and out of water.

And then basically this better, one woman came and found me and we had this amazing faith based interaction. Even though she couldn’t even speak, she couldn’t speak English, I couldn’t speak whatever language she spoke. But yeah, so again, I just, I had many experiences where I knew that God was walking with me and yeah, that was my experience overseas.

And that’s incredible. So yeah, you do have to rush through that stuff. That’s all good stuff. Yeah. Okay, well the one more story, which was cool actually, if that’s all right. I was, Yeah man, that’s what this is about. It’s real experiences cuz every time you’re sharing these stories, you’re sharing how God provided, you know, Jehovah, Jira, the Lord will provide.

And some people haven’t had the faith to take those steps so they haven’t seen God provide and I, the fact that you were obedient and gave the money, not everybody’s gonna get the money back, but we’re all gonna grow and be blessed from it ultimately, even if we don’t see it right now. So I think that’s really important for you to share these stories.[00:55:00]

Yeah. Cool. All right. So look, I was in Austria, and again, this was a great, you know, an amazing story. But I I ended up being like a, a farm hand for a mom of a friend I’d met in Australia. And this lady was a Catholic lady and she was just a really lovely lady. And, and and she was very generous.

And I didn’t have, I mean, I was, I was traveling on. We say, you know, the sentiment, oily rag, I had so little money, you wouldn’t even be allowed to travel nowadays. Like if you had the amount of money I had. So I was trying to earn enough money just to take myself the next part of the journey. But the day I was going leave and move from where we were to Italy, that was my plan to go from Austria to Italy.

She had this dream, and in the dream she saw this place called Taza, which is a, a Catholic kind of retreat place where it’s a bit of a pilgrimage place, place for Catholic youth where they [00:56:00] sing and they learn and they live in community in the south of France. And this beautiful place called Taza.

She saw that place and it was surrounded by Bob Wire and these massive fences, a bit like Garza actually. And and then I was on the outside trying to get in, but I couldn’t. And there was this huge tsunami and it was coming behind me and it was gonna crush me against the fence, but when it came, it actually lifted me up and.

Pushed me into Taza and I was safe. And that was her dream. So she told me that dream and she said, I think you need to go to Taza today and not Florence . And I’m like, Oh my gosh. Like that’s completely, I mean, it’s a different country, you know, and , it’s a different plan altogether. And so I got to the train station and I bought my ticket to Florence.

Well, at least I went together, but then I just said, Okay. I said to the conductor, Okay, look, do you know of a place called Taza? And they hadn’t heard of it, so they looked it up on the computer and he said, Yep, that’s in France. And I said, [00:57:00] Do you have any trains there? And he says, No, we only have like a train connecting to TAs Day, twice a week.

And I’m like, Oh, okay, well when, when would the next one be? And he said, In five minutes, . And I’m like, Okay, I’ll have that. And I literally jumped on the train, it shot off, and I’m like, Oh. I’m gonna taza. And, and when I arrived at Taza, I was absolutely exhausted. It was a long trip, lots of different changeovers, and I walked into Taza.

And yeah, basically I met like 2000 people who were there for the week and they just welcomed me. And then I ended up, you know, having the most spirit field, amazing experience singing these songs from, with people around the world and all this stuff. But then the funny thing is, a lady at the very end of that week came to me and just a German lady who was living at Taza, and she said I, I want to say something to you.

You came in exhausted. Like you were really struggling, and I think this is that part of that [00:58:00] dream. And she said I’ve been praying for you all week, and I just wanted to ask you, do you feel like you’re meant to be a minister? And I said, Actually, I’ve been wrestling with that for a long time. And she said, Yeah, I thought so.

It’s time for you to go to Bible college. And so that was the decision, That was the time I decided to go to Bible college as a result of that experience. So and I enrolled when I got back to Adelaide. So yeah, that was a formative part of my life. And that second, that was a second woman when you’re in TA that you had just, And she never spoken to me.

Oh, wow. She just walked up to you. Hmm. Yeah, she just saw me when I, when I arrived, prayed for me for a week. And then as I was leaving, she deliberately asked me if I wanted to get some more sandwich food. And as we were talking, she kind of found a way of, Yeah, saying what she felt she needed to say.

Man, that’s so awesome how you listen. And God sent the person just like he did so many times in the Bible, you know, to the Ethiopian Munich. He [00:59:00] sent somebody to Paul, to everybody. He, he’ll send and he’ll provide if we’re just doing our part. So where’d you go from there, Daniel? She’s like, Hey, go to school for ministry.

You’re like, Okay. Yeah. So I went back to Adelaide. I was working as a physiotherapist, and then half time I decided to study. So I started to study at Bible college in Adelaide. Because, because of my experience in Europe and Taza and, and yeah. And I met my wife. So I joined a vineyard church which is, well, it’s a different type of church and spent time with my, look, I, I met my wife.

I don’t know that that story actually, I should say, I should make this story more interesting. We, we met a, we met at a we met at a bible study and it was actually funny. She was, she was actually quite depressed at a time she’d broken up with a fiance and and she was just in a really bad space.

And so she, and she didn’t like the fact that I was taking over the music cuz I was playing music. And [01:00:00] a good friend of hers had just left and she was annoyed that my music was a lot worse than hiss . So she wasn’t very friendly and I remember thinking, Gee, you’re really an unfriendly person. So that was my first experience and she didn’t like me.

So, you know, that’s how I met my wife. It’s not exactly I love at first sight type thing, but over the course of the year, we actually did get to know each other a lot better. And eventually I, I saw how amazing she is and, and beyond, you know, the immediate depression that she had. She had some incredible generous qualities and so I eventually asked her if we could start dating and, you know, Rest is history.

Yeah. Nice. And just to clarify, how long were you on your journey in Europe, in the Middle East? Like how long was that? So only three months. That’s it. It was short. Was short and sharp. You know, it was short and sharp and extremely adventurous. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, three months is three months. That’s a long time.

All right, so now you meet your wife, you finish Bible college. [01:01:00] Where does life go? There? From there? Yeah. So I didn’t finish Bible college, actually. Oh, okay. Okay. I I did a number of that. I asked, yeah, I did a number of subjects. And it was interesting because I, and it goes back to that kind of, you know, me being unchurched and not being a very, I don’t know, I’m, I’m Orthodox in my faith, like I’m actually conservative, Orthodox, you know, you’d probably say conservative, evangelical but.

In terms of the format and style and culture of church, I’ve never really found that works. Like I, you know, walking into a building, having a guy preach at you, singing songs, the kind of the formula I’ve always struggled with that a bit and, and going through Barbara College, I just, more and more I just realized I just can’t see myself being that type of guy, you know, the, the pastor of a church in, in a traditional sense.

And so I, I did keep studying, but [01:02:00] I think I was slower at it because I just couldn’t see how that could be my future. Yeah, so, so I got through half of it, let’s say, or maybe a bit less. So look, my wife and I, what would be our next story? It probably is again about church stuff. So we were, we got married the first year of our marriage was absolutely fantastic.

And we really enjoyed that. You know, a lot of people say the first year is the hardest and our first year was. Brilliant. Dating was hard because we both had had some pretty hard experiences with breakups and and with family and really wanted to ask hard, difficult questions before we committed to life with someone else.

And so I remember the, the dating and the engagement period, which was only, we were only dating six months before we got engaged and then were only engaged six months. So it was a one year process. It was pretty fast, but it was very intense with how [01:03:00] much we wrestled. We got like pre-marriage education and counseling and we, we, we did a lot of soul searching.

We asked lots of hard questions and had lots of arguments with each other before we got married because I think we wanted to test the waters, but when we actually made the commitment, it was like smooth sailing cuz we’d done a lot of the preemptive work, if that makes sense. Yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah.

And then after about a year and a half and it was again, my whole, my life isn’t actually that supernatural. It’s just a particularly a young person. I had lots of these things happen. We booked two weeks of annual leave with my closest friend and his, his new wife to go hiking in like on a mountain in Victoria.

And the leave had been booked and we had the cars ready and everything else. And then a week before we went to do this hiking trip there were these massive fires in [01:04:00] Victoria and the Bogan home planes actually burnt down. And so we clearly couldn’t travel there because of the danger. And so we didn’t know what to do.

And we start, we, we said, Well, let’s pray about it as the four of us. And so we just prayed. And my friend who’s really very prophetic, he, he really listens to God well. He just said, Oh, I just have this I had this word forge and, and he said, I’ve heard of this thing called Forge. So he looked up online what Forge was, and it was this mission training course that was run in Victoria by a guy called Alan Hirsch.

And Michael Frost, actually the guy who I actually Met all those years ago, and it was exactly the same week as we were meant to be there. And it was in Victoria. So we rung them up and they said, Look, we’re we’re booked out, but we have four places left in terms of accommodation. Do you want them

And so we said yes, and we ended up doing this course instead. And that really changed my life and that’s what really led me to become a pastor. And pretty much the course was saying that [01:05:00] Australian, the way in which we do church in the west, a lot of it has been adopted. They call it this word, Christ Andum, where a lot of the form and function of church, you know, meeting in a religious building, having paid clergy just having a set kind of liturgy and forms and functions.

None. Has to be Christianity, you know, And when you look at different places of Christianity where there’s persecution, people can be Christians without those forms. And, and it just started to get me really shaking up, shaken up, and challenging the way in which I understood what church was that, that Jesus never changes, that the mission that he’s given us never changes, but the way in which we actually gather can be quite a, can be a lot more flexible and a lot more creative based on the culture that we’re in than I felt we had to be.

And so that gave us permission to try new things. And so we actually started a house church as a result of, of that conference. And so [01:06:00] I ended up leading my my church, which I was actually kind of preaching out and speaking out relatively regularly. And we, it was a process, but we, we left that church, started a house church, and, and really started the idea of what might it look like to be the people of God, but in a way that doesn’t necessarily.

Look as churchy as other expressions and, and it’s not at all to critique the traditional church forms. I love the church, but I think there’s a lot of freedom in experimenting in the forms as well. And so during that time, what were you doing for income? Were you working back in physical therapy? Were you working full time as a pastor?

What was going on there? Yeah. No, so all this is, I was working as a physiotherapist still. Okay. Yeah. Doing a bit of theological study, but predominantly for the next, So for the first 10 years, my main job was physiotherapy. Yeah. So working in a hospital working with patients. [01:07:00] That was my job. My wife is a nurse and, and all this other stuff was volunteer on the side.

Nice. All right, so now you’re in this home church. You’re with your wife, guys are growing together in the Lord. Where does life go from there, Daniel? Yeah, let me just think. Well, it’s overseas again. So after doing about a year and a bit of this house church, which was an amazing experience, but we also realized just how much we didn’t know.

You can run a house church pretty easily, but if you want a house, church that multiplies and actually create some type of movement, that’s a very different idea. And, and so, At the same time, we knew we wanted kids one day and we’d always, my wife had always wanted to be an overseas missionary actually.

So when I met her, she actually went overseas and did a number of months in an abandoned baby’s home in South Africa. And she’d been to Mexico and, and always felt that she was meant to be an overseas missionary. And [01:08:00] so we thought, well, before we have kids, if we’re going to work overseas, this is the time to do it.

And through a number of circumstances, we ended up feeling like we were meant to go to Cambodia and work with a group in Penon Penn. And so that that’s what we did. We, we sold up everything, kind of got rid of our unit and sold my stuff, put stuff in storage, handed over the house church, and then went to Cambodia to join an American organization that lives in the slums.

So they, they kind of, one of the things we wanted to do was if we’re going to live anywhere culturally, we wanted to live. Like, and live with the people that we spend time with. And so we didn’t, we didn’t go to be missionaries. We, we went to check out the mission and to build relationships and then to see if that was where we were meant to stay long term.

Because this group didn’t take people for short term stuff. It was three years minimum. And so if you’re gonna go there, it’s a, you know, it’s a longer term [01:09:00] commitment. The intention was usually six year terms. And so we went there and long story short, it just really wasn’t where we were meant to be it, and so we then didn’t know what to do.

So we went to the UK and we worked as a physiotherapist and a nurse for a year. And we spent that time trying to work out, well, what on earth are we actually meant to do with our lives? And where, where are we meant to end up? And through that time, we just had a lot of conversations where it just became really clear.

That actually our heart is to, to reinvent what life and faith and culture might look like in Australia to recreate communities in a new way. And yeah, we actually wanted to take some of what we’d learnt overseas back home. And, and so that was the journey that actually ended up where I am, led us to where we are now, which is Tasmania.

I, I had a an argument with [01:10:00] God one night saying, you know, we’ve been waiting and asking questions and trying to work out where to go. And we felt quite homeless even though it was, it was fun to travel and be overseas. And I remember having this question kind of enter my head, which is, you know, where would you like to end up?

Cuz the thing about Cambodia, it was really dirty, really busy. There was no, there’s no nature. And I just, I found the idea of living there incredibly hard. And so when I thought of the question, where do you want to end up? I I immediately said, Oh, it’d be awesome to live in Tasmania, which is where I live now because it’s beautiful.

There’s bush walking, it’s clean, it’s small, it’s just one of these magical cities. I really think it’s one of the best cities in the world. And and then I re I really had this sense that God said to me, Well, why wouldn’t I send you somewhere that you want to go ? And it was like, it was a wake up call for me.

It was like, Oh, what if God actually sent us somewhere we wanted to go rather than somewhere we didn’t want to go. [01:11:00] And once I had that idea we made a few investigations. Everything fell in place really quite miraculously. And within I think two to three weeks, we had a plan. We had a place, we had a church community, we had a job, and we moved to ta.

Nice. Now, as an American, our experience is Tasmanian Devil from Warner Brothers cartoons, . Right. So what is Tasmania like? Like you described it a little bit, you said it’s a beautiful place, but I mean, I just picture a spinning monster, you know what I mean? What is Tasmania like? Is it more like the culture of Australia?

Is it the bush? Is it like a completely different civilization? What is that area of the world like? Yeah, so culturally, you know, we’re Aussies, we’re very similar to the rest of Australia. But we’re an island down the, down the bottom. So in terms of the geography, it actually is quite different. So it’s a lot colder than other places.

It’s more like [01:12:00] New Zealand or parts of New Zealand. We have mountains, lots of green, lots of water, lots of trees. So it’s really quite a beautiful place and it’s a small place in terms of population, we’ve got less than, I think we’ve got about, oh, just over half a million people in the whole state.

And And, and it’s an, you know, it’s quite a big place in, in terms of world standards. My city only has just over 250,000 people, which I think is great. So you might not even call it a city, but it has a lot of interesting things. It’s got some hard culture. We have a horrible history in terms of exterminating the Aboriginal people.

That was done in a worse way in Tasmania than almost anywhere else. We have a horrible history with regards to convicts and the way in which convicts were treated from, from the British iss. And we’ve got quite a dark history in terms of spirituality, but but [01:13:00] it’s also a beautiful place to live.

I, and there is the Tasmanian Devil, but it doesn’t spin around it, It’s just kind of this little, little dog that doesn’t hurt anyone, but they, it does have a pretty strong bite if it ever was to try to bite you. Now, is it like a prairie dog in the US that it ruins the fields and the crops, or what’s it do?

Yeah, well, so it’s okay. It’s not a dog. It’s a marsupial. But I’m, you know, trying to, I don’t know. It, it’s, gosh, how do you describe it? Hey, you, you’re education, you’re educating people all over the world who, this is a side note, or it’s a rabbit trail, but you’re taking what Bug’s Bunny did and you’re fixing us all sounds, so what’s it sounds Gooden Devil.

All right. It’s so how big is it? Oh, I don’t know. Just over probably about 30, a bit over 30 centimeters. You don’t even do centimeters, you two inches. So I don’t know what that is. It, it, it’s about a bit over a four and a half long. It’s a really solid little. Kind of black [01:14:00] creature with these enormously strong jaws.

So if it grabs onto you, it, it, it can really grab you. It is a meat eater and they screech, so that’s probably the scary bit. They screech, like they sound a bit like a, I don’t know, some type of horror movie or something. You know, I, I can’t, I can’t repeat the screeching, but yeah, they’re nice little animals and they’re certainly worth visiting if you come to Tasmania.

All right, man. I’d love to. I’d love to when all these stupid I can’t even say the words because I just went through a huge ordeal with one of our episodes. We got canceled and I had a fight with YouTube because I used words and stated my opinion. We won the appeal, but it wasted a lot of time. So when it comes to.

Injections in your body that the World Health Organization is talking about. [01:15:00] My personal opinion is very frustrated by it. And because of that, we can’t travel country to country. But once sanity comes back and the restrictions are lifted, man, I’d love to be able to come out there and you show me Tasmania, that would be fantastic.

Yeah. Yeah. Tassie’s good. Yeah, man. So now you get to Tasmania, God works everything out. Everything seems to fall into place. So bring us between there and today and your book career, your impact you’re making with. Making space. Space making. Yeah. When we’ve taken a long time to get here. So I’ll, I’ll No, that’s what this show’s about.

This show isn’t about just pimping a book. Well, you’ve helped a lot of people. You’ve clarified a lot of topics. You’ve gone in depth and topics much more important than the Tasmanian Devil. So this has been a profitable experience. But bring us between when you get to Tasmanian today, and then we’ll wrap up anything we missed and we’ll transition to where’s Daniel today?

And where are you heading? So [01:16:00] now that you’ve been so generous to help us with your time, how can we help you? No, that sounds good. Look uh, there’s probably one more experience that’s pretty important to share, and then I’ll, then I’ll talk about where I got to with, in terms of business. So I was a physiotherapist.

When I moved to Tasmania, I ended up doing halftime church, church work. So that was part of why we moved there. So I was part-time. I met a family in our community and, and the church community, it was the type of church community I was looking for. We met at a pub and we ran a pub and a jazz venue.

And then, so it was kind of like really integrated with the community around us. But then on a Monday night, we would eat together and we would pray and sing some songs at the top of this jazz venue. And then on a Saturday we would run the jazz venue for the community. So it was really quite a different expression of what church was, which, which is why I went there to, to learn what this was about.

But we met this family and One, the guy was an architect [01:17:00] Michael. And Julia was a sociologist and they had one, you know, brand new baby. So we are all in our I was early 30, no late twenties at the time, and we, they, they’d bought some land and, and wanted to actually create something that was a bit more like a community.

So not like a hippie kind of commune, but to try to live a life that was more interconnected than you see in the world around us, Particularly in Australia, where people put little fences around the houses and it kind of represents the life that they live in terms of this is mine, that’s yours. We’ll connect with each other as individuals, but we won’t really be a community in the, in the true sense.

And we wanted to see if we could live a bit differently to that. So we bought some land together. And spent a whole lot of time trying to work out, you know, what we might wanna do together and whether we could actually commit to a long term lifestyle as, as two couples. And in the end we made a decision to do [01:18:00] that.

And so we built two houses. We share a bunch of land together. We share chickens, we share gardens and trampoline and a barbecue area. And we basically tried to create a life where we have, you know, separate lives, but we do a lot of. Together and invite people from the neighborhood and from our lives to be part of our community.

And that’s really shaped my expression of church and faith in a really significant way. And and we’ve been doing that now for 13, 14 years, living together in community. We now have six kids between us, so I’ve got three and they’ve got three. And they, you know, they’re now nearly adults. Like our, their oldest is 17.

My oldest is 15. But yeah, it, it, it’s been an extremely formative part of our life. And that expression of community that I said is so important to, to live more intersected lives and to create patterns as a [01:19:00] community where others can enter into your life and be shaped and formed. And to form me back.

So you’re doing this during the early two thousands, and like you said, you’ve been doing it for the last 13 years. And during this time we don’t just have the internet in email, but we’re bombarded with smartphones and I, technology and you know, the, the upgrades and the devices Android. It just never stops.

Right. So you are seeing culture from that point to today change. How does Spacemaker come about? Yeah, so I started a, like, I started a business cold spacemaker. So this was about eight years ago, so I was a physiotherapy the physiotherapist. And I, I decided to make a transition out of that into business.

And that’s another story, but the, the, the heart of space making was realizing that actually increasingly with our busy, frantic culture, [01:20:00] The commodity that people were most lacking was space to space to think, space to rest, space to connect with people in their lives who matter and even just space to plan and, and live a more intentional life rather than just running to stand still going from one thing to the next thing to the next thing.

Now, I, I started this business around the time when the iPhone, or was really taking up kind of. Gaining traction and, and the digital explosion was at, at its infancy or at least trying to speed up. But we weren’t living in the way we are living now, where, you know, the world is just so saturated and bombarded by technology and information and complexity and, and noise.

But my heartbeat has always been the same, that actually what if we could help people make space to really live a better life and to think about why they live. And so it was a productivity consulting company? Well, it is. We [01:21:00] started by helping people make space in their email inbox. That was my first course.

So how do you get your inbox to zero? We ran an inbox zero training course called Email Ninja. We now have like 20,000 students globally, including emmi. But yeah, that was our first way of helping people make space. And then we started to help them organize their to-do lists in a course called List Assassin how to set priorities.

So it was very productivity based. But over a number of years, I started to feel like we needed to have much deeper conversations around space, beyond just the techniques and productivity strategies that help us to survive as employees and as people working in the world. And as a result of that, I wrote a book.

Yeah. So Spacemaker had unplugged, unwind, and think clearly in the digital age. It took me seven years to write, so it’s a long time. I, I wrote it and rewrote it like 10 times because every time [01:22:00] I went a bit deeper down the rabbit hole of why we are struggling with space and how our lives are intersected with technology, the more I realized that we needed a deeper and deeper look because I can give people simple life hacks, like, how about you try having.

A weekly day of rest or a digital Sabbath where you turn off your devices and actually rest away from the clutter of digital technology for a day a week. Like in, in from a, from an understanding perspective, turn off your phone for a day, a week so you’re not constantly online. That’s an easy idea.

But mate, you know, how hard is that to do? Like , most people shutter at the idea of losing their phone for an hour, let alone turning off their phone for a whole day, for example. And so there’s something going on in the space that stops us from being able to make good decisions around technology because of our paradigm and our story related to tech and [01:23:00] our ab like our, our obsession with busyness.

And so the book had to go a lot deeper before it got practical. Awesome. So, Now that the book’s been released and you put a lot of time into creating it, what kind of results have you seen that people are picking up the book, they’re applying it? What kind of feedback are you getting from it? Oh, it’s been like, it’s been tremendous and it’s, it’s only just growing.

I mean, the book was released a year ago. So it won the Australian, so it’s again I just wanna clarify, we’ve, we’ve talked a lot about faith actually in this podcast, which I wasn’t expecting, but I’m actually a businessman now and not a pastor, so that’s a different transition. But, and the business is actually not necessarily a religious business.

We’re not a religious society. So I wrote the book to try to share the wisdom that I have from my life and my faith, but [01:24:00] for a broad audience. So it won the Australian Business Book of the Year Award last year for best personal development book Runner Up for Best technology in Australia. And it’s also currently shortlisted for the best.

Christian Book of the year in Australia as well, which we find out in a week if I get that. So it’s kind of navigating that bridge between my beliefs, but also what happens in the world. But no matter who you are, and no matter who’s read this book, whatever their beliefs or their faith most people, you know, as I said in Australia, aren’t at all religious.

It’s just made a tremendous impact to help people rethink their relationship with technology. Why do we gravitate to our devices so much? What’s the story behind the story that makes it so hard for us to actually make space in our lives from tech A and then very practically, how do you actually create patterns and rhythms in your life so you can invest in silence and community and deep rest, deep thought away from a [01:25:00] phone, a tablet, a laptop.

So yeah, it, I, I don’t know. It, it really is making a difference in people’s lives, and it’s also opened up my world. In tremendous ways. I’m speaking and traveling around the world now. I’ve got a new member in, you know, new team, team member in Canada. Like, all of this has come about from the book, which is exciting.

Hmm. So between now and going back to your birth, before I ask you some questions about the book and making space, is there anything we missed, Daniel, that’s significant that you want to talk about or cover? Or can we do a full transition into where you’re at today, where you’re heading and at some questions about the book?

Yeah, let’s just, let’s just move forward. That’s, that’s absolutely fine. Okay. Awesome. By the way, along the journey, you said you had six kids combined. How many do you and your wife have? Oh, so we have three and our neighbors have three. Oh, nice. Nice. Very good. Yeah, and it’s been good. I mean, we’ve kind of raised [01:26:00] them side by side, which has been a nice experience.

So it sounds like, you know, space maker moving those distractions right. Getting less screen time is huge. Just to unclutter our brain, unclutter our mind. But it sounds like a lot of the space is what an American in some other countries would refer to as time, like making time making that space. So what are some practical steps?

Like you said you gave one already, she’s unplug, just pick a day, have a digital Sabbath. What are some other things that our listeners can start using and see progress in their life and then they can go back and buy the book and say, Hey, I want more. So what are some tips that just before I get really practical, if that’s right, I might just go back one step around the book because from my experience you can give people tips and tricks and practices, but they generally don’t stick.

And I think the reason they don’t stick is cuz we, we’ve. Some [01:27:00] stories that we believe that if we don’t challenge those stories or paradigms, then they will constantly draw us back to overwork over addiction and too much type of technology. So when the book, I go from the paradigm to the practices or the paradigm to the principles and then the practices of space making.

So the practices are like the tips and tricks I’ll talk about in a second. But if you don’t start with the paradigm it’s very, very hard to make significant changes. And it’s not just about time, actually, I think we want to get time back, but it’s about attention, it’s about identity, and it’s about the way in which we understand ourselves to understand time, not just making time itself.

And the, the best analogy I’ve heard is by a guy called Jayman Fraser who says that behavior is at the end of the assembly line. Of the factory of beliefs and stories. So basically the behaviors that we habitually do come from our story, which is probably why you like this podcast because as you know, the story that the story of someone’s life [01:28:00] impacts the decisions and behaviors that they have.

And yet, I believe that in the West we’ve adopted a bunch of stories around freedom and choice and technology that actually limit our ability to limit our digital behaviors. So I just wanted to give that caveat because the book is very much framed that way. If you think it’s just a, a book about how to fix like the habits, well then that, that is, it’s very practical cuz I’m a productivity consultant.

I get down to the, you know, nitty gritty of how you’d shift your calendar. However, it’s gotta start with a change in heart and a change in head. Does that make sense? Yeah, 100%. 100%. I’m a firm believer and getting to the root cause of our actions, not just dealing with symptoms. So man, I’m tracking with you, so that’s why I was just saying, but if there’s some things, just a starting point for some of our listeners to put in place and then dig deeper, what are some of the low hanging fruit of this world?

Making more [01:29:00] space and and unwinding and unplugging and making sure they get some downtime and their mind’s not just plugged into an iPhone or Android. Yeah, sure. So I’ll give you some low hanging fruit. Like in the book, I go from the annual patterns, the weekly patterns, and the daily patterns and the daily patterns of the low hanging fruit.

There was a research study by the University of Virginia, a guy called Timothy Wilson who found that he put American participants into a room and said, Sit by yourself without a device for six to 15 minutes and think your own thoughts. And those participants said that it was a painful experience or an uncomfortable experience, and so we wanted to kind of compare and uncomfortable with uncomfortable.

And he, so he ended up getting an electric shock and basically shocking them with painful electricity, which was so painful that they said they would pay $5 or more to not have that experience again. Then he put they group back into a room as a different cohort and said, Sit and think your [01:30:00] own thoughts for 15 minutes.

I don’t encourage it, but if you want to feel free to electrocute yourself again. And 67% of men, and like 20 something percent of women chose to shock themselves with painful shocks rather than be alone with their thoughts without a device. And I think that says a lot about the way in which we’ve shaped our brains to need constant distraction and electronic attention.

So the, the, so the practices that are low hanging are the ones that basically say, try to create daily pauses and patterns and rhythms in your life where you have digital free spaces and digital free patterns all throughout the day, you know, habitual way, individually and together. So some examples would be start and end the day without technology.

Most of us charge our phone next to our bed, and we use it as an alarm clock. Then we finish the day scanning Instagram or the news or email and then we begin the day by [01:31:00] reaching for our alarm clock and then suddenly reaching for whatever app kind of appeals to our identity. And if you’ve got a spouse, you’ll often be in bed and you’re using your phones, you know, making love to your phone rather than to each other.

Like, I think it’s crazy. And so if we can create a daily pause at the start and end of each day to bookend each day with, let’s say, 15, 20, 30 minutes for space with no tech. So you wake up and you think your own thoughts, you pray, you reflect on the day that’s coming rather than hearing other people’s thoughts or finish the day talking to the person in bed next to you, you know, having pillow talk again or just thinking or journaling or reading a physical book that bit of space can be a game changer as one example of a daily pause.

There’s more if you’re interested. But should I go on or is that enough? Yeah, no man. I mean this is your show. This is your episode. We can go wherever you want Dan. I know our listeners the more the better. [01:32:00] But Okay. As you’re talking man, I can’t agree more. Everything you’re saying is just spot on. And I was thinking of the movie Wally.

We just have people mindlessly sitting there drinking their Yeah. You know, 64 ounce big gulp and just watching TV and their mind is just zombie out and they can’t even think, I need to get myself out of this chair. Yeah. And then, you know how many people today, they can’t even be in the house without TV on or music, or they can’t sleep without a TV or music and they think that’s normal.

I mean, their brain is never getting to disengage and shut down and get that rest. So the more tips you share, the better. Cuz I think this is a huge problem in our society. Yeah, look, so Wally is a good example because, I mean an extreme example, but we get caught in these loops and patterns. So for example, the brain uses up 25% of the body’s energy.

That’s a lot. Okay. So a, you know when your brain is working hard, then it makes you feel tired. That’s why you [01:33:00] experience zoom fatigue or brain fog. Does that make sense? And, and so, What happens is when we’re interacting with devices and screens, particularly the internet, particularly stuff that’s flashing or where we’re interacting it uses up a lot of mental energy and therefore you feel tired.

So we end up in this cycle where we think I’m, I’m too tired to play an instrument to go for a bush walk to exercise. I’m too tired to actually play board games with my kids cuz I’ve had a huge day at work. So I’m just gonna watch the television or scan Instagram, which in some ways feels easy because it’s like digital candy, but it actually continues to work the brain.

And so you actually use up the rest of the energy reserves that you have. So while it feels easy, it actually makes you drained spiritually, mentally physically. And then you start the day again and you just rinse and repeat. And so, In one way, it feels like you’re resting, but it’s actually not restful as if you’d gone and exercised [01:34:00] or slept or hung out with a person without a screen.

And it just creates this horrible cycle where you literally are like, you know, in, in Wally, you know, you’re just sitting there glued to a screen shaped by whatever input comes your way. We need to break that cycle by the daily pauses, the weekly pauses, the annual pauses. Yeah, I couldn’t, The other thing too about that is if you’re using all your resources, and I’m guilty of this too, I mean, I’m sure most people today struggle with this, but if we’re using all our resources in our minds constantly spinning with stuff that doesn’t matter, our, we’re not subconsciously and consciously solving the problems and dealing with the stuff that needs to be dealt with, hence so much depression and anxiety and just sorrow.

If our minds are allowed to be free. And to focus. It’s so much more productive for spiritual and mental and [01:35:00] emotional balance. I mean, would you agree or disagree with. Oh look, absolutely. I mean, the explosion of anxiety, mental health depression is, it’s not, it’s, it’s multifactorial. There are so many different things in our culture than 10, 20 years ago that are causing this.

But a tremendous amount, I’m convinced is technology on the way we use it. I’ve just written a second book, which is released in November called Raising Tech Healthy Humans, which is about how to raise healthy kids with healthy habits around the ages of five to 12 years old. So we call that primary school.

And, and the research in kids is just really clear that if you expose them to lots of stimulated type of internet activities at a young age like Minecraft or things with variable rewards where you’re constantly getting flashing screens and you’ve got kind of close up screens rather than fast screens, it stimulates the part of the brain, the limbic system, the.

The the, the primary part of the brain, which is about fight or flight. And you create this constant [01:36:00] sense of stress, which is actually cold anxiety. And so a lot of the anxiety our kids end up with in high school is because you’ve basically stimulated the fight and flight part of their brain for hours and hours and hours and os on end, so called giving them educational Minecraft, which is basically making them anxious.

And so I think that happens to adults to a lesser extent, but with young plastic brains, that absolutely happens. So there’s a long answer to say, yes, I agree with you, . I think there’s definitely a connection between mental health and how we use our devices and we need to unplug. Same message makes space.

Yeah. All right. Maybe you got time for a couple more tips before we move on to Where’s Daniel today and where are you heading? Yeah. Yeah. So look, some other low hanging fruit a digital free meal. I love this one. It’s tremendously research based. So basically, Have a meal around a table without a tv, without any screens, mom or dad, no screens kids, no [01:37:00] screens.

And do it as much as you can, you know, ideally every day throughout their childhood, especially if you’re a family, you know? And, and and it’s increasingly rare. I won’t, I won’t share all my stories, but I’ve coached a lot of leaders around the us, particularly in New York, who the idea of them eating around a table as a family is an unheard of idea.

And they never grew up that way either. They just grew up kind of sitting on the couch watching TV and then sitting on the couch with an iPad. So it’s actually increasingly rare for people to eat together as a family without tech. But the research says that kids who have a family meal without tech they have better homework skills, better numeracy and literacy skills than those who don’t.

They end up with less teen pregnancies at the age of 17. They’re less likely at 17 to smoke marijuana. Or have debt when they’re older they end up with better jobs, better mental health outcomes all because of one practice. So [01:38:00] much so that Charles Duhig, who’s a habit author, calls it a keystone habit because like exercise, it transforms all of your life, not just that part of your life where you’re eating together, but I think it’s a pretty simple habit.

You know, eat together without tech once a day and, and let it change your kids’ lives and let it change your life. And the good news is it doesn’t actually matter what you feed them. You can feed them $2 pizza from whatever supermarket you get that tastes like cardboard. Or you can go all out and cook, I dunno, organic barini, you know, and, and with cheer seeds, you know, And the outcomes are the same.

It’s actually about connecting with people who you love and talking. And reconnecting as humans without devices. So very simple habit, and it will change your life so that that’s another digital free habit that, that you can build in. Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing these down. Did you have one more you wanted to share?

You have one more we can talk about? Yeah. This is just so important. Yeah. There’s [01:39:00] so much trash. Like even teenagers walking around with a phone in their hand, I mean, they’re constantly looking at it. It’s hard to get them to keep their eyes up and it’s a, it’s a distraction for life. Look, while I’ve just written a text, like I’ve written a parenting guide for young people.

As I said, it’s not out yet, but I wrote Spacemaker first because my, my first habit, even in my second book is you’ve gotta start with self because you can look at your teenagers or your kids and say, you know, stop being so on screens and get your head out of a screen and blah, blah, blah. But if, if then you sit down on the couch and spend an hour scrolling Instagram yourself or Facebook or if you’re always waking up and looking at your phone and not giving your kids attention, you know, if your habit, if, if you can’t turn off your phone on a weekend or you’re always checking your phone when you’re at the dinner table, they will copy your habits and your digital values and patterns will play out in your family culture.

So I think Spacemaker, the book is actually about helping you [01:40:00] change your paradigm and your life and your practices, and that will actually have a flow on effect to your family. That’s not answering your question about the. The practical habits, but I do think it’s important to start with self when it comes to examining the way in which you shape your cultures as leaders, as managers, as parents, as pastors.

Yeah. Yeah. I think starting with ourself is biblical. I mean, we have to work on ourselves first and then it trickles to everyone. Hmm. You can’t give what you don’t have. Right. If you don’t have it inside you, it’s hard to give people. You turn to just a hypocrite. So that’s great, man. Mm-hmm. Yeah, definitely.

Look, the last habit list, I’ll be very brief. It’s good to exercise sometimes without tech. I love audiobook. I love podcasts, obviously, and I find I find value in that. But at the same time, if you’re only, if you’re constantly feeling your brain with other people’s ideas and other people’s thoughts, and you don’t have enough silence and solitude in your life to reflect, [01:41:00] The meaning of that information to listen to God and work out what he might say into that space and to actually work out what it might mean for you and your emotions and your beliefs to apply that in your life.

Well then you’re just a knowledgeable person, but wisdom is a person who hears and then puts it into practice. And therefore, what might it look like to create some spaces where you’re just silent and reflecting on what you’ve heard? And I think exercising without technology is one of those practices.

If you’re someone who exercises regularly, of course, if you’re not, I would ex, I would encourage you as a physiotherapist to get out and exercise . But but if you do exercise, I would suggest that sometimes it’s worth running at the gym without a podcast or walking along the beach or, you know, walking, walking your dog without having your phone in your pocket at all.

And just allowing yourself to commune in that space with yourself, with nature. And if you’re a follower of Jesus with God yeah. Digital free exercise. [01:42:00] Yeah. And I think there’s a, there’s so much to that. And what you said was beautiful. If you’re always filling your mind with other people’s thoughts, how can you have your own, I mean, that’s so profound and real.

I mean, we’re supposed to, like, we read our Bible daily and it changes because it’s a living book, but we’re refreshing and reminding ourselves of truths, but we need time to sit and meditate on those truths and then learn to integrate them in our lives and apply them. And what you’re saying about how, if you’re always consuming, consuming, consuming, what are you doing with it?

And I mean, how many self gus, self-help gurus are out there who are truly, truly helping people? Very few. They just have like people who just regurgitate over and over again the same. All truth that works comes from God anyways. But people pay billions of dollars to get these tips and they feel their brain and feel good about [01:43:00] themselves, but they don’t ever apply them.

when you are listening to this show, like Daniel said, we need to not just listen to this, but we need to do it and we need to repeat it each day so we can have a great life in this world, and more importantly, an attorney to come. So, Daniel, where are you today and where are you heading so we can maybe help you get there?

You’ve shared with us so much great information. How can we help you get to the next phase of your journey? Hmm. Thanks for asking. I mean, on a very personal level, I’m in a really big transition in my life again as happens in life. As, as you know, I was a pastor for 10 years. I was a physio for 10 years and then a pastor for 10 years.

And I, for a number of reasons, I’ve just moved into business as a way of expressing my faith and my love for the world and wanting. People make space. So this is a, I’m three months into being a full-time business person. And yeah, I, look, I would love you [01:44:00] to read my book. That’s, that’s the thing that I would really love you to do and write an Amazon review if you like it and to share it with other people.

I think there’s so much stuff in there that we need in our culture right now, how to make space and really transform our ways of seeing the world digitally and, and communally. And so hopefully you’ll get a lot of out of that book. So just grab that book, Space maker online. If you’re interested in finding more about a digital Sabbath and some of the principles around turning off a day, a week and how you might plan that, which is the hard part, then feel free to go to my website as well, which is spacemaker.com.au.

And there’s a link I’m sure David can put up to help you download a free digital Sabbath guide and some free chapters from my book. Excellent. Yes. We’ll put a link to your website to the free offers. You are so kindly providing to our listeners and our community and the show notes. So ladies [01:45:00] and gentlemen, check out Daniel’s show notes on your phone.

If you have any questions whatsoever, reach out to Daniel. Reach out to me if you need anything. And what we want for you is just the best. So if there’s anything we can do to help you, please let us know.

And ladies and gentlemen, apply what you learned. Let us know the results, and we’ll see you in the next episode.




Daniel Sih | How to Unplug, Unwind, & Think Clearly in the Digital Age by Making Space for What Really Matters in Life
Daniel Sih | How to Unplug, Unwind, & Think Clearly in the Digital Age by Making Space for What Really Matters in Life