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Book Talk with Nicky Cullen, Writer & Anxiety Coach, on Why He DOESN'T Recommend His Career Path

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Nicky Cullen is a writer and coach, helping people gain freedom from anxiety, panic attacks and associated depression.

Nicky had a long term relationship with panic, and now his philosophy is to teach that which he wishes somebody would have taught him 15 years ago.

Everything he writes is based on his own experience and learnings, and also tailored to the anxious mind of those who hate traditional therapy. Nicky offers an honest, raw, unfiltered approach to anxiety. No bullshit and no fluffy stuff.

Nicky’s also a freelance writer, with clients across many industries.

Keep on reading to find out more about the books that helped Nicky deal with anxiety and panic attacks, his reading habits, but also the advice he’d give to those who struggle with FOMO related to reading.

Estimated reading time for this interview is 9 minutes. If you'd rather listen to it, you can do it on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

That is such a tough question. I’m going to say The Godfather because I couldn’t stop until it was finished.

Personal development is a little different: Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane, and The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. All these teach invaluable life lessons with added entertainment in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. If I was to write an article listing the top three books to help with anxiety that don’t have anxiety in the title, these would be them.

Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

I had been suffering from acute anxiety and panic attacks for 5 years without knowing what the hell was wrong with me while assuming I had every life-threatening disease under the sun. Then one day I picked up a book, “When Panic Attacks” by Áine Tubridy, and read the back. I immediately said to myself, “holy shit, that’s me!” Needless to say, I went straight to the counter and made the purchase.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

When Panic Attacks” by Áine Tubridy. No question.

What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

I maintain everything I do was an accident. I accidentally amassed an awful lot of wisdom on a horrible condition. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend my career path!

I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I use both Kindle and Audible, and I would probably read approx. 60 mins per/day. But I’m not strict. I used to be, but I mix it up so much now that it just kind of happens without me thinking about it.

How do you make time for reading?

I don’t carve out any time. It’s just part of my lifestyle now, and my job.

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

No. I’m terrible. I highlight with Kindle and bookmark with Audible so I can go back if need be.

How do you choose what books to read next?

I have so many people recommending books I can never get through them. I have them all on a list and will reference that at the time.

Do you prioritize those recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

Probably my favourite bloggers, like Brian Johnson, Mark Manson, and Mel Robbins, or books written by those who have given Ted Talks, New York Times bestsellers, and a couple friends. It all depends on what I want to learn.
I also have a subscription to MentorBox, an amazing product where top authors are interviewed and go through the main takeaways from their book!

What book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

I am currently reading two books and listening to one:

1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Just learning all about our past and our evolution. I’m only 150 pages in but it really is mind-blowing.

2. Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight. Her previous book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k was hilarious, so reading this purely for entertainment! It’s not as funny as the first one though so I’ll probably drop it.

3. The Mask of Masculinity by Lewis Howes. I recently wrote an article on Man’s struggle with his mental health. This is a massive problem, and I am trying to wrap my head around what I think the issue is and get others perspectives. That’s why I am listening to this.

Last question: I know many people who struggle with anxiety and FOMO because of books – so many good books, never enough time. What advice would you give them?

Oh God!! If you’re truly enjoying your books then I don’t think you’re freaking out. You shouldn’t be anyway. I think a lot of people are told you have to read 60 books a year to be successful so they’re stressing themselves to read, and not actually enjoying the book as a result. Sounds like a perfectionist mentality. I hate that shit, and sometimes I have that internal battle myself. Am I allowed to say, chill out? Speed read if you want to consume faster. Pick a book up, look for the chapters relevant to you and read only them. And don’t be afraid to bin it if you’re not enjoying it.

Links where you can follow Nicky Cullen or find out more about his projects:

All books mentioned by Nicky Cullen in this interview:

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