The advent of 2012 brought with it as many challenges as it did opportunities. The year of 2012 served as a warning of the loss of vitality, ambition and perspective that would wait to assail me if I didn't force myself to muster a basic level of self-control. In February 2012, upon turning 18, I went to the doctor’s surgery after discovering a lump on my testicle. I had always been aware of the lump, but I failed to consider that the lump could have been anything harmful. I failed to connect the dots for two main reasons: 1) I was so pre-occupied with the stresses of school-work and university applications that I would spend my free time indulging in lustful practices such as pornography. It became such an obsession that I would risk being caught, by the slimmest of margins, just to get one quick look. I would masturbate at least five times a day, or until I was fully exhausted of all vitality. I couldn't stop, and soon, each day was all but a robotic, repetitive ritual. Wake up. Miss Breakfast (because of all the porn). Go to school. Watch porn again. And then get two-foot long subways as my daily nutrition. Go to sleep. Repeat. Such a repetitive existence made for a life lacking in energy, and a mind lacking good judgment. 2) I also didn’t believe that such a harrowing experience would afflict me, especially not when I was only 18. Back at the hospital, the doctor called my mum into the room and asked us both to sit down. He showed me an ultrasound of my testicle and said these words: ‘It looks cancerous’. With those three simple words, my life was changed in an instant. I immediately felt a upsurge of emptiness awash my whole body and my chest. It’s hard to describe 'emptiness' as having a tangible, physical quality because in it’s very nature ‘emptiness’ is ‘empty’ and shapeless; so how can it have a physical quality to it? But, that’s all I can describe it as. It wasn’t sadness or fear; it was a sudden realisation: like I had been washed from the inside out. Two seconds after this ‘upsurge of emptiness’, I was completely driven by only my ambition and Faith. Someone once told me that ‘you only know how strong you are when strength is your only option’; I now know exactly how correct that statement is. Almost automatically, the passion and zest for life that I had struggled to cultivate for years, was suddenly all that I had to live for. My plan was to completely beat the cancer, and use my new found confidence to completely eradicate each and every vice that was pulling me down. After getting treated for the cancer and eventually being declared free, I took the necessary steps required to create a new foundation to build upon. I wanted to change three things. a) Firstly, I wanted to change my weight. I was weighing 108kg: out of shape, lacking in muscle and with a bad posture. I decided to not only join the gym, as I had done before, but to commit myself to becoming stronger and healthier every single day, even if I didn’t think it would make a difference. I scrutinised and studied my eating habits, like I was preparing for a test. With each pant of breath on the treadmill or the gruelling stairmaster; when I felt like giving up, I would focus on where I wanted to be physically, and who I would become as a person, if I could just change. And every single time, when I tapped into this deeply innate will power in every single one of us, I found myself going twice as far and twice as long as I believed I could go. One thought I sought comfort in was knowing that ‘MY FIRST DRAFT IS NOT MY FINAL PIECE’. So whatever stage I was at, I didn’t get beat down by comparing myself to others, because I was always making progress. Four months later, I was weighing 84kg, with a strong six pack, core and toned body. b) Secondly, I wanted to no longer be enslaved by masturbation and pornography. I was only 18, but for months I had tried installing adult-blockers on the web browser, but reached little success while taking such precautions. I found that using adult blockers actually intensified the desire to watch pornography. I would explore and imagine which new videos had been uploaded, and eventually my curiosity would lead me to defeat and I could not resist the temptation. This time round, however, I left the URL boxes open to any and every kind of website. What I changed, though, was my ‘mental’ adult blocker. I reasoned that if I could refine my mind to focus on natural sources of beauty, such as art, music and other hobbies, then I would quench the desire to look for sultry material. I decided to think like a child, again. And , thinking like a child was the best thing I did. I found myself, getting more clarity with each day of NoFap. It felt as if the world was bigger, brighter and better. I could hear my voice deepening, I could feel my muscles growing, my hair-thickening, and my eyes clearing up. I generally looked healthier, happier and much more masculine. By 169 days of NoFap, I can only describe it as me being close the ‘purest, fullest and best expression of myself.’ c) Finally, through undertaking the ‘NoFap’challenge, I hoped to create new opportunities for myself and essentially be at my best. 571 days into NoFap, and I am studying at the highest ranking university in the United Kingdom. My newly found vitality has also led me to work face to face with notable people such as Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith. And I am in the middle of writing a book, which will be published by one of the most accredited publishers in the world. Nobody knows my history. It's there, but it's a lesson. But in the face of adversity and fortune, there is no such thing as a lesson lost. Life has never the been same. It really hasn’t. I have changed in so many positive ways, since I started NoFap, and I keep getting better. For anyone reading this now, I would implore you to consider dropping anything that is holding you down, including masturbation, pornography, drugs, over-eating, and associating yourself with bad people and bad habits. The fact remains that: -MOST people will not do NoFap. -MOST people will think that it is unnecessary. -MOST people will think that no damage is being done. But, I’ll tell you this: -MOST people can't know what they haven’t 'experienced'. -MOST people are cynical, sceptical and ignorant. -MOST people aren’t satisfied with their lives anyway. But, either they just tolerate their lives or get used to living a mediocre one. We don’t all have to live this way. There are many alternatives. I write this as if I am writing to my former self, and perhaps, one day you will do the same. Whatever your situation is, wherever you are, today is the earliest day that you will ever get to make a change. Like me, you will only know how strong you are, when strength is your only option. And when you see just how strong you can be… nothing will ever be the same.