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Edwin Vreedeveld

Your Life Really Matters!

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Do you want a better grip on life? Then follow your heart's desire.
Does change come difficult for you? Do you find yourself often pleasing others and neglecting your own personal needs and desires?
Then Your Life Really Matters! is exactly for you. In this book you'll discover:

Am I following my heart's desires?

Why am I doing the things that I do?

What adjustments do I need to make to stay on the right path?

How I'm going to keep it up daily?


Your Life Really Matters! is an eye opener for everyone that wants to follow their passion in life

and become the person they were meant to be.


 My inspiration 

“We have more potential than we realize”.

When you start looking around the world, you begin to realize what humans are capable of. Our desires and ability to create are infinite. What makes us unique as a species is our thinking. Everything we see around us first originated with an idea in our heads that we followed up with passion by one or more people.

Simply by changing how we think, we can achieve much more, with less effort. We have the capability to design our own lives into how we want to live them. When we do that, we take better care of ourselves and start to appreciate ourselves for whom we are as unique individuals. When we become the best version of ourselves, we then can also help others.

“Our lives entail finding our own unique puzzle pieces and it is our primary responsibility to learn to fit them together properly”.

'Everyone's life consists of discovering their own unique puzzle pieces and it's everyone's primary responsibility to find them and put them together' 


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Maybe you wonder what you can contribute to this world to make it a better place. You’re not the only one with this thought.

That’s what makes this book not only a gift for yourself, but also to others around you including family, friends, and even colleagues. In Your Life Really Matters! Edwin Vreedeveld openheartedly describes his struggle with personal leadership, personal effectiveness, and self-reliance. But it's not just about him, Your Life Really Matters! is about you, and the people around you. It’s about all of us. 


Your Life Really Matters!

​First published in the Netherlands © 2021 by Haystack

  • Original title: Ik doe ertoe!

  • Author: Edwin Vreedeveld

  • Translation: Benjamin Roberts

  • Illustrations: Roel ter Voort

  • Paperback and E-book 

  • ISBN 9789461265999

  • 288 pages

Your Life Really Matters! is published by Uitgeverij Haystack, a publisher specialized in original and accessible, Dutch language books for managers, entrepreneurs, and professionals. Haystack management books are re-known for their current and distinctive perspective, accessible style, and contemporary design with a personal approach.

Over Edwin

 Edwin Vreedeveld 


From an early age I had been looking for 'something' that suited me. Something that had to become my future. That can be difficult especially if you don't know what you are looking for.

The most important

The journey to discovering my true self first started in the 1980s when I lived for seven years in the United States. Impacted by how people in my direct surroundings thought, I started to notice that I felt constantly drained. It turned out that I was only focusing on what I could not do well, instead of what I thrived in.

Later I realized how pointless it was to think about what I didn't want anymore, instead of the things I truly desired. I abandoned my personal preferences and unique talents in favor of what other people thought, and disregarded the most important on the planet, me!


During the first 15 years of my career at BP and Randstad, I climbed the corporate ladder from sales and marketing to general management. Despite being successful, in 2001 I realized that my life needed a complete overhaul. I no longer recognized myself in what I had been doing every day with full dedication for years. In my professional and private life, working hard and the fast-paced lifestyle no longer motivated me anymore. It was not only what I was doing, but how I was doing it. I longed to become the captain of my own ship instead of being influenced by circumstances and the whims of others.

Life entrepreneur

That’s when I started my own company based on how intrinsic motivation of employees and people-oriented management can make all the difference for companies that aimed for long-term growth or alternative ways of being successful. And there you go! How Company was founded and since then has evolved into a successful specialist in the field of people and management development. In addition, I have been able to transform my personal life in a way that is more aligned with my true self. Over the years as a life- entrepreneur, I have gained more self-confidence.

In 2018 I started to structure and journal my thoughts along the way. In combination with my professional experiences and personal observations of living more authentically, which eventually led to writing Your Life Really Matters! which was released in the Spring of 2021.

In essentie

In essence

So many questions... the world is changing rapidly which has a huge impact on how we relate and interact with it. The questions rise, do we still lead our lives the way it suits us the best, or is our life determined by circumstances and the environment around us? Many questions pop up such as: 'How can I still react adequately?', 'What do I want with my life?', 'Who am I really?', 'Why do things always get in the way of my plans?', 'What is happening around me and how should I react? And am I still looking forward to it?'. Often, we believe that we are insufficiently equipped to face all these challenges or not empowered enough to create the lives we would like to. Often, we wind up leaving it at that. Consequently, we increasingly seek short-term satisfaction or patiently wait, while continuing to limit ourselves. Too often, the quantity of life is preferred over the quality of life, which distances us even further from our dreams.

We roam around questioning the meaning and purpose of life, looking for something that resembles happiness, and we often don't even know what that looks like. But how can we ever find or recognize something when we don't even know what it looks like? We don't get out of our comfort zone long enough to truly discover the things that truly matter to us. To experience more life energy and especially, regardless of what others think of us, appreciation for ourselves. You can only make progress by regularly taking a critical look at yourself. In life we fail to ask the right questions that would really advance us on our journey. We don’t take a good look in the mirror from time to time and ask ourselves: 'Am I doing the things I want?', 'Why am I doing the things I do?', 'What can I do to adjust and what am I going to do? Can I do something differently so that I can make a lasting difference at this time?'


Becoming your authentic self

We often fall into the trap of trying and working harder instead of questioning ourselves if it is wise to continue doing the same things we have always done while the world around us is constantly changing. We often do things that do not suit us or go against the grain of our authentic self. But also, what in the past was a means to obtain a higher goal for us, often turns out to be a goal, in its’ own right, which ultimately does not help or serve us anymore. We end up doing things that deep down do not suit us. They clash with our authentic self.


Are we what we do, or are we doing what we truly are?

For centuries, people have philosophized about the meaning of life. Sometimes that can even drive you crazy because the way we search for the answer is not always easy. Often, we can get stuck in finding the answer due to the language the question is formulated. We and others tend to identify us based on what we have done in the past. Too often we label ourselves which eventually limits us from looking beyond and digging further inside, and consciously wanting to become. We miss out on the unique and beautiful forms of self-expression in our lives. Consequently, we tend to believe that we 'are what we do' rather than 'doing what we truly are'.

Becoming your true self!

We can learn to do what we truly want by discovering which life values matter the most to us, and what you would like to have more of in life. Then we prioritize and turn them into specific goals. Without becoming distinctive and making a detailed plan, not much is going to change in your life. By routinely reflecting if we are truly experiencing it, we can adjust our plan regularly and stay on course. This process, which must be repeated regularly, helps us consciously outline things that really matter to us, which helps us on our journey in experiencing our true selves.  

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Authentically evolving without prejudice

Experience shows that when you explicitly ask someone what they want in life, they find it more difficult to answer than if you were to ask them what they do not want. People are often more ‘away’ than ‘towards oriented’.  They rather ‘getaway’ from something rather than move towards something else, which is often their starting point. This is not always energizing, as they are motivated from a negative standpoint. Wanting to go ‘towards’ energizes, motivates, and enlivens their authenticity. This is what I call the difference between ‘making a decision’ and ‘making a choice’. The first is often based on fear while the second comes from the heart and is unbiased.



When it comes to making choices, it is also important to be conscious of the difference between doing something meaningful and something that is motivated by purpose. The first focuses mainly on what we regularly do and often corresponds with the social group with whom we associate. The second targets entirely the interpretation of the moral aspect in our lives, our self-expression, the extension of our authenticity as a unique human being. This also means that we should not necessarily focus on what we are good at right now or in the past. It requires that we investigate and discover the things that give us energy and a sense of purpose in life.


Personal taboos

A unique characteristic of humans is our ability to think. It allows us to create almost anything we want. That is positive, but it also comes at a great expense. Since we tend to interpret things negatively when faced with uncertainty, we create limiting beliefs that can lead to apathy or destructive behavior and ultimately failure. Our past experiences play an important role in how we view the future. Our personal software becomes the groundwork for further decision-making. For us to take advantage of the opportunities in the future, it is key that we discover and understand how our personal mechanisms operate, and how they often manifest in the same recurring patterns. For the sake of convenience, let’s call them our personal, unconscious taboos.


Authentic motivations

In addition to our personal software, the environment also plays a key role. The intrinsic and important human motivation of wanting and being able to belong to the group infringes on our self-expression and limits ourselves. There are various formal and informal taboos (often unconscious) that influence how we react and behave daily. Growth starts by first identifying the various taboos that prevent us from manifesting the things that are truly aligned with whom we are. The goal is to release ourselves from these fixed patterns and limiting beliefs so that we can have more freedom, which we, as unique individuals, want to experience in life. Away from primary motivations such as survival and towards self-expression that we often unconsciously long for (authentic motivations) but we dare not reveal.

We all have our unpleasant moments such as being grumpy when life is difficult, when we can't express ourselves and when the environment seems to turn against us. When this happens, we tend to take it out on the people around us, which causes more tension. But people also end up in situations that eventually become structural. It might seem like a paradox, but when you focus more on getting your life on track, you can become an asset in helping others around you. Then you don't take your personal frustrations out on others. The best way to manifest this is by pursuing your desires which are based on your personal values, from tangible to specific ones. This can be done in your daily activities according to the 'Ten Steps', which simultaneously also helps you identify your own shortcomings, which might eventually hinder manifesting the person you want to become. This clearly enables you in creating things that truly matter to you in life.

The fact that we want to change and improve our lives for the better might not necessarily guarantee that others around you will also be happy as well.  Personal taboos and other people’s personal programming do not always make it easier for us. In fact, it can stir up a lot of emotions in someone else, as the person has completely identified with something that is at odds with how you see or desire things. Those are people who have become what they do or think. This can impact your energy management towards your own personal growth and therefore remaining vigilant.

Persevere and energize!

Routinely asking yourself if you are doing what you want, why you are doing the things you are doing, and how you can achieve them are important steps towards your personal growth. Just the same, maintaining it is equally important. Following up on what you had in mind and continuing with regular maintenance makes all the difference in achieving long-term results. By routinely reviewing four possible fixed patterns, you will identify if you are backsliding at an early stage and will be able to readjust and get back on track on your journey to what matters.

We often long for a different and better world. But it initially starts with yourself, and not looking around at what others are doing. Trying to figure out if the chicken or the egg comes first only makes it more complicated in determining who and what is responsible for how you experience your life, and how others react to your pursuit of finding satisfaction and purpose in life. We must chart our own course, realizing and accepting that we are all in the same boat struggling with the same questions and pitfalls in life. The only distinction is that each individual addresses them differently. Instead of 'regarding life from a perspective of seclusion or isolation, challenge yourself and view it from a perspective of connection and regarding others as fellow travelers in the journey of personal awakening. Work on yourself together, give each other the needed space to evolve in their own way. This will energize and motivate you in navigating your own journey.


If we don’t take control of our own lives, then who will?

If life is malleable or not, doesn’t make a difference. In fact, the discussion only distracts us from getting to the core of how to live life the best way possible. It is crucial to realize that we can maximize our influence on how we face daily realities. The way we approach our personal experiences makes all the difference in how we experience and enables us to gain control of our lives. Having the guts to say to yourself 'I want to matter to myself' is the most important motivation to design your life in a way that helps you get the most out of it. This knowledge will help you stay the course. Together with personal insights about your own operating manual and those of others, you will be able to stay the course in your journey of becoming your true authentic self. Everyone is trying to figure out the pieces of the puzzle. While on Earth it is your primary responsibility to put your puzzle pieces together the best way you can. It’s like the airplane safety demonstration. “Put your own oxygen mask on first before your children’s”. It starts by taking care of yourself. You can’t help anybody else if you do not have any oxygen.

In de media

 Edwin in the dutch media

iedereen blij - witte achtergrond_transp

Zaterdag 27-02-2021

"Ik durfde te kiezen
voor wie ik was

Thursday 22-04-2021

See more? 

Presentation Geerhard Bolte

Presentation Cees Buisman 

Acknowledgment Edwin 

Van zondag 2 mei 24:00u
tot maandag 3 mei 02:00u
op NPO Radio 1

Prem Radhakishun

Friday 23-04-2021 Podcast 
with Roy van den Anker of Heilbron 

Financieel Dagblad

Frank Watching - Goede voornemens? 4 patronen die ze dwarsbomen

Lucas Judge - Ook topsport in jouw organisatie

Annemiek Leclair - Gesprek van je leven 




"Edwin's creativity, dynamic, humor and knowledge led me to my own personal adventure."

Roland Kahn
Entrepreneur & Guest Lecturer

"A feast of recognition. Stimulating, inspiring, which I could immediately apply to my own life."

Erica Bischoff
Senior manager

In Your Life Really Matters! Discovering Your True Self, author Edwin Vreedeveld confronts the reader into discovering their true selves and finding purpose in life. After training thousands of professionals, Vreedeveld notices that many come to a crossroads in their life and find out that they are not aligned with their true selves. All too often influenced by societal (and parental) expectations of what they ‘should’ pursue in life, people neglect following their true calling in life. Once they discover their authentic calling and values, and actively pursue them, life becomes easier, not only for the individual but also everyone around them.

Your Life Really Matters! is not a book that is passively read and put down on the nightstand. With several questions formulated at the end of each chapter, Vreedeveld requires the reader to take a deeper look inside, and physically write down for example what energizes and depletes them. The questions at the end of each chapter are half the magic of the book, and there is a psychological shift after reading their authentic answers.  After finishing the book, and answering questions, there is no turning back. The reader is confronted with their true self, and understands that they, and they only, are responsible for discovering their true self. For myself, it was a great awakening, and I understand the exclamation mark in the title. Your life really does matter!

Benjamin Roberts
Author of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Dutch Golden Age

"With digital transformations, human beings make all the difference. Together with Edwin we started the Accelerate program to combine IT knowledge with personal leadership. This book is mandatory reading!"

Bert Ertman
Chief Technology Officer

How is it possible that the Netherlands is experiencing more stress-related illnesses than ever, and the threat of burnout looms more than ever for a portion of the workforce? Edwin Vreedeveld provides answers in his book "Your Life Really Matters!."

Personally, I found these mechanisms and environmental influences particularly recognizable. It describes how things operate in the world and why it sometimes seems challenging to break free from societal expectations. The personal narrative (without self-aggrandizement) makes the book easy to read, while the experiences of an entrepreneur who has trained thousands of people with his organization provide structure to the book. In my opinion, "Your Life Really Matters!" is a recommendation for anyone wondering if there is more to life.


Read the entire review on

Roy van den Anker
Operational Director of Insurance Broker Heilbron



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Edwin Vreedeveld

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