Dan Harris is the epitome of the expression: "Don’t judge a book by its cover."
The ABC News correspondent may be a master at meditation, an author and now a father, but his life has also been a rollercoaster.
From watching U.S. troops battle the Taliban on the front line of the war in Afghanistan as a war correspondent, to his own personal battle with substance abuse, Harris has been through hell and come out on the other side even stronger.
The "GMA Weekend" and "Nightline" anchor opened up about his personal struggles, "breaking point" and road to recovery in his book, "10 Percent Happier," in 2014, which became a bestseller.
To mark the fifth anniversary of his book, "GMA" took a trip down memory lane with Harris to learn about his life, career and the lessons he’s learned along the way.
1. Turn what you love into a career
Growing up, Harris felt like he never quite measured up with his family.
"I spent a lot of my childhood feeling stupid," he admitted.
Both of his parents were academics and his younger brother, Matthew, a "genius," would grow up to become a venture capitalist.
"Academically, things didn’t click for me and so I spent a lot of time in the family and in school kind of feeling dumb," Harris said.
It wasn’t until Harris was in college that he realized he didn’t have to follow in his family’s footsteps and pursue academics.
His passion was journalism — and so he decided to "go after it with extreme prejudice."
It’s a decision he’s never regretted.
"Figure out what it is that you would pay to do and then find a way to get paid to do it — that has made all the difference in my life," he said.
2. Don’t underestimate kindness
With their different interests, it’s not a surprise to hear that Harris and his younger brother weren’t tied at the hip growing up.
"I resented [him] to infinity and beyond," Harris joked while looking at this family photo.
As many big brothers are prone to do, Harris admitted that he often "picked on and pushed around" Matthew.
The two "miraculously have a great relationship now," Harris said, but he wishes he was a little kinder to his younger sibling.
"Don’t underestimate the value of not being a jerk," he advises, adding that "it will feel better for you to be nicer."
3. Stay true to yourself
As a journalist, not every assignment will be your favorite.
In 2004, Harris found himself thrilled at the prospect of covering the Democratic National Convention.
"I really wanted, as a young ambitious reporter, to check the box of having covered a presidential campaign."
The assignment turned out to be less than ideal.
"I was never good at it. I didn’t like it very much and that showed up in my work," Harris admitted.
Harris says one good lesson came out of this experience.
"Forcing yourself to do things that you think will be good for you in some way but that actually don't in any way speak to the things that you really enjoy - it's often a fool's errand," he said.
Realize when you need to take a break
Harris says that a mere few weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he volunteered to go overseas. He wound up in southern Afghanistan with the Taliban. "It was my first experience in a war zone and I loved it," Harris said.
"I spent all of this time addicted to the adrenaline of covering war and I came home and everything here - none of that compared to the thrill of having your life on the line every day," he added.
He said he became depressed and started to self medicate with recreational drugs.
In June 2004, he had a panic attack live on "Good Morning America."
"It was that realization that ultimately sent me toward meditation."
Meditation is an activity that Harris practices daily and encourages others to try through his books and his app, "10% Happier."
4. The mind is trainable
From heads of state to Oscar-winning actors, Harris is used to interviewing important people.
Some people, like the Dalai Lama, have impacted him more than others.
Although Harris admits that he "didn’t go into this interview feeling reverent," he left feeling "deeply impressed."
"Dalai Lama does not claim to be some perfected quasi-deity. He’s the guy … who is doing his best through meditation practice and living a good life to have a positive impact in the world," Harris said.
Harris picked up the practice 15 years ago and has spoken openly about how it has transformed his life.
"The thing that meditation has taught me is that the mind is trainable," he said, adding that it was an "empowering thing to learn."
Be sensitive to the people around you
Harris claims his "biggest failings" in life came from being "too stuck" on his own personal narrative and not being cognizant of others' thoughts and needs.
He credits his wife, Bianca, with helping open his eyes to other people's experiences and concerns. The pair tied the knot in the Bahamas in 2009.
Speaking of his marriage, he said "that's the single best decision I’ve ever made."
"My biggest failings throughout life is being too stuck in your own little narrative...without really being sensitive to other people around you."
When asked what the biggest lesson he's leaned through through marriage, Harris replied easily, "The more you open yourself up to other people’s experiences and concerns, the happier you are."
5. Use your voice to change the world
Harris says he tries to use his platform as a public figure and a journalist for good.
He is currently reporting on a story about public health in Cambodia. "There are a lot of kids there who are suffering," he said.
He wants to make sure he elevates issues like these in the public eye.
"You have a position in the culture that I think is really amazing to have...but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. To use the cameras and the megaphone that we have to improve peoples lives, especially the lives of children, that to me gets me really fired up," he said. "That's when I think I do my best work."