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Why I’ve Resisted My Annual Review for the First Time in 10 Years

I can trace whatever success I’ve had to instituting and diligently following the practice of completing an Annual Review. It’s helped me write books, travel to every country in the world, start various businesses, produce events for thousands of people, and so on. After feeling that my life wasn't well-aligned, I recently added more categories focused on wellness and relationships—that decision helped a lot too.

But for some reason, as this year’s review time rolled around, I felt some resistance to it. I didn’t look forward to it the way I always have in the past.

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Decide Now How You’ll Evaluate Yourself Next Year

For the past 10 years, I’ve conducted an Annual Review each December to look back on the year and plan ahead for the next. During this time I set a number of goals in different categories of my life.

I’ve written about the review extensively on the blog, and over the years many people have completed it for themselves or adapted it in their own way.

This year I’ll be doing something a bit different. The review is still relevant and very much part of my life, but I’ve felt for a couple years now that something about it needs to change.

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Man Celebrates 60th Birthday by Running 525 Miles Across the Spanish Pyrenees

To celebrate his sixtieth birthday, Andrew Townsend ran from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea – 525 miles across the Spanish Pyrenees climbing a total of 104,000 ft (4 Everests!) in 27 days. If that wasn’t enough, in 2015, he ran 8 marathons, in 8 countries, in only 8 days! Surprisingly, he spent most of his life behind a desk and didn’t start running until he was well into his 50’s proving once again that it’s never too late to get started.

It was day eleven. I had already run 227 miles and climbed 49,000 feet, but I still wasn’t even halfway there. It was just after 5:00am, but I was already up despite not having an alarm set as my aches and pains provided the necessary wake up call I needed. After a quick shower and with teeth brushed, I was ready for the next onerous task of the day – trying to find some clean running gear or perhaps I should say the least dirty!

Next up was the rucksack ritual – working out what I could discard to reduce the weight, followed by deciding I needed everything and re-packing it. Each day it felt like I had accumulate more things although I knew this wasn’t possible. After all, there were no shops.

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If You Can’t Learn Math, Maybe It’s Not Your Fault

My experience in higher education was unusual and erratic. I eventually earned a master’s degree in International Studies, but long before that I was a high-school dropout.

One thing I haven’t talked about much is that I’ve never been able to learn higher math: algebra, geometry, calculus, or anything of the sort. It’s not for lack of trying, or at least it wasn’t for a while. (I have zero interest in trying to learn it these days.)

No, I tried and I just couldn’t learn. I tried over and over and it never got any easier. Lots of people tried to help. I read books and went to study groups. But no matter what I did, it didn’t sink in.

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“You Just Have to Grab the Next Trapeze”: A Former Lawyer Reinvents Himself After Escaping to France

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how far along you are in your career—there's still time for change. Bill Crow felt like he was living someone else’s life. Even though it was a very successful lawyer's life, he still wasn’t happy. So he took a year off and moved his family to France. Disconnecting from his everyday world allowed him to discover what he really wanted to do next.

I went to law school because it led to the professional career expected of me by my engineer father. I had a lawyer’s dream job in my home office in Vancouver, Canada: I had my own law practice, negotiating contracts on the phone for international clients. Best of all, there was no overhead, and I was able to pocket every dollar I billed.

I loved almost everything about my job: the low hours, the freedom, the money, being able to spend time with my kids, the praise of my clients, the work-from-home dress code (PJs).

The only thing I didn't like about my job was the actual doing of it. Practicing law was like sticking needles in my eyes.

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It’s Time to Change the Road You Walk On

You could make a big change at any point in your life. The world could be floating along, with or without you, just as it usually does. Then one day you go out for a sandwich, and while you’re eating it in the park, you think to yourself, “You know, I don’t think I’ll go back to work.” That same afternoon, you book a flight to Tanzania and spend the next ten years volunteering in a nature reserve.

It could happen.

Most of the time, though, that's not how it works. Usually we've been thinking about something for a while, and then those thoughts collide with an unexpected external event. Discontent + stimulation = motivation.

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We’re Not Going to Change the World. You Are.

17139584230_5cf47081bc_z I’m not sure where to begin, or really even what to say at all.

I just wish I had done more to stop it. I’m not very political, I’ve never given to any candidate. I’ve always voted but never registered with a party. I’m not one of those mythical “undecided voters," but I certainly am independent.

Still, this election was the easiest voting choice I’ve ever made. I know it’s naive, but I was genuinely amazed when I met or heard from people who thought differently.

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“If you’re going to spend the money anyway, you might as well get something out of it.”

Ediza Ferris is serious about travel hacking, and it pays off. A recent trip took her and her husband from the States through Sydney to Dubai—where they were whisked from the presidential hotel suite to the First Class lounge via private chauffeur. Ediza is truly hacking her way to incredible experiences thanks to the world of miles and points.

I started traveling when I was young, around age 5 or 6. My parents immigrated to the States from the Philippines and we've always made steady trips back and forth to go back and see family.

I took the opportunity when I was 16 to study abroad for the summer in a theater program. It wasn't until then where I realized the world was so much bigger than myself, and so much older than how it's described in the history books.

Since then, I've wanted to see more, eat differently, and discover anything new so that I can piece together for myself what this world is actually made of.

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Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

Also known as: Why I Fired My Email List Provider

Link: Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers

For more than 8 years I used the same email provider. At one time, long ago, they were the best in the business. As the years went by, they became… well, definitely not the best. I had countless frustrations, including one time where the whole system was down for several days and the company only acknowledged the disaster after people complained.

Still, I resisted change, because change is hard—or so I thought. Over the past few years, a good friend of mine named Nathan Barry has been developing a new service that promised to fix many of the frustrations I had with the larger company that slowly declined over time.

I was skeptical at first, because, well, change is hard. But I finally decided to give Nathan’s service a try, and I was impressed right away. It’s much, much better than every other service I’ve seen, and depending on how you use it, it can be cheaper too.

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“How could you go back to living a mundane life?”

Cassie de Pecol is on a quest to become the fastest woman to visit every country in the world. We sometimes exchange notes about visa issues, long flights, and drinking a bottle of wine while stuck in no-man’s-land transit zone for eight hours or more.

There aren’t many people who’ve gone to every country. Cassie is pursuing a Guinness World Record (I like those too!) but for me, I wasn’t trying to be the youngest, fastest, or any other adjective. In my case, I did it for myself.

She said something to me recently that I really liked, and I’m sharing it here with her permission. For context, we were talking about the dreaded “What do you do after completing a big quest?” question.

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7 Ways to Get Started Earning Points & Miles for Free Travel

Hey everyone! Lots of new people are reading the blog lately, and I’ve been getting a bunch of questions about some travel hacking basics.

Here are a few notes for everyone who’s just started.

I originally started travel hacking as a means to see the world without spending a lot of money. I didn’t have a lot of money, and I also had a long list of places to go. Over the next decade, I had countless adventures all enabled through the world of miles and points.

I could have seen the world without ever using Frequent Flyer miles, but it definitely would have been much more expensive, and probably a lot less fun.

Here are seven things you should do to get started.

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Build a Business Where You Can’t Get Fired

Link: Webcomic Entrepreneurs

A while back, a friend of mine who worked in publishing was laid off. He was at the height of a career and by all accounts had done an excellent job for his employer. He lived in New York City, perhaps the center of the universe for many things, but definitely not known for being affordable. Oh, and he also had a large family, with at least two kids who would be going to college soon.

When he was laid off, I thought, “Wow, if that can happen to him, it can happen to nearly any employee.”

Thankfully, he’s landed on his feet and now works in a senior role with another publisher. Still, what if there was a better way?

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