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Instead of Manufacturing Hype, Just Start Doing Great Work

I got a call to do some filming for a marketing agency in Los Angeles. I had the date open and it sounded interesting, so I decided to go.

The filming took place in a Beverly Hills mansion, probably the largest single-person home I’ve ever been in. On the way in I waved awkwardly to the car valet who was hosing down a Porsche, then said hello to the personal chef chopping vegetables in the kitchen.

All over the studio, which looked a bit like what I’d imagine a porn set to be, there were whiteboards set up with verbal cues. Most of them related to the science of persuasion: scarcity, limited-time offer, feel better about yourself.

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2016 Annual Review: Let’s Look Forward to Big New Things!

In this (very abbreviated) Annual Review series…

I’ve never really had writer’s block. I think it was Seth Godin who said something about how writing is the only profession where it’s acceptable to stop working because you can’t be “creative.” There’s no such thing as nurse's block.

But … for much longer than usual, I didn’t know what to say about my review! I really didn’t.

One thing I know is that it’s important to pay attention to how things make you feel. If you look forward to something, that tells you something. If you dread something, or even if you just don’t feel that excited about it, that gives you other information.

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Ultimate 30 Day Challenge: One Man’s Quest to Eat and Train Like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

One of the best things about embarking on a quest is that it forces you to change your routine. Or sometimes, it forces you into a new routine. For 31 days, Mark Webster went from "ordinary tech guy" to "following in The Rock's fitness regime guy."

At the end of 2015, I read Jesse Itzler’s Living with a Seal. Itzler wrote: "I felt like I was drifting on autopilot in my life. Wake up, go to work, go to the gym — repeat. I wanted to shake things up. I wanted to get better." And that resonated with me.
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Looking Back on 2016 (All in One Post!)

I mentioned that I felt some resistance to this year’s review, so I ended up doing it differently. Not surprisingly, some things will be different about my recap process as well.

The biggest difference is that I’m pretty much entirely focused on the future at this point. I call it the review, but it’s much more of a forward-looking, goal-setting practice. I typically spend one day looking back and the rest planning ahead.

This time I didn’t even look back at all. It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realized I had spent the time only looking forward and working on my new project (more on that in a bit).

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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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Get 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points ($1,000+ Value) from a Brand-New Offer

Link: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards Points

Long, long ago, I wrote about my adventures in buying gift cards at Office Depot. It took a lot of schlepping back and forth, but I earned at least 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points from the effort. (I was then able to fly Business Class to South Africa and Switzerland from this points, so it was well worth it.)

As of this week, you can now earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points with a lot less effort. Chase has debuted an all-new card, the Ink Business Preferred, which offers the 80,000 points as a signup bonus.

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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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