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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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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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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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“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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Midnight Sky Notes from Jakarta to Tokyo

Sometimes it’s good to live for the moment. Case in point: you’re flying JAL from Jakarta to Tokyo. It’s an overnight flight, but a short one. When a flight like this is blocked for 7 hrs, you know it’s probably more like 6. Then when you factor in takeoff and getting settled and at least having a snack before sleeping and a cup of coffee before landing, you’re looking at a 5-hour maximum sleep window.

But then the friendly flight attendant offers another glass of Syrah. This being a Japanese airline, she's already apologized four times for asking you to change your seat upon boarding.

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Be Realistic: Plan for a Miracle

realistic

“Be realistic: Plan for a miracle.” ―Osho
Sometimes in life it’s good to play it safe. But this is not one of those times. This is a time where you’ve come to a point of no return. A choice will be made—no, you will make a choice—and after choosing, you won’t ever be the same.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate the critical moments of life until they’re over. But this time it's obvious: what you do next matters. And the outcome is at least partially within your control.

When you feel as though the odds are against you, you know you’re on the right track. If other people don’t understand your idea, great. If someone says it’s stupid, that’s even better.

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“How Can We Be More Present?”: Rev. angel Kyodo williams at WDS

Earlier this week we released the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Those tickets are now sold out—join the waiting list to get notice of the next round.

For the past month, we’ve been rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event, and we've finally come down to our closing speaker. Rev. angel Kyodo Williams is an author, activist, master trainer and founder of the Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of transformation and justice since releasing her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace.

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“Innovation is learning while doing.”: Emily McDowell at WDS

This past week we released the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon. There are a limited number of tickets left, so grab yours while you can!

For the past month, we’ve been rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Emily McDowell is a writer, illustrator, and entrepreneur who specializes in chronicling the human condition. In 2012, she left a successful career in advertising to launch her greeting card line, making cards for the relationships we actually have.

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“Even when something’s gone wrong, you have a chance to hit reset.”: Caroline Webb at WDS

This week (Wednesday, October 12th!) we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Caroline Webb has an extensive background in economics, management consulting, and coaching. She’s currently the CEO of Sevenshift, a firm that shows people how to use insights from behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience to transform the quality of our everyday lives—at work and beyond.

Check out the video to hear her message about how we can use behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience to have a good day!

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“I’m able to embrace every struggle that I’ve had with a spirit of gratitude.”: Zach Anner at WDS

Later this month we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Zach Anner is the author of the comedic memoir If at Birth You Don't Succeed. He is an award-winning comedian, show host, and public speaker who won his own travel show on the Oprah Winfrey Network called "Rollin’ With Zach." He’s also hosted several web series on his YouTube channel, garnering over 13 million hits.

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“The key to optimism is how you explain what happens to you.”: Emiliya Zhivotovskaya at WDS

Later this month we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Emiliya Zhivotovskaya is a leading voice in the world of positive psychology and the science of flourishing, as well as a widely sought-after speaker, educator, facilitator and coach.

At the age of 5, Emiliya and her family fled from Kiev, escaping the fall of Communism and the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. Growing up in a foreign country, she faced challenges unknown to the average kid growing up in a New York suburb.

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“The purpose of work is to create.”: Mr. Money Mustache at WDS

Next month we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Pete Adeney, or Mr. Money Mustache as he is most commonly known, retired at the ripe age of 30 in order to start a family. Six years into this new life of his, he realized his peers were still not only stuck in their well-paying jobs, but barely able to meet their ever-increasing lifestyle inflation bills.

Thus, Pete formed the blog Mr. Money Mustache to teach fellow Americans how to live a slightly less ridiculous life than average in order to amass an incredible surplus of money while still young and able to put it to good use. The blog has reached over 16 million people and become a study on life, happiness, and the joy of being able to focus on work that means something to you.

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Why You Should Write a “Last Letter” to Your Loved Ones Even if You’re Healthy

Sometimes it’s hard to say things we'd like to—but leaving them unsaid can create regrets, especially because we don’t always know when we’ll come to the end of our lives. That’s why I liked this idea of writing a “last letter” to your loved ones even while you’re healthy.

The authors have created an easy-to-use template, where you simply answer a series of open-ended questions in your own words.

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“The next time something feels impossible, stay hungry.”: Chelsea Dinsmore at WDS

Next month we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Chelsea Dinsmore took to the stage as our third keynote speaker of the day. She's the owner and Chief Inspiration Officer of Live Your Legend, a community whose mission is to change the world by helping people find their passion and build a career around the work that only they are capable of doing. Live Your Legend hosts monthly in person meetups in over 200 cities across nearly 60 countries, focused on creating in-person connections with like-minded living legends.

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