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“Pain Deserves Acknowledgement, Not Repair”: Megan Devine at WDS

Next week we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2016, a global gathering like no other!

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2015 event. Megan Devine, author of the audio book, When Everything is Not Okay: Practices to Help You Stay in Your Heart & Not Lose Your Mind, challenged us to approach life's challenges differently for ourselves and the people we love.

Check out the video!

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Whatever Happened to the Road Not Taken?

You’ve heard the story a thousand times.

Two roads diverged in the woods, and the wanderer is forced to choose. One road has a bit more wear than the other, but aside from that, both paths look pretty good. What to do? Since you've heard the story, you probably know the ending.

After some deliberation, the wanderer chooses the road “less traveled by.” And that, we're told, “has made all the difference."

Great story! But did you ever think about what happened to the other road? Maybe it was just a common road, and the wanderer was right to place his foot on the freshly-fallen leaves where few had stepped before.

Or maybe not. I have a theory that the other road was just as good. Maybe it was even better than the road less traveled by, but in the recollection the wanderer has revised his memory to conform to the experience he's had since first choosing a path.

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“Your Heart Will Always Lead You Home”: Lissa Rankin at WDS

Soon we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2016, a global gathering like no other!

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2015 event. Lissa Rankin, physician and New York Times bestselling author of popular books like Mind Over Medicine and The Fear Cure, spoke to us about listening to our heart to find our purpose.

Check out the video!

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“Most of Us Have a Deep Desire to Be Great”: Lewis Howes at WDS

In just a few weeks, we’ll release the first round of tickets for WDS 2016, a global gathering like no other!

But first, we’re rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2015 event. Lewis Howes, host of the popular podcast The School of Greatness, shared his own story about how he found the secret to greatness.

Note: In this video, Lewis shares a number of personal stories for the first time, including one that contains sensitive information.

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The Treasure Is Still Out There: Thoughts on Adventure and Scott Dinsmore

6459439415_cfa490e755_b A few days ago I went to San Francisco to attend a memorial service for Scott Luckey Dinsmore, who recently died in a tragic accident on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The speakers were all family members and close friends who shared stories of Scott’s life.

My favorite story was about a treasure hunt. Before Scott and his wife Chelsea left on the year-long Round-the-World trip that led them to Kilimanjaro, Scott and one of his friends had planned to go on a treasure hunt. Apparently, it was rumored that somewhere in the United States, some sort of treasure was still buried and just waiting to be found.

Scott said that his biggest regret in going on the year-long trip was that he’d miss the treasure hunt. Everyone laughed when the speaker mentioned this. If your biggest regret in traveling the world for a year is that you’ll miss a treasure hunt back home, you’re doing pretty well. But that was Scott: according to the other stories we heard, he always said yes to every invitation, and he was always pursuing another crazy adventure.

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The Uneventful Days that Affect Us Forever

"Do human beings ever realize life while they live it—every, every minute?” -Emily, from Our Town by Thomas Wilder

This past weekend I went back to the city where my brother and I both lived for a while. In fact, I stayed in the small hotel where I saw him for the last time. That visit was a year or so ago, and when we said goodbye he was returning to his home in Washington, D.C. and I to Portland.

Ken had an appreciation for good whiskey, but on our last evening together I discovered that he had never heard of bourbon and ginger ale, a very basic and common drink. Following my lead, he had his first one that night at the hotel restaurant where we were staying. Then, the next morning, we had breakfast together in the same restaurant before going our separate ways.

It’s funny how experiences like those seem so trivial at the time. Imagine writing a story composed of such details: two characters meet in a bar for a drink and talk about nothing terribly important. The next morning they have breakfast together and then fly back home. There’s no plot, no conflict, no life-altering decision to be made. What a boring story!

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Warning Signs That Your Life Lacks a Consistent Vision


You don’t know what to do at the start of the day.

Someone else or some other external events determine how you schedule and spend your time. Sure, you eventually jump into something, but your priorities are not your own.

You are pre-occupied with tactics and short-term opportunities.

Instead of seeing the long-term goal, you see only 2-3 steps ahead. You are a tactician instead of a strategist, in other words.

You are disillusioned with the things that used to bring you joy.

What once made you happy is no longer sufficient. You do the same things you used to, but without the same feelings of anticipation and enjoyment.

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Only Floss the Teeth You Want to Keep

That’s what dentists tell you. You don’t need to floss all your teeth—just the ones you need to keep.

When it comes to your business, your life, or your relationships, a similar principle applies. You don’t have to pay attention to everything and everyone. But you do have to pay attention to what matters most.

It may help to identify some priorities. In my business I track only two metrics on a consistent basis:

1. Email subscribers

2. Product sales
My thinking is that if these things are going along okay, everything else will fall into place. I don't check other statistics or track anything else. Checking my bank accounts will not make more money.

This year I added a "relationship metric":

Every day I will write or call at least one friend.

It’s simple, but effective (at least for me). So far this year, I haven’t missed a day.

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“What Have I Missed in My Life?” Notes on The Novels Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge

"I think the message in the book is that we all have flaws we can’t resolve." -Amazon reviewer

I recently read Mrs. Bridge, a lesser-known novel from 1959 in which nothing really happens. A boring and largely unsympathetic character ambles though normal life events, rarely seeing her equally boring husband. Their three children have normal childhood problems, and eventually grow up.

Sounds thrilling, right? But underneath the surface, there’s a lot more going on. The novel is essentially about discontent and regret, or about encountering the panic and quiet desperation of an ordinary life.

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The Game Is Rigged, So Learn to Play the Game

You probably learned in kindergarten that life isn’t fair. You can’t always get what you want—and sometimes you might not even get what you need.

When something doesn’t work the way we want it to, we tend to dismiss the process as unfair, flawed, or even fraudulent. “That’s a scam,” you hear about any number of things.

Getting into college, for example, is unfair and flawed. Sure, you can study hard, join the service club, but “the game is rigged” in favor of people who invest in standardized test prep.

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Thirty-Two

One of the things I have yet to come to terms with is: what are the consequences of losing my brother? That is, what will be different now that he's gone?

Obviously I am still grieving, and even still largely in shock. I wake up every day remembering him, disbelieving for a moment that he could possibly be gone. But these are short-term circumstances, not long-term consequences. The bottom line is that I don’t fully know what the loss entails for me and for everyone else who was close to him. In my case, I just have no doubt that my life will be different, not only now but always.

Today is Ken's birthday. He would have been 32 years old. I probably would have texted him to say “Happy birthday, bro!”

And to be honest, that’s probably all I would have done. I might have sent a bottle of whiskey or a copy of a new book I liked, but in most years I usually just called or wrote. He was always better at birthdays and other holidays than me or anyone else in the family.

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Many Dreams Aren’t That Hard to Achieve

Toward the end of Up in the Air, the character played by George Clooney calls up American Airlines and asks to transfer some of his Frequent Flyer miles to his sister.

"How many miles?" the agent asks.

“Enough to go completely around the world."

I saw that movie with my parents several years ago, and when we left the theatre, my mom asked, “How many miles does it take to go around the world?”

She thought I’d know the answer, and of course I did.

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Lessons in Non-Conformity from Sesame Street

A reader sent me this fun video from a long-ago sketch on Sesame Street.

I love the turning point right at the halfway mark: Dan would do everything that Stan did, until one day he decides to make a change.

“Hi, I’m Dan. I decided I’m not going to do everything that Stan does anymore."

Isn’t this exactly how it works in life? You go along with the crowd, playing follow the leader and keeping your head down. The status quo is maintained—until it isn't.

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How to Change When Change Is Hard: Lessons from a Timid Mouse

I was coming back from a run up and down Mount Tabor in Southeast Portland. I know the route well. It’s about a 5-6 mile loop from my house, depending on which path I take. More often than not, when I’m home for a while I run it at least once a week.

As I neared my neighborhood toward the end of the run, I noticed a cat in a driveway. Being a cat person, I often say hi to felines when I see them out and about on my run. Cats being cats, sometimes they follow me for blocks, intent on being my friend for life, and other times they can’t be bothered to acknowledge my presence.

This cat, I noticed, was different. He was sitting on his hind legs in the driveway, staring intently at something. Maybe it’s because he was so intent on the object of his fascination, or maybe I was just tired toward the end of the run—but for whatever reason I decided to slow down and walk over to the driveway.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I said to the cat. (Yeah, I talk to cats the same way I talk to people. If you’ve ever had a cat, you understand.)

The cat gave no response. He was fully immersed in something, and as I got closer, I could see what it was. There was a mouse! A tiny one, shivering in an isolated section of grass near the driveway—and just a paw’s swipe away from the cat.

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