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Make Two Blockbusters for Every Arthouse Film

Blockbuster Consider a successful Hollywood actor. This actor likes to make independent, arthouse films. These films have special meaning to the actor, and he or she believes in them enough to give up a big paycheck to do them.

But this Hollywood actor also makes commercial, popular work. The actor has the prized opportunity to perform a major role in summer blockbusters, the kind of films that rarely win at the Oscars but regularly boost the actor’s stature, not to mention their bank account.

The clash of preferences and opportunities raises numerous questions—most of which miss the point.

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What Do People Say At the End of Their Lives?

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If given the chance, what do people choose for their last reflections and comments? A veteran hospice chaplain gives an unflinching answer:

"They talk about the love they felt, and the love they gave. Often they talk about love they did not receive, or the love they did not know how to offer, the love they withheld, or maybe never felt for the ones they should have loved unconditionally.

They talk about how they learned what love is, and what it is not.

This is how we talk about the meaning of our lives. That is how we talk about the big spiritual questions of human existence."

Link: What People Talk About Before They Die

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A Year in the Life of You

I came back from Tuvalu and my gym was packed with dozens of people I had never seen before—an influx of New Year's Resolutions. "How many of them will still be here in February?" I wondered. Whether you're pro- or anti-resolution, there's nothing inherently special about a new calendar year. If you don't like the western calendar, there are plenty of others.

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Famous Last Words

Soon I'll begin an abbreviated version of my Annual Review, where I look back on the events of this year and make plans for the next. In recent years, many of our readers have completed this process in their own way, and everyone is welcome to join in. This year my own review will be a bit shorter than previous years due to a lot of things being stacked up—the India tour finished a few days ago, and then I went to Singapore and Hong Kong for meetings. Now I'm heading to Africa via Heathrow and Lisbon. Blah, blah.

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Searching for Guinea Bissau in Midtown Manhattan

On a crisp morning in November, you find yourself waking up in the center of the universe. You look out your window and see 5th Avenue and the New York Public Library.

You step out of bed and feel the impact of three hours' time change from the west coast. It's 4:30am back there, your body informs you. But you have a mission ahead of you, and you can't be late.

The previous evening you had ordered breakfast for delivery and hesitated over the selection. At first you were thinking french toast, but then you remembered that Gary Leff recommends the lemon poppyseed pancakes. You're not usually a fan of lemon poppyseed, but you decide to trust Gary and give it a try.

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What Is Freedom?

For me, everything began with the notion of freedom—the ability to determine the course of my daily schedule and overall life direction. I was very motivated by the opportunity to decide for myself. A normal job didn't fit into those parameters, so I did everything I could to create my own employment and well-being. But that was early on. Freedom is still extremely important to me. I'll walk away from any business deal or career option that restricts my choices or limits future decisions in a way that doesn't feel right ...

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Some Things You Can Do Right Now to Change Your Life

Happy with your life? Everything's perfect? That's great. This post is not for you.

Everyone else, keep reading.

There are two popular theories of change-making:

#1. Make small and incremental (but regular) changes. Mix it up.

#2. Do it all at once. Quit smoking immediately. Take cold showers. Enter boot camp for the soul—whatever you need to do, don't wait.

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Are Goals Necessary?

our Facebook page recently, and got a lot of great responses. Technically, I asked “Are goals necessary to achieve success?” – a lot of people accurately said that it depends on how you define success. I agree. But let's say that success includes working toward something other time, whether a career goal, a relational goal, or strictly a personal project. Are goals necessary in the crafting of a meaningful life?

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Chasing Daylight: Some Thoughts on Mortality

I recently read two books about the choices people make when faced with the knowledge of their forthcoming death. The first book is called Last Acts, and was written by a doctor who worked predominantly with hospice patients. Throughout the book, people make different choices—some seek to create closure with their loved ones and prepare as much as possible to say farewell to life as we know it. Others refuse to accept the reality of their forthcoming death and try to fight as long as possible ...

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