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Student Drops Out of College & Buys a One-Way Flight to Guatemala

looking-out After trying and failing to lead a conventional life, Jake Heilbrunn decided to follow his intuition by backpacking and volunteering through Central America. This trip changed the course of his life. I distinctly remember climbing atop La Danta and looking out across vast amounts of jungle expanding as far as the eye could see in all directions. It was humbling to realize how big this world is and how small I really was. Oddly enough, this new perspective gave me the confidence to continue pursuing my dreams and passions. The vastness of the jungle reminded me that if I was really so small, I had nothing to lose.

That night, the twelve of us volunteers cooked up a campfire dinner. There was no service or wifi in the jungle, so everyone sat around and talked, face to face. Nobody was distracted by their phones or technology. There was a powerful energy among us as we shared this intense, jungle experience devoid of distractions.

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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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Creative Ways to Succeed in the Knowledge Economy

Reading:

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I enjoyed each of these stories that have been floating around.

If you want to be negative, there’s at least one major point you could critique about each of them. The woman making tons of money on Etsy isn’t actually handcrafting most of her items, which is the guiding value of Etsy. The Rideshare Guy is essentially trading time for money. The poets, well, I guess you could say it’s more of a party trick than real poetry.

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To Be More Creative, Schedule Your Work at 80% Capacity

3601990852_541f71970d_z I'm fortunate to work with great partners, including a wonderful design studio right in Southeast Portland called Jolby & Friends.

I was recently with the Jolby crew on a site visit, and one of them mentioned something about how they deliberately operate their studio on an "80% capacity" model.

The idea is that they schedule themselves only 80% full in order to be available for last-minute client requests, as well as their own work. I thought this was really interesting!

I wrote to Steven, the studio manager, to ask more about how it works.

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You Don’t Have to Be Uncomfortable to Have an Authentic Travel Experience


When I went to Burma several years ago I stayed in a nice guest house for about $35 a night. The rate included free Wifi and a large banana pancake for breakfast. Mmmmmm.

After I came home, I talked with someone who had also been there. "How much did you pay?" he asked.

"Oh... about $30-40 a night," I said. I may also have mentioned the delicious banana pancake. Mmmmmm.

"That’s crazy!" He said. "You got ripped off... there are places you can stay for just $10 or less."

I didn’t know how to respond. Was I “ripped off?” Well, I guess I could have paid less... but I was happy with the experience, so for me the rate was a great value.

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What If You Had to Work Only One Hour a Day?


One Hour a Day, No More

I once caught bronchitis, and it lasted for more than a week. I spent much of the day sleeping or complaining.

But of course, I still had to work sometime. My energy level was constantly low, but every so often I'd muster enough strength to work through a few tasks or half-heartedly reply to emails before crashing on the couch.

The rest of the time, when I wasn’t sleeping or complaining, I was on the couch reading or watching bad TV shows on my iPad. Once in a while I’d be inspired to boil water for herbal tea. It was rough—even worse than the dreaded man flu.

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Sometimes Life Sucks, So You Might As Well Do Something About It


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I've always liked Trent Hamm's tagline: "All I care about is making your life not suck." This is what good bloggers, and good people of all kinds, do well. If you're trying to figure out the next step for your blog... or your life... think about how you can make other people's lives not suck.

Taking action on it will probably make you happier, too.

A couple people have suggested that the phrasing of Trent's motto is poor. Can't you make it more positive? they ask.

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Dangerous Places

One of the questions I'm repeatedly asked in interviews is, “Aren't you afraid of all the dangerous countries?" It's usually followed by questions like "What's the worst thing that has happened to you?"

Despite 100 interviews over the past three months on book tour, I'm still not very good at the soundbyte. I have countries that try to deport me upon arrival and countries that write an official government response to my frustration at their bureaucracy. In a decade full of active traveling, I've also had a few more serious problems as well ...

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If You Love Something, You Have to Protect It

You might have heard this advice before: “If you love something, set it free.” But I'm not so sure about that. It seems to me that if you really love something, setting it free is exactly what you don't want to do. I've been thinking about this idea ever since a friend gave me the opposite advice recently:

“If you love something, you have to protect it.”

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Going to Extremes

On the flight back from South America last week, the airline was showing Yes Man, a film starring Jim Carrey. Left to my own devices, I rarely finish a movie, but I watched the first two-thirds of this one and thought it was great. The premise of Yes Man is that a guy who usually says no to everything - requests from friends, growth opportunities at work, and so on - has to make a sudden switch where his default answer becomes yes to any request he encounters.

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