Published by Comments Off on What to Do About That Thing You’ve Been Putting Off
You know how there's something you've been putting off? Maybe you've had it on your to-do list every day for the past fifteen days. Every morning, you think, "I'll finally do that thing today" ... but you don't. The next day, you dutifully carry it over again ... and you still don't complete the task.
Never underestimate the strength of psychic resistance. Dread is a powerful emotion.
I speak from experience, of course. And after I noticed I was spending a ton of energy worrying about something I had to do but not actually doing it—I made a plan. The plan is two-fold, and I offer it here for your use as well.
Published by Comments Off on Uncomfortable Is Not Unsafe
TLDR: Being uncomfortable is not the same as being unsafe. Avoid things that are fundamentally unsafe, but move in the direction of your discomfort.
When I think about my early years of world travel, there are a few times where I genuinely felt unsafe. Those aren't memories I care to relive, and overall I feel very fortunate to have been to all sorts of places that most travelers avoid: Libya, Syria, Somaliland, Afghanistan, and so on.
Most of the time—by an enormous margin—I felt safe everywhere I went. I was almost always treated well and helped by total strangers.
Published by Comments Off on The Latest in Travel Hacking
In what now feels like a previous life, I used to travel around the world almost every month. I slowed down a bit two years before the pandemic started, but I still took time for an international trip every six weeks at most.
I was also involved in the early days of the "travel hacking" world. I founded a service, the Travel Hacking Cartel, that served 12,000 members over nearly a decade. I also blogged regularly about credit card deals and other interesting opportunities: getting a hair-loss consultation to earn SkyMiles, for example, or spending $8,000 on useless stickers in exchange for 300,000 frequent flyer miles.
I don't do much work in that world any more, but I still benefit from everything I learned and all the mileage balances I accrued over the years.
If you originally found my blog for travel deals, you might miss hearing about them—so I figured I'd pop my head up to do an extended post for those who are interested.
Published by Comments Off on How to Get Better at Saying No
Every request you accept comes with a cost.
If you want to be more effective, if you want to "get more done," or even if you just want some breathing room in your life, you need to say no more often.
For some of us, of course, this is easier said than done. The inability to say no is one of the things that contributes the most to overwhelm. It can even lead to feelings of guilt or shame—you feel guilty for “letting someone down” even though you’re struggling to keep up on your own.
What should you say no to? That's up to you! But here's a start: anything that you don't want to do.
Published by Comments Off on What is the bravest choice you can make right now?
If you want to be more courageous, you have to make brave choices. Sounds simple enough—but how do you know which of those choices to make next?
When I first thought about the question for myself—what’s the bravest choice I can make right now?—I didn’t have an obvious answer. And that felt a little discouraging!
It was like being in a room with inspiring people, all talking about the big important projects they’re working on, and when my turn comes I say something like “Oh, I don’t know … I’m pretty much doing the same stuff as always.”
I received a flurry of responses to my initial post on time anxiety, and it's been interesting to hear lots of stories from readers. To recap:
Time anxiety is the fear of running out of time. You feel like there's something you should be doing, but you're not sure what it is.
I believe that time anxiety is the most pressing problem of the modern world. Once you work your way through Maslow’s hierarchy and your basic needs are taken care of, you start worrying about time—and you never stop.
You worry that time is passing you by
You worry you’re too late or you missed your chance for something important
You worry there’s something you should be doing right now, but you’re not sure what it is
Published by Comments Off on What’s something you’ve done that few other people have?
It's a simple question: what have you done that few other people have? Think about it.
Naturally you might start to list your accomplishments or achievements. Some of those might make the list, but many would fit in a different category. A lot of things you accomplish are things that other people have done as well. In addition, perhaps you've done something that isn't quite an accomplishment per se, but it's rare to meet someone else who's had the same experience.
Published by Comments Off on The Great Resignation: If Your Job Sucks, Now Is the Time to Stop Doing ItIf you don't like your job, what would happen if you walked away?
I've been asking this question off and on for over a decade. Unless you plan on living forever, why in the world should you devote the majority of your productive hours each week to something you don't enjoy?
All that time, I haven't exactly been speaking into a void. I hear from people almost every day who have followed through on some sort of exit plan.
It's clear, however, that something is different now. Very different. What's different is that millions of people are actually quitting their jobs! Four million Americans just in April 2021, according to government statistics, and many millions since.
Published by Comments Off on Change Your Future to Rewrite the Past
“People think that only the future can be changed, but in fact, the future is continually changing the past. The past can and does change. It’s exquisitely sensitive and delicately balanced.” -Keiichiro Hirano, At the End of the Matinee
When we think about time, we tend to divide it into three dimensions: past, present, future. We also tend to accept certain beliefs about each dimension without much questioning.
The present time is the "here and now." It's what's currently happening. The future, alternatively, is what will happen. It's what will come to be.
Unlike the present and the future, the past is locked in ... right? Short of inventing the elusive time machine, there's not much we can do to change the past. We simply have to accept it and move on. Or do we?
Published by Comments Off on Time Anxiety Is the Most Pressing Problem of Our Age ⌛️
Time is running out, and you should be doing something about it … but you don't know what it is.
That's what this post is about: something called time anxiety. I've been dealing with it for years, and maybe you have, too—even if you've never heard the name.
I believe that time anxiety is the most pressing problem of the modern world. Once you work your way through Maslow's hierarchy and your basic needs are taken care of, you start worrying about time—and you never stop.
You worry that time is passing you by
You worry you're too late for something—you missed your chance
You worry there's something you should be doing right now, but you're not sure what it is
Published by Comments Off on Lessons from an Errant Rocket Ship
From time to time, it's good to be reminded of your insignificance. Last week provided an opportunity in the form of a Chinese rocket that was falling to the earth.
Perhaps you heard about it. Thankfully, all was well in the end, but until it landed, no one knew where the rocket would touch down. It could have been anywhere on earth! Just think about it: for all the advances of science and technology, we had no idea where on the entire planet a rocket would decide to return.
Published by Comments Off on Do Hard Things Because They Are Hard
Last week I went to Utah to run an unusual marathon. My time was well over two hours slower than any marathon I've done, but that was by design—I was running with someone who was doing a series of extreme events back-to-back, every day for 100 days in a row.
Published by Comments Off on The Present-Day Time Machine
Most of us can think of times in our lives that we'd like to relive.
When these moments occur in the first place—the original events that become memories—we don't always realize realize how significant they'll become in our internal story.
That's only natural, because sometimes ordinary moments can take on much more meaning after the fact.
Published by Comments Off on Regret Is an Unreliable Emotion
I have long believed that thinking about regret is a powerful motivator for action. When you're feeling indecisive, trying to figure out if a particular step is a good one, consider how you'll feel if you don't take the step. Often this leads you to what seems like the right direction.
But while mental models can be helpful, most of them also have limits. Lately I've realized there's a flaw in the logic of focusing your attention on the avoidance of regrets. Simply put, regret is an unreliable emotion.
Think about that for a moment—what does it mean?
It means, in short, that regret is both difficult to anticipate and even harder to characterize in retrospect. If you feel certain about your choices in either direction—either looking back or looking forward—you may be basing your interpretations on selectively chosen information.