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Non-Independence Day

I didn't write an Independence Day post last week partly because I've been on the road. Burkina Faso is a fun enough place to visit, but there were no fireworks displays at night to celebrate America's intent to withdraw from King George's Britain. But the other reason is that I think of a celebration of independence much like the Thanksgiving holiday. The holiday later in the year is all about eating pie and being grateful. I like both of those things; I just think that being grateful (or eating pie!) shouldn't be reserved for one special day.

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The Journey to Ithaca

Many of us are on quests, either real or representative. Since my quest is real, I like the metaphor of journeying.

Going on a journey involves unexpected surprises, challenges, setbacks, and rewards. And I tend to think that any good journey is as much about the process as the destination ...

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Site Update: June-July 2010

Greetings once again from the homeland, also known as Portland, Oregon.

I haven't been running as much as I'd like lately, but this morning I made it out to the Springwater Corridor for a fun 10 miles in great summer weather. All is well with the world once again.

Each month once in a while I look back at what’s happened with AONC in the previous month two months. If you’ve missed some articles, you can catch up here ...

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Why Focus on the Numbers?

I've heard the question in various forms over the past couple of years: Why not just travel around the world without trying to go everywhere—in other words, why focus on the numbers?

My answer is that the numbers give you a goal—something to keep in mind as you go through a challenging process. The numbers can't be your sole motivation or identity, but they can be a big help.

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Free Advice

Free advice is often worth less than the price. Much of the time, you already know what you need to do about something—you just need to do it.

Nevertheless, I hear a lot of things being repeated, and I get asked a lot of the same questions... so here's my less-than-$0.02 for anyone who cares. As the saying goes, take it or leave it.

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Transitions

Do you ever have the feeling that you're leaving somewhere to which you'll never return? You've been coasting along in the present, then all of a sudden—the future! Is here! There's no going back, no matter how much you want to.

You walk out of the apartment and shut the door for the last time. You leave the university campus after years of study. You change jobs and say farewell to the workspace.

That place was so important to you, but now it's no longer part of your life.

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Enjoying the Moment

Alix from the Netherlands writes in with a great question:

While goals are good to work towards, do you not feel like constantly pursuing things makes you run all the time and not 'enjoy the moment'? What if, for example, while you're standing in one country, and think 'Hmm, I would really like to stay here longer..' -- I mean a real feeling, not a whim?

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Site Update: April-May 2010

I've often recommended the Waffle Window to people visiting Portland. It's still high on my list, but now I have another recommendation: Slappy Cakes. At this crazy place, you pay to make your own pancakes on a grill built into your table. I know it sounds weird—pay money to make your own breakfast, then tip the server who brings you the batter—but it works. Check it out the next time you come to World Domination HQ.

Each month once in a while I look back at what’s happened with AONC in the previous month two months. If you’ve missed some articles, you can catch up here.

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Starting With What You Have

A couple weeks ago I went to Powell's and heard J.D. Roth talk about taking personal responsibility over your financial life. “No one will ever care about your money as much as you do,” he said.

Very true. And you can say the same about your career, your dreams, your goals, and pretty much anything else that is personal and important. When we stop waiting for someone else to come along and make something happen for us, everything moves a lot quicker.

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Your Choices Will Change the World

Beginning this month in North America and many other places around the world, students will be finishing their education and moving on. High school, secondary school, college, university, grad school -- whatever form it takes, this is a time of transition for many.

So much lies ahead! So many possibilities! And sometimes, so much uncertainty. My sister is one of this year's graduates. Congratulations, Mary! You lasted much longer in high school than I did, but you still managed to escape early. Well done.

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Unsolicited Advice

When people ask for advice about something, I've learned to be careful about being too honest. Sometimes I'll say first:

“Before I answer, do you want to hear 'that sounds great!' Or do you want to hear what I really think?”

This is because when we ask for advice, sometimes we're really looking for affirmation. We want to hear, Yes! I love it! Proceed! Because we're already married to the idea we want advice on, we'd be disappointed to hear anything less than an enthusiastic endorsement.

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Your Backup Plan Is Your Plan

My favorite part of reading case studies and interviewing entrepreneurs over the past couple of months has been hearing a number of stories with a recurring theme. In dozens of variations, the stories usually sound like this:

“I was down to my last $400 and simply had to make it work...”

“I gave up the option to take a reduced role at my job and just went full-tilt...”

“I didn't know what I was doing, but I finally overcame everything I was stalling on and just started ...”

Refusing the backup plan is a key theme of many successful entrepreneurs and other heroes. A good backup plan creates safety, security and a fall-back option—things you don't want when you're trying to change the world.

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