Yesterday I rode my bike down to Laughing Planet on Belmont Avenue for a $4.85 burrito. The sun was out and all was well. On the ride down I replayed the classic “time/money/no object” game in my head. You know, the one where you ask: “If time and money were no object, what would I do today?” This is a fun game to play, and it's even better when you realize that you wouldn't change much about your plan. In my case, I had about $60 in my wallet—but the only thing I wanted to eat for lunch was the $4.85 burrito. I could have had a million dollars in my laptop bag, and I still would have taken my $35 "Craigslist special" bike down to the burrito place.Read More
Back home in Portland, I went to my first yoga class in several weeks and immediately noticed that something was different. This class is kicking my ass! I thought—but then I looked around, and everyone else was doing just fine. The same thing happened during my 40-minute run the night before: 20 minutes in, I was ready to give up.
My most recent epic journey was fairly intense. Among other challenges, I slept in a different bed every night for 10 nights in a row. I hadn't planned it that way—I was in Cyprus for three nights, but I changed rooms one night and hotels the other night. Because of the complex itinerary, I had a lot of transit stops—one night in Munich, one in Miami, one in Heathrow, and so on. Living out of a suitcase can work for a while, but it does wear you down over time.Read More
From time to time, it's good to have a conversation with yourself—maybe even an interview. This is how you do it.
First, sit yourself down wherever you like to sit. Get coffee or your drink of choice. Turn off the distractions and take it seriously. (Wouldn't you take another interview seriously?)
Then you open the conversation like this:
Dear self, you are x years old. What do you have to show for it? Are you living the dream?Read More
Every year I choose a personal theme, and in December I decided that 2010 would be the year of SCALE and REACH. Thus far, it's been an accurate prediction—some days it's all I can do just to try and keep up. Lately, though, I've been thinking more about EMPOWERMENT than anything else. Empowerment, as I think of it, is all about the beautiful principle of transferring knowledge and helping people consider possibilities that previously seemed out of reach.Read More
Coming home from a recent trip, I thought about bringing flowers. Wouldn’t that be nice, I thought. I imagined the flower buying, the flower delivery, the credit in the relationship account produced by my thoughtful action. When I finally made it off the last flight and the train ride to the transit center, I was tired. I remembered the flowers, but then decided: I’ll do that another time. Then the other day, I thought about something I had promised to do for someone else a while back. Several times I had thought about doing it; my intentions were good. But yet, nothing happened.Read More
In 2004 I went to Liberia for the first of five visits. It was a pretty crazy place at the time, having just ended an 14-year series of civil wars a few months before I arrived with a small assessment team. The streets were patrolled by U.N. tanks, the only electricity was provided by private generators, and the non-functioning lampposts were covered in bullet holes ...Read More
Sorry I was rude to you the other day, someone said. I've just been so busy.
Guess what: we're all busy!
Every one of us. It's not a very exclusive club. And here's another reality check: because we're all busy, no one really cares about how busy someone else is. One way or another, we all make time for what's important to us.Read More
Greetings, friends and readers. Today I have a personal interview with one of our group who reads AONC from the Sudan. Christine (not her real name) is from the U.S. and works in the international development field for a charity that operates throughout Sudan. She has spent more than a year in the country thus far, and recently signed on for another commitment of indefinite length.Read More
From January to September 2009, 21,833 people died in my home state of Oregon. Just like that, each one of them left the world—here one day and gone the next. Several weeks ago, three hikers also died on our nearby Mount Hood in a tragic accident. After their deaths, there was the usual pontification about what they could have done differently. Despite the fact that they were all experienced climbers, and despite leaving for the hike when weather conditions were good, some people blamed their “risky behavior” and suggested various reforms that wouldn’t have made any difference in their case.Read More
If you're involved in any kind of creative work, you and inertia are probably well acquainted. I wish I were an exception, but no—inertia and I are mortal enemies. Every day I get up and fight a battle against that beast. Sometimes I win; sometimes I lose. Sometimes we get “stuck” in something and have a hard time figuring out what to do next. If you're feeling stuck, try one or more of these ideas ...Read More
This is part of my end-of-year series while I’m away on vacation. Future posts will cover business lessons learned, a travel roundup, a list of every post from 2009, and the shape of things to come. Happy December! 2009 has been a truly amazing year for me personally and for AONC. It’s no exaggeration to say that my entire life has shifted dramatically from the place where it was a year ago ...Read More
This is the first in a series of five articles about my Annual Review. Every year since 2005 I've set aside an entire week in December to look back on the previous year and set goals for the next year. This time I'm taking two weeks (it was an intense year!), but I'm also editing my book and outlining a couple of projects for January at the same time.Read More
A while back I needed a reference letter from a professor from graduate school. I went to see the first guy I thought of, who was widely-known in the field and could have helped strengthen the application I was preparing. We hadn’t really hit it off so well in class, but I thought it was…Read More