Reset

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Breathing Just a Little and Calling It a Life

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

An Interview With Yourself

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

The Small Man Builds Cages for Everyone

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

What You Don’t Do Doesn’t Matter

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