Reset

Sufficiency

I spent most of last week in and around Park City, Utah on a family vacation. I usually run in Portland, Oregon, where the elevation is about 230 feet (70 meters) above sea level. In Park City, the elevation is about 7000 feet (2134 meters) above sea level.

Among other things, the altitude adjustment makes for one tired runner. I felt like I had picked up a pack-a-day smoking habit just before setting out to run a 10k.

Read More

What Makes a Community?

community

Every day I get emails from all kinds of fun people who are getting started on the journey of building an online community. Some of them want advice, and I'm happy to help wherever I can.

I always say to take my $0.02 for whatever it's worth, and ignore me if something works better for you. Also, I'm focusing here on online communities, but they share many of the same characteristics as offline ones.

In the 279 Days report, I wrote about the practical aspects of community building. We looked at RSS vs. email, how to create an e-book, and so on.

This post will look more closely at the underlying philosophy of a community. First of all, what makes a community? Definitions abound, but here's mine:

A community is a group of people united through a common struggle with the same stories.
Let's look at the definition and related features in more detail.

Read More

26 People I Highly Respect

In 279 Days, I included links to many of the people I respect and have learned from since I started this site. I did this because I wanted to give credit where credit is due – and each of these folks deserve a lot of credit for helping me.

Here they are again, with a quick synopsis on why I think they are awesome. If you’re looking for people to learn from (I always am), I encourage you to check out their work.

Read More

How to Write a Life List

Rerouted-Stream What if we could come to the end of our lives with true fulfillment, looking back on a rich history of experiences, relationships, and accomplishments?

Either metaphorically or literally, we could point to a list of steadily-pursued dreams that turned into accomplished goals as we moved through different phases of life.

The sad alternative, of course, is to come to the end of life unfulfilled – something best phrased in this intense quote from Thoreau I’ve been pondering a lot recently:

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with their song still in them.

Read More

Good Things About the Recession

Rerouted-Stream Here in the Spring of 2009, it's easy to say that the financial crisis has decimated the global economy:

*Unemployment in the U.S. (and many other countries) is at a 25-year high

*An average of 40% of wealth has been lost by investors around the world

*Consumer spending is down almost everywhere

*Federal Interest rates are close to 0%

The gloom-and-doom is getting serious, people. Are you all ready to go down in the storm shelter and start putting gold under the mattress? Hopefully not, because we have something important to talk about today.

I’m not trying to make light of hardship in any way. I’ve previously explained that the recession sucks. All of us have been affected one way or another. If I had the choice, I’d prefer to have 15% gains for no work every year. Bring back the bubble!

Read More

Glory Days

Rerouted-Stream I sat in the back of the room as the keynote speaker talked about his experience as a war veteran. It was a good story for the first five minutes, filled with close calls, bonding with peers, and learning about the outside world.

Then he kept going. He talked for 10, 15, nearly 20 minutes about the war before moving on to the subject he was supposed to speak about.

The war in question (Vietnam) took place more than 30 years ago. Yet to hear him talk, it was as if he had just returned from a tour in Iraq. He told the story as if it had all happened yesterday, and anyone listening could appreciate how the time in the war had made him into the person he was that day.

But it also made me wonder… what has he been doing for the past 30 years?

Read More

Friends and Enemies

Rerouted-StreamI’m sitting in a bar in Washington, D.C., listening to another writer talk about the untimely demise of her blog. The blog in question started at almost the same time as The Art of Nonconformity. When I first read her writing last year, I knew she was going places. The posts were crisp, funny, and helpful at the same time.

In fact, when I read almost any of her writing, I thought it was better than most of mine. Then, after a few months of steady content, one day she stopped writing.

Naturally, I wondered, “Why? What happened?”

Read More

How Much Money Do You Really Need?

Here’s a good question: how much money is enough? What do we need to have in order to meet our needs and help us be happy? As I completed my Annual Review recently, I finalized a choice I had been pondering for a while. The choice was whether I should continue scrambling to earn a good living as an entrepreneur while writing on the side, or to go “all in” with the project I believed in more – writing full-time.

Read More

Christmas Obligations

I have a fairly conventional Christmas week scheduled out over the next four days. All signs point for it to be filled with the usual blend of good times (worth remembering) and frustrating times (worth forgetting) that most holidays seem to have. It’s good to see people you love; it’s not good to feel trapped…

Read More