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The Limits of Lifehacking: What Happens When You Approach Optimization?

I have a weird memory of my dad explaining math to me when I was a kid. I never actually learned real math, at least once it went beyond how to pocket extra lunch money, and still haven’t learned 30-odd years later.

But my dad was a good storyteller, and often taught me lessons using examples. One time he told me how if you stood across the room and moved halfway toward the wall, and then halfway again, and then kept moving only halfway over and over, you would never actually reach the wall.

As a ten-year-old, my mind was blown. You'll never reach the wall if you only move halfway, even if you spend 10 years moving over and over?

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201 More Stories of People with Day Jobs Creating Side Hustles

Listen to Side Hustle School:
-in iTunes or Stitcher
-on the website
On January 1, I began a new project: to share a story every day of someone who starts an income-generating project (a "side hustle") without quitting their day job.

The project failed and I decided to give up. Just kidding! We are relentlessly moving along, publishing story after story—and it's getting better and better!

I recently completed the first 100 200 300 days. There's much more to come, but I'm excited about everything I've learned since beginning back in January.

If you're just joining in, you can also catch up on any recent episode from the links below.

Download all episodes from each month:

JAN | FEB | MARCH | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT

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7 Questions to Ask When You’re Feeling Stuck

Do you ever feel stuck? I'm pretty sure we all do at some point. Feeling stuck is like feeling afraid: it happens to everyone, but not everyone gets past it. You win by getting unstuck, not by skipping the process entirely.

When you feel stuck, asking why is often helpful. But just asking "Why am I stuck?" doesn't always work, because feeling stuck can be more of a general sensation than a specific ailment.

So here are a few other questions that might help you figure things out. Ask them to yourself and see what your self has to say.

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Pandering Never Builds a Legacy

I’m as guilty as anyone else who says that to build a business, or a blog, it’s good to ask people what they want and then give it to them. It works!

But there’s another side to this thinking, and I heard the counterpoint presented beautifully last week by Paula Pant.

For years, she's published a popular blog about personal finance. But as she shared in a talk, after starting down the familiar path of "Hey everyone, what should I write for you?" she realized that maybe it was better to ask herself what she wanted to do.

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Welcome, New Readers! What The Art of Non-Conformity Is All About

37847813471_2cfc03e1df_z I’ve had a lot of new people join my blog recently, mostly from all the media coverage about my new book. Welcome!

If you’re just joining, here’s a quick explanation of what all of this is about. I started this blog wayyyyy back in 2008. My mission is to help people live unconventional lives, especially through self-employment and travel, but also the general theme of non-conformity.

At the time I started, I was pursuing a big quest to visit every country in the world by my 35th birthday. I achieved that goal and wrote a book about it called The Happiness of Pursuit. I also wrote a book called The $100 Startup, and my newest book is SIDE HUSTLE.

But enough about me. What can you find here on the site? A lot of things, but let’s focus on three areas.

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For All the Things You Can’t Control, Remember “This Too Shall Pass”

elijah-macleod-400010 Just as there are some things that can’t be fixed, there are also some things you can’t control. This fact can be hard to accept for those of us who like to both fix and control things.

You might have a lot of influence, all the autonomy you could wish for, and independence for days—but when it comes to things you can’t control, none of that matters.

I was reading a thread on Quora recently and noticed a recurring theme in what people mentioned as being outside the realm of control.

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Making Money From More Than One Paycheck Can Help You Follow Your Dreams

36793093064_e8ac576920_z This year I’ve been focused almost entirely on helping people take action. Side Hustle School, my daily podcast, shines a spotlight on people who are creating freedom and security for themselves (and making more money, too).

In my new book, SIDE HUSTLE, you’ll get a 27-day plan to go from idea to income. It’s meant to be as straightforward as possible: follow this plan and you will have something to show for it within a month.

A few people have asked: why is everything so practical? What happened to “follow your dreams”?

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Thirty-Four

A man in San Francisco jumps or falls on the subway tracks. As the train approaches, the passengers all around him unite to warn the train's conductor, who’s able to slow down and prevent disaster.

The man’s life is saved—maybe not forever, but at least for a day.

I recently saw this video of CCTV footage from the incident being passed around, showing exactly what happened. There's no audio, but you can perceive the commotion and urgency of passengers frantically waving for the train to stop.


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Going Back to a Hard Place

Imagine revisiting a place you’d been long ago during a hard time in your life. Maybe that time was long, long ago, and the place far, far away. Or maybe it was last week, and the place is the coffee shop down the street.

Whatever the story, you walk in and experience an unpleasant flashback. You remember what happened when you received bad news, that thing that someone said, or whatever the hard time was about. But it’s not just about the memories. You can feel it. The anxiety tightens, and maybe you’re short of breath.

There's no doubt about it: that thing was hard! Not just a little hard, but hard in a life-changing way. Back then, during the time of the hard thing, you had no idea how you'd recover. You couldn't fathom ever being "okay" or normal again.

But maybe there’s also something good about this experience, the one that feels so unpleasant at first.

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Evening Rituals

I have one or two drinks with dinner, rarely any more.

Before bed I make a cup of herbal tea and take magnesium. Sometimes I have a square of dark chocolate.

I sit with my thoughts and my calendar. I look at my tasks. I do this in digital and analogue form. There is pen and paper and phone and MacBook Air.

I determine the priorities for the next day, with the knowledge that there can only be so many. There may be thirty things to do, but only two to three are truly critical.

In fact, it’s hard to do three. Often it’s just a maximum of two. Choosing more is a recipe for procrastination, if not outright failure.

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Stating the Obvious: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

"We'll have to repent in this generation not merely for hateful words and actions of bad people, but for appalling silence of good people.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’ve been traveling this week but also seeing the news from home. I’m not sure I have much of substance to what’s already been said. I just want to affirm the obvious: perhaps America has received the leader we deserved, not the one who was competent, but that doesn’t mean the good people of our country should go down without a fight.

I don’t support this administration and I wish I'd done more to stop it.

To those like me with all the privilege in the world, try to consider how you’d feel without it. And if it’s impossible to have that kind of empathy, at least acknowledge your privilege. It's a start.

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What If All Your Work Disappeared At the End of the Day?

Over the past ten years, I’ve thought a lot about building a legacy. In particular, I’ve thought about it as it relates to a body of work that you produce and share over the years. This model has kept me going for a long time.

One of the most attractive qualities of writing the blog, starting in 2008 and continuing until now (albeit in several distinct forms), was the idea that I was building a portfolio of sorts. I could write something today, and it would still be around tomorrow, next week, next year, and so on. It would, as I’ve said more than once, “go on to live a life of its own.”

But is that really true?

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An Early Recap of WDS 2017: 12 Photos that Tell Thousands of Words

Last week I hosted WDS 2017, our seventh annual gathering of awesome people in Portland, Oregon. This year we focused on the theme of “Building a Better World.” The intention is to encourage and empower everyone to take action that helps others. We can’t solve every problem in the world, but that doesn’t mean we should hold back from helping.

The event unfolds in a few different settings:
  • Main-stage keynotes
  • A get-to-know-you Opening Party
  • Hundreds of independent meetups taking place all over town
  • A dozen Academies, half-day workshops focusing on specific topics
  • Additional activities and adventures, including an interactive art installation
  • A truly epic Closing Party
Oh, and we also had a lot of fun!

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Why Ideas Are Not Enough (Or: How to Sell Out Like Iron Maiden)

Link: Perennial Seller

"What if I'm not good at making ideas happen? I just like to have ideas!"

Ever since I started Side Hustle School on January 1, I've heard this question a surprising number of times. And believe me, I know it would be nice if you could just have ideas and then someone else does things.

That's not how it works for most of us, though—even those who are successful writers, entrepreneurs, or artists of all kinds. Ideas gain value not through brainstorming but through the getting-it-done phase that all good work needs.

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