Be Realistic: Plan for a Miracle


“Be realistic: Plan for a miracle.” ―Osho
Sometimes in life it’s good to play it safe. But this is not one of those times. This is a time where you’ve come to a point of no return. A choice will be made—no, you will make a choice—and after choosing, you won’t ever be the same.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate the critical moments of life until they’re over. But this time it's obvious: what you do next matters. And the outcome is at least partially within your control.

When you feel as though the odds are against you, you know you’re on the right track. If other people don’t understand your idea, great. If someone says it’s stupid, that’s even better.

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If You Lost Everything, Would You Look Back or Look Forward?

I went to the hotel gym one morning while I was traveling. When I finished on the treadmill, I went back to the elevator to head down to my room... except there was just one problem. Yep, once again I’d forgotten my room number.

I spend 100+ nights a year in hotels and still haven’t perfected a system for remembering where I “live” on any given night. Sometimes I carry the little check-in envelope around in my pocket, and sometimes I take a photo of the door, but at least once every dozen nights, I start to walk back toward my room before realizing I have no idea where it is.

This time, I tried to retrace the steps that took me out of the room and to the gym. Was it 1406? I thought it was. It sounded like the right number.

I went back to floor 14 and everything felt familiar. I turned down the hall and came to the room, which looked like the right one. The door was slightly ajar, and I assumed I’d mistakenly forgotten to close it all the way when I left. Not ideal, I thought, but it happens.

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Many Dreams Aren’t That Hard to Achieve

8124163994_523112045b_z Toward the end of Up in the Air, the character played by George Clooney calls up American Airlines and asks to transfer some of his Frequent Flyer miles to his sister.

"How many miles?" the agent asks.

“Enough to go completely around the world."

I saw that movie with my parents several years ago, and when we left the theatre, my mom asked, “How many miles does it take to go around the world?”

She thought I’d know the answer, and of course I did.

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A Simple Thing You Can Do To Improve Any Relationship


What if there was one thing you could do to be a better friend, partner, or spouse?

It's pretty simple: to improve any relationship, honor the other person’s dreams.

Figure out what they want to do, to become, or achieve, and then help them do it. Don't do it for them—it's their dream, after all—but show interest and offer tangible support.

How can you do that today?

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Don’t Make a Bucket List; Make a List of 100 Dreams


OK, it’s kind of like a bucket list. But it’s a really big one! From Laura Vanderkam:

In 168 Hours, I recommended creating something called a “List of 100 Dreams.” This exercise, which was shared with me by career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine, is a completely unedited list of anything you might want to do or have more of in life. It’s like a bucket list, but most people don’t get all the way to 100 when creating a bucket list. The point is to really think about what you might like.

I also wrote about these lists a lot in The Happiness of Pursuit. I call them "life lists," on the theory that the lists should be well-rounded and not only consist of adventure travel kinds of goals.

But hey, whatever you call it, make a list! I love the challenge of trying to get to 100 items.

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You May Feel Inadequate, But …

I'm home and writing this week and next. From the research files -->

"What advice would you give to someone else who wants to pursue a big dream but feels hesitant or uncertain?"

"Do it. Just do it. You will feel inadequate. You will feel you can't do it, but you owe it to yourself to try. You might only have a 50/50 chance of making it, but you're looking at a 100% chance of failure if you don't even try."

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Famous Last Words

Soon I'll begin an abbreviated version of my Annual Review, where I look back on the events of this year and make plans for the next. In recent years, many of our readers have completed this process in their own way, and everyone is welcome to join in. This year my own review will be a bit shorter than previous years due to a lot of things being stacked up—the India tour finished a few days ago, and then I went to Singapore and Hong Kong for meetings. Now I'm heading to Africa via Heathrow and Lisbon. Blah, blah.

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How to Do Big Things

If you want to change the world, follow a dream, or otherwise find your own identity, you need to be able to do big things. In addition to being a prerequisite for growth, doing big things is also a lot of fun. But how do you do them? What steps do you take? Thankfully, much of the work required to do big things relates to the mindset of deciding to do them. With that in mind, consider these suggestions for your own pursuit of meaning and adventure ...

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“What Should I Do With My Life?”

When I started AONC, part of the message I hoped to share was that it's OK to pursue an independent dream or idea. You don't need permission from anyone to do so. I'm not interested in criticizing anyone who wants a traditional life, but I also strongly believe in supporting those who want something different. The reality is that when you pursue your own agenda instead of someone else's, it's quite likely that some people won't understand. Yet, when you truly "wake up" from a life with terms dictated by someone else, the possibilities are endless.

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“We’ve Got Plans for You”

Amy returned from a working trip abroad. “Welcome home!” her boss said on the first day back at the office. Amy was a little disoriented, thinking of her days in Rajasthan instead of the office at home. “I want to hear all about India,” the boss said, although it seemed the boss mostly wanted to hear all about work. The boss said she had done a good job on the trip, which is always nice to hear. But then the boss said something else. “We've been talking while you were away, and we've got plans for you, Amy.”

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Always Be Thinking About These Things

Dreams. Because it all starts with a dream or an idea. Recapture your lost dreams, create new ones, and find a way to make them real. Living. Because as Bob Dylan said, “He not busy being born is busy dying." If you're not sure what to live for, try peak moments and big adventures. Influences. Because none of us lives in a vacuum. Who has helped you become who you are now? (And have you thanked them lately?)

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The Agenda, Part II: The Individual As Hero

Welcome to Part II of The Agenda. Part I is here. I don't follow professional or amateur sports, but every two years, I love watching the Olympics. I enjoy the stories, the years of training without reward, all in pursuit of a big dream. To give it all in pursuit of such a dream—I think this is a good thing. If people are dreaming and striving hard to achieve their dream, brushing off the criticism they receive and overcoming the obstacles they encounter, the quest becomes life-affirming to themselves and inspiring to the spectators around them.

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