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Your Goals Are Too Small

1. I want you to think about something. Maybe you’re like me: coasting along, doing okay, not lacking for anything material. You have a good life. What else is there? Oh, that’s right: everything. At a certain point you have you ask yourself, am I playing a small game or a big one? Am I…

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Too Late: Notes from LHR T5

Greetings from LHR Terminal 5, where I'm getting ready to fly to my final country.

Yeah. I know.

I'll share more about that over the weekend on Twitter, and of course next week on the blog. I've heard there's a cake and a champagne toast in Oslo on Sunday night, and a lot of fun people coming along.

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This Magic Journey

Everything begins with a crazy idea, and this particular crazy idea comes to you in stages.

You don't decide to visit every country in the world when you haven't been out of your own neighborhood. First you go to a dozen countries in Africa, then a dozen more in Europe, and before you know it you've reached 50-country status.

That's when you start thinking about goals, and that's when you first decide to visit 100 countries before you die.

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If It Matters, You’ll Find a Way

This post was written entirely in the air between Seattle and Anchorage the other day.

It was a bad travel hacking morning. For some reason I was assigned a middle seat in peasant class—the torture chamber of the modern traveler. Alas.

I squeezed into 6B and unloaded my stuff. MacBook, notebook, magazine, iPad, book manuscript, cinnamon twist. I tried to arrange things as best as possible, without sitting on the MacBook or the crucial cinnamon twist.

I felt sorry for myself for a moment. And then I realized the obvious: am I going to complain, or am I going to get to work?

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2012 Annual Review: Looking Forward

I did it. I made it to Tuvalu, the penultimate country! It took a while to get here, but that's to be expected.

Someone said they spent 20 minutes reading the Tuvalu Wikipedia page the other day. I said I was surprised it took 20 minutes—that's the same amount of time it took me to run the length of the entire island of Funafuti last night.

Anyway, 192 countries down. File under your choice of: Wow, WTF, tired, or awesome.

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2012 Annual Review: Overview

Greetings! Every year I devote an entire week—and usually several weeks of blog posts—to an Annual Review, where I look back on the previous year and make plans for the coming year. Many of our readers now do the same thing, some by following the same structure I use and others by modifying it to suit their own needs. This year the review is considerably abridged, mostly due to my recent tour of India. When the option came to decide about the trip, it was a tough call. I don't think it would always be the right decision to shorten the important Annual Review process, but in this case I was so excited to visit India that I decided to switch it up a little.

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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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Are Goals Necessary?

our Facebook page recently, and got a lot of great responses. Technically, I asked “Are goals necessary to achieve success?” – a lot of people accurately said that it depends on how you define success. I agree. But let's say that success includes working toward something other time, whether a career goal, a relational goal, or strictly a personal project. Are goals necessary in the crafting of a meaningful life?

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2010 Annual Review: Looking Forward

After looking back on the year that's nearly finished, I spend most of my Annual Review time thinking ahead to the forthcoming year. While I wrapped up the 2010 review and looked ahead to 2011, here are a few of the summary notes I wrote to myself:

As a big 2010 came to its conclusion I felt purposeful and satisfied, but also on the verge of overwhelm. 2011 and 2012 will be even bigger – how can I maintain momentum without forgetting to live in the moment? This is the challenge and the opportunity of the year: to create sustainable growth in all areas while retaining a core sense of identity.

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2010 Annual Review: Looking Back

After a great time with a fun group in Seattle last night, I drove down through Washington and crossed over the Columbia river ... hello, Oregon—also known as state #50 on the 50-state book tour. States #1-49 are now complete, and tonight is the grand finale at Powell's in Portland.

Since time is short and the year is long, I started thinking ahead on the Annual Review even though I don't leave for the actual trip until tomorrow. As explained in previous posts, the review focuses on looking ahead to the next year, but I first spend at least a day looking back on the year that's ending ...

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2010 Annual Review: The Beginning

Every year since 2006, I've set aside an entire week in December to review the year that has almost passed and look ahead to the next one..

I certainly don't think I've got everything figured out in my life, but I can honestly say that this practice has been the most helpful exercise in all that has happened since then ...

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The Unconventional Strategy in Action

Most of the time, the obvious way around an obstacle isn't the only way. Looking for another option is called the unconventional strategy—when you have the same goal as anyone else, but you find a different way to achieve it. It works in education, career, personal finance, social causes, politics, relationships, etc. Oh, and it can even work in sports and contests too.

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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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