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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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The Movie of Your Life, Part II

A while back I wrote about the idea of your life as a movie, with you as the director. When you go through your archives in post-production, you might stumble on a scene that feels particularly surreal.

In those times, you may want to ask yourself, “Why did I put this scene in my movie?"

With the benefit of perspective, I realize that some of the scenes in my movie are a little surreal. Looking back on those scenes, it's easy to wonder, “Did that really happen?”

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The Myth of the Self-Made Man

Arnold Schwarzenegger on being a self-made man:

“I always tell people that you can call me anything that you want, but don’t ever, ever call me a self-made man. It gives the wrong impression, that we can do it alone. None of us can. The whole concept of the self-made man or woman is a myth. I would have never made it in my life without the help.

I want you to understand this because as soon as you know you are here because of a lot of help, then you also understand that now it’s time to help others. That’s what this is all about.”

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”If You Can Invest in Someone Else’s Company, You Can Invest in Yourself”

On an upcoming episode of Side Hustle School, I tell the story of someone who obtained a patent for a special kind of mittens for runners. Unlike a $100 Startup, getting a patent is not an easy or cheap process. It look several years and more than $5,000.

Still, she stuck with it because she believed in the idea and was convinced of its value. When she asked one friend where she was going to get the money, he said, “Do you own any stocks?” She said yes.

“If you can invest in someone else’s company,” he told her, "you can invest in yourself. Sell the stocks!”

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It’s Not My Birthday

Despite what Google or Wikipedia tells you, today (April 4th) is not my birthday. Last year on this day I got a flurry of messages from people all wishing me a joyous celebration.

“Thanks,” I’d reply, “but it’s not my birthday."

I finally developed a working theory of what happened. I’m not positive it’s true, but it’s something that feels comforting, so I’m going with it.

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“Everything Is Figoureoutable:” Notes from Paris to Doha

On a recent trip, I had to get back to Doha from Paris, a 5 1/2 hour flight. I was transferring via an initial connection from Zurich, and I booked the Zurich flight to arrive less than an hour before the Qatar Airways flight departed.

You might think that’s cutting it close, and it was. In the worst of times, Charles de Gaulle airport can be an absolute nightmare to navigate for transit. It’s not unreasonable to walk more than a kilometer between terminals, and some terminals are reachable only by an extended bus ride. Add long security lines (no PreCheck!) to that equation, and it’s not unreasonable to allow 2-3 hours for a connection.

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9 Life Lessons from Starting a Daily Podcast

Audience So hey—I started a podcast! Yes, it's true: I’m catching up to the technological age of 2005.

And let me tell you: I’m having so much fun. I feel purposeful.

Readers—many of whom are now listeners—are really enjoying it. And best of all, I truly believe it’s going to be helpful to people.

So that’s great! There really is no downside. I’m glad I did this.

But what have I learned? That’s what this 6,500 word post is about. I'll share my own lessons and observations, as well as my early advice for anyone thinking of starting their own podcast.

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Instead of Manufacturing Hype, Just Start Doing Great Work

I got a call to do some filming for a marketing agency in Los Angeles. I had the date open and it sounded interesting, so I decided to go.

The filming took place in a Beverly Hills mansion, probably the largest single-person home I’ve ever been in. On the way in I waved awkwardly to the car valet who was hosing down a Porsche, then said hello to the personal chef chopping vegetables in the kitchen.

All over the studio, which looked a bit like what I’d imagine a porn set to be, there were whiteboards set up with verbal cues. Most of them related to the science of persuasion: scarcity, limited-time offer, feel better about yourself.

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2016 Annual Review: Let’s Look Forward to Big New Things!

In this (very abbreviated) Annual Review series…

I’ve never really had writer’s block. I think it was Seth Godin who said something about how writing is the only profession where it’s acceptable to stop working because you can’t be “creative.” There’s no such thing as nurse's block.

But … for much longer than usual, I didn’t know what to say about my review! I really didn’t.

One thing I know is that it’s important to pay attention to how things make you feel. If you look forward to something, that tells you something. If you dread something, or even if you just don’t feel that excited about it, that gives you other information.

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Why I’ve Resisted My Annual Review for the First Time in 10 Years

I can trace whatever success I’ve had to instituting and diligently following the practice of completing an Annual Review. It’s helped me write books, travel to every country in the world, start various businesses, produce events for thousands of people, and so on. After feeling that my life wasn't well-aligned, I recently added more categories focused on wellness and relationships—that decision helped a lot too.

But for some reason, as this year’s review time rolled around, I felt some resistance to it. I didn’t look forward to it the way I always have in the past.

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If You Can’t Learn Math, Maybe It’s Not Your Fault

My experience in higher education was unusual and erratic. I eventually earned a master’s degree in International Studies, but long before that I was a high-school dropout.

One thing I haven’t talked about much is that I’ve never been able to learn higher math: algebra, geometry, calculus, or anything of the sort. It’s not for lack of trying, or at least it wasn’t for a while. (I have zero interest in trying to learn it these days.)

No, I tried and I just couldn’t learn. I tried over and over and it never got any easier. Lots of people tried to help. I read books and went to study groups. But no matter what I did, it didn’t sink in.

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“How Can We Be More Present?”: Rev. angel Kyodo williams at WDS

Earlier this week we released the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Those tickets are now sold out—join the waiting list to get notice of the next round.

For the past month, we’ve been rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event, and we've finally come down to our closing speaker. Rev. angel Kyodo Williams is an author, activist, master trainer and founder of the Center for Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of transformation and justice since releasing her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace.

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Being Able to Ask “What’s Next?” Is a Sign You Are Happy in Your Work

During the Born for This tour, people would occasionally ask how you know when you have your dream job. It was an easy setup for a joke: “If you have to ask, ‘Am I happy?’ you probably aren’t.”

Still, even when you’re satisfied in your work, it’s nice to get reinforcement of that fact from time to time. There are several big and little signs that can provide that reinforcement:

Here’s another one that I’ve been pondering lately. When you finish a task or project, do you experience a sense of accomplishment—or do you only feel relief?

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“Innovation is learning while doing.”: Emily McDowell at WDS

This past week we released the first round of tickets for WDS 2017, a week-long gathering of creative, remarkable people—taking place next summer in beautiful Portland, Oregon. There are a limited number of tickets left, so grab yours while you can!

For the past month, we’ve been rolling out a series of speaker videos from the 2016 event. Emily McDowell is a writer, illustrator, and entrepreneur who specializes in chronicling the human condition. In 2012, she left a successful career in advertising to launch her greeting card line, making cards for the relationships we actually have.

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How to Buy Plane Tickets on the Same Day of Departure

Have you ever been frustrated when looking for an award ticket with your frequent flyer miles, only to be thoroughly disappointed that almost nothing is available? Chances are, you were looking during the same time period that most people do.

The traditional advice of booking “far, far in advance”—sometimes even 330 days out or whenever the airline releases seats into inventory is incomplete. This does work in some cases. Most of us, though, have absolutely no idea where and exactly when we want to fly an entire year from now. I mean, I don’t even know where I’m flying next week … and even if you’re not as bad as me, planning for specific flights a year into the future is tough.

That’s why you need different ninja skills.

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