Reset

Feeling Depressed in 2020? It’s Not Just You 😔

When we all went into this thing in March, I tried to remain as positive as possible. I still believe everything I said before, about how I want to come out of this time better than I was when it started, etc. We can only worry about what’s within our control. And of course, let’s try to be kind to one another.

But then the spring turned to summer, and the summer to fall (at least in my part of the world). And nothing really got better! Quite the opposite, in fact.

Now we’re all setting low expectations for standards of wellbeing. “Hope you’re hanging in there” is the new “Hope you’re doing well.” And let’s face it, lots of people aren’t doing well.

So, finally, I’ve come to the point of feeling defeated about the whole year—and I know it’s not just me.

Day-by-Day

Read More

The Courage to Change Your Mind

Here's a helpful filter to know when to worry: does something sound too good to be true, or does it sound so bad that people give up and stop thinking for themselves?

Either way, when everyone around you agrees, it's worth asking some questions. Questions like: "What’s really going on here—and who is threatened by disagreement?"

Consider it an opportunity! When it comes to Coronavirus life, an astounding amount of groupthink is currently taking place. It’s as though everyone is taking the collective temperature (no pun intended...) before deciding what they believe and how they should act.

Read More

The Real Imposter Is the Part of You That Hesitates

Hesitation What holds people back from making a bold choice or following a dream?

When you ask, often they’ll point to the lack of knowledge. They simply aren’t sure what to do, so they wait for someone to give them a step-by-step plan.

Other times, they mention a lack of resources or some kind of access—perhaps they need money, or maybe they're holding out on a specific connection or certification.

After writing and sharing online for more than a decade, however, I’m pretty sure that these cases are the minority. Instead, the thing that stops more people than anything else is internal resistance.

Read More

How to Write a Novel

First up, thank you so much for your support of THE MONEY TREE! Despite the numerous challenges of current events, the book is getting out to lots of people.

Now that it's out, a number of readers have asked me to explain more about a big change I made. Specifically, my new book is unlike any of my six others: it’s fiction. I created an imaginary world of characters, and did my best to bring them to life.

It started partly because I wanted to do something new. The more I thought about it, the more nervous I felt ... which of course is often a good sign. A sense of nervousness and even feeling a little afraid can be helpful in showing you what you need to do next.

Read More

The Second Best Thing You Can Do Right Now

Wondering what to do during this time of chaos? I have a proposal.

First, the best thing you can do is what you already know about: keep people safe by washing your hands, refraining from gatherings, etc.

But unless you’re on the front lines (THANK YOU to everyone who is), most of those actions are passive. When you’re sitting at home with clean hands, what can you do besides turn on Netflix?

This is my proposal: the best thing you can do is be safe, but the second best thing is to be productive.

Read More

Opportunity Waits in the Time of Uncertainty

Wow, what happened to the world in the past week?

I’m writing to you from my sanitized desk in an underground bunker ... well, it’s not quite like that. But what a difference a few days makes.

All of a sudden, millions of people have found themselves working remotely or not working at all, unexpectedly arranging childcare because the schools have closed, and running over neighbors in the toilet paper aisle at Costco.

Well, guess what: I’m not going to say “life goes on” (even though it will) and I won’t claim this isn’t a big deal (it is). We should take COVID-19 seriously and do what we can to stay safe.

That said, there’s only so much you can control. Sure, you should wash your hands more often, but ultimately what happens next is out of those same hands.

If there's any good news, it's this: with uncertainty comes opportunity.

Read More

Habits of Highly Effective Real People

Humans are not machines, and we don’t all want the same things. But we do want to do something purposeful, to use the time we have to the best of our ability—and we also long to discover our authentic selves.

If our lives consist of a series of choices, how do highly effective real people make them? Here’s a short list of characteristics for your consideration.

First and foremost, they know what’s important to them.

I’ve been saying for a while that the greatest productivity hack is to love what you do. It is much, much easier to be both productive and satisfied when you spend most of your time on something you find meaningful.

I often go back to this principle as a compass point. It really does no good at all to become efficient at the wrong things. On balance, it’s actually negative because the more efficient you become, the more likely it is that you’ll continue on the wrong path. Therefore, it’s better to fail quickly at the wrong things, so you can discover the right ones.

Read More

Start Your Resolutions on January 6th

Resolutions can be powerful, and they don’t have to begin on any given day.

If you want to form a new habit, just start doing it. The important thing is sticking with it, not when you start.

Just imagine: if you began an important new habit on January 6, and then managed to stick with it the rest of the year—wouldn’t that be much better than one you began on January 1, only to drop off within a few weeks?

Read More

New Year, Same You

What if, instead of “New Year, New You,” you decided you were satisfied with the course you had already set?

What if you're already happy with who you are?

This doesn’t have to mean you have to stop improving. Change and growth are healthy. It just means: if you were already doing the right things in the “old” year—wouldn’t you want to keep doing them?

For me, challenge is one of my values. I want to set big goals and attempt hard things. But it's not a new value; it’s one I’ve had for a while. If I ever lose interest in challenging myself, I suppose that would be a new me. It’s just not a version of myself I’m remotely interested in.

Two years ago, I was in a dark place and feeling uncertain about a lot of things. Since then, I’ve made a number of changes in my life, both large and small. Many, many times in the months that have passed, I’ve looked up from whatever I’ve been doing with a sense of wonder.

I can’t believe I’m here, I think. I’m so glad I was willing to walk through that dark place.

Read More

All The Things You Didn’t Do

Once upon a time, you had the chance to be brave. Your name was selected, your number was called. You were the chosen one, at least for this particular moment on planet Earth. All eyes were on you, and the stakes were high.

It was a big moment. So what happened?

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but what happened was ... you caved. At the critical moment, you turned your back on the task at hand.

Read More

To Every Thing, A Season

You probably know the song, the one that borrows its lyrics from the book of ‎Ecclesiastes: to every thing, there is a season for every activity under the heavens.

Seasons have been on my mind lately, as I’ve been transitioning from my busiest month of the year into a time of more focused creative work. I’m grateful for both of these seasons—I wouldn’t want to choose between them—but my life and work in each of them feels very different.

In my creative work season, I’m working on a new book and I take joy in writing every day. I’m able to exercise more and feel less stressed about being behind on a million things. So is this fundamentally better?

I don’t think so. Because last month I visited 14 cities, speaking to readers and the media about 100 SIDE HUSTLES—and then I hosted a weeklong event in Portland for 1,000 people. All of that was fun, too. Almost every day I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe I get to do this! I feel so fortunate.”

The challenge comes if you try to apply the same rules of order or general expectations to each season.

Read More

Return of the Annual Review! Let’s Do This! (I mean, if you want.)

danielle-macinnes-222441-unsplash Over the past eight nine ten! years, nothing has helped me to accomplish big goals and stay on track more than a single exercise I complete each December: the Annual Review.

Last year I got a little off track and didn't finish for the first time in a decade. It wasn't pretty. Good news: just like Britney, I'm back.

For much of the next week I'll be working only half-time while I consider some of my successes, failures, and lessons learned from 2018.

Read More

Sometimes The Best Thing You Can Hear Is “It’s Going to Be Okay”

I've had a few people write in to ask me if I've stopped blogging. Nope—but I'm sorry! It sure looks that way.

I've just been on hiatus while writing a new book. I'll tell you about it soon, and I very much look forward to getting back to regular posts here. (In the meantime, the daily podcast continues.)

For now, I thought I'd pop up and express something that's been on my mind. Every now and then, I see a post offering "Advice for My Younger Self," and I've been asked to share mine in interviews from time to time.

The question I've learned to ask, when working through various issues, is, "What is six-year-old Chris feeling right now?" It's an interesting practice, at least to someone like me who doesn't naturally think this way.

If I could go back in time to talk to a younger Chris, though, I'm not sure it would be the six-year-old version. I think it would be a version somewhere in the 11-14 age range.

Read More

Language Matters: Lessons in Editing from Mr. Rogers

This week I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and found it as heartwarming and uplifting as I expected.

If you’re able to see it in a theatre, don’t hesitate. At the screening I attended, everyone applauded at the end. This doesn’t happen much in Portland, Oregon. It felt like we were on a flight landing in Miami from Central America (it’s a thing).

Afterwards I stumbled on an article that details the level of precision that Fred Rogers put into editing the language used on his show. The man was relentlessly focused on connecting with children. He would go back and edit previous episodes if he found they no longer stood up, or if language had changed and required an update.

Read More