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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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Even When You Aren’t Sure What to Say, Don’t Be Silent

I recently had the honor of introducing Emily McDowell and facilitating a Q&A session with her at Powell’s for her new book, There Is No Good Card for This.

You probably know Emily’s work even if you don’t know her yourself. She’s the creator, designer, and entrepreneur behind a line of greeting cards and related products, all with the goal of serving “the relationships we really have.”

Here are a few of her popular cards (order yours online or from one of 2,000 stores around the world):

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Afternoon Rituals

If I’ve done my job well and managed my time properly, most of the crunch time work has happened in the morning. I work every morning, afternoon, and most evenings, but in different ways.

The afternoon is a slower form of work. I have at least 40 minutes for lunch, which I usually read with the New Yorker or Economist or (when in my hometown) the Willamette Week. Afterwards, if the weather’s nice, I might walk for a while. I run an errand or two. Eventually, I end up at a coffee shop, or I pick up a pastry and head home.

The 2pm-4pm work period is nice and easy. I might have deadlines but I usually avoid calls or interviews. I plan ahead and do some editing, a bit of writing, maybe some business work. But it’s thoughtful. I’ve already read all the news in the morning, but I might read more analysis or an article on Longreads with my coffee.

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Morning Rituals

When I’m not jet lagged from flying around the world, I have a clear routine that I follow as much as possible. This routine allows me to stay relatively sane while also working as much as possible on things I believe in.

I love living on the west coast, but working on Pacific time can be a challenge. Even when I get up early, I’m three hours behind the other side of the country. My 6am is their 9am—most people have been awake and starting their days for a while. Their idea of an early call is extremely early for me.

When I have a book out, I do my best to accommodate anyone else’s schedule. Drive time radio for a major show on the east coast? That usually means even if I’m in the later portion of the show, I’ll be calling in at 5am or earlier. It’s okay; I do what needs to be done.

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Announcing SIDE HUSTLE SCHOOL: A Daily Project for 2017

Big news!

I’m starting a daily podcast called Side Hustle School. It’s for everyone who wants to create a new source of income without quitting their day job. It will be published, well, every single day in 2017.

I’ve been working on this for a long time and it will be my #1 project in 2017. I’d love for you to be part of it—and if you’re not interested yourself, I’d be grateful if you’d tell your friends who need a side hustle.

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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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Looking Back on 2016 (All in One Post!)

I mentioned that I felt some resistance to this year’s review, so I ended up doing it differently. Not surprisingly, some things will be different about my recap process as well.

The biggest difference is that I’m pretty much entirely focused on the future at this point. I call it the review, but it’s much more of a forward-looking, goal-setting practice. I typically spend one day looking back and the rest planning ahead.

This time I didn’t even look back at all. It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realized I had spent the time only looking forward and working on my new project (more on that in a bit).

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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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It’s Time to Change the Road You Walk On

You could make a big change at any point in your life. The world could be floating along, with or without you, just as it usually does. Then one day you go out for a sandwich, and while you’re eating it in the park, you think to yourself, “You know, I don’t think I’ll go back to work.” That same afternoon, you book a flight to Tanzania and spend the next ten years volunteering in a nature reserve.

It could happen.

Most of the time, though, that's not how it works. Usually we've been thinking about something for a while, and then those thoughts collide with an unexpected external event. Discontent + stimulation = motivation.

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How to Travel to Random Places and Work on a Project

Greetings from the sky, on board Cathay Pacific’s longest flight. There are 16 hours scheduled for my “air world” time today, although it looks like we may arrive one hour early.

I love flights like these. I’ve already taken a three-hour nap (hey, I was tired) and am now up to work for several hours while I drink espresso and Perrier. It’s dark outside now, but eventually the sun will come up in-flight. A few more hours later I’ll land in Hong Kong, a full 12-hour time difference from where I left. Travel is life.

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Be Realistic: Plan for a Miracle

realistic

“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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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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“The Beauty Is That It Could Fail”: A Real-World Story of Risk

The new host of Prairie Home Companion steps in after forty years of someone else running the show.

Toward the end of the meeting, Thile suggested a new idea. He wanted to perform a live request every week with his new house band. The rules: A minimum of two of the players should have heard the song, but none could have previously played it.

Rowles liked it. Hudson looked wary. Someone else said, “It could fall flat.”

Thile pointed out that its flopping could be entertaining as well: “It’s Evel Knievel.”

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Thirty-Three

After traveling on an all-night flight where I stayed up for hours, only sleeping 90 minutes or so in the final portion before landing, I landed in Bangkok. I hadn’t been to Thailand in years!

It was genuinely good to be back. There’s something strange and bittersweet to be here, but I can hold both feelings simultaneously.

I was in town for two days, and I spent both afternoons working from the coffee shop in Terminal 21, a big shopping mall across the street from my hotel. I was in a jet lagged haze per usual, but it took me a few minutes to realize what else was wrong. Finally it hit me: Bangkok was a place I’d thought about bringing Ken on the big trip we never took.

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