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How To Be Yourself

It's a good idea to be yourself, not only because everybody else is taken, but because trying to be anything else doesn't usually get you very far.

But how do you do it?

First, you have to understand what you have unlearned about yourself. This process can be disheartening, as you remember past decisions where you had the chance to be yourself but instead chose to be something different.

Since trying to be anyone other than yourself is usually ineffective, why not begin by deciding to do only what is true to your own inner compass? If you did it for just one day, what would that day look like?

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Dangerous Places

One of the questions I'm repeatedly asked in interviews is, “Aren't you afraid of all the dangerous countries?" It's usually followed by questions like "What's the worst thing that has happened to you?"

Despite 100 interviews over the past three months on book tour, I'm still not very good at the soundbyte. I have countries that try to deport me upon arrival and countries that write an official government response to my frustration at their bureaucracy. In a decade full of active traveling, I've also had a few more serious problems as well ...

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Generous People Have More To Give

A few weeks ago in Miami I only had a $5 bill when it came time to get out of the airport shuttle.

I'd love to tell you I gave the driver five bucks instead of the usual $1-2, but I kept it in my pocket and just said "Thanks." Generosity fail.

When it comes to generosity, the general rule with me is: Win some, lose some. It's funny how I don't often regret being generous, but when I choose to be stingy, it comes back to me later.

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The Journey

Part of what I like about adventures is the challenge for the sake of the challenge. I like the logistics. I like trying to figure out flight schedules to Papua New Guinea. I don't always like getting stuck in random places, but I like finding my way out. Those of you out there with big goals of your own—think about the journey. If you know you can enjoy it for what it is, without any other reward, you know you're on the right track.

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Jim Collins and $100 Million Dollars

I’m a big fan of Jim Collins’ work, especially the modern day classic Good to Great. Even if you’re not interested in business, the book is inspiring and practical. Nine years after publication, it’s still kicking ass, and deservedly so. I recently re-read my favorite passages, and I especially liked the introduction Jim used to convey how much the book meant to him before publication.

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By Any Means Necessary

February is Black History Month in the United States, where we recognize the achievements of African Americans and honor our culture of diversity. A lot of attention during this time is focused on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and rightfully so. Above my desk is one of his most famous quotations: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is this: what are you doing for others?”

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Site Update: February 2010

Greetings from home base in the great Portland, Oregon. Yesterday I ran 10 miles, a fact I was happy about until I went to a dinner party and met an ultrarunner who runs 80 miles a week. She also has two young children and a full-time job. I felt suitably shamed. Ultrarunners and any other endurance athletes out there, you have my respect ... but not my company for training runs.

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Art and Plumbing: The Indispensable Interview with Seth Godin

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of author and change agent Seth Godin. I’ve been reading his books since my years in West Africa (2002-2006), and he continues to produce excellent work almost every day on his great blog. I had the chance to speak to Seth’s “Alternative MBA” group last year, and when the invitation came, I rearranged my schedule and dropped everything to fly to New York. (Never pass up a major opportunity for personal growth.)

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Sitting Out the Global Recession?

Sitting-Out-Recession

I’m about to get on a plane and head out to Washington, D.C. by way of Seattle and Chicago. After a few days there, I’ll begin a longer journey to several countries in Southern Africa. Expect more about the trip later. For now, something else has come up – specifically, the small matter of the global economic recession.

Unless you live on another planet (you never know), I’m going to assume that you’ve noticed it too... and there are probably as many opinions about what’s happening as there are readers of this post. Today I want to look at one specific question:

"Is it possible to completely avoid the effect of a serious global recession?"

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Creating a Legacy Project

creating-a-legacy-project

In the spring of 2007 I was feeling stuck. As amazing as they were, the four years I had spent in Africa were fading off into the distance. In my new life I had migrated to Seattle, entered graduate school, started a new business, and began traveling independently to faraway places during school breaks.

These were all good projects. Grad school, check. New city, check. Business, travel, volunteer work, marathon training, check. But despite the fact that these were worthwhile ways to spend my time, I knew something big was missing:

I had no legacy project, and it really bothered me.

I thought of a legacy project as something I’d create that would outlast me; something I could point to years from now and have more than just memories to show for it. In other words, I wanted something tangible and documented for anyone who wanted to see it at any time in the future.

As I was looking for a new focus, I considered a few options that initially seemed to be good choices ...

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