Reset

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

“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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

If Your Vision Isn’t Being Understood, Never Hesitate to Change Your Tactics

From Mike Birbiglia’s “6 Tips for Making it Small in Hollywood”:

"I once heard an interview where Ron Howard said that he tests the rough cuts of his movies with a ton of audiences. He doesn’t do it to be told what the movie’s vision should be, but to understand whether his vision is coming across. If not, he makes changes. Your vision is not being conveyed a majority of the time."

This relates to some other things I’ve been thinking recently.

Read More

Black Sheep Basics

Be proud of being the black sheep. If everyone agrees with you, maybe you’re not being bold enough.

For a while, even as someone who never worked a real job, I was afraid to put forward an opinion that I knew was likely to be challenged. I had heard all the proverbs and stories about how those who change the world for good are often criticized, but it was hard to walk the walk. I was afraid of being put down!

I was also afraid of causing offense. The irony is that I thought I was being polite in going with the flow—not conforming to it myself, necessarily, but not really challenging it in others.

Read More

8 Ways to Have More Time

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who needs only four or five hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, I’m not—without a consistent minimum of 6-8 hours, and usually on the high side of that range, I don’t perform very well.

If you’re like me and need your sleep, and if you’re not otherwise superhuman, you may need to hack your way to greater time and productivity. Many of us are constantly looking for more time. These 8 tips might help.

Read More

The 12 Most Common Questions I Get About Traveling the World (Part III)

I’m no longer going to every country in the world (mission accomplished), but I’m still traveling at least 200,000 miles a year.

As such, I get a lot of questions over and over, both from people who want to travel far and wide and those who just want to learn a few things to make their lives easier.

This series of three posts provides some attempted As to the Qs.

Read More

The 12 Most Common Questions I Get About Traveling the World (Part II)

I’m no longer going to every country in the world (mission accomplished), but I’m still traveling at least 200,000 miles a year.

As such, I get a lot of questions over and over, both from people who want to travel far and wide and those who just want to learn a few things to make their lives easier.

This series of three posts provides some attempted As to the Qs.

Read More

When to Compromise and When to Hold Your Ground

8581789342_d849c00856_z At some point, most of us end up settling in a major part of our life. We compromise and make tradeoffs.

We can’t always get everything we want, of course. We can’t always be in total control. But we can certainly get a lot of what we want, and if we prioritize what's most important to us, we can probably get the top things on the list. Just because we can’t always be in control doesn’t mean that we're never in control.

This truth presents a natural question: when should we compromise, and when should we hold our ground and keep fighting for what we really want?

Read More

How to Live in Fear

Are you tired of being courageous and fed up with bravery? Seeking an alternative to risk-taking?

Not to worry. Choosing to live in fear is both easy and safe. Simply follow a few simple guidelines, and you'll live comfortably ever after.

Keep calm and carry on. Beware of danger, true love, and real life.

Play it safe. Never charge down a mountain. Don't run, don't leap, don't go too fast. Be wary of opportunities and new perspectives. Above all: stay the course.

Read More

Let the Wave Crash Over You: One Year Later

Readers: One year ago today I lost my brother, Ken. This new post contains my one-year reflections. Like the first time I told the story, it’s written as a direct letter to him.

***

Dear Ken,

I’d say that it’s hard to believe a year has passed, but the greater truth is that it’s hard to believe it happened at all. When I think of it now, as I do every day, my mind still runs to the same place of shock and disbelief.

There were days during the year when I thought about it less than others, and maybe some days when I began to look forward. As today’s date approached, though, I reverted to that place of disbelief where everything feels suspended in time.

Read More