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An Interview With Yourself

From time to time, it's good to have a conversation with yourself—maybe even an interview. This is how you do it.

First, sit yourself down wherever you like to sit. Get coffee or your drink of choice. Turn off the distractions and take it seriously. (Wouldn't you take another interview seriously?)

Then you open the conversation like this:

Dear self, you are x years old. What do you have to show for it? Are you living the dream?

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My Inbox Is Buzzing

Like other Gmail users everywhere, I've been experimenting with Google Buzz over the past few weeks. I'm not sure I love it yet—in fact, I'm pretty sure I don't. It has numerous issues and annoyances. At this point, it's definitely not the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Which begs the question: what was so great before sliced bread?)

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Feeling Stuck? Try This

If you're involved in any kind of creative work, you and inertia are probably well acquainted. I wish I were an exception, but no—inertia and I are mortal enemies. Every day I get up and fight a battle against that beast. Sometimes I win; sometimes I lose. Sometimes we get “stuck” in something and have a hard time figuring out what to do next. If you're feeling stuck, try one or more of these ideas ...

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Avoiding False Dichotomies

Today is Blog Action Day, where the blogging world (such as it is) unites to write about a single topic. I know, so conventional—but in this case, I don’t mind going with the flow. The theme this year is Climate Change, so I thought I’d contribute something about travel and its impact on the world ...

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Why Not Try It All?

Just say no. Assert your boundaries. You can't do it all. There's a time and a place for everything, sure, but is that always the best advice? Whenever I hear things like “Say no five times for every time you say yes,” I think... “Really?” I take the opposite approach, and it generally works out just fine.

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Watch and See

In 2005, U.N. Secretary General Koffi Annan was struggling with a series of scandals and other challenges in his administration. I read this short quote in a magazine interview with him and wrote it down in my notebook:

Question: Senator Coleman says you are 'damaged goods.' What do you say to him?

Answer: Watch and see.

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Authenticity: You Has It

At any given time, most of us have no shortage of challenges we’re trying to work through or overcome.

Entrepreneurs must create something out of nothing — a process that is both fun and tiring. Ambitious people who work in organizations have to work with colleagues in pursuit of collective goals. Sometimes the colleagues aren’t as ambitious or have other ideas.

Those of us who go it alone have plenty of issues, too. If someone ever implies it’s easy out there, put your skeptic hat on.

Thankfully, there is one challenge that is entirely optional. This challenge is the question of how to be yourself, otherwise known as authenticity.

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How to File a Freedom of Information Act Request for Your Travel History

Early this morning I sent out an envelope containing an official Freedom of Information Act Request to the U.S. government.

Am I a conspiracy theorist? Have I started stockpiling canned food and building a bomb shelter behind my apartment?

Sorry to disappoint anyone holed up in a cabin somewhere, but not really. I refuse to visit any bomb shelter that doesn't provide wifi and a french press. In this case, I'm mostly just curious ... what do the feds know about me?

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What They Say About Winners

Congratulations to the great Lance Armstrong on his third-place victory in Paris yesterday.

I'm aware that third place is not a real victory. Lance knows this too, and said so himself in the post-race interviews. However, when you've been out of the tour for four years, you broke your collarbone a few months ago, and you're more than a decade older than the teammate who ended up winning, I think that third place is pretty good.

Lance is still a winner in my book. He's already planning to come back next year, and I'm pretty sure he won't settle for a mere third place out of 180 riders in 2010.

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The Monster Trip of 2009

Last year at about this time, I took what I called the Monster Trip of 2008.

It involved four continents, driving through Italy in the middle of the night, visiting Iraqi Kurdistan, roaming by train and bus across the Baltics and Moldova, and finally coming home through Asia – where I mistakenly double-booked myself on two non-refundable tickets home from Japan.

What fun that was. Now it's time to repeat the process, although with a completely different itinerary, and hopefully without getting stranded on a faraway continent three days before I'm supposed to come home.

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