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Business Secrets from a Cambodian Tuk-Tuk

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia I met Mr. Rhet, who held up a copy of my book to greet me at the arrivals area. Mr. Rhet, also known as Rhett or just Ret, is a professional tuk-tuk driver. The open-air taxis of Southeast Asia, tuk-tuks serve as an interesting introduction to life in the region, and I've had both good and bad experiences with them. In Cambodia last weekend (and plenty of other places), all was well in tuk-tuk land, and I felt safe using them as my primary means of transport. In fact, I enjoyed my time with Mr. Rhet so much that I decided to learn more about the whole tuk-tuk industry.

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Are Goals Necessary?

our Facebook page recently, and got a lot of great responses. Technically, I asked “Are goals necessary to achieve success?” – a lot of people accurately said that it depends on how you define success. I agree. But let's say that success includes working toward something other time, whether a career goal, a relational goal, or strictly a personal project. Are goals necessary in the crafting of a meaningful life?

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What Would You Do if You Knew You Would Not Fail?

I like thinking about hypothetical questions, and this one is a good start. Most of us have some kind of dream trapped within us that has somehow become stifled by the fear of failure. So, yes, it's good to think about this question and bring your answer to the surface. The problem, though, is that most things that are worth doing involve a real possibility of failure. Marriages fail, other relationships falter, businesses close their doors all the time. A big goal, like the ones we looked at recently, always involves a certain degree of risk.

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Four Burners and Balance: The Follow-Up

Thanks again for all your input on the four burners theory. That was fun. I should say first that all is well in my life—I'm not concerned about falling off the edge or anything. I sometimes say that I'm going to start a “maximalist” movement because I don't believe in limits or shutting ourselves off from the world. So it's all good. But nevertheless, I wonder about things sometimes, and the Sedaris quote was an interesting way to look at the issues of balance and focus. As a couple of people wisely said, the point is that we all have the same 24 hours every day.

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The Four Burners Theory — Your Thoughts?

I did an interview for the nice people at The 99 Percent last month, and Jocelyn shared an idea that has stayed with me ever since. Here's the idea:

I like this quote from a David Sedaris article. Sort of an adapted 'carpenter's triangle': "One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.” The gist is that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.

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Luciano Pavarotti’s Secret for Online Success

What, you didn't know that Luciano Pavarotti was huge on Twitter? Oh yes. Or at least, he could have been. See, every day I talk with various people about their projects. Inevitably, I hear a lot of questions that are rooted in this premise:

"How can people give me their attention?"

In other words: “How can I get more for myself?” The more in question varies: interest, customers, website traffic, subscribers, money, whatever—but it always relates to an increase in focus on the individual.

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Glory Days

Rerouted-Stream I sat in the back of the room as the keynote speaker talked about his experience as a war veteran. It was a good story for the first five minutes, filled with close calls, bonding with peers, and learning about the outside world.

Then he kept going. He talked for 10, 15, nearly 20 minutes about the war before moving on to the subject he was supposed to speak about.

The war in question (Vietnam) took place more than 30 years ago. Yet to hear him talk, it was as if he had just returned from a tour in Iraq. He told the story as if it had all happened yesterday, and anyone listening could appreciate how the time in the war had made him into the person he was that day.

But it also made me wonder… what has he been doing for the past 30 years?

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