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Small Things Can Keep Us from Big Things

Lately I've felt that I'm doing well at the small things, but failing to plan for more involved work. It's not that the small things are inconsequential—or so I tell myself. If you also struggle with doing small things well but neglecting the bigger picture, it's time to take action. The only way to break the pattern is to force ourselves to look ahead and answer the question:

What, exactly, am I trying to build here?

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Life In the Tower, Somaliland Edition

Many thanks to everyone who has been reading or supporting the launch of The Tower, my new manifesto. If you missed it on Tuesday, you can pick up your free copy in a range of formats. I also want to thank my long-time friend and colleague Reese Spykerman, specialist in branding and magic, for her great work on the design. Reese truly raised her game on this one as we worked on telling a story through words and images.

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“There’s plenty of time.” (But what if there’s not?)

I've been working on a new, non-profit writing project that I'll share tomorrow. Here's a preview of the concept—for more on the project itself, see the note at the end or check back tomorrow.

A specter is haunting the internet. Everywhere you go, you hear about how you should slow down. First it was slow food (a good thing). Then there was slow living (not so good) and the rejection of striving and effort (even worse). The central part of this message is: “There's plenty of time. Stop hurrying and take it easy. Bake cakes, play in the forest, do what you want.”

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The Starving Artist Solves the Problem

Paul was an artist, painting in several mediums and styles. He lived in a Northwestern city known for its love of the arts, if not always its ambition. As Paul grew up, his family and teachers encouraged him to pursue art as a career instead of just a hobby. Paul was not especially organized, as we shall see, but this idea suited him well ...

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The Traveler and His Work

Once upon a time, there was a traveler. He began traveling because it helped him feel alive. Gradually, he became more and more comfortable with traveling, and therefore more motivated to see the world. The more he wandered, the more he wanted to wander. He memorized flight schedules, lists of the world's capital cities, and random airline trivia. He didn't have much material wealth, but he was a millionaire in Frequent Flyer Miles ...

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Forward Motion

I had an early-early flight, so I booked a hotel near the airport and took the train out the night before. Problem was, I'm so used to going to the airport that I forgot to get off at the hotel stop and instead rode all the way to PDX. Then I stepped off the train and thought: Whoops. Wrong stop.

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The Agenda, Part III: The Need for Contribution

Welcome to Part III of The Agenda. Here is Part I (Ask Why) and here is Part II (The Individual as Hero) ...

I was depressed like everyone else after 9/11. Having just been in NYC the week before made it especially poignant—I remembered walking around a lower Manhattan that would never be the same after that Tuesday. I spent that fall thinking about the big questions of life—what am I really here for? Since it's obvious there is evil in the world, where can I find the good?

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EBK Day 5 Update: Home Where the Light Is

We pulled into Portland's Union Station this morning at 10:20 a.m. I have no plans for the rest of the week, and might even take a day off tomorrow. As promised, we closed down the order page for the Empire Building Kit right at the 24-hour point, and no additional sales will be made for at least one month. Thanks to everyone who purchased, and thanks to everyone else who read along or told someone about it. If you missed it and want to learn more about when it will be available again, you can join the waiting list here.

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