Four years ago I started the AONC site, and my biggest fear was that I'd get bored with it. I was worried because that's what I had done any number of times before. I'd build a business to a certain level, then I'd feel myself moving away from it. The work I did in West Africa was the same—I loved it and gave it all I had for a while, but then drifted toward something else. Graduate school, for all I make light of it, was fun and interesting for a time. But after a few quarters where I applied myself, I shifted into focusing merely on completing the degree requirements as quickly as possible. Thankfully, four years into this project and I feel more motivated than ever. Lesson: Craft your project around what you are excited by, but keep it flexible.Read More
I said I was heading to the airport, and someone said they hate flying because of the TSA. "I just can't stand to travel anymore!"
I said I was passing through LAX, and someone else said, "Ugh, LAX. What a mess."
It's OK, I told them, I have a one-night layover in the city before moving on to Asia.
"My sister lives there," I heard, "and I don't know how she stands it. The traffic is terrible!"Read More
I recently posted a question to readers about what to do in an uncertain airport situation. This was the scenario:
You arrive very late at an airport you haven’t been to before. Security takes forever, but the flight is on time—which means you’re even more rushed. You walk into the terminal and look for your gate: A70. Damn … you’re currently at A18. Above you is an “Express Train” that runs between A1 and A75 with an unknown number of intermediate stops.Read More
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.Read More
Greetings, friends and readers. I'm on the road as usual, and today I'm also excited to announce the release of a new manifesto, The Tower. As with my two earlier works, A Brief Guide to World Domination and 279 Days to Overnight Success, this report is completely free, with nothing for sale and no email opt-in required.Read More
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.”Read More
Greetings from my corner of the world in Portland, Oregon. It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., a time when the internet shuts down and we all eat pie. Everyone else, feel free to enjoy the internet to yourself and eat pie along with us. Earlier this week I was in Cuba, my 174th country and final country in all of the Americas. I'll have more to say about my adventure there next week, but in short, I had a fantastic visit.Read More
An unexpected thing happened on the streets of Seoul, Korea. I’ve been to Seoul several times, and don’t really feel anything special about it. It’s not a bad place in any way, and perhaps I’d like it more if I spent more time there. I just don’t think of Seoul in a special way, as…Read More
Earlier this year I went to Austin to co-facilitate a discussion at SXSW with Jonathan Fields. Our topic was “Fear and the Art of Creation,” and we had a great crowd. Despite the challenging time slot of early Sunday morning, tons of people showed up and filled the room. I said a few things in an attempt to sound mildly intelligent (my secret: always be the opening act and get off stage quickly), and then Jonathan said some much more intelligent things. The image from this post includes a few of the stories we shared with the audience over the course of an hour (hat tip to Ogilvy Notes for the fun illustration).Read More
Have you heard the one about the end of time? Yep—it's on the way.
Every day, we lose another 1,440 minutes that will never return. Farewell, minutes! Goodbye, opportunities.
The other day I noticed I had been thinking "I'll do that in the summer" about a lot of things.
Then I realized, hey, it's late August already ... seriously? How did that happen?Read More
It's a fairly self-explanatory question: what's coming up in the near or faraway future that you're excited about?
I'll start. In the short-term, I'm looking forward to getting home from another long trip. It's been fun, beautiful, thrilling, and exhausting. I live on the edges and sometimes they catch up to me. But that's OK, because I'll be happy to do it again soon.Read More
When you begin to share your important work with the world, a funny thing happens: some of the people closest to you don't understand it. They damn you with faint praise, or they point out something trivial that could be improved. Sometimes they never say anything at all, which of course is the worst thing.Read More
A lot of people mentioned that they liked the "hell yeah" test for making decisions mentioned here and condensed as follows:
We all have to make decisions about opportunities. When you think about any opportunity, if it’s not a “hell yeah,” don’t do it.
I’ve modified this a bit in my own life to be: if it’s a “hell yeah,” why not do it?Read More
I went to participate in an event held at a bookstore in a big city. I saw on the store's calendar that a Very Famous Author (we'll call him Mr. X) had been there the day before.
“Wow,” I said to the staff. “'I'm intimidated to follow Mr. X. What was he like?”
The two exchanged a glance, and apparently decided I was trustworthy enough to not report them to their manger. “To be honest,” one of them said, “Mr. X was an asshole. He came in, didn't say hi to anyone, and threw his keys on the counter, demanding that someone valet his rental car.”Read More