The Agenda: Wrap-Up


I started writing the Agenda series in Algeria two months ago, in preparation for the book launch and a week of guest blogging at

There are a few points I left out of the series, most of which I decided were irrelevant to the message. For example, I’m very passionate about travel and entrepreneurship, but I didn’t write much about them in the series, because these are two expressions (not the only ones) of the non-conformist life. Not everyone wants to travel or own a business, and while I’ll continue to do much of my work for those who do, I also understand that there is more than one way to create your own independence.

Like everyone, I have my own beliefs about politics (I’m fairly progressive on social issues, and more moderate on fiscal issues). I’m Christian, of the non-judgmental, non-denominational variety. I’ve always made choices to avoid taking on debt, as I believe debt can be an overwhelming burden to living a life of purpose. My advice to anyone who cares would be, “Stay out of debt!”

But when thinking about The Art of Non-Conformity, I wanted to separate the essential from the personal. The beliefs outlined above are personal values and preferences. Lots of people with traditional jobs read AONC, my travel hacking work isn’t for everyone, and I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people from all kinds of political and religious backgrounds. (The only people I have no wish to be around are the truly ignorant, xenophobic, or close-minded—life is just too short for that.)

The Wrap-Up

Ayn Rand was once asked to define her philosophy while standing on one foot. I’ve never been one for balance, but I like the principle of being specific. With that in mind, the core message of AONC is: “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and for others at the same time.” And my core goal as a writer is: “To help people live unconventional, remarkable lives.”

The rest of the agenda is outlined below:

1. Ask why. Why do you do the things you do? What are your motivations? Not enough people are asking these questions. Join us. More here.

2. Live a big life! Pursue big dreams! Be your own superhero and do something suitably audacious. Not only is it OK, it’s probably also beneficial to other people who will be inspired by your courage. More here.

3. It’s not all about you. Most people in the world are not fortunate to live unconventional lives, so we have to find a way to serve others with the overwhelming privilege we’ve been given. More here.

4. Efficiency is overrated; adventure is better. Run toward things that you’re excited about without worrying about how much time they take up or how difficult they are. More here.

5. Attempt to build a legacy every day. Drop keys instead of building cages. Choose hope, choose abundance, choose adventure. Live life out loud. More here.


Ultimately I am a realistic optimist. I see the good in things and want to make other things better. I want my life to count for something. I feel driven to make the best use of limited time.

And I’m also glad you’re along for the journey. It’s far from over! Our lives are connected for a reason.


The Agenda series is over, but the 63-city tour continues: next stops Charleston, Raleigh, Columbia, a bonus stop in Nashville next week, then onwards to Dallas and beyond. See you again soon!


Image: JJ

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  • Adventure-Some Matthew says:

    I just had to comment to let you know that I absolutely love the phrase, “Be your own superhero.” That brings an amazing image to mind. Once I define what that could possible mean for me, it will also provide some wonderful goals.

  • Kevin Evans says:

    Hey Chris, I have been reading your site for some time now, but never left a comment. I just wanted to say I really enjoyed the agenda series and I really got a lot out of reading your book. I look forward to continuing to live an unconventional life and know I am not the only one. Thank You, Kevin

  • Tyler says:

    I think it’s so important to stress the difference between the essential and the personal. As a writer myself, I have all my own opinions about how to live my own life and what things I should do to make it amazing, but it doesn’t really serve anyone or even myself to say that I have the answer.

    If the goal is to create a world of free-thinkers, then it’s incredibly important to stress the philosophy without forcing your own agenda. As you say, focus on the strategy, not the tactics.

  • Megan Matthieson says:

    I love the color of your message. Like mine, but so much more ….blue. Sky blue. Thanks, as always.

  • Ann Seago says:

    Hi Chris

    I really enjoyed your book and hope your tour takes you to Austin, TX.


  • Mark Powers says:

    Just a short note to say kudos on a fantastic series, Chris . . . and that I’m really enjoying your book!

  • Rob says:

    “Be your own superhero.”

    “Most people in the world are not fortunate to live unconventional lives..”

    I believe if we can focus on our own unique creative gifts and talents, use those to create exciting and unconventional lifestyles this will naturally lead us to serve others, as you put it so well, with the overwhelming privilege we have been given.

    Really enjoyed following this series, thanks Chris.

  • Devin says:

    We agree on a lot of things, especially with regards to avoiding the “ignorant, xenophobic, or close-minded.” Amen to that — one of the few times I would say “amen” to anything.

    I also have a strong belief of avoiding debt at all costs. Sadly, I made a mistake when finishing my degree using financial aid. Still sorting it out.

  • IamDavid says:

    The personal inadvertently does influence the essential. Your core beliefs help construct your view of reality (be it accurate or not) which influences the ideas you choose to share, particularly if your message is about social change as yours is. Perhaps it is more about being a student and not a teacher. Doing. Not telling.

  • Jerri says:

    ditto…amen…true dat…(whatever your lingo) to just about everything here! Great to hear the mental voice in my head, practically, being quoted.

    “realistic optimist”…you, me, and apparently many more out there!

  • Natalie says:

    I am new to your blog. At a time in my life when I am searching for alternate answers and methods of doing things, I feel like I’ve found your blog at the perfect moment. With that in mind, your ending line, “Our lives are connected for a reason” was very appropriate!

    I loved this Agenda Series, and I love some other posts I’ve read (particularly the Why People hate Marketers post from a while back). You are truly inspiring, and I wish you continued luck in your endevors! Thanks for everything you share!

  • Kjersten says:

    This series has felt really empowering, Chris. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. I feel like it’s something I’ll look back on in the future even. Thanks.

  • Jordan - The Healthy Teacher says:

    I love the thoughts you share! I particularly love #3. We don’t know how lucky we are to have a chance at living an unconventional life. We need to make the most of that opportunity, and make helping others a priority!


    p.s. Looking forward to seeing you speak!

  • Alex Yong says:

    I love these two lines : “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and for others at the same time.”

    Yes, why do things to please others? It’s our lives after all!

    Great Agenda Series.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Gary Wilson says:

    I have a traditional job and I love reading your blog and your book. I think that you have a great story, with your work in Africa and your goal of visiting every country in the world, and your business projects. Primarily it is your story that keeps me returning because I feel inspired by it, and it motivates me to consider what kind of story I am creating, both for myself and for others.

  • CJ Arnold says:

    As another fellow realistic optimist your agenda really resonated with me too Chris – as ever – thank you!

    #4 on efficiency was spot on – it got me thinking how efficiency actually becomes inefficient at the point when we lose the passion, adventure & excitement in our lives. Who cares if we have saved 20 minutes on a task if everything we’re doing no longer engages us?!

    Happy book-touring: any chance we can tempt you to ‘tour’ in the UK too?

  • Steven H says:

    “Ultimately I am a realistic optimist.”

    That’s exactly how I describe myself Chris! Keep up the AWESOME work with the blog. I’ve been seeing your face all over the blogosphere.

  • Javier Munoz says:

    Chris, I enjoyed the series.

    You may find the book, “The Why of Work” of interest. It was co-authored by David Ulrich.



  • Henry says:

    Thank You Chris for this Agenda series which really put me into perspective and down the right path to living my own unconventional and meaningful journey.

  • Dee Wilcox says:

    Thanks for sharing this series! I’m so bummed that I missed the book tour stop in Nashville tonight, but I’m looking forward to ordering your book on Amazon. Keep up the amazing work!

  • Sherron 0 says:

    The wrap-up could be a Manifesto for Living, all by itself.

  • Christina Crowe says:

    I enjoyed reading The Agenda series. I especially thought it was very insightful. It gave me the chance to look at my life with new eyes and analyze exactly what could be changed about how I’m living now.

    Thanks, Chris, for writing the series!

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