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