Explore. Dream. Discover.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

There’s no consensus as to the authorship of these words. Some say it was Mark Twain. Others say it was H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Still others – Brown’s mother. But does it matter? What’s important to me is how you act on hearing the quote. Getting out of my comfort zone into the open sea is just too alluring an adventure not to take the challenge. Go forth and make today happen!

Conversation with Seth Godin

Last week, the inspiring Blaine Hogan interviewed/talked to Seth Godin, an entrepreneur, respected author and public speaker. The interview is broken up in three parts that are available as videos on Hogan’s website:

Here, I reflect on some of my favourite quotes from their conversation, all Godin’s (no offence, Blaine).

Art is doing human work that’s never been done before in a way that connects people, with generosity.

We are taught to think in a certain way. Seth Godin challenges us to shift the perspective:

[People] would rather complain about the box they are in than acknowledge the fact that someone just took the lid off the box. And it’s up to them to get out of it if they want.

In a world where you pursue status and higher score, this is a breath of fresh air:

A great blog post isn’t a blog post that gets retweeted a lot. A blog post is a great blog post, ‘cause someone – just one person – felt a genuine connection to what I said.

Implication: I’m not using the #blogg100 challenge to gain popularity or score higher on Klout. I’m learning to write, learning to think and learning to connect. If anyone finds it valuable, I’m happy. #blogg100 is a chance I took and am taking daily. Should any of my blog posts not hit home or should I fail never posting a set of 100 blog posts, hey, at least I’ve tried.

Here’s what Seth Godin thinks of the modern Olympics and how they contrast to the original (not the first modern games in 1896, but the ancient competition from 776 BC to AD 393):

The original Olympic ideal of amateurs just expressing themselves through physical activity has been replaced by this corporate coached measured drug-enhanced processing of human activity.

On commitment, diligence, persistence: grit is what every “artist” should have an inclination to.

Grit is perseverance, determination and not settling. Steve Jobs didn’t design anything, and he didn’t invent anything. He had the grit to, when he saw that something was right, make sure it stayed right. He didn’t compromise it, it shipped. Great artists ship.

Inspiring instagrams

There are several Instagram users that deliver quality photographs. I would like to share some of them, as well as their three most recent instagrams. Enjoy!

Jesse Gardner (plasticmind)

[instapress userid=”plasticmind” piccount=”3″ size=”180″ effect=”1″]

 

Dan Higbie (danhigbie)

[instapress userid=”danhigbie” piccount=”3″ size=”180″ effect=”0″]

 

Veerle Pieters (veerlepieters)

[instapress userid=”veerlepieters” piccount=”3″ size=”180″ effect=”0″]

 

Brenton Little (brenton_clarke)

[instapress userid=”brenton_clarke” piccount=”3″ size=”180″ effect=”0″]

 

Karl, the San Francisco Fog (karlthefog)

[instapress userid=”karlthefog” piccount=”3″ size=”180″ effect=”0″]

 

Sean McCabe (seanwes)

[instapress userid=”seanwes” piccount=”3″ size=”180″ effect=”0″]

 

What are your favourite instagrams?

How to make your life more adventurous

People find life monotonous. And for very good reasons, too. There is not much to it. You study, get married, work, raise children, pay bills—all struggling through. Of course, there are others whose lives are spelled in adventures, happenings and explorations. But you just do not have the time for anything beyond what is in your pockets, right?

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote in 2011 and published on celareartem.com, which was an experiment in art directing my writings back then. In it, I discuss the monotony of life and offer six-level challenges you might want to take on daily, in order to make your life more adventurous.

Read my article Everyday Adventures here.

Three important things

Ric Elias:

“I no longer want to postpone anything in life. That urgency, that purpose, has really changed my life.”

“Carpe diem” has suddenly got a special zing to it, hasn’t it? As a human, I am limited by time and space. Consequently, how I manage both – my present moment and location – has a significance. Both for me and the ones whose presence I have the privilege to experience in my life, i.e. my family and friends.

I’m throwing my bad wines out. What about you?

Happy time

Time is almost never enough. It runs too fast. Regardless of whether it’s about the things you need to do (but not necessarily want to) or the things you want to do (but not necessarily need to), the time is just not there. Or if it’s there, it’s sad. Should you succeed in managing it well, therefore, you will reap the harvest of an efficient flow that stands out. And most probably makes you feel better, too.

Recently, my friend Susanne tweeted out, “Typical Monday. One step forward, two steps back…” Which got me thinking. What makes me think I’ve made headway today? Can I influence how I perceive it? Every time I finish my work, I want to be able to exclaim, “I’ve done (almost) everything I could, and I’m pretty darn glad about it.” What can I do to make it happen, to make my time happy?

Here are four quick tips for your inspiration. You can apply them to your time at work, as well as your personal time.

1. Chunk it.

Chunk your tasks into categories. Focus on tasks in one category at a time. It will be easier for you to see the progress. You don’t saw the wood and brush your teeth at the same time. You don’t sow and cook simultaneously. Why are we trying to juggle different tasks at once?

2. Plan it.

Have a plan for the week. Set aside some time for reading and replying to e-mail, some other time for writing a report, yet some other time for meetings. Set aside some time to not do anything, too. Trust me, you’ll be amazed how much you’ve needed it. Don’t try to remember everything. Write down your ideas. Create to-do lists, to-watch lists, to-read lists.

3. Commit it.

Commit your time to manage your time. The change will gradually come, but it usually comes slowly. Stick to your plan. Get rid of distractions. Planned to start reading an article at 9:00? Make sure there’s no other window (often titled Facebook) open at 9:02. Get your friend to be an accountability partner. It’s easier to hold your schedule, if you know you’re later to report to someone who cares.

4. Enjoy it.

Having a clear goal and incentive to reach it is part of your success in managing time. Compliment yourself. Set up a system of rewards, badges, stickers, whatever. Progressively, you will notice how much you enjoy crossing tasks off your lists, even if it just means you get to drink that juicebox you’ve put in the fridge.

What are your tips on turning sad time into happy?

Everyday Adventures

6:15. Alarm sings joyfully. I wake up, go pee, brush my teeth, put my clothes on, kiss my wife. I grab my lunch and backpack, go out, walk to work. I work, eat lunch, work more. I walk home, eat dinner, play with my baby daughter. I skype with par…

Adventures

6:15. Alarm sings joyfully. I wake up, brush my teeth, put my clothes on, kiss my wife. I grab my lunch and backpack, go out, walk to work. I work, eat lunch, work more. I walk home, eat dinner, play with my baby daughter. I skype with parents, help daughter shower, kiss my wife goodnight. I fall asleep. Rinse and repeat.

People find life monotonous. And for very good reasons, too. There is not much to it. You study, get married, work, raise children, pay bills – all struggling through. Of course, there are others whose lives are full of adventures, happenings and explorations. But you just do not have the time for anything beyond what is in your pockets, right?

Recently, I realised, though: if I want my life to become more flamboyant, I need to challenge myself daily. Because at the core of all adventures, there lie challenges to your body or mind.

So I started thinking of how I can challenge myself. Making my hemispheres collide sounded like a good idea and I came up with heaps of things I could do to make daily routines more interesting. It takes literally a couple of minutes a day to come up with at least a dozen of ideas to make your life more exuberant than it seems today. Here are six examples (that work for me) just to get you started.

1. Newbie

Difficulty level: ★☆☆☆☆☆

Take another route to and/or from work. Notice how you’ve never seen this tree here or that building there before. Stop to look at the pond you never stopped at to see if ducks still float or look at the flower box you never counted the flowers in. Dare yourself to experience your daily routines without going through the motions.

2. Elementary

Difficulty level: ★★☆☆☆☆

Swap the pockets. Whatever you carry in them, that is. Put your small belongings in all the new places. Do you carry coins in the front left pocket, keys in the front right, wallet in the back left and some junk in the back right? Move everything around and see if you can find your keys when you need them.

3. Pre-intermediate

Difficulty level: ★★★☆☆☆

Walk backwards up and down the stairs without looking backwards or ahead um, wherever you need to go. There are always stairs around. No stairs in sight? Walk backwards around your house or backyard. In any case, be extremely careful, lest you should step on the rake. It hurts whichever end of your head you hit with the handle.

4. Intermediate

Difficulty level: ★★★★☆☆

Turn your mouse 90 degrees and go surfing the Internets. Open a browser, a word-processing program or even a photo-editing monster and feel the difference. For the shortcutting cheaters or trackpad users: turn whatever you use to interact with the machine 180 degrees. Feel the difference now?

5. Upper-intermediate

Difficulty level: ★★★★★☆

Write a love letter. No, not a love e-mail. A real-life letter on a real-life piece of paper. First, take the pen. Ready? Now, switch hands! That’s right! See if your loved one appreciates your scribbled handwriting. Don’t have a loved one? Write a letter to your manager. Or landlord. Tell them how awesome you think they are.

6. Advanced

Difficulty level: ★★★★★★

Try finding flaws in you. Hard to think of any? Ask your spouse, children or parents. They’ll know. Having too many flaws to count? Focus on the first three. Now, take a flaw and make a list of five things you have to do to kill it. Let the five things be like chain links that loop over five months, one measure a month.

Important: never ever stay satisfied with where you are. When you are done mastering your challenges, there will always be new ones to face.

Do you have other ideas for challenges? Share them with me on Twitter or in the comments below!

(Photo courtesy of Anne Roberts.)

32-minute-a-day remedy to boost your ego by walking to work

About a month ago, I determined to time my walks to work and back home. My ego up in the sky now, I am very proud to be walking at least 3.8 km a day. Here are the results: The green line shows how much time (in minutes) it took for me to walk to …

About a month ago, I determined to time my walks to work and back home. My ego up in the sky now, I am very proud to be walking at least 3.8 km a day. Here are the results:

Chart

The green line shows how much time (in minutes) it took for me to walk to work during the month of October. The blue line is the average time of 16.02 (16 minutes 1 second).