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You can have unlimited dreams and goals, but not unlimited priorities.
Embrace the uncertainty of change.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get out of this situation.” We talked for a while and I gave him a long list of resources. “Will you have time to look at these things soon?” I asked. “Are you kidding?” he replied. “I’ll be going on this stuff for the rest of the afternoon. Then if I have to, I’ll stay up until midnight.”
“They say time changes things, but actually you have to change them yourself.”
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. — DALE CARNEGIE.
Create mass accountability. Give yourself a carrot.
On the other hand, despite a stated desire for change and the ability to do basic research, Aaron remained stuck behind the wall of fear. He lived a life of quiet desperation, peeking through to the other side but failing to dismantle the bricks.
We have big dreams and ideas, but we also have big fears. The quest to overcome fear is lifelong, and almost no one is truly fearless. Instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, you have to be willing to smash through the brick wall of fear. You won’t be the first to do it, and what you find on the other side might surprise you. What’s waiting for you on the other side of the wall?
The question is not who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me. — AYN RAND
People will always try to stop you from doing the right thing if it is unconventional. — WARREN BUFFETT
Gatekeepers are especially effective at telling you which choices you have, thus giving you the illusion of freedom while simultaneously blocking access to what really matters. It’s like asking, “Would you like a or b?”—without letting you know that c, d, and e are also valid choices.
Why do we do things this way? “Just because.” “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” “Because someone said so.” When someone threatens tradition or asks questions, gatekeepers will appeal to a logic based on history, even if their recollection of history is incorrect.
When the underdog adopts an unconventional strategy and changes the rules of the game, the percentage of victory jumps even further, to 63 percent. In other words, when the underdog deploys an unconventional strategy, the underdog is actually favored to win…
…the difference is that in one situation the underdog deliberately changes the rules of the confrontation. Remember that gatekeepers are all about limiting choices (you can have a or b, but not c or d). The underdog strategy looks for alternatives.
Here are some more things that are completely unnecessary for your success:
- You don’t need experience.
- You don’t need years of preparation.
- You don’t need paperwork. Paperwork includes degrees, certificates, endorsements, licenses, recommendations, referrals, and so on.
- You don’t need a mentor.
It’s not that these things are unhelpful. It’s that they are unnecessary.
- You need passion.
- You need a vision and a task.
- You need the answers to the two most important questions in the universe. What do you really want to get out of life? How can you help others in a way that no one else can?
- You need commitment to stay the course. Many people give up too early.
The gap between ignorance and knowledge is much less than the gap between knowledge and action. —ANONYMOUS.
The Denver TV news anchor who was laid off and started a “Yoga at Work” part-time business for the cost of a $9 domain registration. Within six months she was earning $2,000 a month. • The brick installation company that started when the founder was laid off from a car dealership. He took $18 to Barnes & Noble to buy “some kind of business book,” but ended up buying coffee and looking through books in the café. After a rocky start and a difficult partnership, the business brought in more than $150,000 in its third year. • The “$50 and a bottle of oil” startup that grew to a $6 million business within five years. • The “Retro Razor” project that launched from a Seattle bedroom after the founder ran out of Gillette blades on a trip to Italy (cost: $75.87 for initial inventory). Retro Razor signed up for Amazon.com’s partner
Over and over I hear from employees at stable companies like Google and Microsoft, who begin a long message by saying, “I feel guilty because my friends think I have it made, but I don’t like what I’m doing.” I don’t think these people are ungrateful; if you don’t enjoy the place where you spend most of your waking hours, I don’t see how you have it made.
Like Allan Bacon’s “Life Experiments,” slow and steady change can produce big improvements when done consistently over time. • Some people think self-employment is risky, but the real risk lies in deriving your security from an external source.
Personally, I value learning, but formal education and learning do not always go hand in hand. If your primary goal is to learn instead of to prepare for a career, you may be better off going it alone.
I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. — RALPH NADER
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. — JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
Instead of selling products, you focus on solving problems.
I’d like to live as a poor man, with lots of money. — PABLO PICASSO
I embrace frugality as a personal value, but frugality for me is not about pinching pennies in every part of my budget. Instead, it’s about making conscious choices to spend on the things I value—and avoid spending on other things.
The way I approach my discretionary spending is outlined below:
1. I happily exchange money for things I truly value.
2. As much as possible, I don’t exchange money for things I don’t value.
3. All things being equal, I value life experiences more than physical possessions.
4. Investing in others is at least as important as my own long-term savings.
Travel is my biggest personal expense, and I regularly spend about 20 percent of my annual income on it. Many people spend 20 percent or more of their income on debt reduction, and I’ve taken great care to ensure I have no debt. If I can’t afford to pay for something in full, I don’t buy it.
Because I know I’ve received a lot from life thus far, I want to make sure I actively give back in the form of investing in others.
To get serious about saving, focus on increasing income more than cutting expenses. This is because cutting expenses is essentially a scarcity behavior, whereas increasing income is essentially an abundance behavior.
Doctors Without Borders: This organization, known around the world by the French name Medecins Sans Frontieres, brings medical teams to war zones, natural disasters, and countries that lack sufficient health care. Learn more at DoctorsWithout Borders.org.
I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something. —JACKIE MASON
If you’re stumped with a travel dilemma, visit the forums at FlyerTalk.com. Some of the experts on these boards are even more experienced than I am, and if you ask nicely, several will offer free advice on your itinerary or travel issue.
If you’re looking for lodging and hotel prices are high, check Hostels.com for a large database of guesthouses and smaller establishments. In addition to dorms, many of the properties offer private rooms with breakfast and Internet access. If you’re up for company, you can also stay for free thanks to CouchSurfing.com. Priceline.com can be a good source for discounted hotels (it’s not usually worth it for plane tickets), but the company has an advantage on consumers by not disclosing the minimum successful bids. To negate this advantage, use Google to search for “Priceline winning hotel bids” to find several sites that list the hidden information. I’ve used this strategy to stay at the Brussels Marriott for $60 (usually $240), the Prague Sheraton for $45 (usually $195), and many other nice hotels all over the world. • If transatlantic airfare is pricey, look for a repositioning cruise. These cruises take place twice a year as cruise lines move their ships from the Mediterranean to the United States. (A smaller number also go from Alaska to East Asia, and from California to Florida via the Panama Canal.)
Let’s return to the two important questions we looked at briefly earlier: “What do you really want to get out of life?” and “What can you offer the world that no one else can?”
When you set out to create something that will outlast you, there are a number of characteristics you need to consider by answering the following questions:
- Vision—how will the world be different because of the project?
- Beneficiaries—who will benefit from the project?
- Primary Method or Medium—how will you do the work?
- Output—what will be produced as a result of your work?
- Metrics—how will success be measured?
Create a continual metric for your most important work.
*** Pamela Slim’s Escape from Cubicle Nation.
ONLINE RESOURCES A few things didn’t make it into the final version of this book. For the much-needed condensing, you can thank my editor Maria, who kept asking, “Does this need to be here? Can you get it out some other way?” It was a good question, so I made a resources page on my website for everything that didn’t make it in here. Among other things, the resources page includes:
• An introduction to travel hacking, including how to earn frequent flyer miles without flying, how to stay for free anywhere in the world, and where you can buy a round-the-world plane ticket
• A worksheet and MP3 audio download on creating the ideal day discussed in chapter 2
• More information on low-budget businesses, including a list of 10 ways to earn money through travel, and 10 businesses you can start for less than $100.
All of this information is free, and you don’t need to register to receive it. Just go to ChrisGuillebeau.com/book for a complete list.