What You Can Do

How Does Working Only 4 Hours a Week Sound?

Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week, has become a classic guide for those trying to blaze their path instead of taking the one others want them to follow. Even if you don’t end up working four hours a week, there is much to learn from this book in fine-tuning your career, and more importantly, your quest to Find Your Purpose, Find Your Story.  This is a book that you will frequently revisit, and start here with some of the many memorable quotes from Tim:

“Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.

Doing less meaningless work, so you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness.

Focus on being productive instead of busy.

Ask for forgiveness, not permission.

Money alone is not the solution.

Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.

Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.

What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but is useless unless applied to the right things.

Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.

Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.

Am I being productive or just active?

Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?

“Task creep” – doing more to feel productive while actually accomplishing less.

Be selectively ignorant. Less is more.

Does your life have a purpose? Are you contributing anything useful to this world, or just shuffling papers, banging on a keyboard, and coming home to a drunken existence on the weekends?

More is not better, and stopping something is often 10 times better than finishing it.

Learn to be difficult when it counts.

Blaming idiots for interruptions is like blaming clowns for scaring children – they can’t help it. It’s their nature.

An interruption is anything that prevents the start-to-finish of a critical task.

Unless something is well-defined and important, no one should do it.

Most people aren’t lucky enough to get fired and die a slow spiritual death over 30-40 years of tolerating the mediocre.

Just because something has been a lot of work or consumed a lot of time doesn’t make it productive or worthwhile.

If tolerating a punishing work environment for years at a time is a prerequisite for promotion in your field, could it be that you’re in a game not worth winning?

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Mental Hunger? Here’s Some Brain Food.

Bored at work? Need something to listen to in the car other than mindless babble? Well, I have been collecting interesting podcasts over at Soundcloud. In particular, give a listen to my selection on books, writing and learning.

Reclaim lost minutes of your day, shut down the Facebook feed, and exercise your mind. You’ll feel much better…

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Listen, then Read

Here’s our first installment of Podcast Roundup with selection of fascinating  interviews with authors that will teach you and most likely have you ordering their books:

Daniel Mendelsohn, author of, An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, tells us how ancient works like the The Odyssey “…always somehow feel present and real…[the] kinds of experiences they describe, are the kinds of experiences, in many cases, we have.” In particular, he looks at the father-son relationship in The Odyssey and how we look at — and if we really know — our parents and family members.

Tristan Gooley is the author of several books on the lost art of reading nature. Listen how you can can be more observant in our world, and relearn the skills that will allow you to travel and explore anywhere — no gadgets required.

Self-defense expert Tim Larkin, author of When Violence is the Answer, wants us to know that “sometimes violence is the answer, and that when it is, it’s the only answer.” Unfortunately, not everyone knows the difference between “antisocial aggression and asocial violence” and how to respond to each. A very important message for our time.

 

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What is Important to You?

After watching Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, I was reminded of one of the most memorable lines in The Lord of the Rings:

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Each generation in the modern era has faced the specters of busyness, materialism and deciding what is truly important. Arguably, at no other time in history, have societal forces have been so powerful in telling us how to live and what to become. It’s as if we’ve given up in finding out what we are truly meant to be. We’ve abandoned our intellectual ability to make our own decisions. Then one day, we wake up, wonder where it has gone, and wish we’d set out and found our own story, not someone else’s.

Continue reading

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When Fiction Warns Us

A human darkness with a vast appetite for chaos and violence.

That is what simmers in the background, waiting to be released, which is exactly what unfolds in Steven Konkoly‘s The Perseid Collapse and William R. Forstchen‘s One Second After.

Unfortunately, what they write about in fiction is all too real a threat.

A Dangerous Situation

An aged power grid is becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks or natural or man-made EMPs. This really isn’t a secret to the powers that be. In fact, if they truly cared about people, they would have taken measures to shore up the grid years ago. They’re too busy figuring out how to buy votes and bail out their buddies. If this is all new to you, check out the latest threats to the grid here. A decade or so ago, the United States finally began deploying a missile defense system to protect us from human causes. Again, politics continues to threaten expansion and upgrades.

National Geographic aired the docudrama American Blackout which showed what could happen with the grid down for a few days. What would happen if this lasted weeks or months? Many people think (or hope) disasters like these won’t or cannot happen. Ask people who have lived through hurricanes and tornadoes or earthquakes. Fiction can remind us what is really important in life. It tells us action is better than hoping for the best.

Should protecting the country from nuclear holocaust or complete collapse really be a political issue? I’m thinking most would rather not be vaporized or watch their cities self-destruct. Sooner or later, disasters will come, whether natural or man-made.

Ignoring this is beneath human intelligence. Let’s do something about it.

EMP Missile Defense

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Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Check out Tim Urban’s TED talk here as he delves into his procrastinating mind. Read the blog version and then how to beat procrastinating. After you watch and read you’ll see how procrastination is a subtle, subversive disease that attacks us all and keeps you from your true Story.

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Healthy Reading

If you haven’t checked out the Hero’s Journey interval training program yet, why not? Training or working out doesn’t have to be boring or something you have to do, it should be something you want to do. Add these two to the mix: the Legolas Workout or the Shieldmaiden Workout or any of the other dozens of themed workouts at Darbee.com. Training, however, is only half of the equation.

The other half is nutrition. Sure, working out out will reduce the weight, just as only “dieting” will, but focusing on only one makes long-term maintenance difficult and gains often temporary. If you have decided on a commitment to better health, you also have to commit to some studying. Knowledge has many benefits for your lifestyle change, such as: Continue reading

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Every Generation’s Legacy

Think not forever of yourselves, O chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground. – Peacemaker, Founder of the Iroquois Confederacy

In all of your deliberations in the Confederate Council, in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion…Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground – the unborn of the future Nation. – The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: The Great Binding Law

There are a variety of quotes like these, often rewritten as some variation of, “In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation…” These quotes are often used in discussion of environmental issues, but they are a fundamental concept of foresight that should be applied to much of our thinking. This is something our politicians rarely do — they’re only concerned in what they can say or do (or appear to do) to get them through the next election cycle.

Continue reading

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Prepare for Your Quest

Much has been said about fantasy books here, but can we somehow manage to combine this with fitness?

“How on Earth can we do that?” you wonder (or say to the computer screen if you’re apt to talking to yourself).

Neila Rey and friends at Darebee have created the fantasy themed Hero’s Journey workout. This is a real deal workout that will test your readiness for any quest in your life.

I may continue this as a series of posts, Fitness Fridays if you will, an idea borrowed from Amy’s Curiouser and Curiouser blog. And if you need some fantasy mood music, load up some Lindsey Stirling here and here.

hjnr

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Opening Our Eyes in 2016

I’ve written on how 19th Century author George MacDonald fathered the fantasy genre that has become such a staple of literature. Beyond that, MacDonald was also a controversial figure in his day, and even now. Why? Because he wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. Biographer Michael R. Phillips writes:

In his later writings MacDonald strongly attacks the mentality that cares more for providing its own position than for discerning the truth. He would prefer to find himself in the wrong, and thereby learn a new facet of truth, than win an argument…he would not even formulate an opinion until he sees the question more clearly…[he wouldn’t]…put forward an opinion prematurely until the light of truth had been shed upon it.

Here, on the first day of the new year, perhaps this is what we should keep in our minds and on lists of resolutions. A commitment to test what we read, what we are told and what the powers that be claim is so. In an election year this is even more important, because the professional politicians and their dutiful followers have already spent months weaving their deceptions. We need to be like MacDonald who had

…a mind not afraid to doubt and ask questions. It was a mind not hiding behind doors, but knocking on them. His eyes were wide open, alert to any entrance of truth.

So in 2016, let’s open our eyes, stop hiding and start knocking.

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