I follow Chris Guillebeau, an author whose mission is to visit every country in the world. Every. Single. One.
He posted 34 things I’ve learned about life and adventure today – on his 34th birthday. Here’s the ones that resonate most with me … any my own thoughts on each of them.
Deadlines & quotas are your friends
There is nothing that focuses your brain like a deadline. Set ’em if you don’t have them, and use their peculiar psychological power to prod you to greater achievement.
My quota for writing is at least 33 minutes a day, usually first thing in the day. I can do more, but that’s minimum. And that gives me the discipline to be 124 pages into my first novel, No Other Gods.
Helping others makes your own life better
It’s why I coach two baseball teams. It’s how any bad day can be made at least somewhat better. You can’t stay miserable when you’re helping other people – it’s almost impossible.
Love the process
The product – the end goal of any project – is a tiny fraction of the totality of your life. Enjoy the road, the means, the path, if you want to enjoy your life.
Be a believer, not a cynic
This is huge. Just huge. Being a believer might sometimes result in disappointment or misadventure. But the reward is the kind of person you become: warmer, nicer, more positive. The world is full of negativity. Focusing on the positive is your best defence.
I’ll take some disappointments for the privilege. It’s the cost of doing business – living life – happily.
Choose active over passive whenever possible
Also super-important. Doing something – almost anything – is usually better than doing nothing. It feels better, it accomplishes something, it goes somewhere, and, even if only psychologically, puts you in a better position for the future.
Ask a lot of questions
This is the most interesting part about other people: they know stuff you don’t. Learning from others is fun and easy … especially when they’re passionate. Someone who is passionate about what they do has a hard time being boring when talking about it.
Say yes more often than no
I know that design requires choices, and business needs focus. And that Steve Jobs is famous for praising the power of no. But personally, saying yes to experiences, options, opportunities opens you up to so much more. No is the word of stasis, seclusion, retreat. Yes is wanting more of life.
That’s only 7 of the 34. I strongly suggest you follow that link and read all of them.