Mind blowing travel

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

Traveling to a country where you are a minority and look different, is humbling and builds empathy for other cultures and ethnicities. Walking into a restaurant and being the odd man out before you even open your mouth will make you more welcoming to strangers who stand out in a crowd.

Traveling through a foreign country that has a different religion and customs will teach you that the sun doesn’t revolve around your home country and that other cultures and races are getting on with life just fine without you. You realize there’s not only one way to live.

Be curious, be humble, be open-minded. Travel fuels your creativity and makes you a better global citizen.

Lagging indicators and leading indicators

“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.”  – Warren Buffett

Don’t give in to impatience. People give up because they don’t see results and confuse leading indicators with lagging indicators.

Physical health is a lagging indicator. Daily exercise and a healthy balanced diet is a leading indicator.

Financial independence is a lagging indicator. Persistence, simple living, and long-term saving habits are the leading indicators.

A happy marriage is a lagging indicator. Being in service to your spouse, compromise, kindness, and humbleness are the leading indicators.

A midlife crisis is a lagging indicator. Not being true to yourself and not having the courage to do what’s right for you when you are younger is the leading indicator.

Low stress is a lagging indicator. Controlling smartphone / screen time, daily meditation, spending time with friends, getting eight hours of sleep and cutting out the booze are leading indicators.

It’s never to late to start, but realise where and when you need to start if you want a certain outcome for yourself.

 

 

 

Control your platform

A couple of people have asked me why I haven’t switched to Medium as a publishing platform. Medium is beautiful and elegant, and I value the highlight function. I also think that Ev Williams has zeroed in the problem with traditional media and how its livelihood is tethered to the advertising model, clickbait and page views. The popularity of a piece doesn’t correlate to the journalistic quality; hence something salacious generates more revenue than a well researched long-form article on Climate Change or political corruption. I think the Medium team has the brainpower and dry powder to make a dent and help solve the problem, but it’s hard to ask writers to go along for the ride when their livelihood or lifework depends on it.

Until the publishing revenue model is fixed, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Medium will continue to morph, experiment and adapt to survive. They’ll do what’s in the best interests of their shareholders, their advertisers and their employees.

I’ve been on WordPress for years and won’t be changing. My rational years ago and today are the same. Writers have to own their domain. It needs to be portable and backed up, and if the underlying platform changes then they can set up shop somewhere else.

Sometimes function trumps form.

The Yin Yang of Breaking News

If you want to wake up early in the morning every day, then go to bed early. Early to bed, early to rise. If you’re going to lose weight, then eat less food. What you put in, is what you get out.

If you want less anxiety about the “breaking news” and less empty calories from cable channels and the news tickers, then don’t watch the news! The critical story will always find you, so don’t worry about missing out.

There’s a difference between being informed vs. being current. A typhoon on the other side of the world is significant because of climate change and appreciating how our species is interconnected, but you don’t need to know about it as it’s happening. Your lizard brain probably thinks there’s a typhoon in your backyard and gets stressed out by the images of rough sees and displaced people. Cable news is appealing directly to your lizard brain. CNN pioneered breaking news, and then post 9/11 it became the standard operating procedure for all cable news channels.

Being too current creates blind spots. People get sucked into how bad the political environment is and start to see everything through that lens from the economy, world hunger, illitracy, child mortality, pollution. Politics aside, we are improving as a species on all these fronts, and it’s good to step back and appreciate that.

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. – Benjamin Franklin

 

Wastin’ time

The older you get, the more you value time. How much would you pay to buy back a couple of years when you are in your sixties? Time has less currency to a 25-year-old than a 60-year-old.

The wealthier you become, the more you value simplicity and flexibility. Real wealth isn’t about accumulating stuff, it’s about controlling your time. The freedom to decide how to spend your time each day is priceless. When you are young, you think you are invincible and have all the time in the world. Older, wiser souls value every day and cherish them because they know that buying back time isn’t an option.

As Bill Clinton likes to say, we all get to the point where we have more yesterdays than tomorrows.

I think Otis Redding tapped into this with (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ come
Watching the ships roll in
And then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the ‘Frisco bay
Cause I’ve had nothing to live for
And look like nothin’s gonna come my way

So I’m just gonna sit on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Ooo, I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

Look like nothing’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same, yes

Sittin’ here resting my bones
And this loneliness won’t leave me alone
It’s two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home

Now, I’m just gonna sit at the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
Oooo-wee, sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

Written by Steve Cropper, Otis Redding • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

The power of the pause

There’s a risk of breaking a flow state when you take a pause. Pauses break momentum and restarting a project requires activation energy. I’m sure we’ve all felt this in January after the Christmas break, or coming back to work after a four day weekend. It takes time to get up to speed again. Things are no longer at your fingertips, you have to recall where you saved working files, and conversations are hazy.  It’s like exercising after you’ve had the flu. Your muscles are stiff, and your body aches for a bit.

But the reactivation energy after a pause is worth it but not evident in the beginning. The indirect benefits of taking a break take time to kick in. Breaks foster creativity, give you new perspectives and recharges your mind and body. Spending time with family and friends is good for the soul and will make you a more relaxed person to be around when you get back into the swing.

A pause is like sharpening the saw. Take the time to sharpen the blade and then you’ll be more efficient cutting wood. Take a pause and sharpen the saw.

Advise your younger self

The saying goes that the days are long and the years are short. Five years goes by in a flash.

Take a moment to look back on the last five years and ask yourself what advice you would give your younger self if you could travel back in time and share a meal together. Think about the experience and guidance you would provide. Do the same exercise with a ten-year look back. As a 30-year-old what advice would you give your 20-year-old self? If you are 40 what information would you provide your 30-year-old self?

A couple of insights bubbled up for me when I played this out in my head:

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Take more risks.

Be patient, but don’t hold on too long. Have the guts to know when to leave. Knowing is the easy part. Saying it out loud is the hard part.

Back yourself more. Everyone is making it up as they go.

Learn by doing. Over-analysis will paralyze you.

Travel more.

Don’t be in such a hurry to start a career. The career will find you when you are ready.

Be kind to your body.

Don’t stress so much. There’s only now. Most of the time you land on your feet, and most of the things you worry about are in your head.

Small contributions compound over time. Small acts of kindness, small investments, small tweaks add up.

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Try it. It’s an enlightening exercise