Archive | June, 2009

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Do We Pretend to Be Lifestyle Rockstars?

Posted on 30 June 2009 by Carl

43145184 9c437dc091 b d Do We Pretend to Be Lifestyle Rockstars?

We’re a bit of an overachieving community as lifestyle designers.  We want to live exciting, rich, over-the-top travel-the-world in a single suitcase lives.

We can slip into this idea that we’re Lifestyle Rockstars (guitars not included).

Yet we can’t be rockstars all the time.  The interesting rockstars in most fields are honest, down to earth, simple people who just happen to have worked their ass off to get where they are.  Sure they’ve got talent and a bit of flair which separates them from others but is that all?

Surely not.  They believed in their idea when it wasn’t popular, when their friends thought they were crazy and they still struggled to maintain momentum when they woke up everyday.

Believing in yourself when it is only your idea is a hard thing to do, yet when we make it (in some form or another) we should take care not to flaunt our idea as if it were always better than sliced bread.  Despite how awesome your lifestyle is and how many hours you’ve spent designing it and hacking it, there are millions of other people in the world living exceptionally happy lives that are entirely different from our own.

Being a lifestyle designer, liberation artist or vagabond is not necessarily the better life choice, it is merely the most fulfilling for our place in our life at this moment.  The world might come around in the long run to agree with you but you can’t change peoples minds you can only sway those who are already looking for change.

So while you may be a rockstar in your positive thinking, personal development, location independent mind it’s good to take a reality check sometimes and realize that on occasion you’re only playing the air guitar.

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Are you driving along a pale imitation of your dreams?

Posted on 29 June 2009 by Carl

paledream Are you driving along a pale imitation of your dreams?

Then you should probably change gears.

All too often we accept a certain position at work, relationship circumstance, or home believing that it’s a foot in the door to our dreams.  Yet days pass, months pass, years pass and you’ve only got your foot in a door.  And it probably hurts a bit for being stuck there so long.

Shouldn’t you say it’s time enough?

Unwedge that foot, kick open the door and see the world.

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create that fact.

William James

To rephrase William James: believe that dreams are worth living.

Now that you believe. Act. Belief without action is empty.

It’s not a matter of time that you’re dream will come to you once you believe in it.  Regardless of how much The Secret tells you otherwise, or how much positive thinking you put towards it.

391759360 88e636bc8c Are you driving along a pale imitation of your dreams?

Belief is only the key in the ignition.

Someone has to turn it, and that, my friends, has to be you.

Start by getting out of the driveway.  Nice and easy.  Don’t gun it if it’s your first time at the wheel.  Pick some easy hills to climb so you can learn to shift.

You will have to learn the road along the way because dreams don’t come with turn-by-turn GPS navigation systems.  You’re best off with a rough map and some directions from trusted friends and advisers.

Map out some landmarks as you go.  Noting your progress is important so you can remember where you came from.  The sense of accomplishment at recognizing these in the future will only be more rewarding.

Soon you’ll find yourself driving with confidence, navigating unknown terrain with ease, and realizing that you are on your own road to the vistas in your dreams.

Title Flickr image by Gabriela Camerotti.

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How To Find Your Purpose In Life: The Infinite Step Program

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Carl

58409848 f7110ae9ae b d How To Find Your Purpose In Life: The Infinite Step Program

So often we go through life living the way other people tell us to.

Our parents.  Our teachers.  Our coaches.  Our significant others.  Our friends.  Our bosses.  Our colleagues.

Yet none of these people are us.  Our purpose in life isn’t what other people tell us.  Often times it’s not the things we tell ourselves.

Why?  Because we’ve been conditioned to believe that what other people have told us is really us.

We’ve learned to listen to the buzz and the hype and not our hearts.  We’ve lost touch with ourselves because we’ve blanketed ourselves in the myth of convention and expectation, in the wisdom of the masses.

So how do we find ourselves.  How do we turn off the buzz and the hype and the voices in our heads.

You have to seclude yourself.  Shut off the noise.  Close the blinds.  Throw the phone out the window.  Throw what other people have to say out the window.  Cut yourself loose and bury yourself in silence.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Only in silence can we hear ourselves breathe.  Only in silence can we hear ourselves sing.

So set yourself up without others.  It may take a day, it may take a week of silence.  Cause at first it’s never silent.  At first our heads are filled with the clamor of other peoples voices, they are full of the voices we’ve listened to for years.  Even our own.

Write down everything they say.  Type it out.  Make it into notes.  Collage it.  The goal is to purge them all.  To do so you need to put them into the world.  So they get out of your head.

Then answer this question: what is my purpose in life?

In cosmic terms, it doesn’t matter.  We are small and insignificant in the universe.

In biological terms, it’s to procreate then die.  It’s that simple.

Yet we don’t want it that simple.  We want it to matter more than a simple biological imperative.

Life matters because we live it.  What we do matters because it is all we have.

In perspective knowing that, knowing that you are going to die, that you are insignificant in the world helps to understand your purpose.

It gives you meaning because whether you make a million dollars in your lifetime, bereak a world record, or world work in a mail room it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

So you might as well do what you damn well love.

Now go back to that question.  What’s your purpose in life.

Not your goals.

Not your career.

Your purpose.

Here’s an exercise that I’ve taken from Steve Pavlina:

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type (I prefer the latter because it’s faster).
  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

You’ll most likely end up using lofty abstract language to describe this.

But that’s okay because:

Fulfilling your purpose is never possible.

It’s not about success in a yes or no check box.

It isn’t a wake-up one day and count to ten and poof you’ve got your purpose.  Finding your purpose isn’t a ten step program, it’s an infinite step program.

Each step is often small.  Minuscule even.  The leaps and bounds that get touted as sparks of genius or inspiration are an accumulation of hours of minuscule steps both forwards and back.  They’re the moment you can put what you’ve been feeling for years into words.

It’s about living as an experience, a process, which aligns with your very beliefs as a person.  With your core self.  With your soul.  Or ego.  Or heart or whatever word you choose to bandy about.  But all the same it is what you would create a revolution about.  It is your purpose.

What is your purpose?  How did you go about finding it?  How long did it take you?

Flickr Photo courtesy of M Kuhn.

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Vagabonding as a Radical Life Choice – Video Blog 9

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Carl

Vagabonding is a radical life choice which departs greatly from the stationary communities and homes of conventional society. However, while people may not understand the path and may look negatively upon the choice to break from the norm vagabonding is a personal, almost spiritual, path and not one of elitism or superiority.

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The Death of a Suitcase

Posted on 19 June 2009 by Carl

Alas 6 months into my vagabonding trip my trusty Jaguar rolling garment bag has met it’s end.

It has seen over 19 cities and town in the U.S. in just the last 6 months not counting numerous layovers on buses, planes and trains. It has crossed the U.S. coast to coast 5 times logging around 20,000 miles of travel on top of intermittent use in prior years on various dance weekends.

While it has weathered the road well it just hasn’t stood the test of continuous abuse that long term travel puts on objects. I mean the bag is probably older than I am considering it was borrowed from my parents. The fabric is starting to tear and is worn in a number of places, zippers don’t close, and the final straw was the handle snapping my last night in New York City.

VictorinoxTrekPackPlus22 The Death of a SuitcaseSince then I’ve carried the 40+ pounds to Seattle and now down to San Francisco and it’s time for a new bag. I’ve settled on this bag by Victorinox. The 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus recommended by world travelers like Tim Ferriss for it’s durability, functionality and ability to be carried on planes. It can be wheeled around, converted into a backpack or split into a regular pack and a daypack.

Not only is this bag exceptional but it will force me to downsize more.

This is not only the death of a suitcase but the death of excess.

I will be moving from many items that I don’t necessarily need to only those things that are truly necessary.

I will be undertaking the 100 items challenge. The goal to cut down all of my possessions to 100 things or less if I’m not already there. If I’m already there I’ll let you know but I’m not certain I am.

If I were just a vagabond I think this would be easier. I would afford myself only the simplest of clothing but being a lindy hop instructor I do on occasion need a few items of formal wear. Add to that the three pairs of shoes I carry for dancing (Keds, Florsheim dress shoes, and tap shoes) and the weight of being a dance instructor adds up quickly.

So as both a birthday present to myself and from my parents I’m buying it. If you feel like chipping in I’ll do my best to visit you in my travels and if you want I’ll give you a half hour private lesson in Lindy Hop no charge except for your donation.


pixel The Death of a Suitcase

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Challenge: Start Your Day with a Cold Shower

Posted on 18 June 2009 by Carl

One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn’t feel the cold.

Misogi Tsubaki Jinja Challenge: Start Your Day with a Cold ShowerWhile I might not be as intense about it as this Shinto practitioner, bathing in cold water is an invigorating exercise which I perform almost every time I shower.

While there are many health benefits to exposing yourself to cold water, from helping circulation to easing fibromyalgia symptoms, I think of it in terms of an act of voluntary discomfort.

Start your day with an act of courage.

Stepping into cold water is something we normally associate with hardened warriors in cheesy martial arts films who strive for mental and physical perfection.  In a way it’s a correct assumption.

Misogi is a Shinto practice of purification.  The most common being water misogi where practitioners stand in a waterfall.  It is a practice to purify the spirit and the body.

Many spiritual and physical practices including yoga and aikido endorse cold water immersion.  And can you really argue with the Polar Bear Club?

I can’t.

There are many health benefits associated with cold showers.

  • Increases blood flow to your organs and circulation throughout your body.
  • Helps eliminate toxins from the body due to increased circulation and contraction of the muscles.
  • Increases your white blood cell count.
  • Boosts your immune system by strengthening mucous membranes.
  • Gives you healthier hair by closing the cuticle in a similar manner to your skin.
  • Gives you better looking skin by constricting the blood vessels and reducing swelling.
  • Makes your body acclimate faster to cold temperatures keeping you warmer.

Let’s not forget we’re not likely to linger in a cold shower so we save water in our daily routine.

On top of that stepping into cold water is an invigorating burst to your routine.  It’s energizing; a real rush everytime.

I step out of the shower ready to face the world.

By living through minor discomforts regularly you’ll grow more confident that you can cope with major discomforts as well. Such a major future event will no longer be a source of anxiety.

Christiaan @ Mind The Beginner

Here’s my challenge to you.

Start your day with an act of courage.

For the next 31 days take a cold shower.

If you’re not ready to jump headfirst into a frozen lake (I know I wasn’t) here’s a way to ease yourself in.

Take your regular shower.

Before you step out, change the temperature to something just below where you are comfortable.  It doesn’t have to be ice cold but just enough to be uncomfortable.

Stand there until you feel relatively warm again.  This is your body reacting to the cold water and heating itself up.

You’re done.  Finish your shower and emerge into the world.

Each day go a little colder.

This is an exercise in voluntary discomfort.

At first it will feel like self-inflicted torture but by the end of the month you’ll be loving the rush you get from the cold water.

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Slacker Reform History Round Up

Posted on 17 June 2009 by Carl

For many of you Slacker Reform is relatively new to you, however it began in earnest back in 2008 as a Wordpress hosted blog as personal outlet for my development.  It has since shifted focus into helping create a revolution of Slackers bent on finding their passions and doing what calls to us and not what is assumed by society.

So here is a round up of some of the most popular articles from Slacker Reform’s history and some worth exploring.

Back in November I found this TED talk with IDEOs CEO Tim Brown on Creativity and Play.  While the talk is highly entertaining it is deeply insightful on how adults often stifle the urge to play.  Are we that afraid of being appropriate all the time?

December found me with the urge to play and Play Auditorium, an exceptional game from Cipher Prime, hooked me in with the beta.  It is now out in full release with 70 plus levels blending music, physics and problem solving all in one.

In January I was dancing a lot and an article by Garr Reynolds caught my attention on Wynton Marsalis’s book on how jazz music can be the catalyst for change in your life.  Finding an improvisational form of art which requires a high degree of skill really opens up your personality in ways you wouldn’t expect.

The 3-2-1 Method is more a trick of the mind than a system of productivity.  It’s a way to get over that little mental roadblock that stops you from starting.  I’m no productivity guru and I never want to be but this one definitely helps me keep some of the easy mundane tasks in check.

In February I found myself explaining my vagabond life to people more and more so I wrote the How To: Living Out of a Suitcase 101 guide to help explain it.  While I recently talked about this process in my most recent video blog, this How To is much more detailed on how I went from having a full apartment in Montreal to living out of a suitcase and vagabonding through the U.S.

Thanks to a Christmas gift I took up calligraphy in January and by March I was practicing regularly.  It helped me find peace of mind when I struggled with loneliness and lack of focus.  This is how calligraphy helps me clear my mind.

April was a busier month at Slacker Reform.  I reviewed Jonathan Mead’s e-book Reclaim Your Dreams.  I wrote about making sure It’s Our Time and Our Focus that matters in maintaining momentum.  And I called out three Nonconformists who really stand out: Clay Collins, Chris Guillebeau and Jonathan Mead.  Two of whom I’ve recently interviewed and Chris is on the list to be interviewed soon.

I skipped May entirely.  Actually I told you to Skip Work or School or Life and walk the world a while.  You could even tell your boss (or other authority figure dictating your time) to e-mail me since I gave you permission to say “I Don’t Care [today is for me]“.

And while it is still June, I’ve been videoblogging more consistently and while it’s a new trick for me, Tricks Are For Kids.

If you’ve enjoyed any of these articles please Stumble This.

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Fears and Challenges on the Road – Video Blog 8

Posted on 16 June 2009 by Carl

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Who Is Clay Collins And Why He's The Real Deal

Posted on 11 June 2009 by Carl

If you want to know who Clay Collins really is you should meet him.

If you want a summary of it this is probably the best I’ve found and it’s written by him.

I work for no man. Work is sacred and I’m living out of my imagination. Building something to leave behind when I’m gone.

Clay Collins struck me as someone to pay attention to when I found his blog The Growing Life (now dead) back in the fall.  I was young and uninitiated to the ways of lifestyle design and personal development and Clay’s tone resonated with me in a way that the productivity and life-hacking community didn’t.

I’m still young but I’ve managed to get a few things under my lifestyle design belt and a few of them were inspired by Clay.

Clay isn’t your run-of-the-mill personal development blogger, he’s been there and done that.  He’s a man bent on liberating others from the trap of the monotone world by showing them how to do it – for real.

I got to interview Clay about his mission in life, Project Mojave, the upcoming Project Mojave Conference, his typical day, and he even gives me a little pep talk on my own work in Project Mojave.

Here he shares how he got started into blogging and online business and where that led him.

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For the rest of the interview sign up for the Slacker Revolution Newsletter and get the whole interview.

   

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 Who Is Clay Collins And Why He's The Real Deal

Also check out the first Liberation Artist interview with Jonathan Mead.

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Criticism and Being Yourself – Video Blog 7

Posted on 10 June 2009 by Carl

Filmed via my iSight in Seattle, WA.

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