Category Archives: Slacker

The Slacker Life – Doing the Bare Minimum

Re-Imagining for the Future – Feedback Please

Sometimes you outgrow a place in pursuit of your purpose and must accept to leave it and move on to the next step – that is what will be happening in the future.

And so I turn to you, my readers, friends and network, for comments and suggestions on the redirection and branding behind my future blog venture. This time I’ve got a clear purpose and plan and that starts with hearing from you.

What You Know is Useless (Or Why You Shouldn’t Bother to Think)

3792260561 1ccba560dd o d What You Know is Useless (Or Why You Shouldnt Bother to Think)

… Without Action.

Regardless of how much you learn or how much self reflection goes on in your head – if you don’t put it to action you might as well not be thinking.

Knowledge is power.

Buddha: What we think, we become.

Our thoughts are one of our greatest resources, yet they easily become an escape – a prison in which we gladly lock ourselves.

In relationships, lifestyle design, business, health – whatever aspect of life – we escape into our thoughts as a means of avoiding the world around us.  We embark upon a quest to live among the clouds and believe we are flying when we are really falling.

Falling into complacency, habit, unconsciousness.  We fall into a life where we are no longer the governing force and become governed instead.

Is that how we want to live? In our heads – in the clouds of thoughts, drifting along in our own passing fancy?

That’s not how I want to live.  Regardless of how much positive thinking I have, if I don’t get down to business I’m really just full of it, pretending to be what I’m not.

When you learn something new, it is then that you must be bold and give that knowledge life.  Put yourself out there with the possibility of failure and stand a chance of understanding the knowledge you possess.

My most recent example:

I recently finished Keith Ferrazzi’s book on networking, Never Eat Alone, and began taking action on the information.

Networking, staying connected, being social with strangers – these are things I’ve usually been bad at or that make me uncomfortable.  Yet, something different was driving me to put into action the things I was reading about.

With each step where I reached out, called an old friend, sent followup messages, and talked to strangers, I felt emboldened to reach higher, extend my knowledge further and connect with the people I know and meet everyday.

Until I found myself sitting in an airport in an hour long conversation with a japanese student about our own lives, interests and family.  We struggled over the language barrier.  We managed to laugh a bit.  I even shared with her the information of a friend of mine who runs a photography blog when she expressed her own interests in photography – she was new to the area and would be there a while, and I believed she would benefit from knowing this particular friend.

The faster you put newly acquired knowledge into practice the faster you get past the stumbling stages and can excel at applying that knowledge.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

~Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

Reach out and engage with the world, even if your knowledge is imperfect, even if you have self doubt.  Recognize that it is there and then act anyways and own it.

What have you learned that you’ve been neglecting to act upon?

Don’t ask yourself why, you’re only escaping again with self-justifications.

Go. Do.

If you need to: 3-2-1 Go!

Flickr photo by hathu-.

The Slacker Revolution Newsletter

2054107736 e231ed3572 o The Slacker Revolution Newsletter

This past week I made the decision to put the Slacker Revolution Newsletter to good use.  It’s been sitting idle and I can’t stand by that any longer.

So, for the first time I’ll be adding value every week to those members of the Slacker Revolution with these simple items.

A selection of articles for Slackers to peruse.

These may be inspiring, useful or just plain interesting to Slackers everywhere.

A weekly action item for Slackers to get behind.

This may be a challenge, a tip to improve oneself with, an exercise to perform, or something similar to engage in during the week to come.

A quote to inspire Slackers.

I’ll also include short commentary on how I interpret the quote in my own life.

In addition, I encourage all members of the Slacker Revolution to send me links to interesting articles, quotations, and any other feedback.

Join the Slacker Revolution Now!

rightarrow The Slacker Revolution Newsletterleftarrow The Slacker Revolution Newsletter


 The Slacker Revolution Newsletter

Flickr photo by DRB62.

How To Get Kicked Out of Canada

entreeinterdite How To Get Kicked Out of Canada

And Why It Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

I don’t tell this story all that often but it’s probably the biggest story in my life (so far).

Back in the fall of 2007 I was a student in Montreal, living with the woman I thought I would marry. I was a teacher and artistic director for a great dance studio, a barista at a local cafe.  I was applying to a graduate program in Educational Technology.  I did yoga and pilates regularly, and trained in capoeira when I wasn’t teaching or social dancing at night.  All things seemed to be on their merry conventional way in my life.

Cups of tea were plentiful and there were no jarring questions to shake my existence.

Fast forward to a Sunday night on a return trip from Albany, NY with my girlfriend.  We arrived at the border station at 10pm.  The guard checked our passports and said we needed to go inside.  I’d been through the border so many times it didn’t bother me.  Inside we waited. They called my name.  Took my documentation.  Asked a few standard questions, told me to sit down.

They called me back up and asked prying questions about my studies.  Something was wrong.  After the long weekend, driving, being generally exhausted, and now confused I started to panic.  I was called into a back room.  Small, gray, windowless.  A desk and two chairs.  A Quebecois border guard came in with a stack of documents and a yellow legal pad.  She did not look friendly.

Apparently they believed I had purposefully lied about my visa and study situation.  My old visa for prior undergraduate work had expired but no one had removed it.  Assuming I was studying on an expired visa and with no alternate paperwork with me to back my story up, I was out of luck.  She accused me of lying.  Badgered me.  Said I was taking advantage of their system.  It was probably after midnight by now but there were no clocks.  I was horrified.

She read a passage from the immigration law book, quoting the law I had supposedly broken.  Then two more.  The punishment, exclusion from Canada for a year.  Oh it could be much worse, I could be deported for life she said.  As if just a year was a kindness.  She handed me the card for the Consulate Generale in NYC and said that I could appeal it there but that I had no chance.  Obviously she was steadfast in her belief that her decision was law.

I was crushed, crying and really in no right space to think.  Really at a border you have no power.  But it got better.  I couldn’t just turn around.  They had to drive me back to the U.S. border.  I was locked in the back of an SUV and driven to the U.S. where they brought me inside for more paperwork.  Even the U.S. borderguards gave me crap.  Like I was in any state to receive more insult.

It was 1am.

I called my parents when I was back in the car with my girlfriend.  They say in books that people choke out words and they are right.  I had my life torn out from under me.  In 3 hours.

Life changes that fast.

Eight months later, thousands of dollars in travel expenses, lawyer fees, and immigration fees and the expulsion order was overturned as a misunderstanding.

That’s right, a misunderstanding.

In the meantime I had racked up credit card debt, moved to NYC, gotten a real job where I worked 40 to 60 hour weeks, and watched let my relationship fall apart.  3 hours and a misunderstanding had destroyed my idyllic Montreal life.

Life as we know it hangs on the edge.

Now you ask, how can that experience be one of the best things to happen to me?

Tragedy, despair, displacement, loss.  All of these things have something to teach us about ourselves, how we walk in the world and treat the things we care about.

Those 8 months weren’t the end of how low I would sink.  I turned to drinking, women, traveling and dancing to fill the voids in my life.  I ended up hurting friends, driving myself further into debt, and the tale goes on.

In all the pain and tragedy I ended up causing and feeling, I found the part of me that was strong enough to stand up, smile and make my way in the world.  It took me almost a year to sort out the layers of guilt, the feeling of powerlessness, and get my head on straight financially.  But for the adversity I withstood in a year, I have gained a strength of character and an understanding of myself that I never would have had if my life had remained idyllic.

So, besides the most obvious thing it taught me (always have a good lawyer versed in immigration laws if you are traveling, studying or working abroad), it taught me more about myself, my potential and my weaknesses, than any other series of events in my life.

Adversity and tragedy holds the potential for our greatest strength to come forward.

When we are stripped bare by loss and pain there are rarely more than 2 roads for us to choose from.

The road of apathy, self-pity, denial, anger.

The road of perseverance, courage and acceptance.

Sometimes only after we follow the first road for a while do we realize that the other road is even there.  Often not far out of reach but we can only see the brambles of self-doubt.  To realize that we can make it to the other road by steps regardless of how small they are is the biggest challenge and hardest step of all.

Each step towards the other road is the beginning of our own road and soon they are one and the same.

Tragedy shatters the reality we took for granted and we can only bury our head in the sand for so long before we suffocate.

It’s time to come up for air.  To breathe in a new life every moment and live to our greatest potential with the courage that tragedy has shown us we possess.

Flickr photo courtesy of Mechanikat.

Are you driving along a pale imitation of your dreams?

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.

Slacker Reform History Round Up

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.

Hearing From You

This week I’ve been really fascinated by what my readers are doing.  What you have to say.  What you want to learn and read about.

Wednesday was the launch of the Location Independent Survey at Free Pursuits.  If you are interested in becoming a vagabond like me or a more typical location independent lifestyle please fill out the survey.  We want to help you by delivering content that is relevant to you.

Please fill out the Location Independent Survey and check out the other blogs participating in it.

I got to interview Clay Collins yesterday afternoon and it was a blast.  Clay had some amazing things to say.  For an example, here is a typical day in the life of Clay Collins.

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While it’s not all raw eggs and hangovers, subscribe to the Slacker Revolution Newsletter to get the rest of the interview next week.

Join the Slacker Revolution


Subscribe to the Slacker Revolution Newsletter

 Hearing From You

I am going to be interviewing world travel and domination expert Chris Guillebeau soon.  If you have any questions you want to ask him please let me know by filling out this form.

To All My Readers:

Thank you for your time at Slacker Reform.

If you have any suggestions or comments for Slacker Reform in general please feel free to Contact Me.

Today Skip Work

Today Skip Work or School or Life

Don’t do your normal routine.  Today take a walk.

Not down the street to your local cafe with your laptop, smartphone and all the regulars.

Take a hiatus.  A one day sabbatical where you get away from it all and see the world again.  Let’s call it a slacker day.

Travel as light as possible.  Take a small amount of cash (cause this isn’t a shopping spree), only the necessary keys.  Leave the cellphone at home.  Leave the laptop on your desk.  Take a notebook, a pen or pencil and maybe a camera.

It’s time to disconnect from the flurry of modern living and take a walk in the world.  Reconnect with your environment, your city, your park, your countryside.  This journey is about not caring about that 5 o’clock conference call or what people are saying on Twitter.  Cause it doesn’t matter.

Not to you.  Not right now.

If this is your first time taking a hiatus from the real world it might take a bit of getting used to.  We’re often so drawn to routines in our everyday that we get stuck in routines in our thinking, our actions.  Get a little unstuck and forget about the rules.  Actually, go counter to what you would normally do.

Don’t go to your favorite park.  Don’t walk down the avenues that you’re used to.  Each step is along a different path, one you haven’t walked before.

At first just observe.  Use your senses.  Find an easy pace that lets you take in the world.

Find the wonder.  Be a child and see it, breathe it, feel it.  Be mindful but don’t push yourself into the world.  It’s not about interacting, this is about consuming the world in every detail.  Let yourself get wrapped up in your senses.

Get lost.

If you feel the pull of guilt from being away your Outlook notifications, a hole in your pocket where your cellphone normally is, accept it and then let it go.  Those thoughts are free to float about but don’t attach yourself to them – you’re not your thoughts.

You’ll have these thoughts throughout your day.  They’re okay.

Soon things that you sense will start to stand out.  Sketch them or write them down, take a picture.  It’s not about perfection just the moment.  This is living in a stream of consciousness.  Just like those silly exercises that you had to do in high school english (I actually liked them).

Don’t start small.  This isn’t a lunch hour walk.  This is your slacker day.  Your day to say “I don’t care [I’m not doing anything today]”.

Walk for a while.  Sit and people watch or nature watch or study the patterns of the table while you sip a coffee.

You’ll find that as the day goes on the clutter of noise that we often surround ourselves with (text messages, e-mail, idle chatter, etc.) disappears and your thoughts will open up.  Sometimes they’ll be fleeting or minutiae, sometimes creative or inspirational.  Jot them down.  Fill your day with notes, sketches and pictures.

This is your day to consume the world.

So here’s my permission to you to say “I don’t care [today is for me]” and skip work.  If your boss asks tell them I said you could.  They can e-mail me.

Project Mojave Launches!

I’ve talked a bit about Project Mojave if you’ve been following me on Twitter and I’ve mentioned it here briefly.

ProjectMojave Project Mojave Launches!

Clay Collins offered the opportunity to get in on Project Mojave at an early stage and I jumped on it.  I sent my money in before the submission form even went up because I know Clay is the real deal.  He gets stuff done and wants you to as well.

So first, I recommend you go watch this.  It’s the Freedom Business Blueprint.

If you’re wondering what that means, I’ll give it a short description.  A Freedom Business is the business that you can create to get out of a dull 9 to 5 job or just create some real income on the side.  The Blueprint part is really the valuable part, Clay gives this stuff away.  It is basically the outline of what a quickly profitable Freedom Business will look like from the inside out.

Now if that’s not enough for you to at least go check it out, this should be.

I recently reviewed Jonathan Mead‘s ebook Reclaim Your Dreams (which I still recommend) and Mead has written the manifesto for Project Mojave.  The Liberation Revolution is our manifesto.  And you can get it hereFree.

There’s tons of great information in The Liberation Revolution and I recommend it highly.  Jonathan Mead is one of Project Mojave’s faculty members of which there are many exceptional names.

If Clay Collins and Jonathan Mead aren’t enough for you, add Laura Roeder (who I’ve been working with on Creating Fame), Michael Martine of Remarkablogger, Dave Navarro of The Launch Coach, and more to the faculty and it’s a killer opportunity.

I stand behind Clay totally.  I’ve met him and the man knows his cards and this is his Ace.

Check out Project Mojave, Opt-In and really download the manifesto and watch the Blueprint.  They are worth your time.  They’ve been worth mine.

5 Steps to Owning It

“tain’t what ya do, it’s the way that you do it.”

1) Realize that you have it in you

It’s not out of your reach.  We live in a world of possibility.

Now that sounds a bit cheesy.  Just because we say that doesn’t mean that those possibilities are realistic.  But when has what others told us about reality deferred the revolutionaries from acting.

Say you wanted to fly.  Not in a plane, but in your own body.  We think of that as an impossibility.  Yet look at what these people can do with a little ingenuity, technology and a drive to achieve flight.

It’s in you.  You can achieve it.

2) Dive in – don’t just test the water

Owning it is about committing.  You can’t test the water from the top of the cliff.  You have to dive in.

This isn’t about doing what you are saying you are going to do.  This is about doing what you are doing fully.  You chose to do it so why only sort of do it.

If you only sort of do it you’ll only sort of get results.  It’ll take a few more sort of actions to get something resembling a meaningful result.  You’ll waste time being unsure and will waste energy not doing what you want to do.

Make a splash.

3) Act like you know what you’re doing

(even if you haven’t got a clue)

Probably one of the oldest tricks in the book to doing or being something.  Act like it and you’ll eventually become it.  By acting in a certain way you train yourself to be a certain way.  You develop a habit of being by exercising habits of action.

You learn a great deal by learning as you go.  You can’t know everything before you start or you’ll never start and thus never own it.

Pretend a bit and you’ll find it’s easier than you thought.

4) Be willing to fail, horribly.

You can’t succeed if you don’t try and the worse kind of failure is the failure to try.

When you dive in, act like you know what you are doing and believe in yourself it’s very possible that you may fail.  It’s also possible that you’ll succeed far beyond what you believed possible.

Fail.  Not once, not twice but over and over again.  The only way to really own it is to fail and then get up and try something else.

Go out and fall down.  Jumble your words.  Bomb a presentation.

5) Keep your head up.

Lastly, keep your head up.  Owning it requires a measure of confidence in yourself and that requires poise.

Whether it’s a performing art, public speaking, dating or just strutting your stuff, having your head down is a sure way to walk into something (literally and figuratively).

Develop good posture.  Keep your head up.  And if you can, smile.