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Here’s To The Crazy Ones. An Unmistakable Manifesto.

Here’s To The Crazy Ones. An Unmistakable Manifesto.

[tdalert radius=”2” align=”left” type=”tdbiz-alert-info”]This article by Joel Serino originally seen on our Medium channel at[/tdalert]

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You…

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Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning. — Your Six Essential Aptitudes

In the first installment of this conceptual thinking exploration (Test. Endlessly. Forever.), we review the basics of engaging in conceptual design and get straight to the point of application in daily life. I realize that not everyone is involved in in this practice, or accustomed to it, so I wanted to move right into exploring the conceptual thinker.

The Conceptual Thinker

An interesting review paper by Adele Diamond suggests that research onmirror neurons and research on the developmental time course of abstract thinking may be “missing the forest for the trees.” Conceptual thinking(abstraction as the thought process wherein ideas are distanced from objects) is neurological? Very interesting indeed.

By Nicky Poole, 889 Yoga Teacher and Yoga Community Leader

So what exactly is conceptual thinking? It’s easiest described as the ability to perceive and imagine, predict and hypothesize, and to conclude and reflect. Sounds a bit…right-brained. Conceptual thinking can certainly be considered a form of philosophy, as it indeed takes the understanding of other concepts to be able to create your own.

The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind — computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind — creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people — artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers — will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.

As Daniel Pink points out in A Whole New Mind, about this very different kind of person, conceptual thinkers are those who could potentially be described as ambitious, independent, perfectionists, entrepreneurs, philosophers, intellectuals, & leaders. These qualities, or traits, or roles, usually come along with someone who thinks laterally, which is about reasoning that is not immediately obvious and about ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.

We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear, computer-like capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age. A Whole New Mind is for anyone who wants to survive and thrive in this emerging world — people uneasy in their careers and dissatisfied with their lives, entrepreneurs and business leaders eager to stay ahead of the next wave, parents who want to equip their children for the future, and the legions of emotionally astute and creatively adroit people whose distinctive abilities the Information Age has often overlooked and undervalued.

Often overlooked and undervalued. If you can relate to this feeling, maybe you’re just a conceptual thinker trapped in an old-world, average ecosystem. The average person does not have nearly the amount of questions and deep thoughts that appear in a conceptual thinker’s mind. The average person is bored with concepts, ideas, and philosophies while a conceptual thinker becomes fascinated and instinctively has the need to pursue them.

For nearly a century, western society in general, and American society in particular, has been dominated by a form of thinking and an approach to life that is narrowly reductive and deeply analytical. Ours has been the age of the “knowledge worker,” the well-educated manipulator of information and deployer of expertise. But that is changing. Thanks to an array of forces—material abundance that is deepening our nonmaterial yearnings, globalization that is shipping white-collar work overseas, and powerful technologies that are eliminating certain kinds of work altogether—we are entering a new age. It is an age animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life—one that prizes aptitudes that I call “high concept” and “high touch.” High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new. High touch involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning.

High concept…this reminds me a lot of the basis of Spiral Dynamics, which is a mashup of the new science of memetics with Gravesian value systems to form “value memes” or ”vMemes” to craft a model of transformational change, written by Don Beck & Christopher Cowan, a truly transformational study.Spiral Wizards are described as those who can instinctively roam over vast landscapes and see patterns and connections others do not notice because their old paradigm, “first tier” filters do not allow them to.

Such a person appreciates chaos and thinks more like a creative designer than a reengineer. The process links functions, people and ideas into new, more natural flows that add precision, flexibility, rapid response, humanity and fun to getting the work done. That is the power of new paradigm “second tier” thinking, to constantly survey the whole while tinkering expertly with the parts.

Map of a Whole New Mind by Austin Kleon

In the context of this article, I interpret the first tier filter as a “low touch” aptitude…or the simple aspirations of a “knowledge worker”; and second tier thinking can be described as that of the high concept thinker.

But what does that mean? Well, I’m not ashamed and often admit that when it comes to anything complicated, I’m too ignorant to have a useful opinion, or as Scott Adams has described as Ignorantselfishertarianism (for all youDilbert fans). So, I’ll let Daniel Pink finish this off with an indirect, but acceptable answer…

As it happens, there’s a convenient metaphor that encapsulates the change I’m describing—and it’s right inside your head. Your brain is divided into two hemispheres. The left hemisphere is sequential, textual, and analytical. The right hemisphere is simultaneous, contextual, and synthetic. Of course, we enlist both halves of our brains for even the simplest tasks. And the respective traits of the two hemispheres have often been caricatured well beyond what the science actually reveals. But the legitimate scientific differences between the two hemispheres of the brain do yield a powerful metaphor for interpreting our present and guiding our future. Today, the defining skills of the previous era—the metaphorically “left brain” capabilities that powered the Information Age—are necessary but no longer sufficient. And the capabilities we once disdained or thought frivolous—the metaphorically “right brain” qualities of inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness, and meaning—increasingly will determine who flourishes and who flounders. For individuals, families, and organizations, professional success and personal fulfillment now require a whole new mind.

It is important to clearly identify yourselfas a conceptual thinker or not, as there is a distinct difference between the average person and one who is a conceptual thinker.

If you are a conceptual thinker…you should have known by now that you are at least ambitious, intellectual, and independent.

But if you’re still not sure, maybe the first tier filters haven’t been removed. Or maybe your mind hasn’t made the necessary transformation from low touch to high touch. Or maybe…

We think there’s someplace other than here to get to—that’s what drives the whole pursuit. Only when the pursuit ceases, is it possible to recognize what comprises you: pure being, pure consciousness. This is actually the very substance of your own self and being.
~ Adyashanti

The six essential aptitudes, or the “the six senses” on which professional success and personal satisfaction increasingly will depend, are not new and are not foreign, and can be seen just about everywhere (just check out the fine thinkers sprinkled about TED’s themes):

Design. Story. Symphony. Empathy. Play. Meaning.
These are fundamentally human aptitudes that everyone can master.

Test. Endlessly. Forever - What Does Conceptual Thinking & Growth Hacking Have to Do With Me


I get into a lot of questions about the importance of or the need for conceptual thinking; and my answer is always that it is the key to successful products, especially in relation to growth marketing in today’s world, whether on the web or not. It is certainly more than just graphics and code, image and tone, content and prose, it is process and journey development. It is understanding the goals of the product and what the target audience wants and needs to see and experience. It’s about the right information in the right way, at the right time. The interwebs have changed… and web sites are no longer just ‘sites’ with paragraphs of useless information and cheesy graphics. They’re information portals, virtual sales tools, social playgrounds, customer journeys, growth platforms, and by far the most readily available, coherent mass media tool available today. The right design with the right message with the right ideas with the right journey wins.

Once you have a plan of what you want to do and have inventoried and accumulated the resources to do it, you then need to figure out exactly how to realize your goals. This is the conceptual design phase, where you try to find accord between needs and resources and produce a detailed plan that can be directly translated into putting content in web pages that look good and elicit emotional connection into a positive journey. Conceptual design is the processing of finalizing the concepts that will drive the design and developing concrete ways of representing those concepts in the form of the final product model.

Not a very clear explanation, but conceptual design is very much a process, and sometimes a process can be hard to describe except in terms of its constituent parts. Conceptual design is what those people at automobile companies get paid large quantities of money to do when they develop all sorts of “cars of the future”, most of which never see production. It is also what those who do when one of the car of the future ideas pans out and looks like it should be translated into a real, marketable product. One comes up with automotive concepts. The other takes those concepts and tries to develop working designs that embody those concepts.

So how do we engage in conceptual design in the growth marketing setting?


A useful tool for conceptual design is brainstorming. Brainstorming is a getting a group of people together to play with ideas, no matter how outrageous. In the growth marketing setting, brain-storming is usually key players (uh, aka the funders), technical gurus (makers & do’ers), and some user representatives (the most important people) getting together and playing with ideas. If you worked for a toy manufacturer, brainstorming would more likely be engineers in a fully equipped work-shop making new toys and playing with them, passing the good ideas on to management for analysis and review.

Brainstorming is playing with ideas, and letting ideas come out, no matter how crazy. Well, okay, if they are a little too crazy then people may look at you funny, but sometimes it is the crazy ideas that win the day. The point of brainstorming is to get as many ideas out on the table as possible, and hopefully to get people thinking out of the box. Thinking out of the box just means taking a step back and trying to look at something from a different perspective. People who can’t think outside of the box try to hire others to do it for them.

imagePaul Foreman

Brainstorming normally starts with everyone throwing ideas out, which are recorded and then sifted through. Transient media are best for this sort of thing, such as chalk boards and white boards. Things that can be erased and scribbled over. If you are really high tech, then you can get a white board that can take a picture of itself when you find an idea you want to change.

Game playing and role playing are also useful tools. See… all those management conferences do serve a purpose.

Once the ideas are out, you then have to sift through them to look not only for the best ideas, but for relationships between ideas. You are looking for patterns you can work with to organize the information of your proposed design into something useful and powerful.

The ultimate goal of brainstorming is to reach consensus on where to go with the product and growth plan. People need to be brought together to agree upon and to be willing to collaborate on the mission, vision, and goals of the product. This is the time to identify issues and resolve differences, before internal conflicts become enshrined in the final design. It is also where you start developing the structure of the product and growth platform, mapping out potential architectures to fit the needs of the audience and the content.

Metaphor Exploration

Metaphor exploration, a part of the brainstorming process, is the exploration of overarching metaphors for the design, including both those that might drive design behind the scenes and those that might become part of the physical product.

Metaphors exist to associate the unfamiliar with the familiar, making the new easier to understand by giving us relationships to work with that connect it with what we already know. As well as explaining by association, they can also be used to generate enthusiasm or to persuade. Holiday sales are good examples of these latter two. It’s President’s day, so you can celebrate and do your patriotic duty at the same time by going shopping.

imageCharles Schulz

Metaphors come in a variety of flavors. For our purposes, we can break them into three groupings.

  1. Organizational metaphors are metaphors that associate something with a given organizational system to make it easier to use. For instance, an intranet may directly reflect the company org chart because that is what employees are used to. Or an online archive may use the metaphor of a library to organize the information.
  2. Functional metaphors relate new tasks to known tasks. Thus online forms that used to be in paper format may be reproduced online with the same structure as the original paper ones. This might not be the most efficient way to organize the forms online, but it is what people are familiar with.
  3. Visual metaphors make use of familiar graphics to create associations between old and new. Much of the metaphor that shows up in the physical product is visual in nature, since to accomplish relevant graphic design you must work almost exclusively with visual metaphors to create a certain look and feel to the site. The conceptual design phase is where you begin to feel these options out.

When working with metaphors, you should always be careful not to overdo it. It is possible to drown a site in metaphors, especially in today’s metaphorically over-saturated world of online interaction. People also tend to fall in love with their own metaphors, which may make perfect sense to them and be totally incomprehensible to those actually trying to use the product. We call this drinking your own Kool-Aid, which is so very damn common in today’s ego-ridden society. But, that’s another topic all together.

That’s why the rest of this is the still hardest part of all for some of those new to growth marketing and product development…

Test. Endlessly. Forever.

Keep it Small. Keep it Simple. Let it Happen.

I woke up this morning thinking about change, creative consciousness, & something I’m not exactly sure I think of often enough, emergence. This morning’s thought pattern was not only in terms of my life, but in terms of the many projects I am currently involved with and even about one particular that has everything to do with building sustainable communities. I want to use my life as an example of how emergence can sometimes be blocked, change controlled, and creativity used more of as a buzzword than a set of actions or way of being. In building creative communities in sometimes difficult environments, emergence is the magical key that unlocks sustainability, and the right model is imperative to its formation and growth. Before I move on, here’s Andy Hunt with a few thoughts on the subject of emergence in models and systems…

Emergence is one of the founding principles of agility, and is the closest one to pure magic. Emergent properties aren’t designed or built in, they simply happen as a dynamic result of the rest of the system. “Emergence” comes from middle 17th century Latin in the sense of an “unforeseen occurrence.” You can’t plan for it or schedule it, but you can cultivate an environment where you can let it happen and benefit from it.
A classic example of emergence lies in the flocking behavior of birds. A computer simulation can use as few as three simple rules (along the lines of “don’t run into each other”) and suddenly you get very complex behavior as the flock wends and wafts its way gracefully through the sky, reforming around obstacles, and so on. None of this advanced behavior (such as reforming the same shape around an obstacle) is specified by the rules; it emerges from the dynamics of the system.
Simple rules, as with the birds simulation, lead to complex behavior. Complex rules, as with the tax law in most countries, lead to stupid behavior.
Many common software development practices have the unfortunate side effect of eliminating any chance for emergent behavior. Most attempts at optimization — tying something down very explicitly — reduces the breadth and scope of interactions and relationships, which is the very source of emergence. In the flocking birds example, as with a well-designed system, it’s the interactions and relationships that create the interesting behavior.
The harder we tighten things down, the less room there is for a creative, emergent solution. Whether it’s locking down requirements before they are well understood or prematurely optimizing code, or inventing complex navigation and workflow scenarios before letting end users play with the system, the result is the same: an overly complicated, stupid system instead of a clean, elegant system that harnesses emergence.
Keep it small. Keep it simple. Let it happen. —Andy Hunt, The Pragmatic Programmers

Photo by Mark Lehigh

Do we wait for unforeseen occurrence? Or, do we tie things down very explicitly in order to control outcome, circumstance, and behavior? How would a flock of birds do if we tried to control their flying pattern with over-complicated rules, without allowing emergence in their own individual patterns that result in an emergence of the flock? Poor birds, I say.

If we look with a mindful eye, we can catch ourselves (and others) blocking emergence, simply by projecting controlling behavior in the name of a predefined result. Even though we may have thought or knew the best way to an outcome, blocking emergence in these situations is simply what we are doing. If we are not allowing, letting go, and trusting that the desired outcome can come to its own conclusion, emergence, that special magic, cannot bubble up. This does not mean that we disown or remove ourselves completely, but it calls for taking much smaller steps, much quicker, in the most simple way possible — instead of trying to own the whole thing all at once.

All good things take time to form, to emerge, and to happen. No situation is the same. Everyone and everything is its own unique experience. By simply letting it happen we can use much less energy, emotion, & effort in working toward the desired outcome. We can use our skills & experience in smaller, more specific ways. We can learn how to apply simplicity to complex problems & situations by letting go, paying attention, and not being attached to the result. We can offer our advice, our help, our experience, our time, our skills, our resources, but we really cannot control outcome or result and expect it to look the way that we want it to.

Photo by BK

The art of letting go has as much meaning in our personal lives as it does in our professional lives. In community building, technology development, record albums, movie production, and startup projects around the world, I have seen that not letting go of the end result in the beginning can change the entire outcome all together, and very rarely with a more positive spin or value proposition. As people, we love to control, and everyone has a different life experience and thus their view of the end result is different. Managers are best at control, experts are great at agility, and creators (innovators and artists) are best at emergence. Managers try to control behavior, pattern, and result for a desired outcome. Experts, through their experience, have come to understand the value of agility and how to apply it by taking smaller steps and pacing themselves. Creators have found that emergence happens only in the absence of something. These three personas can be found in any community, any project, any relationship, and any walk of life.

When we have two or more people who see the same thing through shared experience or through compassion and humility or out of a desire to let it happen, great things surely will happen. Great communities are formed. Great products are built. Great companies are born. And, most importantly, great relationships are forged and flourish. Today’s lesson for me is to continue to detach myself from the result. To continue to keep things small (one step at a time). To continue to be agile and flexible as life moves and changes. And, to let things happen. This is, after all, how great things emerge.

We are surrounded by situations that we cannot control. Many of which we know could be done differently or even better. At home, at work, on projects or products or in companies…we are surrounded by the lack of control. However, how we influence them is dependent very much on our ability to let go. We know when to walk away from something, and sometime that is what it takes…to listen to ourselves. But when that something is not something we can or want to walk away from…a change in approach is necessary.

Use your energy wisely, the world needs it more than you think. Allow things to emerge. Allow users to experience. Let things happen.


Meaning #1: the gradual beginning or coming forth

Meaning #2: the becoming visible; the act of coming (or going) out; becoming apparent

Meaning #3: the act of emerging

Non Self-Conscious Individualism And “The Seeker” In All Of Us

OK, first of all, what is non self-conscious individualism? Well, as Dr. C put it, it is a “strongly directed purpose that is not self-seeking.”

Fun stuff:

Strong teams, relationships, families, and communities everywhere are full of non self-conscious individuals. We should add governments to that list sometime during this generation.

Follow Your Passion: Five Simple Ways to Find Deeper Meaning in Everyday Life

Crazy. Busy. Turbulent. Fast-paced. Chaotic. The world we live and work in is increasingly hectic.

Social Media. Offices. Meetings. Family. Friends. From these oft-crazy environments, it’s more important than ever for us to pause to connect to that deeper meaning in our everyday life.

To help counterbalance the daily stress and uncertainty, it’s safe to say that we have a need for self-empowerment and true emotional connection, everyday. Who We Are, is the single most important thing we have with us at all times, whether we are at home or at work or anywhere in between. To ensure happiness and a genuine sense of worth for ourselves and those around us, let’s make a commitment to be who we are at all times.

If you find the days seem to slip away and life’s hurried pace to be draining, it’s time to find some simple ways to add some meaning back to your daily life. Here are five ideas for nurturing a deeper connection with yourself and others:

1. Reconnect with your passion
Did you enjoy painting when you were younger? Have you always wanted to take a photography class? Do you love to travel? It’s important to recognize and nurture those activities you love most so that you’re able to go out and do what you’re great at in the world. This isn’t to be taken as “now go start a business” around your passion…but rather meant to help reconnect you to what you love to do with your time. New York-based yoga instructor, Tara Stiles has infused her passion and energy into her work as a yoga, meditation and wellness instructor. “Passion is really about going after what you want to achieve in your life,” says Stiles. Whether it’s cooking, writing, coding, painting, hiking or gardening, make time for what you enjoy doing, rather than just doing what you have to. Try to dedicate four hours a week to your passion, and see how it makes you feel more centered and grounded.

2. Express your authentic self. 
Individual beliefs and values make us each unique, and you can express those ideals through your choices in friends, activities, fashion and overall attitude. Don’t forget that people are drawn to you, for the genuine essence that is you - so let them know it in every way possible. Take some time each day to be the most raw you with someone else, whether at home, at work, or out in public. NOTE: don’t take this as consent to be rude, obnoxious, or just plain thoughtless. Be genuine and authentic.

3. Give back
Volunteering in your community is a great way to connect with others and find deeper meaning in the everyday. Leila Janah, a social entrepreneur based in San Francisco, traveled to West Africa at the age of 17, and volunteered in a school for blind children. The experience led her to found Samasource, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals living in poverty. Janah recalls that “[Volunteering in West Africa] was a time of incredible personal growth and it set me on the path to do what I do." Whether you choose to help stock a local food shelf, supervise at your children’s school or travel abroad to help build houses for the poor, volunteering is sure to make you feel more connected with the world around you. 

4. Find “me time”
Our lives can be very busy with every hour in every day dedicated to some activity. This can take its toll on your body and your mind, so it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, even if you’re taking care of others. Find your own way to relax and rejuvenate. This may be spending a few minutes each day balancing the mind and body through stretching and meditation. It might be taking a quiet walk, reading a book or having a cup of tea while journaling. Whatever you prefer, make sure to take “me time” throughout the day. Every day.

5. Be an ambassador for what you believe 
What truly ignites your creativity? It may be your passion for green living, healthy eating, or the challenges you are trying to solve in your business. Whatever your beliefs, it’s important to show the world who you are and what you believe in. Penelope Jagessar Chaffer, an award-winning filmmaker, shares her beliefs and connects with others through her work. “I’m always trying to find that common thread between myself and someone else when I’m interviewing them,” Chaffer says. “I find that love, and talking about love, is this thing we can use to help connect us.” Talk about your beliefs and values with others; you might be surprised by what you find.

Rather than getting swept away in a hectic schedule, try focusing on what truly matters to you. These simple ways to add meaning to your life will help you reconnect with yourself and with those around you to live a more Passion-Driven Lifestyle - (BPT).

Follow Your Passion: How to Find Freedom of Location

You’ll be much more successful if you follow your dreams and follow your passions.
~ Jay Weatherill

Freedom of Location

  1. Are you a wantrepreneur looking to find that “freedom of the office” you heard existed, only to find yourself in another office or out of a job decent paying job?
  2. Ever wanted to escape from the confines of your location, and be able to do your work from anywhere in the world?
  3. Are you looking to find your passion in life and then remove everything that distracts you from it?

Well good, because this is just for you. If you answered no, then this still might be for you. Here’s the foundation of understanding balance, minimizing and the freedom of location:

  • Noah Kagan of AppSumo does a great job of de-mystifying what it means to be an entrepreneur and providing a toolkit to get off the ground.
  • In the Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss covers a lot of ground in the way of examples for getting out of the office and liberating your life from major time wasters.
  • Programs like SproutCamp help guide you to build something sustainable with happy customers that focuses on your passions.
  • Books from Cyan and Collis Ta’eed will help teach you how to be a rock-star freelancer anywhere in the world.
  • Brad Feld & Amy Batchelor offer real life insights on what it takes to make it in a relationship with an entrepreneur, which requires your presence more than your company does.
  • And, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson gave us the first blueprint for working from anywhere in Remote. Amazing book.

Of course, many more great resources both old (the best to date - Henry David Thoreau’s Walden) and new (Jonathon Mead) exist and are created all the time to inspire and guide us, but this list is something that millions, including myself, have read and adapted in our lives.

This year I completed my biggest dreamline yet; to pursue Minimalism with my family and be able to move anywhere I want and still do the work I’m passionate about.

Why would someone want to make becoming “Location-Independent” or “Becoming a Minimalist" one of their top goals? Well, the reasons vary for every person, but here are just a few really good reasons:

  1. You can travel anytime, anywhere. Who doesn’t love to travel? Even though some people might not (but that’s not you), being able to see the country you live in or the world is a desire of many people (myself included). By freeing yourself from location, you can work part of the year and take mini-retirements, or several mini-vacations, working vacations, or work completely on the go.
  2. You can live anywhere. Why do you live where you live? If you said because that’s where you work, keep reading. It is possible to live in an RV, in hostels, in the Caribbean, in South America, in Europe, in Japan, in Southeast Asia, or on a boat? YES! If you are dedicated to achieving independence.
  3. No boss with bad breath. I don’t know about you, but bosses who are breathing down your neck non-stop, are wasting your precious time. You can live without them. Or, you can even be one… from the road.
  4. Set your own hours. Yes, this is my favorite. Some companies have a not-so-hidden rule of 8-5, or something crazy like that. Not me, I like to work early and be done early, and others like to burn the midnight oil. I like 4 days a week, and strive for less than 25 hours a week. Still others prefer to work in batches, or not work at all for awhile and then pull a long haul. Why should one schedule be preferred over another? Let me tell you a secret that no client, no boss, no customer, no employee, no partner, and no 21st century normal human is going to argue with… **_As long as the work gets done, that’s all that matters_**. This doesn’t mean be late, it means be early, efficient and conscious of expectations, but don’t constrict your schedule into some time box.
  5. Freedom! Freedom really means Freedom in every way, not just these mentioned here. Freedom to choose the kind of computer you use, the outfit you wear, freedom to choose what you work on, the clients you work with, the users you attract, the things you write, the things you create, the mode of transportation while you travel, and of course - where to be and where to go next.

There are several drawbacks that can occur during the process of redefining your freedom and balancing it with being an entrepreneur, of course! Some big issues are greater expenses, less security, problems of administering a business and a whole lot more. Each one can be but for some of us, the opportunities and freedom of being free from an office have too great an appeal to let those drawbacks stand in our way.

Career Options for Freedom

One of the great things about being free of the office is that it doesn’t just come to one type of occupation. There are about as many options as there are people who have this goal. Even though this lifestyle choice does rule out many traditional careers and jobs, such as mechanic, lawyer, doctor or utility worker, many varieties of 21st century careers in the information, technology, or creative fields are within your reach. Some great examples are:

  • Freelancer. This is my fall back. I know that I can always freelance as a writer, editor, photographer, reporter, designer, or developer if I abandon all other endeavors. Freelancing can be done in many different professions, even the movie business.
  • Blogger. I am finally doing a lot more of this. But remember, the revenue for bloggers are usually not that big, especially for the first year, and most blogs don’t earn very much or anything at all. It’s more likely to be a source of side income than your main source of income. Dan Martell of Clarity has a great step-by-step guide on How To Promote Your Blog And Get 250k Visits a Month.
  • Small business owner. Have a small business already? It’s possible to run it remotely. Sure, you might see some loss of revenue, but it’s a matter of priorities: do you want growth, or freedom? If you want freedom, you open up some interesting options, especially if you automate it.
  • Consultant. I do a lot of this, and it works very well for a lot of people in a lot of different fields. Similar to freelancing, but more lucrative with less overhead. However, this requires a great network, serious expertise and hard-earned experience.
  • Contractor. Overlaps quite a bit with the title of “consultant” or “freelancer” but there are different options here, too.
  • Salesperson. If you sell ice to Eskimos, you don’t need to go door-to-door anymore. There are other methods you can explore using the vast ocean of visualization, worldwide.
  • Online business. If you create a totally virtual business, your physical location doesn’t matter. Nicely done!
  • Telecommuter. This can work for many employees in traditional jobs. Many companies today now only allow remote work, but help you be the best at it and provide all the necessary tools. The key: you have to be so valuable to your boss that he will allow you the freedom to work from home (or from wherever). Of course, you have to be dependable and able to self-manage not only your work, but your team’s work.
  • Create a product. Creating a product that you can sell online is by far the most rewarding choice. This model scalable, can run virtually on its own, and has the potential to bring in considerable revenue; if done right. It takes a big initial investment of time and energy, but once you’ve got the ball rolling and the sales are flowing, it’s mostly maintenance work from then on.
  • Expert speaker. Travel from city to city to speak or conduct seminars about whatever you’re an expert at.
  • Author. Self publishing will definitely be the the one that gives you the most freedom from location, but even with traditional authors and book tours, etc, freedom is the center of this profession.

One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.

Useful Tips

So exactly how do you achieve this dreamline? Just as there are many options for becoming free from the office, there are many roads to getting there. In one on one session, we help lay out a blueprint for you, but right here I can share some things I’ve learned and still learning along the way, and some things I’ve learned from others that doing the same thing. These are not tips that will work for everyone — they are ideas, things that work for some people, and things to consider for others.

1. Define your dream. The thing that holds most people back is that they don’t allow themselves to dream, of worse, pursue the dreams they do have. Sure, it might seem like a passing fantasy, but they don’t give their dreams a serious thought. But what’s to stop you? Money? Fear? Time? Naysayers? That’s where dreamlining comes in to play, by helping you to overcome obstacles and allow yourself to dream, then follow it. Reward yourself, and humanity, by doing.

2. Discover your passion. Many times, it’s not enough to just do a job from wherever you please — it’s best if it’s a job you love to do. Many of us get stuck in a job just because it’s what we’ve been doing … without thinking about whether it’s something we love to do. This year, I’m pursuing my passion of writing and traveling, and I’m working to turn this passion into the way I make my living.

3. Do your research. Read about how others have achieved this dream, what steps they took to get there, and what their lives are like now. I left some of the greatest road maps at the very beginning of this, so don’t say I didn’t tell you so. Every resource is written by someone who has or is actually living the dream.

4. Explore your options. What are the various roads available to you to get to your dream? Keep your mind open (the most important) to opportunities, to new ways of doing things you’re good at doing, or that you love doing. Think about ways to add income streams into your life, instead of relying on a single income stream. Look at ideas that others are implementing successfully, and see if those are good options for you. In the early stages, it can be useful to look into many more options than you’re actually going to choose in the end … and even give a few of them a try to see if they might work for you.

5. Lay out your plan. Once you’ve begun to explore your options, you can start laying out a roadmap to get to your dream. Now, understand that this roadmap will change as you go along — think of it as a living document rather than anything set in stone. You’re exploring new territory … it only makes sense that you’ll discover new things, learn as you go, change your mind about some things, and find new options you didn’t even know existed. But the key is to write your plan down … so you have a guide to keep you on track. Try the fully customizable dreamline template from Tyler Goelz as a working road map, then add narrative to the facts. Tyler modified this from the original by Tim Ferriss. Also, I highly recommend reading Tyler’s tips and stories from his first complete dreamline, A Beard Across America.

6. Consider a gradual transition. Don’t just quit your day job and start something new all at once. You need to work smarter, not harder, and this will leave you scrambling. Wean yourself from the job one day at a time, over the course of 3 months or a year. The 4HWW has some great tips on how to do this. Gives yourself the chance to adjust to all the changes of quitting your job and going remote.

7. Action: motion ≠ progress. It’s all well and good to make a plan, and to allow yourself to dream, and to consider options and to tell your friends or loved ones — these are necessary steps — but the best-laid plans sitting on a shelf don’t do us much good. We’ve all heard that life happens while you’re planning. You have to take action….today, in this moment, and each moment thereafter. Passion + Persistence. Don’t put it off until next week, next month or next year … do something today to get yourself closer to reality. Make micro-movements, each day. Then tomorrow, another micro-movement. But without a first step, you’ll get nowhere.

8. Reduce your needs. This isn’t as necessary for some as others, but it’s a life changing option to consider. Let’s consider minimalism … > Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscience decision. It is a counter-cultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption we live in. > ~ Joshua Becker

The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration. I talk about this as a pure and simple practice in Freedom of the Hills: Leaving It All Behind, and a wholly worthwhile practice. You can also try these great articles of inspiration out.

If you don’t have many expenses, or distractions, you don’t need as much of an income … and that means that your dream is much easier to implement. My favorite book on this, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, is one of the most amazing travel and life-changing books you can read if you want to travel for a living, and Rolf Potts has some great tips and how-tos on traveling on a minimal income. And, if you have a family, it is just as attainable as if you didn’t. Plenty of families, including mine, are examples that it is possible and very rewarding for our children. My friend Bartosz and his family, are truly a Very Interesting Family in this sense, and are constantly on the move while maintaining a solid family foundation and a multitude of new experiences. Ponder this: Are you willing to work extra hours for the things you buy and spend your money on, or would you rather use those hours doing other things, like traveling?

9. Simplify your work. This, of course, is one of the over-arching themes that Leo Babauta tirelessly writes about at Zen Habits (to start with: one, two, three, four, five, six) … and of course, every other reference and author I have mentioned here. If you want to work on your own, and liberate yourself from the office, you’d be wise to simplify what you do. Eliminate the non-essential tasks, streamline your workflow, focus on the tasks and project and clients with the absolute biggest potential and long-term benefits.

10. Outsource and automate. One of my biggest sources of inspiration, Tim Ferriss’ excellent book The 4-Hour work Week, gives you some great tips on how to eliminate the non-essential and focus on what matters most. But some of the most interesting parts of the book are the sections on outsourcing your life and automating your business. Those parts alone could have been a separate book. They’re not something that everyone will want to implement, but they’re most definitely interesting options that can help many people achieve their dreams.

This, of course, is just the beginning for you. Many of the sources I have cited and provided links for will help you with more inspiration, ideas, details, resources, how-tos, roadmaps, tips, tricks, and so much more …

but I would love to hear from you on this subject.

Feedback and Get Featured in Our Upcoming Book

  • Is anyone already working on a dreamline, or already living one?
  • Are you pursuing your passion already, or about to start?
  • What are your tips? What is your Story?
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Thank you all so much. Enjoy & Prosper!

Photo Credit: By Pavel Trebukov

Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!

~ Christian Larson

Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!

~ Christian Larson


A Beard Across America: Hootin’ n’ Hollerin’, Lone Star Beer and Mermaids

This Excerpt from #TFoTG - Essays from A Beard Across America

I needed to find an alternative to CouchSurfing for lodging in Austin. My search for a host had left me without a place to stay. I was searching for hostels until Abhi, my CouchSurfing host in Houston, mentioned a website called AirBnB. I had never heard of the website before, but was up for the new experience. AirBnB is basically the same concept of CouchSurfing, but with cost associated with your stay. I found a place to stay that was only a few blocks from East 6th Street with a guy named Nick and his roommates.

When I arrived, I was greeted with a local “shitty beer” called Lone Star. To give you an idea of the caliber of the beer, there were two 24 packs in the refrigerator from a party they had thrown a few nights before. Shitty or not, I’m usually not one to turn down a free beer or three. He showed me to my room, introduced me to his girlfriend & one of their roommates, Kate, and we all chatted for about an hour. I retired to my room to do a few hours of work and when I was finished rejoined them in the living room for another beer or two.

Nick explained to me that he was a trivia host and spent most of his weekdays at local bars. He told me he usually doesn’t go out on the weekends and since it was a Friday, set my expectations for a night in drinking beers and listening to music. I was totally fine with that. That was until Kate emerged from her room and said she was going to a bar off of East 6th Street called The Eastern to do some “two stepping”. Where I came from, two stepping is a dance that hardcore kids would do at concerts. Not too pleasing and kind of silly, but they explained that The Eastern was a country bar and the two stepping they were referring to was the country style two stepping. Still a little skeptical, I decided it was worth a shot seeing how I was in Texas.

A couple that were friends of Kate’s arrived at the house and the three of them started pre-gaming with shots of Jack Daniel’s chased by Lone Star. I passed on the shot offers as to not get too drunk in an unfamiliar town. When it came time to leave, Kate and her two friends mentioned they would be riding their bikes that evening and I decided to join them and meet up with Nick and his girlfriend at the bar.

When we got to The Eastern, the atmosphere was completely different than I anticipated. It was a trendy-dive bar with a “jamboree” country flair. It reminded me of A Goofy Movie’s Possum Park, but if all the kids had grown up, grown a handle bar mustache and drank Lone Star Beer (Texas’ PBR). We grabbed our drinks, Lone Star Beer of course, and headed towards the stage where a band called Whiskey Music was already playing loud and fast. Sounds of the south rang loud as the lead singer peered at the crowd through a hole in the bill of his cowboy hat, a 50’s style, welled dressed cowboy played the harmonica, a banjo player and bassist strummed hard and the guy who was described by the band as “The guy who bangs shit with other shit” well, banged shit with other shit. The music was loud, fast and awesome.

About an hour later, I remembered Nick was suppose to be meeting us. I asked Kate if she had heard anything from him. He had decided to go to another bar as to not have to pay the cover for this bar. I left the communication of location up to Kate and Nick, which would prove to be a bad idea since Kate and her friends had continued their pre-gaming tactics while fully submerged in the game.

Once the band finished, Kate and I decided to meet Nick and his girlfriend at the bar they had decided to go to. On the way, we ran into two more of Kate’s friends who described themselves as “mermaids”. They ran a business handmaking high end mermaid tails. They were both wearing vibrant blue clothing, with bleach blonde hair and their nails painted (even the guy). They decided to join us on our quest for Nick and his girlfriend. When we arrive at the next bar, The Brixton, Nick was no where to be found. The four of us decided to just continue the night without him and move onto another bar called Cheer Up Charlie’s. When we got to the bar, I stepped away to use the restroom, and that was the last time I saw Kate. When I returned to the mermaids outside of the bar, who were hanging out with another group of people, they said they hadn’t seen Kate since they got there.

I talked with my new group of bar friends for a little before a few of the people I had just met decided they were going to leave and go to an after hours dance party. I was feeling a little spunky at this point, so I decided I would join them. Along the way, I realized I was en route to attend an AFTER HOURS party. It set in just how late it was and how late it would be once I left this after hours party. I decided to call it a night and started to head back towards The Eastern where I had parked my bike.

On the way back to The Eastern, I stopped at Lucky J’s Waffle Taco’s at The East Side Fillin’ Station. Both the waffle taco’s and the “fillin’ station” were things I had never seen or heard of before. The fillin’ station is a lot of food trucks, all serving different cuisines, but working together as one community. A waffle taco is exactly what it sounds like, a waffle used as a taco shell usually wrapped around chicken strips and toppings. I ordered the Brady Waffle Taco which consisted of fried chicken tenders, swiss cheese, sriracha and honey all wrapped in a bacon waffle. My god was that thing good. Not only that, but since they didn’t serve alcohol, the woman making the waffle taco was nice enough to share a nightcap of a whiskey with me.

I received the Brady Waffle Taco and sat at one of the benches in the courtyard of the fillin station. As I sat and ate my delicious, late night slice of heaven, I called my brother and chatted with him about how excited I was to see him in just a few weeks at my final destination spot of Tacoma, Washington.

The next morning, on my way out, I spoke with Nick. Come to find out, there was a miscommunication between him and Kate as to which bar he was at. I also received a text from Kate, who got my number from Nick, apologizing for her disappearance. She had been “over served”, as my grandfather called it, and decided to go home and sleep off the night. Nights like these are when it is a good thing my momma raised me in a way that I can go with the flow!

Tyler Goelz will be writing about his experiences in each city and posting them periodically. For a full listing of the cities he visited, check out this link:

Just Lift Off”, says Bartosz Solowiej, Silicon Valley Entrepreneur & Software Designer, right before he took off across America with his family of 7 who are following their dreams of traveling and starting a family business. Where are they now?  That’s the best part, stay tuned for more and be sure to check out the Very Interesting Family by visiting their family business and their adventure video blog for more videos and information.

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