New York Times

Creative process vs making stuff_800

Don’t Wait for Creativity Strike – Strike Creativity

What if you don’t have to be “creative” to create?

We all know the archetype of the creatives, right? Eccentric, weird, scattered, messy. The creatives are plagued perpetually by writer’s block (or sculptor’s block or painter’s block or whatever block). They spend most of their time lazing about gloomily, smoking cigarettes and cursing this cruel world. But then, every once in a while, the creatives are so touched by the muse that they are forced to immediately drop everything, go into a trance and become a funnel for the beauty of the world.

Personally, I think that’s a bit too precious. This notion of waiting around in the rain until you get struck by lightning to make art (or anything) doesn’t mesh with my experience at all. What comes much closer is the famous Chuck Close quotation: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

Numbers & Feelings

Numbers Don’t Need to Be King

Imagine you’re sitting in an auditorium full of all kinds of people. Everyone is there to learn about what to do with his or her money. All of a sudden, the door to the room opens, and in walks the much-anticipated speaker. Who do you think it is?

If you said Warren Buffett or the retired Fidelity ace Peter Lynch, you’re wrong. The famous speaker is Numbers.

That’s right, Numbers.

You know Numbers, right? Numbers is that really smart person who is always right and always rational and whose suggestions fit nicely into a calculator or spreadsheet. Numbers is the gatekeeper for truth. And when Numbers speaks, all of your other friends — Feelings, Emotions, and Intuition — must shut up and listen. Those are just the rules.

Is It Enough?

What’s Enough to Make You Happy?

I have a secret for you. This secret will allow you to double your income in 18 months for only five more hours of work per week. Do you want to know the secret?

If you answered “yes,” I want to give you an opportunity to double down: Triple your income in 18 months for just 10 more hours per week! Interested?

What about quadruple for 15? Quintuple for 20?

At what point would you answer “No”?

It's Fear

The Roadblocks Stopping You From Actually Doing

There is something you have been working on, isn’t there?

Something big. Something exciting. Something you have always dreamed of.

It’s that perpetual “work in progress” that you tell only your close friends and loved ones about. The novel that is in “final edits.” That website that you are going to start … tomorrow. That email you are going to send your boss explaining why you are quitting your job to be a full-time freelancer (the mouse is hovering over the send button as we speak).

Whatever it is, the question I have for you is the same: What is stopping you?

Experiences & Money

Spend the Money

Life experiences give you an incalculable return on investment. Every. Single. Time. So why is it so hard for us to spend money on them?

The reason for me is often that experiences tend to feel like an extravagant expenditure of money, time and energy. Let me give you an example.

My wife and I had a chance to leave our kids at home for a few days and go on a sea kayaking trip. The trip we planned was in an unbelievably beautiful part of the world. It would be the first time in over six months that we could do something without the kids.

Sounds amazing, right? But then I started adding numbers. It would be $250 for the kayak rental, then a few hundred for food. And the little inn where we wanted to stay was expensive. Before long, our invaluable trip had a tangible value, in the neighborhood of $1,000.

For three days? No way!

Reality or Regret_800

Do Small Things Every Day To Have Fewer Regrets

Last week, I shared how scared and worried I felt at the thought of losing my wife after her accident. As frightening as that experience was, it also helped me reflect and decide that I didn’t want any more regrets.

I thought you might feel the same way, so I asked for your deathbed wish list. What things would you wish you could have done if you suddenly had very little time left?

Your emails were amazing! They reminded me a lot of the many messages I received when I wrote about getting permission to make major changes in our lives.

Regrets & Action

Regret Less, Act On Your Wish Lists Now

On your deathbed, it’s too late to make wish lists.

That’s the thought that went through my head high over the ocean, willing the plane to go faster as I rushed thousands of miles back to New Zealand to meet up with my gravely injured wife in the hospital near Christchurch.

Let me back up.

It was 4:30 in the morning in the holy city of Varanasi, India, when I got a strange message from my 15-year-old son, Sam. “Dad, give me a call as soon as you can.” I was up early to attend a religious festival, and I made the call.

The first thing Sam calmly said to me when he picked up the phone was, “Dad, don’t freak out, but mom’s been in an accident, and she’s in a helicopter being flown off the mountain.” The mountain, that is, that she had basically fallen off.

Time as a Valuable Resource

The Valuable Currency of Time

How do you “spend” your time? Because make no mistake, time is a currency. There is a cost to how you spend it. The cost might be a trade-off, like choosing one activity over another, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is a free exchange.

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