Extraordinary Insights Volume 2

Insights? Clarity? Well, maybe.

Below: 11,727 words on topics like business, money, minimalism, relationships, stability, how much my life costs, vices, blogging, the scam that is the law of attraction, porn, motivation, failure, investing, philosophy, travel, veganism, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and everything in between.

(I think I really hit my stride answering question #40.)

Once per year I open up a form for 2 weeks where you can ask me questions anonymously and without repercussions.

You can ask me about where to find the best semi-private alleys in the world to pee in (Asheville, NC has a really good one with foliage cover), how to make that $krilla, my favorite Mitch Hedberg bit, or about anything else you’d like. Nothing is ever off limits and I answer everything.

The answers go into a huge blog post known as Extraordinary Insights (after my old blog Ridiculously Extraordinary). Volume 1 is here (opens in new window).

Any time a question was similar to another question I consolidated (this happened a lot). So if you submitted a question and don’t see it in your precise wording, it should be in here somehow, some way.

Questions are numbered and bolded. Answers are not.

1) This is about minimalism and the US economy. Seriously, I think we would all be happier but I also realize our government and those services run on tax dollars and, if we aren’t producing a lot, our tax level goes down and we can’t support all the services/people we are currently supporting.

I don’t buy much at all but if we all stopped buying and lived with only what we needed, how do you imagine the US economy would fare?

This question is inherently flawed.

A) The economy is already collapsing/has already collapsed (depending on your take). Did that happen while in a period of mindful spending or over-spending?

So we know what happens when we over-spend, right? In the paraphrased words of Teddy KGB in the movie Rounders: “All your hopes and dreams go right down the drain.”

Think about how many billions (trillions?) the government (every government) has misappropriated. I’m not a conspiracy theorist (a tragic mental illness I hope I never succumb to), but obviously a lot of things went wrong with the way things were.

and

B) If we all adopted a simpler lifestyle we wouldn’t need as many of the services we’re supporting. We wouldn’t need to rape and torture 10 billion animals per year to feed the fat American diet. (Look it up, I’m not pulling that fact out of my ass.) We also wouldn’t need to misuse so much vegetation it could feed the world, but is instead used to feed those raped and tortured animals. We wouldn’t need to buy an increasingly large amount of oil to feed our insatiable thirst for driving down the block to buy groceries. And we wouldn’t need a broken, exceptionally slow-moving, bureaucratic government to poorly control these services.

I understand my vision is Utopian. Keeping up with the Joneses will never end. I can only live my life the way I live my life. I can’t and don’t expect others to follow. If they do that’s wonderful, but I can’t even get my own Mother to stop buying me Christmas presents I don’t want and have no use for. (Why am I receiving Christmas presents in my 30s anyway?)

and

C) We’re ruining the world for future generations (over-dependence on oil, over -production of factory farms, and over-spending, among many other things), but you know what? It doesn’t matter to me. That sounds callous, but the truth is you care even less than me if your actions are with the majority.

Truth be told this isn’t a war I care to fight particularly valiantly. Again, I’ll keep living my life and spreading my message, but I don’t expect others to follow my lead. I don’t want children so I have nothing personally invested in the future. Your children and your grandchildren (and so on) will have to deal with ever-worsening conditions that we’ve created. You and I? We’ll be OK. Unless, of course, technology really does have breakthroughs that allow us to live forever. (Due to rapidly advancing medical science many of us will likely live into our 100s as it is.)

Too long didn’t read? I’m no economist, but if we went back to some form of basics the economy would be fine. We’d all be fine. Better than fine.

2) I have a service-oriented business. A few friends would love to buy from me, but are unemployed in this economy and short on cash.

They’ve offered to barter with me, but I’ve started a more minimalist lifestyle so that I have no idea what to barter for. I’m a picky cook and house cleaner. Any ideas of things to barter for, when you live fairly minimally?

Be less picky. House cleaning and cooking take up more time than almost anything else in daily life. This will allow you to spend more time on things that matter to you. That includes your business.

Teach whoever is going to do your house cleaning and cooking (give them recipes) how you like it done. It might take a bit of training to get it right, but after that initial frustrating period you’ll be glad you made the decision.

3) Just the other day, I tipped my sister about a free download worth $1k. I was surprised and a bit insulted when she expressed her concern that the download might be unsafe (maybe it was the price). She just didn’t know how paranoid I am about PC safety.

So my question is: How can netizens know if a certain download is safe or not?

First step: stop pirating software. If you like it pay for it. Sheesh. Do you also steal candy from babies? (And why are you Parents feeding your babies candy anyway?)

Second step: use a virus scanner. AVG Free is pretty darn good for the price. (Free!)

4) If you were to build a website/blog specifically to sell various products within a narrow niche, what would be your plan of attack?

A lot of this depends on the market and if I can find a unique angle to attack. It also depends on your goals. In other words, it’s difficult to answer this because it’s situational.

Assuming you’re an expert in that narrow niche I would:

1) Create a simple site with the most popular products in the niche. (What you think are the most popular anyway.)
2) Buy paid traffic (Facebook/Google) to test the process. The goal here isn’t necessarily to profit. It’s to test the market. You’re buying data. If you profit that’s a bonus.
3) Tweak.
4) Repeat.

This follows my mantra: Create. Learn. Improve. Repeat.

5) I’d like to precede the question with letting you know that I 100% believe in the Law of Attraction.

I’ve read a lot of books on it, done my research, and even put it into practice. But for some reason I can not seem to make/create/acquire (however you want to put it) money! I mean I’m really broke.

How do I change my own mind about the acquiring of money in any fashion and live the life of abundance I know anyone can gain?

You’ve put the Law of Attraction into practice and it hasn’t worked? I’m confused. I thought you just said it worked?

The truth?

The Law of Attraction is a huge scam and I’m sorry you’ve bought into the sales pitches of that multi-million dollar industry full of lies and bullshit (thanks a lot Oprah). Now that you know it’s a scam you can stop believing it and start doing something.

Therein lies the big problem with the “Law” of Attraction. It says nothing about putting in work. Wish, pray, beg, hope, think, read, gamble all you want with the hopes that money will magically appear in your bank account. But know that’s not how it works. That’s not how it has ever worked. That’s not how it will ever work.

This is how you put more money in your pocket: solve problems or add value to people’s lives. Hell, solve a problem for me or add value to my life and I’ll pay you. (email me with your proposition: karol at gajda dot com)

Stop wishing, start doing.

6) Which keyword tool do you find best for indicating the difficulty or otherwise of ranking for a particular keyword?

I used to use the Google Keyword Tool as well as a bunch of others. I don’t know if any of them are still around anymore. I don’t use keyword tools and haven’t for ~2 years.

7) Are there any proxies you’d recommend especially?

Do you mean a virtual private network (VPN) to use when traveling or on public WiFi? If so, I’ve been testing out Cloak. And by testing out, I mean I literally learned about it a few days ago. (It’s free for 2 hours/month.) It’s only for Mac, and so far I like it a lot.

Prior to that I didn’t use anything. Yes, I know that’s kinda dumb when using open WiFi.

8) How do I stay motivated on a project when I still haven’t earned anything from it?

The projects where money is the only goal are the projects that I’m least motivated to do. It seems you’re in the same boat.

Let’s hypothetically assume I have a goal to sell a business for 7 figures. (This is not hypothetical at all, by the way.) There is still a much more important underlying goal that keeps me motivated. The big sale is simply the end result of achieving the real goal. The real goal is creating something that affects enough people and creates enough value in people’s lives to be sold for a large sum of money.

My suggestion is to find a more important goal for your project. Obviously you need money to survive so you shouldn’t take your eye off that. But figure out how to make the journey the motivating factor instead of the money.

A side benefit: when you find something other than money to motivate you then you’ll be happier. Most people I know who chase money are deeply, clinically, depressed. Ask anybody in corporate America or anybody who plays the money-chase game what their happiness level is on a scale of 1-10. Assuming they’re not lying to you it’s likely (not always) going to be low. Then ask them what prescription medications they’re on. Assuming they’re not lying they’re probably on at least one that numbs them from the stress, high blood pressure, anxiety, or depression.

9) What is currently in your opinion the best business model to make money online?

There is no such thing as a “best business model.” The business model you choose depends on your motivations, your personality, and a myriad other things. Additionally, you don’t have to choose just one business model online (or offline).

What I’m really reading into this question is: how can I get rich quickly online?

The answer to that is you can’t. (See question #40.)

10) Do you believe in any kind of visualization? Is there anything that can help you succeed with a business besides working your ass off?

In the sense of the Law of Attraction? No, not at all. It’s a scam. (See #5 above.) But I’m not saying visualization can’t help you plan or work through problems. It can. Don’t expect visualization or vision boards to replace working your ass off.

Yes, there are things that can help besides working your ass off. What has helped me most is to be helpful to people without expecting anything in return. Also, befriend people without any ulterior motives. If you do that you’ll have a lot of people in your corner helping you through the ups and downs of life and business.

Michael Ellsberg wrote a great article on what he calls The Tim Ferriss Effect about networking and helping people that I recommend you read.

11) Do you prefer paid or free traffic?

I haven’t bought traffic for about 2 years. I got out of the highly stressful pay per click marketing game because it was, well, highly stressful. (Though it was also fun.)

That said, paid traffic can be absolutely killer. Back in the days I had ad spends in the $X,XXX range. My highest single day ad spend on Google Adwords was just over $9k. (Positive return on investment, of course. I was going to type ROI, but this.)

I have no preference. Whatever source brings the eyeballs I want is my favorite traffic.

12) Can you recommend any good sites for paid traffic besides AdWords and Facebook Ads?

Everybody tells me that Adwords is increasingly more difficult and Facebook is increasingly awesome. I had lunch with a guy last month whose company spends $200k/month on Facebook, but can’t get Adwords to turn a profit.

That’s about all I know on this topic after 2 years out of the paid traffic game.

For a primer on Facebook check out this free guide.

13) Do you do any kind of investing?

I’m increasingly thinking investing in stocks is for chumps.

~2 years ago I bought $10,000 worth of Apple stock for $93/share. I sold it at $105/share a short while later. A 10%+ gain is a great move, but that stock is now trading at ~$400/share. So I technically threw away $30,000. You could look at it that way. I look at it as I made over $1,000 and re-learned two important lessons.

  1. Don’t invest in companies when you don’t make the decisions that affect those companies.
  2. Instead of spending $X investing in stocks, take that $X and invest in yourself or your business.

I didn’t get killed in the stock market over the past few years like a lot of people because I sold off almost all the stocks I owned years ago. I still own some in retirement accounts, but I haven’t actively added to those accounts in nearly 5 years and I’m not sure I’ll ever add to those accounts again. I don’t plan on retiring so there’s no real sense (besides somewhat negligible tax advantages) in funding a retirement account.

Supposedly over 50% of Mark Cuban’s portfolio is cash. Mr Cuban is a smart investor. I follow the advice of smart people.

14) Have you read Atlas Shrugged? If so, what do you think about it and about Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism?

Although it has been recommended to me many times in the past ~10 years I haven’t read any of Ayn Rand’s work and don’t know enough about her or Objectivism to offer anything of consequence. I’ll read it eventually, but I’ve put myself on a book buying freeze. 42 books currently unread on my Kindle and I read 1-2 per week.

15) What do you think about Stoicism?

I’m a fan of Marcus Aurelius and have read Meditations a couple of times over the years. I mention this because whenever someone mentions Stoicism they mention Meditations. I’ve also read some Seneca. Tim Ferriss is a big fan of Seneca.

I identify with many of the tenets of Stoicism, but I came upon them myself more than being influenced by them. In other words, the first time I read Meditations (my first exposure to Stoicism) it was like preaching to the choir.

I wouldn’t consider myself a Stoic and I don’t study Stoicism.

16) Do you maintain a mentor-student relationship with anyone? If not, is there any way to have you as a private business mentor?

No, but I do my best to help my friends as often as possible whenever and wherever I can.

You don’t need a mentor. Go out and get shit done. When you have specific questions or problems seek out people who have answers.

17) What do you think about Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of 10,000 hours to become really good at something?

It sounds nice and Outliers was a very good read (as are all of Gladwell’s books), but there is no real proof that it’s valid. Thankfully, TheDanPlan.com is testing it out for us in real time. I’m rooting for him!

Besides sleeping, eating, and living the only thing I can guarantee I’ve spent 10,000 hours doing is readingIt’s possible I’ve spent 10,000 hours playing guitar, but the 10,000 hours rule is based on 10,000 hours of focused practice and I have not done that with guitar. I can still shred anyway. ;)

18) How practical do you think it would be to live in a sailboat or RV, and does this type of shelter only make sense for retired people?

Who cares if it’s practical? If you want to do it, do it. You don’t need permission to live your life.

Tynan lives in an RV.

Joy and her kids live on a boat.

The Totem Family live on a boat.

The Bloomquists live on a boat as well.

19) What’s the best meat substitute?

The best meat substitute is to stop searching for a meat substitute. They all taste pretty much like chemicals. (To head off suggestions at the pass: Yes, even that one you silly veg*ns.)

Meat substitutes are junk food. (That’s not to say I never eat them, but I do it knowing I’m eating junk food.)

Try this: for one week do not eat or drink anything artificial. Stick to beans/veggies/oils/nuts/fruits & lots of water. It’s not easy to do. But do it for just one week. That means no soda or beer or potato chips or whatever else.

Then after a week eat something you’d usually eat from the grocery store or fast food restaurant. It’ll taste gross. I could be wrong. One week might not be enough time to let your taste buds open up to real flavors, but it should be enough. All the crap we eat has killed our taste buds.

Dan tried a fun experiment similar to this.

20) What is the single most important technical skill to be extraordinary?

There is no single most important anything to be extraordinary. That starts with your mindset not with something external like skill acquisition.

What I am reading into this question is, “what skills should I learn?”

That’s also tough to answer, but at the top of my list is the ability, desire, and wherewithal to test theories. You could call this “the scientific method” or “critical thinking” if you wish. Test your beliefs and assumptions. Test other people’s beliefs and assumptions.

This is important because a lot of people are selling you a lot of things. Even people who aren’t selling via an exchange of monies are selling you something. You have to develop the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

To answer this question more directly, I would learn programming. My buddy Scott Young is doing the MIT Computer Science curriculum in just 12 months without enrolling at MIT. You could too.

Note: I have a computer science degree and I don’t like programming. But the people I know who consistently impress me with their ideas and actions are developers.

Did I just win the title for convoluted answer?

21) How do I find a partner who understands the Freedom Fighter lifestyle and ideally lives it him/herself?

Peter Shankman has great advice in his book Can We Do That?! about questions one doesn’t know the answer to:

A mentor once told me that the best answer you can give is, “You know, I don’t know the answer to that question, but if you’ll let me, I’ll make a phone call and find out.”

I said that “I don’t know” is not a good answer when requesting questions for this project, but the truthful answer is I don’t know and I don’t know who to call to get the answer. I don’t think there is a right answer anyway.

I feel like I might be doing what you’re asking about by being public and traveling. Although that is incredibly passive and I haven’t found a partner through those methods. Again, I don’t know. When I find someone I like for more than 3 days I’ll update this. :)

22) I’ve always wondered how entrepreneurs/free spirits like yourself view intimate relationships. It doesn’t seem like finding love is a priority for you, why is that?

I wrote about this in Luxury of Less, but let’s go into it here.

You’re right, I’ve never made love a priority. A lot of people (scratch that, a lot of females; scratch that, only females) have asked me about this.

It may seem like I’m afraid of commitment. Maybe I haven’t seen enough relationships work in the way I’d like to see them work to make it worth the effort for me. Or maybe I just don’t care.

I don’t think it’s any of that.

I’m not afraid of commitment, I just won’t put up with a lot of shit. In essence, I’m quick to say “goodbye” to relationships – platonic, romantic, and otherwise. I don’t allow personal attacks into my life in any kind of relationship. And if a relationship brings more negativity than positivity into my life then it’s gone. I enjoy being alone too much to waste time with people who insult, argue, or make things worse.

One of the quotes I use constantly is:

“I don’t want to be lonely, I just want to be alone.” – Daniel Johns

And I see this from the flip side.

  • It’s probably not easy to be with someone who needs to be alone a lot.
  • It’s probably not easy being with a vegan if you’re an omnivore.
  • It’s probably not easy being with an atheist if you’re religious.
  • It’s probably not easy being with someone who is open with their thoughts/feelings/ideas.
  • It’s probably not easy being with someone who’s on the move a lot if you need the constant companionship of your circle of friends/family.
  • In other words, it’s probably not easy being with someone like me.

If I wanted easy I’d get a job, stay in a relationship that’s not good for me (or her), watch TV every night, read People magazine, ask GQ to shape my wardrobe, let my Parents tell me what to think, and allow Fox News to shape my political views.

That’s the easy way … to an uneventful life and a likely early death.

Fuck easy.

Was I beating around the bush?

OK, to directly answer a question I get often: Would I settle down in one place if I met someone I thought I could spend the rest of my life with? Yes, no doubt about it and without a second thought. With one caveat: she’d have to be cool with me going off on long adventures on my own if she didn’t want to join me. (Although I think she’d be the type of person who’d want to join me.)

23) How do I build a relationship that is good for both me and the other person?

Seek out someone who has a relationship you admire and ask them how they do it. As we’ve just learned, there is no sense in taking advice from me on this issue.

Which brings me to another important point: never take advice from someone who hasn’t done what you want to do. They don’t know shit unless they’ve done it. But if someone who has done what you want offers you advice? Treat it like diamonds & gold bars even if it’s not what you want to hear.

24) Does location-independent lifestyle improve your social life or destroy it? Do you find being location independent lonely?

A little bit of both. A traditional social life? No such thing with this lifestyle.

It can teach you to be more outgoing, but it also forces you to be more rushed with friends/relationships. I think I’ve become less outgoing actually. When I started traveling in 2009 I used couchsurfing and stayed in hostels a lot. So I’d hang out, party, whatever with a lot of new people every day and night. It was the most outgoing/social time of my life.

I don’t do that anymore. It was too mentally draining.

I don’t usually find it lonely. I prefer being alone most of the time. That includes arbitrary days like holidays or birthdays. I don’t usually spend those arbitrary days alone, but I don’t think it’s weird to do so. Actually, I’ll be on a plane for 13 hours on my birthday this year (with total travel time of the trip being 24 hours) and then I’ll arrive in Abu Dhabi where I don’t know a single person. Looking forward to it.

A person I highly respect, Derek Sivers, put it best in a tweet on November 21, 2010: “I’ve never been bored when alone. Only times I’ve been bored, it’s because I was stuck with other people. Clear sign I’m an introvert, huh?”

I can’t say I’ve never been bored when alone, but I still prefer it.

25) If you were to start right from the beginning (no money, no contacts, no business) what would you do to achieve financial and location independence once again?

I like these kinds of questions, but I also don’t like these kinds of questions. It’s fun to go through the thought exercise, but it’s impossible to give a real answer because it’s all speculation unless I’m actually in the situation.

What I think I would do is get a job, but I wouldn’t get just any job. I’d seek out people doing things I respect and figure out how I can help them. For free if I had to.

More here: http://karol.gajda.com/get-hired/

I’d also seek out people doing things like Dan and Ian do with the TropicalMBA.com Internships. Seriously, if I was starting from scratch and wanted to travel I would do everything in my power to join the TropicalMBA team.

26) This is not a ‘profit’ question, but a ‘stability’ question: how can we not only learn from but also gain from the economic breakdown that we see on three continents?

I’m not sure. I’ve never had stability.

Money in the bank is not stability. It’s complacency and feigned security. I know because I currently have money in the bank and sometimes I think it’s the worst thing I could possibly have while I’m working on the stuff I’m working on.

You will never have stability as an entrepreneur. You’re probably not an entrepreneur if you don’t thrive on instability.

But let’s not mince words. By thriving on instability I don’t mean you have to struggle. I haven’t struggled for a very long time (probably since I was 21), but things have mostly been unstable as far as business is concerned ever since I quit my last job when I was 19. Part of that is because I have a habit of quitting successful businesses.

Maybe I thrive on instability more than others, or maybe I’m crazy. You’ll have to determine that for yourself and go from there.

One thing is for sure: Don’t expect anything from anybody else. Make things happen for yourself.

27) How much money is needed to live the life you live?

For the past two years (2010 and 2011) I’ve spent nearly $40,000 per year. Food, rent, and travel are my biggest expenses (not in that order). Basically, I seem to unintentionally spend about $100 per day. I don’t budget though. I’m naturally frugal and I don’t waste money. At the same time, I don’t fret over expenses.

That said, you don’t need $40k/year to travel full time or live the life you want. I know people who do it for half that. I also know people who do it for 10 times that.

28) What software do you use to make your Only72 Youtube vids? I like the video in the corner doing narration during the slide deck presentation.

This question is in reference to a set of videos I made for Only72.com customers in November 2011. Even though they’re supposed to be only for customers you can watch one of them here as a thank you for reading this Q&A: Analysis Paralysis

I used ScreenFlow for recording and Keynote for the presentation (Mac applications). I really like both of those pieces of software, but am an absolute newbie user. For audio I used the internal mic on my 13” MacBook Air that I bought in late 2010. Surprisingly good sound.

29) I would like to know what your meal plans are, what do you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? I know it changes on a daily basis, but just to get a clearer idea? I know that you don’t eat fast food, or other bad foods such as bread from the store. I am vegan and am really curious!

It’s true that bread is some of the worst junk you can put in your body, but that’s another story.

My diet, as far as healthiness is concerned, took a turn for the worse in 2011. I also thought I was dying at one point.

While on the Roller Coaster Tour it was difficult to eat well when sleeping in hotels and not being able to cook my own food.

My tour eating looked like this:

For breakfast I ate a lot of fruit. Sometimes my hotel would have a free breakfast with fruit and oatmeal. That was always awesome because that’s my preferred everyday breakfast. Sometimes, if I didn’t have a chance to go to the grocery store, I would eat rice cakes and peanut butter for breakfast. These were my emergency rations along with Clif Bars.

For lunch and/or dinner I ate a lot of Chipotle. Veggie bowl (no tortilla) with extra scoop of black beans, extra fajita veggies, and sometimes extra guacamole. Eventually I stopped getting the rice that comes in a veggie bowl since they use enriched white rice. (At least that’s what it looks like they use.)

Many times, since Chipotle is not everywhere, I would be relegated to Taco Bell (or similar fast food like Taco John’s) bean burritos. You’re not going to find much other vegan food in the middle of Montana at 10pm. The 25% of the time that Taco Bell bean burritos taste good was always a nice bonus. (Taco John’s bean burritos always tasted good.)

I supplemented this with fruits and nuts, but it still wasn’t healthy. I also ate at vegan/vegetarian restaurants and Whole Foods when I could. But vegan/vegetarian restaurants aren’t always healthy. Sometimes they have good options and usually they’re healthier than alternatives, but I consider meat substitutes to be junk food. Most veg*n restaurants base their menus around meat substitutes.

Like I said, I didn’t eat too well.

Since the tour was 7 weeks of my life and then a continued road trip was another ~2 months this habit of not eating well was difficult to break.

A few weeks into my 3-month stay in Austin, TX (September – December 2011) I subscribed to VeggyTopia.com vegan gluten-free meal delivery. They don’t use tofu/soy in too many dishes and they use lots of whole food ingredients. It cost $97/week + tax and I got nearly 15 meals out of it.

I would also make my world famous vegan chili every once in a while (in double batches so I’d have a lot of food) and order soup from the Soup Peddler every couple of weeks. And, of course, I would supplement with fruits, nuts, avocados, veggies, and flax oil.

My diet improved considerably while staying in one place. (Obviously.)

Now I’m traveling again, but I’m doing a decent job in Panama. There are a few vegan restaurants in Panama City that actually have good food (lentils & other beans, salads, juices) and I eat out 2 times per day. I’ve also been eating a lot of very dark chocolate here because I don’t eat enough fat and dark chocolate is better than clif bars.

30) What would you say your vices are, and how do you overcome them?

My vices are similar to any other adult male (or female, for that matter). Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Just kidding.

Kind of.

I don’t do drugs, although I’m not opposed to them and wish they’d all just be legalized and taxed already. I’d much rather someone shoot heroin in front of me than smoke cigarettes in my face. At least the former doesn’t hurt me.

As for alcohol, sometimes I feel like alcoholism runs in my family although I’ve never asked anybody. I can’t remember a time when my Dad didn’t have a beer or two after coming home from work. When I was young he’d always ask me to get them from the basement refrigerator. I hated doing that. Maybe that’s normal. I don’t know. I feel, in general, that I have an addictive personality and I’m afraid of letting myself drink every day. Maybe that’s all in my head.

So, as you can see, alcohol is probably my biggest vice.

I’ve been drinking since 8th grade (age 13) and I’ve also been cursed with rarely getting hangovers which means less outright consequences to drinking.

In 8th grade I worked stock at the liquor store on the corner of 18 Mile Road & Dodge Park in Sterling Heights, MI and stole Zimas (remember those?!), wine coolers, and beer every day on the job. After work I’d invite some classmates and we’d go to the playground at DeKeyser Elementary school, in a hidden “underground” spot, and drink. Sometimes I would drink on the job if I had a co-worker to drink with. (One was my friend Tony who got me the job and another was an older high school girl who I had a massive crush on.) They were paying me under the table below minimum wage and weren’t the kindest people. That’s how I rationalized it. I was still a straight A student. (Though that’s not saying much considering our educational system.)

Interestingly, although my Parents smoked pre-conception until I was 10 or 11 I’ve never smoked. (Partial lie: I’ve smoked ~5 cigarettes in my life.) It always made me sick when my Parents smoked (I’m so glad they quit! And so are they!) and it still makes me sick when I inhale somebody else’s smoke.

One time in high school I read a statistic about teen smoking. Something like “X number of teens have their first cigarette every day. Don’t be a statistic.” I didn’t like being told what to do so I decided to start smoking after school. It lasted 2 cigarettes because that shit is nasty. (Seriously, if you’re a non-smoker, ever kissed a smoker? Ugh.)

Back to alcohol. I don’t have a hard and fast rule about not drinking. I like to quit to test my mettle and to stop using it as a crutch in social situations. I like to know that I can hold a conversation with strangers without the use of alcohol. And I hate the fact that seemingly every social event revolves around drinking.

I’ve never been a daily drinker, but I actually like the taste of vodka, tequila, and beer, so it’s just like any other vice in that regard. We like stuff that tastes good to us even when it’s bad for us. (Although, in limited quantities, science has nearly conclusively proven alcohol is not harmful, and may be beneficial.)

When I was in Austin last year I started a new rule. “No cheap beer and no slamming beer.” That worked pretty well and I was able to enjoy a lot more tasty beers when going out. But then I decided to quit drinking again and I haven’t drank for a couple months. (Which will probably change when I’m in Mexico next week with a bunch of friends.)

Other vices / bad habits:

– For a while I got in the habit of putting on Hulu shows when falling asleep. That wasn’t a good idea and I’m not sure why I got into that habit. I like to listen to talking when falling asleep and used to listen to a lot of podcasts, but then I started “watching” vapid TV shows instead.

I now often use the Pzizz Android sleeping app ($4.99) and it works out well.

I also started listening to podcasts again:

– I got in the habit of wasting a lot of time on Facebook. Not just updating my status daily, but reading other people’s updates. I quit Facebook in October 2010. I also quit G+. What have I missed?

I also have other vices like little people porn (just kidding), but, unfortunately, nothing awesome that makes for a movie plot or memoir. You won’t see a heroin, cocaine, or hooker addiction out of me. Maybe if I decide to run for political office I’ll change my tune. ;)

31) How often do you use outsourcing, and what tasks have you used it for? Managing others seems like it can take more time than just doing the work myself.

It only takes more time during the training period, if there is one. After that it can be bliss. I don’t currently outsource very much except my cooking, technical blog stuff, or design work.

That said, I’ve used outsourcing for almost everything you could imagine. Customer service, article writing for niche sites, keyword research, product creation – well, the list is long, but suffice it to say I’ve used lots of outsourcing over the years.

~8 years ago I had a site called AuctionNiches.com. It was a $20/month membership site and I had ~200 members. I outsourced all the content creation for the site, which meant I worked about 1 hour per month to keep it running.

I launched QuickGig to help me find cool people who want to get paid $12-$20 per hour to do stuff. I haven’t used it too often thus far, but it’s there when I need it. Maybe others will want to use it as well.

32) How do you get through fear?

I don’t so much get through fear as much as I embrace the fact that it’s there and do what I want anyway. I’m scared about a lot of things. But if there’s something I want, the feeling of not going for it is much worse than the feeling of fear. Knowing that helps immensely.

That’s not to say I always win. Sometimes fear wins. I’m OK with that. I think I’m probably at an 80% win ratio against fear.

Some things I’m afraid of on a regular basis: heights, death, saying something to that pretty girl (which is probably where 80% of the 20% failure rate comes from), posting personal information in public like I do here, traveling to new places (always, always, always makes me anxious – even if it’s an English speaking place), standing out, my writing, what people think about me, coffee dates.

It’s extremely rare that I feel worse after confronting one of those fears, but they’re still fears none-the-less. Usually I feel like I’m on top of the world after confronting them and that helps for the next time. It’s a constant battle, but it’s one I won’t lose consistently. The fun part is the more wins you rack up the easier it is to rack up more wins. It’s a decidedly positive cycle.

Side note: You will fail sometimes. You can kick ass anyway.

33) What books do you recommend?

Lots!

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers is an absolute must read. No question about it, I think every person who has the ability to read should read this book. If I could I’d buy a copy for every reader that comes to this site. That is how highly I recommend it.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I was a fan of this before it became all the rage thanks to a friend’s website where he interviewed Mr Pressfield 9 or 10 years ago. I’m glad this book has gained such a huge fanbase in recent years because it deserves it.

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. Rolf Potts is my favorite essayist. He is not just a great travel writer. He is a great writer, period.

Those three books will shape you positively no matter what your path, no question about it.

My favorite book that I read in 2011 (besides Anything You Want) was Brain Rules by Dr John Medina.

My favorite fiction books are Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho and American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. I’m pretty sure these are the only fiction books (along with The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho) that I’ve read more than once. The movie version of Veronika is not very good. The movie version of American Psycho is great.

My favorite genre of book, however, is musician autobiographies. I read autobiographies of musicians I don’t even like. If you name a musician autobiography I’ve probably read it (unless it was recently released). They’re almost always fascinating tales of growing up in hardship and then kicking ass. I like those kinds of tales.

My favorite book ever is probably Go Rin No Sho by Miyamoto Musashi. That might be a lie. Maybe I wrote that to make myself sound cool. Read it anyway.

34) What is your launch strategy for new products, services, or courses?

It depends on the situation. The best launch involves others talking about you instead of you talking about yourself so I attempt to work that into the launch.

If you’re doing something big or fun it’s easy to get people talking about it.

The Only72.com sales are a good example of this. We have fun. We help a lot of people. A lot of people get great discounts on products. And we donate a bunch of money to charity. It’s just too much to keep quiet about. (To the point that we’ve had people publicly complain about how much other people talk about us!)

If you’ve never launched anything before it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t be afraid to ask for the sale.

If your readers are into what you’re doing they will buy from you.

35) How do you decide what to do next?

I work on things that excite me, whether I’ll make money with them or not. Even with business projects most of the fun is in the creation. The money is nice, of course, because it allows me to keep doing what I do. But if my only goal was money I’d go back to underground pay per click and search engine marketing like the old days.

If I’m currently working on a project I do my best not to think about what my next project will be. That’s not always easy, but if I’m excited about something I like to give it most of my focus.

If I can’t decide what to do I read a book.

36) What is the best way to build a mailing list?

1) Write stuff people want to read.
2) Ask them to subscribe.

Building a mailing list is not much different than building any other kind of audience. The delivery method isn’t the issue. The issue is you need traffic. If you bring in a lot of traffic you will naturally build a mailing list.

Which begs the question, how do you bring in a lot of traffic?

1) Write stuff people want to read on your website.
2) Write stuff people want to read for other people’s websites.

You can replace the word “write” with other mediums if you’re an audio or video person. This still holds true.

37) What are your top tips for creating win-win situations like with your Only72.com business? How do you convince so many people to sell their product for 10% of price or even less?

There is no convincing involved. We ask people we like to contribute. Some people do it, some people don’t do it. We push our egos aside. Friendships are more important than feeling slighted because somebody doesn’t want to contribute.

Creating a win-win situation isn’t difficult. My top tip is to focus more on others than yourself. Everything falls into place if you keep that idea top of mind.

With Only72 we’re very conscious about creating a sale where buyers get a lot of value, contributors make money and get a lot of exposure, and a charity gets a nice check. Most of our time is spent thinking about how we can help other people.

38) What are you looking for in a friend?

My friends are people who don’t want or need anything from me other than me. I don’t look for anything specific with my friends except people who are cool and who I don’t want or need anything from.

That said, a common theme is that all of my friends do things that inspire me. They’re rockstars, figuratively and literally.

39) How do I expand my social circle and surround myself with like-minded people?

First step: don’t be afraid to remove people from your social circle who are limiting you. It doesn’t matter if it’s family or your best friend since first grade. If they don’t affect you positively they probably affect you negatively and don’t belong. It’s not easy, but you must be vigilant about this. Unless you know some secret the rest of us don’t and will live multiple lives. If that’s the case, you can waste this life with shitty people if you want.

Second step: ask yourself if you really need to expand your social circle? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’ve been brainwashed into believing you do.

Third step: do cool things that inspire people and you will meet like-minded people who inspire you. You will naturally connect with some of them and move from acquaintances to friends.

I’m not the best person to ask this question. I’m mostly anti-social and have a small social circle. I should’ve lead with that, huh?

40) What’s the best way to make a quick buck online?

Porn is best, most fun, and my #1 recommendation. Although I don’t know if it’s the easiest. It might be the hardest.

41) Do you have any daily practice like James Altucher?

I do like his approach and have done it, but I don’t do it on a daily basis.

I do something simpler. I like to practice gratitude. Lately I’ve been using HappyRambles for my daily gratitude. They send me an e-mail every evening and I respond with 3-5 things I’m grateful for. Whatever else I put on the list I always end it with “life.”

42) How do I become like Bradley Cooper in Limitless?

I had to look this up because I didn’t know what it meant. If you’re wondering how you can use 100% of your brain power like the protagonist in Limitless (played by Bradley Cooper) you’re in luck. You already do! A lot of people say we only use 10-20% of our brains, but that is a popular (and very wrong) misconception. Congratulations, you are officially Bradley Cooper.

More than that I can’t answer. There’s a limit to how far I’ll go to answering a question. Watching a movie I don’t want to watch is definitely that limit.

43) I want to write my first ebook. It’s about all the things I need to teach my teenage sons (17 and 15) before they leave my nest so they can have a good start in this world. How do I write and publish my first ebook?

Step 1) Write it. You can use Google Docs like I do, or use whatever software you feel comfortable with.
Step 2) Send the file to your sons.

There are no rules about what an eBook consists of. It can be a PDF, Mobi, ePub, Doc, or even a web page.

The cool thing with Google Docs is that you can invite your sons to edit the document. They can add questions and insights for you. That seems like a fun project.

It doesn’t sound like this is the type of eBook you’d be selling since it’s so personal.

If you were to create an eBook to sell do the following 8 steps.

  1. Write it.
  2. Have at least one person look it over for edits. You can pay for an editor or just have a few friends read it over. (Although you do get what you pay for in this case.)
  3. Get a nice cover designed. Do not do this yourself. A large part of sales is the impression you make. A crappy cover gives off a poor impression.
  4. Have someone design the eBook for .mobi, .epub, and PDF or in whatever formats you’d like to sell it. Do not do this yourself. It is a pain in the ass.
  5. Upload your eBook to the various ebook sales stores.
  6. Or use e-junkie.com to sell your eBook via your own website. They’ll handle all the delivery and you’re paid directly into your Paypal account.
  7. Post on your site telling your readers about your book and ask them to buy it if they’re interested.
  8. Send review copies to websites and other bloggers asking them to write about your book.

Repeat Step 8 or start with a new book at Step 1. That is up to you.

Obviously this is an incredibly pared down version of the process of writing & releasing an eBook, but it’s all still valid.

44) Is it better to create new sites on your own or outsource them and make money as a “manager” of these sites (hire people to write content, promote site, etc.)?

There is no better way. There is no one way. There is only your way.

Hiring out a lot of aspects of a project makes it easier to start more projects. This can be a mistake if you’re not able to give each project its required focus or if you’ve never launched a successful project before. It’s also a mistake if you partner with people who need to be micromanaged.

At the time of this writing I am working on one big project and one “20% time” smaller project. Both are in the “startup” space. Unlike most startups I have a clear path to profit for each one. Both projects are also focused on helping others. And both projects are collaborations between myself and people smarter than me.

My recommendation is this: if you’ve never launched a successful project before then put all of your focus into it. Outsource where you need to outsource, but also spend time learning about the things you’re outsourcing.

Although I haven’t written a line of code since University (I have a never-used Computer Science degree) I feel like I’m better suited to working with programmers/developers. Although I haven’t done much design work in years, when I was 19-20 I owned a web design company (you didn’t need to kick ass back then), and I feel like I’m better suited to working with designers.

My big tip: Developers and designers are artists. I mostly let them run with their ideas and make their art. I step away from the process as much as possible and mold it to my liking where need be. (Although sometimes I fail at this and bad things happen.)

45) Is it better to build a business that generates some kind of passive income or start a business with sole intent to sell it later?

It depends on what you want.

Keep in mind that if you create a business with the sole intent of selling it later it’s going to need to provide income anyway. Otherwise, unless you’re in the wacky world of startups where people pay for users instead of income, you’re not going to sell your business.

Also, passive income is a bit overrated. I don’t like the idea of creating a business with the only interest being making money. I’ve done that before and I made a lot of money, but it was depressing.

But you’re not me. If you like the idea of creating what’s popularly known as a “muse project” for the sole purpose of it providing you with passive income then I fully support that. (Not that you need my support, of course.)

More important than any of this is:
a) Launch something.
b) Launch something already.
c) Did I mention you should launch something?

46) You mentioned that you use Schwab banking for their free ATM use. Do you still like them? Any updates on banking while roaming the world?

Yes, the Schwab ATM/debit card is my favorite. I didn’t have it when I was in India in 2010 and, because I was there building a guitar and had to pay for that course in Rupees, I had a lot of ATM withdrawal fees. The ATMs in India take up to $10USD in fees for a single withdrawal and would only allow me to withdraw ~$200 worth of Rupees at a time.

The Scwab ATM refunds all ATM fees at the end of every month. You can use literally any ATM in the world and not worry about getting nickle-and-dimed.

As for other banking? I do everything besides cash withdrawals online so that makes it easy.

Also, I don’t have just one bank account. In November of 2010 one of my banks made a mistake (I was at fault as well) and closed one of my accounts. This account had a significant 5-figure sum in it. Somebody wrote a cashier’s check and cashed it out. It was an employee at the bank so thankfully there was no fraud involved. They mailed the check to my PO Box after closing the account, but for over 2 weeks I didn’t have this money. If my only account was with this bank I would have been screwed and scrambling for a way to pay bills.

47) Any tips on health insurance for self-employed while living outside the US. Do we even really need it?

I won’t speak for you as far as if you need it because that’s a personal choice. I know Tynan from Tynan.com and Leo from ZenHabits.net don’t have health insurance.

Personally, my family doesn’t have good genes and I’m somewhat terrified of racking up a 6-figure hospital bill in the event of a terminal illness. Or even a broken arm for that matter. ($10k+ gone just like that.) My trip to the ER in December 2011 cost $3k and all they did was check my pulse and do a few blood tests.

I currently pay $167/month for high deductible insurance through HTH Worldwide. They are the only insurance company I have found that works in the US and abroad, seemingly without problems. I won’t necessarily recommend them over any other health insurance company though. The whole industry is corrupt and I have just as much love for them as they have for me. (No love, in case that’s not clear.)

In addition, I practice “personal health insurance.” I eat vegan. I exercise. I get enough sleep. I don’t allow crappy people in my life. I don’t live an incredibly stressful life. I don’t smoke. All in all, my lifestyle is well-suited to not needing health insurance. If it wasn’t for these genes I probably wouldn’t buy it.

We need better health insurance.

Additional reading:

48) Do you have a virtual assistant or do you do your own admin? What do you delegate vs. do yourself?

I do not have a virtual assistant, per se. I answer all of my own e-mails and delegate anything I hate doing. Design & development, nearly 100% of the time. I enjoy engaging with readers/friends through e-mail so even if some people consider it a time sink I find it valuable. (E-mail me anytime.)

49) How can a 20 year old female convince her parents to let her travel solo for 1 or 2 months?

I asked my homegirl (using that word in my writing has always been a goal, score!) Jodi Ettenberg from LegalNomads.com if she’d like to take the lead and answer this question. This is what she said:

###

I get those emails all the time. “Hi I’m 19 and I got bit – by the travel bug, not Edward.”

To be honest, my response is usually to think about doing the travels a bit later if they want to travel more than 1 or 2 months (as in, finishing your schooling is most important so you set yourself up with a worst case scenario that includes a degree). But for shorter term trips I usually say for them to take a semi-independent trip with a group first and then stay on an extra month or so by themselves after .The parents know they’ve had an ability to see the place first with a guide, they’ve made friends they might travel with and yet they still get the benefit of traveling alone.

Another option is to do an exchange somewhere and then use the time between school to travel. That is what I did in France, taking time to visit surrounding countries on weekends and during the summer.

###

If there was ever a solo traveler who knows her stuff, it’s Jodi.

My only disagreement, per se, is that finishing school isn’t most important and it isn’t a best worst case. In many ways it’s a worst worst case.

A best worst case is that you’re broke, don’t have any income, didn’t waste 4 years of your life at school, and didn’t go into debt to waste those years. No debt? Traveling is easy. You can find jobs along the way.

A worst case is that you’re broke, wasted 4 years of life in school, and are now in school debt $XX,XXX. Meaning, you now have to find a high paying job to pay off your debt just for the ability to eventually travel.

If you’re enjoying school, learning a lot of stuff that interests you, and have professors who give a damn then that’s important. If you’re doing it to “get a good job someday” then that is the road to hell.

Now, that all said, my answer to this question:

You’re 20 years old. Your Parents don’t control you. Stop treating yourself like a child. Do what you want, not what they want. They don’t know what’s best for you and never will.

50) How do you overcome attitudes around self imposed limitations?

This is something I battle with regularly. There are essentially two ways to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re having trouble with a limiting belief.

1) Think of a time when you obliterated that limiting belief in your past. What did you do? How did it feel? Then copy that.

or

2) Think of someone else who has accomplished what you’re trying to accomplish. How did they do it? What steps did they take? What roadblocks did they have to overcome. Then copy that.

Know that you’re not alone. That helps me. I know I’m not the first person to go through whatever I’m going through and that helps me figure out a way through it.

51) How do I find a problem that people will pay me to solve for them?

Something that will help someone with health, wealth, or happiness is likely something people will pay for. This literally covers every single service or product in the world. Take inventory of the skills you currently have that can help someone (or some company) with one of these things and you have your answer.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Are you a good cook? People will pay for that. Can you save a company lots of money on something they’re overspending on? They’ll pay for that. Are you a good designer? People will pay for that.

If you don’t have any of the necessary skills then acquire them. You don’t need to be a an expert, just expert enough.

52) Is it possible to feel excited, passionate, energised and all those other good things day after day about what you do? How do I know when I feel unmotivated and listless it’s not because of me just being me? I seem to have so many different interests, and move from one to the other before completely mastering anything. I end up doing OK at everything. Is the reason I keep looking for different avenues and adventures in life, and not content with the job I have (I don’t hate it, but I don’t particularly like it either), just because I haven’t found my passion?

Nobody is fully passionate about what they’re doing at every single moment of their lives. Anybody who tells you otherwise is lying, to themselves and to you.

But if you’re not having fun and you’re not passionate about what you’re doing most of the time then you’ve got a problem. It’s just not a good way to live. My feeling is that complacency is your problem. Since you have a job you don’t hate you’re probably not motivated enough to get out of it. That seeps into any project you start.

One possible solution: Save up a few months of living expenses and quit your job or get yourself fired. :) I’m only half serious. I don’t know you well enough to know if that’s a good idea or not.

53) How do I go about putting my ideas for business into action, rather than just sitting on them? Who do I need to share these dreams with? I’ve been out of work for seven months and can’t seem to find a job so I want to start my own business.

Starting a business because you can’t find a job sounds to me like a business that’s doomed to failure. I’m sensing a defeatist, “ehh, let’s start a business, I’m bored, whatever” attitude that’s just not going to cut it.

You don’t need to share your ideas or dreams with anybody. Derek Sivers says sharing your ideas/dreams with others is the exact wrong approach. Just get off your ass and do something. Jenny would probably tell you to “make shit happen.” I agree.

54) Do you have advice on how to decide what ideas/projects are worth taking action on, which ones you should shelve (or delete!), and how you prioritize them? I have a ton of ideas of my own floating around, and a few that seem worthy of action (i.e. they keep coming back), but I’m having trouble focusing on taking real action on one at a time.

Yes, pick one and go. Your ideas are useless. Absolutely, completely, worthless. Literally worth zero pennies. Until you do something. So do something.

Then you’ll know if your idea is really worth $0 or maybe worth $1,000,000,000 or probably worth somewhere in between.

See an idea through until its failure or success point as quickly as possible. How quickly can you test the viability of your idea? It’s never as complicated as you think.

55) What do you do when you can’t see the how? While I have found what I love to do (sharing resources and information with Moms to build stronger and more satisfying relationships), I am still not able to figure out how that translates into a business model. I am stuck because I can’t see how it translates into a concrete service, such as coaching, or as being a virtual assistant, or into a concrete product. I am slowly building a following on my blog, but I cannot see the “how” of it translating into a living.

It probably doesn’t translate into a business model. Or maybe it does. Do Moms want that? Do they already pay somebody else (either directly or via books/courses) to get that? If not, what makes you think they’re going to pay you? It’s a misguided approach that I see often. The reason you’re not seeing the business model is because there very well might not be one.

Survey your audience and ask them straight up what they would pay for. The answers will enlighten you.

56) In regards to creating / designing a website: how to find students to do it for cheap (experience/portfolio for them, cheaper price for us)?

Unless you’re a company worth working for, you probably won’t find a student who’s a great designer and will work for free. Designers are a dime a dozen. Good designers are not.

Buck up and pay for good design. There are 3 designers listed in my Resources. Niall created Truth. No Consequences. True story: It was originally going to be called Fuck It All & No Regrets. I have the design mockups from Niall to prove it. :)

57) I’m in the process of beginning my blog, and I know that I can use it to inform and inspire. I really want to develop a community and your blog is one of the best examples of a blog community I’ve seen. How did you make that happen? Was it intentional?

It’s intentional and it’s not.

Treat your visitors/subscribers like humans and that will go a long way. Answer e-mails. Answer comments. Interact. It’s really not that difficult. Got a new e-mail subscriber? E-mail them personally with a thank you.

Example: On March 5, 2010 I released a course called How To Live Anywhere (not available anymore). I was living in India at the time. 132 beautiful people bought in the first 24 hours and I mailed every single one of them a postcard. It took me ~6 hours to hand write/address them. We all appreciate being treated like humans, not blips on a screen.

You don’t have to do that, but at the very least humanize yourself. Include photos of yourself on your site. Include personal anecdotes. Don’t hide behind the anonymity of the internet. We connect with humans not machines. Whether you like it or not your whole life is already accessible online. Maybe it’s a bit more difficult to dig up if it’s not coming from you, but don’t delude yourself into thinking you’re hiding anything. So don’t even bother trying to hide. Open up. We’ll appreciate it.

58) Are there any habits that are imperative to one’s success?

I don’t know, but there are habits that are detrimental to one’s success. They include, but are not limited to, watching TV every evening and being lazy. (The bad kind of lazy where you don’t get stuff done. There’s also a good kind of lazy, but it’s difficult to explain.)

I would say having a thirst for knowledge is very important to success. I constantly fill my brain with new information (books!) and most successful people I know do the same.

59) What are some things you’ve tried that haven’t worked (in blogging, business, and life)? What are your failures?

I’m wondering how much I want to embarrass myself right now. I’ll go for the bare minimum of embarrassment. Most of these will probably be about life.

Off the top of my head (if I thought long and hard I could go on for days):

  • I started an e-mail coupon service called Zavoom.com about 10 years ago that didn’t make a penny.
  • I sold a script at MyDigitalDelivery.com in 2003 that only made a few thousand dollars. It was basically e-junkie.com but you could buy it for a one-time fee ($97) and use it wherever/however you wanted.
  • I used to go to weekly Chamber of Commerce networking meetings to scrounge up leads for my web design & marketing company 12 years ago. After 6 months I made exactly 0 sales as a result of going to those meetings.
  • 99% of the girls I ask out say no. Maybe it’s not quite 99%. Maybe I’m exaggerating. Let’s say “most” or “the majority.”
  • 99% of the time I don’t even bother approaching a girl I think is cute. (Maybe I’m exaggerating again. Maybe it’s 98%!)
  • My longest relationship lasted over 4 years. It probably should’ve lasted 2 weeks. I was weak back then.
  • The longest any other relationship has lasted is maybe 2 months. (Maybe not even that.)
  • I tried to do the 100 pushup challenge, but got really bored after getting to 50 so didn’t continue on with it. Nowadays I can probably only do ~35 pushups (max).
  • I own the domain 30DatesIn30Nights.com. I planned on getting sponsored by a dating site, which I would use to procure those 30 dates. Nobody took me up on it.
  • I ran a 5k on 10/10/2010 at 10am and came in 60th (or so) place. There were only 72 participants and the people who ran even slower than me were all twice my age.
  • The last Only72 sale (Nov-Dec 2011) performed far below expectations. It still did well, but we didn’t even reach 1/3 of the way to our expectation.
  • Seth Godin rejected me when I pitched him on being an advisor with a huge equity stake for the startup I’m launching soon. He was nice about it though.
  • I used to live my life to make other people happy by doing what they wanted instead of what I wanted. This resulted in me hating myself and wanting to die. I don’t do that anymore. It’s dangerous.
  • I’ve written and/or pitched guest posts for many blogs and have not received responses. (One of the reasons I *always* respond to e-mail. It sucks being ignored.)

I hope you feel better, because I sure don’t! ;)

60) I’ve always taken a “bring it on” approach to new opportunities. I welcome and try everything that interests me. Lately I find that I’m spreading my focus too thin. With all the opportunities available, how do you decide what not to do?

Don’t work on stuff that you can’t focus on. If you’re spreading your focus too thin there are things that aren’t exciting you about certain projects. Shut those projects down.

This does not hold true if you’re a puppet master like Richard Branson or Chris Guillebeau, of course. A puppet master doesn’t work on the aspects of a project he/she can’t or doesn’t want to focus on. Sometimes I try to be the puppet master. I haven’t mastered it.

What I’ve learned about being a puppet master: find people smarter than you to take the lead or have a lot of control on certain parts of projects.

Before I get negative comments about the term puppet master, I simply mean it as someone who has a lot of ideas and is good at getting a lot of people together to see all those ideas to fruition. I don’t mean it as a domineering control freak or micro-manager.

Ask Isaac or Charlie about my micro-management. I don’t micro-manage when I’m working alongside geniuses like them.

You can also use the Hell Yeah or No philosophy.

###

And with that, Extraordinary Insights Volume 2 is done. If you submitted a question, thanks! If you didn’t, no thanks! If you’re reading this, thanks! If you’re not reading this, no thanks!

See you in December when I open up submissions for Volume 3. If you don’t want to be anonymous you can always e-mail me personally. (karol at gajda dot com)

###

Photo Credit

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hey Karol,
    Congrats on your great new site and the death of RidiculouslyExtraordinary! Maybe I’ll buy mezcal from you later. Enjoy Mexico.

    • Thanks Poch! :)

  • Holy shit! Holy shit. Wow. I loved this. I don’t get it. I appreciate the huge shout outs and the amazing company. I think I need to re-read this tomorrow. I’m very curious to find out your thinking here. Love reading your stuff regardless of the domain.

    • haha! You don’t get it? You’re a balla. Thanks Dan.

  • Congratulations on the new site, Karol.

    I’ve been reading you for a few years, and it’s always inspiring to see someone you look up to start fresh. Keep up the great work.

    All the best,
    Andrew

  • Nice new look !!
    You rockk …

    Freedom Fighter from Calcutta,
    Jatin

    • Thank you Jatin.

  • Man, I just spent almost an hour reading through all that and following several links. Whole lot of value you just dumped on me!

    And thanks for the shout out :-)

    • You’re welcome. Also, your comment was in my spam so I didn’t approve it until 36 hours after you posted. WTF. :)

      For everybody reading this: Niall created Truth. No Consequences.

  • Hey Karol! I’m loving this new direction. Does it feel incredible to start fresh? I’ll bet it does. New beginnings are so invigorating. Here’s to TRUTH and saying what needs to be said. Congrats man.

    • It does feel incredible. Thanks Corbett.

  • Karol,

    Congrats on the new direction! It’s refreshing to change pace now and again. I’ll be rereading this and I am going to point my readers to it this week. Well worth sharing with everyone I know!;-)

    • Thank you Annie, for reading, following along, and sharing.

  • Thanks Karol, I am learning bunches from you

  • Hi Karol. You’ve written so many great posts, BUT… this post is proving to be my favorite of all time. It’s taken me all night just to get halfway through, and I’ve been loving every moment. Thanks for your insight & the great read. Sincerely, GTO (aka Greg) (aka the guy who probably would’ve met you at Kennywood Park (in Pittsburgh) if the Coaster Tour hadn’t threatened your life.) (Very glad you’re still with us!)

    • Thanks Greg. That’s nice of you to say. Yeah, too bad the coaster tour ended and I didn’t make it to Pitt. Although it does look like I’ll be “ending it” in Abu Dhabi at Ferrari World come March!

  • Thanks for sharing such awesome insights. Will you still do it in e-book form?

    • Hi Lana, I mostly decided against it. It just felt more right to do it open wide like this. Maybe I’ll change my tune, but at this point, probably not.

  • Incredible way to start the new site.

    I can testify on #57: I remember that I learned about Karol from his first
    «ultralight travel» post (and today I still have not managed how to get onto the
    big camera problem!).

    But the day I got the postal I almost cried ;)

    • Thank you Pau. And thanks for the return postcard! ;)