Sunday, October 24, 2010

Step 1

I bought a book yesterday that's all about making the most out of life, by working less and setting different kinds of goals. I love self-help books, but this one has me scratching my head: some of the advice is a quite nonconformist. I'm only 50 pages into the book, but so far I assume the target audience is the middle-class because he assumes that everyone is able to survive on reduced income, while still planning fantastic trips to South America. I have no personal income, and any income that I might be able to obtain would be quickly depleted by day-to-day living, so a lot of the advice regarding vacations isn't currently useful to me. But other advice he gives, concerning life goals and such, could be useful to me, especially because I'll be graduating college next year.
I should also explain how I heard about this author. I follow several travel info accounts on Twitter, and a couple weeks ago I clicked on a link about "Round the World Tickets." The author of the book I'm reading is an expert on them. I didn't know that RTW's were real, but apparently you can just call American Airlines and ask for one and they'll set you up. They're not cheap, starting at $10,000 or so, but for the amount of travel and flexibility that comes with them, it sounds like a nice deal, if you have a month free and an extra $10,000 lying around...not to mention a few thousand more for hotels/food/ground transportation.
Okay, here's a few of the questions he asks on page 46. I thought they'd make for good blogging material. I've paraphrased liberally.
1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you were considering.
Being ugly and poor. I'm not sure what I'm planning on doing. 
2. What could you do to make things better, even if temporarily? 
Work a minimum wage job and exercise? I guess this applies to a point in the future when I'll have already been graduated. 
3. What are the probable outcomes or benefits? Have less intelligent people done this before and pulled it off? 
Having a comfortable living and not being ugly? YES. 
4. If you were fired from your (hypothetical) job today, what would you do to get things under financial control. Run through questions 1-3 above.
prostitute myself Get a different job?  Move in with someone? Donate plasma. Possible outcomes: shame, humiliation. Pretty intuitive stuff. 
5. What are you putting off out of fear? (What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do...A person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one more thing every day that you fear.)
Improving my writing and sharing it with people. Getting in shape.
6. What is it costing you - financially, emotionally, and physcially - to postpone action.
Well, never developing my talents. Having progressively less confidence in my physical appearance. Probably accelerated aging. Less money than I'd have were I published. Less money than a person who's doing the exact same thing, but who is more attractive than me.
7. What are you waiting for?  "The right time" is a bad answer. 
Good question!

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