Transition complete

It looks like we’re all set up in the new digs. If you haven’t had a chance yet, please update your bookmarks: http://17000-days.com

Also, make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff: subscribe by email or RSS!

Glad to have you!

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We’re moving!

I love this blog, and I love interacting with the folks who read! I’ve been reading a lot lately about how to have a better blog, and pretty much everyone seems to say that you can reach more people on your own domain than on wordpress.com. So, although wordpress.com rocks, I’ve set us up at http://17000-days.com. Please update your bookmarks! If you’re an RSS subscriber, the new feed is at http://feeds.feedburner.com/17000Days — please resubscribe! If you’re an email subscriber, I’m working on transitioning over to Aweber, which is also supposed to be way better. You’ll be getting a message asking to confirm your subscription. Please click the link! I’d hate to lose you!

I hope the transition goes smoothly and everyone makes it over. I really hate doing this, but I know it would only get worse the longer I waited. See you on the other side!

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Life experiments: Living the dream(?)

leaping

Image by rAmmoRRison, via Flickr

What does your dream life look like? If money was no object, and you could live where you want, do what you want, and be what you want, what would that be? If you don’t know yet, set aside some time to think about it. Knowing what you want doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it, but it makes it a lot more likely.

For most people, living the dream does not involve sitting in a cubicle all day making money for someone else—quitting your job is probably a prerequisite. I like my job pretty well lately, and I was thinking “oh, I like my life just fine, I can keep it cushy like it is and be happy.”

But then I read a post by Everett Bogue where he described his day: he gets up, eats breakfast, writes, walks around town, has a little lunch, talks to people, writes some more, does yoga, hangs out.

Would I rather do that than cram writing into an hour or two in the morning before I rush off to work to sit in a beige box all day? Why yes, I would. I would rather work on my own projects, the stuff I find awesome enough to get really into, than work on somebody else’s stuff that is all right sometimes, pointless others, and occasionally maddening.

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The secret to a more interesting life

contra dancing with motion blur

Image by Stew Stryker, via Flickr

Amelia Earhart said “When a great adventure is offered, you don’t refuse it.” And then Chris Guillebeau quoted her. When two of my heroes speak, I definitely take notice.

Adventure is important and too often neglected in our lives. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut or even just long for the comfort of a weekend at home on the couch more than anything else, adventure or not.

You can’t have an interesting life sitting on your couch, though.

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How unhappiness works–and how to beat it

bowling pins with various unhappy faces

Image by jasohill, via Flickr

Pop quiz: only one question and it’s multiple choice.

What would make me happy?
a) winning the lottery
b) my loved ones truly appreciating me
c) a lifetime supply of chocolate
d) my neocortex

Happiness, and unhappiness, are actually pretty simple, but they’re not caused by circumstances like most people think. In fact, studies have shown that people who win the lottery and people who are involved in accidents that leave them paralyzed both return to their earlier level of happiness within a year.1 So what’s the deal?
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Get rid of clutter, lose weight, improve relationships: Surprising lessons from car manufacturing

small angel carrying an enormous flower in a basket

Image by h.koppdelaney, via Flickr

What does car manufacturing have to do with relationships? Perspective. If you feel a need to control every step to make everything go right, that’s a hindrance to life, peace, and, surprisingly, manufacturing.

Needing to control also causes the need to hoard. If you need parts for your assembly line to run and you need to feel in control of the situation, you will make sure to stockpile a large inventory of all the parts you need. This will make your company less agile and flexible.

That’s why successful companies use just-in-time manufacturing—they get as close as possible to having their inventory arrive right when they need it.

Our lives are like that, too. Often, the more we try to control things, the more bogged down we get. The need to control comes with a “just in case” mentality—trying to make sure we’ll be ok if bad things happen.

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The #1 stumbling block for smart people (and how everyone can avoid it)

The Old Good Year Truck by Stuck in Customs, on Flickr

Image by Stuck in Customs, via Flickr

A lot of people think intelligence, or innate talent, is responsible for success. It seems to make sense, right? But actually, that’s not quite true. It’s the people who keep growing that come up with the best ideas and are willing to take the risk of trying something new.

There are basically two mindsets you can have when it comes to learning: a fixed mindset, or a growth mindset. A fixed mindset assumes your outcomes are determined by your intelligence and talent, which can’t be changed; a growth mindset assumes you can get stronger, better, and smarter over time by learning.

The danger of being a genius or an expert in a certain field is that it’s easy to fall into an ego-driven fixed mindset, where you’re so busy maintaining your image as the smartest or best, you become afraid to try new things for fear of making a mistake in front of someone. “Experts” often end up very attached to their pet ways of doing things, to the point that they’ll fight passionately for their use over other methods, even when their approach really doesn’t make sense.

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