Attitude is Everything

Pakistani Woman and Baby in UAE

She smiled and asked in a somewhat sarcastic tone, "Do you live here or something?"

For her, dropping $250 in a single day was no big deal. For me, that's my whole budget for food, transportation, and lodging for an entire month.

Over the course of the past week, we had both spent several hours a day at the same cafe in the backpackers district of Kathmandu and on several occasions exchanged glances without speaking a word.

The free wifi and excellent coffee made the cafe a great place to use my laptop and for the past week it has been my home while I work during the day on my upcoming ebook, Small Ways to Make a Big Difference.

I returned the smile, simultaneously surprised and happy that my out-of-control facial hair -- which I refuse to cut until the end of my initial six-month journey -- had not scared away yet another person.
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It’s time to care (in the real world)

A couple sitting together on Marine Drive in Mumbai, India

This is a guest post by my buddy and good friend, Ali Dark. Ali lives in Brisbane, Australia and I'm currently in Kathmandu, Nepal.

We spent about an hour and a half on Skype bouncing ideas off each other and discussing ways that we could help make the world a better place. This is a great example of why I think technology gives us the perfect opportunity to start bringing the world together -- two people who never met each other, separated by thousands of miles, brainstorming ideas to help improve humanity.

Ali and myself are both going through life changes that involve a strong dissatisfaction with "normal" and an even stronger desire to do something that ensures we leave behind a world better than we found it. This blog post was born from our discussion and I think it includes some important ideas for bloggers and non-bloggers alike.

Making a difference starts with taking a stand. It starts with planting our feet on the ground, openly showing that we care, and being willing to discuss and brainstorm solutions to real problems... problems that are determining right now the future we leave behind for our children. Continue reading

Punching my Inner Critic in the Face: An Interview and a New Project

It's so easy to be our own worst critic. When I was recently asked to do my first Skype interview, I immediately thought back to my teenage struggles of talking on the phone.

I felt fear build up inside me as I recalled how nervous and unsure of myself I used to feel. I remembered the fear of being laughed at or of saying the wrong thing.

Now I was going to talk on the phone for thirty minutes while being recorded?

Since those days as a teenager, I've held several jobs that required talking on the phone. I learned to manage those fears and not let them get in my way of getting things done.

But this was my first Skype interview -- the first time I had recorded something that was intended to be shared with the public. That gave my inner critic new ammunition to generate fear and self-doubt. Continue reading

Why Traveling to Third World Countries is Essential for World Peace

Family of Four at Home in New Delhi

Every time I have heard the response to what someone would do given a billion dollars, the answer always includes doing something that would change the world.

People are genuinely good at heart. Everybody wants to make the world a better place; everybody wants to help. Why then is there so much poverty and suffering in the world?

The answer, I believe, lies in our mindset towards life -- the established set of attitudes that we hold towards living, working, and existing. Such a mindset is not easy to change on a large scale, especially given that living standards generally remain the same, or improve, from one generation the next.

Most of us live in a bubble. We don't see the full picture of what's going on in the world. OK, we at least have an idea. We read news stories and blog posts, see pictures, and even watch videos. We have a general idea of what it's like out there. We know the world isn't all smiles and love. Continue reading

The Calm Before the Storm

I’ve noticed a pattern with my blog posting frequency: Whenever my daily life is going through a period of change, or when my short-term vision (1-6 months) is suddenly unclear, I tend to retract from expressing anything whatsoever; I retreat into the safety of my own brain until my short-term future is a little more clear. During that time, my posting frequency dries up and I have trouble organizing enough thoughts to write a single post. I'm beginning to realize that an unclear short-term vision creates an instantaneous writers block for me.

Everyone’s daily life changes from time to time, but the “period of change” I’m referring to affects more than just my personal life and short-term goals. Many other things are simultaneously changing: new blogs, new business ventures, new exercise routines, and even new writing environments and bank accounts. Some of my short-term goals are being completed (skydiving, scuba diving) and energy is being refocused to remaining goals (speed-reading, learning the piano). At the same time, the goals of existing projects (such as this blog) are are being redefined. I feel as though I’m revving up for all these changes and there’s one giant switch that’s about to flip.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that I dislike change or that I wish my “plans” weren’t disrupted. Quite to the contrary, I enjoy life throwing me surprises and reminding me that any plan, no matter how perfect, is destined for change. Expecting a plan not to change is guaranteeing myself disappointment. The only things I try to expect are this very moment, the lessons the past has to teach me, and the unpredictable potential the future holds. I’m constantly attempting to harness the power of the moment to augment the future while simultaneously searching for balance in life.


This article was written when I was 15 years old and was originally published in a bi-monthly newsletter that my dad put together called The Light of Wisdom. I'm republishing the article here on my blog for archival purposes.

Every thing that is built needs a foundation. Houses, factories, buildings, skyscrapers, roads, highways, and even humans! When we are born, it is like we are just starting to dig into the soil where we want to build our house. Then as we grow up, the things we learn and the thoughts we think, are like adding to the house's structure. Depending on how we were brought up and what materials we used, our house will be made of bricks, and stay upright even if problems arise, or we will have a house made of cards, which could fall apart with just the smallest problem. So, as you see, how we grow up tells us what our house will be like in the future.

Well now you might say to yourself, "Well, I was not raised properly, so now I am not going to be able to have a good life. My foundation is not good, and now it's too late." Well, if you say that, then you are VERY wrong! Can you rebuild a house's foundation??? Yes, you can. Just start over again! That's right, by rebuilding your life's house, you can create a new foundation. It doesn't matter what age you are. In fact, rebuilding your foundation is so fast and simple, that it can be done every SECOND! If you could rebuild the foundation of a house every second, do you think it would ever get worn down??? No, it won't. But the reason you can't do that, as you know, is because it takes time and money. But to rebuild the foundation of your life can be done every second. And our time is VERY limited.

Think in minutes for a second. Not years, or months, or weeks, or even days or hours. Think in minutes. How many minutes do you have left??? Now you may be realizing that your time is so limited that there is not enough of it to do everything you want to accomplish in life. That's right. There isn't. That's why you have to pick out the things that you NEED to do, and not WANT to do. If you spend all your life looking for something outside of yourself to make you happy, then it's like looking for a blue sky on the ground. You will never find it.

Everything that you need in life came with this package called life. It has five tools with which we work. They are our five senses. If we misuse these tools, then we will mess up life's complex structure and we won't know how to put it back in order.

So, if we start building a new foundation right NOW, then we can become better than the last minute. But only you can do it. Can someone eat for you? No. Of course not! In the same way, you have to change. Don't worry if people don't listen to you when you try to tell them to change for the better. Remember, you can't change them. They have to change. By trying to change them, you are using those minutes doing something which is NOT helping you (or anyone). So, if you want people to listen to you, tell them using your own example. If they follow you, then they will change. If they don't, then you can't help them.

What should you do to build up your foundation of life? Well, you could start by just being happy ALL the time. And if a problem comes in your way, act like the water, go AROUND it. Don't stop your whole life just because of a little problem. Next, you could always help people who need help. Give instead of take. Use your words carefully. If you speak all the time, then your words don't have much affect. But if you only talked when needed, people would want to hear what you are going to say.

So building a strong foundation for your life is the first thing you need to do. Then, add GOOD and strong things to it, and build it up. But, remember not to put even ONE bad thing in it. For example, if you have a big garden of flowers, and you put just one seed of a thorn bush, the thorn bush will over grow the flowers and be very hard to get rid of. Even though the flower bed might be many thousands of times bigger than the thorn seed, it will soon grow and destroy the beautiful garden. So, in the same way, don't put any bad things in the structure of your house. If you do, it may one day fall down on you! So that is my good advise to you. Please reread this article if you didn't understand it fully, and remember, it is up to you to change your life!