Future Kings and Paupers: Why Making $1,000,000 is Only the Beginning

This post will probably be ignored. It isn’t about Twitter and it doesn’t include an infographic. It’s complex, not easy, which is why it’s kind of a mess. Skip it if you think you can’t handle it, no problem.

But first, a question.

Do you think you’re a good judge of character?

Most people do. But how would you know if you really were?

Being able to judge someone’s character is a sign of success. But it isn’t all it takes. Properly assessing someone you meet requires more: It requires being a good judge of someone’s potential. It helps you know what kind of relationship you want to have.

But how can you tell if someone can be a leader, or if they’ll be successful? How can you tell if they have initiative, or if you can trust them?

I propose that judging someone’s potential– even someone you’ve just met– is easy. It’s based on one fundamental character trait that you can develop with practice and, with it, change your life. I’ll explain below.


It’s clear to many of us here on the web that there is a new class emerging. Robb Wolf, a research biochemist, blogger, and New York Times bestselling author is a part of it. So are Everett Bogue, Tim Ferriss, Chris Guillebeau, and many more. You may be, too, and if you are, you already know it.

If you don’t, then it’s possible you have no idea what I’m talking about, so here it is.

Almost two years ago, Chris Brogan and I started writing a book called Trust Agents, about a set of people who were taking advantage of digital technology to grow their influence. The book would become pretty popular here on the web, and continues to sell well, which is great. I realize now, though, that the phenomenon is about more than that.

One main aspect of this new generation (who can be young or old, btw) is their understanding of systems and games and how to find workarounds (“gatejumping” or “lifehacking”). It’s clear that they don’t need a million dollars to be happy– so they figure out what they really need and find easy ways to get it.

In other words, these people have built systems around them that faciliates financial and career success. Generally, they aren’t chasing the dream of massive wealth– they know it has very little to do with happiness– so they work on new, more fulfilling goals instead.

Ev Bogue recently decided to become a yoga teacher. Tim Ferriss hacked his own muscle mass and wrote the 4-Hour Body. Guillebeau is exploiting the loopholes in air travel to visit every country in the world. I could name many more of these people, each doing it in their own way.

Whatever you decide to call it, it’s big, and it’s because of access to information and the ability to see others doing it in real time. Still, some people want this and get it– and others do not. Why? Because of this specific character trait.

This brings us back to our first point.

How do you judge someone’s character instantly, find out what kind of person they are and how likely they are to succeed? Easy.

Challenge them.

Ask them to do something unusual (like a bet). Or, question the way they’re doing things and see how they react to a totally different method of thinking.

Their reaction is based in their ability to deal with change and experimentation, and the ability to experiment is directly related to their real-life success.

The basic difference is whether you are willing to test your environment and lead an experimental life. And it is a trait that is taught to us by our environment– by games, by seeing other people doing it, and by seeing inefficient models of reality (such as school=success) that we can choose to avoid.

Here is the simple reality of the situation.

Accept what your parents, your teachers, and your peers say, and you’ll be a slave to what they’ve said. You’ll base your decisions on what they’ve decided, instead of what you have. Your learning will slow down and much of what you want will not come true (unless you shrink your expectations).

Test everything for yourself– assume nothing– and the opposite will happen. Your results will be based in what is real. You’ll become a king. You will accelerate as you learn and your momentum will carry you past obstacles you never thought you could conquer before.

You’ll quickly learn you don’t need a job.

You’ll free up your time.

You’ll find out how boring it is to do nothing. 🙂

You’ll seek out other things that fascinate you.

You’ll become an expert in them, faster.

Finally, with no one to tell you what to do, you’ll be happier.

Some will say: “That’s not really my style though, I like to take it easy.” Well, I’d argue that you’re thinking too small, and that you’ve chosen that small is ok for you.

This brings me to my final point: if you want to be someone like this, you can be. All that it takes is to transform how you deal with challenges.

Do you see life as a game to experiment with, or do you see it as a series of corridors? This will change what you’re capable of.

For years, we’ve been here on the internet, blogging and talking about “lifehacking,” then returning to our dreary real jobs under the guise of “being more productive.”

I have an idea. Why don’t we apply this to our actual lives?

Some of us do, and the results have been extraordinary. You can too.

Do you live this way, or want to? Let’s talk. Leave a comment. Enter your email in the box below and press enter, we’ll figure out how together.

Oh, one more thing: I think how to do this, and the phenomena that have made up why it’s happening, could make a very interesting book. Do you?



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51 responses to “Future Kings and Paupers: Why Making $1,000,000 is Only the Beginning”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    I did all this about 10 years ago in my own non-public way (I went “off grid” in the business sense) and it worked out incredibly well. But my goals changed and I find that I’ve now hit a wall — living “off the grid” still feels like I’m on grid and in a rut. What’s next?

  2. Pauline Avatar

    I find this all a bit too pat. Judging potential for success cannot be reduced solely to someone’s willingness to challenge. Integrity comes into it as well as a lot of other things, including a willingness to work hard – and luck.

  3. Drew Costen Avatar

    I’ve been learning to live this way. I’ve had enough of the “traditional” way of life and just quit my job and left my city (and province) behind in search of new adventures. I don’t know how I’m going to make a living yet, though I’ve got some ideas I’m working on.

  4. Betsy Talbot Avatar

    We sold everything we owned and set off to travel the world on October 1, just before our 40th birthdays. The 2 years we spent planning the trip meant challenging every notion we previously held – owning a home, working our way up the career ladder, acquiring “status” possession, and “rewarding” ourselves with expensive trips/dinners/trinkets. And now that we are traveling full-time, it brings those daily assumptions to an even greater test. Every single day is eye-opening, and I feel like we’ve grown exponentially in just 3 months (though I also feel like we have exponentially more to learn, which is an interesting irony).

    I’m still a big fan of money, though it has progressed from wanting “a lot” to “enough.”

    Exploring this concept with a book is a great idea – every single day we are challenging ourselves in different ways, and while it isn’t always glamorous, I wouldn’t trade this experience for a million dollars. Getting here was hard – staying here is easy.

  5. Richard McCollum Avatar

    I have been sitting on the sidelines learning by observing others’ success and failures for several years now, but I have recently decided it is time to get personally involved and get back in the game.

    To get started, I have created a blog. I know without uncertainty that blogging is not my goal, but you have to start somewhere and that was my chosen first step.

    Any comments or advice is sincerely appreciated.

  6. Pauline Avatar

    Going off grid, around the world or across country is great if you can do it – but not everyone can: people have responsibilities they cannot simply walk away from, be it young children or elderly parents or relatives for whom they are the primary carer. There are life stages when some things are more do-able than others. I do agree that challenging assumptions in general is a good way to grow and move forward. It’s just not “the” way to evaluate potential for success.

  7. Bretton MacLean Avatar

    While I’m all for throwing caution to the wind and trying something new, at some point you’ve still got to keep tabs on reality. After spending a year sailing, I left my job and decided to start freelancing as a ux designer. Mid-track, I realized I’d much rather solve real problems, so I found a development partner and spent 9 months making a great Twitter client called TweetAgora. We didn’t have crazy dollar signs in our eyes, we just believed that if we made something really useful it’d pay off to the point of basic sustainability.

    Fast-forward to now, and that hasn’t happened. We’ve had to pick up jobs. They’re good jobs, working on an important problem, but they’re still jobs. I wouldn’t trade the time spent as a bootstrapper for anything, but I think it’s important not to get so caught up dreaming big dreams that you’re struggling to pay rent.

    All that said, you should totally write a book on the subject. More people need to adopt the mindset of a Challenger.

  8. Matt Avatar

    Do it all the time.

    I’ve written about my 3 important traits I look for in a person. Communication, fundamentals, and integrity.

    I judge how well a person communicates with me and their peers. Are they clearly describing their project or mission at hand?

    I assess if they understand the fundamentals of the people or departments around them. Things like, understanding what responsibilities, workflows, and priorities folks they interact with have.

    Lastly, judging their integrity. Are they on time? Are they bad mouthing others? Do they truly have passion for their work?

    Brief descriptions of course, but that’s the general twist on it.

    Great article as always! Keep them coming.

  9. SirenofBrixton Avatar

    This is provocative stuff. I would love to free myself from 9-5 and write for a living but that seems such a distant goal. You’ve made me think about whether that’s because I’m thinking too small and too narrow.

    I like to believe that I’m unconventional and yet in my work I’ve become a wage slave. Hmmmm. Might be time to step up the programme.

    BTW, yes, this would make a good topic for a book.

  10. mark Avatar

    I did the 9 to 5 for 7 years, 4 of which were spent working on my blog. The site slow but surely began generating income, and I finally left the company in the Spring and have been working on the blog full-time. Thankfully I’m making enough so that I don’t have to look for a new job, and in the Fall I opened an online shop to generate some extra income. I never want to go back to a 9 to 5 and wish I would’ve left sooner…

  11. John McLachlan Avatar

    I’ve always challenged myself, but… not enough. I often think “too small” and that’s what I’d love to change about me. Thinking bigger, but with intention (not just big for big’s sake) is where it’s at.

    I LOVE the point of suggesting we challenge ourselves, I just think it’s easy for this to fall into a very narrow definition of what that means. Julien, you are not this way, but some people I read tend to only see it through their own eyes and experience and think if you aren’t living a “location independent lifestyle” for example, you’re an idiot. Maybe they haven’t lived themselves enough.

    I think your point is that most people never even get to the questioning part let alone the doing part.

  12. Leena Thampan Avatar

    While I do agree that there are other factors at play when it comes to becoming successful (integrity, communication, etc), if we cannot push our limits, broaden our perspectives, rebel against the rules, we cannot truly experience success.

    I am working on two projects right now and I find myself constantly challenged to rethink how I should approach a situation / problem. I am sure that this will only make me, and in turn my projects, more successful.

    I think writing about this would make a great book! Love the post! 🙂

  13. Shane Arthur Avatar

    Challenge people? Totally agree. Especially for writers.

    Writers out there are dying to bring the fun back into writing. They write web copy, web ads, mailers, etc, etc, each day, every day, until they can’t think straight. They often loose the joy of writing and need a reminder of the joy of it. Until you challenge them to have fun and stretch their creative minds, you don’t know if they have it in them, and they don’t either.(click on my name and you’ll see what in bleep I’m talking about. Brogan participated in it, so it must be cool, no? 😉 )

  14. Julie Zizka Avatar

    I’m so glad to be now thinking about the world and my life the way you’ve proposed. You’ve offered suggestions similar to some that can be found in the ‘workbook’ section of ACIM (A Course in Miracles). Are you familiar? Worth checking out if you’re comfortable with changing everything you think about yourself, ‘others’, and life.

    Thanks for offering these ideas in a non-threatening, less existential format. Any way that gets people to open their eyes and question ‘reality’ as we’ve created it, is a step toward our collective nirvana.

  15. Betsy Talbot Avatar

    John M. makes a great point – living location-independent isn’t the universal goal, it is just the preference for some people. What I’m learning through our experience could have been learned in different ways had I pursued other opportunities in my life before, so I think the idea of challenging yourself to gain a better life is pretty broad and covers whatever you really want to do.

    It comes down to one of my favorite sayings: “My way is not THE way, just the way for me.”

  16. Zach Cole Avatar

    A book on this would be brilliant. Great call, Julien. Honestly, this is probably my favorite blog post of yours that my eyes have ever crossed. I feel inspired.

  17. Alec Avatar

    Interesting article but highly generalized. Maybe the usage of “challenge” should only be applied as a starting point in judging one’s character. Human being is a complex system. Nature is a complex system. Hard to make an educated conclusion by a preset conditions and the rules of the game.

  18. aaron wall Avatar
    aaron wall

    I think this post is quite a great mental model for understanding the importance of creating your own value system & chasing after your interests (rather than doing what others tell you to do).

    But I think the idea of challenging someone as a great judge of character is maybe a bit of a stretch. I mean it is a nice starting point to find people who can seek solutions, but people who are too ambitious end up having very little loyalty. So you need to have some level of contentment in the working relationship, and if they are too ambitious you will not have it.

    I hired the programmer who originally transferred our website from MovableType to Drupal & was setting up the membership site stuff. Well in the middle of the project he not only realized that the project would take longer than expected (I was fine with that) but also that he wanted to get paid almost 400% per hour of what he was making when we started working together. So that relationship ended badly with me having to find someone else to complete the project. (Or, to be more accurate, my wife found someone who was a great *reliable* programmer).

    The original programmer who was setting up the site also put me on a crappy host (which almost killed the business about a year later) so he could get an affiliate commission for the recommendation.

    He was talented, but too greedy.

    Incidentally, the guy who wanted to price gouge me in the middle of that project contacted me looking for work about a year later. But when the trust barrier is broke it is broke. The genie can’t be put back in the bottle.

    Talent is one thing to seek, but another is the ability to give back & find common ground on some areas. I look back at some of the stuff I did early on and cringe thinking I was an idiot for giving so much, but then if I didn’t do that then there probably wouldn’t be so many opportunities now.

    The transitions between modes & maintaining drive as your models drive are perhaps even harder than the initial drive. The initial drive you have the mindset of “I’ll show them” and such, but after you get comfortable it is easy to become fat and lazy. So far I am only 1 for 2 on that front! 😀

  19. aaron wall Avatar
    aaron wall

    gah … “as your models drive” should have been “as your models change”

  20. Reid Walley Avatar

    Challenge your parents “wisdom,” as well. Your parents my hate a certain set of people or a different religion and they may be absolutely convinced that they are correct. But conviction does not make your parents right. Challenge your parents “wisdom” – for it may just turn out to be complete bullshit that’s holding you – and them – back.

  21. Susan Avatar

    An excess of money just isn’t that important, unless you give it as charity. It certainly doesn’t measure success or happiness.

    This changing lifestyles is not a new idea….. Some wanted to ‘get off’ the establishment(grid?) back in the 60’s. We were called Hippies. There is a fine line between Hippie and bum. Most thought, talked and dressed exatcly alike and were on a par with lemmings.

    Similar to what the commenters are mentioning today….. If you can feed yourself, have a work ethic, and don’t rely on others to ‘keep’ you then it’s wonderful if you want to try an alternate lifestyle like everyone else. You would have been a great Hippie. If you just dropped out cause you didn’t care to work, then you weren’t a Hippie….. you were a bum.

    Same fine line today. Character and ethics tips the scale.

  22. Susan Giurleo Avatar

    Challenging oneself and others is inborn. If we didn’t challenge gravity at 12 months old, we’d never walk. Watch kids between 3 months and about 9 years old – they are always dealing with challenges, pushing themselves to climb higher, jump farther, make bigger messes. They live life large by default. Then adults (and formal education) come in and kill their creativity. And that’s a different story -maybe for a book! 🙂

    But so much can be done to live life your way even with kids, parents, limitations. I started a business when my son was 6 months old because the job I had limited the amount of time I could spend with him. So I hacked a solution and make more money now with the life style I want. You don’t have to sail around the world to have freedom.

  23. Melanie Avatar

    Great post and very much what I need right now, but I have to agree with Sarah – what do you do when you hit a rut? Not to mention, keep running into brick walls. It gets very tiring and wearisome. I guess the best bet is so keep on pushing, and reminding yourself of the above!

  24. Jeff Yablon Avatar


    As you know you and I don’t always agree on the rah-rah stuff. And Chris and I are at even greater odds in this regard; as great a guy as he is and as smart as he is, I’ve felt compelled to call him a cheerleader on more than one occasion.

    But you’re ABSOLUTELY right this time, No, of course it isn’t a panacea, but the simple act of getting someone outside their comfort zone is an incredibly simple and effective way to figure out who they are.

    Great post. Seriously

  25. Michael Richeson Avatar

    People like Robb Wolf, Erwan LeCorre, Tim Ferriss, etc., are some of my personal role models. I love what they do and the lives they lead. Our minds and bodies thrive under challenges, pain, triumph and the thrill of the unknown. I just wrote about breaking out of the cage and the importance of play/experimentation yesterday. I want that kind of life; I need it.

  26. Daan van den Bergh Avatar

    Dude, this is a totally awesome article! Let me ask you something, cause you seem to have a really mellow view on life. Which I can easily get into.
    I realized a few years ago that I’ve been to dragged in with my mother’s standards and opinions about a lot of thing. She’s the kind of women that really tries to get into your head with all of her BS.
    In the past few years I’ve been catching up and sort of re-raising myself. That’s how I discovered that with modern day technology it’s really easy to be what you want to be. In my case, I love to write and I really enjoy building websites. So blogging was the obvious solution. And till the day of today I still really enjoy it.
    But, to get to my question: is there any way that you can apply this mellow way of thinking when you have responsibilities at home? Bills have to be paid every month and I have a 2 months old son. Any suggestions?

    1. Julien Avatar

      Daan, you should try reading When I Say No, I Feel Guilty. Great book, that might help you get some insight on things.

  27. Jeff Goins Avatar

    What I love about “this new generation” (as you call it – a very apt description, I might add) is how breaking or making up your own rules is the new way to succeed. It seems that technology is only making this more feasible. Very inspiring and exciting time to be alive.

  28. Lisa from way down south Avatar
    Lisa from way down south

    Yes. The rest really is just boring. Even the first $1 million. Setting up goals that are a stretch (yet reachable), creates flow: losing sense of time and self-consciousness. Lifehacking = happiness. Stay warm up there!

  29. Chris Burdge Avatar

    Well said Julien. I guess my life hacking began in my teens when for whatever reason I started reading Plato and Socrates. Not your typical fare. My RL life hacking (RLLF ?) launched in 1990 when I sold all my worldly possessions and traveled the globe for more than a few years.

    Here’s how I know when I’m on to something really great. I tell my friends & family I’m going to [ insert here ]. They look at me and say “are you @#$% nuts!?”. That’s when I know…

    BTW I think I just found a new panel theme for #SMCV11. Thanks again…

  30. tom martin Avatar


    Fucking great post man. Hoping the end was a tease about your next book — agree that would be a really good read.


  31. Duff Avatar

    That’s funny, because I specifically don’t trust Everett Bogue, Tim Ferriss, and Chris Guillebeau and I have made it my business to challenge people like that.

    For example, Chris Guillebeau removed a comment of mine that was critical of Seth Godin. So much for “nonconformity”!

  32. Early Retirement Extreme Avatar

    I think the challenge should be to get to the beginning first. $1,000,000 is a lot of money and for each person on the web that ever makes that much, there will be hundreds or thousands of failures.

    Workarounds tend to be plugged fairly quickly (try finding a job today that’s so simple you can outsource it and take a vacation). Easy solutions tend to kill profit margins rather quickly (try dropshipping junk on ebay). Neither of these produce much value. They can old be sold if they have perceived value—hence the massive amounts of hype on the net these days.

    All we gotta ask ourselves (or possible them) is how many people can do what they do and still be profitable? Probably only a handful.

    I think the opposite is happening. People have a legacy trust in peers. They have long learned to distrust advertising, but they haven’t learned to distrust massively organized online campaigns. When people catch on, there’s going to be a “karmic” backlash.

    You can’t build a business based on relationships alone. There also has to be vision (most people have none) and execution (most workarounds or “quick and easy” methods produce little).

  33. Arthur Avatar

    Today with only 30 minutes left before going to the studio I decided to go to Chapters to pick up “Trust Agents”.

    I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to not be late for my training, but I took that “relatively small risk” to go out there to get the book. I can’t say that it instantly gave me results, but at the same time I can.

    Reading it (almost half of it, skimming rather quickly) changed my usual outgoing attitude towards nearly everyone to a more subtle, refined way of acting, and I felt the difference.

    I can only feel that everyone who takes these “little risks” like mine today, this time getting the book, can only bring more valuable relationships to everyone and help people appreciate each other better. Or maybe that’s what I got from reading the book. Either way, I love it, and this post. Thanks Julien.

  34. Katie Felten Avatar
    Katie Felten

    Another amazing post Julien you always make me think.. and yes I am a #lifehacker and I am on the path to do great things.

  35. Howard Stein Avatar

    This is brilliant, and if you can write a book about it, even more brilliant.
    Though you might just have said it all. I have every tool I need at hand, yet I haven’t hacked my life to anything near what I know is possible. I might be making things difficult for myself. And difficult can be different to challenge.

  36. Donal Avatar

    Totally on the ‘challenge me’ aspect. I wrote about this earlier in the year, “Do not surround me with counsel of silver tongued sycophants. Challenge the core of my being if true growth and nobility lies in improving upon my former self. What is respect?” and “basically give me 1 person who challenges me over 10 who agree with everything I say and do”

    http://s.nodecity.com/cme <– quick piece that quotes above are from.

  37. John Mardlin Avatar

    You come across as an arrogant know-it-all.
    Your attitude is that you seem to have figured out The Way that life should be lived.

    Even if I don’t like a much of how you say it, a lot of it is spot on. I guess you have to piss off some people.

  38. Daan van den Bergh Avatar

    Hmmm, it’s a shame you can’t post replies here.

    Thanks for the Tip, Julien. I ordered the book and I’ll get into it as soon as I receive it! Thanks again!

  39. Daan van den Bergh Avatar


    That is a great comment! I simply love it!

    Why, you wonder? I recently wrote an article on my blog that describes your reaction EXACTLY.

    It is that arrogance, that know-it-all behaviour, that makes you agree with him. You’re looking for answers that he’s confident enough to give. You could’ve figured this out, i.e. change your ways, by yourself, but probably your peers wouldn’t allow it. Which blocks you from even accepting it as TRUE.

    You call it arrogance, but what is wrong with high self-esteem? And what if he actually DOES have everything figured out?

  40. Margie Clayman (@margieclayman) Avatar

    Hmm, well, I guess everyone has already said basically what I was going to say, so…no worm for the late bird.

    I will say this though.

    Reading Trust Agents and then following that up by having an opportunity to get to know you and Chris a bit in this strange online reality has been a life-altering shake-up. In a good way, mind you.

    I think people often disagree with the minute details you present and miss the bigger point. Maybe you want to make $250,000, and therefore this post about one meeeellion dollars doesn’t speak to you. But that’s not really how you roll. You’re a big picture kind of dude, and you use details from your own life to illustrate the point.

    I dig it.

    Glad I’ve gotten to learn from you this year, and this post is an excellent “example a” as to why.

  41. Jim Genet Avatar

    Putting one foot in front of the other every day toward the future. There have been moments when the steps came so fast it was as if I were flying and others that the gravity of life made the slightest forward process gut wrenching agony. Such is life, and for both ends of the spectrum I give thanks. One requires my vision be 20/20 or I’ll fly off into chaos while the other … the other builds rock solid character tested by the fires of life. YES, I accept the challenge and YES this could become a game changing book.

    Challenge on my friend.

  42. Bill Avatar

    Been following you for a few weeks – best post yet. Rapid feedback is THE key to an experimental life. Lifehacks? I started (consciously) in college (30 hours in one semester! Before the internet!) Now working on teaching the kids. As for a book on this topic, I’d love to contribute. Just another part of leaving a legacy.

  43. Erik Hare Avatar

    While I appreciate where this post is going, I sense that this a start down a path that will take some encouragement to stay on. I hope I can offer some.

    You are right that posts which challenge people in new ways rarely get much buzz. I’ve been writing along these lines for over 3 years now and I’ll testify that this is a problem. The White Middle Class ™ does not like to be challenged largely because they are not used to it. People long ago accepted that they are appliance users who do not understand much of what happens around them.

    I, for one, find this rather pathetic – and I write this way, far more polite than I do here. But it still goes past those who need to understand their shortcomings the most.

    What you are saying here, I think, needs a strong dose of what makes all writing stronger – “Show, don’t Tell”. What does it mean to challenge people? What are the responses you are likely to get?

    Finally, a caveat on the word “judge”. There are many different kinds of people out there, all of whom are capable of doing amazing things when pushed beyond their boundaries. Just because they’ve had comfortable, unchallenged lives does not mean they are timid or stupid.

    Tao ke Tao, fei chang Tao. 🙂

  44. Grace White Avatar

    I’ve been doing much of this at a quieter level my entire life. This year I’ve been blessed enough to meet you and a handful of other truly inspiring people. All these influencers aiding me into creating a new life at a faster pace.
    Appreciate having you in my sphere of influence.

  45. Matt Hixson Avatar

    I read Trust Agent some time ago but I hadn’t discovered your blog until recently – I’m sorry it took me so long. I love the topics and the thought process. This post is great. Earlier this year I went through an assessment of where I wanted to take my life over the next few years. I have been working for ~10 years now and for the first 7 I was fairly content with my job and $$ increasing over time. But at some point i realized that was not enough for me. I do want to have money out of a job – I still have a wife and three kids to provide for – but I realized that if I’m not happy in all parts my life it affects all other parts. When I asked my self what I wanted out of each day a major part was an intellectual challenge. I love the concept of flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. I love to be challenged and when you combine that with high level of skill it is amazing. I’m a constant improver so I like the idea of working towards that. I don’t do well with bored – I got kicked out of kindergarden for that – but that is another story.

  46. Jeff Maystruck Avatar

    Just recently I have realized the potential of your mind if only you push it to it’s limits. It was a surreal moment. I love the way you and the other people listed in your post think, like there are no limits, like if i is at all possible you will figure out a way how to do it, it’s inspiring that’s for sure.
    But I don’t think money is the end goal, if it is your motivation is a hair skewed and I think it impedes later on. It will be interesting to follow these new leaders in our world and see where they end up in ten to twenty years, I feel as if they will be the ones in the headlines and changing the World, but I guess that still is an assumption.
    Great post, definitely flagging this to read again in a couple years.

    Cheers Mr. Smith

  47. Jacq Avatar

    These are our new leaders? A yoga teacher, a frequent flier and someone who writes a Coles notes version of a lot of other people’s research / training and nutrition methods. That’s changing the world?
    Step aside Gandhi, MLK, Isaac Newton…

  48. Andi Avatar

    I left a PhD program several years ago because I realized that the University saw me as a sack of money and grunt work, not a potential advocate and game changer. Although it upset the apple cart and required a trans Atlantic move, I found a job at a great little company that took me for who I could become on my own terms and pushed me to do so. It’s taken a while, but I have to say that I could never go back to working under the assumption that I have to be anything other than who I am.

    The sad part is that, for many reasons, many think that self-directing is not an option. You hit the nail on the head with school=success paradigm. While access to good school can be a great opportunity for many, what’s often missing is the fact that within a great school (or work environment, relationship, etc), is the fact that people are taking a chance on you and your character. They see the potential for you to become something greater and challenge you daily. I think, however, that we forget all the instances in our lives where this happened. When someone then comes along and challenges us, we panic and end up passing on a task, a role, a project, an opportunity. Such behavior is great for running an assembly line, but last I checked, we were still more man than machine.

    A book on this would be wonderful; please do!

  49. Ryan G Avatar

    Wow Julien what a response this has drawn. I started reading peoples’ comments to see that your readers are going in a lot of directions with this. Your core message of being experimental with life is great advice. I do not believe this means to always strive to be unconventional, but rather be open and willing to act on unconventional ways of obtaining things and creating experiences. “Happiness is the ideal state of being for people, Success is the ultimate (and elusive) goal. Good provocativeness.

  50. Mary E. Ulrich Avatar

    What always confuses me about the idea of embracing the challenge philosophy, is that some of us don’t have a choice about facing the challenges. They are life/death.

    There are many risks and choices out of our control. Certainly, we have to keep trying, be unconventional, think out of the box…

    I’m trying to think about a new experiement, how to try again to move forward, so I thank you for starting that thought process.

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