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World domination

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World domination

  1. 1. a brief guideto world domination*How to Live a Remarkable Lifein a Conventional World *and other important goals By Chris Guillebeau This report is 100% non-commercial and does not contain any affiliate links
  2. 2. A Brief Guide to World DominationCopyright © 2008 Chris Guillebeau. All rights reserved.Layout by Reese SpykermanImportant: If you have access to a printer, please PRINT this report. You’ll get a lot more out of itif you’re not reading it from a monitor. Take it to your favorite coffee shop, read it at home in yourcomfortable chair, or bring it with you on the airplane the next time you travel.There are a number of hyperlinks in the report that lead to more information online. Wheneveryou’re at the computer you can follow each link to read more or check out a resource I recommend,but it’s still better to read the report in printed form if you can. A Brief Guide to World Domination
  3. 3. World Domination Table of ContentsPART ONE: What You’ll Learn in PART THREE: The Crowded PART FOUR: The Plan of AttackThese 29 Pages World and the Way to Break and How to Overcome• Introduction Through the Noise the Challenges• Who Should Read This Report • Do We Really Live in a World so • The Toolkit for World Domination Distracted that the Truth Can’t• What You Need to Know First • The Plan of Attack Be Heard?• What’s the Catch? • My Upcoming Plans • A Small Blog with 50,000 Subscribers • Farewell from Singapore Airlines’ • The $6.7 Million Dollar LecturePART TWO: The Unremarkably Seat 4D • 50 Marathons in 50 DaysAverage Versus the • Fixing What Is Wrong with Charities APPENDIX: AcknowledgementsRemarkable Few• How to Be Unremarkably Average • The Vision To Rule (and Change) and Resources the World• The Two Most Important Questions in the Universe • Challenges You’ll Face• A Big Problem and the Simple Answer Copyright © 2008
  4. 4. Greatness If you want it badly enough, and are willing to make some changes in your life to cause it to happen, you too can take over the world… or do anything else you really want to do. Yes, you really can have it all. The only things you’ll need to give up are assumptions, expectations, and the comfort zone that holds you back from greatness. part one part one what you’ll learn in these 29 pages A Brief Guide to World Domination
  5. 5. “Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” -Alan Keightleythis is a manifesto that can liter- Who Should Read This Report Some are professionals fighting toally help you take over the world. I should warn you now that this report change the status quo in their industries,If you’ve ever wanted to invade a small is not for everyone. In fact, it’s probably while others are involved in rewriting thecountry and become your own benevo- not for most people. Instead of writing rules in institutions especially knownlent dictator, the next 29 pages will help for the general public, I spent about 35 for being resistant to change, such asyou prepare to do exactly that. hours writing these pages for a small churches or universities. Still others are minority of people interested in living doing something completely different,If you have any other worthy ambitions, life on their own terms while making a perhaps something that’s never beenlike starting your own business, becom- dramatic, positive difference in the lives done a successful artist, or something else, of others at the same time.the report will also help with those goals. It’s a lonely road for those of us who In short, I wrote it for people who are choose to be remarkable, and the path ofYou’ll also learn how your own personal serious about ruling—or at least chang- convention can sometimes be appealing.goals can be directly related to helping ing—the world. That path is paved with safe lives, middleother people. While you are pursuing of the road monotony, and little chanceyour big ideas, you can also make a dif- How this remarkable minority will end of failure. But where’s the fun in beingference in the lives of others at the same up taking over the world varies consider- like everyone else out there?time. I’ll tell you a few stories of ordinary ably. Some are artists of all kinds, frompeople who have been doing this in very painters to writers to musicians; others By the way, this report is affiliate-linkunique ways, and help you get started are entrepreneurs who have started busi- free. I have several recommendations forwith your own plan of attack. nesses that radically shift the way we live you here, but I won’t earn money or any our lives. other benefit from your taking action on Copyright © 2008
  6. 6. any of them. (Also, most of the recom- No matter what you have been told, no A Quick Introductionmendations are free.) matter what has happened to you, and no But wait—I’m probably getting ahead of matter what mistakes you’ve made, you myself. Who am I to tell you all this? What You Need to Know First can completely change the way you live every day of your life. You can focus the You can read my whole story here, butI’d like to let you in on a big secret, right majority of your time on the things you the short version is that I have been self-here at the beginning. Whether you go enjoy, and you can also make an incredi- employed for my entire adult life andon to read the rest of this report or leave ble difference in the lives of other people have never had the dreaded “real job.” Iit behind and move on with the rest of while you are at it. recently turned 30 years old, so I figuredyour life, please remember one thing.Are you ready? Here it is: that since I’ve made it this far, there’s In fact, they are counting on you to do no sense in looking for one of those real exactly that. jobs now.You don’t have to live your life the wayother people expect you to. What’s the Catch? In 2006 I returned to the U.S. after spend-I’ve put the best world domination If you’re still with me, you may be won- ing four years as a volunteer in Westinstructions right here in the beginning, dering what the catch is. There always is Africa. During that time, I lived in Sierraso pay attention to that statement. If one, right? Leone, Liberia, and six other Africanyou come to understand and apply it to countries, helping to improve access tothe hundreds of choices you make every Well, not really. I’m not out to sell you healthcare and clean water in the world’sday, no one will be able to stop you from anything, and this report is entirely non- poorest places.whatever it is you want to do. commercial. However, I should warn you in advance: nothing is for sale here, but I worked with everyone from presidentsIf you want it badly enough, and are will- free ideas can have tremendous value. to warlords, and learned a lot about un-ing to make some changes in your life to conventional living in the process. Thecause it to happen, you too can take over Victor Hugo once said, “One can resist four years I spent in Africa was by far thethe world… or do anything else you really the invasion of an army but one cannot most rewarding experience I’ve ever had,want to do. Yes, you really can have it all. resist the invasion of ideas.” After you and I only left it behind to enter a gradu-The only things you’ll need to give up use these ideas to take over the world, ate program at the University of Wash-are assumptions, expectations, and the I’ll show you a couple ways you can give ington in late 2006.comfort zone that holds you back from back. But don’t worry, you won’t needgreatness. to do that until you’ve invaded your first The conversation about world domi- small country. Does that work for you? nation started earlier this year when I A Brief Guide to World Domination
  7. 7. was getting ready to finish my master’s years (I’ve been to 83 so far, but there aredegree. A couple of friends asked me a lot more). In addition to the crusadewhat I was going to do next, and at first against convention, my web site docu-I didn’t know how to answer. I went ments the progress toward this goal withthrough the list of “normal” responses blog posts from every country I go that question—maybe I’ll start a new You can follow along or contribute yourbusiness, enter a Ph.D. program, go back own ideas on the site through emailto Africa, etc. updates, RSS, or just by checking back every couple of days.But after thinking about it for a long time,I started telling people, “I’m going to startmy own social movement.”(Here’s a quick side lesson: if you wantto know who your real friends are, starttelling your craziest idea to everyone youmeet. Some people will slowly back awayfrom you as if you really are crazy, butothers will latch on to your idea and helpyou any way they can. The people in thesecond group are your real friends.)My social movement is called The Art ofNonconformity, and I plan to take overthe world. I won’t take over the world bymyself—many other independent-mind-ed people will also be pursuing their owncampaigns and changing the world inthe way they see fit.Oh, and I will also be traveling to everycountry in the world over the next five Copyright © 2008
  8. 8. the big picture Yes, to truly take over the world, you’ll need to consider the broader concerns of all humani- ty—not just your own life, and not just the lives of a few others close to you. part two part two the unremarkable average vs. the remarkable few A Brief Guide to World Domination
  9. 9. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” -martin luther king, jr.okay, that’s all i have to say aboutme. At the end of this report I’ll tell you 11 to beabout my upcoming adventures aroundthe world, but from here on out, the focusis on you.In a moment, I’m going to ask you the unremarkably ways averagetwo most important questions in the uni-verse, but first let’s look at how life worksfor most people. Here are a few waysthat the average person lives out theirlife in our 21st century, Western world: 1. Accept what people tell you at face value 7. Think about writing a book, but never do it 2. Don’t question authority 8. Get the largest mortgage you qualify for 3. Go to college because you’re supposed to, and spend 30 years paying for it not because you want to learn something 9. Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average 4. Go overseas once or twice in your life, to of 10 hours of productive work somewhere safe like England 10. Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself 5. Don’t try to learn another language; every- 11. Jump through hoops. Check off boxes. one else will eventually learn English 6. Think about starting your own business, You can read more about this here but never do it Copyright © 2008
  10. 10. If that life sounds good to you, don’t feelbad. You’ll fit in just fine with the sta-tus quo, and no one will ever challengeyou to be different. Conforming to theworld’s expectations is the safe, conven-tional path. You are far from alone.However, I don’t want to ask these impor-tant questions to the wrong person, sojust to be fair to the minority of peoplewho reject the path of convention, youshould close this report now if you’recomfortable with an unremarkably aver-age life. I don’t want to waste your time,and the rest of it won’t really apply tomost people anyway.I’ll give you the space on the rest of thispage so that you can close the reportwithout reading further. Thanks for yourtime! Have a great life.10 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  11. 11. The Two Most Important If you’ve printed this report, write your enjoy, all the things on the unremark-Questions in the Universe answers down in the space below. If not, ably average list, etc.), what would you do? write them in your journal, a legal pad,Still there? OK, great. If the idea of an or a Starbucks napkin if that’s where you One of my marketing mentors, Paul My-unremarkably average life sounds like are. It will be worth it. ers, has a great business newsletter thata slow death by asphyxiation to you, he has been writing for twelve years,you’re on to something. Your First Answer: which is basically forever in the online marketing world. His newsletter is free,Don’t panic; there is a clear alternative and if you’re interested in business, youto the way most people amble through can sign up with little focus or patience. It’s notsafe or easy, but if you want it badly In addition to online marketing, Paul isenough, absolutely no one will be able a bit of a free spirit. Like me, he writesto stop you from world domination or about more than just business. A whilewhatever it is you want to do. back, Paul came up with a great “Ideal Your Second Answer: World” exercise that helped me (andI won’t keep you waiting any longer. many others) answer the first question.Here are the two most important ques- You can get a free copy of that exercisetions in the universe: over here.#1: What do you really want to get out of The short summary is that you thinklife? through your idealized, perfect day in great detail, beginning from what time#2: What can you offer the world that no you get up and what you have for break-one else can? The First Question fast all the way through what you do for­ OK… here we go. each hour of the day and who you talk to.We’ll look at each question in some de- Then you begin to make plans to adjusttail, but to get the full effect, take a few #1: What do you really want to get out of your life to get closer to the perfect dayminutes and answer each of the ques- life? you’ve designed for yourself.tions according to your first instincts. In other words, what’s your ultimate If you do nothing else, take this exercise goal? If you didn’t have to do the things seriously and you’ll learn a lot about you currently have to do (work you don’t yourself. You may even begin making Copyright © 2008
  12. 12. more conscious decisions about how (Another side note: the fascinating thing This is because most people are notyou spend your time and what you focus about setting long-term goals is that ultimately satisfied with a life that fo-on. I do this exercise once a year in De- once you get serious about planning cuses entirely on themselves. Look atcember and always end up making a lot for them, you may find that you fulfill the recent trend of billionaires makingof improvements the next year. them much faster than expected. This deliberate choices to give away most of is because we tend to overestimate what their money. From Bill Gates to RichardThe Ideal World exercise is best com- we can complete in a single day, and un- Branson to Warren Buffet, your aver-pleted when you are also thinking about derestimate what we can complete over age billionaire (if there is such a thing)your long-term goals. I keep a few ongo- longer periods of time. ) spends a lot of time worrying about howing lists of some of the things I want to they will change the world.accomplish in several periods of time, When you have a decent answer to theand you’re welcome to use my system or first question (you can always revise it What are these guys thinking—haven’tmodify it to suit your own needs: later), you can move on to the second. they already taken over the world by And by the way, we’re going to come creating hugely successful businesses?1-year goals — this list gets reviewed a back to the first question before the end Don’t they know that the person whofew times a year, and I create next year’s of the report, so hold on to your answer. dies with the most toys wins?goals each December The Second Question It turns out that they’re on to something.5-year goals — this list gets reviewed The second of the two most important Bill Gates may lose out to Steve Jobsonce a year questions in the universe is: in the coolness department, but if the Gates Foundation can eradicate malarialifetime goals — this list gets re- #2: What can you offer the world that no in Africa, do you think the Nobel com-viewed once a year, and make sure to one else can? mittee will award the prize to the creatorinclude some really big ideas for your of the MacBook Air?lifetime goals The real secret in life is that even though you can probably have anything I love my iPod as much as the next com-If you take the time to write out the you want if you work hard enough, in the muter, but every year more than onedescription of your perfect day and then end it’s not all about you. You’ll be able million children die of malaria.1 That’scombine it with your long-term goals, to achieve your own important goals, one every 30 seconds—or six in the timeyou’ll have a pretty good idea of what but to truly go to the next level, you’ll it takes to listen to one song on my really want to get out of life. need to do something great for the rest By all accounts, Bill Gates thinks about of the world as well. that a lot, and that’s why he’s walking12 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  13. 13. away from Microsoft this summer to A Big Problem, and the Simple to be reassured that it’s okay to put offfocus on more pressing concerns. Answer thinking about the second question. If you’re still with me, you may have no-Your own goals are crucially important, It’s a satisfying answer because it pro- ticed something that is often perceivedand you should NEVER listen to anyone vides temporal relief. It’s deceptive as a contradiction. For far too long, wewho tells you to stop caring about them. because it’s not true, and over time most have failed to recognize the importance(I’ll show you later on what to do about people gradually begin to correctly sus- of EACH of these mindsets together—critics and anyone else who says that pect that they’ve missed something big doing what you really want, and radi-you can’t do something.) by believing this idea. cally helping others.But by themselves, money, fame, power, This is why you need to devote as much The problem is that in the prevailingand even the pursuit of your own goals time as it takes to find out what you can logic of our modern age, these twowill only take you so far. To go further, offer the world that no one else can. perspectives have traditionally beenyou’ll have to heed the words of the viewed as opposites. You can do some-great Martin Luther King, Jr.: Answering the first question is usu- thing good for yourself, or you can do ally easier, because when we finally get“An individual has not started living until something good for other people. You serious about it, most of us can quicklyhe can rise above the narrow confines of can make money, or you can change the figure out what we really want to get outhis individualistic concerns to the broad- world. Right? of life. Some people might know instinc-er concerns of all humanity.” tively, while others might need a few But wait a second. Why can’t you do hours or even a few weeks to mull it over.Yes, to truly take over the world, you’ll something great for others while you areneed to consider the broader concerns pursuing your own goals? And alterna- But finding the answer to the secondof all humanity—not just your own life, tively, why do you have to sacrifice your question typically takes much longer. Itand not just the lives of a few others own goals while you are out changing can be a long journey riddled with initialclose to you. Dr. King placed the call in the world for good? failures and false starts. But people aresuch broad terms for a good reason. counting on you to continue, and in fact, You see, the conformists of the world it is the most important work each of usBillionaire or not, your relentless pas- will tell you to do one or the other, or can do.sion can do more than just help you take else they’ll tell you to go make moneyover the world for yourself. You can also for a while and then use your resources Source: World Health Organization, 1.use it to radically improve the lives of to help people. This is a deceptively “Call for urgent increased effort to rollother people. satisfying answer for people who want back malaria,” Geneva. Copyright © 2008
  14. 14. true success Contrary to what you may hear from the latest self-help book, true success does not come from passive visualization or wishful thinking. It takes action, planning, and sacrifice. Like surfer-turned-songwriter Jack Johnson says in one of his coolest songs, “Don’t let your dreams be dreams.” Make them real. part three part three the crowded world and the way to break through the noise14 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  15. 15. Remember that it’s far easier to stand back and criticize someone else than it is to put your own beliefs forward.the new york times recently did a It makes you wonder if relevant truth-tellers in a crowded mar- ketplace.story on the alarmingly high noise anything meaningful canlevels in cairo, egypt. Throughout thewhole city of 17 million people, the aver- break through the noise Introducing Leo Babauta,age noise level for most of the day is 85 barrier. Like everyday con- Productivity Expertdecibels, which is louder than the noise versations in Cairo, is the In 2006, writer and government em-you hear standing 15 feet away from a truth silenced? ployee Leo Babauta started a small nichepassing freight train. Everyone in Cairo blog called Zen Habits devoted to pro-walks around shouting to each other Thankfully, there is an easy and gratify- ductivity and lifestyle design. No bigduring normal conversations and asking, ing answer to this question: deal, at least at first. Leo wrote about“What? What?” over and over. the virtues of goal setting, exercise, get- NO. Not at all. On the contrary, the ting things done, and related topics. HeWhen I read this story, I thought about world is desperately, impatiently waiting chronicled his own personal transforma-the phenomenon of globalization and for you to figure out what you can give it. tion, from out-of-shape smoker to veg-the huge advancement of technology we etarian marathon runner.have experienced in recent years. Many Don’t believe the hype about how crowd-of us are continually online, getting ed and noisy things are out there. When While Leo kept posting quality contentbombarded with thousands of marketing you finally come out with something on a consistent schedule, a lot of peoplemessages and personal contacts every truly worth caring about, people will started paying attention. In the first year,day. There is so much information on notice. he acquired 36,000 subscribers. He’sthe Internet that it can be hard to wade now well over the 60,000 point and stillthrough the constant barrage of useless Here are a few examples of very differ-information and get to something of ent people who have all found ways to bevalue. Copyright © 2008
  16. 16. growing. All of these people feel like In his “last lecture,” Randy provided a Introducing Sam Thompson,they know Leo, and look forward to his good mixture of humor and motivational Ultra Marathon Runnerwriting and personal stories. content on the subject of “Really Achiev- Sam Thompson has been running for a ing Your Childhood Dreams.” You can long time, and he goes out for exerciseLeo lives on the island of Guam, a place view the whole lecture here, or a four- a lot more than anyone I’ve ever heardI’ve yet to visit, and has a large family (6 minute feature here. of. After running the entire Appalachiankids!) that he writes about from time to Trail (2,000 miles!) a couple of yearstime on ZenHabits. Instead of pushing Randy’s ideas are very simple, and he has back, Sam decided he needed a “real”paper for the federal government, Leo said that the lecture was primarily for his does what he wants to. He has the kids to have when they get older and hefreedom that he’s always longed for, and is not around. But at last count, at least With the goal of raising funds and aware-he spends a large part of his days writ- ten million people have watched various ness for Hurricane Katrina relief, Saming blog posts and short essays that add forms of this talk, and Randy received decided to run 50 marathons in all 50tremendous value to his readers. I’m one a reported $6.7 million dollars for the states in 50 days. How’s that for extremeof them, and I’m grateful. rights to a related book. goal setting?Oh, and he also has a new book deal, sig- More than anything else, what this (I said recently that I was proud of run-nificant advertising revenue for the site, story illustrates to me is how desperate ning 3 marathons in 2 states in 2 years.and on January 16, 2008, Leo quit his day the world is for the simple truth. Nine Sadly, it doesn’t sound quite as impres-job. He is now a full-time blogger. months after the initial video spread all sive.) over the world, I was traveling throughIntroducing Randy Pausch, O’Hare airport and saw a clip being Sam hit the road and went out running, played on Fox News. Nine months later,Carnegie Mellon University over and over again. From city to city, the same clip! day after day, with no time out for restLast September, Professor Randy Pauschgave an inspiring lecture to a small and recovery days like most long-dis- I’m telling you, the world is in short tance runners have. On some days, hegroup of friends, family, and colleagues supply of truth-tellers. If you can be an ran two marathons (52.4 miles, or aboutat the university where he had taught for authentic one, enough people will listen. eight hours of running) due to schedul-ten years. Randy had recently been diag-nosed with pancreatic cancer and did not ing conflicts with other states.expect to live much longer. When he made it to Georgia, CNN came calling. You can watch their interview16 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  17. 17. feature here, and notice how relaxed Sam substantial. He used to make a ton of tries for a total of $30 million dollars thatlooks despite having just run 40 mara- money putting on parties for models and has changed hands—and the repaymentthons by that point. My favorite part celebrities, and now he brings the same rate is an amazing 99.72%. Keep an eyeof all the media coverage Sam received people together to raise money for local on them, because they represent the fu-was when a sports doctor (the so-called non-profit organizations in Africa and Asia. ture of charity and micro-lending.resident expert) was later quoted saying that Sam’s effort was“virtually impossible” and would cause I worked with Scott in Africa back in 2005, and I’m really impressed with how M these are just a few examples. I’ll“permanent damage” to his body. he’s mobilized so many volunteers and be profiling other modern day change resources for the worthy goal of bringing agents, along with interviews and theirI asked Sam just last week how he’s do- clean water to villages in poor countries own take on non-conformity, everying. He told me that he is still running that have not seen much benefit from month on my site.almost every day and is gearing up for governmental aid. Go and watch thisanother big expedition. So much for the amazing video from Scott’s project in All of these people from incredibly differ-safe opinion. Sam also told me that he Kenya to see for yourself. ent backgrounds have one thing in com-raised thousands of dollars for Hurricane mon: either a relentless commitment toKatrina relief and got sponsored along Matt and Jessica Flanery knew that do something no one else has ever done,the way. many people don’t give money to charity or a new way of presenting ideas that in part because they don’t really know improve our lives. They all chose to lookWhen you combine what you are most where their money goes. So, Matt and at the world in a different way, and thenpassionate about with a focus on helping Jessica decided to fix it. Their amazing they chose to take action where othersothers, just like Sam did, you’ll often end organization,, has essentially only dreamed about it. up exceeding your expectations for both democratized accountability for charitiesefforts. by linking up donors in rich countries But wait…. what about the first question with individual borrowers in poor coun- and our own personal goals?Here’s a couple of other up-and-coming tries.stories: If you really want the x amount of money Using Kiva’s web site, you can read about you think you need, the large vehicle toMy friend Scott Harrison is a former New local entrepreneurs all over the world go off-roading at the mall, or anythingYork City nightclub promoter who got and issue your own micro-loan to the else, the world will probably let you havetired of partying every night and decided ones you are impressed by. So far, Kiva it. There’s enough to go focus his energy on something more has facilitated 43,000 loans in 42 coun- Copyright © 2008
  18. 18. You can be a for-profit change agent too, sons and books by Nietzsche and alland there’s nothing wrong with that. En- kinds of random topics. But my Dad Instead of one or the other, whentrepreneurs and artists of all types should never discouraged me or said I shouldn’t you set significant goals for your-be rewarded for their work, and if you read something. He just said, “Looks self while focusing on improvingadd value to the universe, you deserve to interesting” and paid for my books. the state of the world (all human-be paid for it. ity, to use Dr. King’s phrasing), I wasn’t able to master Cantonese, but I that’s when you’ll find yourself onBUT—then the world will be waiting im- did become fascinated with learning, and the path of world domination.patiently for you to give back. Our lives those experiences at the bookstore areare connected with others all over the still helping me as I begin my writing ca- The answers to the two important ques-world, and as Richard Branson and Bill reer twenty years later. Even if you didn’t tions (What do you really want to getGates have discovered, the most fulfilling have a good experience with learning out of life? and What can you offer thelives focus outwardly in the end. This like I did, or if something else happened world that no one else can?) will help youhas never been truer, and each of us has to trip you up somewhere, you can proba- understand more about your quest foran obligation to consider how our own bly remember a lot of people who helped ultimate life fulfillment. It is that serious,goals can intersect with a shared respon- you become who you are now. and that important.sibility for other people. The way you fulfill your obligation to the Have you ever thought about doingBesides, no one has ever been self-taught. people who helped you is by doing the something differently than you do now? great stuff you’ve always dreamed about, Ever thought about starting a business,No matter how independent they are, while helping others go even further at a blog, a web site, a marathon trainingI’ve yet to meet someone who has accom- the same time. program, an overseas trip… or somethingplished everything in their life complete- else entirely? How about changingly on their own. It just doesn’t work that The Vision to Rule—and Change— careers, learning a language, movingway. somewhere completely different? the World Here is the summary of everything we’veWhen I was a kid, my dad took me to If those examples don’t fit, then think covered so far:bookstores a couple of times a month about what makes sense for you. Mostand let me buy at least four books each of us have dreams of distant things we’dtrip, even though we didn’t have much like to do one day, and one thing I havemoney. I was probably the only 10-year observed in years of questioning expec-old reading Cantonese in 30 Easy Les- tations is that there is a big difference between dreams and goals.18 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  19. 19. A lot of people simply do not expect obstacles that you need to be aware of • Degrees or certificates from the sametheir dreams to ever come true. The fun- right from the start. The opposition you schools that they went tony-but-sad thing is that as long as they face will come in many different forms, • Lots of experience (but only in fieldsbelieve that, they are absolutely correct. but the most common are gatekeepers, that they approve of)Contrary to what you may hear from the critics, and the widespread acceptance of • Apprenticeshipslatest self-help book, true success does mediocrity. • Respect for eldersnot come from passive visualization or • A steady progression through the rankswishful thinking. It takes action, plan- These are not small problems, and many (no skipping ahead!)ning, and sacrifice. Like surfer-turned- world-changers end up backing down • Most importantly, a willingness to ac-songwriter Jack Johnson says in one of before they achieve their goals because cept the rules of the system so that it canhis coolest songs, “Don’t let your dreams of the significant challenges. I don’t want continue enriching the dreams.” Make them real. that to happen to you, so pay close atten- tion to this section. Most of the people who will read this re-Challenges You’ll Face port live in societies where gatekeepers Gatekeepers are common, and examples are easy toAlong the Way Gatekeepers exist in most industries, find. Lawyers, art galleries, record la-Before we go on to your plan of attack, I but their purpose is always the same: to bels, newscasters, political parties, laborhave to warn you about a few obstacles control or withhold the flow of informa- unions, certification boards—these are allthat will try to prevent you from ruling or tion and the ability to create change. professional gatekeepers. They considerchanging the world. They act as old-school security guards their jobs to be either a) telling you what on innovation, trying to block outsiders to think, b) telling you what to do, c) tell-I wish I could say that all of this will be from infiltrating their ranks or changing ing you which choices you have, or d) alleasy, but there’s a good reason why the the system. of the above.path of unconventional living is lesstraveled. On the journey of becoming If you don’t follow the rules they set, The bad news for gatekeepers is thatyourself (the real you) and changing the gatekeepers get worried because they are information and power is becoming in-world in the way you see fit, you’re going threatened by change or any challenge creasingly democratized. It’s not so easyto encounter some real opposition along to their authority. To be accepted in their for them anymore. In many industries,the way. hierarchy, gatekeepers usually expect gatekeepers are on the verge of irrel- you to have some or all of the following: evancy, and they are in panic mode asThere are people who will stop at noth- they slowly begin to realize to stand in your way, as well as other Copyright © 2008
  20. 20. Last year, the band Radiohead decided news” presented in a hierarchical fashion Criticsto release their new album, In Rainbows, based on what a small group of media In addition to gatekeepers, chancesdirectly on the internet for free. Anyone barons and editors thought was impor- are you’ll also encounter a number ofwho wanted to could go to their web site tant for us to hear. people who are just downright negativeand download it without providing any about your plans to take over the world.payment info. If the listeners liked the Unfortunately for the media barons, but These people are expert pessimists, andmusic, the band encouraged them to fortunately for the rest of us, this is no they are not usually critical of just a fewsend in the payment that the listeners longer the case. Consumers, at least the people. Instead, they tend to be criticalthought was fair. hyperactive ones, are defining the news of anyone who thinks differently than more and more as ratings for traditional they do. The record companies news outlets plummet every year. Look at the rise of new, user-generated media So that you know how to recognize a didn’t like this idea from outlets like Digg, StumbleUpon, Del. critic when you meet one, here are a few the beginning, and they Icio.Us, and the other social networking distinguishing characteristics: liked it even less when communities. No, not everyone uses Radiohead made at least them—but more and more people do all • Critics will give you all kinds of good the time, and the point is that there is reasons why you “can’t” do what you want $10 million dollars in the now a choice. to do. first week from the “free” download.2 (By the way, if you are part of a social • Critics will say that you should give up network and think this report is worthy and do something safe and expected.The mainstream media outlets, especial- of wider attention, please submit or vote (“Get a real job. You’ll never make a livingly TV and newspapers, are the archetypal for it. It will mean a lot to me.) as a ______.”)gatekeepers of what we as citizens areexpected to pay attention to. For years, The recent democratization of world- • Without being prompted, critics will tellviewers and readers were simply told changing doesn’t mean you can ignore you everything they think is wrong aboutwhat was newsworthy, without having the gatekeepers—you still have to be well your ideas, and if they can’t find some-chance to vote on it or share their own aware of the ones you’ll encounter as you thing, they’ll make it up.opinions. When the nightly broadcast pursue your goals. That way, you cancame on at 6:00 and 10:00 every evening, defeat or bypass them and make the way • When you ask a critic for their opinionhundreds of millions of people would easier for others in the future. about something (a book they recentlysit in front of the screen and watch “the read, a movie they saw, a new restaurant,20 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  21. 21. life in general, or pretty much anything), but I rarely look forward to flying any- longer have the responsibility to providethey will usually begin by telling you all where in America these days. any standard of comfort to travelers.the things they didn’t like about it. If theyliked something, it will probably come as I’ve recently started to believe that virtu- The same standard is increasingly truean afterthought. ally all the U.S. airlines have effectively in other industries. Instead of embracing abdicated their duties to take care of innovation and strong user experiencesWhen you do actually achieve your their passengers—the same people who as common values, in many cases thehard-earned success, the same people keep the airlines in operation. Strangely only thing we strive for is the standard ofwho said it was impossible will then say enough, the flying public has accepted “not bad” or “good enough.”that it wasn’t that important anyway. It this abdication for the most part. In thecan be maddening if you let it get to you, airline industry, mediocrity has become Something has gone terribly wrong. Wewhich is why you can’t allow that to the new “good enough.” If you fly any- have forgotten how to complain abouthappen. where in America these days, you proba- the right things, and started bitching bly know all about this, because medioc- about everything else.Critics are not happy people by nature, rity is what you hope for on the averagebut they seemingly enjoy putting other U.S. flight. If there is any good news to the nor-people down. You need a strategy to malization of mediocrity, it’s that whendeal with them, but in the end, don’t give You hope that your flight is not terribly you do something excellent, it will be soup. You’re not working for them, and late and that they don’t lose your lug- uncommon that you will instantly standcritics will never change the world. gage. You hope that the passenger in out. People will be amazed, because front of you won’t recline her seat, be- they’re so used to the good enough thatLastly, remember that it’s far easier to cause the airlines have crammed in so the excellent is truly rare. This can workstand back and criticize someone else many rows that you feel squished even to your advantage when you decide tothan it is to put your own beliefs forward. without the seat in front coming back take things up a level and exceed the lowThe critics know this, so that’s why they against your knees. expectations around you.stay in the corner and complain aboutanyone who steps out. You probably don’t even consider the Source: (October 19, 2. hope that your flight will be comfortable, 2007)The Normalization of Mediocrity that you’ll have decent leg room, or thatIn my quest to visit every country in the you’ll get a nice meal—because the pub-world, I do a lot of flying. Ironically, I lic has come to accept that airlines nodon’t usually mind going on ten-hourred-eye flights to Asia or the Middle East, Copyright © 2008
  22. 22. expertise When you take the time to become a real expert in something highly specialized that really adds value to the world, the people you help will start looking to you for answers about seemingly unrelated topics. It’s always better to start highly focused and then work out- wards than to begin with a broad, unspecific mandate. part four part four the plan of attack and how to overcome the challenges22 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  23. 23. The truth is that if you want to achieve your most significant goals, and you want to change the world for the better in the process, you really don’t need to jump through all the hoops that people hold up for far we’ve covered the most im- The Toolkit for World Domination In the modern-day classic Good To Great,portant secret of world domination Relentless Passion Jim Collins tells the story of his wife(“You don’t have to live your life the way By far the most important thing you deciding to compete in the 1985 Ironmanother people expect you to”), looked at need in the toolkit is an intense passion race. One day she looks up at the break-the two most important questions in the for your cause that can not be hindered fast table and says, “I think if I give upuniverse, checked out a few examples of by critics or your own shortcomings. everything else—grad school offers, theother world-changers, and reviewed the You have to be willing to give it your all, full-time job, most of my other hobbies—Ichallenges you’ll face along the way. and for a long time with potentially few can actually win the Ironman.” Just like rewards. In the short run, few people will that. And then she makes it her veryYou’re almost ready. But wait… notice, but in the long run, everyone will. specific goal, devotes every day for three Or at least, everyone you need to influ- years to achieving it, and comes in firstBefore you head off to storm the castle ence in your campaign will notice. place despite a severe hamstring injury(“First we take Manhattan,” as a reader that caused her a lot of pain on the 26.2said on my site recently), you’ll need a A Very Specific Goal mile run.plan of attack and a few important tools. What sets you apart? Where will your tipping point be? What will the world A Compelling StoryFuture leaders and changers of the world, look like with you in charge? You can I went to West Africa in 2002 becauseI present to you the toolkit for world also call this your elevator pitch. If you I heard the story of how a hospital shipdomination. Please do your best to use had two minutes with anyone in the needed volunteers to come work inthese powers for the good of us all. world who has the power to influence the desperate countries like Sierra Leone. It rest of your life, what would you say to was a compelling story that profoundly them? “Hi, my name is _____ and I’m affected my life, and my wife and I made going to _________.” Copyright © 2008
  24. 24. a two-year commitment to work for free of others. Does your world domination encounter. This claim runs contradictorywithout even visiting first. plan have an educational component? to the classical understanding of efficient markets, and Granovetter even showedIn the context of this report, let’s look at Here is the interesting thing about this: how most new information we acquiresome the examples we covered earlier: when you take the time to become a real in our daily lives comes from extended expert in something highly specialized social networks.• Ultrarunner Sam Thompson runs 50 that really adds value to the world, themarathons in 50 states in 50 days to raise people you help will start looking to you Enough Moneymoney and awareness for disaster relief for answers about seemingly unrelated Your goal will probably require some topics. It’s always better to start highly amount of money. How much do you• Prolific professor Randy Pausch gives focused and then work outwards than to need? Simply put, you need enoughhis “Last Lecture” on achieving child- begin with a broad, unspecific mandate. money to accomplish the goal—no more,hood dreams before dying no less. Figure out what the true cost is A Small Army and then figure out how to get it. Work• Government bureaucrat Leo Babauta You need to recruit a small army of com- the math out backwards.changes his life and starts an insanely mitted believers who will support yourpopular personal development blog cause and add their own resources in For example, on a train ride between Slo- support of it. How many people do you vakia and Hungary a couple of years ago,• Social entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau need? Well, obviously it varies, but 1,000 I figured out that the cost of visiting 100travels to every country in the world and true fans is a great start. In fact, a small, countries would be roughly equal to thatprofiles other nonconformists devoted army is far better than a large, of buying a new S.U.V. When I saw how uncommitted mob. relatively little that was, I felt encour-(By the way, what do you think of my aged. I gave up the hypothetical largestory? Is it interesting enough? Is it com- Friends of Friends vehicle and received the world in return.pelling to you?) A small army is critical, but in the long run, the friends of your friends may end Enough TimeExpert Status in Skills that Help Others up helping even more. This is because You have to be able to devote significantAs we’ve seen here, you can’t just take of the phenomenon called “the strength time to improving your skills. You don’tover the world for yourself. You have to of weak ties.” In 1973, sociologist Mark just want to be good enough; you want toadd value to others, or no one will want Granovetter published a controversial ar- be remarkable. What this means is dif-to help you. Therefore, you need to have ticle claiming that “weak ties,” or friends ferent for everyone--some people are ableskills that will radically improve the lives of friends, are responsible for the major- to pursue world domination in their off ity of new jobs and opportunities we hours, while others will need more time.24 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  25. 25. When he was a real lawyer and before he This list of ignorable expectations in- The gatekeepers aren’t in charge any-started writing the same book every year, cludes: more, and if you have something of meritJohn Grisham got up at 4:00 a.m. every to bring to the table, the public can nowday to work on his first two novels. This • Qualifications judge it directly.strategy doesn’t work for everyone, how- • Introductionsever, because many people find that their • Endorsements The Plan of Attack, and the Ready-9-5 commitment steals their best energy • Everything the gatekeepers expect from Fire-Aim Methodfrom them. In these cases, you’ll need to you I use mind maps and the fantastic GTDmake some major adjustments or even method from David Allen to plan outquit your job. These are all the things you DON’T all of my projects, both business and NEED. personal ones. You can read more aboutRegardless of which side you fit in, you’ll this here, but the summary is that youneed enough time. As the online poet I’m probably going to make some people brainstorm the final outcome of yourRobert Bruce eloquently puts it, “You’ll angry with that sentence, but my first goal (publish book, run marathon, invadenever crush your own mediocrity work- obligation in this report is to present the Panama, etc.) and then work backwardsing only four hours a week.” truth. And the truth is that if you want from the goal to determine everything to achieve your most significant goals,One-Way Communication that needs to happen for the outcome to and you want to change the world forYes, social networking is here to stay, but arrive on schedule. the better in the process, you really don’tyou also need some kind of pulpit. You need to jump through all the hoops thatneed to be able to speak to your army The tasks you write down should be people hold up for you.directly. This can be done through a web small and detailed, and for large projectssite, a blog, a newsletter, an email list, a you will have many different tasks. Us- In the old days, you had to keep checkingphone broadcast, or something else. ing these strategies, the answers to the boxes and ticking tasks off the expecta- two questions, and the toolkit for world tions list for a long time before anyone domination, you can figure out exactlyIMPORTANT: would listen to you. But guess what? how to get started on your own cam-What’s NOT on the List Life is different now. You are your own paign.The above list may not be fully com- guru.plete—be sure and tell me if I’ve missed By the way, planning is great, but whensomething—however, I can tell you with You can set up shop tomorrow and call it comes to acting, I prefer the ready-fire-certainty that there are a few things some yourself an expert on whatever subject aim method, and I prefer to start soonerpeople will expect from you that are com- you want. Who’s to say you aren’t one? rather than later. You can always makepletely unnecessary. Copyright © 2008
  26. 26. changes later on, but if you never begin, This strategy applies to far more than On all of these trips, I’ll be document-you’ll never know what could have hap- just language learning. Here’s a quick ing the journey on my web site throughpened if you tried. tip that will help you make progress right weekly essays about Life, Work, and away, with any project on your wish list: Travel. It’s not easy to go to every coun-For example, I sometimes hear from when you finish this report, make a list of try in the world, and the few people whopeople who want to know which foreign at least three things you can do that will have done it are typically much olderlanguage they should study in high bring you closer to achieving your sig- than me. I may succeed, I may fail—butschool, in university, or just on their own nificant goals. Without waiting too long, I’ve committed to documenting the en-as an independent learner. The decision go out and do them, and then add three tire process for you, win or usually stressful for them. “What if I more tasks to the list.make the wrong choice?” they ask, as if The Crusade on Conventionthey are afraid they will be behind ev- While pursuing my own goal of world What I’m Doing: Every Countryeryone else for the rest of their lives by travel, I plan to be a catalyst for the cru- in the World, and the Crusade sade against mediocrity and convention-choosing the “wrong” language. Against Convention al beliefs. My social movement is calledMy response is that it doesn’t really mat- Before we wrap this up, I promised a few The Art of Nonconformity, and while myter which language you choose, as long pages back to tell you a little about my personal goals have a lot to do with myas you get started with one of them. If own plans. I’ve been fortunate to have own life (obviously), the writing on myyou start with Spanish, you can always done a lot of traveling over the past few site is for everyone who seeks to followswitch to French, Italian, or Portuguese years, mostly to Africa and other places their own path of world domination.later. Everything that you learned will in the developing world. In 2007 I vis-still be relevant. Even if you choose to ited 26 countries, and I’m on track to go I’m not that particular about the meansstudy a language that’s more difficult for to at least as many this year. that you use, or what your specific plansEnglish speakers, such as Arabic or Chi- include. I’m not the guru, remember?nese, the skill you acquired in learning In fact, over the next five years, I plan to You are. Just remember the wise wordsan easier language will help you with the achieve my personal goal to visit every of Uncle Ben from Spiderman: “Withmore difficult one. country in the world. Before the end great power comes great responsibility.” of 2008, new countries that are on my itinerary include Pakistan, Brunei, Swa- Each month I’ll be profiling others In other words, the choice ziland, Latvia and Mongolia—not exactly who take their own paths to greatness doesn’t matter—just do your typical vacation spots, although I through service to others—people like something. hear that Latvia can be nice.3 Leo, Randy, Sam, and others. I hope the26 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  27. 27. inspiration helps you with the pursuit of A couple months ago I was on a flight those Economy seats back there are ayour own goals. from Los Angeles to Tokyo. Thanks to a little cramped for an 11-hour flight.” free ticket from my many Frequent FlyerBefore the end of the year, I plan to have miles, I was seated in Singapore Airlines’ Jon laughed as the flight attendantfinished most of the content for my first nice Business Class cabin. Singapore is brought us more that will expand these ideas further. frequently voted the best airline in theI haven’t written much more than the world for premium travelers, and tick- A few days later I was in Mumbai, India,outline yet, but I include the stated goal ets on the LAX-Tokyo route sell every and I went to visit a part of town calledhere because I figure if I have a few thou- day for $5,000 and up. There I was, a Dharavi. This neighborhood is some-sand people holding me accountable, the graduate student without a job, drinking times known as Asia’s largest slum, andodds are greater that it will actually get champagne and placing my order for the while I don’t really like that description,done. five-course meal. Life is crazy that way. it helps you get the idea. With a guide who lived in Dharavi and a few otherCome and Join Me? On the flight I got to talking with Jon, visitors, I spent the afternoon walkingLastly, I’m recruiting my own small army, my seatmate. Jon was an electrical around two square kilometers that serveand I would love to have you in the ranks. engineer from Colorado. “You know,” he as the living and working quarters forEnlistment is easy, nothing is for sale, said, “I don’t meet many students who fly more than 1.2 million people.and you can be released anytime. All you Business Class to Tokyo just for the funhave to do is be remarkable, and you are of it.” I don’t want you to have the wrong im-your own judge of that. pression—the situation was not dismal I thought about Jon’s comment for a few at all, and it was encouraging to meetYou can follow my world journeys, as well seconds. It’s true, I’m living an amazing several local entrepreneurs who wereas the crusade on convention, via your life. I try to be grateful for it every day. building impressive small businesses outfavorite RSS reader or by email subscrip- of recycling plastic. But it was certainlytion. But it’s also true that I do what I want worlds apart from the Singapore Airlines because I’ve made deliberate choices to flight I came in on. structure my life to pursue the things IThe Wrap-Up: Live from want to do. During both of these encounters I keptSingapore Airlines thinking about the two questions as ap-We’re almost done, but let me tell you “Well,” I finally said to Jon, “I believe in plied to my own life:one final story before we close things doing exactly what I want. And besides,down and get ready to storm the castle. What do I really want? Copyright © 2008
  28. 28. What can I really offer? If you have your own two answers al- If you’re not familiar with these books, 4. ready, come and share them with every- the basic premise is that you read a fewThe life I have chosen, and the life that one else who has been reading. You can pages and are then presented with aawaits you, is the opposite of fate. Did be anonymous if you want, and if you choice. Depending on which choice youyou ever read a Choose Your Own Ad- don’t have the answers yet and are still make, you turn to a different page later onventure book?4 Life is like that. It’s wait- working it out, that’s OK too. and the story evolves as you for you to decide whether you’ll beaverage or remarkable. Post your feedback here:What will you make of it?’s your turn now. or write to 3x5@chrisguillebeau.comAnd now, introducing… YOU Thanks again for taking the time to pay attention to my manifesto in the midst ofWhat will you do with this message? It’s a crowded and noisy world. I’m tremen-up to you. dously grateful.If they didn’t stop reading at the unre- Be the change,markably average section, most people Chrisreading this report will shrug it off. Isthat you? 3. A lot of people ask, “How many coun-How will you take over the world? tries are there?” Naturally, there’s aWhat’s your story? It’s your turn. debate over this question, but the list I’ve chosen has 198. At the time of this writ-Please do me one favor: if this report has ing, I’ve been to 81 so far. Read more here:meant anything to you, come over and a short comment on my site. I’d re-ally appreciate it.28 A Brief Guide to World Domination
  29. 29. Acknowledgements and ResourcesAcknowledgements A Few Resources Final ThoughtsThanks first of all to my amazing read- I believe in reading as widely as possible, P.S. No matter what else you do, pleaseers. I rely on your feedback and think and I think that the most important work remember two things:about you every day wherever I am in the each of us can do every day is to learn. Iworld. Thanks especially to those of you originally planned to include a few of mywho have commented on the site or writ- favorite books, magazines, and reports 1)You don’t have to live your life the wayten in with your feedback. here… but then I realized that I have a lot other people expect you to.Thanks to my friend Reese Spykerman of them, and I also find new inspirationin Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who did the all the time. 2)The world is waiting for you to figuregraphic design for this report. Reese and So instead, I’m keeping a few pages for out what only you can contribute. Take asher husband Jason do great design and you online, and I’ll update them from much time as you need to find the answer,programming work. If you want a blog time to time at this page: and then get started on it.for your business, some SEO help, or anycustom design job, you should hire them pay them a lot of money. Check it out sometime; all of the links are affiliate-free. Copyright © 2008