by Niall Doherty

Hey hey, legendary people. This past weekend I was in Portland, Oregon for the World Domination Summit, and figured I might as well throw together a quick recap while hopping airports back to Spain.

First thing’s first…

World changers make my world go round

I’m pretty weird, what with my veganism and my minimalism and this whole rabble-rousing dealio I’ve got going on. Over the last couple of years I’ve had to get used to raised eyebrows and puzzled looks. Most people don’t get the whole thoughtful living thing, the questioning of assumptions, the self-experimentation.

So it was a little surreal this past weekend being surrounded by 500 people who just got it. Everyone I talked to at the Summit was either doing something amazing or on the brink of doing something amazing. Nobody was settling for good enough. You could tell someone you just quit your day job and instantly get back a huge smile and a high five.

Sitting eating a burrito across from a guy named Nate on Saturday night, I asked what his story was. His response: “Oh, I’m walking across America.” And I couldn’t help but think, Of course you are! Sure why wouldn’t you be? That kind of thing was the norm at WDS.

It was also pretty cool that it was all going down in Portland, a city where strangers actually acknowledge each other on the street. I love that so much, reminded me of New Orleans.

Anyways, to avoid me rambling on incoherently, let’s structure the rest of this post a bit…

Five keys to world domination

I couldn’t help but notice a few recurring themes throughout the weekend, so I’m gonna throw them out here. If you’re looking to get your Pinky and Brain on, know that you’ll probably need a few more guidelines, but these should at least get you started right…

1. The Zillion Sum Game

Originally conceived by John T. Unger, Jonathan Fields explained this concept during his keynote…

We’re all familiar with a zero-sum game. That’s a game where if one person wins, another person has to lose. You can’t have all participants win. The zillion sum game is a game where not only does every player win, but as many people as humanly possible who aren’t even playing the game win.

Pretty much everyone I met at WDS was playing the zillion sum game. Five hundred remarkable people, all remarkably approachable and eager to connect. We all wanted to share our own stories and adventures, but we were all just as eager to hear what everyone else was up to, and to then go forth and share their stories and adventures. There was rarely a hint of ego, never a whiff of begrudgement.

2. Nothing worth having ever comes easy

“Just because you’re doing what you really want to do doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.” – Jodi Ettenberg

I heard it time and time again at WDS from those who had already achieved success: Persistence is key. You have to hustle hard every day, work your ass off, keep pushing until you break through.

Leo Babauta achieved pretty rapid success with Zen Habits, but in his keynote he revealed just how much he hustled during those first twelve months, often writing as many as twenty blog posts a week and going hard after guest posts. Dude was relentless.

Danielle LaPorte noted how so many people starting out in self-employment have the misguided assumption that they should only be doing work that they love. Absolutely not, said she; you’ve got to be willing to endure and even embrace a whole heap of grunt work early on. Feel free to get selective once you’ve got some sustainable income flowing, but not before.

3. Authenticity for the win

Back to Leo: He probably had the poorest speaking skills of anyone to take the stage at WDS, but no matter; everyone was digging his keynote. Why? Because while he may not have had the smoothest delivery or the most commanding stage presence, he oozed authenticity up there.

And he wasn’t alone in that realness. Pretty much everyone I met and/or listened to at WDS came across as the real deal. The personalities I’d known online turned out to be the exact same in the flesh. No fakers.

I also loved how Danielle LaPorte talked about authenticity in marketing. Paraphrasing: When you’re truly selling, you’re truly being yourself. Never try to convince. Just radiate and state the facts.

4. Privilege and responsibility

During her keynote, Jodi Ettenberg told a story about her grandfather, how he couldn’t imagine being able to live his life according to what made him happy. Things just weren’t the same in his day. Folks didn’t have such an abundance of choice. About the best they could hope for was a steady paycheck and a better future for their kids.

WDS attendees seem to have accepted a certain responsibility, feeling they should make the most of all the privilege and opportunity they’ve been given. Everyone was about possibilities, and making a positive difference in the world.

5. Embrace Uncertainty

Uncertainty was embraced full-on every time a WDSer stepped forward and offered a handshake, without knowing who the hell they were introducing themselves to. It was embraced at every meal time, with folks making plans on the fly or just walking in a random direction with random cool people and seeing where they’d end up.

I met several people who came to Portland for WDS and had no plan to leave. Some were moving there from across the country, and some were just playing it loose and waiting to see what felt right after the weekend. Attendees who had met just 72 hours before were leaving town together, as if they’d known each other for years.

Many of the speakers also touched on the importance of trusting yourself and plowing ahead with a project even when you don’t know all the details. Just get the big picture right, and you can figure the rest out along the way.

Let’s wrap this up with a few more of my favorite quotes from the weekend:

“Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside.” – Karen Walrond

“The opposite of the truth is a lie. The opposite of a great truth is another great truth.” – John T. Unger

“I wish you the most incredible success in whatever is meaningful to you, and I wish you enough.” – Jonathan Fields, ending his keynote.

“Your strengths are the things you do that make you feel strengthened. Your weaknesses are the things you do that drain you.” – Danielle LaPorte

Thanks to everyone at The World Domination Summit for being remarkable and inspiring. It truly was a legendary time up there in Portland, glad I got to meet so many of you.

Last thing: I’ll be sending out a monthly finance report this weekend, so you can see exactly how I’m earning and spending my money as I transition from 9-to-5 to sustainable self-employment. If you’re not on it already, sign up for my mailing list (top right of the page or below this post) to make sure you get the report. Interesting to see how my finances fared with the move to Spain 😉


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