The Paralysis of Freedom

Freedom is the ideal state of humanity. Or is it. Freedom is the state of being unconstrained. We all have a degree of freedom in our daily lives. We have commitments and responsibilities which funnel our conscious activities, but there is leisure time.

I travel full-time by choice while I work from my laptop. It requires a great deal of discipline to put in a full work-week when surrounded by a new environment with sites to explore. After literally years of living like this I have learned to manage my time very well, to compartmentalize work time and fun time, and to strike a balance that is not only productive, but sustainable.

New friends often ask me how I chose where to go next. Like many of my strategies it depends on where I find myself. When traveling through Latin America, I typically chose the very next country by-land, and stayed the duration of my visa (typically 3 months). I’d learn from guide books and other travelers what places are best to see. Typically I’d stay in one city for 6-8 weeks in a furnished apartment. This affords a more homey living arrangement, gives me privacy, and allows for focus on work. I can also cook, which I love. Then I live more transiently the rest of the time. When I want to travel beyond just the next boarder the decision process becomes more complex.

While I Los Angeles I planned an extended vacation. I new I wanted to studied Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country. But where? There are more than 20 countries that speak the language. Mexico was the closest choice and Spain was the obvious choice. I had visited Central America a few times and enjoyed it. Blogs showcase Guatamala as a low-cost cultural choice, and Panama as a low-cost choice with great natural wonders. I had a good friend in South America in Ecuador. The freedom choose was great. I loved it, but was frustrated at the same time. So I wanted to visit a new contentment so that started the list. Eventually with 6 cities in mind I literally stabbed my finger on a map and chose Buenos Aires, Argentina because it was most close to the coast. I spent 4 months in country and loved it.

Years later I came to the end of my Spanish studies and Spanish-world travel. I had visited 18 Spanish-speaking countries – many for 3 months each. I studied the language sporadically, probably for 6 or 7 months in total. While I had never worked in the language, I was very strong in my skills. I knew I wanted another language to help frame my travels. I loved building on my Spanish skill and learning new accents. In some ways each country was totally new for me; I needed 5-10 days just to be able to hear anything the locals said. I thought of resuming my French studies from high-school and college. I had a good base and could get a 90 day French visa. Paris was expensive, actually the whole country was expensive in comparison to Latin America. Italian? I looked at Venice, Rome, and Florence. I loved these cities upon short visits, but would I like them for an extended period where I was really living there; working, taking classes, and meeting locals? Sometimes I get my mind behind a location for weeks at a time. I plan extensively, do research on what to see and do, and google for hotels and hostels, or spend days looking through apartments.  But I didn’t choose Italy (not yet), ultimately, I decided to study Portuguese in Brazil. I chose Rio De Janeiro. While Rio is the 2nd most expensive city (to Sao Paolo), still it appeared to have a lot to offer, great beaches, and I found a great school. Studying Portuguese is FAR more expensive than studying Spanish. Brazil is one of the most expensive Latin countries and perhaps because the language is less-studied, the schools are more scarce and charge more. Group language classes are 15-25 USD per hour (In Rio) instead of 5-7 USD per hour (In Buenos Aires for example). Years later, after multiple visits, I have spent 12 months in Brazil and really love it.

So you can see that choosing the next travel location is paralyzing.

Don’t get me wrong, its a great problem to have. I’m lucky to have a life full of such freedom.

Note

I originally entitled the article “The Paralysis of Liberty”. However I’ve learned that liberty connotes being unrestrained under a political system and freedom is being unrestrained in a general sense. My thoughts are most relevant to the latter. I’m curious about how we each deal with the freedom we have in our lives.

Independence & Freedom

Another semantic discussion; much as been written about the differences between independence and freedom. Independence is the separation an individual has from control, influence, help, and support from others.

Independence is freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.

Freedom is the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.

The thesaurus lists freedom and independence as synonyms for each other as well as this explanation:

Both freedom and independence refer to an absence of undue restrictions and an opportunity to exercise one’s rights and powers. Freedom emphasizes the opportunity given for the exercise of one’s rights, powers, desires, or the like: freedom of speech or conscience; freedom of movement. Independence implies not only lack of restrictions but also the ability to stand alone, unsustained by anything else: Independence of thought promotes invention and discovery.

With independence, one of the obstacles and one of the hindrances is that independence is a moving away-from. You do not become independent-to, you are independent-from. Independence is the action of moving away from some aspect of your reality. Generally, what you think of that you are moving away from is some type of obstacle or some type of restriction ― but independence is a restriction. For one of the largest restrictions that is expressed in independence is that it discourages interconnection and it discourages receiving. For, why shall you receive? You can do yourself. Why shall you be interconnected? You can be yourself. You can accomplish yourself. There is no binding or holding upon you if you are independent ― but is there?

Futurecasting & Dreamscaping

Write blog post (N&T) “Futurecasting & Dreamscaping” which outlines the law of attraction and visualization and how to benefit from it. Include an ideal ‘day in the life’ for me and reflect on it.



2012 Annual Review

My theme for the 2012 year was “Thailand Or Bust”. I’ve been to North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. I meet travelers who tell me tales of great food, great beaches, exotic culture, and budget adventures in Asia. I didn’t make it to Thailand, yet. That’s now scheduled for May 2013. However, in December I arrived in Singapore (See picture above of the amazing Buddha Tooth Relic Temple). Asia was my goal for 2012 and I made it!

Each year (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) I write a preview of goals at the start of the year and a review at the end of the year. Here is the review for the year of 2012. Summary

I had a fantastic year. I traveled extensively while working and learning. I made growth in many areas of interest. I learned massive amounts too about how to do it all better; including setting more rigid goals.

Highlights

  • Visited 2 new countries. 46 lifetime (I think).
  • 6 Months in Brazil
  • 2 Months in the Caribbean; snorkeling & diving.
  • Worked for the majority of the year; mobile development (iOS/Android), museum kiosk touchscreen work (Adobe AIR), and live audio streaming application coding (Wowza)
  • Launched a complete redesign & rebuild, including membership integration, for 2 of my key sites; http://www.RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/ and http://www.NowAndThere.com. They look great.
  • Greatly expanded my Portuguese (PT), and brushed up with Spanish in Colombia. Both are very strong (and a bit confused, ha). My Italian (IT) took a back seat. I practiced with a couple Italian travelers here and there, but not much.

2012 Year in Photos

Calendar

Before 2012, I created my 2012 Preview and included plans to start the year in Brazil and end in Thailand with possible stays; Mexico, Italy, & Croatia. The plan was tentative allowing for freedom.

Here are all locations I actually visited in 2012 by date;

  • Brazil – December 29, 2011
    • Work on-site
    • Study Portuguese for 4 weeks
    • Extended 3 month visa to 6 months to enjoy. First time doing an extension, ever.
  • USA – June 5
    • Given free attendance to a computing course on Sencha.com. I requested it after publishing an “Intro To Sencha” article on my blog.
    • Great interview with a top NYC gaming company.
  • Dominican Republic  – July 4
  • Bonaire  – August 2
  • Colombia  – August 31
  • USA  – November 27
  • Singapore  – December 1

Books I Read

  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) book review for ‘Conversations With God’ and include a diagram about it. – Completed. The post is here “Book Review: Conversations With God
  • ENGLISH
    • Non-Fiction
      • The Next 100 Years, by George Friedman – Completed.
      • E-Myth, by Michael E. Gerber
      • Non-fiction about the theory of relativity or the sciences of time-travel (See ‘Danca Do Universo’ below) – Completed.
      • Non-fiction about meditation, mindfulness, or life-balance. Completed. I read many books on this subject.
      • ADDED: The Founders Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman. – Completed. Fantastic overview of the challenges of when to found a startup, who to partner, who to hire, who to invest from.
      • ADDED: Rework, by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson. – Completed. No-nonsense consise advice on working lean in your business. Has chapters like “Learning from mistakes is overrated”.
    • Fiction
      • Something by Henry Miller (Classic American Author)   – Partial. I tried ‘Tropic of Capricorn‘ but quit in disinterest after 25%.
      • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Completed. Not ‘great’.
      • The Name of The Rose, by Umberto Eco– Completed. Super super super wordy about medieval religious history. Otherwise good.
      • Walden, by Henry David Thorea – Partial. I started it and enjoyed it, but stopped. Maybe I’ll return to it. It talks about quality of life, priorities, simplicity, essence of humanity, and so many great themes.
      • ADDED: Novel (Comedy) – Vonnegut? Not Completed. I read some classics, but not comedies.
  • PORTUGUESE
    • Danca Do Universo, by Marcelo Gleiser. Theories on the creation of the universe and real macro/micro physics discoveries since. – Completed. Absolutely FASCINATING. Starts with what ancient cultures thought of the universe and carries that through history to the most modern thinkers in Physics. Clearly explains the theories of Einstein and others too.
    • Filtro Solar, by Mary Schmich – Completed. Thanks for this sweet gift, Raquel!
    • Computer Arts Projects Brazil – Completed. I partially read 10 or 20 issues. Very nice.
  • SPANISH
    • A Novel (Isabella Allende?)  – Partial. I tried ‘Casa De Los Espiritus‘ but it was too advanced for my Spanish skills after 11 months not using Spanish. I should try again now, fresh from 3 months of speaking Spanish daily in Colombia.
  • ITALIAN
    • Poetry – Find a classic. Not Completed. I did not return to Italy in 2012 nor follow up with Italian studies.
    • Read a parallel text book (left page English, right page Italian). Good for non-advanced readers. Not Completed.

Music / Audio Books to Hear

I had been thinking recently to dig deeper into the catalog of a few bands and explore the music of some other cultures more actively. I also wanted to memorize the lyrics to a song in each of several languages – just for fun. I’ve done so further below.

  • ONE-TIME: Collect All Albums By These bands and load them into iTunes & devices to enjoy.
    • Muse – Completed
    • The Gorillaz – Completed
    • Foo Fighters – Completed
  • ONE-TIME: Memorize Songs By Language
    • Con Te Partiro (IT), Pensamentos (PT), and Muelle De San Blas (ES)  – Partial. I listen to them and read the lyrics regularly. Haven’t memorized them yet.
  • ONE-TIME: Collect a variety of representative music from these cultures (asking friends who know)
    • Samba (Brazilian)
    • World (African Influence)

Games / Apps

For pleasure and work I’m involved in video games and mobile apps. For research, inspiration,  fun I seek, find, and play new board games, card games, and of course video games & apps regularly. I have a laptop as well as Playstation Vita (mobile), and several other mobile devices. I had no specific goals for games in 2012. I probably downloaded about 100-150 games and apps (mostly free, mostly iOS). Here are some highlights of what I remember most.

  • Mac Laptop
    • Deus Ex : Human Evolution by Eidos. First-person sci-fi shooter. So-so story, fantastic production values, and engaging gameplay – kept me playing until the end.
    • The Walking Dead, by TellTale Games. This game honors the great TV show by the same name. The narrative mood and conversation-driven gameplay are both refreshing and refreshingly simple.
  • Playstation Vita
    • LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, by Tarsier Studios. IGN Review. The PS Vita is a new system in 2012. This is clearly the best game and best game specific to the vita (uses touch-screen, camera, etc…). Beautiful, varied, fun – kept me playing until the end. Allows for robust user generated games too which should give this game a long shelf-life.
    • Uncharted: Golden Abyss, by Sony Bend. IGN Review. This game redefines the production values and graphics that is possible on mobile. A solid game with great gameplay. A console-quality experience on Mobile.
    • Sounds Shapes, by Queasy Games. IGN Review. Fun, simple game with level-editor built in. What I find refreshing is to see an independent game developer making big waves on this new Sony device. Great to see the game on top of many top-of-2012 lists. It’s encouraging for indie developers.
  • iOS iTouch 
    • Evernote, by Evernote. I’ve used Evernote for computer off/on for years. It is a note-taking application. Now with its connectivity with mobile devices, its better than ever. I used to email myself todo’s and other notes. Now I use Evernote.
  • iOS iPad Tablet
    • Field Runners, by Subatomic Studios. The tower defense genre is crowded. Somehow this games balance and difficulty kept me playing.
    • Hero Academy, by Robot Entertainment. Pretty, turn-based multiplayer game. Something like checkers.
    • Paper, by FiftyThree. Elegant drawing program. Inspired me to purchase a stylus pen. I drew a lot with it, so did my mom and friends.
  • Android Tablet
    • The tablet is ‘ok’, Android seems ‘ok’, but I don’t use it much except to test my professional projects.
    • There are certainly top Android games of all time to recommend, but I have not played too many yet.

Goals

Business

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Summary

I am the Principal of Rivello Multimedia Consulting. Offer four core services in software development; Architecture, Development, Consulting, and Training. I will continue with those. I will also offer products – namely mobile apps & games. I started planning and producing my first mobile game in 2011, but did not yet launch anything.

I focus my services around the Adobe Flash Platform. Much is changing in the software development industry for browser, desktop, and mobile. I will investigate learning and working with alternative technologies; perhaps native iOS, perhaps HTML5.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) of “The Ideal Full-time Job”. Write as a job description that would; a) be perfect AFTER I decide to settle down or b) be so good it would halt my travels early. Then keep an eye out for this position.  Completed. The topic changed while writing it to Full-Time vs Freelance Careers.
  2. ONE-TIME: Create one, simple, complete, WordPress-based website as a portfolio piece. It must also serve a function (info, fun, or monetized). Include translation to 5 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French). Not Completed yet. I’m very interested and will move this to 2013 goals.
  3. ONE-TIME: Generate more passive income. Launch one monetized app or game into a mobile marketplace (Android / iOS). Not Completed yet. I learned a lot about the technical aspect to get this done, but launched nothing yet. I’m very interested and will move this to 2013 goals.
  4. ONE-TIME: Complete training (online?) in HTML5 and write a blog post (RMC) with a ‘HelloWorld’. Completed. I really recommend the free course http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/web.
  5. ONE-TIME: Create a new category on blog (RMC) of ‘Tutorials’. Create 5 videos of 5 mins or less as a P.O.C. to training companies, prospective trainees, and to explore the experience. Possible topics: Introduction to RMC, Welcome to Flash Professional, Welcome to Flash Builder, Using Flash and Flex together, Intro to Game design (use flyer game), and some advanced topic (something to get attention from advanced users and use as an advanced example. Completed. New entire site with a great training section – http://www.rivellomultimediaconsulting.com/training/
  6. BONUS: To investigate learning and working in technologies outside my core competency I researched, coded, and wrote blogs for several platforms. Completed. I wrote MANY MANY great articles; “Intro To Corona (Mobile)“, “Intro To Sencha“, “Intro To Node.js“, “Event Dispatching in Java“, “Intro To Stencyl (Games)“, “What is Gamification?“, and more…

Writing / Presenting

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Summary

I spoke at many, many conferences in the past. Since I left the USA, I have done much, much less. As my language skills mature, it would be great to set speaking goals in local languages, but traveling to the USA just to speak is likely out of my interests for 2012.

I’m a bit shy (slow) to do it, but I really want to establish authority as a Location-Independent expert and share the knowledge (online, in person, to travelers). I have many related goals to contribute to my blog (N&T) in 2012, but should think bigger.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Pitch to write more on both; a) technical topics [Flash/Flex/Gaming] to online & print magazines, b) non-technical topics [Lifestyle/Location-Independence] to online & print magazines. Build a list of a) and b) and send a cover letter and links to existing possible talk topics on my blog (RMC).   – Partial. I now have an open invite from two online magazines ( http://ffdmag.com & http://sdjournal.org/codersky-sample/ ) to write an article. Maybe in the near future I’ll write an article. So far I have not been motivated for it. 
  2. ONE-TIME: Speak online (Adobe User Group or similar) on a technical topic (Flash / Flex / Gaming). Completed. I scheduled an April 26th training session on Game Development for the Hawaii Flash User Group.
  3. ONE-TIME: Speak in person in local language on a technical topic.   – Partial. I met local businessmen and software developers several times using each Portuguese and Spanish. I’m confident I can interview and work in those languages. I didn’t actively seek presenting engagements in local languages. In 2013, perhaps I’ll speak local, but it’ll be in English (Asia).
  4. ONE-TIME: Write or present on a non-technical topic (Travel / Work-life-balance). Not Completed. I’m not sure where I’d present that. Perhaps at a hostel or a CouchSurfing in-person meeting.
  5. ONE-TIME: Make a PPT-type (Powerpoint) presentation about LIP. Not Completed. I’m interested to do this. I was particularly inspired by a prezo I found (). Perhaps I can do a PPT or maybe I can fold this into a programming experiment such as a slide-show of pictures that I program. or something.
  6. ONE-TIME: Publish (N&T) articles from 3 guest-authors. Not Completed. I asked a few friends for interest. No commitment. I did not search any wider though. N&T overall got less attention than I wanted this year.
  7. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “The Paralysis of Liberty” about how difficult it is when I can literally travel ANYWHERE in the world, and somehow choose my next country. More abstractly how does ‘too much’ options paralyze us. Many of us avoid those scenarios by design (not recommended).
  8. RESEARCH: How can I establish expertise in Location-Independence and leverage that to writing and presenting?

Promotions & Marketing

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Summary

Many of my RMC professional goals are predicated by getting more offers for work. Marketing myself more (RMC) is one way to attract more offers. Marketing N&T will help me build more reputation for Location-Independence expertise.

Highlights

RMC

  1. ONE-TIME: Triple the amount of viable contract-work opportunities I’m offered.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase RMC (@srivello) twitter followers from (286 Followers) to (500 Followers). We’ll assume this also helps the RMC (SITE) traffic.  
    Partial. I now have 378 followers as of 12/23/2012.
  3. ONE-TIME: Increase RMC (Site) unique visitors from 1,065 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012. Completed I had 34,822 annual unique visitors (Jan through Oct, 2012) 
  4. MONTHLY: Write 12+ new posts (6 editorial, 6 technical). Think fast and simple. –  Completed. The RMC site was completely redesigned in Feb 2012. Looks great and I added a whopping 46 posts to the site. 
  5. ONE-TIME: Create a free membership for RMC to encourage revisiting.- Completed. I even created a Wishlist Member Review post and received a free copy of the plugin from the creators. Nice! I have 324 members (570 including unconfirmed) as of 12/23/2012.
  6. QUARTERLY: Create a free RMC newsletter. Simply point to recent posts?
  7. ONE-TIME: Update my Facebook page (RMC) and attract 50 members. You can Like RMC on Facebook now!

N&T

  1. RESEARCH: Learn from online resources how to monetize a blog and implement some strategies to maximize return with minimal time investment.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase N&T (@nowandtherefeed) twitter followers from (104 Followers) to (300 Followers). Not Completed. Totally FAILED. I now have 61 followers as of 12/23/2012. Oops.
  3. ONE-TIME: Create a free membership for N&T to encourage revisiting. – Completed. I even created a Wishlist Member Review post and received a free copy of the plugin from the creators. Nice!
  4. QUARTERLY: Create a free N&T newsletter. Simply point to recent posts?
  5. ONE-TIME: Update my Facebook page (N&T) and attract 50 members. You can Like N&T on Facebook now!
  6. ONE-TIME: Increase N&T (Blog) annual visits from 1,149 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012.
  7. MONTHLY: Write 12+ new posts (6 original, 6 reviews or editorial commentary). Think fast and simple.
  8. ON-TIME: Update existing speaking engagement pitches I created to improve quality and generate interest;Planning A Round The World Trip” and “Living Location Independent“.

GFD

  1. ONE-TIME: Fix ‘security error’ that appears as users arrive. – Completed. I think a theme was hacked or led to a hack. Now fixed.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase GreatFlexDevelopers.com (a ‘find a developer’ website I created) annual visits from 1,229 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012. Contact all current members and ask for the email of others who should be listed. LIst them. Then contact all those listed and ask for ideas to promote the list. Share the traffic goal.
  3. ONE-TIME: Create a Facebook page (GFD) and attract 50 members. Encourage all current developers to ‘friend it’.

Family & Friends

 

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Summary

For a few years I’ve had goals to meet new people and make friends. Its easy and hard while traveling full-time – its different. I certainly say hi to more people than ever, but to build relationships on-the-go is a challenge.

Over tea, in Egypt, my friend and I discussed how millions of dollars would change our lives. I’m lucky enough to say, within reason, I would continue to work in the same field, in some capacity, and certainly would continue to travel. One way, we both agreed to spend the money would be to treat friends to travel along with us – flights, trips, parties, etc… It reminds me of general goals to socialize with new and existing friends.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Memorize 10 great jokes – At least one per language (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French). Not Completed. I got a great iOS app that has this, but its more funny to hear than truly helpful.
  2. ONE-TIME: Write Blog Post (N&T) – “Find The Ideal Travel Partner” (friend/ business partner/ mentor-mentee/romantic partner) and outline their qualities. Then search for that person (existing/new friends) and travel together.
  3. ONE-TIME: Write Blog Post (N&T) – “Find The Ideal Mate”.
  4. ONE-TIME: Host 1 friend. – Completed. Three times, friends came to RIO (stayed on their own) and I showed them around the city. We toured together, went out at night, and enjoyed Carnaval. I’ll keep an eye out to host more. While in Colombia I hosted for 3 weeks a new friend Phoenix (See his blog) as he quit his sedentary life and started his 5 years traveling the world and working from his laptop. 
  5. ONE-TIME: Host 1 CouchSurfer. Not Completed. 
  6. ONE-TIME: Host 1 family member. Not Completed. 

Financial (Earning)

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Summary

In 2011, my projects were really great. I was excited by the projects, enjoyed working with the people, and provided a great value for great compensation. In 2012, I would like to book more of my time for client-work and spend less time between projects and less marketing time.

The services I offer are good and my pay-rate range is both competitive and profitable.

Highlights

  1. ANNUAL: Book 40 weeks of client-work.  Partial. I booked nearly that amount. However, the first few months of the year were a bit slow.
  2. ONE-TIME: Create a polished proof of concept (POC) mobile app with Ad-monetiziation. Doesn’t need to launch. – Completed. The Happy Birthday App is in my portfolio.
  3. ONE-TIME: Launch a free app/game for mobile. Use as promotion / portfolio. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  4. ONE-TIME: Launch a monetized app/game for mobile. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.

Financial (Saving)

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Summary

In 2011, I set goals for my revenue – dividing it properly between savings, investment in RMC, charity, and salary/taxes. I did well with this.

In 2012, I would like to be more aggressive to set invest particularly for the purchase of a home (TBD on when). I met with investment professionals, but was not excited by the returns vs risks they promised, so keeping funds conservative for now seems best.

Highlights

  • MONTHLY: Fill existing emergency and residential funds. Build savings towards the purchase of a home. Partial.
  • ONE-TIME: Vet current banking & bills setup and implement changes to save money.  Completed. I have a core business checking and personal checking for cash-flow in/out. I have credit cards which I use in rare situations. Any debt is paid of within the first statement. I have a bank of retirement funds. I pay in the max annually. I see I continue to pay international & ATM fees which can be as high as 10%.
  • ONE-TIME: * Contact credit card companies and ask for lower rate.  Completed. A call every 6 months seems to work to at least lower a few percent. Another option is to get a new card per year (each have 0% or other lower percent for 6 months) and transfer over. Moreover, I don’t hold any debt for more than a month (if possible).
  • ONE-TIME: * Contact debit card companies and ask for best international setup (foreign banks, purchases vs cash-withdrawels, etc…) Completed. I found the ‘best’ card for travelers with zero international fees, applied, and received it.
  • ONE-TIME: * Transfer from Vonage (expensive) phone # to Google-Voice or Skype. Completed. I now have only Skype with zero monthly phone-call fees.
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Buying International Real-Estate” with an overview of other bloggers’ thoughts and include 3 vignettes of interest for me. 1) Condo in Buenos Aires (Urban, Spanish, on-site work opportunities), 2) Tropical Latin (Rural, Spanish, Beach), 3) Tropical Asian (Rural/Urban, Beach)  Not Completed.
  • ONGOING: Create a per-country daily-budget upon arrival in each country. Based on the length of stay, average accommodation cost, estimated food / entertainment costs, set a per-country budget. The objective is to predict expenses only to bring awareness when I am under / at / above the budget on a daily basis.  Not Completed.

Financial (Giving)

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Summary

I am a monthly sponsor at Children.org and sponsor at Kiva.org. I’m looking for ways to give more where the money is well-used for a cause of interest. In 2012, I’d like to financially give in other ways too. I’m sensitive to what is called ‘selfish giving’ and generally avoid it.

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. – Albert Camus

Highlights

  1. QUARTERLY: Donate 5% monthly income to one charity in each country I visit for 1+ months. I prefer this to donating ‘on the street’.
  2. ONE-TIME: Financially help a local in need.
  3. ONE-TIME: Financially help a backpacker in need. Partial. I helped a traveler (non-financially) to setup a new website with wordpress and taught how to maintain it. After I made an HD Screencast Training Video To Learn WordPress.
  4. BONUS: More giving. – Completed.I am a monthly donor (for this year) to the Kony2012 project. Since donating I see much controversy reported online about the validity of the movement’s claims and practices. Oh well! I’ll check in with that at year’s end.

Learning

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Summary

I have always enjoyed the learning process. In recent years, I have increased my learning.

Peculiar Travel Suggestions are Dancing Lessons From God – Kurt Vonnegut

Highlights

  • ONE-TIME: Complete a paid, client-project in mobile software development (So this would be something new). Completed. I had a great project for 3 months to create a cross-platform (iOS/Android) mobile application. The project itself is not on my portfolio, but a similar side-project is posted “Cross Platform Mobile Starter Kit (MSK)“.
  • ONE-TIME: Complete a paid, client-project in a project that is not based on the Adobe Flash Platform (which is my normal type of project). Partial. I had several pre-sales conversations with potential clients about HTML5 (mostly mobile) projects. I wrote an article about “Intro To Sencha” (HTML5) technology and created some demos. As a thanks the Sencha team invited me to 5 days of training in NYC. Nice. Sencha is a good product.
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “My Current Languages” about languages. Test my current proficiency (a1,a2,b1,b2,c1,c2) and record a video of me speaking 5 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French).  Completed. Here is the “Learning Languages (Part 2)” article.
  • ONE-TIME: Study massage for non-professional use. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  • ONE-TIME: Learn a musical instrument. Harmonica is mobile, but not that exciting to me… Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  • ONE-TIME: Take an online photography course. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Meaning of Joy” where I define 20 words like joy, pleasure, happiness, to learn the subtleties I don’t yet understand. Completed. Here is the “Meaning Of Joy” article.
  • ONE-TIME: Draw a world map without practice. Practice, draw it again with 100 countries and accurate boarders. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.

Health & Sport

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Summary

During travel, I am intermittently active. When I hike and bike as part of a tour I am generally pleased with my abilities and level of fitness. However, from a general health perspective, I think I should include a more regular fitness plan.

I have no goals to change my diet or be ‘on a diet’. However I would like to alter my relationship with food. I feel that I often over eat and eat without being hungry. I think my current behavior is excessive.

I really miss snow-skiing. However I also dislike cold weather and avoid it. I’m not sure I will do any skiing in 2012, but I do miss it.

Highlights

  1. RESEARCH: Read about ‘overeating’ and ‘eating when you are not hungry’ and learn how I can avoid these habits. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: Attend Pilates class – Completed. What a great experience! Its like Yoga + Weights + Massage
  3. ONE-TIME: Get IKO certified as a kite-surfer.(Thailand?)  Completed. I learned that IKO certification is not a requisite to the sport. I completed an equivalent level to that of training and can kite solo down-wind (and fall down up-wind). I can rent equipment anywhere in the world and continue learning. I love kiting.
  4. ONE-TIME: Run one (more) 5k or 10k.
  5. ONE-TIME: Do a multi-day hike/camp/resort tour. Completed. I spent 2 days in the mountains outside of Medellín, Colombia in Santa Elena at the Mosaic Hotel & Spa.  I disconnected from technology and enjoyed spa treatments and relaxation.
  6. ONGOING: Surf more (Thailand?) Not Completed. In 2013 I’m booked to visit Bali, Indonesia which is a surfing mecca.

 

Spirituality

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Summary

I enjoy learning about meditation, mindfulness,  and life-balance.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Highlights

  1. MONTHLY: Attend 6 yoga classes. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: First visit to acupuncturist. Completed. What a great experience! Its like Yoga + Weights + Massage
  3. ONE-TIME: Unplug from all technology for 7 days. Probably 48 hours was the maximum time in 2012 without internet. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  4. ONE-TIME: Visit multi-day retreat of yoga/spa/something. Not Completed. In 2013 I’m booked to visit Bali, Indonesia which is a yoga mecca. I’m researching spiritual retreats.
  5. DAILY: Using existing techniques, meditate for 15 minutes, 7 times per week starting January 1.   Partial. I practiced daily for a full month in March/April and again August. Establishing a regimen is a challenge while traveling, but it is certainly possible.

Travel

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Summary

For 2012, I have planned yet another year of full-time travel.

Interestingly, after years of ‘new places’, I plan in great part (see ‘Calendar’ above) to return to several countries. I think in part I’ve found some favorite places, but also, I’m looking to build my knowledge of local language and local history and culture on those favorite countries.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Work on-site in the local language (Spanish). Not Completed. This is no longer an immediate goal.
  2. ONE-TIME: Work on-site in the local language (Portuguese). Not Completed. This is no longer an immediate goal.
  3. ONE-TIME: Extend a Visa-stay when I’m loving a country. – Completed. Extended my 90 day visa to 180 days in March.
  4. ONE-TIME:

    Write blog post (N&T) “The Importance of Travel – An AutoBio” and include  a timeline of my life (big picture) and list of travels. I’d like a dated recount of my travels too. Think about –  How am I different before/after long-term-travel. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.

  5. ONE-TIME:

    Write blog post (N&T) “When to Use Frequent Flyer Miles” and include a general strategy on when. I need to know this info, so writing a quick article on it would help me research it.

     Not Completed. This is no longer an immediate goal.

Life Assessment

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Summary

This post illustrates that I am a goal oriented person. Success, for some, is a process of a) where am I, b) where do I want to be, and c) how do I get to where I want to be. For me both a) and b) are really about self-awareness. I feel that I am of forded the time, energy, and interest for much introspection, but I’m still learning what makes me tick (think). I enjoy this search.

Highlights

Goals in this section are not completed. I did not make it a priority.

  1. ONE-TIME: Complete a Meyers-Briggs personality profile test.
  2. ONE-TIME: Visit a therapist.
  3. RESEARCH: Read about ‘contrarian personalities’ and what it means to be inspired by opposing others
  4. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “My Greatest Fears” and include common fears (public speaking, death, etc…), my fears, and outline some activities to conquer those fears.
  5. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “Creating Your 5 Year Plan” and include my plan, and discuss the pros/cons of such a plan.

Coaching & Support

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Summary

I met regularly with a career coach for 1-2 years. This year I had 1-2 sessions at the start of the year, but not after. I enjoyed the pioneering spirit of finding my own with the tools that my coach provided. I am interested to seek coaching in support, but perhaps in new ways.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Build a list of characteristics in an ideal mentor and mentoring relationship. Seek a mentor (online?). Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: Find (or be found) by a mentee who wants to make the transition to professional living and travel as a location independent. Assist him/her. Explore that.  Completed. While in Colombia I hosted for 3 weeks a new friend Phoenix (See his blog) as he quit his sedentary life and started his 5 years traveling the world and working from his laptop. 

Volunteering

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Summary

I would like to do more to give back. Donating in ‘Financial (Giving)’ is a nice start, but I like the social aspects of giving my time to a cause too. I have not done much of this in the past and would like to find more opportunities to help. I’m interested to help in many areas, but especially related to art/teaching/computers.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Complete a long-term (2+ weeks) volunteering.  Partial. I found, interviewed, and landed a great job. I booked a January 17th, 2012 start for 6 weeks of teaching “Intro To Adobe Flash” in Mexico. Nice! However this opportunity fell through on the organizer’s side. I’m looking for more opportunities in 2013 and there appears to be plenty in Asia.
  2. ONE-TIME: Volunteer at an animal conservation/rescue location. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  3. ONE-TIME: Volunteer at an child-aid / orphanage location. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.

Fun!

Fun 290 100 v1

Summary

Ironically, I’m planning for more whimsey.

I am very open to new experiences, and have nothing but time and flexibility. I want to have some more fun, again, in 2012!

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Goose-Chase Goals” and then do them. These are activities that encourage me; a) to explore an area, b) to get out of comfort zone, c) to be social, and d) to have a good story. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  2. ONE-TIME: Skinny Dip (More…)  Completed.
  3. BONUS: Shaved one arm completely to see if anyone would notice. Not one person noticed before it grew back.  Completed.
  4. ONE-TIME: Dance a samba, dance a salsa, dance a waltz.  Completed all 3. Especially Samba at Carnival in Rio. 
  5. RESEARCH: Google ‘taking yourself less seriously’ and read about it. Learn the benefits and make a loose plan. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  6. BONUS: Rent a motorcycle.Completed many times in Philippines.

Creativity

Creativity 290 100 v1

Summary

I consider myself a creative person. I can put my stamp onto projects both small and large and feel I’m expressing myself through crafts and work. I’d like to learn more about creativity this year – simply reading a bit and practicing creativity exercises more. I’d like to be able to articulate creative processes better and help others to be creative.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” Aristotle

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” — Frank Capra

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”  — Henry David Thoreau

Highlights

  1. MONTHLY: Update art.RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com with annual photos and 6 non-photo artworks. Completed.
  2. ONE-TIME: Do a photo essay on a person that I meet. Completed. MuitasSaudades.com
  3. ONE-TIME: Buy an interesting yet totally out-of-character magazine and read it cover to cover. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  4. ONE-TIME: Take a drawing / painting class. Not Completed. I’m still interested in this goal for the future.
  5. ONE-TIME: Write original, non-ironic, poetry. . Completed. MuitasSaudades.com

Attitude / World View

Worldview 290 100 v1

Summary

I’ve been thinking a lot about individuality and its role in a person’s life. Reading the book “Conversations With God 1, 2, & 3” (Read My Review) recently was very interesting as well. Its pampering to non-traditionally-religious or a-religious people, but also hits on a really nice blend of individual responsibility, spirituality, and the role of religion in our lives.

My Current View: Is that I am overjoyed when religion’s effect helps someone be a kinder, more fair, happier person and disappointed when religion’s effect causes a person to be less than what he is or to treat others poorly. I’m curious of the ratio of help vs hurt there.

So, we are born perfect (not wrong, not sinned, not ignorant, not bad) and during our life or lives we rediscover that perfection. Each individual works at a different pace at rediscovering that perfection, and that pace may change over time. Our spirit is perfect and our mind and body try (or not depending on the situation) to follow that perfection. Being authentic (to our spirit) is the most direct path to realize that perfection. The more we can be true to our spirit, the closer to our own perfection we are. Following our heart (i.e. spirit) is most perfect. I created this diagram to underline the simplicity of decision making in this world view.

 

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Futurecasting & Dreamscaping” which outlines the law of attraction and visualization and how to benefit from it. Include an ideal ‘day in the life’ for me and reflect on it.
  2. RESEARCH: Google ‘film documentaries that change your world view’ and watch the top 5.   Partial. I watched ‘Thrive’. Very broad scope. Entertaining.

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Comments

Please leave any comments and questions below and I’d love to answer them here too. Pardon my grammar and spelling. Rapid, free, stream o’ consciousness is my goal, nothing more formal.

 



9.5 Steps to Master Your Job Interview

You sent your resume and scored an interview. Now, will the interview make or break your chances? Depending on what list (this, that, etc…) you look at ‘social phobia’, ‘fear of rejection’, and ‘fear of public speaking’ are among the greatest fears suffered by people today. All of these come into play during an interview. A meeting with someone unknown to put yourself up for evaluation and possibly change your life in a very real way. If interviews make you nervous, here is some help. If you are generally confident in how you present yourself, polish your performance with these tips.

Many experts offer key advice for the interview process; most of it boils down to 2 things; be prepared to explain yourself and be prepared to know the company and its opportunity for you.

As we increasingly work remotely and even interview remotely, our interviews are often via telephone or video-chat. Still, most of these tips apply.

10 Best Job Interview Strategies

  • 1. Study the company – One of the best job interview strategies that most candidates ignore is to study the current events of the company. Knowing what the current events of the company is important so that you can ask pertinent questions. Doing so will show the interviewer that you have done your homework, and also have a genuine interest in the company. This strategy will definitely help your job interview.
  • 2. Know your resume – As a candidate, you should be very familiar with your resume. In any job interview, anything on your resume is at the interviewer’s disposal. Implementing this job interview strategy will help build credibility with your interviewer. Speaking intelligently about each of your previous positions will help do this, and is one of the best job interview strategies to follow.
  • 3. Study job description – After landing an interview, you need to study the job description to truly understand what the interviewer is looking for. If the description calls for attentiveness to detail, you will want to tailor the discussion accordingly. Knowing this, you can navigate the interview and discuss examples from previous jobs that will exemplify this trait. Do this for all significant traits or qualities that you identify in the job description. This is one of the best job interview strategies I have used, and know that it can bring you success.
  • 4. Build rapport – You know the saying, “There’s never a second chance to make a first impression/” That holds very true in the case of job interviews. That is why building rapport is such an important job interview strategy. Shake hands, make eye contact, and smile. Put those three together when you first meet your interviewer and it will set a positive tone for the rest of the interview.
  • 5. Make eye contact (In-Person Only)Making positive eye contact is one of the best job interview strategies to follow. Eye contact is one of the strongest forms of nonverbal communication. A person’s qualities and personality can be detected simply based on eye contact. Making direct eye contact communicates confidence and high self-esteem, two key qualities employers look for in candidates. Thus, it is very important that you make eye contact when you first meet interviewer and shake hands. And during the interview, it is important to make eye contact, not only when you talk, but also as you listen. Simply doing this job interview strategy will greatly help your chances of success in an interview.
  • 6. Body language (In-Person Only) – Just as eye contact speaks volumes about you, so does your body language. Proper body language conveys confidence and high self-esteem. During the interview, things like sitting up straight with your chest out and keeping a pleasant demeanor on your face will project confidence. The interviewer will be aware of this, and it will help you stand out in his/her mind.
  • 7. Display your skills with concrete examples (In-Person Only) – When it comes to discussing their skills, many candidates make the mistake of “telling” instead of “showing.” One of the best job interview strategies is to use concrete examples to demonstrate their skills to the interviewer. For example, if one of your skills is successfully handling multiple tasks at once, providing an example of how you do that will help paint a picture for the interviewer. It also gives the interviewer something to “hold on to” once the interview is over, and helps him/her remember you when it comes to decision time.
  • 8. Prepare an interview emergency kit (In-Person Only) – Many candidates don’t properly prepare for a job interview. Getting together a “job interview kit” is a great job interview strategy to follow. Suggested items for the kit include extra copies of your resume, directions to the office, a bottle of water, eye drops, pens, and notepad. But you should only bring the extra copies of your resume into the office with you, preferably in a portfolio.
  • 9. Be yourself – A common mistake that many candidates make is not being themselves. Some feel that they need to fit a certain mold and act accordingly. This will only end up hurting both parties in the end when your “true” personality comes out. You will be surprised how easy it is to detect insincerity during an interview. Thus, it is important to be professional, but also maintain your true essence. When you do this, your sincerity will be picked up by the interviewer. This is one of the best job interview strategies to implement, and will go a long way in determining your success.
  • 9.5 Follow up quickly – After the job interview, send a thank you note to the interview. These days, an email is fine, but traditionally a handwritten card is sent. Whatever method you choose, do it promptly after the interview. The correspondence should be sent the next day after the interview. Many hiring decisions are made quickly these days, so timeliness is very important.

Article Source: Ezine Article



2012 Annual Preview

Each year I write a preview of goals at the start of the year and a review at the end of the year. Following my past 2011 Review here is my 2012 preview – a plan for the coming year.

I started writing and planning this in November 2011 and updated it since. Now, a few months into the 2012 year, it is ready for publishing. Here it is!

Theme

My theme for the coming year will be “Thailand Or Bust”

I’ve been to North America, South America, Europe, and Africa. Let’s get to Asia. See inspirational photo above which I found online. I have never been to a pretty Thai beach (yet!) I *really* tried to make this post more concise in scope and easier to update at the end of the year. Brevity = focus, right?

 

Goals Overview

Each bullet-point begins with ‘One-Time’, ‘Research’, and ‘Monthly’ to define the time required for each. I then at the end of the year I’ll update the status for each as  ‘Completed‘, ‘Partial‘, or ‘Not Completed‘ and provide further explanation on how I did on the stated goal.

  • I will avoid restating ongoing goals from previous years. Really I should regularly revisit both this 2012 Preview here as well as my past annual reviews/previews to provide direction.
  • I will try just for just 3 goals per section.
  • I am setting many goals to ‘write blog post’ on a certain topic as part of a goal. Overall, I like the idea to a) document more of my thoughts in a general sense, b) contribute to my blog, and c) do formal research to learn new things.

Calendar

As are all locations I plan to visit in 2012;

  • Brazil – December 29th
    • Work on-site
    • Study Portuguese for 4 weeks
  • Mexico
    • -Mexico City – Study Advanced Spanish for 2 weeks (i.e. Forget Some Portuguese)
    • -Oxaca City – Teach a computer course for 6 weeks in Spanish as a volunteer.
  • Italy– July 1
    • -Sicily? – Study Italian / Love life. I wrote a post “Considering Sicily” about my thoughts.
    • -Rome – Study Italian for 2 weeks

Here are some other possibilities;

  • USA  – Early Summer
  • Croatia – Summer
  • Thailand –October 1
    • Stay 90 Days
    • Study Thai Weeks
  • Explore Southeast Asia– ?
    • See stuff – Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam
    • Love life – Beach, relax, water sports.
    • Study…French? – Rumor has it I can find it cheap there. Not sure if that’s true.

Budget

Based on the ‘maybe’ plans above here is an estimate on total budget including just ‘a’ – accommodations & language ‘c’ – classes. I quickly determined the estimate based on a sample hostel cost per day from HostalWorld.com and a sample week of classes from a location-specific language course. Food, entertainment, transportation, and other things are not included. Prices are USA currency (USD$).

  • Brazil Monthly (775 a.) x 3 months + 4 weeks (550 c. total) = $2,875
  • Mexico Monthly (360 a.) x 3 months + 2 weeks (320 c. total) = $1,400
  • Italy Monthly (946 a) x 3 Months + 6 weeks (976 c. total) = $3,814
  • Thailand Monthly (360 a.) x 3 + 4 weeks (700 c. total) = $1,780

Together that is $9,869 USD. This is a good baseline for accommodations and language classes. The other details cannot foresee accurately and/or don’t care to. My total budget will likely be 2-4 times more depending on my style of living. So let’s say an annual budget of 20k to 40k overall. That is a wide range, I know. I have set a goal in ‘Finance (Saving)’ below to revisit a per-country budget upon arrival. Also, its possible to live in cheaper places and do cheaper things.

Books To Read

  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) book review for ‘Conversations With God’ and include a diagram about it.
  • ENGLISH
    • Non-Fiction
      • Non-fiction about the theory of relativity or the sciences of time-travel.
      • Non-fiction about meditation, mindfulness, or life-balance.
    • Fiction
      • Something by Henry Miller (Classic American Author)   
      • Something from a ‘Top 100 Books Ever’ type list.  
  • PORTUGUESE
    • Something to practice the language
  • SPANISH
    • Something to practice the language
  • ITALIAN
    • Poetry – Find a classic. 
    • Read a parallel text book (left page English, right page Italian). Good for non-advanced readers. 

Music / Audio Books to Hear

I had been thinking recently to dig deeper into the catalog of a few bands and explore the music of some other cultures more actively. I also wanted to memorize the lyrics to a song in each of several languages – just for fun. I’ve done so further below.

  • ONE-TIME: Collect All Albums By These bands and load them into iTunes & devices to enjoy.
    • Muse
    • The Gorillaz
    • Foo Fighters
  • ONE-TIME: Memorize Songs By Language
    • Con Te Partiro (IT), Pensamentos (PT), and Muelle De San Blas (ES)
  • ONE-TIME: Collect a variety of representative music from these cultures (asking friends who know)
    • Samba (Brazilian)
    • World (African Influence)

 

Goals

 

Business

Sucess 290 100 v1

Summary

I am the Principal of Rivello Multimedia Consulting. Offer four core services in software development; Architecture, Development, Consulting, and Training. I will continue with those. I will also offer products – namely mobile apps & games. I started planning and producing my first mobile game in 2011, but did not yet launch anything.

 

I focus my services around the Adobe Flash Platform. Much is changing in the software development industry for browser, desktop, and mobile. I will investigate learning and working with alternative technologies; perhaps native iOS, perhaps HTML5.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) of “The Ideal Full-time Job”. Write as a job description that would; a) be perfect AFTER I decide to settle down or b) be so good it would halt my travels early. Then keep an eye out for this position.
  2. ONE-TIME: Create one, simple, complete, WordPress-based website as a portfolio piece. It must also serve a function (info, fun, or monetized). Include translation to 5 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French).
  3. ONE-TIME: Generate more passive income. Launch one monetized app or game into a mobile marketplace (Android / iOS).
  4. ONE-TIME: Complete training (online?) in HTML5 and write a blog post (RMC) with a ‘HelloWorld’.
  5. ONE-TIME: Create a new category on blog (RMC) of ‘Tutorials’. Create 5 videos of 5 mins or less as a P.O.C. to training companies, prospective trainees, and to explore the experience. Possible topics: Introduction to RMC, Welcome to Flash Professional, Welcome to Flash Builder, Using Flash and Flex together, Intro to Game design (use flyer game), and some advanced topic (something to get attention from advanced users and use as an advanced example.

Writing / Presenting

Presenting 290 100 v1

Summary

I spoke at many, many conferences in the past. Since I left the USA, I have done much, much less. As my language skills mature, it would be great to set speaking goals in local languages, but traveling to the USA just to speak is likely out of my interests for 2012.

I’m a bit shy (slow) to do it, but I really want to establish authority as a Location-Independent expert and share the knowledge (online, in person, to travelers). I have many related goals to contribute to my blog (N&T) in 2012, but should think bigger.

Highlights
  1. ONE-TIME: Pitch to write more on both; a) technical topics [Flash/Flex/Gaming] to online & print magazines, b) non-technical topics [Lifestyle/Location-Independence] to online & print magazines. Build a list of a) and b) and send a cover letter and links to existing possible talk topics on my blog (RMC).
  2. ONE-TIME: Speak online (Adobe User Group or similar) on a technical topic (Flash / Flex / Gaming).
  3. ONE-TIME: Speak in person in local language on a technical topic.
  4. ONE-TIME: Write or present on a non-technical topic (Travel / Work-life-balance).
  5. ONE-TIME: Publish (N&T) articles from 3 guest-authors.
  6. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “The Paralysis of Liberty” about how difficult it is when I can literally travel ANYWHERE in the world, and somehow choose my next country. More abstractly how does ‘too much’ options paralyze us. Many of us avoid those scenarios by design (not recommended).
  7. RESEARCH: How can I establish expertise in Location-Independence and leverage that to writing and presenting?

Promotions & Marketing

Different 290 100 v1
Summary

Many of my RMC professional goals are predicated by getting more offers for work. Marketing myself more (RMC) is one way to attract more offers. Marketing N&T will help me build more reputation for Location-Independence expertise.

Highlights

RMC

  1. ONE-TIME: Triple the amount of viable contract-work opportunities I’m offered.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase RMC (@srivello) twitter followers from (286 Followers) to (500 Followers). We’ll assume this also helps the RMC (SITE) traffic.  
  3. ONE-TIME: Increase RMC (Site) unique visitors from 1,065 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012. 
  4. MONTHLY: Write 12+ new posts (6 editorial, 6 technical). Think fast and simple.
  5. ONE-TIME: Create a free membership for RMC to encourage revisiting. 
  6. QUARTERLY: Create a free RMC newsletter. Simply point to recent posts?
  7. ONE-TIME: Update my Facebook page (RMC) and attract 50 members. You can Like RMC on Facebook now!

N&T

  1. RESEARCH: Learn from online resources how to monetize a blog and implement some strategies to maximize return with minimal time investment.
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase N&T (@nowandtherefeed) twitter followers from (104 Followers) to (300 Followers). 
  3. ONE-TIME: Create a free membership for N&T to encourage revisiting.
  4. ONE-TIME: Update my Facebook page (N&T) and attract 50 members. You can Like N&T on Facebook now!
  5. ONE-TIME: Increase N&T (Blog) annual visits from 1,149 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012.
  6. MONTHLY: Write 12+ new posts (6 original, 6 reviews or editorial commentary). Think fast and simple.
  7. ON-TIME: Update existing speaking engagement pitches I created to improve quality and generate interest;Planning A Round The World Trip” and “Living Location Independent“.

GFD

  1. ONE-TIME: Fix ‘security error’ that appears as users arrive. 
  2. ONE-TIME: Increase GreatFlexDevelopers.com (a ‘find a developer’ website I created) annual visits from 1,229 January Through October 2011 by 50% for 2012. Contact all current members and ask for the email of others who should be listed. LIst them. Then contact all those listed and ask for ideas to promote the list. Share the traffic goal.
  3. ONE-TIME: Create a Facebook page (GFD) and attract 50 members. Encourage all current developers to ‘friend it’.

Family & Friends

 

Family 290 100 v1

Summary

For a few years I’ve had goals to meet new people and make friends. Its easy and hard while traveling full-time – its different. I certainly say hi to more people than ever, but to build relationships on-the-go is a challenge.

 

Over tea, in Egypt, my friend and I discussed how millions of dollars would change our lives. I’m lucky enough to say, within reason, I would continue to work in the same field, in some capacity, and certainly would continue to travel. One way, we both agreed to spend the money would be to treat friends to travel along with us – flights, trips, parties, etc… It reminds me of general goals to socialize with new and existing friends.

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Memorize 10 great jokes – At least one per language (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French).
  2. ONE-TIME: Write Blog Post (N&T) – “Find The Ideal Travel Partner” (friend/ business partner/ mentor-mentee/romantic partner) and outline their qualities. Then search for that person (existing/new friends) and travel together.
  3. ONE-TIME: Write Blog Post (N&T) – “Find The Ideal Mate”.
  4. ONE-TIME: Host 1 friend.
  5. ONE-TIME: Host 1 family member.

Financial (Earning)

Earning 290 100 v1

Summary

In 2011, my projects were really great. I was excited by the projects, enjoyed working with the people, and provided a great value for great compensation. In 2012, I would like to book more of my time for client-work and spend less time between projects and less marketing time.

The services I offer are good and my pay-rate range is both competitive and profitable.

Highlights
  1. ANNUAL: Book 40 weeks of client-work.
  2. ONE-TIME: Create a polished proof of concept (POC) mobile app with Ad-monetiziation. Doesn’t need to launch.
  3. ONE-TIME: Launch a free app/game for mobile. Use as promotion / portfolio.
  4. ONE-TIME: Launch a monetized app/game for mobile.

Financial (Saving)

 

Savings 290 100 v1

Summary

In 2011, I set goals for my revenue – dividing it properly between savings, investment in RMC, charity, and salary/taxes. I did well with this.

In 2012, I would like to be more aggressive to set invest particularly for the purchase of a home (TBD on when). I met with investment professionals, but was not excited by the returns vs risks they promised, so keeping funds conservative for now seems best.

Highlights
  • MONTHLY: Fill existing emergency and residential funds. Build savings towards the purchase of a home.
  • ONE-TIME: Vet current banking & bills setup and implement changes to safe money.
  • ONE-TIME: * Contact credit card companies and ask for lower rate.
  • ONE-TIME: * Contact debit card companies and ask for best international setup (foreign banks, purchases vs cash-withdrawels, etc…)
  • ONE-TIME: * Transfer from Vonage (expensive) phone # to Google-Voice or Skype.
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Buying International Real-Estate” with an overview of other bloggers’ thoughts and include 3 vignettes of interest for me. 1) Condo in Buenos Aires (Urban, Spanish, on-site work opportunities), 2) Tropical Latin (Rural, Spanish, Beach), 3) Tropical Asian (Rural/Urban, Beach)
  • ONGOING: Create a per-country daily-budget upon arrival in each country. Based on the length of stay, average accommodation cost, estimated food / entertainment costs, set a per-country budget. The objective is to predict expenses only to bring awareness when I am under / at / above the budget on a daily basis.
Financial (Giving)

Saving 290 100 v1

Summary

I am a monthly sponsor at Children.org and sponsor at Kiva.org. I’m looking for ways to give more where the money is well-used for a cause of interest. In 2012, I’d like to financially give in other ways too. I’m sensitive to what is called ‘selfish giving’ and generally avoid it.

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. – Albert Camus

Highlights
  1. QUARTERLY: Donate 5% monthly income to one charity in each country I visit for 1+ months. I prefer this to donating ‘on the street’.
  2. ONE-TIME: Financially help a local in need.
  3. ONE-TIME: Financially help a backpacker in need.
  4. BONUS: More giving.
Learning
Learning 290 100 v1
Summary

I have always enjoyed the learning process. In recent years, I have increased my learning.

Peculiar Travel Suggestions are Dancing Lessons From God – Kurt Vonnegut

Highlights
  • ONE-TIME: Complete a paid, client-project in mobile software development (So this would be something new).
  • ONE-TIME: Complete a paid, client-project in a project that is not based on the Adobe Flash Platform (which is my normal type of project).
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “My Current Languages” about languages. Test my current proficiency (a1,a2,b1,b2,c1,c2) and record a video of me speaking 5 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French).
  • ONE-TIME: Study massage for non-professional use.
  • ONE-TIME: Learn an instrument. Harmonica is mobile, but not that exciting to me…
  • ONE-TIME: Take an online photography course.
  • ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Meaning of Joy” where I define 20 words like joy, pleasure, happiness, to learn the subtleties I don’t yet understand.
  • ONE-TIME: Draw a world map without practice. Practice, draw it again with 100 countries and accurate boarders.
  • ONE-TIME: Memorize the lyrics to one (Karaoke?) song per language (English, Spanish [Shakira]], Portuguese [Girl From Ipanema], Italian [Volare], French).
Health & Sport

Sports 290 100 v1

Summary

During travel, I am intermittently active. When I hike and bike as part of a tour I am generally pleased with my abilities and level of fitness. However, from a general health perspective, I think I should include a more regular fitness plan.

I have no goals to change my diet or be ‘on a diet’. However I would like to alter my relationship with food. I feel that I often over eat and eat without being hungry. I think my current behavior is excessive.

I really miss snow-skiing. However I also dislike cold weather and avoid it. I’m not sure I will do any skiing in 2012, but I do miss it.

Highlights
  1. RESEARCH: Read about ‘overeating’ and ‘eating when you are not hungry’ and learn how I can avoid these habits.
  2. ONE-TIME: Attend Pilates class
  3. ONE-TIME: Get IKO certified as a kite-surfer.(Thailand?)
  4. ONE-TIME: Run one (more) 5k or 10k.
  5. ONE-TIME: Do a multi-day hike/camp/resort tour.
  6. ONGOING: Surf more (Thailand?)

 

Spirituality Spiritual power 290 100 v1

Summary

I enjoy learning about meditation, mindfulness,  and life-balance.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Highlights
  1. MONTHLY: Attend 6 yoga classes.
  2. ONE-TIME: First visit to acupuncturist
  3. ONE-TIME: Unplug from all technology for 7 days.
  4. ONE-TIME: Visit multi-day retreat of yoga/spa/something.
  5. DAILY: Using existing techniques, meditate for 15 minutes, 7 times per week starting January 1.

Travel

Passports 290 100 v1

Summary

For 2012, I have planned yet another year of full-time travel.

 

Interestingly, after years of ‘new places’, I plan in great part (see ‘Calendar’ above) to return to several countries. I think in part I’ve found some favorite places, but also, I’m looking to build my knowledge of local language and local history and culture on those favorite countries.

Highlights
  1. ONE-TIME: Work on-site in the local language (Spanish).
  2. ONE-TIME: Work on-site in the local language (Portuguese).
  3. ONE-TIME: Extend a Visa-stay when I’m loving a country.
  4. ONE-TIME:

    Write blog post (N&T) “The Importance of Travel – An AutoBio” and include  a timeline of my life (big picture) and list of travels. How am I different before/after long-term-travel.

  5. ONE-TIME:

    Write blog post (N&T) “When to Use Frequent Flyer Miles” and include a general strategy on when. I need to know this info, so writing a quick article on it would help me research it.

Life Assessment

 

Assessment 290 100 v1

Summary

This post illustrates that I am a goal oriented person. Success, for some, is a process of a) where am I, b) where do I want to be, and c) how do I get to where I want to be. For me both a) and b) are really about self-awareness. I feel that I am of forded the time, energy, and interest for much introspection, but I’m still learning what makes me tick (think). I enjoy this search.

Highlights
  1. ONE-TIME: Complete a Meyers-Briggs personality profile test.
  2. ONE-TIME: Visit a therapist.
  3. RESEARCH: Read about ‘contrarian personalities’ and what it means to be inspired by opposing others
  4. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “My Life Of Travel” with a biography of my pre- and during-travels. Answer what is the role of travel in my life. “Why do you love travel?”
  5. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “My Greatest Fears” and include common fears (public speaking, death, etc…), my fears, and outline some activities to conquer those fears.
  6. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) – “Creating Your 5 Year Plan” and include my plan, and discuss the pros/cons of such a plan.

Coaching & Support Coaching 290 100 v1

Summary

I met regularly with a career coach for 1-2 years. This year I had 1-2 sessions at the start of the year, but not after. I enjoyed the pioneering spirit of finding my own with the tools that my coach provided. I am interested to seek coaching in support, but perhaps in new ways.

Highlights
  1. ONE-TIME: Build a list of characteristics in an ideal mentor and mentoring relationship. Seek a mentor (online?).
  2. ONE-TIME: Find (or be found) by a mentee who wants to make the transition to professional living and travel as a location independent. Assist him/her. Explore that.

Volunteering

Volunteering 2 290 100 v1

Summary

I would like to do more to give back. Donating in ‘Financial (Giving)’ is a nice start, but I like the social aspects of giving my time to a cause too. I have not done much of this in the past and would like to find more opportunities to help. I’m interested to help in many areas, but especially related to art/teaching/computers.

Highlights
  1. ONE-TIME: Complete a long-term (2+ weeks) volunteering.
  2. ONE-TIME: Volunteer at an animal conservation/rescue location.
  3. ONE-TIME: Volunteer at an child-aid / orphanage location.
Fun!

Fun 290 100 v1

Summary

Ironically, I’m planning for more whimsey.

 

I am very open to new experiences, and have nothing but time and flexibility. I want to have some more fun, again, in 2012!

Highlights
  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Goose-Chase Goals” and then do them. These are activities that encourage me; a) to explore an area, b) to get out of comfort zone, c) to be social, and d) to have a good story
  2. ONE-TIME: Skinny Dip (More…)
  3. ONE-TIME: Dance a samba, dance a salsa, dance a waltz.
  4. RESEARCH: Google ‘taking yourself less seriously’ and read about it. Learn the benefits and make a loose plan.

Creativity

 

Creativity 290 100 v1

Summary

I consider myself a creative person. I can put my stamp onto projects both small and large and feel I’m expressing myself through crafts and work. I’d like to learn more about creativity this year – simply reading a bit and practicing creativity exercises more. I’d like to be able to articulate creative processes better and help others to be creative.

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” Aristotle

“A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” — Frank Capra

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”  — Henry David Thoreau

Highlights
  1. MONTHLY: Update art.RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com with annual photos and 6 non-photo artworks.
  2. ONE-TIME: Do a photo essay on a person that I meet.
  3. ONE-TIME: Buy an interesting yet totally out-of-character magazine and read it cover to cover.
  4. ONE-TIME: Take a drawing / painting class.
  5. ONE-TIME: Write original, non-ironic, poetry.

Attitude / World View

 

Worldview 290 100 v1

Summary

I’ve been thinking a lot about individuality and its role in a person’s life. Reading the book “Conversations With God 1, 2, & 3” (Read My Review) recently was very interesting as well. Its pampering to non-traditionally-religious or a-religious people, but also hits on a really nice blend of individual responsibility, spirituality, and the role of religion in our lives.

My Current View: Is that I am overjoyed when religion’s effect helps someone be a kinder, fair, happier person and disappointed when religion’s effect causes a person to be less than what they are or treat others as less. I’m curious of the ratio of help vs hurt there.

So, we are born perfect (not wrong, not sinned, not ignorant, not bad) and during our life or lives we rediscover that perfection. Each individual works at a different ‘pace’ at rediscovering that perfection, and that pace may change over time. Our spirit is perfect and our mind and body try (or not depending on the pace) to follow that perfection. Being authentic (to our spirit) is the most direct path to perfection. The more we can be true to our spirit, the closer to our own perfection we are. Following our heart (i.e. spirit) is most perfect. I created this diagram to underline the simplicity of decision making in this world view.

 

Highlights

  1. ONE-TIME: Write blog post (N&T) “Futurecasting & Dreamscaping” which outlines the law of attraction and visualization and how to benefit from it. Include an ideal ‘day in the life’ for me and reflect on it.
  2. RESEARCH: Google ‘film documentaries that change your world view’ and watch the top 5.

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Comments

Please leave any comments and questions below and I’d love to answer them here too. Pardon my grammar and spelling. Rapid, free, stream o’ consciousness is my goal, nothing more formal.

 



Making Mission Statements

As part of my 2011 Annual Review I set goals to define a professional mission statement.

Mission statements are “statements of the purpose, typically for a company or organization.” Against this, an organization (or individual) can weigh decisions and face new challenges while maintaining their original focus.

These are useful, as they give a framework against we can compare our goals and decisions.

I completed this post as part of my 2011 Annual Review. In addition to just a professional mission statement, I included some other ‘statements’ as well.

Statements

1. Life Mission Statement

Task:

Make a mission statement(s). Think holistically to include professional as well as personal.

Result: I’ve got 2 (is that allowed?)

  • Possible: Only do what is a) an expression of ‘who i am’ or what is b) an announcement of ‘who I will become’.
  • Possible: To expose myself to what I ‘don’t know’, to filter that into interests, and set/pursue goals to further those interests.

2. Professional Mission Statement

Task:

Make a mission statement encompassing my professional goals – specifically for my company RMC.

Result:

To deliver core services of software architecture, consulting, development, and training to top interactive companies specializing in Adobe Flash Platform development for games and applications. To champion proven architectures, best practices, and coding standards. Eager to travel. Prioritizing contract-based remote/hybrid engagements English and contract-based remote/on-site engagements in Spanish, Portuguese, & Italian-speaking countries.

3 Professional Role Responsibilities

Task:

Make a role description outlining my ideal responsibilities in RMC. Include exceptions (i.e. not-project management, not art)

Result:

RMC offers architecture, general consulting, development, and training. I enjoy all four services and will continue to offer them. To meet another goal of passive income, I’ll offer a ‘product’ as well (namely internally developing game and monetizing it for mobile) which I may do more of in the future. Typically my engagements step through – search, qualifying a lead, contract/presales, work, delivery. The work, depends on the service offered, but for development there are serveral facets; project management, personnel management (if a small team is assembled), and the actual coding.

4. Ideal Work / Life Balance

Task:

Set goal of X weeks at Y hours-per-week working. List purpose of the rest of time (vacation, travel&accommodations-setup, free-time, learning)

Result:

I surrender myself to what comes in life. If I have back to back great work opportunities, that is great. If I have a few weeks after a work engagement while I find the next opportunity, great.  An ideal would be 9 months of 4 weeks of 40 hours working (1,440 hours) and 12 weeks off of work each year.  The duration of contracts varies greatly (1 to 6 months). To reduce the involuntary downtime between projects, I must begin to job-search 1 month before my current project ends.

I had once decided that 30 hours per week is an ideal balance to contribute to my clients yet still experience the location where I am living. However it seems that clients expect 40 to 50 hours and will be satisfied with 40 hours, so 40 hours is my goal.’

5. Ideal Professional Client & Project

Task:

I am a software development consultant. Here I list the top technologies and job-qualities I want to look for in a prospective job.  e.g. PushButton, Scrum, etc..

Result:

  • Teams working in my foreign languages of interest.
  • Remote team with good management practices
  • Agile, and other project management styles done with conviction and success.
  • Mobile development (particularly Flash development which publishes to multiple platforms and/or devices.)
  • App Development with Robotlegs framework
  • Cutting Edge Flash Player 11+,  such as Stage3D and Starling Framework
  • Cutting Edge AIR 3.0+, such as NativeExtensions, in-app purchases, in-app notifications


Are We Lost Without Goals?

At the end of 2010 I set aside time to review my accomplishments for the year and to look ahead at 2011. As an avid reader of self-help books and personal management I leanred that goal-setting is a basic, essential ingredient to success. Or is it? I recently read this post on ZenHabits called Living Without Goals.

I believe the author is genuine in his recommendation toward a life of achievement without the over-burdened ‘structure’ and ‘limitation’ of strict goals. However, for me it reads a bit like satire.
I’m goal oriented. The links above illustrate that.

But I really enjoyed the article and it reminded me of a balance issue I think about often. If executing on my goals occupies 100% of my time, when do I improvise? How do I enjoy the subtleties of the moment at hand? What if I’m ‘wrong’ in my goals? What if my goals don’t capture everything and what if my goals change? I guess I have some answers for each of those, but more abstractly I think “How much of my week should be pre-planned and how much should be improvisation”.

“80 percent of success is just showing up” — Woody Allen

I love that quote. Not that success is easy, because ‘showing up’ is not easy. Fear often prevents it. But success is ‘natural’. Its automatic, given the right recipe of conditions. Maybe not all successes, but most. For me, setting goals is ‘showing up’.

The Importance of Goals

Goals are important. But first a bit on the meaning of life. I think the fundamental problem with most people’s lives is solely that they don’t know what they want, and they don’t go after it. In the the west, the latter part is more common – the ambition. But like a headless chicken – still running energetically around the farm, what good is this ambition if it has no direction and purpose. How to decide the direction and purpose is more complex. But in general, if it feels right to you, in a genuine fashion, then you are on the right track.

Finding out exactly what you want is something I think that almost noone seeks. More on that another time…
Now, the gap between knowing what we want…. and getting it, is goals. Goals help us get from a to b. Goals help us measure our progress. Is the progress to fast? Slow down, or more likely is it too slow? Speed up! Measurement helps you analyze (or simply ‘know’) how you are doing.

Personal goal setting also provides us with motivation to achieve what we want to achieve.

The important trick would be to make our goals as detailed as possible. Trying to vividly imagine or describe every thinkable aspect of it so that it becomes clearer in our mind. Then it becomes relatively easier to pursue it. If you don’t have goals then you are just wandering in the wild without any clear idea of where you want to go. That is why goal setting is so important.

What about improvisation?

Do you know what is one of the most important point in goal setting? It is to take action right now, however small. This helps maintain focus.
What is we change our mind? Think about it, honestly, and change your goals. Be careful to change your goals for the right reasons (not out of fear). Goals should be completely fixed, until you care to change them. Ha.

Flexibility

I have a long list of places in the world I’d like to visit. Generally to meet professional goals, I allow myself to be flexible to take a new contract job anywhere. Flexibility is a goal. I may plan to visit C. America, but get invited to the Caribbean. I check the new thoughts and new opportunities against my goals, and the larger plan. If I feel like a change is in my best interest – I go for it.

What about now?

But if we are always acting now on our future goals, how does that leave time for ‘now’. Good question. We know that living in the present moment (without the baggage of the past and the distractions of the future) is liberating and leads to a fruitful life. Improvisation is more of a perspective. It can easily work in concert with goal setting. So one of your primary guidelines should be to set goals that fit with the personality you have (or that you want to have).

Here are some ways you know you are living in the present moment;

  1. You feel fully ‘there’ and alive. Like after 2 cups of coffee, but without the coffee.
  2. There is a complete absence of fear or guilt.
  3. What you do feel is a sense of calm and focus.
  4. You can see the trees, but feel connected to the forest.
  5. You are conscious of each choice you make as you go through your day, and recognize that life is created through these ‘little’ choices, or non-choices, for that matter.
  6. There are no awkward relationships. I love the book The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom BookSelf-Help Books), by Don Miguel Ruiz . Basically it says, put the ‘real’ you out there in the world and it will minimize the B.S. in life.

Balance

After much experience working while traveling, I settled on the quota of ’20 billable hours per week’ as the perfect blend. I add another 10-20 hours of non-billable hours (pre-sales with new clients, maintaining expertise by learning, maintaining internal projects, etc…) and I have a full ‘work week’. This leaves ample time to explore my surroundings and enjoy leisure time. 20 hours is an ideal. To meet other financial goals, I must offer 40 hours a week to my clients. This makes my impact more significant and makes me a competitive option against full-time employees or other contractors (where 40 hours is the assumed hourage). So my goal is to offer my services at 40 hours per week to capture the clients I want. I had to flex here from my original ’20 billable hours’. This is a compromise. Its a balance between the ideals and the practical realities needed to meet my larger goals.

Recipe

  • Pretend your heart is the size of your head. – Declare your dreams.
  • Pretend you are fearless – Set your goals.
  • ‘Show Up’, Reach for your goals while living in the ‘now’.


9.5 Must-Have Life-Skills

This article covers practical skills for every day life that pay major dividends with minimal expense.  Learning the techniques and setting up a plan to build them into your life will take some discipline.  Give it 21 days and the habits will take.

The (Learn How!) will be replaced with helpful links in an upcoming update.



63.5 Life-Changing Quotes on Lifestyle Design

By Donald Latumahina (follow me on Twitter)

The 4-Hour Workweek has created quite a buzz recently in the blogosphere. As you might have known, the book focuses on lifestyle design, which is designing your dream lifestyle with the least possible effort. It’s not necessary to wait until your retirement to live the lifestyle you want. In fact, doing so might waste 20-40 years of your life. Instead, you can live your dream lifestyle much, much sooner. Of course, you can do so only by having the right attitude, strategies, and tactics.

In this post, I extract 63 life-changing quotes from the book. They will serve as reminder for you to apply the principles in the book. Be selective and apply what are useful for you. Tailor them to your own needs and situation.

Here they are (with minor wording adjustments):

  1. Life doesn’t have to be so damn hard. It really doesn’t.
  2. People don’t want to be millionaires. They want to experience what they believe only millions can buy.
  3. Reality is negotiable.
  4. Three ingredients of luxury lifestyle design are time, income, and mobility.
  5. Options – the ability to choose – is real power.
  6. Each path begins with the same first step: replacing assumptions.
  7. Less is not laziness. Focus on being productive instead of busy.
  8. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.
  9. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
  10. Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses.
  11. Relative income is more important than absolute income.
  12. Risks weren’t that scary once you took them.
  13. Conquering fear = defining fear.
  14. Define the worst case, accept it, and do it.
  15. What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.
  16. Inaction is the greatest risk of all.
  17. Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic.
  18. The opposite of happiness is boredom.
  19. The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”
  20. Tomorrow becomes never. No matter how small the task, take the first step now.
  21. The most important actions are never comfortable.
  22. Being busy is often guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.
  23. Believe it or not, it is not only possible to accomplish more by doing less, it is mandatory.
  24. What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it.
  25. Find your inefficiencies to eliminate them and to find your strengths so you can multiply them.
  26. Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference.
  27. Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.
  28. Identify the few critical task that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.
  29. Simplicity requires ruthlessness.
  30. Ask yourself: “Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?”
  31. Increased output necessitates decreased input.
  32. Practice the art of nonfinishing. Stopping something is often 10 times better than finishing it.
  33. Learn to be difficult when it counts.
  34. Do not work harder when the solution is working smarter.
  35. People are smarter than you think. Give them a chance to prove themselves.
  36. “No” should be your default answer to all requests.
  37. Fun things happen when you earn dollars, live on pesos, and compensate in rupees.
  38. Eliminate before you delegate.
  39. It is more profitable to be a big fish in a small pond than a small undefined fish in a big pond.
  40. The so-called expert with the most credibility indicators is the one who will sell the most product, not the one with the most knowledge of a topic.
  41. Don’t ask people if they would buy – ask them to buy.
  42. Our goal isn’t to create a business that is as large as possible, but rather a business that bothers us as little as possible.
  43. The biggest timesaver of all is customer filtering.
  44. Those who spend the most complain the least.
  45. Perceived size does matter.
  46. It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.
  47. The new mantra is this: Work wherever and whenever you want, but get your work done.
  48. Getting what you want often depends more on when you ask for it than how you ask for it.
  49. Being able to quit things that don’t work is integral to being a winner.
  50. Don’t confuse the complex with the difficult. Most situations are simple – many are just emotionally difficult to act upon.
  51. There are options. There are always options.
  52. Fortune favors the bold.
  53. Learn to slow down.
  54. The biggest risk in life wasn’t making mistakes but regret: missing out on things.
  55. For big questions, if you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.
  56. There are two components that are fundamental to enjoy life and feel good about yourself: continual learning and service.
  57. Service is an attitude.
  58. Slowing down doesn’t mean accomplishing less; it means cutting out counterproductive distractions and the perception of being rushed.
  59. Recapturing the excitement of childhood isn’t impossible. In fact, it’s required.
  60. Mistakes are the name of the game in lifestyle design.
  61. Focus on great for a few things and good enough for the rest.
  62. Happiness shared in the form of friendships and love is happiness multiplied.
  63. Life is not a race. Do take it slower.

and… 63.5.  Daily Journaling is the best way to take stock of your wealth and change your life forever.



Book Review: The Monk who sold his Ferrari

Much has been written about this book “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma and I am not surprised. You can either like this book or hate it, but you cannot ignore it. Before I begin this review, I must honestly admit that I am skeptical of self-help books which harp about “Leaving things to the forces of the Universe”. Yet, if one reads such books with an open mind, there are lessons that one can adopt, even as one chooses to ignore certain things that don’t make practical sense. The Monk who sold his Ferrari is one such book. I can almost call it spiritual pop. But, yes, who says that you do not have the freedom to pick and choose and adopt those ideas that do make practical sense and can turn your life for the better?

This book begins with the story of Julian Mantle, a successful lawyer who quite simply suffers a burn-out. He survives a heart attack, drops out of the rat race, sells his possessions – including his Ferrari and sets off on a journey (albeit to India) to find out life’s true meaning. Years later when he returns and meets his former associate, another advocate, he is a changed man – both physically and mentally. He has learned some valuable lessons from mythical Himalayan sages which he shares with his former associate (and the readers).

Julian tells his former associate a parable. How can a garden, a lighthouse, a sumo wrestler, a pink wire cable, a shiny gold stopwatch, fresh yellow roses and a winding path of diamonds be interlinked? Well they are.

Much as I hated the naïve dialogue in this book between Julian and his former associate, the best part of this book are the action steps provided at the end of each chapter. Now let us turn to the mysterious objects and find out how they are linked and how they can make our life more meaningful.

The Garden: The garden, in this book is the symbol of the mind. The key lies to banish all negative thoughts, to concentrate on definite meaningful objectives and to remove inner turbulence. Like most other such books, this chapter adds, find your real purpose in life then act on it. It even suggests that you can take risks and give up your profession for something you truly love. I guess, this is not always possible, even as one can try and attain a work-life balance through some sacrifices on the work front and find time for their passions, be it music or painting or writing or family time.

The gems that one can take away from this chapter is to learn to focus on the present, to keep negative thoughts at bay, imagine yourself as you want to be and to run your own race.

Practical tips: “A worrisome thought is like an embryo. It starts off small but grows and grows. Soon it takes on a life of its own”, explains Julian. He wears a necklace around his neck. Whenever, he is unable to shake off a negative thought, he removes one bead and puts it away in a cup. This reminds me of the “Worry dolls” traditionally made in Guatemala. According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person’s place, when placed under the pillow at night. This permits a person to sleep peacefully and wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night. Yes, this habit of banishing negative thoughts is worth a try, because endless worrying saps energy, it prevents us from focusing on our dreams and attaining it.

The Lighthouse: “The purpose of life is a life of purpose” says Julian. Clearly defined priorities and goals in every aspect of your life will serve a role similar to that played by a lighthouse, offering you guidance and refuge when the seas become rough. You should clearly know what aims you wish to achieve over the course of your life, be they material, emotional physical or spiritual and you must then manifest this vision into reality by consistent action.

From a practical point of view, this begins with goal setting. Julian says that accomplishing little feats will prepare us for realizing the big ones. There is nothing wrong with mapping out a full range of small goals in the process of planning your bigger roles. Above all, he says: Stay spirited, joyful and curious.

Practical tips: Julian explains the steps as below

  1. Have a clear vision of your outcome;
  2. Create positive pressure to keep you inspired (something as simple as telling your best friend that you want to lose 5 lbs by the end of the month so that he/she can encourage you towards this goal);
  3. Set precise doable time-lines to your goals;
  4. Commit you goal to paper. Prepare a “Dream Book”. You can have different sections for different goals – viz: physical fitness, financial, personal empowerment, relationship/social, spiritual. Fill it with pictures of things you desire, of people whom you wish to emulate;
  5. Stay with your goal for the first twenty-one days and soon it will become a habit (for example: an early morning walk).

The Sumo Wrestler: The Sumo wrestler is a constant reminder of the power of kaizen, the Japanese word for self-expansion and progress. Here the key take away is that we must learn to live out of our comfort zone to realise our fullest potential. “The only limits on your life are those that you set for yourself. When you dare to get out of the circle of your comfort and explore the unknown you begin to liberate your true human potential” says Julian. This chapter then goes on to explain ten rituals of radiant living – from spending some time everyday in solitude, to vegetarianism, to getting up early, to reading.

Practical tips: I think the concept of stepping out of your comfort zone is an important point. It could be something as simple as conquering one’s fear of public speaking. It need not be something as drastic as giving up your career to pursue something else. Even as the author says, that if you truly believe that an alternate career will bring you joy, go for it. Thus identify your fears, chalk out how you can conquer them and work on them everyday. For example, if you are scared of public speaking, join a study circle which also includes several of your friends, participate actively in that, and then move on to a wider audience.

A pink wire cable: The sumo wrestler had donned a pink wire cable. It denotes the power of self control and discipline in building a richer, happier and more enlightened life. Alone, each strand of wire is very weak. But a cable which comprises of several strands of wires is tough and strong. To build up an iron will it is essential to routinely perform tiny acts and build up an abundance of inner strength. Inner strength enables you to tackle whatever life throws your way.

Practical tips: Start up doing the things that you know you must be doing, or which are good for you, but you find it difficult to do. Like waking up early and going for that morning walk. Small victories lead to larger victories. Once a bench mark has been attained, raise the benchmark higher. Soon you will be doing things you never knew you were capable of doing with an energy you never knew you possessed.

A shiny gold stop watch: This was a symbol of our most important commodity – time. Time mastery in short is life mastery. Julian reiterated the well known phrase that: 80 per cent of the results we achieve in life come from only 20 per cent of the activities that occupy our time. Julian called for a holistic system of time management that encompassed not only life at the work place, but life per se. He advised that we should keep away from time thieves who for flimsy reasons eat into our time. It is also essential to simplify our life and to savor each and every moment as if today will be our last day.

Practical tips: Time management may sometimes necessitate saying -No. When someone calls for an idle chat while you want to finish your report, learn to say No. When dragged in all directions, prioritize. Keep time for yourself, for your family. Build a time table which includes everything, not just the client appointment, but the trip to the doctor, or the parent-teachers meeting. What is high priority is something you alone can decide for yourself, use time judiciously; after all, no one has more than 24 hours a day.

Fresh yellow roses: A Chinese proverb says: A little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gave you roses. When you practice random acts of kindness daily, you enrich yourself. Think less of yourself as an individual and more as a member of the universe to which you belong. Julian brought out the true meaning of inclusiveness and friendship in this chapter.

Practical tips: Cultivate richer relationships. How about taking the new joinee to the lunch room? Or helping the technically challenged colleague to help fix the printer? Or volunteer at the local NGO during your spare time? In short, help others smile, and they shall smile back at you.

A winding path of diamonds: This signified ‘enlightened living’. Julian explained that: Happiness is a journey. We can either marvel at the diamonds along the way or can keep running all day chasing that elusive pot of god at the end of the rainbow that ultimately reveals itself to be empty. In other words, we need to live in the now!

Practical tips: Practice gratitude and live in the now. Perhaps you could keep a journal where you note down daily whatever you have been grateful for during the course of that day. The size of your car, or your house, or for that matter your bank balance cannot buy you happiness. The size of the gratitude that you experience everyday can.

Conclusion:

Although I cannot give this book my highest rating, Julian in one of the chapters says: “You need not apply every strategy to make your life work. Try the techniques and use those that feel right to you”. This makes a lot of sense, even as not everything in this book does.

You may well ask, what was the reason for bringing in the Sumo wrestler or the pink wire cable, or for that matter the lighthouse? Well, these were just mind clues. The more bizarre a clue, greater are you likely to remember it, and perhaps even practice it. So take those baby steps, towards a better YOU.

Acknowledgments

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