How Pursuing a Quest Can Bring Purpose to Your Life

How Pursuing a Quest Can Bring Purpose to Your Life

In 2002, I walked into a cafe, laptop in hand, to begin a grand adventure.

My adventure did not involve swords, dragons, or golden cups; it didn’t require me to hike the Appalachian trail or steer a boat solo across the world. All I had to do was sip a cappuccino and tap away at my keyboard. After years of detour as a corporate lawyer, I was finally allowing myself to reach that mythical state of being I’d dreamed of since age four: becoming “a writer.”

Believe me when I tell you that I had no idea I would ever publish a best-selling book. My goal was simply to publish something— anything —by age seventy-five. That took the pressure off and put me in a state of near constant flow, and occasional bliss. I wrote a play, a memoir, poetry, and half a novel.

After three years, I started writing Quiet and knew instinctively that this was the one.

But the adventure began long before Quiet and its runaway success. The adventure was the simple act of trying to become a writer in the first place.

In September 2014, my friend Chris Guillebeau came out with a wonderful new book . A book about quests and adventures and about how doing that big crazy (or quiet and intimate) thing you’ve always dreamed of may be the best thing you’ll ever do.

I’ll let Chris tell you all about it…

How Pursuing a Quest Can Bring Purpose to Your Life

by Chris Guillebeau

We all like to adopt habits and make choices that improve our lives—or at least we like the idea of doing so. Small changes can lead to big results, whether it’s being mindful about what we eat or trying to get an extra hour of sleep. Improvement is good.

But what if there’s something bigger that you could do…something that would fundamentally change your life for the better? After thinking carefully about what you enjoy doing and what you find most meaningful, maybe you should think about making that thing the focus of your daily life for years to come.

Perhaps you should consider a quest .For the past ten years, I’ve been pursuing a grand adventure . Even as an introvert (or perhaps because I’m an introvert), I’ve always loved travel, whether it’s exploring new cities and losing myself in foreign markets or heading into a small village after an extended bus ride from a larger hub. After going to a bunch of places, I decided to create structure around those discoveries. Instead of just traveling for fun, I’d turn it into a mission: I’d attempt to visit every country in the world.Every country, no exceptions—and in case you’re wondering, there are 193 […]

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This Is The Month When New Year’s Resolutions Fail—Here’s How To Save Them

This Is The Month When New Year’s Resolutions Fail—Here’s How To Save Them

New Year Resolutions Every year more than 50% of people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, work out, save money, get a promotion, get a raise, and more. And yet, virtually every study tells us that around 80% of New Year’s resolutions will get abandoned around this month. In fact, one study found that gym sales dropped precipitously from January to February.

So why do New Year’s resolutions fail? One big reason is that we often weren’t all that emotionally committed to the goal in the first place. Because January 1st is a pretty arbitrary day for half the population to start a new goal, it makes sense that many of us didn’t feel any real drive to start the goal on that particular day. In fact, a lot of us actually feel peer-pressured into making a goal for the new year.

A second problem is that because we felt some pressure to create this goal, we likely haven’t fully thought through all the people that will benefit from our achievement. If you were driven to achieve this resolution because your kids or spouse or parents would benefit, your motivation would be much less likely to wane. Making more money is an okay goal, but making more money because your kids need to attend the private school with certain special programs is a much more motivating goal.

Of course, not many people have such motivation attached their New Year’s resolutions. One of my studies, called Are SMART Goals Dumb? , discovered that only 15% of employees truly believe that their goals are going to help them reach these kinds of great accomplishments.

So if you’re one of the millions of people currently feeling their motivation for their New Year’s resolution waning, here’s a question to reinvigorate that goal and save your resolution.

“Why do you care about this goal?” It’s a simple question, and a frighteningly accurate way to predict whether or not somebody will abandon their goals at the slightest roadblock. The people who will pursue their goals regardless of the challenges will answer with something like, “This goal is my passion, it’s what I’m here to do,” or, “I love my children too much to not accomplish this.”

But when people say, “My boss or spouse is the one who really cares about this goal,” or, “I’m doing it only because I have to,” all signs indicate that this person will abandon their goal at the first bit of inconvenience.

Based on the thousands of people who have taken the test “ Do You Set SMART Goals or HARD Goals? ” we know that people with a strong emotional connection to their goals are anywhere from 1.3 to 1.8 times more […]

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Wield The Power of Discipline Toward Your Dreams

Have you ever envied anyone who has better grades, bigger house, more recognition, popularity.. and grumbled “Why did she get xxx and not me?!?*#”  It’s easy to look at people who seem to have it all–beauty, fitness, great career, wealth, freedom and tell ourselves that it’s all luck.  Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his bestseller book, Outliers, that all successful people who achieved mastery in any area have devoted at least 10,000 hours to it. No exceptions.  

We live in a culture of instant gratification and overnight fame.  The youtube star that you believe to have gained fame overnight has hours of disciplined practice that people don’t see. . 10,000 seems like an insurmountable number, but when you’re consistent, a small step forward each day adds up to a lot of mileage over time.    Your life is too important to just leave it to chance. To guarantee success, harness the power of discipline. 

Free Success Fortune Telling Chart

What it takes to top the Billboard chart, win the Wimbleton, best-selling author, Nobel prize winning scientist, world renowned violinist

5 days a week 6 days a weekEveryday 
1 hour / day38.5 years (260 hours / yr)32 years(312 hours / yr)27 years(365 hours / yr)
2 hours / day19 years(520 hours / yr16 years624 hours / yr14 years730 hours/ yr
3 hours / day13 years78011 years9369 years1095
4 hours / day10 years10408 years12486.8 years1460
5 hours / day7.7 years13006.4 years15605.5 years1825

P.s. If you’re aiming for the best in your city, country, the bar would lower and you’d get to your target level of mastery sooner than what the chart below indicates.

Time is an egalitarian, limited commodity.  No matter your age, race, intelligence, wealth, we all have the same number of hours each day.  The power to steer the direction of your life is in your hands!  How do you choose to spend your time? Are the little things you do each day adding up to something positive? Do they lead you to where you want to go in life? 

With consistent action over the next 10 or 20 years, what could you accomplish? 30 minutes of extra math practice each day / 5 days per week equals 130 hours in 1 year–surely a time investment that would get you an improvement of a full letter grade in math.  Five small pieces of chocolate over the same duration is roughly 25,000 calories, or the equivalent of over 7 lbs.  4 hours in front of the TV everyday gets you to become a world class TV watcher in less than 7 years. 

Are your consistent behaviors helping or harming where you want to go in life? Be disciplined enough to make your dreams come true.  

Groundhog Day 

If you re-live today for the next 10 years, where would you end up? (It’s a classic.  Go watch it here if you haven’t seen it yet.”)

An effective way to predict your success is to honestly examine your average day and project the likely logical outcome into the future. It’s a no brainer that  if you saved just a small amount of money each day, you’d eventually be wealthy. If you overeat slightly each day, you are guaranteed to gain weight. Your teeth aren’t clean because you brushed them for an hour straight. They’re healthy because you brushed them for 2 minutes twice a day for 365 days straight.

For one week, carefully record how you spend your time in 30-minute increments everyday.  Consider where your daily habits and behaviors are leading you academically,  financially, socially, spiritually, and physically. What logical conclusions do your daily activities predict?

3 Steps for More Self-Discipline

1.   Set success on auto-pilot.     Good habits decrease resistance and help make self-discipline easier because research shows that people have a finite amount of self-discipline .  By building good habits, you’re creating helpful, positive actions that are automatic and don’t require you to use up your reserve of self-discipline. Relying on discipline day after day is an uphill battle. While discipline can grow with effort and the right training, having helpful habits is more effective and much less painful.  To make sure habits stick, Tie them to environmental triggers or something you already do to encourage consistency.  I discussed habits more in this article.

2. Just do it.  The greatest barrier to self-discipline is procrastination. Each day, you have the choice to get closer to making your dreams come true.  Each day lost is lost forever, so if it’s the right thing to do, then isn’t it worth doing right now?

3.  Have reasonable expectations. When your time horizon is unrealistic or when you ask too much of yourself too soon, disappointment and frustration are sure to follow, and  you doom yourself to give up. Be positive and enthusiastic, but be reasonable. Focus on your trajectory and aim for regular and consistent improvement. Perfection isn’t required.

Whatever your dreams are, you need self-discipline to make it happen.  What you do once in a while doesn’t impact your life significantly. Rather, it’s what you do consistently with discipline.  All of curaFUN’s social emotional training programs build up children’s self-discipline with consistent practice of critical skills in dynamic, gamified formats. Click here to find a program appropriate for your child today with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Don’t just talk a big game. Make it happen.

Imagine it was 1848, and you found the biggest gold mine, and told everyone about it. You were right—the motherload of gold was there, but you never carry through and took any action. Instead of living the rest of your life covered in gold, you watched people who heard about your discovery do the hard work and carry off with the gold.

Good ideas pave the grounds of startup cemetery and failed new year resolutions. Dreams and ideas are wonderful, but they have no value and can sometimes seem to be only figments of our imagination if we don’t take action. The real magic is in making them happen.

But is there really magic?

Successful implementation makes dreams come true, it isn’t very complicated (not to say that it’s not hard).

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering a 12-step process to making it happen. This process works for any goal—wealth, parenting goals, behavior change, weight loss, you name it.

These 12 steps put your success on autopilot. If you’re doing the right things each day, good things happen.

Step 1: Practice Consistency
Consistency doesn’t guarantee results, but it multiplies your effort and accelerate results. When you first start doing anything, it’s awkward and you want to quit to put an end to that mild discomfort. But if you stop, it’ll always be awkward and hard. When you’re consistent, whether it’s with math practice, public speaking, working out, taking StrengthBuilder, you build muscle memory and reduce internal resistance,

Consistency takes practice, and it builds your faith in yourself and discipline, which is a requirement for success in any area. What you do consistently, everyday matters more than what you plan to accomplish.

What about my goals, you ask? I’m going to get to goal setting in a future post. Setting a goal that is right for you and attainable is very important, but it’s what most people already love to do. It’s fun and oh-so-tempting to chase the next great idea, shop for goals and jump from one thing to the next Chasing keeps you busy which our brains often perceived as productive, but it doesn’t get you to the finish line. We start with consistency or self-discipline because it is a prerequisite for any goal you choose.

The Mini Consistency Challenge:

Consistency takes discipline, and both are strengths that you can intentionally build and fortify Practice first on a goal that is realistic to make it easier for you to follow this process before tackling more difficult ones.

1. Assess and Measure your progress.
Performance experts say that “When you measure something, the thing you measure changes.” Just by monitoring your progress, you’re likely to see more improvement. Whether it’s a chore or a goal, you can use a tracker to monitor it—it’s proof that what you’re working on is important.

This is why our StrengthBuilder programs have assessment questions discreetly built into the game portion six or seven times throughout the program.

2. Support Your Journey
Set reminders of your goal for yourself in places and times when you’re likely to see them. Leave notes, signs, and any other type of reminder to ensure you remember to take action each day. In my house, we have reminders on whiteboards, calendars, Amazon Alexa devices. I’ve tried different reward charts, responsibility apps for years with my kids to get new habits to stick. Many of them failed because as a parent who’s supervising the system, I wasn’t consistent!

The Coming of Mad Dash

Almost every night, I would drag myself to get my kids to put their stuff away, prepare for the next day. It was repetitive and exhausting for me. Nothing worked until I laid out our “Mad Dash” plan where I schedule our speakers to play a Mad Dash music list for exactly 15 minutes at the exact same time everyday where everyone drops what they’re doing and starts cleaning like “mad” until the music is over.

Set Up For Success
The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” is so true. Discipline is difficult, so do anything you can to limit temptations. When you’re assessing your progress, make sure to investigate where problems tend to occur. Are you distracted by the TV or internet? If so, do your work where these distractions aren’t present. Are you less likely to be compliant in the evenings? Then, get your work done in the morning.

In the beginning, there would be days when a movie or game on their iPad would tempt them to skip Mad Dash. To problem solve and set up for success, we started to schedule our family movie night to end before our Mad Dash time. Going a step further, I scheduled for wifi to be turned off during Mad Dash time. It made being disciplined about our family Mad Dash much easier when my kids didn’t have to resist Netflix. I simply took that option away.

Many cite a Maltz study that it takes 21 days to form a habit. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, talks about the different research and there is sufficient evidence that it may take as long as 254 days to securely form a new habit. This is why all of curaFUN’s programs are deeply discounted for children who sign up for an entire year. Learning new skills, forming new habits are hard and they take time. It’s human nature to fall off track, so having a support system to spot it and remediate is critical.

p.s. We had Flo Rida’s My House playing in our Mad Dash playlist for more than a year before finally switching it out, and even years later, I feel the urge the “mad dash” and vacuum every time I hear the song.

Is it possible for my child to finish the entire game in one month? Can I cancel after a month?

Our research shows that children from schools and parents who observe best practices tend to complete each program in about six months. curaFUN is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the emotional wellbeing of Asian youth worldwide.  Read about our mission here.  Each subscription includes not only the game but assessment and recommendation as well as important on-going activities like daily mood check-in, gratitude journal, breathing meditations, positive thinking, goal setting and mentoring that all work cohesively to forge your child’s inner armor.  Our online games are only one portion of each program.  Subscribers to our Multilingual Immersions can also opt in our beta Virtual Exchange Student Pen Pal, and be guided by our coaches to interact with children from other countries.  While we certainly hope your child keeps his/her subscription, you may cancel your subscription at any time. There is no commitment.  Period.

We give families the option of month-to-month subscriptions on all our programs as well as discounts on 6-month and 12-month subscriptions.

Our founder wrote about progress in her blog.  You may want to read it here.