Big questions in lifestyle design…and a couple links

August 4, 2008 by Jared Goralnick

The Blue Lagoon, from my recent visit I’m still on holiday abroad just now, but I’ve been building some perspective.  I wanted to reflect a little on what’s on my mind in the hope that it’ll be of value to you.

So here are a few questions about “the big stuff” both for and from me…

Please take a moment and consider…

  1. If you could change where you’re heading now with your career or relationships without much related risk, would you?  Think of this both in terms of the subject and the impact you’re having in that area.
  2. What would happen if the change were successful?
  3. If the change weren’t successful, how bad would the result be?  (be realistic)

I find that the further I get from home, the more possible it seems to make big changes with my life.  The world goes on even when no one around me speaks the same language or has ever sipped a $5 latte.  There are just other options out there.

So consider it.  Then think about it again.  And again.  The more you think, perhaps the more you’ll realize it’s just not that big of a deal to change…but it is a big deal to stay on exactly the same path.  Maybe it’s travel, maybe it’s having a larger impact on those you’re working for (or against).  For me, it’s both of those things.

To keep you occupied in my absence, here are a couple links from this week that are worth visiting:

  • Why The Job-ification of Your Passion Can be the Ticket to Hating Your Life [The Growing Life] – whether this article is a reality check or further enthusiasm, it hits me because I’m living my passion.  And doing well with that.  But there’s more to the picture, as Clay articulates
  • Inbox Culture [Seth Godin]– somewhat off topic from today’s post, but it feels great to be validated by one of my favorite and one of the sharpest thinkers online.  It’s similar to my Postal Service Got it Right article, reminding us how easy it is to get caught up in email but how “carving out time to initiate is more important than ever”

So now you should have some motivation to get away from your inbox and think about the big stuff.  I’ve desperately needed some perspective as my life has only gotten faster and faster…but this trip is helping.

I look forward to writing more and talking to you all again when I’m back in town.   Here are some pictures to keep you busy in the mean time: Bangkok | Barcelona | Reykjavik/Iceland | Hong Kong (in process).

As Tim Ferriss would say, Pura Vida!

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8 Responses to “Big questions in lifestyle design…and a couple links”


  1. Frank Gruber

    Great post. Ironically, I just had a similar session where I stepped back and started to think about what is important to me and where I am going to take things.

  2. Chris

    Perspective is great. Glad to hear this trip is having an effect on you. I’m sure it will ignite a few more sparks before it ends.

  3. Stefan

    Taking time out to reflect is important. Your perspective gets skewed over time if you follow the same routine. Unfortunately, making time seems to get harder and harder with all the convenient distractions of “modern” life. Family adds another interesting aspect. Having kids both accelerates time exponentially (it seems) and forces you to make time, which puts things into perspective and can be very rewarding. It also substantially lowers your perceived margin of acceptable change and risk.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip – looks like a lot of fun.

  4. Jet Set Life

    Just got back from shooting Jet Set Life in Mykonos. This time we decided to take three full weeks to do the contemplation your referring to. I was asking similar questions (and frankly getting some great answers). There’s something about that time off abroad that opens your soul. Distributing these “recovery periods” throughout my life on a regular basis has made all the difference. Nice Post.

  5. DC Grauel

    Nice post, Jared.

    Nothing like a travel abroad to make us realize how really insignifiant we are in the big scheme of things. It is a good exercise to periodically re-evaluate the position.

  6. Jared Goralnick

    Frank, that’s wonderful. When I’m back in town we should put our head’s together and grab some beers.

    Chris, thank you. And it was great to spend time with you in Boston, too.

    Stefan, I can’t really predict how starting a family will play a role into the time-commitment and perspective-development game. You still seem to get away a lot though, no? Thanks for the comment!

    Jet Set Life, I need to do some more regular distribution of time-away. I appreciate the comment and I’m glad to hear getting away has been helpful for you, too!

    DC Grauel: yes, travel helps. I don’t know if I feel less significant…or if it’s just that some of my expectations are misguided when placed in a larger context. Where do I want to be a few years from now? Who do I want to be? What do I want to have to look back upon? Sometimes those goals amount to more than just business. Thanks again for stopping by and the comment…we need to get together soon, too.

  7. Jen

    great post- jealous of your trip but fun living vicariously through your pics. i recently read this guest post on zenhabits written by clay collins:

    pretty inspirational. and for some real pura vida, head to costa rica next:

  8. Tara

    I completely agree that it can be much easier to make life-changing decisions when you are miles from home. Something about being away from your day-to-day allows perspective and an almost objective view on things that doesn’t seem to be possible when you’re wrapped up in your normal daily life.
    I must admit I have had some of my best ideas when I have been in the middle of nowhere.

    Just discovered your blog and really enjoying it so far. Happy travels!

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