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Post image for A Day in the Future

I awake in bed. I’m warm and safe, like every morning. Outside it is twenty below zero, but from inside my home winter seems far away.

As I rise and stretch, I notice I’m sore. Not from tending the fields though. I have no fields. Some unseen person does all the field-tending for me. Sometimes I forget that there’s any field-tending going on at all.

I buy all my food — I wouldn’t know how to grow it or hunt it. Three or four hours’ pay gets me a week’s worth. It’s a pretty good arrangement. I’m thirty years old and I’ve never gone a day without food.

My soreness is actually from my leisure time, not work. I spent yesterday sliding down a snow-covered slope with a board attached to my feet. After that I was pretty worn out, so I went to a friend’s house, drank beer that was wheeled in from Mexico by another person I never met, and watched a sporting event as it unfolded in Philadelphia.

I don’t live in Philadelphia, but my friend has a machine that lets us see what’s happening there. I have one too. Almost everyone does.

The sun won’t rise for another hour, but I don’t need to light a fire or candles. I have artificial ones, mounted on the ceiling. Hit a tiny switch and I can see everything, any time of day.

I bathe while standing. The water comes out whatever temperature I like.

I use a few machines in my kitchen to get my breakfast ready. It takes about five minutes. Toasted buckwheat groats with raisins, almonds, dates and sunflower seeds. I don’t know where it came from but I’d be surprised if it was from anywhere near here. Read More

The beginning

Raptitude was born March 15th last year, but it was conceived in the last week of January. I had just visited Problogger for the first time and saw that blogging wasn’t simply speaking your thoughts into a void, it was an interactive community. The words went back and forth, and side to side. There were big shots and little shots, up-and-comers and has-beens. People were making friends, improving their craft, building their livelihoods and legacies.

I wanted to be a part of it, but had no idea where to start. Darren from Problogger said he was a big fan of Yaro Starak’s Blog Mastermind course. I read his free report, and something about it spoke to me. The ad video seemed unusually frank and upfront for some guy selling something on the internet. My BS detector did not go off. I bought the course and was off to the races.

That upfront financial commitment removed any possibility of not following through, and the course itself removed any doubt about how to go about it. I got busy, excited in a way I hadn’t been for a long time. I spent two weeks shopping for hosts and themes, designing a logo, learning WordPress and breaking down the whole technical side.

Once it was all in place, I was all very proud of myself. The future looked bright. I felt with unusual certainty that I was barking up the right tree.

There was one minor task I hadn’t yet gotten around to, but I would need to do it before I could launch. In fact, it really was an integral component of a working blog. Read More

The book of awesome

If you haven’t yet stumbled across a remarkable blog called 1000 Awesome Things, you may want to check your internet connection. Each weekday since June 2008, blogger Neil Pasricha has been celebrating one undeniably awesome thing everyone knows. Not awesome like the Hindenburg explosion awesome, but awesome like the first shower you take after not showering for a really long time awesome. Or the moment at the concert when the crowd figures out what song they’re playing awesome.

Neil has an incredible knack for identifying the tiny unsung miracles that make our lives glimmer, so it’s no surprise he’s struck a chord with a lot of people. 1000 Awesome Things has featured on such media heavyweights as CNN, CBC Radio, the BBC, Wired Magazine, and a humbling list of others.

Back in May, I wrote a post about three notable blogs, one of which was Neil’s. He paid a visit to Raptitude, apparently liked what he saw and dropped me a line, and we’ve been back-and-forthing ever since.

This April, Neil and his awesome things will emerge in book form as THE BOOK OF AWESOME, and he’s giving a few lucky Raptitude readers a chance to win their very own autographed copy. And not a Lotto 649 kind of chance, a seriously decent chance.

Here’s how it works:

To commemorate the April 15 release of THE BOOK OF AWESOME, I will be conducting a short interview with Neil.

I have often remarked that Raptitude’s readership is one of the most thoughtful and interesting groups of people in these parts of the internet, and Neil agrees. So we’ve decided to let YOU interview Neil.

I am seeking a few (3-5) interesting, intriguing or otherwise AWESOME questions to ask Neil during the interview. Send your question to me (one question only please) and I’ll pick my interview questions from the entries I receive. I’m looking for questions that will make for an awesome interview, so be creative. Read More

face palm

Four time-dishonored Raptitude flops

Since this blog’s inception ten months ago, I’ve managed to write one to three articles a week, even if the inspiration fairy isn’t always around when I need her. Though I’ve ducked a few of my self-imposed deadlines since I’ve gone mobile, just about each week I have managed to post something that I think is somewhat worthwhile to someone out there.

Sometimes I feel good about a piece, sometimes not so good. Some posts spark a big discussion or a flood of traffic, and others just casually slip into obscurity, with a handful of polite but underwhelming comments. I’ve noticed that there is virtually no relationship between how I think an article will do and how well it is actually received.

There are times when I’ve got an interesting idea but I just can’t get it across clearly. Other times, I just can’t get at what I want to get at under the day’s time constraints, so I have to wrap it up by making a smaller and less interesting point that I had planned. As a reader you may not realize how often the post you’re reading is actually a second thought. And of course there are times when a post flops for no conceivable reason. Read More

Post image for Hello From the West Coast

Earlier today I wrote a draft of a rather negative article about my initial impressions about Hollyhock, the spiritual/educational retreat I’m at right now. My expectations were completely wrong (aside from the astonishing food here) and I was resentful. I deleted my little rant. It was what I was feeling at the time, but since this morning I’ve changed my outlook.

Due to my own misunderstanding of Google Docs Offline, I saved over the article I was going to publish Monday and will have to write it again. I was very proud of the article, and that fact that I got it written successfully on the road. It was tremendously important to me not to let my trip upset my posting schedule, and I missed the very first post! Argh!

For what it’s worth, I also have not been able to upload photos because I didn’t bring the little cord. No I didn’t take the above photo. So I haven’t updated David Goes Kiwi yet. Time! I need some damn time to myself!

I was shocked to find that the course I’m taking here (today is the first of five days) keeps me busy from 7am to 10pm, with a few short breaks, and that made me quite upset. I do not have free time to write, or even hike the beautiful cedar woods around here. My dreams of solitary beach-walks and writing on the patio a few hours each evening were shattered.

I found out quickly that Hollyhock is not a resort. It is not where you go to have fun, and apparently not a place where you go to do your own thing. My first full day (which is one session away from being over) has been a 50/50 mix between grueling and delightful. It consists of looong (for me) sessions of sitting meditation, interspersed with walking meditation. Forty-five minutes a stretch — certainly longer than the 20 minutes I attempted in experiment No. 1. At least three of the sessions were hellish, and I was fighting sleep throughout them all.

Earlier today I was seriously considering leaving. But after a fantastic lecture from the instructor, I feel much better about this particular retreat and what it can do for me. Precisely the problems I was having (attachment to expectations, resentment, worry) were addressed in a very insightful talk. I can deal.

I made a lot of progress just today, after having spent the whole day in what’s called “noble silence.” That means no chatting, no unnecessary speech. Now that I think of it I’ve only uttered about two sentences all day, and that’s when a microphone was handed to me and I was asked to speak. I’ll spend the next four days in silence too.

I hate that I let Monday morning go by without a post. This will not be typical, though I’ll have precious little time over the next four days to write, and that makes me sad. I’m being challenged to keep my mind clear of unnecessary mental dialogue, but transcribing unnecessary mental dialogue onto the internet happens to be on of my favorite things to do.

Today was mostly rough, but I see now that it will be okay. The thought of Raptitude going stagnant is enough to give me nightmares. When I get back to Victoria I’m going to barricade myself in a library and do what I yearn so badly to do: write. I love doing that and I love that you’re here to read it.

More to come.

Photo by Vic Fan



As I mentioned in Thursday’s article, Raptitude is officially six months old.

I’m thrilled with how fast my readership grown, I really never expected this. I want let you know I’m very grateful for your time and attention.

This week my RSS subscriber count hit 700 for the first time, and I know that doesn’t account for the many regular readers who don’t use RSS or even know what it is. This last two months I’ve averaged over 1,500 unique visitors a day.

There is a fairly regular group of commenters (mostly fellow bloggers) whom I’ve come to know through their feedback, and I get emails from fans telling me about themselves and their stories. When I picture my audience, I tend to think of that small group of familiar names and avatars.

But the numbers indicate they are a minority, and there are hundreds of regular readers I know absolutely nothing about. I’ve published 68 articles, each one a mishmash of my own personal stories, opinions, rants and reflections, and there is a sizable group of people who invest some of their day to come here to read them.

I just speak my thoughts into my keyboard, but for the most part I don’t even know who I’m speaking to! Yet they listen. It’s so bizarre. Read More

Post image for 100 Years Hence

I’m fascinated with how our world changes over a relatively short time.  Technology, infrastructure, culture and fashion just can’t stay put for long.  Humans are so amazing because they have a habit of completely reinventing their habitat every generation or so.

Undoubtedly this is also a big reason why we are so troubled.  Every generation is faced with an environment for which their parents could not prepare them because it never existed before.  Old-fashioned values don’t always work so well when the world is continually being fashioned by the new.  “Always eat everything on your plate” may not be such great advice when today’s average portion size is triple what it was in 1950.

I guess what is most interesting to me is that the human being — the animal itself — stays more or less the same, but its tools and toys and general way of life change so completely.  I wasn’t around before 1980, but even in that short time, technology has completely revolutionized our lifestyles, with some interesting complications.  For example, who in 1991 could have predicted that by age 28 I would be spending twelve hours a week and writing on a “blog”? Read More

impaled computer

Some readers have reported a popup window and an error when they attempt to access Raptitude.com with Internet Explorer.

The error says:

Internet Explorer cannot open the internet site https://www.raptitude.com.

Operation aborted.

I’ve done a bit of research on this error and it is a well-known problem with Internet Explorer 6 and 7. There seem to be about twenty different causes, none of which seem to be the case for me, and twenty different solutions, none of which worked for me.

I will continue to look into this, but in the mean time there is something easy you can do to fix it:

Stop using Internet Explorer 6 and 7. I was surprised to find that 20% of Raptitude readers still use Internet Explorer.  Most of the world has moved on to the far superior (and FREE) Mozilla Firefox web browser, and I’m really not sure why anyone continues to use IE in any form.  If you need convincing, check out the Top 5 Reasons to Use Firefox and the Top 5 Reasons to Dump Internet Explorer.

I know we all have our preferences though, and I won’t begrudge anybody’s choice of browser.  If you would like to continue to use IE, I strongly recommend upgrading to Internet Explorer 8.  This is also completely free, and IE8 seems to fix this error.

If you are not familiar with Firefox, you really should check it out.  It has been the undisputed browser champion of the world for a few years now, having soundly defeated the clunky and disagreeable Internet Explorer. 70% of Raptitude readers choose Firefox.  That’s more than double all other browsers combined.

Google Chrome is another option.  I have not used it much but its fans certainly love it.

Of course you Mac users have nothing to worry about, as usual.

Photo by Don Fulano

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Even though I always post an article on Mondays, I’m behind the 8-ball timewise this week and I could not bear to publish a half-assed version of the article I’m working on.

There is too much great content out there for me to feel compelled to deliver another article today at the expense of quality.  I could stay up until 2am and crank it out, but I’ve learned not to force these things.

Here are some suggestions, if you are looking for mental stimulation:

ItStartsWith.Us — An excellent new blog championing the role of interpersonal communication in the improvement of society.  Its author, Nate St. Pierre, is nurturing a small but growing network of open and interested people who know that they can change the world by touching other people’s lives in a meaningful way.  This is a very exciting project, I recommend getting in on the ground floor by checking it out and dropping Nate a line.

1000 Awesome Things — If you did not see it in this post, I’ve discovered an awesome blog that describes an inexplicably awesome thing every weekday.  These things aren’t life’s grandiose or expensive rewards, they’re just the tiny little miracles that inject little doses of awesomeness into day-to-day life.  In my humble opinion it is something really special.

My Archives! I know some of you have read every single post I’ve ever written.  Thank you, you people make my world go round.  But most of you have not yet accomplished this glorious feat! Now is your chance, while Raptitude is still young.

I will be away from June 18-21, on a camping trip with no computers or internet access.  I’ll have short posts scheduled normally during this time, and I won’t be able to respond to comments until the 22nd.  But I always love to read them, so don’t be shy.

I hope you are all enjoying your June.  It’s always been one of my favorite months.  Warm, optimistic and abundant.  This particular June has been hectic for me: I’m moving to a new place, taking a badly timed but previously committed 4-day camping trip, planning my big trip and tending to a dozen active projects at work.

You’ve probably seen less of me on Twitter too, and fewer of my comments on other blogs.  This is temporary; once I’m settled in a new place, I’ll be able to resume by regular level of online activity.  This month has been a real squeeze on me time and energy-wise, July should bring a saner schedule.

I can’t wait until things are back to normal, and I can spend more time writing and interacting again.  I’ve got some big plans for the summer.  My work will be featured on some other sites and in several ebook projects, I’ll be sure to let you know as they are released.

I’ve got dozens of topics I’m dying to write about, I just need to claw through this two more weeks of packing, flying, planning and moving furniture.  All in good time.

Experiment No 2, my kettlebell project, is in full swing and I’m very pleased with myself so far.  My stamina has increased substantially, and I’m looking better too.  I’ll be experiencing a scheduling hiccup this week because of my long weekend and my move, but every workout will be accounted for by the end of it.  Check out my Experiment Log, my numbers are climbing.

Experiment No 3 is coming up soon, possibly even concurrently with my current experiment.  It involves my trying on another lifestyle change for a month or so, and addressing a problem that has been going on for a while.  I’m sure some of you can relate.

Have a good Monday, talk to you soon.

Photo by J_O_I_D

Post image for And My Destination Is…

Two weeks ago, I mentioned in my post The Year With Two Summers that I would be leaving sometime in October to spend a year in another country.  This country is in the southern hemisphere, which means I’ll be able to enjoy the North American summer and leave just as summer is beginning down there.

I did not reveal the country because I wanted to make sure I would have the appropriate Visa to be able to stay for twelve months.  If it had been denied for some reason then I would have had to choose a different destination.

Not that I’ve kept this a secret, in my offline life.  I think all of my friends know by now, and I’ve announced my resignation to my boss.

Well, this week I got the great news: my Visa has been approved.

Five months from now, I will be living in Read More

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