When my girlfriend and I flew to Portland this past week, to attend the 2nd annual World Domination Summit, I had some semblance of what I was getting into. I had been following Chris’s blog “The Art of Non-Conformity” for a couple of years. I had read his two books, “The Art of Non-Conformity” and his recently released “The $100 Startup“. My girlfriend just thought it was a vacation and was along for the ride. She knew we’d be attending the event, but didn’t know what to expect, and I wasn’t quite sure how to explain it to her!
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect either. The biggest thing I was hoping to get out of the event was to meet some interesting people and hope for some inspiration to jump-start me into action!
With an opening night street party of 1,000 people that included skee ball, ping pong tables, sumo suits, a marching band and food carts, I had a feeling things were going to get interesting!
When the World Domination Summit opened, Chris Guillebeau took the stage and after some opening remarks, described the event as follows:
“How to live a remarkable life in a conventional world.”
This is what I was looking for!!! I wanted to know how to live a remarkable life. I’ve always believed I was destined to live a remarkable life, and though I’ve had several interesting adventures so far, I felt deep down inside, that I wasn’t at that “remarkable” level yet! Worst of all, I didn’t know how to share that feeling with people around me.
Yet here I was, in Portland, surrounded by 1,000+ other people looking to be remarkable! This was the place I wanted to be!
The three main themes of WDS which were emphasized all weekend were:
The keynote speakers for the event represented a wide variety of backgrounds, and each was inspirational in their own way.
- Dr. Brene Brown talked about vulnerability. She had many memorable quotes and led a 1,000 person Glee-inspired rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey along with Chris Guillebeau.
- Scott Harrison, a former nightclub promoter and now founder of the organization Charity: Water, talked about how a little thing like clean water can make a HUGE difference in people’s lives! His organization in 5 1/2 years has raised $65 million with 100% of the proceeds going to help people and 2-3 million people provided with clean water. At the end of his presentation, all 1,000+ people in the theater stood up and pledged to donate their next birthday to help fund clean water. Here’s the link to my pledge!
- Jonathan Fields & Susan Cain discussed her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking“.
- Scott Belsky of Behance and the 99% spoke about “Making Ideas Happen”. He said making ideas happen involves 1) Organization & Execution, 2) Communal Forces and 3) Leadership Capability. He recommends you keep the ship of your organizaiton moving by asking annoying questions and making people make decisions to avoid bureaucracy. His statement that resonated with me was “Nothing extraordinary is ever achieved through ordinary means!”
- Chris Brogan talked about superheros and how they represent the traits inside of us that we admire! You have to entangle yourself from other people’s scripts of who they think you are. The question you should be asking yourself is “Who am I?” Some of Chris’s more memorable comments included “The weirder you are, the more you get noticed!“, “Define your secret identity. It’s not who you say who you are, it’s what you do.”, “Be playful and fun“, “Sometimes you need rage and need to go insane!” and “Use your powers for good!“
- Audrey Scott & Dan Noll of Uncornered Market talked about their years of traveling together as husband and wife, the exotic places they’ve been to, “Embracing regret avoidance” and learning how human connections can transcend borders.
- Cal Newport who has a PhD in Computer Science, talked about how the traditional advice of “Follow Your Passion” is the wrong advice to take! He describes how most people, the longer they’re doing something, the more they tend to see it as their calling. He recommends instead that you get good at something that is rare and valuable! Then use those skills as leverage to pursue the traits and lifestyle that you do want. The example he used was Steve Jobs, cited in his official biography “Steve Jobs“, and how you should do what he did, not what he said. Steve Jobs wasn’t passionate about technology. He was passionate about many other things, but grew to embrace technology and applied his passions to make Apple and other companies what they are today!
- J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly gave the closing keynote speech which you can read verbatim here. His message was to practice the power of “Yes!” Have focus and say “Hell yeah!” to those things which excite you most. His 3 keys to change are 1) the Power of Yes, 2) the Power of Focus and 3) the Power of Action!
So given all the great information being shared, and the moving and inspirational stories being told, what is my takeaway from the event? Well I wrote an article titled “Would You Give Away $100,000 to Change the World?” about Chris’s investment of $100 in each and every one of the attendees to go out and do something big! See his speech at the end of the event below.
– WDS 2012: The $100 Investment
I think the key lessons I learned and took with me after the 2 1/2 day event were the following:
To be remarkable you have to do remarkable things to inspire yourself and others!
Ask myself every day… “Are you telling a good story with your life?”
People will be interested in you if you are telling a good story.
Don’t settle for what other’s have planned for you. Play, have fun and say “Yes” to things even if they scare the Hell out of you!
Giving back and paying it forward is as important, if not more so, than doing things for yourself!!!
Do Something… Do Anything! Take ACTION!!!
People will pay for knowledge and value you can provide them.
Do something bigger than you think you can! Ordinary people don’t change the world!!!
The weirder you are, the more you get noticed!
Make things fun, easy to remember and first, care!
Don’t compare your inside, to someone else’s outside. MAKE SHIT HAPPEN!!! — [thanks to Jenny Blake]
Think… “Fuck it, we’ll do it live!” — [thanks to Adam Baker for this one]
Always have a big dream to inspire you!
Money is NEVER an issue!!!
Change yourself and change the world!
My Call to Action…
I’ve been wanting to take on a major project for some time, but just wasn’t sure what I could do to match my interests as well as giving back to others. So after several days of thinking it over and wondering how to change the world in my own way, I’ve come up with an idea. I’m creating a project called “my40project.com“. This will be a 2 year undertaking based on this… I’m currently 39 years old. In the year leading up to and the year of my 40th birthday, I will be taking on 40 tasks revolving around “40” in some way! Some of these tasks are BIG and frankly I’m not sure how I’ll accomplish them. Some are small but something I’ve wanted to do. Others are about giving to others in both big and small ways. ALL revolve around the theme of “40”. Right now this project is still in the planning and development phase. I’m hoping to have something up and running with more details in the next few weeks. Once I do, I’ll be providing more information about the tasks, and what the project will entail. For more details follow me on Twitter at @my40project.
I’m very excited about this project because I think many people can relate to the notion of reaching a milestone in their life, and what they do about it! This project will also be associated with a new site I’ll be launching called “Smash Your Limits“. This site will built upon what I’ve started with this blog, as well as how I intend to continue to grow and expand both myself and what I contribute to the world as a whole. You can also follow this project on Twitter at @smashyourlimits .
I hope you’ll come back soon and share along with me my journey to launch a new site as well as my 2 year birthday project!!! I’m looking forward to both of these journies and honestly believe without the inspiration and role models I took from the World Domination Summit, neither one of them would have happened!
I can’t possibly do justice to all the awesome content that occurred during the 3 days of the World Domination Summit! I’ve tried to summarize as best I can everything that happened… what I saw and what I gained from it. I HIGHLY recommend you Google “WDS 2012” or “World Domination Summit” and check out all the FANTASTIC blog write-ups of the event and the incredibly inspirational, awe inspiring and selfless stories of those 1,000 attendees who will be changing the world!!!
- Sarah Peck’s article “The Stories of Humanity and the Power of Connection“
- Scott Dinsmoore’s article “74 Unconventional Stories, Ideas & Beliefs for Making an Unforgettable Impact in a Conventional World“
- Chris Guillebeau’s article “What Happened at the World Domination Summit“
- Sean Ogle’s article “The Real Reason to Go to Conferences Like #WDS2012“
- “Secrets of World Domination“
- “Dominating the World…Again“
- Adam Baker who created a documentary film with 4 of his buddies called “I’m Fine, Thanks” which premiered at WDS
- Jenny Blake who is the creator of “Life After College” who wrote a book of the same name and runs the course Make Shit Happen
- Stephanie who decided to donate to a different charity every day for a year.
- Nate who thought it’d be fun to walk from one side of America to the other to inspire folks to go after big dreams.
- Chantelle who started One Girl, a charity to provide education to young girls in Sierra Leone.
- Brandon founded Kids of the Gulf to document the effects the gulf oil spill has had on kids, and give them a venue to speak out.
— What will you do to change your life and change the world?