Real-Life Inception: Using Your Imagination to Learn Anything

This article originally appeared on ReBilderU.com   “What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.” - Cobb (Inception)   Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference ...

The Threshold: Reaching The Tipping Point of “Genius”

There was nothing I wanted more. There was nothing more elusive to my every effort. Four years of classes, almost 5 months in Germany (multiple trips), dozens of international friends, piles of books, gigabytes audio programs, and the most popular online language learning applications & software money could buy—I had even served as an advisor to a language learning startup for a while—and yet, I felt just as far away from fluency as I did when I walked into my German class almost 9 years ago. Sure, I could understand the basics, but wh ...

6 Reasons Why You Should NOT Study [Languages] Abroad

Despite my harsh views on formal education, one of my biggest regrets in life is passing up on the opportunity to study abroad. I was close at times, and even attended a [random] day of physical therapy classes in Lübeck, Germany, in 2012, but for whatever reason, I just never ended up taking the plunge. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t make it a priority at the time. Before I knew it, I was graduating and missed my chance. That said, I can’t help but notice that a lot of people who do study abroad inadvert ...

The Stoic’s Complete Guide to Keeping Your Composure When All Else Goes to Hell (part 1)

The barrel of the handgun was about a foot away, pointed directly at my head. Just a few seconds earlier, I had been sitting in my car about to drive home after an evening workout at a local park in Mountain View, CA. Out of nowhere, a truck came screeching up next to me. Before I could react, I was blinded by a flashlight and the pistol started slamming repeatedly against my driver’s side window. “Don’t move, don’t move, where’s your wallet? WHERE’S YOUR WALLET?!?!” Damn it. Not again. I knew the answe ...

Partying With Mobsters, Running for Your Life, and the Art of Meeting Anyone

(ikon vodka) It was snowing heavily as I scrambled out from the depths of one of the city’s most exclusive underground clubs. There was no wind, and besides the crunch of our footsteps and gasping breath, it was deadly quiet. Huge snowflakes creeped gently through the air, Illuminated by streams of light and falling so slowly that time itself seemed to have stopped entirely. The serenity of that moment sticks with me to this day—like something out of a dream—yet oddly ironic, for at the time, I seriously thought it may be my last. ...

Unplanning: Turning Simple Vacations into Epic Adventures

The smell of the urine was overpowering, the itch on my leg was probably a bed bug crawling up from the crevice of my seat cushion, and everyone was yelling in Arabic. Fuck it. No time to worry about such trivialities — now the least of my worries. Just a few minutes prior I had been lurched awake as the bus I was on had abruptly shut down while cruising on the highway. A highway in the middle of the Sahara desert, no less. The driver, after spending about five minutes trying (unsuccessfully) to restart the engine, was now on his cell ph ...

No One Cares About the Horse: Viewing the World in First Principles

We’ve all heard Henry Ford’s (apparent) quote about his early customers: “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse” Steve Jobs followed a relatively similar mantra: “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Functionally, it’s a lesson of first principles; that is, maintaining rigid focus on the known “ends” while detaching yourself from the “means” that get you there. In the case of transportation, it’s not about what ...

Get off the Treadmill—Your Life Depends on it.

It’s easy to feel movement, but vital to measure progress. Your journey is far and perilous. Few individuals put in the effort or make the sacrifices, even fewer actually reach their destination. You’re running on an unconventional path—the road less traveled. Your mind is clear, your determination unflinching, your goals in sight. However as with anything, starting out cold turkey or going from 0 to 100 is generally not a brilliant idea. What you need…is training. And what is great for training? That’s right, treadmil ...

The Simple Path to Discover Your Purpose & Living the Perfect Life

I was talking to my sister (14) the other night when she asked me a very particular question: “How do you really know when you’re passionate about something?” In other words, where should you concentrate your efforts when not guided by a clear vision of where you want to go, what you want to become, or what you want to achieve? How do you get to a point of clarity in purpose and pursuit? Now in the moment I probably could have answered better than I did, but until that point, I hadn’t really taken great pains to figure ...

It Doesn’t Have to Be You—The Surprising Reality of Shitty Jobs

(Cover Photo) Without a doubt, there are a lot of shitty jobs out there. Yet for the most part, we don’t recognize them as the shitty jobs they are. They hide behind our all too familiar rationalizations and/or excuses of “paying my dues”, “working up the corporate ladder”, or—the most deceiving of all—being very well paid. Unlike their traditional contemporaries—Washing dishes, cleaning toilets (literally “shitty”), mining, (insert others)…—these shitty jobs hide in plain sight under the ...
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