In October, I attended the third annual Financial Blogger Conference. At FinCon, I hosted the second annual Ignite FinCon speaking event, and took to the stage for my own five minutes of glory. Enjoy!
Something that comes up again and again in my life is the question of how I have time to do everything I do. I have a lot of thoughts on time management and cutting wasted time, but a big part of it comes down to priorities and jumping in head first.
A lot of people are afraid to make big changes in their lives. I know exactly how that feels. Once upon a time, I seriously considered moving to Israel. I had everything I needed to do it ready to go. I had the money, I had family and friends there, I was single and on the verge of a layoff from an old job. The timing was perfect.
However, I didn’t do it. Everything was just too comfortable at home to risk moving to the other side of the world. My family and close friends were all in Denver. I had a new job prospect, which led to my current job. It was safe and comfortable.
So, I didn’t make the big change. But I have made other changes in my life. I bought a condo, I have traveled internationally alone, I took the jump off of a cliff in Costa Rica. There are many scary things in the world, but if the opportunity is great enough and the risk is low enough, we take the step.
On the other side of the coin, if something is inspiring us more than we are afraid of the change, we are more likely to take a step. Whether it is your career, where you live, traveling, starting a business, or making a lifestyle change, you need to be inspired to do it.
I have had many grand ideas in my life. Some of them, like Narrow Bridge Finance, I started on the whim of an inspired moment. Others, like my new project Pinboard Maps, have taken a lot more planning.
The key to doing these projects is to be inspired either by the idea or the result. If you find the right thing to do in life, you will know it. You will do it. There is just one trick.
Just Do It Already
For many years Nike said “Just Do It” in their advertising. They were on to something. At the end of the day, the only person stopping you from doing awesome things is you.
I once had a conversation with a friend about going on a trip overseas. We were talking about planning it, and she said that there is no way it could happen for at least a few years. I asked why. She didn’t have an answer.
In the time since, I have been to four new countries plus a handful of Caribbean islands. She hasn’t.
If you want to do something amazing, don’t wait for an invitation. Don’t wait for it to feel comfortable. Just take the inspiration you have and do something. It could be an amazing experience. It could change your life.
Image Friar’s Balsam/flickr
This has been quite a year in the life of Eric Rosenberg. I have ventured through exciting trips, new projects, non-profit volunteering, entrepreneurial adventures, and keep ramping up for more as the year comes to a close.
While this blog ebbs and flows, I have had a successful blogging year overall. Narrow Bridge Finance has become a real income source for me and I will be incorporating my blogging projects into an LLC in January.
- 100,000th page view on Narrow Bridge Finance
- Roughly tripled traffic on Narrow Bridge over 2010
- Published 1,800th post at The Israel Situation
- Welcomed 150,000th unique visitor to The Israel Situation
- Welcomed nearly 3,500 readers on my personal blog
Denver Flash Mob
I took this group from a partnership to my own LLC for reasons you can find on this site. It was a challenge moving on as a solo project, but partners and friends made it an amazing year.
- Had 250 dancers for Born This Way dance flash mob
- Welcomed new sponsors to keep the company alive
- Built a following of over 3,000 fans
DJ Yofi Project
I marked learning how to DJ off of my life list, and I made incredible steps forward. I recently released my 13th episode of the Yoficast (free download at DJYofi.com). I also had live events at X Bar, Bar Standard, and Heebonism 2011 at City Hall. I helped hundreds of people dance the night away and have no plans to stop in 2012.
I finished out my term as Treasurer of B’nai B’rith Denver, the oldest Jewish organization in Colorado, and was elected for a second year. I must not have done too bad of a job. I also served on the growing young professional committee where we planned a cemetery cleanup, camping trip, “slosh-dallah,” and have a full list for next year.
I was a new addition to the board of E-3 Events (I claimed the title “E4”), where I work with amazing people to plan fun, Jewish, social events in Denver. Our highlight was this week’s Heebonism where hundreds of Jewish young people danced and socialized on Christmas Eve.
In addition to the DJ goal, I took my trip to London (with Paris and Amsterdam as a bonus) and had laser eye surgery. My only missed goal in 2011 was to climb 3 new 14ers. I will have to put that one on hold until the summer. (I have plans to tackle a new one with Aaron Ralston and my sister over the summer!)
This was a year of Omaha, New York, Chicago, Kansas City, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Costa Rica. My favorite thing to do is see new parts of the world and experience new things in new places. It was a huge success.
I have spent time with family and friends. Become closer with great people, purchased a condo, moved in with a new roommate, danced till dawn, and made it out feeling more alive than ever before.
I will count down to 2012 with my parents in San Jose, Costa Rica. From there I will travel through the rain forest and spend a few days relaxing on the beach. It is a fitting start to a new year with new adventures ahead.
I have marked off my life list goal of learning to DJ. I am about to have my third gig of the year and have only heard good reviews from my past work. I bought my Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ system, learned how it works, and use it reguarly.
My first step was to practice. I spent hours learning the ins and outs of the buttons and knobs on my S4. It is a powerful mixer and I love it.
The next step was to learn the intricacies of electronic music and DJing. I have listened to hundreds of hours of DJ mixes to find what sets the best DJs apart from the rest. I have seen legendary DJs such as Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, BT, ATB, Sharam, Robbie Rivera, and Sydney Blu live. I have tried to learn from their performances too.
Now, with my next gig lined up for Friday (that is two in two weeks) and a hopeful bar gig in the works, I would call myself a DJ.
Thanks to my friends and family who have been patient and supportive as I have learned to DJ and completed a long time dream.
Learn to DJ: Check
We all have dreams. When we are young, we want to be firefighters and astronauts. As we get older, we want to be athletes and rock stars. Eventually, some of us dream of wealth, others dream of travel, some dream of retiring early, others dream of meeting Mr/Mrs right and having a family. We all dream, but what are you doing to make them come true?
Recognize Your Dream
The first step to making all of your wildest dreams come true is to realize what they are. If you daydream in the shower or think about your life when lying in bed at night, that is fine. Wherever you find inspiration, go there.
I took the time to write down a list of my dreams. As I said above, everyone’s dreams are different. Never judge someone else’s life goals and never feel ashamed of yours.
Writing a physical list is the best way to keep tabs on your ideas and you can use that list later on when coming up with a dream plan.
Come Up With a Real Timeline
Be realistic but do not be overly generous with the timeline. I set concrete deadlines to accomplish the things on my life list. I gave myself a tough set of goals for 2011, but I was half way there when the year was a third over. I should be done with the entire list for the year by August.
I wanted to be conservative to ensure I could really achieve each goal, but I was too easy on myself. It turns out that you can do a lot more than you realize if you give yourself a deadline and put your mind to it.
Take Concrete Steps
Want to go to London? Schedule a date and buy a plane ticket. Want to learn to golf? Sign up for a class. Want to lose weight? Start a diet and exercise routine.
You get the idea. Talk is cheap. You can say you are going to do something for years and never make any real progress. This is true in all aspects of life. The reason some people are successful and others fail is most commonly linked to hard work.
Create and action plan and follow it.
Live Your Dreams
If you followed the simple steps above, you can’t help but be successful. You really do have the power to do anything. It is that simple and it is that easy. The only thing stopping you from living your dreams is you.
There are always excuses. You can say that you don’t have enough money. Earn more. You can say that it is not a good time. When is it a good time? The real reason people do not follow their dreams comes down to one of three things. You are too lazy, don’t really want to do it, or are afraid of some consequence or result.
It is time to move past your excuses and start your action plan. What are you waiting for? Start today. Let me know when you did something about it (in the comments or by e-mail). If you don’t send me a note, I will know that you are in the majority of people who will always dream but never see them come true.
Image by Melody Campbell.
At nearly a year since I became single, I have been out there giving the dating world a shot. It is a jungle out there, but I have learned some interesting stuff. Dating is complicated, but only if you over think it. There are two important factors to look at: you and the woman you are trying to find.
Self Improvement – Creating Attraction
Okay guys, I have done a hell of a lot of reading and have figured something out about women. Many of them will deny it, but it is a tested truth. Women are not going to fall for a “nice guy.” They are going to fall for someone they are attracted to.
Attraction is an interesting science, and the best explanation I have found comes from David DeAngelo of “Double Your Dating” fame. First off, throw out the idea that a women’s attraction is anything like a man’s and that women are logical when dating. It is all based on an instinctual attraction that they have little control over.
What a man is attracted to is very obvious. While personality can improve things a little bit, a man is attracted to a woman’s physical beauty. Big in the right places and small in the right places are important features. I can give you an honest opinion of whether a girl has a chance with me within about two minutes of meeting her.
Women, on the other hand, develop attraction based on personality traits over physical traits. Sure, you can’t be a fat, sloppy, ugly guy and assume it will all go well. You have to be good looking enough, but enough means ‘not repulsive’ in this world.
As DeAngelo says, a woman wants a guy who makes them feel excited and interested. Despite your own personality, this comes down to two basic character traits that can be exploited and used to create attraction. The trick is to be “cocky and funny.”
Cocky alone means you are an asshole. Funny alone means you are her “friend.” A winning combination of the two will take you to your end goal, whatever that may be, if balanced and used correctly.
If you want an extra boost, you can try a little trick I picked up from Tim Ferris, author of the “4 Hour Body.” The goal is to triple your testosterone in order to create the natural chemicals that attract a woman to you. This is as much of an animal instinct experiment as you can find.
I tried it. It works.
Over a 24 hour period, eat a diet that consists primarily of organic beef, whole eggs (pan cooked or hard boiled), and a combination of nuts and dietary supplements. I focused on the beef and eggs part.
I went dancing at a local bar. I was surrounded by beautiful women and douche-bag guys. I did nothing different from most nights out. Girls started approaching me to dance. (It happens occasionally, but not as much as this night)
So, find a way to open the door, be physically ready, and pull out the cocky and funny. You are sure to score, in whatever sense of the word you are looking for.
Not Being a Wuss
Girls are not attracted to wussy guys. But, as Tyler Durden famously said in Fight Club, we are a generation raised by women. We are raised to embrace our feminine side and our feelings. Forget that crap. Your Mom raised you to be like she wanted you, not like an attractive woman wants you.
Women want men. Men make decisions. Men do what they want and go after what they want. This is our natural instinct. It has been bred out of us, but it is not hard to get it back. Stop trying to bend over backwards to impress women. Don’t give up your power in a relationship to make a woman happy. Be yourself. If she doesn’t like you for you, move on.
While I love playing my Xbox, girls don’t want to hear about it. While I had fun playing drunk Laser Quest with my buddies that one time, girls don’t want to hear about it. Girls want interesting stories that make them laugh and curious.
Talk about things you have done that are exciting. I dropped a story about a time when I was traveling in Budapest by myself (interesting) and ended up following a group of locals to a rave in an abandoned fire house (exciting). She was hooked.
Mix funny, cocky, mysterious, interesting, and exciting and you will be sure to attract the most beautiful girls out there.
Finding the Right Girl
This is the tricky part. I am looking at dating as a numbers game at this point. Go on enough dates, you will find a girl that you really like (and likes you back). If you go on ten dates and it goes nowhere, keep going. Think about it. If you go on 100 dates you have ten times as many chances of finding a good match. You only need one to work out to be a success in the dating world. If you go on 100 dates and have a 1% success rate, you are a winner.
Bars and Clubs
Bars suck to meet girls, but for some reason everyone still tries it. I have found that my success rate in bars is incredibly low. You might get a bite every once in a while because you are fishing in a big lake, but don’t count on finding the prize catch here.
I have found better luck and much more fun at a place with dancing. It might be because I always have fun when I am out listening to good music and dancing, but I prefer a rocking dance club to an old fashioned bar. Again, don’t expect to find your future wife here. If you have shorter term aspirations, however, and you “got game,” you can do alright here.
I am on a Jewish dating website called JDate. (Pause for you all to laugh at me) But, I have had a handful of dates from the site. I wouldn’t be writing this post if any of them had worked out in the long run, but I have had a fun time meeting interesting girls.
I do have several cousins who have found their spouse on sites like JDate, so don’t discount it until you’ve tried it. Also, you have to be a pro at building a profile to get a good response. If your profile doesn’t work, re-write it or lose weight and put up a new picture. Harsh words but true words.
Young Professional Groups
I frequent the young professional happy hour scene in Denver, and I have met a lot of interesting girls. Of course, you meet many more acquaintances than dates at these events, but getting out there and meeting people is step one. Remember what I said before, it only takes one.
Don’t date girls that you work with. Let me say that again, don’t date girls you work with.
This might be the best place to find dates for a high success rate. Your friends know you. If they think you would be a good match, they are probably better than some dating website algorithm. If your friend tries to set you up, go for it. What have you got to lose?
Always Be Ready
You never know when, where, or how you will meet someone. I go on a lot of first dates. I go on a handful of second dates. I go on an occasional third date. I have met those women through the methods outlined above.
Have a Goal and Work Toward It
Some of you may be looking for a one night fling. Some might be looking to casually date. Some might be out to juggle a few girls to prove that you are a bad ass. Others are looking for a serious, long term relationship and marriage. Any one of those is a good goal, but know what you are looking for and work toward it.
There are plenty of single girls out there. There are plenty of opportunities for love and heartbreak. Figure out your goal and go for it. What are you waiting for?
If you have tips, advice, or stories, I would love to read about it in the comments.
I did something pretty awesome. I did something on my life list. I learned to DJ. I am still getting better, but I recorded my first mix and thought you might be interested. Feel free to play it at a party or whatnot, but make sure to let them know where it came from. Expect more, and better, in the future.
Podcast 1 Link: S4Mix2011-01-31-11
photo © 2010 Cambodia4kids.orgI am always reading a lot, and a recent topic of interest led me to look introspectively at how I carry myself and act in social situations. I have always thought of myself as a “nice guy,” but have found that being too nice can keep a guy from getting what he really wants in life.
On the other hand, I don’t want to be an asshole. You don’t attract the kind of friends or women that I am interested in by pulling the asshole card. Instead, I have realized that the trick to being independent, fun, and slightly mysterious is to act deliberately and not apologize.
If you are a screw ball that doesn’t plan out your next move, you never know where you are going to end up. You could do something stupid at the wrong time that requires an apology. Spontaneity is one of my favorite ways to live, but I also have a long term plan for what I want in life.
If you see something, or someone, that you want, go through the steps to reach your goal. Be deliberate. Plan out your strategy, build a game plan, come up with a plan of attack. Then execute. Don’t be a wuss. Don’t come up with excuses. If you want to go on a trip, work hard and make the money. If you like expensive things, align your career goals with your income needs to get there. If you want to dance with a beautiful woman at an awesome night club, man up and ask her.
Of course, don’t do this in a way that makes you look like an ass. You don’t have to put people down or break laws to get what you want. Build yourself up and think of yourself in a high regard. As author David DeAngelo says, it is okay to be cocky, as long as you do it the right way.
If you do not act deliberately, you have ample opportunities to screw up. When you screw up, you have to apologize. That is a fact of life. If you do make a mistake, take the heat and move on. However, you should not have to apologize if you always act deliberately.
I have offended people with my thoughts and opinions. I am not one to tread lightly on a heated topic. I have no problem speaking against political correctness at the right time. When I speak, I mean what I say.
If my actions and speech are intentional and designed to help me reach a goal, why should I have to apologize?
If you are offended by what I am saying, that is too bad for you. If you disagree, that is perfectly fine. I am mature enough to be friends with people I disagree with. I recently sparked a heated discussion among friends regarding gun control. I have strong opinions that are against what many of my friends believe, but that does not mean we cannot be friends. However, I will not apologize for my opinion.
I once knew a girl that publicly, and in a 6th grade immature girl way behind my back (she was 25 years old at the time), did not like me after I said an opinion about certain socioeconomic groups living in New Orleans. She was not mature and able to handle being my friend after having a heated discussion, but that did not mean I was going to apologize for having a deliberate, albeit controversial, opinion that I had developed after much research and thought.
One of my favorite examples of a man acting deliberately is Winston Churchill. In a famous moment a woman said, Winston, you are drunk, and what’s more, you are disgustingly drunk.” Churchill, Prime Minster of the United Kingdom at the time, was doing something he enjoyed and saw no reason to apologize. In a moment of wit, he replied, “Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”
While he was walking the fine line of asshole at that moment, he was a man who can be admired for his intellect, thought, and action.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t apologize for being yourself. Go after what you want in life. Be assertive. Act deliberately. Never apologize.
Over the last month, I have become a part of the small community of flash mob planners in Denver. On Black Friday, I joined about thirty other Denver locals to dance the afternoon away in our first silent dance party. On Halloween, we had a pillow fight. Last month, I joined my first flash mob when we danced on light rail.
Why do I spend my time doing this silly, public stuff? It is a heck of a lot of fun.
Wherever you are in the world, there is a flash mob just around the corner. I have seen videos of flash mobs in New York, Amsterdam, California, Jerusalem, and other cities all over the world.
If you are a Denver local, be sure to stop by DenverFlashMob.com to join the e-mail list and become a fan on Facebook. If you live somewhere else, search for the local flash mob groups on Google and Facebook. Improv Anywhere has set up shop in many cities.
I love something about flash mobs because of what they represent. They are fun for the sake of fun. People can show up for free and do something silly. It is fun for the people participating. It is fun for the people watching. It is fun for the people who hear about it. It is fun for everyone.
Fun is something that is easily forgotten in our fast pace, constantly connected lives. Stop for a minute and think about the last time you did something just for the fun of it. Whether your thing is, go out and do it. We don’t smile nearly enough.
On Friday night, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my “blogger heroes.” I spent the evening with a crowd of non-conformists and Chris Guillebeau. Chris, the author of The Art of Non-Conformity blog, was here on his Art of Non-Conformity Unconventional Book Tour.
(My copy of the book signed by Chris)
As stop number #39 on the tour, Chris had his spiel down pat. He was able to share his adventures on the road and his thoughts on living the lives we want. For Chris, that is a life of self employment, travel, and adventure. I like his style.
I finished reading the book last week, and I have to say that it blew me away. I put it on a short list of books that have the power to truly change someone’s life. It gives you a paradigm shifting view on how you can live your life if you are willing to work at it. I recommend it to anyone who likes to think outside the box. You can buy it from any major bookstore.
(Me and Chris talking about my blogs)
He gave some great advice on a wide range of life topics. He has seen and done so much and he has wisdom far beyond his years. I admire his dedication to not only travel, but to help people around the world. He gave us the lowdown on a favorite charity project, called charity:water. That organization is committed to bringing clean water to African communities. Illness from water is a leading cause of death in the developing world, and it is something that we have the power to solve. There is no reason for children to die from drinking dirty water.
Luckily, I was invited along for a small get together with Chris, Denver organizer Cynthia, Boulder based photographer Sharon, and my friend Rick after the book tour event. Having a chance to sit down with Chris and talk about what he does and how he got there was a treat. While reading his blog makes him look like a super hero, Chris is just an average, humble guy who has done extraordinary things. There is no reason you can’t do extraordinary things too.
So, like me, you can start with a life list. You can engage in “life experiments,” like one person Chris profiled in his book, and go out and explore your city and the world. You can work on a career change. You can go somewhere you have never been before. You can change your life for the better. Whatever you have always been thinking about doing, go do that.
After all, what is the point of life? Is it to work in an office? Is to work for the stuff you want to own? Or is it to do something amazing and change the world? As Chris would say, go grab the banana. (Read chapter one of the book for an explanation)
For a little more detail on what Chris is doing on his book tour, check out the short video below:
[Photos by the lovely Sharon Wharton]