Exploding fireworks and the sounds of happiness filled the skies on this cool summer evening in Portland. People were scattered all over the city enjoying the festive atmosphere on 4th of July.
I walked along the waterfront on the banks of the Willamette River. Crowds of people lined the sidewalks and sat on the grass. Kids screamed with delight and fear at the lights and sounds overhead.
It had been a few years since I spent Independence Day watching fireworks explode over a city skyline. As I stood and watched, I resisted the temptation to pull out my camera at first. But seeing the fireworks in the sky, I realized the irony of what I was seeing.
This was the perfect start to the World Domination Summit in Portland.
4th of July fireworks – from tragedy to triumph
Meant to symbolize “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air.” Something that was tragic and ugly we now celebrate as beautiful and a symbol of our freedom.
As the white light of fireworks crackled against the black sky, it looked as if the universe was exploding. Beauty from chaos.
So much of life is spent running from the chaos and ignoring the tragic. But what if the chaos was celebrated? What if we spent more time embracing the tragic, broken, and ugly in our lives as it becomes a symbol of freedom and beauty?
A different side of me
I came to Portland to be a part of the World Domination Summit. It isn’t as scary as it sounds. We don’t want to take over the world; just make it a better place to live. WDS is about empowering people to live remarkable lives in a conventional world.
So I started WDS doing everything I wasn’t supposed to do and ignored conventional.
On Friday night, I skipped the opening party and was invited to hear a guy play some acoustic music at a winery. I met some fun, amazing people and had a blast.
I did things I’ve never done. I crashed a wedding and was welcomed by the bride for doing so!
I encountered people that brought out a different side of me. It was the perfect way to start World Domination Summit – the unconventional way.
World Domination Summit – a different side of me part II
World Domination Summit means something different for everyone. We came because we want to live a better life, make a difference, tell a story, leave a legacy. However, our situations and circumstances are different.
My story, just like your story, isn’t the same as everyone else. However, here’s world domination from my point of view.
I spent the weekend being inspired by people – speakers, fellow attendees, and new friends.
Everything I ever held true in my life was challenged – who I am, what I believe, what is right for my life. I laughed. I had engaging, fun, interesting conversations. I filled up a notebook with quotes, questions, bits of wisdom, stats.
I left with empty pages in my soul where the answers have yet to be written.
During my last day there, I cried. I don’t even know why. I just know that I am not content in my life and haven’t been for a long time.
Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with depression. Most of the time, I’m pretty good but high expectations, insecurity, and living a life that doesn’t seem to fit gets me down sometimes. Is that a life confession or a travel confession? I don’t know – but it’s my reality.
I’ve lived my entire life in a left brained world. I was a really good student, an all star baseball player, and a bit of a jerk in high school (as I learned from my high school reunion). I went to college, majored in accounting (the first class I ever took), graduated, and have been working in IT for the last 16 years.
Without a doubt, I am extremely analytical and logical – sometimes to a fault. I love stats and numbers. I am good at researching. That came in very handy when I started travel blogging and writing about travel tips like cheap flights and tips for summer airfares.
As I started writing more, I found that there are others who do the travel research better than me – like Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt. The more I wrote, I realized I don’t want to write about deals and tips all the time. I want to go deeper and share stories and connect with places and people.
The creative side of story telling proclaimed to the left brain that enough was enough.
For 15 years, I’ve always had a project – golf, travel, fixing things in my life, a degree in computer science, travel blogging. Outside of my job, I’ve spent a considerable part of my time pursuing one passion after another in an attempt to get more out of life.
This weekend, I realized what I’ve been doing. I’ve also come to the conclusion that everything I’ve always believed about myself and the way I’ve lived my life may be wrong.
Life lessons from World Domination Summit
Darren Rowse showed me that I need to get my dreams out of my head, look to what gives me energy, and find ways that my dreams can solve problems. I need to review my life each day, re-examine my dreams, and take a step towards that dream.
Jia Jiang embraced rejection and sought after it 100 times. He learned that rejection is a reflection of someone else’s opinion and preferences and not a reflection of the one receiving it. Just ask. If you don’t, the worst rejection is denying yourself a potential opportunity you never pursued because you were afraid.
Chase Jarvis challenged everything about the way I grew up, lived my life, and how I defined success. Imagination is greater than knowledge and creativity is needed for every activity and profession in life. We’ve spent too much time taking tests and not enough time creating and inspiring.
Maybe the idea of college and getting a job isn’t the path to happiness or success.
So what’s the key to happiness? Gretchen Rubin says that it is knowing yourself. Negative emotions, envy, and lying can show us what needs to change, what we want, and the disconnect between our values and actions. We need to understand how to handle expectations in our outer and inner worlds. We need to find that 10 year old kid inside all of us to know what makes us happy.
Andrew Warner challenged us to listen to our true mind and not believe the statements of our counter mind (those negative thoughts we listen to that aren’t true). Tess Vigeland understands that being remarkable and successful isn’t being good at what you do.
Don Miller inspired me to live a meaningful life – that real person buried underneath the shame and personality that we have built around us. We are not our successes or failures but the stories we create with the people in our lives.
As I walked to catch the train and head to the airport, tears filled my eyes. I left believing I can’t live a left brained life any more. Everything I’ve ever known about myself and what I believed was challenged.
I don’t know what is that next step for my life. There may be drastic changes. Maybe I’ll give up writing and do something else. Maybe I’ll quit my job and go save the world.
Maybe I just need to save myself from a life I thought I wanted but have always been looking to escape.
I don’t know what’s next. However, it’s time for the right and left brain to live together in harmony. It’s time for a different side of me.
Inspired by World Domination Summit, here are a few questions to inspire and challenge you about your life. If you feel comfortable, share your answers to any of them in the comments.
What’s one dream you’ve had that you’ve never told anyone?
What activities give you energy and make you feel alive?
What’s the biggest fear you have about pursuing your dreams?
What’s one skill or activity that inspires your creative side?
What’s something true about your real self that you can offer to the world?
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