“No matter what you have been told, no matter what has happened to you, and no matter what mistakes you’ve made, you can completely change the way you live every day of your life. You can focus the majority of your time on the things you enjoy, and you can also make an incredible difference in the lives of other people while you are at it.”
Taking over the world isn’t just for genetically modified mice; it’s for regular people too. After four years volunteering in Africa, Chris Guillebeau started a social movement called The Art of Nonconformity. His mission is to take over the world and to help you do the same. Taking the road less traveled can be scary, but letting go of our assumptions, expectations, and comfort zones is the only way we’ll ever have what really matters.
The Unremarkably Average Versus the Remarkable Few
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther king, Jr.
The two most important questions in the universe are:
- What do I really want to get out of life? Your ultimate goal is what you’d do if you had unlimited resources like money and time. Close your eyes and picture the perfect day from start to end. How can you start turning this into a reality? “If you take the time to write out the description of your perfect day and then combine it with your long-term goals, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you really want to get out of life,” Guillebeau writes.
- What can I offer the world that no one else can? This question is a lot tougher than the first. The two also seem to be in conflict. But it’s possible to do something that’s good for you and that’s good for others. It’s the only way you’ll go to the next level.
The Crowded World and the Way to Break Through the Noise
Many might think there’s no point in following their dreams because so many others already are. But that’s not true: “When you finally come out with something truly worth caring about, people will notice.” The key is to silence the gatekeepers and critics. It’s about seeking out people who can help you so you can turn around and help others in return.
The Plan of Attack and How to Overcome the Challenges
“[If] you want to achieve your most significant goals, and you want to change the world for the better in the process, you really don’t need to jump through all the hoops that people hold up for you,” Gillebeau points out. The toolkit for world domination requires:
- Relentless Passion – This is the most important thing. “You have to be willing to give it your all, and for a long time with potentially few rewards,” Gillebeau explains. “In the short run, few people will notice, but in the long run, everyone will.”
- A Very Specific Goal – “If you had two minutes with anyone in the world who has the power to influence the rest of your life, what would you say to them?” Gillebeau asks. Think of this as your elevator pitch.
- Expert Status in Skills that Help Others – Since you need to work with and add value to others, you must have skills that radically improve their lives.
- A Small Army – Committed believers will add their own resources to support your cause. Don’t worry about the specific numbers because “a small, devoted army is far better than a large, uncommitted mob”.
- Friends of Friends – “A small army is critical, but in the long run, the friends of your friends may end up helping even more,” Gillebeau writes.
- Enough Money – Focus on the amount you need to accomplish the goal then figure out how to get it.
- Enough Time – To go from good to great, you need to spend a lot of time improving your skills.
- One-Way Communication – Speaking to your army will require a pulpit (e.g. website, blog, newsletter, etc.)
Work backwards from your outcome and break your large goal into small steps. Then take immediate action. The world will thank you for it.
This book was a nice read (and a very nicely formatted eBook for a change). There wasn’t much time to get into depth so you’ll have to go further if you want more.
Chris Gillebeau wrote this manifesto for “people who are serious about ruling – or at least changing – the world”. At times it’s hard to tell if he’s kidding or if he’s actually being literal. Maybe that’s why he held the hugely successful World Domination Summit and is on a quest to visit every country on the planet? Time will tell.
My only criticism was the tone sometimes came across as arrogant. Early on he offers the following instructions: “[Close] this report now if you’re comfortable with an unremarkably average life… Thanks for your time! Have a great life.”
I’m all for independence and having strong opinions but isn’t there a point when you’re creating more dissension than you really need to? Or maybe this is the best way to weed out the people who won’t be serious soldiers in the exclusive club?
What do you think?
Eugene Yiga is a personal development writer and consultant. He’s on a quest to read the 100 greatest books of all time before he turns 30 and shares his love for reading by publishing book reviews every week at eugeneyiga.com. Follow Eugene on Twitter or join the mailing list for instant updates and alerts.
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How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.