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The only technique to learn something new
By James Altucher



I had a friend who wanted to get better at painting. But she thought she had to be in Paris, with all the conditions right. She never made it to Paris. Now she sits in a cubicle under fluorescent lights, filling out paperwork all day.
Someone stole $90 million from a company I was involved in. I'm a poor judge of people. The company collapsed.
Some things I can't learn. I tend to like people too much.
So it's hard for me to be a good judge of people, no matter how much I try. So I find other people who are good at judging people and I ask them to help me.
Don't force yourself to learn something if you don't want to or it's not a natural talent.
What's the role of talent? Very small. But you have to start with it. Talent is the seed of skill.
How do you know if you are talented? If you loved it when you were ten years old. If you dream about it. If you like to read about it. Read the below and you'll know what you are talented at.
Trust me when I say: everyone is talented at many things.
 This story is from James Altucher's website. He let us it after we asked nicely.In the past 20 years I've wanted to learn how to do some things really well. Writing, programming, business skills (leadership, sales, negotiating, decision-making), comedy, games.
So I developed a ten step technique for learning.
1. LOVE IT.
If you can't start with "love" then everyone who does love will beat everyone who "likes" or "hates".
This is a rule of the universe. The first humans who crossed the arctic tundra from Siberia to Alaska in -60 degree temperatures had to love it. The rest stayed in the East Africa Savannah.
The very first day I wrote a "Hello, World" computer program I dreamed about computers. I woke up at 4am to get back to the "computer lab" and make even bigger programs.
When I first started to write every day, I would write all day. I couldn't stop. And all I wanted to talk about with people were different authors.
When I was 10 years old I wrote a gossip column about all my fellow 5th graders. I read every Judy Blume book. I read everything I could. I loved it.
Most of my friends got bored with me and soon I was very lonely. Except when I was writing.
2. READ IT.
Bobby Fischer wasn't that good at chess. He had talent but nobody thought much of him.
So around the age of 12-13 he disappeared for a year. He did this later in his 20s.
But at 13 when he came back on the scene he was suddenly the best chessplayer in the US, won the US championship, and became the youngest grandmaster in the world.
How did he do it? He barely played at all during his year of wandering.
Instead he did two things:
a) he studied every game played in the prior century. In the 1800s.
When he came back on the scene he was known for playing all of these antiquated openings but he had improvements in each one. Nobody can figure out how to defeat these improvements.
In fact, the final game of the World Championship many years later, in 1972 when he was playing Spassky, he brought out his 1800s arsenal to become World Champion.
Spassky desperately needed to win to keep the match going. Fischer needed to draw to win the title.
Spassky started with a very modern attacking opening ("The Sicilian") But then around 13 moves in, all of the commentators watching gasped.
Fischer had subtly changed the opening into an old-fashioned very drawish 1800s opening called "The Scotch Game." Spassky didn't have a chance after that.
b) He learned enough Russian to read the Russian chess magazines. At the time, the top 20 players in the world were all Russian. The Americans didn't really have a chance.
So Fischer would study the Russian games while all of the Americans were sitting around with openings and styles the Russians already knew how to defeat.
Consequently, when Fischer competed in the US championship in the early 60s it was the first complete shutout, all wins and not a single draw.
Studying the history, studying the best players, is the key to being the best player. Even if you started off with average talent.
3. TRY IT. BUT NOT TOO HARD.
If you want to be a writer, or a businessman, or a programmer, you have to write a lot, start a lot of businesses, and program a lot of programs.
Things go wrong. This is why quantity is more important than quality at first.
The learning curve that we all travel is not built by accomplishments. It's only built by quantity.
If you see something 1000 times, you'll see more than the person who sees the same thing only ten times.
Don't forget the important rule: the secret of happiness is not "being great" - the secret is "growth".
If you only "try" you'll get to your level that is natural for you. But growth will stop and you won't be happy.
4. GET A TEACHER (PLUS THE 10X RULE).
If I try to learn Spanish on my own, I get nowhere. But when I go out (and now marry) someone who is from Argentina, I learn more Spanish.
With chess, writing, programming, business, I always find someone better than me, and I set a time each week to ask them tons of questions, have them give me assignments, look over my mistakes and tell me where I am wrong.
For everything you love, find a teacher and that makes you learn 10x faster.
In fact, everything I put on this list, makes you learn 10x faster. So if you do everything on this list you will learn 10 to the 10th power faster than anyone else.
That's how you become great at something.
5. STUDY THE HISTORY. STUDY THE PRESENT.
If you want to learn how to be a GREAT programmer (not just good enough to program an app but good enough to be GREAT, study machine language.
Study 1s and 0s. Study the history of the computer, learn how to make an operating system, and Fortran, Cobol, Pascal, Lisp, C, C , all the way through the modern languages of Python, etc.
If you want to write better, read great books from the 1800s. Read Hemingway and Virginia Woolf and the Beats, and the works that have withstood the test of time.
They have withstood the test of time. versus millions of other books, for a reason. They are the best in the world.
Then study the current criticism of those books to see what you have missed. This is just as important as the initial reading.
If you want to study business, read biographies of Rockefeller, Carnegie, the first exchange in Amsterdam, the junk-bond boom, the 90s, the financial bust. Every Depression. All the businesses that flourished in every depression.
Read "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel. Watch "The Profit" on CNBC. Read about Steve Jobs. Read about the downfall of Kodak in "The End of Power".
Don't read self-help business books. They are nothing. You are about to enter a great field, the field of innovation that has created modern society. Don't read the average books that came out last year.
Step up your game and read about the people and inventions that changed the world into what it is today.
Read how Henry Ford had to start three car companies to get it right and why "three" was the important number for him.
Read about why Ray Kroc's technique for franchising created the world's largest restaurant chain. Read how the Coca-Cola makes absolutely nothing but is the largest drink company in the world.
Write down the things you learn from each reading.
6. DO EASY PROJECTS FIRST.
Tony Robbins told me about when he was scared to death on his first major teaching job.
He had to teach a bunch of Marines how to improve their sharpshooting. "I had never shot a gun in my life," he said.
He studied quite a bit from professionals but then he came up with a technique that resulted in the best scores of any sharpshooting class before then.
He brought the target closer.
He put it just five feet from them. They all shot bullseyes. Then he moved it back bit by bit until it was the standard distance.
They were still shooting bullseyes.
Richard Branson started a magazine before he started an airline. Bill Gates wrote BASIC before his team wrote Windows.
E.L. James (and yes, I'm including her) wrote Twilight fan fiction, before she wrote "50 Shades of Grey".
Ernest Hemingway never thought he could write a novel. So he wrote dozens of short stories.
Programmers write "Hello, World" programs before they make their search engines.
Many chess grandmasters recommend you study the endgame first in chess (when there are few pieces left on the board) before you study the other parts of the game.
This gets you confidence, it teaches subtleties, it gives you greater feelings of growth and improvement - all steps on the path to success.
7. STUDY WHAT YOU DID.
The other day I threw everything out. Everything. I threw out all my books (donated). I threw out all my clothes.
I threw out old computers. I threw out plates I never used. I threw out sheets I would never have guests for. I threw out furniture (four book cases) and my TV and old papers and everything.
I wanted to clean up. And I did.
I found a novel I wrote in 1991. 24 years ago. It was horrible.
For the first time in those 24 years, I re-read it. I studied what I did wrong (character unrelatable. Plot too obvious. Deus ex machina all over the place).
Someone told me a story about Amy Schumer, one of my favorite comedians. She videotapes all her performances.
Then she goes back to her room and studies the performance second by second. "I should have paused another quarter-second here," she might say.
She wants to be the best at comedy. She studies her every performance.
When I play chess, if I lose, I run the game into the computer. I look at every move, what the computer suggests as better, I think about what I was thinking when I made the bad move, and so on.
A business I was recently invested in fell apart. It was painful for me. But I had to look at it and see what was wrong. Where did I make a mistake. At every level I went back and wrote what happened and where I might have helped better and what I missed.
If you aren't obsessed with your mistakes then you don't love the field enough to get better.
You ask lousy questions: "Why am I no good?" Instead of good questions: "What did I do wrong and how can I improve?"
When you consistently ask good questions about your own work, you become better than the people who freeze themselves with lousy questions.
Example: I hate watching myself after a TV appearance. I have never done it. So I will never get better at that.
8. YOU ARE THE AVERAGE OF THE FIVE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.
Look at every literary, art, and business scene. People seldom get better as individuals. They get better as groups.
The Beats: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and a dozen others.
The programmers: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ted Leonsis, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak and a dozen others all came out of the Homebrew Club
The art scene in the 50s: Jasper Johns, De Kooning, Pollack, etc all lived on the SAME STREET in downtown NYC.
YouTube, LinkedIn, Tesla, Palantir, and to some extent Facebook, and a dozen other companies came out of the so-called "PayPal mafia".
All of these people could've tinkered by themselves. But humans are tribal mammals. We need to work with groups to improve.
Find the best group, spend as much time with them, and as a "scene" you become THE scene.
You each challenge each other, compete with each other, love each other's work, become envious of each other, and ultimately take turns surpassing each other.
9. DO IT A LOT.
What you do every day matters much more than what you do once in awhile.
I had a friend who wanted to get better at painting. But she thought she had to be in Paris, with all the conditions right.
She never made it to Paris. Now she sits in a cubicle under fluorescent lights, filling out paperwork all day.
Write every day, network every day, play every day, live healthy every day.
Measure your life in the number of times you do things. When you die: are you 2 writing sessions old? Or are you 50,0000?
10. FIND YOUR EVIL PLAN.
Eventually the student passes the master.
The first hedge fund manager I worked for now hates me. I started my own fund and his fund went out of business. My evil plan was ultimately to be better than him.
But how?
After all of the above, you find your unique voice. And when you speak in that voice, the world hears something it has never heard before.
Your old teachers and friends might not want to hear that voice. But if you continue to be around people who love and respect you, then they will encourage that new voice.
There's that saying, "there are no new ideas." But there are.
There are all the ideas in the past combined with the new beautiful you. You're the butterfly.
Now it's your turn to teach, to mentor, to create, to innovate, to change the world. To make something nobody has ever seen before and perhaps will never see again.

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The best thing you can learn from Inception of 'Alphabet' by Larry Page

This is something best I've read in long time, so just wants to keep this piece in my collection.
Written by: James Altucher
========================I visited Google a few weeks ago and, after almost getting arrested, my mind was blown.
First, Claudia wandered into the garage where they were actually making or fixing the driverless cars. When they finally realized she was wandering around, security had to escort her out.

We got scared and we thought we were going to get in trouble or thrown out.

Then we met with a friend high up at Google and learned some of the things Google was working on.

Nothing was related to search. Everything was related to curing cancer (a bracelet that can make all the cancer cells in your body move towards the bracelet), automating everything (cars just one of those things), Wi-Fi everywhere (Project Loon) and solving other “billion person problems”.

A problem wasn’t considered worthy unless it could solve a problem for a billion people.

So now Alphabet is aligning itself towards this strategy: a holding company that owns and invests in other companies that can solve billion person problems.

It’s not divided up by money. It’s divided up by mission.

I want to do this in my personal life also.

Just analyzing Larry Page’s quotes from the past ten years is a guidebook for “billion person success” and for personal success.

Here Are Some Of His Quotes:
"If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning."

To have well-being in life you need three things:
A) a feeling of competence or growth.
B) good emotional relationships.
C) freedom of choice.

Being able to wake up excited in the morning is an outcome of well-being.

Feeling like every day you are working on a billion-person problem will give you those three aspects of well-being.

At the very least, when I wake up I try to remember to ask: Who can I help today?

Because I’m a superhero and this is my secret identity.

"Especially in technology, we need revolutionary change, not incremental change."

Too often we get stuck in “good enough”. If you build a business that supports your family and maybe provides for retirement then that is “good enough”.If you write a book that sells 1000 copies then that is “good enough.”You ever wonder why planes have gotten slower since 1965? The Dreamliner 787 is actually slower than the 747. That’s ok. It’s good enough to get people across the world and save on fuel costs.It’s only the people who push past the “good enough syndrome” that we hear about: Elon Musk building a space ship. Larry Page indexing all knowledge. Elizabeth Holmes potentially diagnosing all diseases with a pin prick.

Isaac Asimov wrote classic science fiction like “The Foundation Series” but it wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up writing 500 more books, writing more books than anyone in history.

Larry Page keeps pushing so that every day he wakes up knowing he’s going to go past “good enough” that day.

What does your “good enough” day look like. What’s one thing that moves you past that?

"My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society."

Whenever I’ve managed companies and have had the small opportunity to be a leader I’ve judged my success on only one thing:

Does the employee at night go home and call his or her parents and say, “guess what I did today!”

I’m not sure this always worked. But I do think Larry Page lifts all his employees to try to be better versions of themselves, to try to surpass him, to try and change the world.

If each employee can say, “who did I help today” and have an answer, then that is a good leader.

Empowering others, empowers you.

"Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future."

The stock market is near all time highs. And yet every company in the original Dow Jones market index (except for GE) has gone out of business.

Even US Steel, which built every building in the country for an entire century, has gone bankrupt.

Never let the practical get in the way of the possible.

It’s practical to focus on what you can do right now.

But give yourself time in your life to wonder what is possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.

We’re at maybe 1% of what is possible. Despite the faster change, we’re still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. I think a lot of that is because of the negativity… Every story I read is Google vs someone else. That’s boring. We should be focusing on building the things that don’t exist.

Sometimes I want to give up on whatever I’m working on. I’m not working on major billion person problems.

And sometimes I think I write too much about the same thing. Every day I try to think, “What new thing can I write today” and I actually get depressed when I can’t think of something totally new.

But I am working on things that I think can help people. And if you are out side of people’s comfort zones, if you are breaking the normal rules of society, people will try to pull you down.

Larry Page didn’t want to be defined by Google for his entire life. He wants to be defined by what he hasn’t yet done. What he might even be afraid to do.

I wonder what my life would be like if I started doing all the things I was afraid to do. If I started defining my life by all the things I have yet to do.

"Many leaders of big organizations, I think, don’t believe that change is possible. But if you look at history, things do change, and if your business is static, you’re likely to have issues."

Guess which company had the original patent that ultimately Larry Page derived his own patent (that created google) from?

Go ahead. Think a second. Guess.

An employee of this company created the patent and tried to get them to use it to catalog information on the web.

They refused.

So Robin Li, an employee of The Wall Street Journal, quit the newspaper of capitalism (who owned his patent), moved to China (a communist country), and created Baidu.

And Larry Page modified the patent, filed his own, and created Google.

And the Wall Street Journal got swallowed up by Rupert Murdoch and is dying a slow death.

"I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society."

A friend of mine is writing a novel but is afraid to publish it. “Maybe it will be bad,” he told me.

Fortunately we live in a world where experimentation is easy. You can make a 30 page novel, publish it on Amazon for nothing, use an assumed name, and test to see if people like it.

Heck, I’ve done it. And it was fun.

Mac Lethal is a rapper who has gotten over 200 million views on his YouTube videos. Even Ellen had him on her show to demonstrate his skills.

I asked him, “do you get nervous if one of your videos gets less views than others?”

He told me valuable advice: “Nobody remembers your bad stuff. They only remember your good stuff.”

I live by that.

"If we were motivated by money, we would have sold the company a long time ago and ended up on a beach."

Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to be academics. When they first patented Google, they tried to sell to Yahoo for $1 million (ONE MILLION DOLLARS).

When Yahoo laughed them out the door, they tried to sell to Excite for $750,000.

Excite laughed them out the door. Now an ex-employee of Google is the CEO of Yahoo. And the founder of Excite works at Google. Google dominates.

Money is a side effect of trying to help others. Trying to solve problems. Trying to move beyond the “good enough”.

So many people ask: “how do I get traffic?” That’s the wrong question.

If you ask every day, “How did I help people today?” then you will have more traffic and money than you could have imagined.

"Invention is not enough. Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. You have to combine both things: invention and innovation focus, plus the company that can commercialize things and get them to people."

Everyone quotes the iconic story of Thomas Edison “failing” 10,000 times to get the electric lightbulb working.

I put failing in quotes because he was doing what any scientist does. He does many experiments until one works.

But what he did that was truly remarkable was convince New York City a few weeks later to light up their downtown using his lights.

The first time ever a city was lit up at night with electricity.

That’s innovation. That’s how the entire world got lit up.

"If you say you want to automate cars and save people’s lives, the skills you need for that aren’t taught in any particular discipline. I know – I was interested in working on automating cars when I was a Ph.D. student in 1995."

Too often we get labeled by our degree and our job titles. Larry Page and Elon Musk were computer science majors. Now they build cars and space ships.

David Chang was a competitive golfer as a kid, majored in religious studies in college, and then had random gopher jobs in his 20s.

The gopher jobs all happened to be in restaurants so he became familiar with how the business was run.

Then he started probably the most popular restaurant in NYC, momofoku. A dozen or so restaurants later, he is one of the most successful restauranteurs in history.

Peter Thiel worked as a lawyer in one of the top law firms in NY. When he quit in order to become an entrepreneur, he told me that many of his colleagues came up to him and said, “I can’t believe you are escaping”.

Escaping the labels and titles and hopes that everyone else has for us is one of the first steps in Choosing Ourselves for the success we are meant to have.

We define our lives from our imagination and the things we create with our hands.

"It really matters whether people are working on generating clean energy or improving transportation or making the Internet work better and all those things. And small groups of people can have a really huge impact."

What I love about this quote is that he combines big problems with small groups.

A small group of people created Google. Not Procter & Gamble. Or AT&T.

Even at Apple, when Steve Jobs wanted to create the Macintosh, he moved his small group to a separate building so they wouldn’t get bogged down in the big corporate bureaucracy that Apple was becoming.

Ultimately, they fired him for being too far from the corporate message.

Years later, when Apple was failing, they brought him back. What did he do? He cut most of the products and put people into small groups to solve big problems.

Before his death he revolutionized the movie industry, the computer industry, the music industry, TVs, and now even watches (watch sales have plummeted after the release of the Apple Watch).

All of this from a guy who finished one semester of studying calligraphy in college before dropping out.

Studying the history of Apple is like studying a microcosm of the history of how to create big ideas. Larry Page is recreating this with his new corporate structure.

We don’t have as many managers as we should, but we would rather have too few than too many.

The 20th century was the century of middle-class corporatism. It even became a “law” called “The Peter Principle” – everyone rises to their level of incompetence.

One of the problems society is having now is that the entire middle layer of management is being demoted, outsourced, replaced by technology, and fired.

This is not a bad or a good thing (although it’s scary). But it’s a return to the role of masters and apprentices without bureaucracy and paperwork in the middle.

It’s how things get done. When ideas go from the head into action with few barriers in the middle.

To be a successful employee, you have to align your interests with those of the company, come up with ideas that further help the customers, and have the mandate to act on those ideas, whether they work or not.

That’s why the employee who wrote much of the code inside the Google search engine, Craig Silverstein, is now a billionaire.

Where is he now? He’s an employee at online education company, The Khan Academy.

If you ask an economist what’s driven economic growth, it’s been major advances in things that mattered – the mechanization of farming, mass manufacturing, things like that. The problem is, our society is not organized around doing that.

Google is now making advances in driverless cars, delivery drones, and other methods of automation.

Everyone gets worried that this will cost jobs. But just look at history. Cars didn’t ruin the horse industry. Everyone simply adjusted.

TV didn’t replace books. Everything adjusted. The VCR didn’t shut down movies.

The Internet didn’t replace face to face communication (well, the jury is still out).

"What is the one sentence summary of how you change the world? Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting!"

Not everyone wants to create a driverless car. Or clean energy. Or solve a billion person problem.

But I have a list of things that are uncomfortably exciting to me.

They are small, stupid things. Like I’d like to write a novel. Or perform standup comedy. Or maybe start another business based on my ideas for helping people.

Every day I wake up a tiny bit afraid. But I also try to push myself a little closer in those directions. I know then that’s how I learn and grow.

Sometimes I push forward. Sometimes I don’t. I want to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I do think there is an important artistic component in what we do. As a technology company I’ve tried to really stress that.

Nobody knows what the definition of Art is.

How about: something that doesn’t exist except in the imagination, that you then bring out into the real world that has some mix of entertainment, enlightenment, and betterment.

I don’t know. Something like that.

Certainly the iPad is a work of art. And the iPad has created works of art. And when I first saw a driverless car I thought, “that’s beautiful”.

I’m going to try and put my fingerprint on something today. And maybe it will be art.

The idea that everyone should slavishly work so they do something inefficiently so they keep their job – that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That can’t be the right answer.

We’ve been hypnotized into thinking that the “normal life” is a “working life”.

If you don’t “go to work” then you must be sick or on the tiny bit of vacation allotted to you each year.

What if everything you did you can inject a little bit of leisure, a little bit of fun into it.

I have fun writing, except when I think I have to meet a deadline (work). I have fun making a business that people actually use except when I think about money too much (work).

When you are at the crossroads and your heart loves one path and doesn’t love the other, forget about which path has the money and the work, take the path you love.

We want to build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone. We want to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush. There aren’t that many things people use twice a day.

What a great idea for a list of the day!

What are ten things that can be invented that people would use twice a day?

You need to invent things and you need to get them to people. You need to commercialize those inventions. Obviously, the best way we’ve come up with doing that is through companies.

I was speaking to Naveen Jain, who made his billions on an early search engine, InfoSpace.

He just started a company to mine rare earth minerals on the Moon.

But his real goal is extra-planetary colonization.

Somehow we got around to the question of why have a company in the middle of that. He has billions. He can just go straight for the colonization part.

He said, “Every idea has to be sustainable. Profitability is proof that an idea is sustainable.”

You may think using Google’s great, but I still think it’s terrible.

K. Anders Ericsson made famous the “10,000 hour rule” popularized later by Malcom Gladwell.

The rule is: if you practice WITH INTENT for 10,000 hours then you will be world-class.

He then wondered why typists would often reach a certain speed level and then never improve no matter how many hours.

After doing research, its because they forgot the “With intent” part. They were satisfied with “good enough”.

You have to constantly come up with new metrics to measure yourself, to compete against yourself, to better the last plateau you reached.

Google is great. But it can be better. Having this mindset always forces you to push beyond the comfort zone.

Once they changed the way typists viewed their skills (by recreating the feeling of “beginner’s mind”) the typists continued to get faster.

We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.

Many people argue whether or not Google has succeeded at this. That’s not the point.

The point is: Values before Money.

A business is a group of people with a goal to solve a problem. Values might be: we want to solve a problem, we want the customer to be happy, we want employees to feel like they have upward mobility, etc.

Once you lose your values, you’ll lost the money as well. This why family-run businesses often die by the third generation (“Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations).

The values of the founder got diluted through his descendants until the company failed.

I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. Since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. In fact, there are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name.

Our parents have our best interests at heart and tell us how to be good adults.

Our schools have our best interests.

Our friends, colleagues, sometimes our bosses, sometimes government, think they have our best interests.

But it’s only when everyone thinks you are crazy that you know you are going to create something that surprises everyone and really makes your own unique handprint on the world.

And because you went out of the comfort zone, you’re only competing against the few other people as crazy as you are.

You know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know that if you don’t have a pencil and pad by the bed, it will be completely gone by the next morning. Sometimes it’s important to wake up and stop dreaming. When a really great dream shows up, grab it.

For every article I’ve ever written, there’s at least ten more I left behind in the middle of the night thinking I would remember in the morning.

I have to beat myself in the head. I . Will. Not. Remember….Must. Write. Down.

It’s hard to wake up. And that’s the only thing worth remembering. It’s hard to wake up.

I have always believed that technology should do the hard work – discovery, organization, communication – so users can do what makes them happiest: living and loving, not messing with annoying computers! That means making our products work together seamlessly.

This is a deep question – who are you? If you have a mechanical hand, is that “you”?

Conversely, if you lose a hand, did you lose a part of you. Are you no longer a complete person? The complete you?

If an implant is put into your brain to access Google, does that effect who you view your self to be?

When books were invented, memory suffered. We no longer had to remember as much, because we can look things up.

Does that make our brains less human?

I bet memory has suffered with the rise of Google. Does this mean our consciousness has suffered?

When we created fire, we outsourced part of our digestion to this new invention. Did this make our stomachs less human?

With technology taking care of the basic tasks of our brain and body, it allows us to achieve things we couldn’t previously dream possible.

It allows us to learn and explore and to create past the current comfort zone. It allows us to find the happiness, freedom, and well-being we deserve.

Over time, our emerging high-usage products will likely generate significant new revenue streams for Google as well as for our partners, just as search does today.

This is it. This is why Larry Page has re-oriented Google into Alphabet.

Don’t waste your most productive energies solving a problem that now only has incremental improvements.

Re-focus the best energies on solving harder and harder problems.

Always keeping the value of “how can I help a billion people” will keep Google from becoming a Borders bookstore (which went out of business after outsourcing all of their sales to Amazon).

How does this apply to the personal?

Instead of being a cog in the machine for some corporation, come up with ways to automate greater abundance.

Always understand that coming up with multiple ways to help people is ultimately the way to create the biggest impact.

Impact then creates health, friendship, competence, abundance, and freedom.

But this is also why he created Alphabet and put Google underneath it.

To save the world. To save me.

--------------------------------

Original article appeared here:
http://inc42.com/buzz/20-things-ive-learned-from-l..

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THE SECRET TO SUCCESS: THE OVERLOAD PRINCIPLE


“In order for a muscle (including the heart) to increase strength, it must be gradually stressed by working against a load greater than it is used to.”


Once you understand and internalize this, one can reach for the stars. So many people get up; do the same run or the same weight machines, day after day, year after year. And they get frustrated because they don’t improve. Well it’s clear why. Once the body has adjusted to a certain level of stress, it stops improving. If you want to get better, you have to stress the muscles. Stress the cardiovascular system. Ask it to do more than it is used to. And then the body adapts, down to a cellular level, so that it is ready the next time you ask it to perform at that level.


That’s the Overload Principle. To grow, we must overload the body. Ask it to do more than we did the last workout. And that’s the route to success on the fields of sports or any athletic endeavor.


But, as I look back on the past years in the corporate world, I have come to realize that the entire body is like a muscle. Our entire being hence responds to the overload principle. Our brains are a muscle of sorts. Our personality, our character, is a muscle of sorts. You want it to improve in any facet of life, it needs overload. Simple as that. Then we as humans adapt, grow, and get better.


Once an individual embraces the overload principle, they are in for a world of success, more than they can ever imagine! But it’s hard work. It’s a difficult, yet conscious, choice. Because we love to be comfortable. We don’t like the overload principle on a visceral level. We like “routine”. We like things as they are. We want improvement on one hand, we want success, but we are often unwilling to pay the price. We want it all. We want to take it easy, be comfortable, and yet have all the success in life!


You can see people every day rejecting the overload principle whether they realize it or not. When a person says, “Love me for who I am”, or “I am what I am, take it or leave it”, well this is the ultimate cop-out. This is a person saying, in coded language, “I refuse to improve, I refuse to get better, I refuse to be pushed or challenged to improve myself. What you see is all I am ever going to be.”


It’s not pathetic. It’s sad. These are people who will realize only a fraction of what they can truly become. Because with these statements, they toss the overload principle into the garbage. If you don’t overload yourself, you don’t get better. Simple as that.


What the most successful do, those who maximize their potential and continually improve, is they embrace the overload principle across their life. Not only in the gym or running on the roads but in all walks of life. 


Key examples:
1. The jobs they take. Those who are stuck in one place, and miserable most of the time, take easy jobs. Ones they can screw around and slack off and still get paid. They don’t want change or stress. They stay in a comfy job where they “know everyone” and don’t have to learn new names, new processes, new ways of doing things. They want to earn as easy as they can. Conversely, those who embrace overload want to work for the best companies, ones where they will be pushed and challenged. They will take on tough assignments, maybe moving industries or countries just to challenge themselves to grow. They will throw themselves into high-stress roles and put themselves into the arena. They may fail, but they will learn and grow. They constantly overload their career “muscles” to make them stronger and better. Even if this means sometimes you fail to lift the weight! You want to grow? Take the job in the challenging environment, in a challenging company that will push you. Don’t take the easy, cushy way out.


2. The friends they surround themselves with. Some “friends” actually drag you down. They belittle you. They want to keep you down where they are. They love status quo. They don’t want anything to disrupt their world. Every new idea or dream you have they crap all over it. Negative all the time. My advice is to dump these kinds of “friends” if you can even call them this. No, the right kinds of friends believe in you. They push you to take on challenges. When you fail to live up to the expectations you are capable of, they help you up with one hand whilst smacking you on the head with the other. They believe in you---so they expect better from you. These are the people you surround yourself with. Those who encourage you to take risks, to overload and be all you can be.


3. Educational choices. Those who embrace overload take the hardest classes. They want to push the limits, see what they can do, and learn the most they can learn. The other ends of the spectrum are people who look to “pad” their classes with easy subjects simply to help their overall grades. They forgo overload, and improving, for show and for bragging rights. But they lose out long term.


4. Life partner. Does your partner inspire you to be all you can be? It’s an important question. I never understood when a husband or wife would “let themselves go” right after the wedding. I mean, why take someone for granted? My wife loves me for who I am, but more importantly, she loves even more the person she believes I can become. And this is important because it inspires me to improve. To try and get better, not get worse and expect someone to love me “Because they should”. The best partners bring out the best in us. They inspire us to continually improve the person we are. They don’t promote complacency and accepting that “the best years are behind us”. And one would never say, “Love me for who I am” to someone who truly inspired them. Because this is an admission of never attempting to improve oneself and having zero motivation to even try.


Get the overload principle working for you. Get it working for you with your body. Your mind. The person you are. Throw yourself into the fray. Take the tough challenges head on. Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things. Every day, ask your body, your brain, your person, to be challenged, to attempt a new level of stress. You do this, and it’s guaranteed, there will be more joy, more success, more happiness in your life than one can imagine. Because taking it easy doesn’t make one happy. It is that sense of accomplishment, of seeing self-improvement, which drives happiness. And success.

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The Secret to Happiness Is 10 Specific Behaviors

Despite happiness being a primary human motivation, only one in three Americans say they’re very happy.
Several years ago in an interview with Conan O’Brien, Louis C. K. tells of flying on a newly equipped Wi-Fi airplane. He was amazed by the new technology. Until, during the flight, the Wi-Fi went down. Immediately, the man next to him became extremely upset. “As though the world owes this man something he only knew existed 10 seconds ago.”
Louis C. K. continues by describing people’s absurd frustrations with flying in general. People complain about it all the time “It was the worst day of my life! It took 20 minutes to board! We had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes!”
We hear complaints like these all the time. As if we’ve forgotten how incredible it is that humans can fly at all.
How are we so quick to take for granted the remarkable things going on in life?
Why is it so easy to complain?
Why do we focus on the negative?
Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.
However, happiness can easily be achieved even without the brilliant advances in the world.
Rather than being reactive to what’s going on around us, happy people take control of their lives and emotions. If you are unhappy with your life, who or what else can you blame than yourself? And if you can blame someone or something else, how is blame going to make your life any better?
Bad stuff happens to everyone. But life isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about how you proactively respond.
The following 10 behaviors, if applied, will change your life. Let me be clear, if you do these things, you will be an incredibly happy person.


1. Let Go Of The Need For Specific Outcomes
Not everything in life goes exactly how we plan. There are setbacks. Stuff happens. We mess up. Over-obsessing and basing happiness on specific outcomes leads to misery. Jeremy Piven, the famous actor, was recently interviewed by Success Magazine. During the interview, he mentioned that, as an actor, the only way to work is to go out and audition for specific roles.The challenge most actors/actresses face is that they get in their own way. It doesn’t matter how much homework they’ve done. If they’re too tied to a specific result, they can’t be present in the moment. They can’t truly perform their art. They come off as desperate. They get in their own way. Their performance isn’t what it could have been.Jeremy said that when he quit worrying about a specific result, he was able to be present during his auditions. He was able to be completely who he wanted to be. He wasn’t trying to be what he thought others wanted him to be. He performed his art.If he didn’t get the gig, either they didn’t get it or it just wasn’t the right fit. So he moves on to the next. In this way, he’s able to get the jobs he’s supposed to have. He’s not just trying to get anything he can get.
2. Define Your Own Success And Happiness
“Be everything to everybody and you’ll be nothing for yourself.” — John Rushton


No two human beings are the same. So why should we have one standard of success? Seeking society’s standard of success is an endless rat-race. There will always be someone better than you. You’ll never have the time to do everything.Instead, you recognize that every decision has opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s beautiful because we get to choose our ultimate ideal. We must define success, wealth, and happiness in our own terms because if we don’t, society will for us — and we will always fall short. We’ll always be left wanting. We’ll always be stuck comparing ourselves and competing with other people. Our lives will be an endless race for the next best thing. We’ll never experience contentment.
3. Commit 100 Percent To The Things That Make You Happy
“Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are able to break our own personal rules “just this once.” In our minds, we can justify these small choices. None of those things, when they first happen, feels like a life-changing decision. The marginal costs are almost always low. But each of those decisions can roll up into a much bigger picture, turning you into the kind of person you never wanted to be.” — Clayton Christensen
People are really good at self-sabotage. We consistently behave in ways that contradict our goals and ideals. This is incongruence. As Mahatma Gandhi has said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” The smaller the gap between what you should do, and what you actually do — the happier you will be.
Hence, Clayton Christensen says 100 percent commitment is easier than 98 percent commitment. When you fully commit to something, the decision has been made. Consequently, regarding that thing, all future decisions have been made.
Unless you’re committed 100 percent, you will always be a victim to external circumstances. By relying on willpower, you’ll crumble more often than you think. Research has found that people over-inflate their own performance. Chances are, you probably think you’re doing better at your resolves than you really are.
But once you’re 100 percent committed, you no longer need to rely on willpower. Your decision has already been made regardless of the circumstances. Saying “No” to anything outside our highest ideals becomes extremely easy. This is living proactively rather than reactively.


4. Be Grateful For What You Already Have
“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness] — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach


Happiness is as simple as gratitude. Psychological research has found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:




Physical

Stronger immune systems, Less bothered by aches and pains, Lower blood pressure, Exercise more and take better care of their health, Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological
Higher levels of positive emotions, More alert, alive, and awake, More joy and pleasure, More optimism and happinessSocial

More helpful, generous, and compassionate, More forgiving, More outgoing, Feel less lonely and isolatedDespite these benefits, most people ungratefully focus on what they don’t have. As a culture, we have become wasteful and undisciplined consumers. The grass is always greener on the other side. A constant pursuit of having more of the newest and best.
How could you possibly find happiness when you relentlessly want more and never find properly appreciate what you have?
It’s time for you to learn how to be more grateful. Your happiness depends on it.


5. Say “I Love You” More

This may be strange, but if you tell your friends and family you love them, they’ll be blown away. I once knew a Polynesian missionary who told everyone he loved them. It was clear he was sincere.I asked him why he did it. What he told me changed my life. “When I tell people I love them, it not only changes them, but it changes me. Simply by saying the words, I feel more love for that person. I’ve been telling people all around me I love them. They feel treasured by me. Those who know me have come to expect it. When I forget to say it, they miss it.”Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”As my wife, Lauren, tells our children daily, “The secret to happiness is to make everyone around you happy.” By default, you will get the satisfaction of bringing joy to others and their positive energy will come back to you.

6. Have Hobbies Directed Toward Your Dreams

Most people’s hobbies are just hobbies. And that’s okay. It’s good to have an escape from reality. However, research has found that a person can experience leisure in anything. Your work can become your leisure — where it literally rejuvenates you.When I decided where I wanted my life to go, my life vision, I consciously chose hobbies that would best get me there. Some of these hobbies include exercise, reading, writing, journaling, having deep and meaningful conversations, and being in nature. These hobbies refresh and rejuvenate me while simultaneously pushing me toward my dreams.

7. Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow For What You Can Do Today
“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone], ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know,’ [she said.]“‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’” — Arthur GordonHappiness comes from embracing the now. Not letting those moments pass you by. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, tells of the story of missing his child being born to be at an “important meeting.” He thought the potential client would be impressed with his commitment to work. Instead, they saw his decision to miss such a monumental moment as a flaw in character. That moment was a turning point for Greg. In fact, it spurred him to change everything about his life. He now removes everything from his life that is not vital and essential.Nothing in life is permanent. Kids grow up. Friends move away. Our loved ones pass on from this life. Let’s live in the present and appreciate the most important things in our lives before it’s too late.

8. Do Something Every Day That Terrifies You
Happy people step out of their comfort zone. You can’t grow if you don’t challenge yourself. And growth is a requirement of happiness. If you’re not growing, you’re slowly decaying and dying.
Elevated risk makes you feel more alive and puts you in a state of flow — which is an optimal conscious state where you feel and perform at your highest level. You become completely absorbed in what you’re doing — pure presence.
When you do things way outside your comfort zone, you naturally raise your conscious level. When you do things that involve high risk, and high probability of failure, you are forced to think differently than you normally do. You are forced to be creative and innovative.
Sadly, most people play life small, safe, and easy. The goals they pursue are logical. There is little element of risk and little requirement for faith.
Consequently, you should take bigger risks in your life. Do things that make you feel alive and activate flow. Of course, with this will come more failures. But if you’re not failing, you’re not growing. Rather than experiencing apathy in life, you’ll experience more of a roller-coaster of emotions. We can never appreciate joy if we’ve never felt sorrow. The more pain and fear we feel, the more we can comprehend and appreciate joy and happiness.


9. Put “The Important” Before “The Urgent”
Stephen Covey says that most people spend their time on urgent but unimportant things. We wake up and immediately check our email. Thus, we put our lives on reactive, rather than proactive mode. After all, email is simply a database of other people’s agendas.
Instead, happy people always put the important stuff first. Not only important, but important and non-urgent. The important stuff includes exercise, reading good books, setting goals, writing in your journal, and spending time with those you love. None of these things are urgent. We could easily put these things off until tomorrow — which is ultimately never. The most happy and successful people in the world spend most of their time on the important.
One of my favorite non-urgent yet important things is my morning routine. I wake up several hours before I start my work day. I meditate and pray to put myself in a space of gratitude and abundance. Then I get my body moving with exercise or yard work. I eat healthy food, read my long-term goals, listen to uplifting content, and do at least one thing to move me toward my goals.


10. Forgo The Good To Pursue The Best
A lot of things in life are good, even great. That doesn’t mean we should do them. In Good to Great, Jim Collins says that once-in-a-lifetime opportunities come up every day. Most people take any great opportunity that comes their way, even if it’s not in alignment with their life vision. Consequently, most people’s lives are moving in a thousand different directions. They aren’t able to consciously move forward in a singular direction.
On the other hand, happy people say no to even amazing opportunities. They will not sacrifice freedom for security. They will not get derailed by distractions — even sexy and attractive distractions.
Very few things in life are best. You can only determine what’s best for you once you know where you want your life to go. Be careful not to continuously engage in good activities and miss the best ones.


Conclusion

Happy people live in the present. They don’t miss the moments that matter most. They are incredibly grateful for all they have. They focus their lives on the important and essential. They forgo the many good opportunities in order to focus on the few best ones.


This article was originally published at the:
Observer.

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The 30 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2017, if your new year resolution is to Travel
Time to start packing your bags: 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for budget travel. The dollar is enjoying historic highs — meaning your money goes much further in many destinations around the globe — and according to an American Express Global Business Travel report, airfares are expected to fall in 2017.



1. Mazatlan, Mexico

Why: The current exchange rate ($1 = 20.69 Mexican pesos) makes Mexico one of the most affordable destinations.
For the frugal traveler who wants to enjoy more culture than they might in the Riviera Maya, my top pick is Mazatlan. As the shrimp capital of Mexico and a foodie paradise, Mazatlan is teeming with awesome eateries and fresh, interesting dishes. Hotels (including all-inclusive properties) are extremely inexpensive and authentic since most aren't part of the huge chains. El Cid Marina has awesome pools that are perfect for families, great food and huge rooms. (Rates are as low as $100 for a family of four.)
You can also enjoy superb dining at a top-notch restaurant like Casa 46 for less than half what you'd pay in the United States.
Side note: Sinaloa (the state where Mazatlan resides) grows the bulk of produce in Mexico, so Mazatlan produce is unbelievably cheap as a result. You see this reflected in top restaurants all the way down to street markets.



2. South Africa



Why: In South Africa, the exchange rate is in our favor, but so is the fact that it's a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. In spending a month in Cape Town earlier this year and relying on Uber to get me to and from meetings, activities and lunches, I averaged under $20 in transportation per day — a major win.
Hotels are cheaper, too: Take a standard room at Taj Hotels & Resorts in New York, and you are out about $786 a night, whereas in Cape Town, a room at a similar luxury property costs $266. Remember, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite: Consider going in low season (our summer) when hotels and safari lodges are even less expensive.
Airbnb and private villa rentals are also reliable and cheap options in the major cities. Travelers should also consider booking domestic airfare in advance for the greatest cost savings, since flights on South African Airways can sell out quickly.
The best value of all is the wine: Travelers can order a glass of one of the best locally produced varietals for less than the cost of a can of soda. For more information on travel in South Africa, watch "Michaela's Map: First Timers' Guide to Southern Africa."



3. San Juan, Puerto Rico


Why: The best way to get a deal in the Caribbean is to travel during the low season (end of April through mid-December) to destinations that have direct and frequent fights from your gateway; plenty of hotel inventory; and economies that aren't euro-based.
Puerto Rico fits the bill, and I'm a big fan of San Juan, which I think is seriously underrated as an easy and affordable getaway, especially for visitors from the East Coast of the U.S. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius you won't need a car rental to access great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
U.S. citizens can save themselves the cost of a passport since it's not required to visit, and since the U.S. dollar is the legal tender, there's no money lost on currency exchange. Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are two of my favorite high-style/low-cost boutique hotels.



4. Chile



Why: Europe is on everyone's list of value-added trips this year and for good reason — the exchange rate is more favorable for American travelers than it has been in years. But the destinations I most dream about and long to return to are in South America, a destination that has long given travelers great value for money.
In Chile, I love Santiago for its vibrant food and wine scene — think tucked-away wine bars, delicious tapas and hip hotels in a beautifully chaotic city. For a lesser-known and truly special corner of the world, I love the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It is part of the lakes district in Chile and the northern start of Patagonia.
It is easy (and cheap!) to rent a car and explore this area. There is a surprising German heritage, so you'll see signs for "kuchen" (cake). With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food.
This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP. It's one of those places I almost want to keep to myself, but it's so special that I can't.



5. Crete

Why: With the U.S. dollar strong against the euro right now and the economic crisis in Greece keeping prices lower than other parts of Europe, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Crete. Crete is a foodie dream come true.
A place where farm-to-table isn’t a new fad, it’s a way of life. The people here often live to be well over 100 years old so they must be doing something right! With truly stunning natural beauty (like Balos beach) and locals that welcome tourists with open arms, you are bound to have the trip of a lifetime and save a few dollars at the same time.



6. Morocco


Why: For many, Morocco is the ultimate dream trip, and yet cost tends to keep most from visiting. But what you might not know is that it's one of the most affordable African countries, particularly when comparing flight costs. R
eaching Marrakech from cities such as Lisbon, Madrid and Paris may only set you back $40 to $100 roundtrip with many budget airlines. And this past Black Friday, flights from New York were a mere $400 roundtrip.
Food is by far my main reason for visiting as often as I do, and typical meals can range from $2.50 to $15 for two, which includes appetizers, entree and unlimited mint tea. For vegetarians and vegans, the country is especially great, as veggies are cheaper than meat and fresh fruit smoothies are barely $1.
Souvenir shopping can get a bit intense when you realize leather goods such as wallets, handbags and weekenders run from $5 to $60. (A shopaholics dream!) When it comes to accommodations there's something to fit everyone's budget, my favorite being Riad Yasmine (only $80-$160 per night).
For those looking for Moroccan luxury while still on a budget, my go-to is Riad Kheirredine, which will have you living like a queen without breaking the bank and even provides a cell phone during your stay to ensure guest safety.



7. Belize



Why: Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It's a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize's excellent local wines.
Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie's Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night.
Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.



8. Vietnam



Why: Affordable upscale accommodations, cheap and remarkably healthy food and beautiful sights make Vietnam a standout among budget-friendly South Asian destinations.
Eat your way through historic Hanoi, kayak in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or relax in ancient Hoi An and the nearby beaches. There are clean, safe accommodations to fit everyone's wallet. In Hanoi, my favorite is the Tirant Hotel, near the old town, where you can bag a room for less than $70 a night.
Don't miss the Hanoi street food tour: For just $20 per person, a guide will lead you on foot or by scooter through backstreets, markets and footpaths.
You will eat like the locals and learn the names and ingredients in the dishes so you can order them again. And be sure to take the time to sip a bowl of steaming "pho" noodle soup in restaurants, push carts and food stalls, where a street meal and a beer can cost the same as a caramel macchiato at Starbucks.



9. Costa Rica


Why: Costa Rica is the one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and to be able to see this on a shoestring is an incredible opportunity.
There's a ton of national parks to explore, for instance, that only cost a few dollars to enter. Once there, you can then enjoy free self-guided walks that won't cost you a cent, but will deliver some great encounters with amazing wildlife like tapirs, monkeys, sloths and macaws.
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best. Public transport is also super cheap in Costa Rica, with buses generally less than $10, even for an eight-hour ride. This makes traveling between destinations in this compact country very affordable and means you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
In addition, budget accommodation in Costa Rica — even at some of the best surf beaches — can be as little as $6 per person. And a "plato tipico" (local dish) can be enjoyed anywhere for as little as $2-3.



10. Portugal



Why: Portugal is a pocket of affordable travel in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, especially if you get off the highways and take the back roads (where you can also avoid tolls).
A bottle of delicious port and a plate of the day with a glass of wine can be found for around €5 each. Nowhere else in the world can its "California Highway 1 meets Tuscany" landscapes be enjoyed on such a budget, especially now that the dollar is strong against the euro.



11. Ecuador



Why: Although Ecuador is not quite as inexpensive as Peru to the south, it’s an easy and affordable destination to travel to, especially if you stay a bit off the beaten path. It’s a short cheap flight from Florida with budget airlines like jetBlue and TAME, and accommodation is pretty cheap.
Shop at your local market and you can get a week’s worth of groceries for $10. And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see. The bus systems are good and domestic flights cheap and plentiful. F
ind a free accommodation option like house-sitting or volunteering, and your trip can be even cheaper.



12. Barcelona



Why: Barcelona is ranked right up there with cities like Paris and London as one of the most popular European cities, but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do.
Have a meal of tapas and wine at El Xampanyet for around €10-15. Soak up the rays on the beach at Barceloneta. Get lost in the La Boqueria Market.
And take the tram up to Tibidabo (only €5) for sweeping panoramic views of the city; it's also where you can experience a vintage amusement park and a gorgeous cathedral.



13. Where: Guatemala


Why: Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it's a bit more "off the path" in the region, it's also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge.
The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you'd pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country's unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands.
Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan's villages.


14. Bonaire & Curaçao


Why: In the deep Southern Caribbean, Bonaire and Curaçao are always out there on the edge of everyone's Caribbean consciousness. Both are known for scuba diving, but also for other water sports, hiking and amazing secluded beaches.
Vacation villas that let you live like a local are plentiful and affordable on both islands, but chain hotels like the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino are an option on Curaçao (great if you're using points).
Bonaire gets its very first chain hotel at the end of 2016 when a Marriott Courtyard opens.



15. Las Vegas



Why: If you can avoid the slots, there are lots of free things to do in Vegas: The Flamingo's flamingo habitat, the fountains and conservatory at the Bellagio and the outdoor movies at the Container Park are just a few.
You can also find many places for cheap eats if you are willing to get off The Strip to do so. Check out the nearby Crown and Anchor, which serves up delicious British favorites, and Ninja Teriyaki Sushi 2 Go for fresh-made amazing sushi rolls in a no-frills setting.



16. Cambodia



Why: Sadly, the average income in Cambodia is about $950 per year. What does this mean for international travelers? Your international airfare might be expensive, but once you are in Cambodia, you can live well. Tuks tuks (a combo bike/taxi) and food cost just pennies. Even international hotel chains and luxury river boats down the Mekong are more affordable than other Asian destinations.
Before visiting, I suggest doing your homework to support luxury companies like the Shinta Mani Resort, whose foundation plays a large role in its community, building water wells, schools and farms and providing the best healthcare in the country to its employees. Culturally conscious companies like Aqua Expeditions sustainably introduce their guests to the communities along the Mekong River, including the floating markets and the farmers in the rice fields; the company can even arrange a conversation with a local Buddhist monk to discuss the significance of his journey from childhood to monkhood.




17. Bali



Why: If you're looking into an exotic long-haul trip, Bali offers a ton of high quality experiences for a great value. You can easily stay in a private villa overlooking stunning rice paddies with a private pool for around $50 per night. (Airbnb is a great way to go).
However, if you want to splurge a bit but not go overboard, a stay at a high-end luxury resort will still cost you less than a stay at a luxury resort, for example, in Maui. Not to mention, spa and transportation costs are quite low relative to other exotic locales, as well as the amazing and healthy food options that end up being a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.



18. Greece



Why: The weakened euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece. The struggling economy craves tourist dollars and makes it known with affordable pricing on everything from hotels to food.
In Athens, you can book a three- or four-star hotel for well under $100, like 360 Degrees, a nice and modern hotel with a huge breakfast buffet included and an awesome location directly on Monastiraki Square.
Throughout the countryside, prices may be even better. Best of all, you can sit down to an amazing Greek meal with drinks (Mythos or Ouzo?), appetizers (Saganaki, anyone?) and entrees of your choosing for less than half what you'd pay in the States. Heck, you can pick up Souvlaki or a gyro for $1-$2. Souvenirs are insanely cheap, too.



19. Albania

Why: This forgotten corner of Europe is a wonderfully off-the-beaten-track budget destination in an otherwise very touristy and expensive continent.
With fantastic beaches along its coastline, including the fishing port of Saranda, Albania gives visitors the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean waters for a fraction of the usual price. Accommodation starts from as little as $5 per person and fishing trips or boat rides to the nearby islands are similarly well priced.
There's also some fascinating historical sites across Albania that are either free to enter or cost only $2-$5. From the moutainous medieval town of Gjirokastër to the Roman ruins at Butrint, this is a diverse and very different side of Europe, which is definitely worth visiting before the crowds do.



20. San Luis Potosí, México


Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping.
Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you've got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget.
Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.



21. Quebec City, Canada

Why: Take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and travel north for a 25% discount on prices.
Enjoy a slice of Old Europe without the jet lag or the cost of a transatlantic flight. Indulge in some of the best French food outside France — steak-frites, oysters and pastries at a bargain price. Stroll and shop in the narrow cobblestone streets of the picturesque Old Town and enjoy night parades and ice canoe races during the colorful Winter Festival in January and February.



22. Buenos Aires



Why: One of the world's most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it's still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food.
Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.
Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you'll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars.
On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.



23. Haiti

Why: While Haiti still remains under the radar as a travel destination, many people have been flocking to the vibrant country, and I can see why: The island provides all the stunning Caribbean characteristics without the high costs. Outside of holiday seasons and the later part of the summer, flights from New York range from $300 to $500, and even cheaper when flying from cities in Florida.
The real gem is how cheap the hotels are, with many starting at $50 to $150 per night including airport transfers. Even the newest Marriott Port-au-Prince will only set you back $130 to under $200 a night for larger rooms.
One of my favorites is Wahoo Bay Beach, which has epic mountain and ocean views from its stunning pool and rooms. You can take small boat tours around the area for a couple of dollars per person. Lobster, conch and crab can be caught right from the water and prepared for you without costing more than $10.





24. Santa Catalina Island, California

Why: Santa Catalina Island is one of my new favorite places. It is way more than a weekend SoCal jaunt. Hotels are quaint and average under the $200 per night mark. The Avalon Hotel is a charming choice. It’s right in the center of town, making it an easy walk to almost any activity. There is plenty to do, like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking or just beach sitting.
The Catalina Island Museum is a must-visit stop to get the full story of the island's fascinating history, including its Hollywood connection. Food and shopping choices are extensive.
And you don’t need a rental car. Getting to the island is easy: Catalina Express Ferry whisks you to there from three different ports, Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro. I prefer Long Beach because flights there are often lower priced than neighboring LAX.



25. Indonesia



Why: With 17,000 islands, you are bound to find the ideal paradise to suit your travel and budget in Indonesia.
There are stunning untouched beaches that offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, fascinating Unesco World Heritage Sites dating back to the 9th century in Yogyakarta and — everywhere you turn — the friendliest locals. In Raja Ampat, we found a homestay that included breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus it was right on the beach for around $29 USD per person per night. For more, see Food Fun Travel's "Bali Food Guide."



26. Bulgaria

Why: The entire Balkans region is an excellent option for budget travel, and if you haven't been before, I recommend starting with Bulgaria.
From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it's an adventure playground that every budget can afford. In Bulgaria's wine country you can get a full winery tour with multiple tastings plus bread and cheese for about $5 (check out Villa Melnik winery), take a hike through Bulgaria's famous sandstone pyramids and then sleep in a beautiful authentic style hotel like Zlaten Rozhen with breakfast included for about $30.



27. Cusco, Peru



Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning.
Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I'm personally addicted to ceviche and can't find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco's San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3.
On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.



28. Georgia
Why: Meagen Collins: This ancient European country is starting to grab the attention of travelers from all over the world. Georgia has so much to offer — beautiful scenery, unique culture and tradition everywhere you look, and the food will leave you drooling for more.
Add to that the fact this country lays claim to being the birthplace of wine (winemaking here goes back 8,000 years) and you have the ultimate new travel destination.
In Georgia, you can get a full meal plus copious amounts of wine for two people in a higher end restaurant, with live entertainment and still spend less than $30 — total. But get there fast: Word is getting around about this little gem and it won’t be tourist-free for long.



29. Mozambique



Why: This country is one of Africa's best budget travel destinations, with some extremely affordable accommodation situated along white sand beaches and next to an azure ocean. (Check out Villa Sands or Terraço das Quitandas.)
There's great scuba diving, too, and you can easily feel like a millionaire here for nothing! For more ideas, see Big World Small Pocket's "17 Incredible Budget Travel Destinations Still On My List (That Should Be On Yours Too!)."



30. Dallas, Texas



Why: Dallas is often overlooked, but packed with fun, food and great places to stay at prices far below the national average. (The city was voted the most affordable destination in the U.S. last year by Priceline and continues to remain a great value.) Downtown buzzes with excitement and culture, and the nearby Design District is exploding with eclectic shopping for home décor.
The high-rise Omni Dallas has rooms with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city starting at just under $200, putting you in the center of the action. With a rental car, you can fully explore everything the city has to offer. Look at fringe cities like Grapevine and Plano for the charm of small towns of yesteryear with main street shops and eateries.
The Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine is convenient to DFW airport and offers full-out luxury at rates around the $200 mark.

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The only technique to learn something new
By James Altucher



I had a friend who wanted to get better at painting. But she thought she had to be in Paris, with all the conditions right. She never made it to Paris. Now she sits in a cubicle under fluorescent lights, filling out paperwork all day.
Someone stole $90 million from a company I was involved in. I'm a poor judge of people. The company collapsed.
Some things I can't learn. I tend to like people too much.
So it's hard for me to be a good judge of people, no matter how much I try. So I find other people who are good at judging people and I ask them to help me.
Don't force yourself to learn something if you don't want to or it's not a natural talent.
What's the role of talent? Very small. But you have to start with it. Talent is the seed of skill.
How do you know if you are talented? If you loved it when you were ten years old. If you dream about it. If you like to read about it. Read the below and you'll know what you are talented at.
Trust me when I say: everyone is talented at many things.
 This story is from James Altucher's website. He let us it after we asked nicely.In the past 20 years I've wanted to learn how to do some things really well. Writing, programming, business skills (leadership, sales, negotiating, decision-making), comedy, games.
So I developed a ten step technique for learning.
1. LOVE IT.
If you can't start with "love" then everyone who does love will beat everyone who "likes" or "hates".
This is a rule of the universe. The first humans who crossed the arctic tundra from Siberia to Alaska in -60 degree temperatures had to love it. The rest stayed in the East Africa Savannah.
The very first day I wrote a "Hello, World" computer program I dreamed about computers. I woke up at 4am to get back to the "computer lab" and make even bigger programs.
When I first started to write every day, I would write all day. I couldn't stop. And all I wanted to talk about with people were different authors.
When I was 10 years old I wrote a gossip column about all my fellow 5th graders. I read every Judy Blume book. I read everything I could. I loved it.
Most of my friends got bored with me and soon I was very lonely. Except when I was writing.
2. READ IT.
Bobby Fischer wasn't that good at chess. He had talent but nobody thought much of him.
So around the age of 12-13 he disappeared for a year. He did this later in his 20s.
But at 13 when he came back on the scene he was suddenly the best chessplayer in the US, won the US championship, and became the youngest grandmaster in the world.
How did he do it? He barely played at all during his year of wandering.
Instead he did two things:
a) he studied every game played in the prior century. In the 1800s.
When he came back on the scene he was known for playing all of these antiquated openings but he had improvements in each one. Nobody can figure out how to defeat these improvements.
In fact, the final game of the World Championship many years later, in 1972 when he was playing Spassky, he brought out his 1800s arsenal to become World Champion.
Spassky desperately needed to win to keep the match going. Fischer needed to draw to win the title.
Spassky started with a very modern attacking opening ("The Sicilian") But then around 13 moves in, all of the commentators watching gasped.
Fischer had subtly changed the opening into an old-fashioned very drawish 1800s opening called "The Scotch Game." Spassky didn't have a chance after that.
b) He learned enough Russian to read the Russian chess magazines. At the time, the top 20 players in the world were all Russian. The Americans didn't really have a chance.
So Fischer would study the Russian games while all of the Americans were sitting around with openings and styles the Russians already knew how to defeat.
Consequently, when Fischer competed in the US championship in the early 60s it was the first complete shutout, all wins and not a single draw.
Studying the history, studying the best players, is the key to being the best player. Even if you started off with average talent.
3. TRY IT. BUT NOT TOO HARD.
If you want to be a writer, or a businessman, or a programmer, you have to write a lot, start a lot of businesses, and program a lot of programs.
Things go wrong. This is why quantity is more important than quality at first.
The learning curve that we all travel is not built by accomplishments. It's only built by quantity.
If you see something 1000 times, you'll see more than the person who sees the same thing only ten times.
Don't forget the important rule: the secret of happiness is not "being great" - the secret is "growth".
If you only "try" you'll get to your level that is natural for you. But growth will stop and you won't be happy.
4. GET A TEACHER (PLUS THE 10X RULE).
If I try to learn Spanish on my own, I get nowhere. But when I go out (and now marry) someone who is from Argentina, I learn more Spanish.
With chess, writing, programming, business, I always find someone better than me, and I set a time each week to ask them tons of questions, have them give me assignments, look over my mistakes and tell me where I am wrong.
For everything you love, find a teacher and that makes you learn 10x faster.
In fact, everything I put on this list, makes you learn 10x faster. So if you do everything on this list you will learn 10 to the 10th power faster than anyone else.
That's how you become great at something.
5. STUDY THE HISTORY. STUDY THE PRESENT.
If you want to learn how to be a GREAT programmer (not just good enough to program an app but good enough to be GREAT, study machine language.
Study 1s and 0s. Study the history of the computer, learn how to make an operating system, and Fortran, Cobol, Pascal, Lisp, C, C , all the way through the modern languages of Python, etc.
If you want to write better, read great books from the 1800s. Read Hemingway and Virginia Woolf and the Beats, and the works that have withstood the test of time.
They have withstood the test of time. versus millions of other books, for a reason. They are the best in the world.
Then study the current criticism of those books to see what you have missed. This is just as important as the initial reading.
If you want to study business, read biographies of Rockefeller, Carnegie, the first exchange in Amsterdam, the junk-bond boom, the 90s, the financial bust. Every Depression. All the businesses that flourished in every depression.
Read "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel. Watch "The Profit" on CNBC. Read about Steve Jobs. Read about the downfall of Kodak in "The End of Power".
Don't read self-help business books. They are nothing. You are about to enter a great field, the field of innovation that has created modern society. Don't read the average books that came out last year.
Step up your game and read about the people and inventions that changed the world into what it is today.
Read how Henry Ford had to start three car companies to get it right and why "three" was the important number for him.
Read about why Ray Kroc's technique for franchising created the world's largest restaurant chain. Read how the Coca-Cola makes absolutely nothing but is the largest drink company in the world.
Write down the things you learn from each reading.
6. DO EASY PROJECTS FIRST.
Tony Robbins told me about when he was scared to death on his first major teaching job.
He had to teach a bunch of Marines how to improve their sharpshooting. "I had never shot a gun in my life," he said.
He studied quite a bit from professionals but then he came up with a technique that resulted in the best scores of any sharpshooting class before then.
He brought the target closer.
He put it just five feet from them. They all shot bullseyes. Then he moved it back bit by bit until it was the standard distance.
They were still shooting bullseyes.
Richard Branson started a magazine before he started an airline. Bill Gates wrote BASIC before his team wrote Windows.
E.L. James (and yes, I'm including her) wrote Twilight fan fiction, before she wrote "50 Shades of Grey".
Ernest Hemingway never thought he could write a novel. So he wrote dozens of short stories.
Programmers write "Hello, World" programs before they make their search engines.
Many chess grandmasters recommend you study the endgame first in chess (when there are few pieces left on the board) before you study the other parts of the game.
This gets you confidence, it teaches subtleties, it gives you greater feelings of growth and improvement - all steps on the path to success.
7. STUDY WHAT YOU DID.
The other day I threw everything out. Everything. I threw out all my books (donated). I threw out all my clothes.
I threw out old computers. I threw out plates I never used. I threw out sheets I would never have guests for. I threw out furniture (four book cases) and my TV and old papers and everything.
I wanted to clean up. And I did.
I found a novel I wrote in 1991. 24 years ago. It was horrible.
For the first time in those 24 years, I re-read it. I studied what I did wrong (character unrelatable. Plot too obvious. Deus ex machina all over the place).
Someone told me a story about Amy Schumer, one of my favorite comedians. She videotapes all her performances.
Then she goes back to her room and studies the performance second by second. "I should have paused another quarter-second here," she might say.
She wants to be the best at comedy. She studies her every performance.
When I play chess, if I lose, I run the game into the computer. I look at every move, what the computer suggests as better, I think about what I was thinking when I made the bad move, and so on.
A business I was recently invested in fell apart. It was painful for me. But I had to look at it and see what was wrong. Where did I make a mistake. At every level I went back and wrote what happened and where I might have helped better and what I missed.
If you aren't obsessed with your mistakes then you don't love the field enough to get better.
You ask lousy questions: "Why am I no good?" Instead of good questions: "What did I do wrong and how can I improve?"
When you consistently ask good questions about your own work, you become better than the people who freeze themselves with lousy questions.
Example: I hate watching myself after a TV appearance. I have never done it. So I will never get better at that.
8. YOU ARE THE AVERAGE OF THE FIVE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.
Look at every literary, art, and business scene. People seldom get better as individuals. They get better as groups.
The Beats: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and a dozen others.
The programmers: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ted Leonsis, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak and a dozen others all came out of the Homebrew Club
The art scene in the 50s: Jasper Johns, De Kooning, Pollack, etc all lived on the SAME STREET in downtown NYC.
YouTube, LinkedIn, Tesla, Palantir, and to some extent Facebook, and a dozen other companies came out of the so-called "PayPal mafia".
All of these people could've tinkered by themselves. But humans are tribal mammals. We need to work with groups to improve.
Find the best group, spend as much time with them, and as a "scene" you become THE scene.
You each challenge each other, compete with each other, love each other's work, become envious of each other, and ultimately take turns surpassing each other.
9. DO IT A LOT.
What you do every day matters much more than what you do once in awhile.
I had a friend who wanted to get better at painting. But she thought she had to be in Paris, with all the conditions right.
She never made it to Paris. Now she sits in a cubicle under fluorescent lights, filling out paperwork all day.
Write every day, network every day, play every day, live healthy every day.
Measure your life in the number of times you do things. When you die: are you 2 writing sessions old? Or are you 50,0000?
10. FIND YOUR EVIL PLAN.
Eventually the student passes the master.
The first hedge fund manager I worked for now hates me. I started my own fund and his fund went out of business. My evil plan was ultimately to be better than him.
But how?
After all of the above, you find your unique voice. And when you speak in that voice, the world hears something it has never heard before.
Your old teachers and friends might not want to hear that voice. But if you continue to be around people who love and respect you, then they will encourage that new voice.
There's that saying, "there are no new ideas." But there are.
There are all the ideas in the past combined with the new beautiful you. You're the butterfly.
Now it's your turn to teach, to mentor, to create, to innovate, to change the world. To make something nobody has ever seen before and perhaps will never see again.

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The best thing you can learn from Inception of 'Alphabet' by Larry Page

This is something best I've read in long time, so just wants to keep this piece in my collection.
Written by: James Altucher
========================I visited Google a few weeks ago and, after almost getting arrested, my mind was blown.
First, Claudia wandered into the garage where they were actually making or fixing the driverless cars. When they finally realized she was wandering around, security had to escort her out.

We got scared and we thought we were going to get in trouble or thrown out.

Then we met with a friend high up at Google and learned some of the things Google was working on.

Nothing was related to search. Everything was related to curing cancer (a bracelet that can make all the cancer cells in your body move towards the bracelet), automating everything (cars just one of those things), Wi-Fi everywhere (Project Loon) and solving other “billion person problems”.

A problem wasn’t considered worthy unless it could solve a problem for a billion people.

So now Alphabet is aligning itself towards this strategy: a holding company that owns and invests in other companies that can solve billion person problems.

It’s not divided up by money. It’s divided up by mission.

I want to do this in my personal life also.

Just analyzing Larry Page’s quotes from the past ten years is a guidebook for “billion person success” and for personal success.

Here Are Some Of His Quotes:
"If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning."

To have well-being in life you need three things:
A) a feeling of competence or growth.
B) good emotional relationships.
C) freedom of choice.

Being able to wake up excited in the morning is an outcome of well-being.

Feeling like every day you are working on a billion-person problem will give you those three aspects of well-being.

At the very least, when I wake up I try to remember to ask: Who can I help today?

Because I’m a superhero and this is my secret identity.

"Especially in technology, we need revolutionary change, not incremental change."

Too often we get stuck in “good enough”. If you build a business that supports your family and maybe provides for retirement then that is “good enough”.If you write a book that sells 1000 copies then that is “good enough.”You ever wonder why planes have gotten slower since 1965? The Dreamliner 787 is actually slower than the 747. That’s ok. It’s good enough to get people across the world and save on fuel costs.It’s only the people who push past the “good enough syndrome” that we hear about: Elon Musk building a space ship. Larry Page indexing all knowledge. Elizabeth Holmes potentially diagnosing all diseases with a pin prick.

Isaac Asimov wrote classic science fiction like “The Foundation Series” but it wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up writing 500 more books, writing more books than anyone in history.

Larry Page keeps pushing so that every day he wakes up knowing he’s going to go past “good enough” that day.

What does your “good enough” day look like. What’s one thing that moves you past that?

"My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society."

Whenever I’ve managed companies and have had the small opportunity to be a leader I’ve judged my success on only one thing:

Does the employee at night go home and call his or her parents and say, “guess what I did today!”

I’m not sure this always worked. But I do think Larry Page lifts all his employees to try to be better versions of themselves, to try to surpass him, to try and change the world.

If each employee can say, “who did I help today” and have an answer, then that is a good leader.

Empowering others, empowers you.

"Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future."

The stock market is near all time highs. And yet every company in the original Dow Jones market index (except for GE) has gone out of business.

Even US Steel, which built every building in the country for an entire century, has gone bankrupt.

Never let the practical get in the way of the possible.

It’s practical to focus on what you can do right now.

But give yourself time in your life to wonder what is possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.

We’re at maybe 1% of what is possible. Despite the faster change, we’re still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. I think a lot of that is because of the negativity… Every story I read is Google vs someone else. That’s boring. We should be focusing on building the things that don’t exist.

Sometimes I want to give up on whatever I’m working on. I’m not working on major billion person problems.

And sometimes I think I write too much about the same thing. Every day I try to think, “What new thing can I write today” and I actually get depressed when I can’t think of something totally new.

But I am working on things that I think can help people. And if you are out side of people’s comfort zones, if you are breaking the normal rules of society, people will try to pull you down.

Larry Page didn’t want to be defined by Google for his entire life. He wants to be defined by what he hasn’t yet done. What he might even be afraid to do.

I wonder what my life would be like if I started doing all the things I was afraid to do. If I started defining my life by all the things I have yet to do.

"Many leaders of big organizations, I think, don’t believe that change is possible. But if you look at history, things do change, and if your business is static, you’re likely to have issues."

Guess which company had the original patent that ultimately Larry Page derived his own patent (that created google) from?

Go ahead. Think a second. Guess.

An employee of this company created the patent and tried to get them to use it to catalog information on the web.

They refused.

So Robin Li, an employee of The Wall Street Journal, quit the newspaper of capitalism (who owned his patent), moved to China (a communist country), and created Baidu.

And Larry Page modified the patent, filed his own, and created Google.

And the Wall Street Journal got swallowed up by Rupert Murdoch and is dying a slow death.

"I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society."

A friend of mine is writing a novel but is afraid to publish it. “Maybe it will be bad,” he told me.

Fortunately we live in a world where experimentation is easy. You can make a 30 page novel, publish it on Amazon for nothing, use an assumed name, and test to see if people like it.

Heck, I’ve done it. And it was fun.

Mac Lethal is a rapper who has gotten over 200 million views on his YouTube videos. Even Ellen had him on her show to demonstrate his skills.

I asked him, “do you get nervous if one of your videos gets less views than others?”

He told me valuable advice: “Nobody remembers your bad stuff. They only remember your good stuff.”

I live by that.

"If we were motivated by money, we would have sold the company a long time ago and ended up on a beach."

Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to be academics. When they first patented Google, they tried to sell to Yahoo for $1 million (ONE MILLION DOLLARS).

When Yahoo laughed them out the door, they tried to sell to Excite for $750,000.

Excite laughed them out the door. Now an ex-employee of Google is the CEO of Yahoo. And the founder of Excite works at Google. Google dominates.

Money is a side effect of trying to help others. Trying to solve problems. Trying to move beyond the “good enough”.

So many people ask: “how do I get traffic?” That’s the wrong question.

If you ask every day, “How did I help people today?” then you will have more traffic and money than you could have imagined.

"Invention is not enough. Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. You have to combine both things: invention and innovation focus, plus the company that can commercialize things and get them to people."

Everyone quotes the iconic story of Thomas Edison “failing” 10,000 times to get the electric lightbulb working.

I put failing in quotes because he was doing what any scientist does. He does many experiments until one works.

But what he did that was truly remarkable was convince New York City a few weeks later to light up their downtown using his lights.

The first time ever a city was lit up at night with electricity.

That’s innovation. That’s how the entire world got lit up.

"If you say you want to automate cars and save people’s lives, the skills you need for that aren’t taught in any particular discipline. I know – I was interested in working on automating cars when I was a Ph.D. student in 1995."

Too often we get labeled by our degree and our job titles. Larry Page and Elon Musk were computer science majors. Now they build cars and space ships.

David Chang was a competitive golfer as a kid, majored in religious studies in college, and then had random gopher jobs in his 20s.

The gopher jobs all happened to be in restaurants so he became familiar with how the business was run.

Then he started probably the most popular restaurant in NYC, momofoku. A dozen or so restaurants later, he is one of the most successful restauranteurs in history.

Peter Thiel worked as a lawyer in one of the top law firms in NY. When he quit in order to become an entrepreneur, he told me that many of his colleagues came up to him and said, “I can’t believe you are escaping”.

Escaping the labels and titles and hopes that everyone else has for us is one of the first steps in Choosing Ourselves for the success we are meant to have.

We define our lives from our imagination and the things we create with our hands.

"It really matters whether people are working on generating clean energy or improving transportation or making the Internet work better and all those things. And small groups of people can have a really huge impact."

What I love about this quote is that he combines big problems with small groups.

A small group of people created Google. Not Procter & Gamble. Or AT&T.

Even at Apple, when Steve Jobs wanted to create the Macintosh, he moved his small group to a separate building so they wouldn’t get bogged down in the big corporate bureaucracy that Apple was becoming.

Ultimately, they fired him for being too far from the corporate message.

Years later, when Apple was failing, they brought him back. What did he do? He cut most of the products and put people into small groups to solve big problems.

Before his death he revolutionized the movie industry, the computer industry, the music industry, TVs, and now even watches (watch sales have plummeted after the release of the Apple Watch).

All of this from a guy who finished one semester of studying calligraphy in college before dropping out.

Studying the history of Apple is like studying a microcosm of the history of how to create big ideas. Larry Page is recreating this with his new corporate structure.

We don’t have as many managers as we should, but we would rather have too few than too many.

The 20th century was the century of middle-class corporatism. It even became a “law” called “The Peter Principle” – everyone rises to their level of incompetence.

One of the problems society is having now is that the entire middle layer of management is being demoted, outsourced, replaced by technology, and fired.

This is not a bad or a good thing (although it’s scary). But it’s a return to the role of masters and apprentices without bureaucracy and paperwork in the middle.

It’s how things get done. When ideas go from the head into action with few barriers in the middle.

To be a successful employee, you have to align your interests with those of the company, come up with ideas that further help the customers, and have the mandate to act on those ideas, whether they work or not.

That’s why the employee who wrote much of the code inside the Google search engine, Craig Silverstein, is now a billionaire.

Where is he now? He’s an employee at online education company, The Khan Academy.

If you ask an economist what’s driven economic growth, it’s been major advances in things that mattered – the mechanization of farming, mass manufacturing, things like that. The problem is, our society is not organized around doing that.

Google is now making advances in driverless cars, delivery drones, and other methods of automation.

Everyone gets worried that this will cost jobs. But just look at history. Cars didn’t ruin the horse industry. Everyone simply adjusted.

TV didn’t replace books. Everything adjusted. The VCR didn’t shut down movies.

The Internet didn’t replace face to face communication (well, the jury is still out).

"What is the one sentence summary of how you change the world? Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting!"

Not everyone wants to create a driverless car. Or clean energy. Or solve a billion person problem.

But I have a list of things that are uncomfortably exciting to me.

They are small, stupid things. Like I’d like to write a novel. Or perform standup comedy. Or maybe start another business based on my ideas for helping people.

Every day I wake up a tiny bit afraid. But I also try to push myself a little closer in those directions. I know then that’s how I learn and grow.

Sometimes I push forward. Sometimes I don’t. I want to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I do think there is an important artistic component in what we do. As a technology company I’ve tried to really stress that.

Nobody knows what the definition of Art is.

How about: something that doesn’t exist except in the imagination, that you then bring out into the real world that has some mix of entertainment, enlightenment, and betterment.

I don’t know. Something like that.

Certainly the iPad is a work of art. And the iPad has created works of art. And when I first saw a driverless car I thought, “that’s beautiful”.

I’m going to try and put my fingerprint on something today. And maybe it will be art.

The idea that everyone should slavishly work so they do something inefficiently so they keep their job – that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That can’t be the right answer.

We’ve been hypnotized into thinking that the “normal life” is a “working life”.

If you don’t “go to work” then you must be sick or on the tiny bit of vacation allotted to you each year.

What if everything you did you can inject a little bit of leisure, a little bit of fun into it.

I have fun writing, except when I think I have to meet a deadline (work). I have fun making a business that people actually use except when I think about money too much (work).

When you are at the crossroads and your heart loves one path and doesn’t love the other, forget about which path has the money and the work, take the path you love.

We want to build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone. We want to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush. There aren’t that many things people use twice a day.

What a great idea for a list of the day!

What are ten things that can be invented that people would use twice a day?

You need to invent things and you need to get them to people. You need to commercialize those inventions. Obviously, the best way we’ve come up with doing that is through companies.

I was speaking to Naveen Jain, who made his billions on an early search engine, InfoSpace.

He just started a company to mine rare earth minerals on the Moon.

But his real goal is extra-planetary colonization.

Somehow we got around to the question of why have a company in the middle of that. He has billions. He can just go straight for the colonization part.

He said, “Every idea has to be sustainable. Profitability is proof that an idea is sustainable.”

You may think using Google’s great, but I still think it’s terrible.

K. Anders Ericsson made famous the “10,000 hour rule” popularized later by Malcom Gladwell.

The rule is: if you practice WITH INTENT for 10,000 hours then you will be world-class.

He then wondered why typists would often reach a certain speed level and then never improve no matter how many hours.

After doing research, its because they forgot the “With intent” part. They were satisfied with “good enough”.

You have to constantly come up with new metrics to measure yourself, to compete against yourself, to better the last plateau you reached.

Google is great. But it can be better. Having this mindset always forces you to push beyond the comfort zone.

Once they changed the way typists viewed their skills (by recreating the feeling of “beginner’s mind”) the typists continued to get faster.

We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.

Many people argue whether or not Google has succeeded at this. That’s not the point.

The point is: Values before Money.

A business is a group of people with a goal to solve a problem. Values might be: we want to solve a problem, we want the customer to be happy, we want employees to feel like they have upward mobility, etc.

Once you lose your values, you’ll lost the money as well. This why family-run businesses often die by the third generation (“Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations).

The values of the founder got diluted through his descendants until the company failed.

I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. Since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. In fact, there are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name.

Our parents have our best interests at heart and tell us how to be good adults.

Our schools have our best interests.

Our friends, colleagues, sometimes our bosses, sometimes government, think they have our best interests.

But it’s only when everyone thinks you are crazy that you know you are going to create something that surprises everyone and really makes your own unique handprint on the world.

And because you went out of the comfort zone, you’re only competing against the few other people as crazy as you are.

You know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know that if you don’t have a pencil and pad by the bed, it will be completely gone by the next morning. Sometimes it’s important to wake up and stop dreaming. When a really great dream shows up, grab it.

For every article I’ve ever written, there’s at least ten more I left behind in the middle of the night thinking I would remember in the morning.

I have to beat myself in the head. I . Will. Not. Remember….Must. Write. Down.

It’s hard to wake up. And that’s the only thing worth remembering. It’s hard to wake up.

I have always believed that technology should do the hard work – discovery, organization, communication – so users can do what makes them happiest: living and loving, not messing with annoying computers! That means making our products work together seamlessly.

This is a deep question – who are you? If you have a mechanical hand, is that “you”?

Conversely, if you lose a hand, did you lose a part of you. Are you no longer a complete person? The complete you?

If an implant is put into your brain to access Google, does that effect who you view your self to be?

When books were invented, memory suffered. We no longer had to remember as much, because we can look things up.

Does that make our brains less human?

I bet memory has suffered with the rise of Google. Does this mean our consciousness has suffered?

When we created fire, we outsourced part of our digestion to this new invention. Did this make our stomachs less human?

With technology taking care of the basic tasks of our brain and body, it allows us to achieve things we couldn’t previously dream possible.

It allows us to learn and explore and to create past the current comfort zone. It allows us to find the happiness, freedom, and well-being we deserve.

Over time, our emerging high-usage products will likely generate significant new revenue streams for Google as well as for our partners, just as search does today.

This is it. This is why Larry Page has re-oriented Google into Alphabet.

Don’t waste your most productive energies solving a problem that now only has incremental improvements.

Re-focus the best energies on solving harder and harder problems.

Always keeping the value of “how can I help a billion people” will keep Google from becoming a Borders bookstore (which went out of business after outsourcing all of their sales to Amazon).

How does this apply to the personal?

Instead of being a cog in the machine for some corporation, come up with ways to automate greater abundance.

Always understand that coming up with multiple ways to help people is ultimately the way to create the biggest impact.

Impact then creates health, friendship, competence, abundance, and freedom.

But this is also why he created Alphabet and put Google underneath it.

To save the world. To save me.

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Original article appeared here:
http://inc42.com/buzz/20-things-ive-learned-from-l..

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THE SECRET TO SUCCESS: THE OVERLOAD PRINCIPLE


“In order for a muscle (including the heart) to increase strength, it must be gradually stressed by working against a load greater than it is used to.”


Once you understand and internalize this, one can reach for the stars. So many people get up; do the same run or the same weight machines, day after day, year after year. And they get frustrated because they don’t improve. Well it’s clear why. Once the body has adjusted to a certain level of stress, it stops improving. If you want to get better, you have to stress the muscles. Stress the cardiovascular system. Ask it to do more than it is used to. And then the body adapts, down to a cellular level, so that it is ready the next time you ask it to perform at that level.


That’s the Overload Principle. To grow, we must overload the body. Ask it to do more than we did the last workout. And that’s the route to success on the fields of sports or any athletic endeavor.


But, as I look back on the past years in the corporate world, I have come to realize that the entire body is like a muscle. Our entire being hence responds to the overload principle. Our brains are a muscle of sorts. Our personality, our character, is a muscle of sorts. You want it to improve in any facet of life, it needs overload. Simple as that. Then we as humans adapt, grow, and get better.


Once an individual embraces the overload principle, they are in for a world of success, more than they can ever imagine! But it’s hard work. It’s a difficult, yet conscious, choice. Because we love to be comfortable. We don’t like the overload principle on a visceral level. We like “routine”. We like things as they are. We want improvement on one hand, we want success, but we are often unwilling to pay the price. We want it all. We want to take it easy, be comfortable, and yet have all the success in life!


You can see people every day rejecting the overload principle whether they realize it or not. When a person says, “Love me for who I am”, or “I am what I am, take it or leave it”, well this is the ultimate cop-out. This is a person saying, in coded language, “I refuse to improve, I refuse to get better, I refuse to be pushed or challenged to improve myself. What you see is all I am ever going to be.”


It’s not pathetic. It’s sad. These are people who will realize only a fraction of what they can truly become. Because with these statements, they toss the overload principle into the garbage. If you don’t overload yourself, you don’t get better. Simple as that.


What the most successful do, those who maximize their potential and continually improve, is they embrace the overload principle across their life. Not only in the gym or running on the roads but in all walks of life. 


Key examples:
1. The jobs they take. Those who are stuck in one place, and miserable most of the time, take easy jobs. Ones they can screw around and slack off and still get paid. They don’t want change or stress. They stay in a comfy job where they “know everyone” and don’t have to learn new names, new processes, new ways of doing things. They want to earn as easy as they can. Conversely, those who embrace overload want to work for the best companies, ones where they will be pushed and challenged. They will take on tough assignments, maybe moving industries or countries just to challenge themselves to grow. They will throw themselves into high-stress roles and put themselves into the arena. They may fail, but they will learn and grow. They constantly overload their career “muscles” to make them stronger and better. Even if this means sometimes you fail to lift the weight! You want to grow? Take the job in the challenging environment, in a challenging company that will push you. Don’t take the easy, cushy way out.


2. The friends they surround themselves with. Some “friends” actually drag you down. They belittle you. They want to keep you down where they are. They love status quo. They don’t want anything to disrupt their world. Every new idea or dream you have they crap all over it. Negative all the time. My advice is to dump these kinds of “friends” if you can even call them this. No, the right kinds of friends believe in you. They push you to take on challenges. When you fail to live up to the expectations you are capable of, they help you up with one hand whilst smacking you on the head with the other. They believe in you---so they expect better from you. These are the people you surround yourself with. Those who encourage you to take risks, to overload and be all you can be.


3. Educational choices. Those who embrace overload take the hardest classes. They want to push the limits, see what they can do, and learn the most they can learn. The other ends of the spectrum are people who look to “pad” their classes with easy subjects simply to help their overall grades. They forgo overload, and improving, for show and for bragging rights. But they lose out long term.


4. Life partner. Does your partner inspire you to be all you can be? It’s an important question. I never understood when a husband or wife would “let themselves go” right after the wedding. I mean, why take someone for granted? My wife loves me for who I am, but more importantly, she loves even more the person she believes I can become. And this is important because it inspires me to improve. To try and get better, not get worse and expect someone to love me “Because they should”. The best partners bring out the best in us. They inspire us to continually improve the person we are. They don’t promote complacency and accepting that “the best years are behind us”. And one would never say, “Love me for who I am” to someone who truly inspired them. Because this is an admission of never attempting to improve oneself and having zero motivation to even try.


Get the overload principle working for you. Get it working for you with your body. Your mind. The person you are. Throw yourself into the fray. Take the tough challenges head on. Get out of your comfort zone. Try new things. Every day, ask your body, your brain, your person, to be challenged, to attempt a new level of stress. You do this, and it’s guaranteed, there will be more joy, more success, more happiness in your life than one can imagine. Because taking it easy doesn’t make one happy. It is that sense of accomplishment, of seeing self-improvement, which drives happiness. And success.

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The Secret to Happiness Is 10 Specific Behaviors

Despite happiness being a primary human motivation, only one in three Americans say they’re very happy.
Several years ago in an interview with Conan O’Brien, Louis C. K. tells of flying on a newly equipped Wi-Fi airplane. He was amazed by the new technology. Until, during the flight, the Wi-Fi went down. Immediately, the man next to him became extremely upset. “As though the world owes this man something he only knew existed 10 seconds ago.”
Louis C. K. continues by describing people’s absurd frustrations with flying in general. People complain about it all the time “It was the worst day of my life! It took 20 minutes to board! We had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes!”
We hear complaints like these all the time. As if we’ve forgotten how incredible it is that humans can fly at all.
How are we so quick to take for granted the remarkable things going on in life?
Why is it so easy to complain?
Why do we focus on the negative?
Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.
However, happiness can easily be achieved even without the brilliant advances in the world.
Rather than being reactive to what’s going on around us, happy people take control of their lives and emotions. If you are unhappy with your life, who or what else can you blame than yourself? And if you can blame someone or something else, how is blame going to make your life any better?
Bad stuff happens to everyone. But life isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about how you proactively respond.
The following 10 behaviors, if applied, will change your life. Let me be clear, if you do these things, you will be an incredibly happy person.


1. Let Go Of The Need For Specific Outcomes
Not everything in life goes exactly how we plan. There are setbacks. Stuff happens. We mess up. Over-obsessing and basing happiness on specific outcomes leads to misery. Jeremy Piven, the famous actor, was recently interviewed by Success Magazine. During the interview, he mentioned that, as an actor, the only way to work is to go out and audition for specific roles.The challenge most actors/actresses face is that they get in their own way. It doesn’t matter how much homework they’ve done. If they’re too tied to a specific result, they can’t be present in the moment. They can’t truly perform their art. They come off as desperate. They get in their own way. Their performance isn’t what it could have been.Jeremy said that when he quit worrying about a specific result, he was able to be present during his auditions. He was able to be completely who he wanted to be. He wasn’t trying to be what he thought others wanted him to be. He performed his art.If he didn’t get the gig, either they didn’t get it or it just wasn’t the right fit. So he moves on to the next. In this way, he’s able to get the jobs he’s supposed to have. He’s not just trying to get anything he can get.
2. Define Your Own Success And Happiness
“Be everything to everybody and you’ll be nothing for yourself.” — John Rushton


No two human beings are the same. So why should we have one standard of success? Seeking society’s standard of success is an endless rat-race. There will always be someone better than you. You’ll never have the time to do everything.Instead, you recognize that every decision has opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s beautiful because we get to choose our ultimate ideal. We must define success, wealth, and happiness in our own terms because if we don’t, society will for us — and we will always fall short. We’ll always be left wanting. We’ll always be stuck comparing ourselves and competing with other people. Our lives will be an endless race for the next best thing. We’ll never experience contentment.
3. Commit 100 Percent To The Things That Make You Happy
“Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are able to break our own personal rules “just this once.” In our minds, we can justify these small choices. None of those things, when they first happen, feels like a life-changing decision. The marginal costs are almost always low. But each of those decisions can roll up into a much bigger picture, turning you into the kind of person you never wanted to be.” — Clayton Christensen
People are really good at self-sabotage. We consistently behave in ways that contradict our goals and ideals. This is incongruence. As Mahatma Gandhi has said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” The smaller the gap between what you should do, and what you actually do — the happier you will be.
Hence, Clayton Christensen says 100 percent commitment is easier than 98 percent commitment. When you fully commit to something, the decision has been made. Consequently, regarding that thing, all future decisions have been made.
Unless you’re committed 100 percent, you will always be a victim to external circumstances. By relying on willpower, you’ll crumble more often than you think. Research has found that people over-inflate their own performance. Chances are, you probably think you’re doing better at your resolves than you really are.
But once you’re 100 percent committed, you no longer need to rely on willpower. Your decision has already been made regardless of the circumstances. Saying “No” to anything outside our highest ideals becomes extremely easy. This is living proactively rather than reactively.


4. Be Grateful For What You Already Have
“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness] — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach


Happiness is as simple as gratitude. Psychological research has found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:




Physical

Stronger immune systems, Less bothered by aches and pains, Lower blood pressure, Exercise more and take better care of their health, Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological
Higher levels of positive emotions, More alert, alive, and awake, More joy and pleasure, More optimism and happinessSocial

More helpful, generous, and compassionate, More forgiving, More outgoing, Feel less lonely and isolatedDespite these benefits, most people ungratefully focus on what they don’t have. As a culture, we have become wasteful and undisciplined consumers. The grass is always greener on the other side. A constant pursuit of having more of the newest and best.
How could you possibly find happiness when you relentlessly want more and never find properly appreciate what you have?
It’s time for you to learn how to be more grateful. Your happiness depends on it.


5. Say “I Love You” More

This may be strange, but if you tell your friends and family you love them, they’ll be blown away. I once knew a Polynesian missionary who told everyone he loved them. It was clear he was sincere.I asked him why he did it. What he told me changed my life. “When I tell people I love them, it not only changes them, but it changes me. Simply by saying the words, I feel more love for that person. I’ve been telling people all around me I love them. They feel treasured by me. Those who know me have come to expect it. When I forget to say it, they miss it.”Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”As my wife, Lauren, tells our children daily, “The secret to happiness is to make everyone around you happy.” By default, you will get the satisfaction of bringing joy to others and their positive energy will come back to you.

6. Have Hobbies Directed Toward Your Dreams

Most people’s hobbies are just hobbies. And that’s okay. It’s good to have an escape from reality. However, research has found that a person can experience leisure in anything. Your work can become your leisure — where it literally rejuvenates you.When I decided where I wanted my life to go, my life vision, I consciously chose hobbies that would best get me there. Some of these hobbies include exercise, reading, writing, journaling, having deep and meaningful conversations, and being in nature. These hobbies refresh and rejuvenate me while simultaneously pushing me toward my dreams.

7. Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow For What You Can Do Today
“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone], ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know,’ [she said.]“‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’” — Arthur GordonHappiness comes from embracing the now. Not letting those moments pass you by. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, tells of the story of missing his child being born to be at an “important meeting.” He thought the potential client would be impressed with his commitment to work. Instead, they saw his decision to miss such a monumental moment as a flaw in character. That moment was a turning point for Greg. In fact, it spurred him to change everything about his life. He now removes everything from his life that is not vital and essential.Nothing in life is permanent. Kids grow up. Friends move away. Our loved ones pass on from this life. Let’s live in the present and appreciate the most important things in our lives before it’s too late.

8. Do Something Every Day That Terrifies You
Happy people step out of their comfort zone. You can’t grow if you don’t challenge yourself. And growth is a requirement of happiness. If you’re not growing, you’re slowly decaying and dying.
Elevated risk makes you feel more alive and puts you in a state of flow — which is an optimal conscious state where you feel and perform at your highest level. You become completely absorbed in what you’re doing — pure presence.
When you do things way outside your comfort zone, you naturally raise your conscious level. When you do things that involve high risk, and high probability of failure, you are forced to think differently than you normally do. You are forced to be creative and innovative.
Sadly, most people play life small, safe, and easy. The goals they pursue are logical. There is little element of risk and little requirement for faith.
Consequently, you should take bigger risks in your life. Do things that make you feel alive and activate flow. Of course, with this will come more failures. But if you’re not failing, you’re not growing. Rather than experiencing apathy in life, you’ll experience more of a roller-coaster of emotions. We can never appreciate joy if we’ve never felt sorrow. The more pain and fear we feel, the more we can comprehend and appreciate joy and happiness.


9. Put “The Important” Before “The Urgent”
Stephen Covey says that most people spend their time on urgent but unimportant things. We wake up and immediately check our email. Thus, we put our lives on reactive, rather than proactive mode. After all, email is simply a database of other people’s agendas.
Instead, happy people always put the important stuff first. Not only important, but important and non-urgent. The important stuff includes exercise, reading good books, setting goals, writing in your journal, and spending time with those you love. None of these things are urgent. We could easily put these things off until tomorrow — which is ultimately never. The most happy and successful people in the world spend most of their time on the important.
One of my favorite non-urgent yet important things is my morning routine. I wake up several hours before I start my work day. I meditate and pray to put myself in a space of gratitude and abundance. Then I get my body moving with exercise or yard work. I eat healthy food, read my long-term goals, listen to uplifting content, and do at least one thing to move me toward my goals.


10. Forgo The Good To Pursue The Best
A lot of things in life are good, even great. That doesn’t mean we should do them. In Good to Great, Jim Collins says that once-in-a-lifetime opportunities come up every day. Most people take any great opportunity that comes their way, even if it’s not in alignment with their life vision. Consequently, most people’s lives are moving in a thousand different directions. They aren’t able to consciously move forward in a singular direction.
On the other hand, happy people say no to even amazing opportunities. They will not sacrifice freedom for security. They will not get derailed by distractions — even sexy and attractive distractions.
Very few things in life are best. You can only determine what’s best for you once you know where you want your life to go. Be careful not to continuously engage in good activities and miss the best ones.


Conclusion

Happy people live in the present. They don’t miss the moments that matter most. They are incredibly grateful for all they have. They focus their lives on the important and essential. They forgo the many good opportunities in order to focus on the few best ones.


This article was originally published at the:
Observer.

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The 30 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2017, if your new year resolution is to Travel
Time to start packing your bags: 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for budget travel. The dollar is enjoying historic highs — meaning your money goes much further in many destinations around the globe — and according to an American Express Global Business Travel report, airfares are expected to fall in 2017.



1. Mazatlan, Mexico

Why: The current exchange rate ($1 = 20.69 Mexican pesos) makes Mexico one of the most affordable destinations.
For the frugal traveler who wants to enjoy more culture than they might in the Riviera Maya, my top pick is Mazatlan. As the shrimp capital of Mexico and a foodie paradise, Mazatlan is teeming with awesome eateries and fresh, interesting dishes. Hotels (including all-inclusive properties) are extremely inexpensive and authentic since most aren't part of the huge chains. El Cid Marina has awesome pools that are perfect for families, great food and huge rooms. (Rates are as low as $100 for a family of four.)
You can also enjoy superb dining at a top-notch restaurant like Casa 46 for less than half what you'd pay in the United States.
Side note: Sinaloa (the state where Mazatlan resides) grows the bulk of produce in Mexico, so Mazatlan produce is unbelievably cheap as a result. You see this reflected in top restaurants all the way down to street markets.



2. South Africa



Why: In South Africa, the exchange rate is in our favor, but so is the fact that it's a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. In spending a month in Cape Town earlier this year and relying on Uber to get me to and from meetings, activities and lunches, I averaged under $20 in transportation per day — a major win.
Hotels are cheaper, too: Take a standard room at Taj Hotels & Resorts in New York, and you are out about $786 a night, whereas in Cape Town, a room at a similar luxury property costs $266. Remember, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite: Consider going in low season (our summer) when hotels and safari lodges are even less expensive.
Airbnb and private villa rentals are also reliable and cheap options in the major cities. Travelers should also consider booking domestic airfare in advance for the greatest cost savings, since flights on South African Airways can sell out quickly.
The best value of all is the wine: Travelers can order a glass of one of the best locally produced varietals for less than the cost of a can of soda. For more information on travel in South Africa, watch "Michaela's Map: First Timers' Guide to Southern Africa."



3. San Juan, Puerto Rico


Why: The best way to get a deal in the Caribbean is to travel during the low season (end of April through mid-December) to destinations that have direct and frequent fights from your gateway; plenty of hotel inventory; and economies that aren't euro-based.
Puerto Rico fits the bill, and I'm a big fan of San Juan, which I think is seriously underrated as an easy and affordable getaway, especially for visitors from the East Coast of the U.S. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius you won't need a car rental to access great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
U.S. citizens can save themselves the cost of a passport since it's not required to visit, and since the U.S. dollar is the legal tender, there's no money lost on currency exchange. Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are two of my favorite high-style/low-cost boutique hotels.



4. Chile



Why: Europe is on everyone's list of value-added trips this year and for good reason — the exchange rate is more favorable for American travelers than it has been in years. But the destinations I most dream about and long to return to are in South America, a destination that has long given travelers great value for money.
In Chile, I love Santiago for its vibrant food and wine scene — think tucked-away wine bars, delicious tapas and hip hotels in a beautifully chaotic city. For a lesser-known and truly special corner of the world, I love the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It is part of the lakes district in Chile and the northern start of Patagonia.
It is easy (and cheap!) to rent a car and explore this area. There is a surprising German heritage, so you'll see signs for "kuchen" (cake). With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food.
This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP. It's one of those places I almost want to keep to myself, but it's so special that I can't.



5. Crete

Why: With the U.S. dollar strong against the euro right now and the economic crisis in Greece keeping prices lower than other parts of Europe, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Crete. Crete is a foodie dream come true.
A place where farm-to-table isn’t a new fad, it’s a way of life. The people here often live to be well over 100 years old so they must be doing something right! With truly stunning natural beauty (like Balos beach) and locals that welcome tourists with open arms, you are bound to have the trip of a lifetime and save a few dollars at the same time.



6. Morocco


Why: For many, Morocco is the ultimate dream trip, and yet cost tends to keep most from visiting. But what you might not know is that it's one of the most affordable African countries, particularly when comparing flight costs. R
eaching Marrakech from cities such as Lisbon, Madrid and Paris may only set you back $40 to $100 roundtrip with many budget airlines. And this past Black Friday, flights from New York were a mere $400 roundtrip.
Food is by far my main reason for visiting as often as I do, and typical meals can range from $2.50 to $15 for two, which includes appetizers, entree and unlimited mint tea. For vegetarians and vegans, the country is especially great, as veggies are cheaper than meat and fresh fruit smoothies are barely $1.
Souvenir shopping can get a bit intense when you realize leather goods such as wallets, handbags and weekenders run from $5 to $60. (A shopaholics dream!) When it comes to accommodations there's something to fit everyone's budget, my favorite being Riad Yasmine (only $80-$160 per night).
For those looking for Moroccan luxury while still on a budget, my go-to is Riad Kheirredine, which will have you living like a queen without breaking the bank and even provides a cell phone during your stay to ensure guest safety.



7. Belize



Why: Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It's a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize's excellent local wines.
Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie's Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night.
Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.



8. Vietnam



Why: Affordable upscale accommodations, cheap and remarkably healthy food and beautiful sights make Vietnam a standout among budget-friendly South Asian destinations.
Eat your way through historic Hanoi, kayak in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or relax in ancient Hoi An and the nearby beaches. There are clean, safe accommodations to fit everyone's wallet. In Hanoi, my favorite is the Tirant Hotel, near the old town, where you can bag a room for less than $70 a night.
Don't miss the Hanoi street food tour: For just $20 per person, a guide will lead you on foot or by scooter through backstreets, markets and footpaths.
You will eat like the locals and learn the names and ingredients in the dishes so you can order them again. And be sure to take the time to sip a bowl of steaming "pho" noodle soup in restaurants, push carts and food stalls, where a street meal and a beer can cost the same as a caramel macchiato at Starbucks.



9. Costa Rica


Why: Costa Rica is the one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and to be able to see this on a shoestring is an incredible opportunity.
There's a ton of national parks to explore, for instance, that only cost a few dollars to enter. Once there, you can then enjoy free self-guided walks that won't cost you a cent, but will deliver some great encounters with amazing wildlife like tapirs, monkeys, sloths and macaws.
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best. Public transport is also super cheap in Costa Rica, with buses generally less than $10, even for an eight-hour ride. This makes traveling between destinations in this compact country very affordable and means you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
In addition, budget accommodation in Costa Rica — even at some of the best surf beaches — can be as little as $6 per person. And a "plato tipico" (local dish) can be enjoyed anywhere for as little as $2-3.



10. Portugal



Why: Portugal is a pocket of affordable travel in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, especially if you get off the highways and take the back roads (where you can also avoid tolls).
A bottle of delicious port and a plate of the day with a glass of wine can be found for around €5 each. Nowhere else in the world can its "California Highway 1 meets Tuscany" landscapes be enjoyed on such a budget, especially now that the dollar is strong against the euro.



11. Ecuador



Why: Although Ecuador is not quite as inexpensive as Peru to the south, it’s an easy and affordable destination to travel to, especially if you stay a bit off the beaten path. It’s a short cheap flight from Florida with budget airlines like jetBlue and TAME, and accommodation is pretty cheap.
Shop at your local market and you can get a week’s worth of groceries for $10. And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see. The bus systems are good and domestic flights cheap and plentiful. F
ind a free accommodation option like house-sitting or volunteering, and your trip can be even cheaper.



12. Barcelona



Why: Barcelona is ranked right up there with cities like Paris and London as one of the most popular European cities, but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do.
Have a meal of tapas and wine at El Xampanyet for around €10-15. Soak up the rays on the beach at Barceloneta. Get lost in the La Boqueria Market.
And take the tram up to Tibidabo (only €5) for sweeping panoramic views of the city; it's also where you can experience a vintage amusement park and a gorgeous cathedral.



13. Where: Guatemala


Why: Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it's a bit more "off the path" in the region, it's also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge.
The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you'd pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country's unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands.
Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan's villages.


14. Bonaire & Curaçao


Why: In the deep Southern Caribbean, Bonaire and Curaçao are always out there on the edge of everyone's Caribbean consciousness. Both are known for scuba diving, but also for other water sports, hiking and amazing secluded beaches.
Vacation villas that let you live like a local are plentiful and affordable on both islands, but chain hotels like the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino are an option on Curaçao (great if you're using points).
Bonaire gets its very first chain hotel at the end of 2016 when a Marriott Courtyard opens.



15. Las Vegas



Why: If you can avoid the slots, there are lots of free things to do in Vegas: The Flamingo's flamingo habitat, the fountains and conservatory at the Bellagio and the outdoor movies at the Container Park are just a few.
You can also find many places for cheap eats if you are willing to get off The Strip to do so. Check out the nearby Crown and Anchor, which serves up delicious British favorites, and Ninja Teriyaki Sushi 2 Go for fresh-made amazing sushi rolls in a no-frills setting.



16. Cambodia



Why: Sadly, the average income in Cambodia is about $950 per year. What does this mean for international travelers? Your international airfare might be expensive, but once you are in Cambodia, you can live well. Tuks tuks (a combo bike/taxi) and food cost just pennies. Even international hotel chains and luxury river boats down the Mekong are more affordable than other Asian destinations.
Before visiting, I suggest doing your homework to support luxury companies like the Shinta Mani Resort, whose foundation plays a large role in its community, building water wells, schools and farms and providing the best healthcare in the country to its employees. Culturally conscious companies like Aqua Expeditions sustainably introduce their guests to the communities along the Mekong River, including the floating markets and the farmers in the rice fields; the company can even arrange a conversation with a local Buddhist monk to discuss the significance of his journey from childhood to monkhood.




17. Bali



Why: If you're looking into an exotic long-haul trip, Bali offers a ton of high quality experiences for a great value. You can easily stay in a private villa overlooking stunning rice paddies with a private pool for around $50 per night. (Airbnb is a great way to go).
However, if you want to splurge a bit but not go overboard, a stay at a high-end luxury resort will still cost you less than a stay at a luxury resort, for example, in Maui. Not to mention, spa and transportation costs are quite low relative to other exotic locales, as well as the amazing and healthy food options that end up being a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.



18. Greece



Why: The weakened euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece. The struggling economy craves tourist dollars and makes it known with affordable pricing on everything from hotels to food.
In Athens, you can book a three- or four-star hotel for well under $100, like 360 Degrees, a nice and modern hotel with a huge breakfast buffet included and an awesome location directly on Monastiraki Square.
Throughout the countryside, prices may be even better. Best of all, you can sit down to an amazing Greek meal with drinks (Mythos or Ouzo?), appetizers (Saganaki, anyone?) and entrees of your choosing for less than half what you'd pay in the States. Heck, you can pick up Souvlaki or a gyro for $1-$2. Souvenirs are insanely cheap, too.



19. Albania

Why: This forgotten corner of Europe is a wonderfully off-the-beaten-track budget destination in an otherwise very touristy and expensive continent.
With fantastic beaches along its coastline, including the fishing port of Saranda, Albania gives visitors the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean waters for a fraction of the usual price. Accommodation starts from as little as $5 per person and fishing trips or boat rides to the nearby islands are similarly well priced.
There's also some fascinating historical sites across Albania that are either free to enter or cost only $2-$5. From the moutainous medieval town of Gjirokastër to the Roman ruins at Butrint, this is a diverse and very different side of Europe, which is definitely worth visiting before the crowds do.



20. San Luis Potosí, México


Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping.
Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you've got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget.
Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.



21. Quebec City, Canada

Why: Take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and travel north for a 25% discount on prices.
Enjoy a slice of Old Europe without the jet lag or the cost of a transatlantic flight. Indulge in some of the best French food outside France — steak-frites, oysters and pastries at a bargain price. Stroll and shop in the narrow cobblestone streets of the picturesque Old Town and enjoy night parades and ice canoe races during the colorful Winter Festival in January and February.



22. Buenos Aires



Why: One of the world's most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it's still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food.
Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.
Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you'll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars.
On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.



23. Haiti

Why: While Haiti still remains under the radar as a travel destination, many people have been flocking to the vibrant country, and I can see why: The island provides all the stunning Caribbean characteristics without the high costs. Outside of holiday seasons and the later part of the summer, flights from New York range from $300 to $500, and even cheaper when flying from cities in Florida.
The real gem is how cheap the hotels are, with many starting at $50 to $150 per night including airport transfers. Even the newest Marriott Port-au-Prince will only set you back $130 to under $200 a night for larger rooms.
One of my favorites is Wahoo Bay Beach, which has epic mountain and ocean views from its stunning pool and rooms. You can take small boat tours around the area for a couple of dollars per person. Lobster, conch and crab can be caught right from the water and prepared for you without costing more than $10.





24. Santa Catalina Island, California

Why: Santa Catalina Island is one of my new favorite places. It is way more than a weekend SoCal jaunt. Hotels are quaint and average under the $200 per night mark. The Avalon Hotel is a charming choice. It’s right in the center of town, making it an easy walk to almost any activity. There is plenty to do, like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking or just beach sitting.
The Catalina Island Museum is a must-visit stop to get the full story of the island's fascinating history, including its Hollywood connection. Food and shopping choices are extensive.
And you don’t need a rental car. Getting to the island is easy: Catalina Express Ferry whisks you to there from three different ports, Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro. I prefer Long Beach because flights there are often lower priced than neighboring LAX.



25. Indonesia



Why: With 17,000 islands, you are bound to find the ideal paradise to suit your travel and budget in Indonesia.
There are stunning untouched beaches that offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, fascinating Unesco World Heritage Sites dating back to the 9th century in Yogyakarta and — everywhere you turn — the friendliest locals. In Raja Ampat, we found a homestay that included breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus it was right on the beach for around $29 USD per person per night. For more, see Food Fun Travel's "Bali Food Guide."



26. Bulgaria

Why: The entire Balkans region is an excellent option for budget travel, and if you haven't been before, I recommend starting with Bulgaria.
From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it's an adventure playground that every budget can afford. In Bulgaria's wine country you can get a full winery tour with multiple tastings plus bread and cheese for about $5 (check out Villa Melnik winery), take a hike through Bulgaria's famous sandstone pyramids and then sleep in a beautiful authentic style hotel like Zlaten Rozhen with breakfast included for about $30.



27. Cusco, Peru



Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning.
Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I'm personally addicted to ceviche and can't find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco's San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3.
On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.



28. Georgia
Why: Meagen Collins: This ancient European country is starting to grab the attention of travelers from all over the world. Georgia has so much to offer — beautiful scenery, unique culture and tradition everywhere you look, and the food will leave you drooling for more.
Add to that the fact this country lays claim to being the birthplace of wine (winemaking here goes back 8,000 years) and you have the ultimate new travel destination.
In Georgia, you can get a full meal plus copious amounts of wine for two people in a higher end restaurant, with live entertainment and still spend less than $30 — total. But get there fast: Word is getting around about this little gem and it won’t be tourist-free for long.



29. Mozambique



Why: This country is one of Africa's best budget travel destinations, with some extremely affordable accommodation situated along white sand beaches and next to an azure ocean. (Check out Villa Sands or Terraço das Quitandas.)
There's great scuba diving, too, and you can easily feel like a millionaire here for nothing! For more ideas, see Big World Small Pocket's "17 Incredible Budget Travel Destinations Still On My List (That Should Be On Yours Too!)."



30. Dallas, Texas



Why: Dallas is often overlooked, but packed with fun, food and great places to stay at prices far below the national average. (The city was voted the most affordable destination in the U.S. last year by Priceline and continues to remain a great value.) Downtown buzzes with excitement and culture, and the nearby Design District is exploding with eclectic shopping for home décor.
The high-rise Omni Dallas has rooms with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city starting at just under $200, putting you in the center of the action. With a rental car, you can fully explore everything the city has to offer. Look at fringe cities like Grapevine and Plano for the charm of small towns of yesteryear with main street shops and eateries.
The Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine is convenient to DFW airport and offers full-out luxury at rates around the $200 mark.

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