I’m writing this on the morning after the end of the fourth-annual World Domination Summit, my third year of attendance, and my second year of being a volunteer, or “Ambassador”. I still have color powder on my arms from the closing party with DJ Prashant. My notebooks, business cards, and other interesting swag (Brave Bots anyone?) still sit on a heap on the floor. I feel like survived an avalanche, if that avalanche was made up of ideas and goodwill. I’m feeling deeply, deeply, positive about a great many things.
Now the question is: how to keep this feeling going?
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I wrote about WDS last year. Putting aside the difficulty in describing a creatively named event like this, I often say that it is an “irony-free zone.”
This means that ironic detachment or cynicism, so prevalent everywhere else, is not welcome there. There is only room for support. Everyone in that crowd is genuinely rooting for you. There is no contingent rolling their eyes and saying “you have too much time on your hands” when someone describes their project as “a food truck serving chocolate and relaxation.” (This was actually discussed.)
Mind you, this is entirely self-selecting; those who are cynical about the event and its contents tend to just not go. But this self-selection is largely unconscious. No one who goes to this event actually thinks to leave their own cynicism at home; it just happens.
I believe each attendee realizes that out there, in the rest of the world, there are plenty of people who are going to sabotage your ideas, tell you that what you want to do is crazy, and that you should just get a job. But inside, people here understand that a “crazy” idea is almost always hatched by a fragile individual, and that these great ideas always need a time of gentle incubation, not someone to smash it against the wall.
I hope that this irony-free aspect of WDS will continue, and if it does, it will perhaps be the most remarkable aspect of the event.
The main theme of the conference, the question posed to us throughout the conference is: how do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world? Tess Vigeland, who spoke last year, ruminated on how to be remarkable, and she herself wasn’t even sure. I figured if a speaker up on stage could not know, then it was okay for me not to know too.
Michael Hyatt, in his talk this year about living a “designed” life, asked us to ponder three questions:
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- What is important?
- What brave action do you need to take today?
(He said that everyone of us probably knew, deep down, what the answer to #3 was. I so wish that were the case.)
Many other questions were asked. But here’s one that I never heard people asking: how you do take this feeling and keep it throughout the year?
And then Monday comes
It’s easy to feel pumped up after a really inspiring event. It’s easy to go home at the end, the ideas, the words of encouragement, all ringing in your head, and feel a grand elation that you will in fact be able to move the needle. You can work toward the life you’ve always wished you had.
And then Monday morning comes, and you have to get up for work. This can be a deep shock, and can easily deflate your bubble of optimism, especially if you’ve got one of those jobs where you walk in and then are in the middle of immediate craziness. No “recovering on company time” for you.
But even if you return to your life without a shock, as days pass, the sense of purpose and drive can fade. My friend Rami talked about leaving WDS 2013 and being very pumped to write a book. Then he got home, and for six months didn’t write a thing.
This is not uncommon.
One of the primary themes of this site is that there are forces which seek to keep you static and unhappy. Not Dr. Evil-like forces, no one to blame, just the system we have built. We all must work to overcome this if we are ever to be truly fulfilled and happy.
That is why events like World Domination are so important, as they push back against this stasis. It’s a place where it is not only safe to dream, but safe to talk about those dreams and share them with others
But once the weekend ends, it may no longer feel safe to talk about those dreams anymore.
I wish I had a great answer for you on how to keep the feeling alive, but I’m not sure I do. (Those who have read Tom Robbins’ Still Life With Woodpecker might relate.)
But I have found a word, one that you can meditate on as you find your path forward:
While we can’t replicate WDS every month, we can find ways to bring a little bit of that spirit along with us as we traverse the calendar. This means: have meetups, find a few folks and create an accountability group, have WDS video watching parties (many of the speakers’ talks are online). Find a way, however you can, to continually find and create events that build this same spirit of possibility.
If you and I are able to do that, we can steel ourselves against the onslaught of the regular, and turn those possibilities into probabilities.
But enough about me: did you attend WDS this year (or other years)? How do you keep the spirit alive?