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Finding the Future
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16 January 2008 — Finding the Future

I’m at an interesting place in my life, a place it had never occurred to me I’d reach. My little personal finance blog has taken on a life of its own. It’s a business. It’s a brand. Sure, it’s a small business and a small brand, but that’s a start.

But what do I do next? For a long time, I’ve believed that a book was the next natural progression. But what sort of book? I have three discrete ideas kicking around in my head — which one do I pursue? And how do I find a publisher? (This morning on the drive to work, I found the seed for a fourth idea.)

The answers to these questions have become a little more clear during the past several weeks. I’ve had conversations with about a dozen very smart people, all of whom have opinions on this subject. Some believe a book is The Answer. Some believe a book is A Mistake. All of them are wildly supportive. Whom do I believe? How can I know which path is best?

Fortunately, I don’t have to decide just yet. I have time.

My favorite advice so far has come from the bold Penelope Trunk, who is a force of nature. “You’re fat, right?” she said. Penelope is not one to mince words. “The best thing you can do right now is get fit. If you get fit, you’ll gain confidence. If you gain confidence, and if you look good, you’ll be in a position to do whatever you want. You’ll have flexibility.”

I laughed at the boldness and simplicity of her suggestion.

“I’m not joking,” she said. And she wasn’t. “Don’t do a book. Get fit. Spend all your time working on your site and exercising. In the months it takes to do this, be thinking about what Get Rich Slowly can do for you. Brainstorm ideas. A book is not the way to go.”

Though I’m not convinced a book is a bad idea, I think Penelope’s other suggestions were fantastic. Some of them were mind-blowing, actually. Her vision for my site is even bigger than my own. Talking to her made me realize that perhaps my goals are too modest.

In any event, the next few weeks are going to be filled with a lot of soul-searching and introspection. If you see me deep in thought, it’s only because I’m trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life!

Trivia: I’ve written the word “exercise” (or some form of it) several times over the past few days. Every time I’ve misspelled it “excercise”. Where did that come from? I never used to do that.

Tags: Deep Thoughts · Introspection · Writing  

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11 responses so far ↓
On 16 January 2008 (9:59 am), Lauren said:

What does your GUT say?

No, not the gut-response that hates to be active… the gut which says “What’s GOOD FOR JD?”

You can always create the exercise part by finding the activities you like and remembering to SCHEDULE them. Yes, anyone can STEAL your time away from you with requests, phone calls, interesting websites, Britney Spears announcements on TV. But only you can say, “Nope, I have an appointment. I’ll get back to you in 45 minutes”.

What’s the appointment? Your training, walking, biking, dancing, etc.

I think Penelope has a good point about getting fit being a great psychological push! However, you can have your book and exercise too. You don’t have a “lack” anymore: you have time and negotiation status with your attention.

It’s time to get out the paper and pen and decide what is important to you… and also realize that you CAN do it all.


On 16 January 2008 (1:07 pm), pam said:

Maybe you should do a marathon this year instead of a book. ;)


On 16 January 2008 (1:47 pm), Amy Jo said:

I’m sure you are well aware that you don’t struggle with this issue in solitude. It seems to be one of the bigger hurdles to wellness that we have in our society. I’ve found that I really don’t like gym exercising. It just isn’t me. I do, however, appreciate hard physical labor–an hour or two in the garden, etc. I also enjoy walking (I only wish I enjoyed it more in the rain!)–it clears my mind and makes my body feel good, and it is good for Ruby too! And, it will be excellent for the baby when he or she arrives. We purchased a used fleece sling over the weekend for late winter/early spring walks with the baby (I can’t imagine pushing a stroller and trying to walk Ruby at the same time). I suspect both Paul and I will need to get out of the house to keep our sanities in tact. Your house to our house is a good distance for a walk, you know?

I walked a lot more when I had to. We had one car most of the time we lived in DC and Paul drove it, and for more than a year in North Portland we drove only one car. Granted, it is easier to share a car in an urban area, but I think it can be done where we live as well if you are willing to give up the freedom. Have you considered giving up your car (i.e., selling it) when you start working from home exclusively? Maybe you and Kris could make an arrangement where you drive her to work on days when you absolutely must have a car. Just a thought.


On 16 January 2008 (2:31 pm), plonkee said:

Is this like when you sleep on it and let your subconscious work on it? You don’t need to make a decision right away, so why not wait until it becomes clearer.


On 16 January 2008 (7:53 pm), Will said:

My instincts tell me that 2008 is the year of the wii for JD. Now is the time to ascend to rock god status by conquering Guitar Hero 1-3. Link needs your help and Mario can’t defeat those Koopa’s on his own.


On 16 January 2008 (9:12 pm), mrs darling said:

JD says, “the next few weeks are going to be filled with a lot of soul-searching”

If atheists believe they have a soul then where does that soul go when he dies?


On 17 January 2008 (3:37 pm), addiction said:

Run a marathon!? I hope that’s a joke. I would think that would be the worst advice you’d give someone. Why would someone with knee problems and time constraints (read: wanting to do other things in his life, right J.D.?) want to train for a marathon. Isn’t marathon running just another time consuming addiction? I for one would like to be healthy in all aspects of my life not just my body.


On 19 January 2008 (8:26 pm), Shoichi said:

Hey good buddy.

Cangrads on your success. You are an inspiration.

I’ll offer an opinion. By no means am I offering advice. Only an opinion.

You have found ‘IT’ (something you seem to be VERY passionate about). Your site, your writings, your desire to help others. That alone puts you ahead miles from the rest of the population. What we humans tend to do when we come across an ‘IT’ is that we tend to get overly excited and rush to make decisions. But as you know this yourself deep down inside, the best plan of action is to be patient and do little at a time but do it spectacularly well. Your site has alot since it was a mere idea/thought. But the beauty of it is that it still has alot more maturing to do. It is your baby. Make it the best and then try to make it ever better.

A book is an amazig idea but only if you have anything new to offer to the public. The universal laws of money never change. If your plan is to merely repeat them, I, as a potential reader, would be disappointed. As long as you introduce something new or add a creative twist to an old idea, I believe your book may not make as loud of a noise as you’d like it to.

The best thing you can do is to think. So just…think. The perfect idea will come when you least expect it.

Kids now a days (from 15 to 25) have NO financial education. This leads them to future financial struggle. Perhaps you can become a guru and change this trend. :).

Think about that.


On 19 January 2008 (10:23 pm), that miller said:

I think you can hold off for the next 4-6 months no problem. Let the stuff inside gestate for a bit. Build the plan mentally first, and besides… if you do a well thought out book AND develop a product/service line through an expanded site… dude, you’re gonna be on CNN or CNBC… you’ll want to look you’re best.

oh, and you’re other little blog… I like folded space better. its quirky. fun.


On 20 January 2008 (7:31 pm), Lane said:

Mrs. Darling,

It is only the teachings of religion (and many religions have different teachings) that say a soul must have a destination after parting its host. Belief in a “soul” does not imply belief in continuation of the soul.


On 20 January 2008 (10:18 pm), mrs darling said:

Hmm then what is the point of having a soul? Isnt a heart enough then?


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