Andres and I didn’t wake up one day and decide to do a National Park Quest. This quest follows years of learning and becoming entrepreneurs of our online business.
You see, I always had thousands of ideas for projects to do and places to go that didn’t fit in most cubicles. Having a boundary between my “work” life and “personal” life made no sense to me, I wanted to spend every day working on projects of my own design.
If this sounds familiar, you know how challenging it can be to break away from the status quo and begin something new. Where do you start?
For us, it began with reading and surrounding ourselves with like-minded people.
We want to share this knowledge, so listed below are seven blogs, influencers and books that helped us over the last seven years. They continue to do so. We hope they will help guide your way, especially if you’re looking for a change in your life.
- Chris Guillebeau & $100 Start Up
No doubt, The $100 Startup was one of the first big game changers. Before reading it, I’d discovered Chris Guillebeau via his travel blog while he was visiting all countries in the world. I was planning a move to Italy in 2011 and came across one of his travel articles. His blog’s name “The Art of Noncomformity” stuck with me, since I’m an artist and also a huge fan of noncomformity. Perfect!
Sure enough, The $100 Startup encouraged me to nurture my entrepreneurial spirit. This was not a pep rally read, rather an honest and practical guide with real-world advice. If you’re new to all of this, start with this book. It’s best for people who already have an idea of working independently and need some help along the way.
- The Happiness of Pursuit
Life works in mysterious ways, my friend. In 2014 I was at a design job when the company I worked for took me to the World Domination Summit. This happens to be a conference founded by the very same Chris Guilleabeau and his team. Coincidence?
During the conference I learned of his book The Happiness of Pursuit. Chris tells stories from his own journey to visit all countries of the world, as well as stories of other quest pursuers to explain how you can create your own quest and why that’s important. We are certainly grateful for that book.
Take a look at Chris’s blog, a source of inspiration full of useful information and practical guides covering topics of personal development, entrepreneurship, and travel. I love Alan Keightley’s quote he shares in the blog’s philosophy section:
Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.
This is a great feeling.
- The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
Overworked, stressed, acne eruptions, or worse health problems. You’ve seen them before, maybe you’ve been there yourself. I have. Robin Sharma opens The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari with an aggressive lawyer who collapses from a heart attack and rather than dying, decides to sell his possessions to find wisdom in the Himalayas. The narrative that follows outlines the Seven Virtues of Enlightened Learning with habits to establish character and discipline.
For anyone seeking a quest of some kind, nothing is possible without developing a healthy mindset. This book introduced me to intentional living and mindfulness. It was one of the first of many I have since read, and a good place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
After all, as Robin Sharma said:
Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. it will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.
I’m Not an Entrepreneur and I Don’t Have a Passion
So what if you don’t have a clear passion in life, but also dislike your current path? We’ve met people who struggle with this – they’re unhappy with where they are – yet unsure of what to do next.
- Live Your Legend is a great place to start if you’re feeling stuck.
The late Scott Dinsmore gave a popular TED talk called about finding and doing work you love (see below).
I discovered this talk around the same time Andres and I were reading The $100 Startup. It was more fuel to keep us going. We eventually learned of his blog Live Your Legend which offers insights and valuable resources to map your path and become part of a supportive community. The core of Live Your Legend’s philosophy is that by focusing our efforts and capabilities on work that is meaningful to us, it begins to inspire people around us. Our work, our actions create a ripple effect of positive change that can only be good for the world.
- Seth Godin
Another great influencer has been the work of Seth Godin. You could spend quite a bit of time absorbing his experience, and we recommend taking a regular look at his writing and books (there are 18). In short, Seth can provide direction on all things creative marketing, connecting, and growing ideas.
Yes, that’s quite a bit. You can start by subscribing to his blog or check out his free stuff. Many of the readings may seem geared toward marketing, but the lessons apply for anyone making a change.
- Zen Habits
This blog is a more recent discovery, and I’m thankful for that. A refreshing user-friendly experience speaks to the clarity of Leo Babauta’s articles. Zen Habits is a deeper dive into concepts of mindfulness. The articles keep the conversation going with weekly guidance on how to develop healthy daily habits that ultimately lead to positive change. With titles like “I suck at habits” and “The Anti-Bucket List”, Leo offers a realistic approach to improving your every day rhythm.
7. National Park (related) Resources
While not a single resource, the quest wouldn’t be possible without inspiration from this collection:
• John Muir: The Wilderness World of John Muir + An Autobiography of John Muir
• Henry David Thoreau: Walden; or, Life in the Woods
• The National Parks: America’s Best Idea: 6-part documentary directed by Ken Burns (particularly sections on artists, many were mentioned throughout the documentary)
Change Your Approach
I’ve found the best resources are those that help me change my approach. Change how I work with people, how I treat myself, and how I make sense of the world. That’s why I focus more on self-development resources, believing great things begin with your perspective. You can’t achieve anything if you don’t believe in yourself first.
Every quest, every great task in life has a beginning. Maybe you’re at the beginning of some kind of journey; it could be ideas for a quest, a business, or another project. These resources are invaluable tools for those of you on a journey, whether you’re building your own door or thinking about it.
Wherever you are, remember to have patience and persistence. Read at least thirty minutes a day, keep growing those thoughts, and most importantly: practice what you learn. These resources are only good if you apply them.
Have any favorite resources to share? Let us know!