Overcoming Conventionality: The World Domination Summit

When I was telling people I was driving 12 hours to Portland for a conference named the “World Domination Summit“, they were like…what?

  • “Is this some personal development thing?” (my friends know I attend Steve/Erin Pavlina conferences regularly) Sort of.
  • “You mean, like Tony Robbins?” Hell no, in those kinds of events people jump up and down like monkeys, only to have the energy dissipate a week later, forcing you to sign up for the next program so you can another whiff of the crack pipe. [Note, real crack may be cheaper].
  • “Is it a travel conference?” There are travelers there, but not everyone is one.
  • “Is it a business networking thing?” Some do, but many don’t have a business.

So what was it? It could be best described by the conference theme:
“How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”

Basically, it was a weekend full of inspiring speeches, practical breakout sessions ranging from connecting socially to volunteering abroad to travelhacking to entrepreneurship. What was probably more important than the actual content was the people that you’re surrounded with–after all, anyone who self-selected themselves into attending such an event is probably an interesting person worth talking to.

The following are notable quotes and ideas…the random-stream-of-consciousness version. If you want coherence, go find another blogger :p

  • Brene Brown: “Being you is usually uncool”. When we try to be cool, we end up not being open to connecting to people. Your experience is based on how willing you are to be vulnerable; because after all how can you love someone if you demand that they love you back? If you overprepare to try to not be vulnerable (like create all sorts of backup contingency plans), then joy becomes foreboding.
  • Susan Cain + Jonathan Fields on Introverts: “Conviction is more important than loudness.” Individuals who brainstorm by themselves have better ideas than group brainstorming. Because people tend to be influenced by the most assertive people AND they think they thought of the idea on their own.
  • Breakout Session on Getting Unstuck: “Our experiences reveal the truths we need to learn about themselves”
  • Breakout Session on Doing Anything: “Are you telling a good story about your life? Or just telling a story about sitting on your computer and reading other people’s blogs?” The gap between doing something and not doing anything is small.
    • Personal Sidenote: At the place I was staying I met someone whose goal was to travel from Canada to South America via bicycle. When asked on how he did it, he said he just got on a bike and started pedaling. Really, how hard can it be to actually take meaningful steps toward your goals?
  • Scott Belsky: New idea syndrome is when we get very inspired and passionate about an idea, but then never see it through to completion, but just start a new idea. Failure points include:
    • The gravitational force of organizations (real world distraction). The feel of being disorganized. Lack of accountability. Lack of leadership capability. Lack of feedback exchange.
    • To solve this, overcome reactionary stream of emails/texts/etc and create windows of non-stimulation. Measure the value of a meeting in actionable steps
  • Chris Brogan: “The opposite of fear is not courage or bravery, it’s giving up?” How does fear play into your identity? Batman put on a bat mask because he was scared of them. Spiderman saves the world but can’t get laid. Professor  X maintains community but is physically weak.
    • It’s not who you say you are, it’s what you do. You’re a writer as soon as you actually write, others just fake it. (Note: This is quite easy to fake).
  • Cal Newport: Steve Jobs said to ‘follow your passion’. Steve Jobs was wrong. He didn’t study electrical engineering, he studied eastern philosophy and other subjects, fell into the computer business, and leveraged his computer business to gain the lifestyle attributes he wanted to have.
    • Get good at something that is rare and valuable, then leverage it to get the traits you want (such as fewer hours per week, more autonomy, etc).
  • J.D. Roth – Just say yes. Learn how to focus (so you have time to say yes). Action is character.
    • “People with dull lives often think their lives are dull by choice. In reality, everyone chooses more or less what kind of events happen to them by their conscious patterns of blocking and yielding.” – Keith Johnstone

What did I think about it? I have to admit, I was overwhelmed during the actual conference itself. Imagine a thousand people packed into an auditorium, the room buzzing with energy, ideas and excitement being thrown about. People talking everywhere, to the extend that the “Highly Sensitive Person” lounge was overrun by people bantering at its periphery. In fact, it was so overwhelming I almost didn’t want to come back next year. Last year there was only 500 people, and my friends who attended said it was much easier to make connections. While socializing was fun, one thing I noticed was people were running from one place to another trying to find someone else.

Although, one thing made it awesome for me: the unofficial events. Where smaller groups of attendees decided to throw a party on a rooftop, or visit a bookstore, or grab some donuts. I loved the smaller scale, interaction, and randomness of it all.

Of course, if you’re one of those super-outgoing-extroverted types then you’d love the main events with everyone packed into a theater to listen to the keynote speakers :p

What did I get out of it? I could point to such abstract, unqualifiable terms like “fun” and “inspiration”, but here you are reading this new blog, so that’s a concrete result. I could have spent days trying to figure out some fancy theme and design, but it’s better to get started now and refine later. After all, what world dominator doesn’t have some sort of media platform?

At the end of the conference, the organizers gave each attendee a $100 bill to do something. Some ideas that others floated around included charity and launching businesses. I know what I’m doing, but you’ll have to wait 🙂

P.S. I love Portland. From yummy random food carts to local beers to cute hipster girls. If only the weather stayed nice year round…

Random late-night food cart!