How I Cured My Anxiety


UPDATE: As of July 2013, this article is the #1 search result on Google for “how to cure anxiety.” In this post, you will learn about the key breakthrough I had that freed me from my mental prison. More than anything else, this change in how I viewed the world gave me my life back. It’s helped tens of thousands of readers, and I hope it can help you as well.

If you’re interested in reading my short memoir, which includes my weekly schedule and every technique that helped cure my anxiety, click here.

Now… on with the post!

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For a long time, I thought I was going crazy. I’d convinced myself that something horribly wrong was about to happen. I thought I would be stabbed, shot, or arrested every time I left my apartment. I was sure that there was an impending disaster that would melt the social contract and pit my neighbors against me. I saw criminals and undercover cops everywhere I went. All that “world is coming to an end” talk — I bought into it.

Every moment was exhausting. I dreaded being around more than one person at a time. I eyed everyone like they were judging me, pitying me, or attempting to manipulate me. My attention was divided in every interaction: one half of me would pretend to be normal, while the other half would be trying to keep it together.

I could feel various parts of my face twitching, like I was about to crack. My hands shook constantly. It got so bad that when a friend came to visit me, I couldn’t drink a glass of water because it kept spilling just from me holding it.

I tried to behave like nothing was wrong, when all I wanted to do was lock myself in a room and curl up in a ball. If someone had tapped me in the chest, my body would have shattered. If someone had ordered me to cry, my face would have flooded. I felt fragile, weak, and hollow.

I was ashamed. I didn’t want to be around anyone – not because I stopped liking people, but because I didn’t want them to catch my weird energy. I wearily watched my girlfriend cry when I confided that I felt dead inside, all the time, and I didn’t know how to fix it.

I laid on the ground for 20 minutes one night, wondering whether I should call an ambulance. My heart was beating so hard and fast that I could actually hear it, and my left hand was going numb. My first panic attack.

My anxiety lasted for more than a year. It affected how I breathed, how I thought, how I ate, how I slept, and how I talked. I was serious and tired and afraid, all the time. I wanted so badly to return to my normal, lively, care-free, confident self. But I didn’t know how to shake it.

I tried everything to fix myself: meditation, yoga, high-intensity workouts, long runs, therapy, therapy books, keeping a journal, super clean diets, extended fasting, drugs, deep breathing exercises, prayer, etc. I even took a six-week course, made specifically for men who wanted to overcome anxiety. A few of these things helped, a lot of them didn’t. Some of them made things worse.

Then one day, I discovered the cure. When my mind processed it and recognized it was the solution, I started laughing. The answer had been so obvious all along.

In less than one month, I was back to my old self. The cure for my anxiety was free, fun, painless, and immediately effective. I have no fear that those feelings will ever return. If they do, I’ll be able to wipe them out right away.

I hope this post can help you eliminate your anxiety once and for all. It’s not nearly as hard as you think.

“Adults are just obsolete children.” – Dr. Seuss  (Tweet, Facebook)

Have you ever witnessed a little kid working out on a treadmill?

Or meeting up with a friend to chat over coffee?

Or wearing a suit and making cold-calls?

Or attending a networking conference to hand out their business cards?

HELL NO. That stuff is lame and boring. If you saw a kid doing any of those things, you would laugh and wonder what the hell was wrong with them.

Kids don’t run to get in shape; they run to feel the grass beneath their feet and the wind on their face.

Kids don’t have a chat over coffee; they pretend and make jokes and explore the outdoors.

Kids don’t go to work; they play their favorite games.

Kids don’t network; they bond with other fun kids while playing.

There is no ego. There is no guilt. There is no past to regret, and no future to worry about. They just play.

And that’s what I’d forgotten, what I’d been missing, all along.

Giving myself permission to PLAY was the cure for my anxiety. It was a subtle but powerful shift in how I viewed the world.

For two years, I had unknowingly prevented myself from playing. I am a workaholic, which can be pretty horrible when you work alone. No one tells you to stop or take a break, or that you’re burning yourself out. I’d find myself tethered to the internet all day, sitting in a chair for 10 hours and staring at a bright screen. Even when I was “finished,” I’d impulsively check email several times between midnight and 2 a.m. I know it’s dumb and unnecessary and “What could be so important?” and “You need your sleep,” but I did it anyways. I was oblivious to the fact that my nerves were being frayed for hours on end, and that I desperately needed fun face-to-face time with real human beings.

What made matters worse were the idiotic rituals I’d fallen into. Drinking coffee all day, then drinking alcohol with friends on the weekend. I didn’t get outside, I didn’t move enough, I didn’t sleep enough. My weeks were a cycle of over-stimulation and numbing.

I read Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the SoulThe message of the book hit me like a brick wall – it explained what I’d been doing wrong this whole time. I had completely deprived myself of play for nearly two years! Even when I had been “playing” (doing fun activities with friends), I would still feel guilty or self-conscious. My mind was elsewhere: what I’d done wrong in the past, how I was compromising my future, and how I was wasting the present. I was so critical of how I was living my life that I couldn’t be in the moment.

Getting out of that mentality saved me. I remembered how happy I’d been growing up, even just years before, and I knew why I’d been that way: I’d always allowed myself to play.

“A lack of play should be treated like malnutrition: it’s a health risk to your body and mind.” – Stuart Brown  (Tweet, Facebook)

The real problem had been my state of mind. I’d become increasingly adept at rejecting any form of “non-productivity.” I couldn’t allow any form of play if it didn’t contribute to earning money or doing something “meaningful.” Even when I was with friends or doing something that was supposed to be fun, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the time I was wasting. I wasn’t being productive; I was losing valuable time. I had to get back to work!

What would the world do without me and my important work?!

Without realizing it, I became very serious, even though I’d never been serious in my entire life. I couldn’t play because that meant I wasn’t working, and I couldn’t really work because I always felt tired and jaded (because I never let myself play!) This resulted in me convincing myself that life was a miserable grind for adults, and that I needed to be very serious if I wanted to get through it. I approached everything this way, and treated my work as a form of self-imposed slavery.

Little did I know how limiting that mindset was, and how much it was hurting the work I was doing.

Play is what has driven and shaped every beautiful part of our culture. Music, concerts, books, cooking, sports, movies, television, fashion, art, video games… We pay for these things so we can experience the fruits of another person’s PLAY. And the most virtuous form of work, according to some of our most revered and accomplished minds, belongs in the realm of play:

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” – Thomas Edison

“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

“Without work, all life goes rotten, but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” – Albert Camus

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” – François-René de Chateaubriand

I know a lot of really, really accomplished people. Some of them approach their work in this way — they play. Others are very methodical, rigid, and systematic. It doesn’t look like play – it is unquestionably work. And it took me a long time to finally realize… I do not function well in the latter group.

I HAVE to approach work as play, otherwise my work sucks. When I tackle a problem with a sense of play – voluntarily because I’m inherently attracted to it – my creativity and optimism and happiness soars. I become fascinated with the world. I fall in love with people. And whoever I’m working with helps me make the game more fun, and our positive energy becomes contagious.

I realized that nearly every important career decision I’d made had been rooted in play. All the cool jobs I got – and the very concept of FREE WORK – ultimately came from me viewing the work as a form of play. They were activities I didn’t need to be rewarded or paid for (even though I was), because they were fun. It didn’t feel like hard work because I got to “play” with cool people, I got to be challenged and learn a ton, and most of the time, it felt like it was just a game I’d made up. And that’s where my best work came from: the belief that I was creating and playing my own game.

Once I saw that I’d forgotten to treat my work as play, I knew what I had to do in order to fix it. It was simply a choice.

When I moved down to Austin, a friend introduced me to his buddy David via email, and suggested we should meet. David replied to me with the usual request: he asked if I wanted to grab coffee. I paused a moment, then wrote back:

“Hey David, good to meet you. This is an irregular request, but you want to meet up at a park and play catch? Haven’t done that in awhile and it’s a lot more stimulating than sitting around and drinking coffee.”

His response:

“SURE THING. Playing catch sounds like a f*ing blast! I’ll ping you in a bit and if we can’t do it today, let’s play ball tomorrow!”

And it was a blast. It removed the pressure of us having to talk and impress each other, so we could just focus on the game.

I used to feel a bit nervous on first dates. I had to be “on” for hours at a time. The last date I went on was great — the energy wasn’t uptight at all because we played around the whole time. We ordered whisky Shirley Temples, shot cherry stems through our straws at random people, and cracked jokes about the karaoke singers. There were no attempts to be cool or charming, or thoughts about where this date might take us — it was all about making the moment fun.

That’s how I’m approaching my meetings and dates from now on: what games can we play together?

Life is funny. Back in college, I used to read Tucker Max’s site and think, “What a fun guy.” I’d go out with my friends and drink, and we’d try to create our own crazy stories. Now, Tucker is a close friend. We play homerun derby together every weekend. We come up with fun pranks we can pull. We make inappropriate jokes until we’re doubled-over laughing.

I just finished six weeks of improv classes — three hours every Monday. Every session, I was thrust into situations where I was essentially guaranteed to fail and look foolish. At first, I was nervous and slightly mortified. My heart beat rapidly and I would sweat when I had to perform in front of 15 other people. But by the end of the six weeks, improv became a tremendous source of strength. All of us were there to play, to go with the flow and say “YES” to every possible situation we were thrown into, to cheer each other on and have fun together. We all looked foolish, but we all trusted each other. And that’s how it should be all the time — saying “YES” to every moment, knowing it’s another opportunity for you to embrace life and have fun (Improv, by the way, was the most effective remedy to curing social anxiety that I could have possibly conjured).

I’m signing up for more improv classes. I’m scheduling travel. I’m having fun because I’m making play a priority. And you know what? I feel 1000 times better than I ever thought I would. I’m back to my normal self. I love life again.

Play is what we all LOVE to do. Play is where our subconscious naturally guides us. Play is the state where we are truly ourselves, once we let go of our egos and fear of looking stupid. Play immerses us in the moment, where we effortlessly slip into flow. Play allows us to imagine, to create, to bond with and understand each other. Play is what creates our strongest social circles.

And most importantly, play utterly destroys anxiety. Play gets you around other humans, face-to-face, and allows you to form a real connection with them. Play allows you to stop taking your life so damn seriously, so you can start living again.

Life was never supposed to feel so serious or scary in the first place! The people who try to convince you that it has to be that way just aren’t very good at playing. They’ve forgotten what it’s like. So have a laugh, remind them, then go find better playmates. Everyone is looking for someone to have fun with. Go out, create your own games, then get others to join in. Just play.

If you’re struggling with anxiety… Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I allowing myself to have regular guilt-free play with friends?
  2. Am I sitting and staring at a screen for most of the day?
  3. Am I consuming information that’s feeding my anxiety? (e.g. conspiracy websites, fear-mongering news)
  4. Am I moving enough each day to break a sweat and physically exhaust myself? (i.e. lifting heavy weights, playing sports, sprinting)
  5. Am I outside getting natural sunlight and fresh air each day? (I couldn’t get enough sun at the time, so I did 30-days of Vitamin-D + fish oil, along with Vitamin-B. Both helped me ease up and feel better)
  6. Am I sleeping eight hours per night?
  7. Am I consuming too many stimulants (caffeine, sugar, grain carbs) and depressants (alcohol, drugs) throughout the week?

Those are the areas that will help your anxiety tremendously, once you’ve taken steps to fix them.

And if — like me — you realize you haven’t been allowing yourself to play, then go through your “Play History.” Write down all the activities that repeatedly brought you joy from your childhood, then start incorporating them back into your life. For me, it was: baseball (catch and homerun derby), pranks and practical jokes, learning and developing skills, travel, performing for an audience, film, building/creating things, and improv comedy.

You don’t need money to play. You don’t need more free time. You can always do it. Play is a state of mind – it is a way to approach the world.

It’s only a choice: Anxiety or Play. Take your pick.

“Man is God’s plaything, and that is the best part of him. Therefore every man and woman should live life accordingly, and play the noblest games… What, then, is the right way of living? Life must be lived as play…” – Plato  (Tweet, Facebook)

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Want to learn more on how I cured my anxiety? I’m thinking of making a short memoir that includes all of the techniques that worked for me. If you’re interested in reading this memoir, please click here!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with any friends of yours that you think it could help.

Also, you can check out this 90-minute podcast I recently did with BlogCastFM, where I went in-depth on pretty much all of my career decisions over the past few years (plus there’s a surprise announcement in the episode…)

Finally, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter, where I’ll send you exclusive advice on how to inject more play into your career.

Thanks for reading!

How a 29-year old street artist got his own Coca-Cola Commercial

A few years ago, my friend Jeff Waldman told me he was going to hang up a swing in Golden Gate Park, just for fun. He grabbed a handful of cheap supplies (some rope, string, a board, and a tennis ball) then headed down to the park with his friend and a Flip camera. It was his first swing, of hundreds more to come…

Fast forward to late-2012: Jeff was running around Buenos Aires, being filmed by an Academy Award nominated director, while hanging up dozens of his swings throughout the city. Over 80 staff members and 200 extras were standing by on the shoot of Jeff’s global ad campaign:

I got to witness the entire plot of Jeff and his swings unfold (we were neighbors in San Francisco), and it was incredibly inspiring to see this small project transform into an international commercial, with the most recognized brand in the world. I asked him to share his story in this post. It’s a crazy ride, you don’t want to miss it…

Interview with Jeff Waldman

How did you originally come up with the idea to hang swings?

The actual details of the story are lost on me. I generally summarize that some friends and I had talked about it and the types of raw emotions it might invoke, but that I held onto it and finally pursued it sometime later. I’m generally that guy in the group, where we all might talk about rappelling off the town water tower, but I’m the only one who — weeks later — is still scheming on exactly how to do it.

What was it like to hang that first swing?

Surprising. I went out with my friend Jarrett and after we’d hung a few Bob joined up with his video camera. Jarrett and I expected it to be fun. We remembered what it was like to play on them as a kid. And we figured we’d get some looks.


We were not remotely prepared for just how pleasurable it would be; how the gentle arc and tug of gravity would be mesmerizing and meditative. We didn’t foresee just how many people would stop to watch and line up, asking to play. Really, we just didn’t know how fun it would be.

We were so far distanced from our childhood usage that the memory was a dull sensation. The actual experience instantly brought back much more vivid feelings and memories.

How long did it take you to realize there might be something more to this, and actually pursue it as a bigger project?

Once we hung the first few and saw the reactions I knew I’d hang more. Beyond that there was no real tipping point. It grew very organically in that I’d capitalize on the attention of one installation and try to use that attention to enable another. In that sense I was trying to grow it, but I was always surprised at the ever-increasing level of appeal.

What was the first big press piece you got? How did you get it?

The Wooster Collective is a street art blog. Probably the street art blog at the time of our first installation. I wrote a short synopsis that I knew was their style and appealed to their audience—something they could publish outright— and I sent that to them along with our first video:

“Inspired by Paris artist, Jerome G. Dermuth, we’ve taken on 7 (more to follow) swing installation in San Francisco as part of an ongoing Happiness Project aimed at loss of youth. The short video below shows the installation, scouting, and lots of footage of randoms using the swings with complete and utter joy as they relent to a push and some wind in their hair. Watch it through. The joy of an autistic kid’s father’s face as he gets on a swing for the first time in 40 years is our parting shot. It’s pure and simple bliss that’s sadly been long ignored and forgotten.”

This blurb mentioned an artist they were familiar with and linked to their original article where he installed a swing under a city bridge. It was packaged, quality content that was relevant to their interests and audience, so they ran it and those first few thousand views got the ball rolling.

How did you decide to hang up swings around Los Angeles?

That first video and article (as well as a few others which came later) were packed up and sent to The Awesome Foundation (TAF), who suggested that I would be favored for a grant and should apply. TAF chapters in various cities give a $1,000 grant each month to any artist, philanthropist, entrepreneur, etc., who wants to do something uniquely “awesome.”

The LA chapter selected my pitch and gave me the grant to hang 50 swings in their city, with the request that I also install a swing set at their award party.


I built the swing set in San Francisco, broke it down, and with the help of some friends, we assembled it on their roof in LA. Those same friends and I spent the weekend hanging the rest of the swings throughout the city.







swing #1 LA

How did you end up hitting the front page of Reddit? Was that somewhat orchestrated or did it happen on its own?

It was “orchestrated” in the sense that the goal was obviously to rank high on the front page, but Reddit is hard to game. Staying on the front page — and in the #1 spot — was as much about great content and luck as it was about orchestration.

I announced the project on the Los Angeles subreddit, solicited input, and gave updates on our progress. I then vetted the final video we created on there and in a few other smaller, more relevant subreddits to garner some support and validation:

Once that was done I waited until Tuesday, at a time when at least some schools were still in session, and submitted it to the main Videos subreddit around 7am PST. Then I went back to those original subreddits and showed them the x-post link to drag over some positive votes and attention.


After that I parked myself at the computer to answer any and all questions. Those first few dialogues on Reddit are important for two reasons:

  1. Hive mind and group think mean that if the conversation starts positive it will more likely stay that way. Just the same, if the cynics show up and post only drivel and snark, readers will derive their opinions (and their votes) from that negativity. I wanted to steer that discourse as much as possible.
  2. The “New” section of Reddit is awash in new posts, most of them bad. For that reason even good links have a hard time finding their way to the top. Posts with high upvote numbers move up and get noticed, but so do posts with lots of comments… especially because most of the news posts have zero comments. When people see a lone thread that has a dozen comments in a sea of zero discussion, they are likely to check it out. Get them to do that and upvotes and further dialogue are not too far behind. And while Reddit has a lot of features to prevent you from gaming their system with upvotes, it has none to stop you from having a conversation with yourself. 99.9% of the comments and my answering questions were with real people, but I may have helped fluff the first dozen or two with some friend’s accounts or some extras I keep around.

Then I kept the dialogue going. I continued to answer questions as long as the post was doing well. In doing so I made it legitimately more interesting, but also effectively doubled the number of comments and attracted readers who might have passed over a video with 300 comments, but were curious about the 1,000+ comment discussion going on with mine.

That attention, plus the quality content, equaled enough upvotes to keep it as the #1 post for about 11 hours, resulting in more than 200,000 Youtube views in 48 hours.


Youtube’s embedded view statistics

What was the reception like on Reddit?

There were a lot more emails than usual from fans. People who dug the project and wanted to get involved. The biggest advantage was being able to use small press pieces on blogs, along with a video that had “gone viral” and was validated on Reddit, and package all that up for larger press entities to see. I was trying to get as much attention as possible with this LA video to secure funding for Bolivia, and Reddit’s video views and attention was the biggest asset in that effort.

What made you want to continue hanging up swings, and take the project to another country?

My friend Drew had helped me in LA and we knew the video of that install would do well. We wondered what we could do with that attention and came around to the idea of exploring the project in a whole different culture and location. I’d been touting how primal an emotional vehicle these swings were, and how they cut through every social barrier, but I’d never put that to the test in a global sense. We considered a few places… the favelas of Brazil, Cuba… but eventually settled on Bolivia.


Why did you decide to use Kickstarter instead of asking for another grant?

We were about to release a video which we knew would be seen by a lot of people, so using it as a gateway to crowdfunding seemed like a perfect fit. We put the Kickstarter page at the end of the LA video, included it on the Reddit post and in all of the press. It was a natural match. About half or a third of our donations came from Reddit readers and the rest came from people who found out about the project in other articles and news peices. We made sure that all the fundraising stuff was in place before the LA video went live and then wasted no attention or time in getting it seen by as many people as possible. We hit our goal in two days, and raised 233% in donations by the end of the run.


I knew that Kickstarter’s featured projects– their “Picks” and “Popular” on their front page– were generated by an algorithm that took into account momentum, traffic, and popularity on the web. I wanted to hit that front page (who’s more likely to fund a project than a Kickstarter reader?) and that meant the push for views and press had to be urgent.

It worked. We released a fair amount of press, and combined with the Reddit post, we created a big push on social media that happened all at once. The spike in our Kickstarter page’s traffic and funding put it on the front page of the site within a couple days and it stayed there for some time. This is the reason you see more than 20% of our funding coming from people on Kickstarter (it’s not because they were searching for “swings”).

Picture 5

Picture 4

How did you prepare for your trip to Bolivia?

Drew moved up to San Francisco for the month prior so that he and I could spend time together filming to work out the kinks of our new equipment and our interpersonal workflow. We would go out and do things like film a little movie about a neighborhood (e.g. Russian Hill, Treasure Island, Forrest Day), just to practice camera work and filming with a purpose. It proved to be very valuable.

What was the hardest part about that trip? What would you have done differently?

Filming a full length documentary was a challenge that, in hindsight, I wouldn’t have undertaken. I went with Drew and our dedicated camera woman, Stacy, and a documentary wasn’t anything any of us had done. For some reason we thought that because we could film pretty pictures and set them to music, this would somehow translate to being able to create a full length movie with a coherent narrative. We had swung for the fences and in retrospect that was a mistake. I wish we’d just hung the swings and filmed it more casually so that we could piece together a highlight reel from the trip; something well within our wheelhouse.






How was it giving the TEDx Brisbane talk on the swings?

For me, it was prestigious. I’d never had a speaking engagement before. I’d been invited to one TEDx prior, for the same project, but couldn’t make it. So this was my first TEDx and as a huge fan of TED there was a fanboy component.

The talk itself was pretty easy. I’d just returned from Bolivia 5 days before. So I spoke about the previous installations for context, and then focused mostly on our recent trip. I wrapped it up by showing 5-minutes of brand new Bolivia footage, which we’d edited on our way home.

How did Coca-Cola find and approach you?

An ad guy in Brazil who does work for Coke was inspired, after seeing videos of my project, to create a whole campaign around “random acts of kindness.” It would feature other people and their projects from around the world.

Coke bought the idea and sometime later the producers and director called me. They worked at selling me on why this wasn’t “just some commercial” — they genuinely believed it could inspire some good. Their biggest selling points:

– The director had created the Oscar-nominated documentary Murderball,

– Six months of shooting (most commercials are shot in a few days) with real, passionate people in several countries around the world,

– $1.5 million budget (most commercials are $200-500k)

Finally, they asked me to sign on and come down to Argentina to film, which I agreed to. They had spent the past six months traveling through Europe, Africa, and the United States, filming the other people and their stories for the commercial. In May 2012, I met them in Buenos Aires for a week to film my part. I hung swings around the city with a 2nd unit camera crew, then we shot big, set-like scenes with the main crew in various plazas and parks of the city. The spots started airing in early 2013.














What is it like to have your own Coca-Cola commercial?

“Surreal” is probably the best way to describe it. The whole ordeal: Having this multi-country, multi-million dollar venture created from my project… Being on a 200-person film set, where everything there exists to get a shot of me throwing rope over a tree branch… Knowing that people watching TV in Algeria or Afghanistan have seen me hang a swing… Yeah. “Surreal” is the best way to describe it.

Also, I got paid for the commercial. As of March 2013, I’ve made over $100,000 ($6K to film the commercial, $85K in global residuals, $10K in Coca Cola’s speaking engagements). I never in a million years expected to get paid for anything related to this project, or any other passion project, for that matter. And I didn’t expect the first batch of checks (about $55K) to show up at my door. I thought I was going to be paid about $500, to be honest. I was very wrong.

Royalties checks

Jeff’s first batch of royalty checks

It’s both shocking and incredibly wonderful. The unexpected income could not have come at a better time for me, as I was basically broke when I went down to film it. Well, “broke” is putting it lightly. “Tragically in debt from a lifetime of error and personal malfeasance” is probably a more precise description. So yeah, it was a fortunate turn of events.


What’s your favorite swing that you’ve hung up?

A year after Bolivia, living back in SF, I hadn’t hung a swing in months. I was burned out on it.

One day I called for some friends and we met at this giant tree I knew, with a lofty canopy that stretched way out. In Bolivia we’d found that if you had a branch that extended far enough away from the trunk, you could hang a single rope and put a triangle at the end to hold the seat. And with this setup, you could swing in giant circles and spins (or like a Foucault Pendulum in big, drifting arcs).

About 20 of us met out there, and we hung up this 50-foot tall single rope swing on that giant tree and spent the afternoon playing on it. There was picnic food and some people brought out beer and wine. We took turns pushing each other on this giant swing—the biggest and best I’ve ever hung—with no cameras or agenda. It was a really fun day and it got back to those core feelings that I always talked about in most of the interviews I’ve given on the project.

I remember you mentioning that you were torn, because a part of you felt that “at the end of the day, they’re just swings.” Do you still feel that way?

Some people get very caught up in the romance of the project. They get this idea that hanging swings is somehow revolutionary. I kind of laugh at that and at the idea that I’ve done so much and so well from this thing that is far from my own. But generally I’m just happy that I’m inspiring people to be a little less serious. In that sense, yeah, it is just a swing, but if putting one in a public space and getting adults on it convinces people to entertain their creative notions and get a little weird, then I guess the swing is not just a swing — it’s a gateway to artistic expression and youthful joy.

If someone wanted to start hanging swings around their city, what steps should they take? Advice they should heed?

Just do it. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s cheap (the cost of hanging up a single swing is $8.18 after taxes). But be aware that you’re essentially a vandal. No public or private land owner wants that liability, so either do it at home or accept that fact that while it seems like fun and games (and it is), some suit or a badge is going to tell you to cut it down.

Is there more to come for the swing project?

Maybe. I don’t think so at the moment, but then, I’ve thought the same thing along most stages of this and I’ve been wrong every time.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m still doing Coca-Cola work. I’ve been down to Mexico twice to give talks, consult, and most recently for an event where they had a few hundred people come and hang swings in the park for an afternoon.


Aside from that, I have little projects and personal creative endeavors that occupy my time (e.g. I created a free book exchange not long ago which is still going strong, and I’m still installing miniature doors around San Francisco). I have yet to find that next big thing though.

Which artists (or sites) do you get your inspiration from?

Too many to count, but here are a few who come to mind:

Jason Eppink

Mark Jenkins

Brad Downey

Dan Grayber


Reuben Margolin

Jimmy Chin

Dan Witz

Adam Savage (Not because he’s a TV personality, but because I strongly relate to his innate obsessiveness.)

What’s next for Sir Waldman?

I’m going to eat some lunch. Today is left over carne asada, rice and some veggies. Beyond that, work on the documentary is still ongoing and astoundingly arduous.

What would you like me to plug?

Watch my Coke Commercial. If you like it, tell a friend to watch it. My hope is that if it plays well enough online it may actually air in the US someday. Right now it’s global, but not in the US, which for me personally, isn’t quite as helpful.

It highlights real people who have real, interesting projects, which I think is pretty cool. (It also shows fake people, with fake projects who buy people Cokes, which they added in — despite the director fighting against it — but hey, that’s capitalism.)

Aside from that, no plugs, no agenda. I haven’t done a press piece or an interview without one in a really long time and it’s been making me feel a little encumbered and dirty, so this is a pleasant change. Going over all this gave some good perspective. Australia, Bolivia, Mexico, Argentina… I went to all those places for free because of this thing. The travel, the opportunity, the money… it was really cool to revisit. It’s been good talking with you, Charlie Hoehn.

# # #

Charlie: I love Jeff’s story because it beautifully illustrates how much leverage and momentum one person can get with an idea these days. Jeff started with a single swing and a Flip camera in Golden Gate Park. Then he did it again, with several swings and a better camera. He posted a video on Youtube, promoted it to art blogs, and built up some awareness of his project. He got a $1,000 grant, hung up 50 picturesque swings throughout LA, created a great video, and hit the front page of Reddit. That resulted in $11,000 raised on Kickstarter, a month of hanging swings in Bolivia, a TEDx talk in Australia, then his own Coca-Cola commercial and a $100,000 payday.

I watched Jeff go through every step of this journey, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that he hit it big. He’s a very smart guy, web- and tech-savvy, and a natural MacGyver, but that doesn’t mean he’s the only one capable of pulling something like this off…

Anyone with passion and the ability to execute can follow the same blueprint as Jeff. But you can’t get started until you take that first step (or in Jeff’s case, hang that first swing). You don’t need a ton of time or a huge budget — Jeff had full-time jobs while he was pursuing this project, and he was in debt.

If you’ve resolved to a life of hating your job or being unemployed, there’s a very simple fix… Do something fun and interesting in your free time, then share it with like-minded people online! Take that first step towards building your idea, creating your art, writing your book, shooting your film, recording your song… Whatever it is, GIVE something you love to the world. Stop waiting around, expecting to be rewarded just for being here. You have every tool you need at your disposal. What are you waiting for?

The starting gun goes off everyday, the moment you open your eyes.


“Who should I work for?”

I get this question a lot from people who have read Recession Proof Graduate. Most of them have no clue what type of person they want to work with, so they usually do one of two things:

  1. Send offers to work for free for every company in their industry (HORRIBLE idea)
  2. Approach authors with free work


#1 is idiotic. You should not approach anyone unless you’re intimately familiar with their business, and are a genuine fan of their work/products. Doing free work isn’t about doling yourself out for slavery; it’s about selectively working with pros who can grant you hands-on learning and invaluable experience, in a field that’s meaningful to you.

#2 is also ill-advised. Even though approaching authors worked out for me and Ryan and Ben, I generally don’t advocate targeting the author niche. Writers are interesting people, but they typically don’t make much money. Most of them won’t be able to pay you once the free work comes to an end. Unless it’s an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, there are better uses of your time.

What I suggest in the e-book is approaching successful entrepreneurs. No matter what you’re interested in — photography, architecture, cooking, fashion, etc. — the people in your field who are earning the most are all successful entrepreneurs. They were all able to turn their skills into viable businesses, and have found ways to make their passion profitable.

It’s fine to work with a brilliant inventor or a gifted artist, but if they know nothing about sales or marketing or running a business, they are going to have a really tough time sustaining their hobby. And you will run the risk of never making money with them. You need to get your foot in the door with people who know what the hell they’re doing. And if they’ve already achieved some degree of success, they’re more likely to be successful again in the near future. Not a bad idea to hitch yourself onto a rising star. 

Every person I’ve done free work for has been a self-made entrepreneur, because that’s what I wanted to become. I was a genuine fan of their work, knew all about their past projects, and had done enough research to figure out what problems they were currently facing, and how I might be able to help. The fact that a bunch of these people were best-selling authors was somewhat incidental.  

Another reason I suggest working with entrepreneurs is because they are interested in changing the world at a fast pace. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and their work ethic is much stronger than your average employee at a big company. You will not regret the decision to expose yourself to their work process — you’ll absorb some of their DNA and make it your own. Even if you don’t want to become an entrepreneur yourself, you will still gain a lot from the experience.

# # #

So… where do you find successful entrepreneurs?

Think about the products / services you use regularly and love, or the companies that you buy from repeatedly throughout the year. Those businesses were created by entrepreneurs. You can do research on them and figure out which ones might be easy to approach and receptive to free work.

Of course, that task might seem too broad or difficult. And if you live in the mid-West, the only companies you can think of are Wal-Mart and Best Buy, so you’re out of luck there.

If you can’t think of any entrepreneurs, take a look at Kickstarter projects* that are ending soon.

[*In case you’ve been living under a rock: Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform that allows people to raise money for creative projects. The site is three years old, and in 2012, they helped artists and entrepreneurs raise over $319 Million for their projects, from more than 2 million donors in 177 countries. KS is pretty awesome, and it’s very effective.]

Kickstarter projects that have received over $100K in funding — or get 200%+ funding — clearly have some level of demand. The people who are running these projects are likely freaking out about having to fill all those orders, and are wondering how they’re going to pull this off. Many of them are under more pressure than they’ve ever dealt with. The sweet smell of opportunity is in the air…

If you find a project that you love, and the people running it seem like genuinely good folks who know what they’re doing (do your research- Google them!), then reach out and offer to help. First, tell them why you love what they’re doing (and don’t B.S. this part, it’s a waste of everyone’s time), and the potential you see — what you think it could become and how it could change the world in some way.

Then make them an offer: say you don’t normally discount your rates, but that you truly love what they’re doing, and think you could add some value. Say that you’d be willing to do ______ (sales, marketing, customer service, web design — whatever valuable skill you have) for two weeks at no charge. Lay out exactly why you’d love to do it, what you plan to do (give them a sample of your work), and how it will specifically benefit them. Then say if they like your work and you enjoy working together, then you can all discuss a more formal arrangement at the end of the two weeks. If they don’t like your work, they can scrap it, dismiss you on the spot, and there will be no hard feelings on your end.

You might balk at this and wonder, “Why on earth should I offer free work to an amateur entrepreneur / artist?”

For one, a lot of them are doing really cool stuff. I hear people complain all the time about not wanting to work for a soul-sucking boring company. Well, Kickstarter is a huge community of creative people working on things they’re passionate about. Some of them raise a TON of money, but are too inexperienced to pull it off, even though they might have a viable business on their hands.

If only they could find a talented partner to work with…

Why not figure out what their biggest problems and stumbling blocks are going to be, then reach out with an offer to help. If you can actually DELIVER what you’re promising, then they will have more to lose by not paying you than you’ll have to lose. They will want to keep you around.

I’m not making this strategy up. I’ve had a handful of friends reach out to total strangers on Kickstarter, and successfully find themselves working on stuff they loved. My buddy was sick of his 9-5 job at Wells Fargo, so he reached out to a filmmaker on Kickstarter. He ended up traveling around South America for a month, shooting footage, and ended up as a subject in the documentary. He said it was the best decision he’d ever made.

# # #

If you really want to work on something unique and meaningful, Kickstarter is a great place to find those opportunities. The web makes it so unbelievably easy to connect with like-minded people — it still astonishes me that so few of us actually take advantage of it! If I was able to connect and work with best-selling authors and successful entrepreneurs all around the country — from Colorado — then anyone can do it, from anywhere.

The goal is to work with people who can step up your game, help you develop skills that you want to master, present you with experiences you crave, and connect you with more folks who are just like them.

If you’re a young person who’s not sure what to do with their life, get off of Facebook/Reddit, and make a move towards doing something. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be a long-term play — it just has to be a step in the direction you want to go. Because once you’ve taken that first step, you’ll be able to see the second step. And then the third step. And eventually, you’ll have momentum, and you’ll have made huge progress. But you can’t climb a mountain until you take that first step…

And if you have to offer free work to take that first step, don’t hesitate — DO IT!

By Charlie Hoehn

The 8 Levels of Employment


It’s been five years since I graduated from college, and I still hear the same complaints:

“The market is a nightmare. I’m competing against hundreds for jobs I don’t want.”

“I keep sending out my résumé, but nobody responds to me. I feel hopeless.”

“How am I supposed to have experience if no one will give me a chance in the first place?”

“I just want a job with decent pay that won’t make me hate my life.”


A big part of me truly sympathizes with every one of these sentiments. I’ve been there, and I remember the constant sense of desperation and urgency. When you’re unemployed, every moment feels like wasted time, like your future has been compromised. That mentality is no fun, and I do not miss it.

Fortunately, the days of worrying about those things are largely behind me. And guess what? You don’t have to worry so much either. You just need to know the levels of employment so you can assess where you are and continue making progress. That’s what I’ll be covering in this post.

But first, let’s talk about love…

Work is Love, Love is Work

Finding YOUR CALLING and finding your TRUE LOVE are two of our highest priorities. But given the state of our culture, you’d think they were impossible to achieve! Nearly everyone describes their job as “less than ideal,” and more than a third of American marriages end in divorce.

Why do the tasks of finding OUR CALLING and finding TRUE LOVE feel so clumsy, confusing, and nerve-wracking? Why, in today’s modern society, do so few of us have jobs and relationships that are both fulfilling and sustainable?

Finding YOUR CALLING and finding TRUE LOVE are the exact same process. And once you understand the progression, you can make the right moves, advance through each level, and eventually attain both goals. It won’t be fast or easy, but the path and its results are certain.

# # #

In this post, I’ve compared the two — YOUR CALLING and TRUE LOVE — to show their similarities. We’re all intimately familiar with the world of dating, relationships, and love — we start our learning at an early age. But our careers typically begin when we’re adults, so our development and understanding in this area begin much later in life. When you compare the two side-by-side, you’ll recognize what level you’re currently in, and how you should proceed.

Without further ado, here are “The 8 Levels of Employment” (a.k.a. The 8 Stages of Work and Love):

1. The Beginner

Welcome to the REAL WORLD / DATING SCENE! Take a look around. Exciting, isn’t it? Your possibilities appear to be endless…

After you’ve made a thorough assessment of the terrain, you notice that most of your options don’t seem so great. The most attractive ones are being swarmed by tons of other APPLICANTS / SUITORS. You consider making an attempt for one of them, but statistically you don’t stand a chance.

You work up the energy to APPLY FOR A JOB / START A CONVERSATION, but are disheartened when you don’t get much of a response. Being rejected and overlooked feels humiliating. You restrain your embarrassment and decide to press on, dismissing any who seem immediately interested in HIRING / DATING you. How repulsive- they’re more desperate than you!

You’ll meet others who are struggling, and parrot advice you’ve read on the best strategies for LANDING AN INTERVIEW / GETTING A DATE:

  • Act like you don’t care
  • Have other options
  • Ask about their life, don’t talk about yours
  • Just keep putting yourself out there
  • It’s a numbers game

Your friends are equally insecure, equally inexperienced, and equally incompetent in this area. Yet none of you will admit that you have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re mostly just relieved that you’re not alone.

Now that you have a support group, your happiness and confidence goes back up. You all take cues from each other, and decide that the “shotgun approach” is your best bet. You hop on your laptop, get on a JOB / DATING site, and whip up a fancy RESUME / PROFILE. It feels a bit awkward bragging about yourself. You wonder, “What are they looking for? What do they respond to? What do they want me to be?” You fine-tune your writing so it’s exactly what you think they want. Most of what you wrote is puffed up to make you sound better than you really are, but who cares? Everyone does it.

Now it’s time to spam! You send a COVER LETTER / MESSAGE to every potential EMPLOYER / SINGLE PERSON and await the offers to pour in. Out of the dozens of messages you send, only a few of them respond. Then you never hear from them again. You can’t see it, but they’re being inundated by hundreds of people just like you. You are replaceable.

You notice that some people – who don’t seem to be very different from you — are far more successful. You observe their behavior, and they don’t appear to be trying. You resent them, because you are struggling so much. If only you knew their secrets…

You rationalize their success and excuse your own shortcomings. They have advantages that you don’t – they are better looking, smarter, and know all the right people. You have too much stacked against you.

Finally, you manage to land a JOB INTERVIEW / DATE. You rehearse what you’re going to talk about, and get all dressed up to make a good impression. Then it begins. You try to be cool and on-point, delivering all the answers you think they want to hear. Everything seems to be going well, and then you blow it. It becomes clear that you’re not really interested in fulfilling their needs — you just don’t want to be POOR / LONELY anymore. You get up and say your awkward good-bye.

What comes next? Do you wait three days before you contact them again? Should you say thanks and mention how you really seemed to hit it off? Should you wait for them to message you? What’s the proper etiquette here? Can’t both sides be honest? You’re desperate, they’re desperate — let’s make this happen! Or pretend it never happened… Better move on.

You wonder if you’re just a loser, a poor soul who’s doomed to be UNEMPLOYED / SINGLE for years to come. But how can that be? You’re working hard, you’re smart, and you’ve got so much to offer. You’re such a catch! Why doesn’t anyone recognize that?

If you grow cynical and decide to give up, this will be your final level. Game over.

2. The Amateur

Through some miraculous twist of fate, you’ve managed to find yourself in a FULL-TIME JOB / RELATIONSHIP. Your peers congratulate you, validating your belief that you have won. Of course, this probably wasn’t your first choice, but it certainly beats the alternative…

You’re mostly just relieved to be part of a COMPANY / COUPLE. You try to maintain poise (“just be cool man”), but you’re secretly worried that you’ll screw things up. You’re so worried that you fail to recognize that the other side is just as insecure and nervous as you are.

Eventually, you settle in and learn how to maintain the status quo. You start to think that you might have this whole CAREER / DATING thing figured out.

As time goes by, you begin defining yourself by your JOB / RELATIONSHIP. Your title has given you a sense of significance and purpose. You congratulate yourself for earning this role, and tell everyone how lucky you are to have found the JOB OF YOUR DREAMS / LOVE OF YOUR LIFE.

In reality, you are painfully insecure and terrified of losing. The blood drains from your face whenever you “screw up.” You apologize profusely and promise to never do it again. You’ll change, you swear! There’s no reason to FIRE / DUMP you… Please?

3. The Veteran

The JOB OF YOUR DREAMS / LOVE OF YOUR LIFE is not as great as you once thought. You gained some experience, but the magic has worn off. The excitement is gone. And now all you can focus on are the shortcomings.

Every week feels the same. Every interaction fills you with dread. You sigh and think, “This is it?” Soon, those thoughts turn into “Why am I still doing this?”

You battle temptation on a regular basis. The potential of YOUR CALLING / TRUE LOVE is getting harder to ignore. You feel that you are limiting yourself and compromising your life… but you’re not quite ready to leave. Going through the motions is fine for now. It’s better than the pain and uncertainty that will come with change…

Maybe things will get better. Doesn’t everyone deal with this? You can tolerate the situation for a little while longer. And someday, you’ll make the leap. Someday… but not today.

You grow resentful. It’s not your fault; they’re holding you back! You press their buttons, waiting for them to make a move. They look at you suspiciously, then you have a long talk and promise that everything’s fine — you just haven’t been yourself lately. All the while hoping for the ax, to be set free, to be granted permission to leave…

But it doesn’t happen. Instead, they say they are PROMOTING YOU / IN LOVE WITH YOU. The ultimate trump card has been thrown down. Do you stay, or do you go?

4. The Departed

You’re back where you started: UNEMPLOYED / SINGLE. Your depression and anxiety will kick in soon, along with fleeting bouts of relief and excitement.

If your identity was too wrapped up in your JOB / SIGNIFICANT OTHER, it will feel like the ground has fallen from underneath you. Your sense of purpose and significance has vanished, and you will undergo an internal crisis.

But there’s good news: Your first departure (the death of your former self) is always the toughest. It’s completely necessary for your growth — it gives you the emotional scar tissue that you’ll need when you inevitably go through this again. You’ll build up some resilience, and you’ll be able to recover that much faster next time.

Eventually, you’ll regain your emotional footing. You’ll look back on your old self and laugh. Why did you take everything so seriously? What were you so scared of? You could have left whenever you wanted!

If you’re wise, you’ll pause to assess the mistakes you made. You’ll admit that your old way of operating was flawed, and take steps to change your worst habits.

Then after you’ve recovered, you’ll wonder: “What should I do now?”

5. The Hustler

You’ve been running a fool’s errand, and the results are always the same: disappointment, missed expectations, and failure.

This time, things will be different. This time, you won’t get hurt. This time, you will be the victor.

You understand the game that’s being played. You know which rules can be broken. Only the hustlers and players will come out on top. JOBS / RELATIONSHIPS are for suckers. The only thing people really want is MONEY / SEX. Eliminate all the nonsense and focus on the desired outcome. Why pretend anything else matters?

You learn a new hustle that promises results. You emulate other hustlers, and hope that no one calls you out. And to your astonishment, it actually works! Not all the time, but a fair number of targets fall into your trap. You just had to pretend you were better than you actually were, and people would do exactly what you wanted them to! Who knew it could be this easy?

You get a rush from your new powers. Just run the sequence, reap the rewards, rinse, and repeat. No more failures, no more getting hurt, and no more fear of losing. The days of being a sucker are over. Finally, you’ve got it all figured out…

Then just as quickly as it came, the magic disappears. You’re getting exactly what you thought you wanted, but it’s not fulfilling. You feel empty and dishonest. This isn’t the path to finding YOUR CALLING / TRUE LOVE. It’s just your way of escaping effort and avoiding pain.

You resent everyone who falls for your tricks – how could they be so stupid? But you can’t expose yourself, because then everyone will know you’re a fraud. If you want this show to continue, you’ll need to believe in your own bullshit. You consider it, though you’re not sure if you’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror…

Will this be your last stop, or are you going to keep moving?

6. The Determined

Enough is enough. You can’t keep pretending and playing games. You can’t keep hiding from the world, pulling strings from behind the curtain. If you have to manipulate and cheat to get what you want, you will never receive the fulfillment your heart desires.

If you’re going to find YOUR CALLING / TRUE LOVE, you must commit to the hardest work of all – becoming yourself.

Now is the time to search within. All the advice you’d taken had been flawed in some way or another. You never really gave your own instincts and intuition a real chance.

You will need to be vulnerable and honest, to uproot your defects, and rewire the bad thoughts that have been holding you back.

You accept your journey. There are no shortcuts. You must do the work.

Your path is simple and straightforward. You know exactly what you must do: give the world your greatest WORK / LOVE without expectation. You diligently press forward, politely dismissing every OPPORTUNITY / PERSON that will compromise your task.

At first, it feels difficult. You are not being rewarded. No one is paying attention. It’s just you, doing the work. You place your faith in the process, knowing that these gears grind slow but sure.

Then you run up against a wall. The reward for your efforts seems an awful lot like FAILURE / REJECTION, and you start feeling like a beginner again. You wonder if this whole process is worth it, and reminisce about the old path… How easy it would be to return to your former life… How tempting it is to retreat to the comfort of an old JOB / LOVER…

But you stay the course. You accept that FAILURE / REJECTION are an inevitable part of the process. They bless you with emotional calluses, which are necessary for all who walk this path.

7. The Magnet

One day, you feel different. You don’t really notice it at first, because it happened so gradually, but you’ve changed. Things seem to click into place. You move with purpose. You are electrified with energy.

You’ve discovered the wonders of flow. What once seemed difficult and unnatural now happens automatically. Your WORK / LOVE is second nature, just like breathing. The process becomes the reward, and the reward is to be yourself.

People respond to you in a new way. They’ve noticed the change, as well. You radiate an essence that naturally draws them in, as though your energy is magically rubbing off. Your confidence builds upon itself, you’re more comfortable in your own skin, and EMPLOYERS / MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX are far more interested in you.

While you were working, the clouds of POVERTY / LONELINESS disappeared. Your days became playtime, and you learned to enjoy the ride. Everything you touch now turns to gold. Others watch in astonishment, wondering how you’re able to do it. If they only knew how easily they could be doing the same thing!

Your reputation builds as people whisper glowing reviews — how you’re head and shoulders above everyone else. Suddenly, demand for your presence soars, and you’re attracting more OFFERS / DATES than you know what to do with. You are now intimately aware of the paradox of social proof: Everyone wants you because everyone wants you. Eliminating your options brings you more options.

In a world of people who are simply trying to avoid the pain of POVERTY / LONELINESS, you stand out. You are the one who is perfectly content. You are the one who does it for the love of the game. You are the ultimate WORKER / PARTNER who makes the journey fun. It is a privilege to be at your side. You no longer need them; they need you.

And that’s when you realize how wrong you’d been all those years. It was never about résumés or interviews or networking… It was never about pick-up lines or fancy clothes or singles bars…

It was about giving your WORK / LOVE to the world without expectation, simply for the joy of doing it.

It was about determining your own worth, instead of depending on the limitations of others.

It was about letting go of the chase – the constant struggle to live up to other people’s expectations — so you could take control of your own LIVELIHOOD / HAPPINESS.

It was about developing an unshakable belief in the value of YOU, and not letting anyone else diminish it.

You’d always been enough. You only had to work on becoming the best version of yourself. Because you — the real you — was the person everyone wanted to WORK WITH / FALL IN LOVE WITH all along.

8. The Master

It’s no longer an act; you are totally comfortable with who you are. Your existence has purpose. You understand exactly why you get out of bed in the morning.

You do not believe that you have to fit into a mold to land a JOB / SIGNIFICANT OTHER, or that you need to live up to other people’s expectations. You know that you can only be your best by staying true to yourself, and that the people who matter most will love you for it. You have shed your insecurities and manipulative behaviors, and are completely honest and forthright with everyone. You expect the same treatment in return, and have little tolerance for anything less.

You are addicted to sharing your GIFTS / LOVE with others. The more VALUE / LOVE you bring to the world, the more WEALTH / LOVE flows back to you. If you hadn’t been so afraid of being POOR / HURT, you could have started so much earlier!

Word of your cause has spread, and the people who once showed a passing interest in you are now deeply devoted. You no longer worry about losing CUSTOMERS / LOVERS; you know that you have their undying loyalty. Your results remind others what they’re capable of, inspiring them to FOLLOW / OPEN their hearts.

You are the master of your destiny, the sculptor of your world. Your brain is no longer your worst enemy, but your disciplined partner. Your heart is no longer silenced; it is your navigator.

Then one day, when you’re immersed in the moment — lost in flow — and you’ve long since forgotten the struggle of MAKING MONEY / KEEPING LOVE, you see that the path you’d been on this whole time had lead you right back to yourself. There you are.

You are free.

# # #

The stages to finding your TRUE LOVE and YOUR CALLING are one and the same. They both require you to stop your endless rationalizations and excuses, and embrace what you’ve known all along.

In order to walk the path, you must let go of the desire for an outcome. The endless promises of future potential, of more money, of heaven… they are distractions. The process is what matters. It’s all that’s ever mattered. Every single day of your life has been judgment day.

There will never be an ideal place or a perfect time to open your heart and listen to your inner voice. That place has always been right here, and that moment has always been right now.

# # #

If you enjoyed this post… There will be more like it coming soon. Sign up for my newsletter to get early access, along with a free copy of Recession-Proof Graduate (my 30-page guide to landing the work you want).

And if you’re feeling stagnant in your job and struggling with what to do next…  There are two brilliant books that will help get you back on the right track and rejuvenate your motivation…

The first is The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin. This will de-school your brain from everything society told you was “the right way” to do things. It will also show you how much you’ve unknowingly limited your potential, and how to reverse the process.

The second is Mastery by Robert Greene. This book is incredible. It’s like being handed an exact blueprint for reaching your highest potential, mastering whatever field you choose, all while retaining your joy and love for life.

Both books are highly recommended and potentially life-changing. Do yourself a favor: spend the $30 and invest in you. What’s the worst that could happen?

By Charlie Hoehn

15 Years of Apple’s Homepage

I was looking at screenshots of’s former homepages (using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine) and decided to compile them into a slideshow. With the exception of Apple’s homepage in 1997, it’s pretty remarkable how little the core design has changed:


After 15 years, the layout of is still the same: prominently feature the latest product, with 3-4 little boxes below that highlight other recent products and company news. The homepage has become more evident and intuitive each year. Bigger pictures, less copy, bolder text, fewer items to click… It’s like a giant billboard. They stuck with a format that worked and continually refined it. [The two biggest changes: they moved the navigation bar to the top in 2000, then gave the entire site a facelift with the introduction of Leopard in 2007.]

It goes without saying that Apple’s strength is design, but their homepage deserves credit for being great for so long. Ever since its early days, has moved in the direction of being more friendly, focused, simple, and beautiful.

Bonus: Take a look at how Microsoft, Dell, HP, IBM, and Sony’s homepages have evolved over the years. Much bigger redesigns.

If you liked this post… You might enjoy Should Apple use Google’s Hammer?

By Charlie Hoehn