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I absolutely love living in Las Vegas. Even if cost was not a factor, I would choose living there over any other city in the world (ok, I'd have to think hard about Tokyo). This generally surprises people who don't live in Las Vegas (and even some who do), and would have surprised me at least a little bit if you had told me a few years ago that I'd feel this way.
Unlike some other cities, though, it's not obvious why living in Las Vegas is so great. The strip is indeed so flashy and glittery that it tends to leave everything else in its shadow. But lots of what makes Vegas great is outside of the strip.
Even though I love it regardless of cost, I have to mention cost to put everything in context. Vegas is an extremely inexpensive place to live. Housing is dirt cheap, there are no state income taxes, and just about everything else you'll pay for is cheaper than other cities, too. The tourism industry effectively subsidizes the entire city, so you get a great value.
Money aside, here's how to love living in Las Vegas:
In my every day normal routine in Las Vegas there are two events to which I look forward each day. The first is dinner at Chipotle. I still eat there virtually every day when it's an option, and still delight in it every time. The second is when I get the notification at the top of my phone that tomorrow's crossword is available.
For over a year I have done the NY Times crossword puzzle just about every single day. I may have missed one or two, but I went back and completed all of them. In fact, I've done somewhere around 2800 puzzles as I write this.
When I first started I could barely get through a Wednesday. Often I'd have to check the puzzle or reveal letters. Now I'm currently on a 250+ day streak and I believe that I'm at the level where it would be pretty surprising if I couldn't fight my way through a puzzle. They're still sometimes very hard (1 hour+ for saturdays on rare occasion but I can usually figure it out.
I very rarely recommend "fun" things on this blog, but I'm wholeheartedly recommending crossword puzzles.
I've been hearing back recently from some of the attendees of the first event and have been blown away by the progress that they've been making. Talking to them has motivated me to schedule the next event and work with a new group of people.
The event will be two days of working closely with me on your habits, goals, and priorities. You will leave with a clear vision on next steps to take in your life as well as specific advice on how to implement them to ensure success. You will also be paired with one of the other attendees to become accountability partners.
The attendees at the first event were all truly excellent people whom I was glad to get to know and who were all glad to get to know each other and many left with lasting friendships. I was moved by how positive they were and how interested they were in each others' success.
Besides getting specific personal advice from me, you will also hear your fellow attendees work through their challenges. We'll talk a lot about productivity, mindset, automation, prioritization, social skills, and lifestyle.
This is a topic that seems arrogant to even write about, but two people have asked me to write a blog post about it, so I'm going to take a stab at it. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and one of my strengths is that I have had a fairly interesting life. This has opened a lot of doors for me, specifically doors that would have been closed to me based only on my abilities. I've also seen this same phenomenon in other interesting people. We tend to get more than we deserve.
And it also goes without saying that the ability to be interesting is, in itself, very lucky. It's a luxury to be able to dedicate time and effort to anything other than survival, so I'm thankful I've been given that privilege.
Caveats and justification out of the way, let's talk about being interesting. I'd say that the practice of being personally interesting is primarily the practice of having relevant and unknown things to share with others.
These things can take many forms, but I'd say that the biggest two are having relatable stories to share and having useful knowledge to share. The methods by which you share these things are important, but the most important thing is to have them.
One of my biggest pleasures in life is creating opportunities for my friends and family. There are a lot of things I do all the time, but when I think of who I am by definition, I think of myself as someone who tries to create things for his friends.
This is what drives all of my shared real estate purchases. I obviously have a vested personal interest in buying all of these places, but I'm most delighted by being able to offer my friends the opportunity to own places all around the world for very little money and with almost no effort.
Those are big campaigns, but there are a lot of other things that you can do to provide great experiences for your friends. These things may not seem like a big deal, but being the one to organize events and activities in your friend group is extremely valuable. Here are a few ideas, ranging from easiest to hardest.
1. Organize a dinner for everyone a at a restaunt a few days in advance. This is so easy, but it doesn't happen that often. When was the last time someone in your group did it? Just pick a restaurant your group likes, pick a time a few days away, and invite everyone. I do this all the time and always appreciate it when other people do it.
There is one fundamental tool I use all the time, because it's so adaptable. I use it for myself and for a large number of my clients. I don't know if there's some official name for it, but I think of it as brain training.
We will all naturally gravitate towards activities that we find enjoyable and move away from those we don't. It's human nature and it's hard to combat. We can force ourselves to do things that are "good" for us for a short period of time, but if they are too onerous, resistance will build and we will probably quit.
This led me to wonder whether I could just change what I like and what I don't like. Could I prefer healthy foods to unhealthy ones? Could I prefer work to idleness? Discomfort to comfort?
The answer turns out to be yes, you can change virtually anything.
This post was suggested by a drinker, which I thought was pretty funny. He goes back and forth on it, though, so maybe he's on the fence and I can help push him to one side (hopefully my side).
I don't drink. I've had five sips total in my life, three of them accidental. I'll admit that this does give me a certain lack of perspective. I have no idea what it's like to drink, but I'm happy to concede the point that it's probably a whole lot of fun.
Most people drink because... most other people drink. It's a rite of passage in our society, is universally seen as cool (probably because it's in the best interest of beer company execs for it to be seen as cool), so most people don't think all that much about it.
Due to my stubbornness and general disinterest in doing anything the way society wants me to do it, I never wanted to drink. I was never tempted and it never seemed cool to me. Most of my friends didn't drink in high school (and many didn't in college). Even now only a minority of my friends drink, and I can't think of any who drink regularly.
When I asked readers and friends for blog post ideas, one of the most common I got was what they'd suggest for someone just starting out. One guy said a 15 year old homeless orphan (I guess to remove any possibility of a leg up), and another asked about his teenage son, but the gist is the same. I obviously don't believe the traditional path is so great, so I would do something very different.
Despite other people trying to get the idea through to me, I didn't really understand just how great of an advantage youth is. Good things you do when you are young can have massive effects throughout the rest of your life, and mistakes can sort of be forgotten and redone.
Also, there's essentially no expectation that you do anything useful at that age. Parents just want you to be on a path that doesn't involve living in a box on the side of the road. Anything above that is a bonus.
One of the few things you can do young that could hamper you for the rest of your life is debt. Do. Not. Go. Into. Debt. It's not worth it.
I get asked a lot to write about relationships, probably because I used to be involved in pickup and it seems strange to some that I'm now married (though from my perspective getting married is an obvious outcome of getting good at pickup/dating).
I'm always a bit hesitant to write about it, because relationships are so complex and individual. While there's a lot of blanket advice that be given on how to walk up to someone and start a conversation, there's a lot less that's universally applicable in a relationship. But I'll give it a shot anyway.
And all of this comes with a major caveat that I'm going to be generalizing for the sake of making this applicable to the widest number of people, which is to say for a traditional male and female relationship with stereotypical gender roles. Some of it may apply to people in other kinds of relationships, and other parts may not.
One big piece of advice which I assume applies to every type of relationship, is that an absolute necessity for any good relationship is an environment of open non-judgemental communication. Relationships are complex enough without having severed communication lines.
You never know how your year is going to go. I often try to predict mine, and my predictions are usually nowhere close to what actually happens. Nearly inevitably, though, I make a bunch of progress in one way or another. If that wasn't the case, major alarm bells would be ringing. Major major alarm bells.
Setbacks happen to everyone. It is totally possible that something so major happened to you that you were unable to make progress. I know people who have gotten cancer or have lost a close family member or something like that. Yes, those and others are reasons that you could have justifiably not made progress in a year.
If nothing like that has happened to you, and you haven't made progress on things that are important, it's time to ring the bell.
So the alarm bell is rung. What can you do about it? First is the hard part—admitting that you are doing something wrong. None of us want to believe that. We all want to think that we're doing everything right and that eventually it will all work out... but sometimes we're not. If you haven't made progress in a year, the odds that you're doing something fundamentally wrong are huge.