‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’
Charles Dickens’ immortal opening line of his novel A Tale of Two Cities is as applicable to our modern times as it was describing the turbulent times of London and Paris during the French Revolution.
Bang – In comes the iPhone. Out goes the land line. Bang – in comes Facebook. Out goes the high school yearbook. Bang – in comes Twitter. Out goes the gossip column.
Information technology is utterly transforming the way we interact with the world from the personal to the profitable. Old ways are dead or dying and new, exciting and sometimes baffling trends are becoming the status quo.
New times demand new thinking and at Red Platypus our navigation of these turbulent waters has been made a lot easier by following the advice and example of a bunch of brilliant and inspiring bloggers. These people offer a heady mix of old school common sense, hard truths and unconventional solutions to help their readers succeed in the information age.
Some of the things they say on their inspirational blogs may shock you. It may offend you. Or their words could just change your mind and help you change the world. Check them out:
James Altucher is honest. Brutally honest. Unfiltered, uncensored, uncommon. He changed my whole perception of the way the world works.
Altucher is a New York trader, investor, entrepreneur, writer and speaker. He has started dozens of companies, made millions of dollars, lost it all, made it back again, lost it all again and clawed his way back up, inch by inch, and is now dishing out the hard-won wisdom this yo-yo life has given him.
Altucher Confidential, Ideas for a World out of Balance is his blog and there you will find hundreds of articles about generating business ideas, conquering your fears, improving your life, dealing with nasty people, taking care of your health and backing yourself to do great things.
His main message is to choose yourself.
My personal favourite is ‘Life Tastes Best When You Eat What You Kill’ which is all about quitting your dead end job and going out into the world to catch your dreams – and devour them. I think we’re following his advice pretty much to the letter now!
He’s also written some great books (and blogs about he self-published them) that sum up everything he blogs about and they will give you a kick in the pants to go after your goals and not care what anyone else thinks.
Seth Godin is all about making your work into art form.
While I was working a horrid night shift at the BBC in London and feeling bad about not pursuing my real dreams I picked up a copy of his book ‘The Icarus Deception’ from a pile of freebies that had built up outside one of the radio studios.
Godin’s main message is that your job is not the work. What you add to it is.
‘Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.’ Seth Godin. Linchpin; Are you indispensable?
His inspirational business blog is all about elevating your thinking when it comes to work, be it for yourself or for someone else. According to Mr Godin, in the modern age the big prizes go to those who innovate and bring extra value to their work. You cannot simply be another cog. You have to be indispensable – whether you’re running a small business, working for a Fortune 500 company or flipping burgers.
Godin also writes about pursuing your goals so you can live the life you want to live. He teaches that work should be fulfilling and that it can be the key to happiness if you back yourself. If you’re staring a business, thinking about it or fighting for your financial life then Godin’s blog is a great place to find another path.
One of the most famous business books in recent times is ‘The $100 Startup’ written by Chris Guillebeau, a writer who promotes what he calls the art of non-conformity. That’s also the title of his second book.
The premise for the $100 Startup is simple – for a hundred bucks or less you can set up your own successful business. Thousands of people have done, so why not you? The information age is making it easier and in a lot of ways very necessary for people to think outside the box, back themselves and pursue a different path.
I’ve taken a lot of ideas from the book and applied them to my life. His big lesson is that you don’t ask permission from anyone. You can do what you want and if you work hard and smart then your business and life dreams can come true. You can work from home, a beach, another country, whatever. A new world is opening up and the old cubicle dwelling lifestyle is fast disappearing.
What I like about his inspirational writing is that it’s not about cutting down on work or finding shortcuts. It’s about enjoying the 8, 10 or even 18 hours of work you put into your work and how to make the daily grind worthwhile spiritually and creatively rather than just for money.
Guillebeau’s blog is an inspiring place. Ideas are infectious and you may just come down with a case of rebellion if you read enough!
This is the big one.
Richard Branson, owner and founder of the Virgin companies is the original modern business rebel. He dropped out of school and founded Virgin Music against all odds. Many people said his airline would fail. Now he’s launching people into space with Virgin Galactic.
Branson is a professional risk taker – launching companies, flying hot air balloons across oceans and investing where others fear to tread. His motto is ‘screw it, let’s do it’ which is also the title of a book he wrote sharing the life lessons that have guided his actions and thinking over the years.
The thing we love about Richard Branson is that he is a person who genuinely loves his work. You get the sense he is a good man to know, that though he can be ruthless in business his main aim is to have fun and allow other people to flourish.
In the end, I think that’s what we all want from our businesses. To be happy, to grow our lives and push our boundaries to create freedom for ourselves and our families.
These four blogs are just a slice of what’s out there but they are the ones we read most.