Instead of reading another long post, take this time to really think about one or two people that really make you feel good about life. A person that does things for the right reasons. A person that gives you hope for the future. A person that makes the people around them better people. A person that makes YOU a better person. A person whose company makes you forget about life’s struggles and obstacles. A person that makes you believe in magic. Definitely missing a lot of people back home right now. Definitely could use a late night in my backyard with some folks, sharing frosty beverages and talking about totally unrealistic ideas. Thing is, they’re all crazy enough to believe magic IS possible and that’s what makes anything possible. I think I lost myself recently in some shape or form. I spend too much time thinking about people that make me question and undermine myself. The focus shall be thrown back on the right people. Backyard…. Folks…. Magic. Time to start believing again. Boom!

Kentucky Fried Kari

It only took six months, but here is the newest addition to the Small World Project. I promise many more before the New Year!

Want to waste time? Check my actual post below this one. It's long and probably the post I marinated on the most and had the most trouble articulating. Answer the question scenario question in it too when you have time!

Coming Home

Join me in an exercise for a second. Stand up wherever you are right now. Place your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees ever so slightly. Are you doing it? Okay, you should be standing up with your feet shoulder width apart. Now put all your weight into your feet. Let all the weight in your body flow down into your feet almost like your feet are acting like a heavy anchor pulling you into the ground. Correct your posture. Close your eyes and when your eyes are closed take a deep breath and when you exhale open your eyes and look up. Welcome home.

On December 28 of last year, I left my actual home, the Bay Area, for the first time in my life. A few years prior, I remember when I once felt so lost my junior year in college. I told my parents that I needed to travel for a while to find myself. They supported the idea but they stressed to me not to leave expecting to find myself in India or wherever I decided to go. "Everything you need to find is already inside you," they said (or something to that effect). Most of you know I went to India, which basically changed the way I view the world around me. But they were right. If I had to summarize the trip into one sentence though, I would say that "I relearned what it's like to enjoy myself and the people around me regardless of location or activity or stuff." That being said, this last year has been the most intense year of my life. New experience, new thoughts, a new view of life but it didn't lack many moments when I felt lost or confused or frightfully alone. In those moments, I took a deep breathe, made my feet heavy into the ground and whispered to myself, "stay home buddy." It was a constant reminder not only to not forget where I come from but more importantly it was a reminder that everything I needed was already inside me. I still do this by the way. This idea of growing from within would have to be the theme of the year. In life we have countless things we have no control over like our height, our thickness of hair, what school we already went to, past relationships, etc. Why do we tend to harp on these things constantly? I started to really wonder why we don't marinate on things that we actually have the power to change ourselves! Our diet, our fitness, making an effort to get into relationships, keeping in touch with people, learning new skills! SO MANY THINGS! Anyway, every year I try to sum up the year and come up with New Year's Resolutions. A few years ago I decided to start my resolutions in December, as a way to be full force before the new year begins. That post is coming soon. Before I got into that post though I wanted to spread the gospel of some revelations and mind-blowing moments I thankfully experienced this year.
One of the first people I remember talking to this year was Tyrone on January first and he kept saying, "2007 is the year to make it happen man." He said it with such conviction I started saying that to myself all the time. The beauty of the line is that "it" means something else to each person. For him it was a side business and pushing his brother Ao's music, which is now available on iTunes. Talk about making it happen. For me "it" meant to do things I had never done before. To live to the full extent of the word "alive." Here's what I learned:

Experiments with Truth.
Many of you know that about a year ago, I began these small 30 day experiments. I choose a different challenge every few months and try to stay with it all month. Past experiments have been vegetarianism, cooking every single meal I've eaten, working out everyday, calling a certain number of people each day. Most people think I am nuts when they hear about these and that used to deter me from spreading the word. Let me tell you though, of any type of personal improvement I've ever tried in my life, these experiments have given me more insight into myself and the world around me than anything I have ever been apart of before. I would love to start a website dedicated to the movement someday. The idea by the way is not mine. It's kind of mutually stolen from Ben Franklin and Gandhiji and you know you can't hate on them. It's an easy way to change things about yourself you CAN actually change.

A Reaction is Worthless without the Message.
When I was teaching, I would sit for hours and think about individual students and the dynamic of the classroom and create variations of how we could present the same information. I would envision one in my head and simulate the crowd's reaction, rewind and try another one. Though this worked well in class I unfortunately do this to most facets of my life. I realized that I spend so much time trying to convince people to come to an event or trying to write my blog in such a way as to connect with each person I know that's reading. I started caring a lot less about this as the year went on. I think we worry about reaction and the effects of our message before we even spend time cultivating the message. A couple people have told me that I seem more like my true goofy self in most environments, which made me pretty happy. Don't worry about how people are going feel about your message just make it the message you truly want people to hear. It's like in class when you want to answer a question but don't want to look stupid and then you find out you had the right answer all along. Don't question yourself.

Goofy-ness and Believing in the Self.
I have spent much of my life giving the wrong people my attention. The wrong girls, the wrong acquaintances. I've always felt like if I have an awkward conversation with someone it must be myself. If someone isn't calling me back, I must have done something wrong. DONE! So not true. At a recent party, instead of trying to win over the people I subconsciously have dubbed "cool" I acted a fool with my homies. I realized that often awkward conversations are just as much the other persons fault as they are mine. When the dancing began, me and all the homies were acting super goofy and having a really good time. Many smiles were being had. I looked over at the people I dubbed "cool" and they were being super lame most likely because they are lame. The ability to be GOOFY and SILLY may the the quality I value most in people. Those that may be dubbed socially cool often act cool to compensate for their lameness and lack of goofy skills.

Make decisions as if you were a resident of Walden Pond.
Learning how to make decisions solely based on my own thoughts has been one of the toughest and coolest things I've done this year. I still battle with the effect that others' opinions have on my views but I am way better off than I was at home. So Walden Pond... When confronted with a decision, whether it be what furniture to buy or what clothes to wear, many of us place high value on what guests and friends would think of either. How many of you would by an ugly piece of furniture that you know your guests will hate? So now I say to myself, "If you lived alone in the woods, what decision would you make" and it helps clarify things a lot! I recently bought something that I've dreamt about buying for years. Honestly of anything I have ever bought, this gives my goosebumps (and no it's not that fancy). Most guests are going to think that I am totally crazy and weird but I don't care cause Henry David Thoreau said so!

People should use their talents to help others.
This is something I have been trying to leverage for a long time. It was the core of the Small World Project. There is not one person reading this blog that doesn't have some special talent. Why don't we extend our hand more? Why don't I offer free public speaking classes to my friends? My doesn't Vijay or Ajay start an email account where people can ask them about electronics or where to find good deals? Why don't the people that have worked abroad or lived abroad make themselves more available for younger kids in need of advice? I think it's all tough but I think it would be easy to put ourselves out there more. So here I am. If anyone reading needs help with anything public speaking related, email me anytime ( If you live in Chicago, I will meet with you personally. If you live elsewhere, email me your powerpoint or presentation and I will rip you apart. Even if I don't know you. (I taught public speaking at Stanford for about 5 years by the way. I'm not just some random dude pretending to pose as a teacher!)

The Long Slow Beautiful Dance.
Life is a long, slow beautiful dance. You don't reach some plateau at 40 where you're comfortable and struggles just disappear. It continues to be challenging and hopefully it continues to offer triumph. That's what makes it scary and exciting. Glad you guys are around to experience it with me.

The Power of Weirding People Out.
The weird out. Making someone instantly, without thought, step outside their comfort zone with a question or action may be the greatest revelation of this year. We are adhere to such boring convention all the time. What did you ask the last person you met for the first time? Maybe about their job or where they're from? As Hash always says, "Dude, how good could a job actually be going?" Stop conforming. Join the weirdout movement.

Here's a great weirdout question I've become quite obsessed with. Ask your friends and answer in the comment sections please! Would love to hear your responses.

You walk into a room with four random people sitting in it. As you walk in, I'm leaving and tell you I will be back in 30 minutes, could you chat with the people about something until I get back? What topic would you tell them about? This is not a debate. It's you informing them of something for 30 minutes. THINK ABOUT IT! and answer in the comments! I'll post some of my favorites there too.

I have been asking this question to every person I meet for the last few months. It says a lot about what value they feel they can pass onto the world and it says a lot about how they view the people around them. I remember my buddy once went up to a girl in a bar and said, "What are you all about? What drives you?" Sure some people might not answer your questions but my guess is that those that those people that don't answer 1) suck and 2) have no personality. Some future weirdout plans include handing out roses to girls that look sad on the street, carrying extra gloves to hand out to homeless people, and all sorts of other CRAZY SHIT!

PHEW that was a damn long post. If you made it this far, thanks for reading folks. Honestly, I want us all to be open about our revelations because I really think a paradigm shift needs to be had where we focus and remind one another of the things we can have an affect on rather than stressing about the shit we have no control over. Stay Home friends. Stay Home.