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"I've taken so many 'stupid risks' in my life. I love your smart, success-focused version of them. – Jason Fonceca, Toronto

Risk•ol•ogist (noun): A practitioner of smart risks who thrives in an uncertain world. Join us.

Featured Articles

This Man Will Run Across Every Country In The World

I get plenty of email, but it’s rare to get one from a reader who, on first contact, invites me to climb one of the tallest mountains in the world with him.

But that’s the kind of guy Akshay Nanavati is—full speed from the starting line or stay home.

At first, I thought it was a joke. “Sure dude, let me book my ticket today.” But after a few emails, I was convinced he was serious.

We haven’t worked out the details for a mountain climb yet but, in the mean time, he’s taken on all kinds of inspiring challenges. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with him a few times at WDS over the years and, when he told me what his latest project is, I knew I had to share it with you.

Last year, Akshay started the biggest quest of his life: to run across every country in the world. If it were anyone else, I’d have laughed them out of the room when I heard that but, knowing Akshay, I don’t doubt for a second he’ll make it. The last time we spoke, he’d finished eight countries already.

Taking on big, difficult challenges is one of the most important things you can do with your life (in this writer’s not-so-humble opinion), and hearing the stories of others who are taking action on their biggest goals in life can make taking action on your own feel a little less lonely and a little less intimidating.

I sat down with Akshay (read: sent him an email) to try to understand the motivations, logistics, and the highs and lows of such a quest. The result is below in the form of an interview, edited for length.

If you find Akshay’s story interesting, we’ll be doing our first Riskologist AMA (ask me anything) in The Lab. Leave a question on this thread and Akshay will answer as he has time.Continue Reading →

For Better Creativity, Don’t Let Your Hourly Wage Dictate How You Spend Your Day

“What’s that?” I ask myself as I pore over my time sheets. “I’m making hundreds of dollars an hour doing this, but only a few dollars per hour doing that?”

I’ve been working hard this year to increase my income, and this is my new hobby—figuring out how much money the different things I do make over time. I use a timer to track and record each of my business tasks so that, every so often, I can look back and see what work is most productive for my bank account.

But just as interesting as peeking at the inner workings of my business is the effect it’s had on other areas of my life. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been great. The more I increase my hourly wage, the more irritable and stressed out I get when I feel like I’m using my time unproductively.

Not just at work; everywhere. Watching a movie with my wife. Wasted time. Taking the dogs out. Wasted time. Driving into town to see friends. Wasted time.

When you’re working to increase your income, there are tradeoffs to make—you don’t get to just snap your fingers and make more money—but what I didn’t realize as I started this experiment is that I was falling into a subconscious trap: putting a dollar value on every hour.

Ever felt like you were in the same trap? The more you earned, the more stressed out you became? You’re not alone, and here are some ideas to solve the problem.

Continue Reading →

Ikea Effect: The Science Of Labor, Love, And Crappy Furniture

A home down the street from me went up for sale the other day. It’s fun to keep track of the market activity around me, so I stopped by the open house to meet the realtor. When I got to the door and saw the asking price, though, my jaw dropped.

They’re asking how much for… that!?

Since I keep track of real estate activity, I immediately knew they were asking at least $30,000 too much. “How could they possibly think they’ll get that much for it?” I wondered.

The realtor greeted me and told me a bit about the owner. She had the home built herself and customized every aspect of it to her taste. She picked the carpets, countertops, fixtures, tiles, and paint colors. She’d really poured her creative energy—and a lot of labor—into this place. She saw it as a masterpiece.

Unfortunately, I saw a house like any other but with paint colors I’d never choose.

The seller was suffering a case of what’s know as Ikea Effect—a psychological phenomenon that explains how we come to love and value the things we put effort into.

In this case, our home seller was experiencing the negative side of the Ikea Effect, but there are a few positive ones you should know about because they can, in fact, save you a lot of money (or even make you a lot) and add an extra layer of happiness to your life.Continue Reading →

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