[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/TRAVEL/06/08/airline.satisfaction.study/c1main.plane.sky.afp.gi.jpg caption="Greetings from Terminal 1 in Singapore’s Changi Airport—or perhaps HKG, or NRT, or en route to LAX depending on when you read this. I’m on the way home from my latest global adventure." width=300 height=169]
The Final Fifty
Greetings from Terminal 1 in Singapore’s Changi Airport—or perhaps HKG, or NRT, or en route to LAX depending on when you read this. I’m on the way home from my latest global adventure.
A long time ago—five years, to be precise—I had an idea to visit every country in the world. I like travel, I like big goals. Smash the two together and you get: 192 official countries, plus a bunch of other places.
So I started working toward it, around the same time I started publishing this online journal that people from almost as many countries are now reading.
I set the deadline of April 2013 to coincide with my 35th birthday. I’m 32 now, so we’ve come to the final three years. This year I had an extra challenge—from September-December I’ll be based entirely in the U.S. due to the upcoming Unconventional Book Tour. No international travel for four months! Yikes. I knew I had to work hard to get ahead during the first half of the year.
While hopping around the world over the past two weeks, I did a personal check-in on the progress. Am I on track? Am I in trouble?
The verdict: it looks like I’m doing OK. I’m not tremendously far ahead of schedule, but I’m not far behind either. 144 countries down, less than 50 (technically 48) countries remain… a few easy ones, a bunch of hard ones, and another big group in the middle. Here’s what they look like.
A couple weeks ago I went to Powell’s and heard J.D. Roth talk about taking personal responsibility over your financial life. “No one will ever care about your money as much as you do,” he said.
Very true. And you can say the same about your career, your dreams, your goals, and pretty much anything else that is personal and important. When we stop waiting for someone else to come along and make something happen for us, everything moves a lot quicker.
The reasons we fail to begin are frequently cited as: time, money, or something else external. The reasons we actually fail to begin are often: fear, inertia, or something else internal.
It’s socially acceptable to blame our indecisiveness on a lack of resources. Everyone understands when you say you’re waiting for a change in situation before beginning. But in fact, it’s relatively easy to deal with the lack of resources. What’s harder is taking the first, critical steps toward overcoming the internal obstacles.
My favorite part of reading case studies and interviewing entrepreneurs over the past couple of months has been hearing a number of stories with a recurring theme. In dozens of variations, the stories usually sound like this:
"I was down to my last $400 and simply had to make it work…"
"I gave up the option to take a reduced role at my job and just went full-tilt…"
"I didn’t know what I was doing, but I finally overcame everything I was stalling on and just started …"
Refusing the backup plan is a key theme of many successful entrepreneurs and other heroes. A good backup plan creates safety, security and a fall-back option—things you don’t want when you’re trying to change the world.
Will Smith put it like this: "Your Plan B interferes with Plan A." I like that. Why not stick with Plan A?
The Pilot, The Plan
Turning down the safe advice ("be careful, take your time," etc.) makes some people uncomfortable.
When you proceed full-on with no backup, you might encounter questions or supposedly unassailable examples of why backup plans are necessary.
You’ll hear something like "Airplane pilots always have a Plan B," as if it’s an open-and-shut case that you’re wrong to chart a course without considering the contingencies. And when you are presented with such logic, you are expected to say: "Oh, you’re right! It really is better to play it safe. Gosh."
But hold on a minute. Personally, I want my pilot to safely land the damn plane. Assuming that’s Plan A, I’m happy to stick with it. Anything else doesn’t sound like a good plan to me.
We can change our tactics and maybe even our strategy, but let’s not change the goal. The goal is: be awesome. Change the world. Win. In short: Your backup plan is your plan.
Don’t get me wrong; I know that change is a scary thing, and I don’t think prudence is inherently bad. If you need to proceed with caution, proceed away.
But I also know that sometimes the fail-safe plan gives us a safe way out of what we really need to do. It holds us back from greatness. And if there’s anything we don’t want when attempting something truly important, it’s that. Full speed ahead!
So how about you over there… what’s your plan?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/30/michael.jackson.jpg caption="Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' made the L'Osservatore Romano's list of the best rock albums of all time."]
Today, the Vatican's daily newspaper, "L'Osservatore Romano" published a list of the best rock albums of all time. They are as follows:
The Beatles' "Revolver"
Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon"
Oasis' "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?"
Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
U2's "Achtung Baby"
Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours"
Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly"
Carlos Santana's "Supernatural"
Paul Simon's "Graceland"
David Crosby's "If I Could Only Remember My Name"
This got us thinking about our favorite rock albums. Things are getting slightly contentious here in the AC360° newsroom. We also asked Anderson to come up with his list.
Can you predict what's on Anderson's list?
What's on YOUR list?
Post a comment below and we'll let you know if you're right tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Are you a news expert? Do you like trivia? Check out the new CNN Challenge and put your knowledge to the test!
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/TRAVEL/01/04/dubai.skyscraper/smlvid.burj.gi.jpg width=300 height=169]
Things are looking up in Dubai. Way, way up.
The Arab emirate's colossal, multibillion-dollar skyscraper, Burj Dubai, opens for business Monday, stretching 168 stories and 2,684 feet into the desert sky.
The "At the Top" observation deck, at the 123rd floor, isn't really at the top, but it's plenty high enough.
"No question, the tower is going to be a huge draw for people who want to get up there," said George Efstathiou, Burj Dubai's lead architect and managing partner for the Chicago, Illinois, architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
Burj Dubai boasts a towering list of superlatives:
• World's tallest building
• World's tallest free-standing structure
• World's highest occupied floor
• World's highest outdoor observation deck
• World's longest-traveling elevator (1,640 feet, traveled in two minutes)
This story gives new meaning to the phrase badge of honor. After all, it is a badge that is credited with saving Oakland Police Officer Joshua Smith's life, after a man shot him at point-blank range.
"It felt like someone hit me in the chest with a baseball bat," Smith said, speaking out for the first time since the shooting on Christmas Eve.
"I couldn't breathe, I couldn't catch my breath. At that point I was worried about finding a wound and stopping the bleeding," Smith said.
But there was no wound, and there was no bleeding, thanks to his steel badge. Officer Smith says it all started at one in the morning Christmas Eve when he spotted a car weaving wildly on Highway 64 in Oakland.
He pulled the car with an expired temporary tag over and ordered the driver to get out for a field sobriety test. The passenger also got out, and swung a knife at Smith. As Smith subdued the passenger, the driver pulled a gun out and shot Smith at point-blank range.