I attended my second Word Domination Summit in Portland OR (https://worlddominationsummit.com/). Many former coworkers and current business acquaintances have asked me to explain what the World Domination Summit is and I often fail to describe it in the right words. As the memory of this year’s conference is still fresh in my mind I decided to write so that I can just offer this article to everyone rather than making up answers every time.
So the million-dollar question, what is the World Domination Summit? No, it is not related to “Deep State” taking over the world nor does it have to do anything with what is in your mind. World Domination Summit is a gathering or community of humans trying to answer the profound question, “How do we live a remarkable life in a Conventional World”. In 2011 Chris Guillebeau (https://chrisguillebeau.com/ ) can be found at (Chris Guillebeau, Twitter, Instagram) invited 500 friends to Portland OR and started this journey and now includes more than 10,000 people from all 50 states and more than 40 countries worldwide. Another unique aspect of this conference, to date by design, there are no sponsors for this large event as all of the conference costs are run just by ticket sales, and any leftover money after the conference is completed is donated to a charity. There are many event organizers who need to come to this event and get schooled on how this small core team of 10 people and volunteer ambassadors run a mega-event like this.
So why go to this event or what kind of audience is in attendance for this event. There are people from all walks of life like Business and Lifestyle coaches, Small Business Owners, ER Nurses, School Teachers, Travel Vloggers, Corporate Executives, Instagram Influencers etc. The advantage of having such a diverse audience is that there is so much learning happening as we encounter so many people with different experiences. A world away from the regular startup conferences which I go to which are all clamoring to fund the new “last mile delivery app” or blockchain project solving “humanities every pain point”. This gathering is about you and only you and not about your achievements and wins. It’s about being vulnerable and talks about your trials and scars with an empathetic audience and you will never be judged.
Unlike the formats of all other conferences, even the format and layout of this conference is different. The conference officially runs only two days over the weekend but starting a week prior, people start flocking into Portland OR. This is because a large part of the conference is attendee-led meetups which happens Monday to Friday and beyond. These are mini-events organized by the attendees happening in the park, a library, a corporate conference room, or in someone’s house. These are the best and of the highest quality. As much as I learn during the conference days I learn more attending these meetups. You can have meetups for anything like blogging and SEO, how to be comfortable on video, Writers Block, Ukulele playing and of course, beer crawls. There is an opening party on Fridays usually and a closing party on Sunday night. On the session days when lunchtime comes there is a break for 4hours, to have lunch, relax, reenergize, attend any additional meetups or take a nap, I just love that scheduling.
So we started on the first day with Laura Vanderkam (https://lauravanderkam.com/) can be found at, (Laura Vanderkam, Twitter, Instagram, Podcast — Best Of Both Worlds) well known time management and productivity guru. She talked about the importance of measuring your current state before you go to improving your future state. Also, the fact that there are 168 hours per week and life should be planned around 168 hours and not around 40 hours.
Next up was Humble The Poet aka Kanwar Singh (https://www.humblethepoet.com/) can be found at (HumbleThePoet .com, Twitter, Instagram). His book Unlearn — 101 Simple Truths For a Better Life is a good read. A great storyteller who talked about rising from nothing, reaching peaks, and then falling back to the ground and again rising. A lot of truths about mortality and dreams and going on different paths to achieve those dreams. A quote from his dad which was put up as an answer to a question of doing a radical life change was “Do what you want to do we will all be dead soon”.
The final speaker of the first day was Nate Staniforth (https://www.natestaniforth.com/ ) can be found at (Twitter, Instagram). Nate Staniforth is a magician, writer traveler and host of Discovery Channels International hit TV Series Breaking Magic. Nate talked about embracing who you are letting yourself enjoy the magic around. He mentions and I quote “I observed that as we get older it becomes harder to be truly amazed at everything and in the hustle of daily living it is easy to forget how everything looked before it became ordinary. Sometimes you hear a song, read a book or look up at the night sky and say “Wow” or that’s amazing or fuck yeah because that sense of wonder is better than anything. It reminds you that despite everything you can still find magic in the world around you if you remember to look”. Here is a magician who had done countless shows yet on the WDS stage he was attempting something for the first time. He was nervous and his hands were shaking but still, he performed the act on a WDS stage as he knew that even if he failed he had a crowd that will not judge.
There were other moments on stage on the first day, like a video of Chris wanting to replicate the organizational acuities of the FYRE Festival founder (Billy McFarland), or opening the WDS jumping out a trunk cos the planning had been orchestrated by DJ Prashant. We also had Scott Young (https://www.scotthyoung.com/ ) can be found at (Twitter, Instagram) who talked about Ultra learning and his travails on completing in a year the Computer Engineering MIT MOOC Course which is a 4-year course at the University. Also, James Victore (https://www.jamesvictore.com/ ) who can be found at (Twitter, Instagram) a graphics designer, art educator and dynamic speaker on creativity who talked about that it’s in you and you are born with everything that you need and the things that made you weird as a kid make you great today. He also has a great title for a book “Feck Perfuction — Dangerous Ideas on the Business of Life”.
The highlight for me for the second day was Tania Katan (https://taniakatan.com/) who can be found at (Twitter, Instagram). A co-creator of #ItWasNeverADress campaign which was an invitation to shift perceptions and assumptions about women and the audacious, sensitive, and powerful gestures they make every single day. There are no cookie cutter rules to success so we need to go explore and achieve success our way was the crux of the humour-filled talk. A lot about her own story within Corporate America and her fight against cancer and the lessons learned and success achieved.
The next one to remember was from a 21-year-old Nadya Okamoto (Twitter, Instagram) who created a non-profit from scratch as a 16-year-old. She is still the Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization PERIOD (https://www.period.org/) as well as ran for Cambridge council as the youngest person of Asian origin to run for office in the USA and also co-founded a Gen Z Marketing company called as JUV Consulting (https://www.juvconsulting.com/). Yes, and I will be repeating myself but she is only 21 years of age.
The last memorable one was from Marsha Shandur (http://www.yesyesmarsha.com/) can be found at (Twitter, Instagram), who understands that telling stories can change the world and she coaches 100s of storytellers across the globe. The biggest message from her is to stop hearing the negative voice on your shoulder (or as she calls it the beast). Her four-step plan is to first notice if you have this voice, understand why the voice is pushing for a negative outcome, acknowledge and understand the possibilities and then push through with your mission.
Other than that during the day, we heard from Jonathan Fields(https://www.jonathanfields.com/) (Twitter, Instagram) is a national bestselling author and founder of Good Life Project (https://www.goodlifeproject.com/) a top ranked podcast and a mission-driven community who talked about putting a stake in the ground and plan backwards. We also had Trystan Reese (Twitter, Instagram) gay trans dad, working as a social justice professional and his view on how the world can embrace diversity. Also, there was Jill Schlesinger (https://www.jillonmoney.com/ ) can be found at (Twitter, Instagram) an Emmy nominated and a Gracie Award-winning journalist for CBS News talking about the dumb things that smart people do with their money and how to avoid those pitfalls.
This was followed by the official closing party which took place at Redd East where it was again DJ Prashant ( https://dreamprashant.com/)and there were ball pits for grownups, mechanical bulls and llamas. Other than the craziness (in a good way) that is WDS I don’t think I will ever have a chance to write about a Bollywood entertainer, an entertainment artefact from a Western Texas bar, a kids fun place and an Andes Mountain, South American native animal in one sentence.
This year I also had the pleasure co-running a meetup of my own “Bloggers of the world unite” combining forces with the always smiling Haley Fiorenza Donavan who is a blogger, optimist and explorer and blogs at (https://www.halesfromthecitycity.com/). We discussed the stories of the 24 attendees wrt to blogging, discussed best practices, monetization techniques, SEO and marketing, niching down or mass appeal and many more subjects. We were also joined by Michael Rucker a former beat writer for digital publications like About.com and currently blogs about fun at (https://michaelrucker.com/).
So what were the 10 takeaways from the conference
1. Life is impulsive and compulsive, to begin with, so start living your life now cos we will all be dead soon anyway.
2. Time is Elastic, number of hours in a day isn’t important but what is important is whether the task at hand holds priority for you
3. Build macro goals and keep micro tasks and schedules to reach your macro goals
4. Embrace your weirdness
5. If you don’t know how to do something start with the company that Larry and Sergei built.
6. When it comes to financial decision making always stick with KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).
7. The negative voice on your shoulder needs to be acknowledged but we still need to push through and make our own decisions.
8. Observe magic in your day to day life cos the miracle is always in front of you just need the right mindset to see it as such.
Living a remarkable life in a conventional world also means I can just write 8 takeaways cos that is how much I can remember and I don’t care that my header mentions 10.
The other reason for writing this article was also that WDS2020 will be the last WDS and we won’t have any more. So if anyone is still on the edge and not sure what to expect please read this and make your mind soon as you have one last shot as after that it’s not coming back.
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