If you’re subscribed to my newsletter (you are, right?!), you’ll know I recently attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) in Portland, Oregon. This amazing conference is spearheaded by Chris Guillebeau, who traveled to every single country in the world (before the age of 35!) and wrote The Art of Non-Conformity (one of my favorite books ever).
WDS is based on three core values: community, service, and adventure, and is basically a gathering of incredible people each changing the world in their own way. Suffice it to say it gave me a LOT to think about — what I can do better and how I can be of more service.
There were SO many inspirational people, in fact, it was difficult for me to keep track of all the projects I discovered and ideas I learned. That’s why I wanted to compile them all into one big blog post — a healthy dose of inspirational superfood, if you will!
Whether you went or not, I think you’ll find inspiration in the quotes and projects below:
16 Inspirational Quotes from WDS 2014
2. “Very few people changed the world by sitting on their couch.” – AJ Jacobs
3. “Once in your life, taking a little leap of faith is worth it.” – Gavin Aung Than
4. “We have enough non-profits; we just don’t have enough citizens engaging.” – Shannon Galpin
6. “Don’t let the urgent take precedent over the important.” – Michael Hyatt
7. “Measure success by how you’re showing up in your relationships.” – Dee Williams
8. “Because I wasn’t listening, I wasn’t learning.” – John Francis
9. “Stay insanely curious and see what sticks.” – Jadah Sellner
11. “Bold statements help you define what you do; they help you think through what you really want.” – Elise Blaha
12. “The way you find the answers to your problems will be unique to you.” – Scott Berkun
14. “Make good choices.” – John Jantsch
15. “What single brave decision do I need to make today?” – Michael Hyatt
11 Inspirational Projects from WDS 2014
1. Mountain2Mountain: The overarching goal of this organization is to create “education and opportunity for women and girls in conflict regions.” Mostly working in Afghanistan, its founder Shannon Galpin, has used everything from art to mountain biking to effect change.
2. The Global Family Reunion: Using revolutionary genealogy websites like Geni and Wikitree, AJ Jacobs has discovered that he has… cousins. A lot of them. (Including Olivia Wilde and Abraham Lincoln!) In fact, everyone on earth is 50th cousins or less. Besides for the fact this brings history alive, Jacobs is hoping this interconnectedness will lead to a kinder world. In that vein, he’s holding the world’s largest family reunion next June in NYC. This event is going to be super unique and awesome — and even better, all of the profits will go to Alzheimer’s research. We / are / family!
3. ADHD Kids Rock: One of WDS’ “Scholarship for Real Life” winners from 2014, Jeff Rasmussen is one inspirational kid. And yes, I mean kid. He’s only 14, but he’s creating an online community for kids with ADHD (and their parents and teachers), providing support and education for all involved.
4. BotJoy: Gary Hirsch is an American artist who wakes up every day thinking about how art can help the world. His answer: “Brave Bots,” which are beautiful hand-painted dominoes “programmed to bring you joy.” Not only does he donate his bots to children’s hospitals and non-profits, he encourages others to steal his idea and create their own bots!
5. Neighbor’s Table: Sounds like this is going to be fun way to promote connection via food and conversation. More eloquently, in their words: “A vision for a national, unprecedented movement of ordinary people loving extraordinarily around the table.”
6. Expedition Unity: After leaving behind a life of drugs, Akshay Nanavati joined the Marines and served in Iraq. When he returned home, he was diagnosed with PTSD. In order to make his life and world better, he is now running across every country in the world, raising one million dollars for charity along the way. Need I say more?
7. LGBTQ First Clue: Another “Scholarship for Real Life” winner, this project is unique and powerful. Rather than focus on “coming out” stories, Susan Sullivan is creating a web-based media project that will ask LGBTQ individuals “What was your first clue that you were a lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender?”
8. The Aperture Project: This cool org engages young people through creative writing and photography. They hope their participants will be able to “express themselves more effectively, find common ground and ultimately use these skills to manage conflict and create a more peaceful, cooperative society.”
9. The Poemcatcher: Though this isn’t a typical charity, it is such a fun idea that I had to share it. The Poemcatcher travels to different events, asking people to write pieces of themselves onto paper, and literally catching their poems in a net. He then creates books out of the poems, which you can buy on his site.
10. Good Food Jobs: Also not a typical charity, but very cool. Taylor Cocalis and Dorothy Neagle founded this site as a community for people interested in “meaningful food work” — ie. with farmers, policy-makers, food organizations, etc. The first of its kind, and super neat.
11. MINDDRIVE: This is one of my favorites: an afterschool program that lets at-risk high-school students convert gas-powered cars into electric vehicles. To celebrate completion of the program, the students go on a road trip — in the car they converted! Best of all, “One of the byproducts of the program is that students see the practical application of the seemingly endless hours learning algebra into a task they can touch, see and build.”
Please help these wonderful people and projects out by clicking through the links and learning more! Which one speaks to you the most? (And if I missed anything, please let me know in the comments!)