I Went to World Domination Summit 2012

Last weekend, I went to Chris Guillebeau's World Domination Summit 2012 in Portland, Oregon.

World Domination Summit stage

I flew there in an airplane, of course.

airplane wing

I almost immediately found myself at a party with sumo wrestling suits, ping pong, a dunk tank, people doing yoga, food carts, a balloon artist, and a real, live marching band.

balloon hat

I was surprised at how I felt as soon as I was there. I felt such a strong pull toward each person I spoke to. It was both exhilarating and exhausting.

a street in Portland

So I went back to the hotel early and slept. Life is way too freaking intense, maaaaan.

Brene Brown leading us in a rousing rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'"

I spent most of the World Domination Summit listening to powerful storytellers like Brené Brown and Scott Harrison and J.D. Roth and Susan Cain.

They made me want to run back to my hotel room and let the words run away with me. They don't just say You can do it! They say You can do it! And there are practical things you can do to get you there if you want to work really hard! These people mean what they say.

It's refreshing when there are so many who are willing to pep talk you to death with inane shit about how you are awesome and hot and can do anything you want to just because you believe you can because the Secret and faeries and unicorns are all real in your heart, and what is real in your heart is what creates the world, because egomaniacism rules the universe or something.

I just made egomaniacism a word. So there.

The question leading the conference was "How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?" What I heard most throughout the weekend was that we all have this immense power to lead interesting lives and put more good out into the world if we are willing to put ourselves out there and do the work and leverage our available resources. This is what I live by, and it was uplifting to be around so many people who know this, too.

Blair at breakfast

I have a strong aversion to talk of the relationship between love and/or personal growth — be it spiritual or otherwise — and one's ability to become wealthy and/or successful.

I want to be clear that the WDS speakers themselves did not directly reflect this philosophy, but there is often a thread of I-became-a-better-person-and-the-money-followed running through these kinds of inspirational business happenings, and I found it in some of my conversations. I have nothing against good people making money, but tying their relationship with that money to their moral and ethical high ground screams of immense bullshit to me.

Negative people who do bad things get rich. Positive people who do good things get rich. Negative people sometimes do good things that improve the planet to improve their social standing. Positive people sometimes do good things that improve the planet to improve the planet. The universe didn't open a path to more money for the good person because they were good any more than the universe opened a path to more money for the bad person because they were bad. People make money because they figure out how and do it. There are a million ways to get there, and moral and ethical superiority aren't what makes the universe draw your lottery number.

The universe is kind of jerk that way. It doesn't serve humanity.

Of course, I really believe that not being a huge jerk will help you get to where you want to go faster than being a huge jerk. That's not magic, that's being a decent human being, and I'll admit that it helps, but you still might lose all your money, find yourself estranged from your family, and die in a freak roofing accident without ever having accomplished your life dreams, because that's how it works.

Bad things happening to you are not proof of your inferior goodness, and being good won't stop bad things from happening.

I know. This is the most uplifting one-sided gab-fest you've ever witnessed.

Christy Stahl and me

And then I had a few meals with Christy Stahl (above, of Vintagology on Etsy and The Grandway Theatre) and Blair Glaser and Krista Carnes. It was a relief to let my brain stop its whirring for a bit and get in touch with some truly nice conference companions.

Whenever you go to a conference, find yourself at least one down-to-earth, proper sense-talking conversation and idea partner. I found three, because I am very lucky.

post-dinner coffee in Portland

After much hashing and rehashing with others and then writing out my thoughts alone, I came to the conclusion that I have no firm idea yet how to move forward business-wise, but I have figured out that time management is probably closer to a spiritual practice for me than anything else, and I need to wrangle with some issues to get my deal with time smoothed out.

I would be more clear about that matter if I could right now, but I'm still figuring out how to put it down in words so that it makes perfect sense rather than making me sound like a crazy person with a feather in my turban and an acrylic crystal ball who claims that space aliens gave me my true name.

Not that I have anything against people with befeathered turbans and space alien names. That's just not my style.

Krista Carnes at Powell's Books in Portland

So, as you can probably tell, I haven't worked out all of what happened at the World Domination Summit and what it did for me, but that's good. It was a big, meaty conference with a grand dose of food for thought topped off with a Bollywood dance party cherry at the Crystal Ballroom. I've barely finished chewing.

prop plane

If I can make it happen to get to the World Domination Summit in 2013, I'll be there, because anything that can get this deep under my skin is worth the price of admission.

Thank you, Chris Guillebeau. You've created something truly remarkable with the World Domination Summit, and I'm excited to see where we all go because you brought us together.

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