Esc Member Rob Young headed to the World Domination Summit in Portland this year. His post explains what it is, what he learned and why you should go next year.

The World Domination Summit? Is that some kind of conference for G20 leaders? One for Bond villains? Not exactly. It’s the creation of Chris Guillebeau, author of the hugely popular Art of Non Conformity blog.

It’s a gathering of 1000 diverse, amazing, unconventional people, which aims to explore “How to live a remarkable life in a conventional world”. It would be underselling to merely call it a conference, although doing so would have saved me a very suspicious grilling on my trip there – seems US border control take world domination rather seriously!

The weekend consisted of keynote speakers, group workshops, chances to meet people, and a huge closing party. Oh and Chris gave away $100,000.

I immersed myself in the experience and came away with a notebook full of thoughts, messages and truths about myself and the world. I’ve collected 10 things I found most useful as a guide for myself. I’d love to share them with you.

1 – Be uncool and vulnerable

Being cool stifles interaction and relationships, which is what life is all about. Put simply, who you are trumps what you think people want you to be. Being vulnerable means opening yourself up to the possibility of bad things happening to you, but this is the only way to allow good things to happen. Watch Brené speak about it here.

2 – Define your own success

Escape readers are a successful bunch, who’ve taken achieving success into their own hands. Go one step further and define your own version of what success actually is. If you’ve followed a route from good school grades to university to graduate job to promotion, then success has been mapped out for you until now. Is it really your own success? Refuse to let others define what your goal should be.

3 – Happiness is unrelated to what you possess

Society has made chasing material things the norm. The relationship between these and your happiness is tenuous at best, inverse at worst. Living consciously and buying what you need will show that you require less than you think. Needing less opens up options for how you earn a living and what you do with your time.

4 – Comparison is a waste of energy

If you’ve defined your own success, who cares how you measure up to anyone else? Keep your eyes on your own prize.

5 – Connect and engage

Everything is easier with a support team. Find yours. Use them. Support others. Be generous. Listen. You can learn something from everyone, and equally your experience can give a unique perspective.

6 – The opposite of fear is inaction

The only way to go through life without experiencing some level of fear and trepidation is to do nothing. If you don’t feel uncomfortable, you’re probably not progressing. Your escape is unlikely to be completely smooth sailing, and that’s a good thing.

7 – Action is the key to change

You can’t think your way to achieving something. Take action, however small. Planning is better than dreaming, but in turn, action beats planning. Feels uncomfortable? See #6

8 – You don’t need to know anything if you’re confident

This doesn’t mean you should be all mouth and no backup. It means if you get started, you’ll figure things out along the way. Be confident that you will find a way. Value tenacity over skills.

9 – Say “Hell Yeah”

Don’t just yes. Yes is a powerful answer, but “Hell Yeah” means you’ll love it. Do what excites you. Say no the “meh” stuff.

10 – Success and courage are not always glamorous

There will be times when it’s difficult, monotonous, thankless, mind numbing, impossible. Everyone feels this, they just don’t tell you about it. Hang in there, it will be worth it.

Since the summit was about being unconventional, here’s number 11 on my list of 10. If I could give just one piece of advice to follow for your escape it would be:

11 – Take action and you will be rewarded

Make something happen. Put things into the world as soon as you can. Before they’re finished, before you’re comfortable with them. Accept feedback from those that matter and ignore everyone else. What’s the worst that could happen?

See you there next year?

Photo Credit: Armosa Studios