World Domination Summit 2012

07/11/12

World Domination Summit 2012 ended last Sunday. It was my 2nd time to attend this conference (I wrote about the first one here). This year, it was twice the size from last year, and it was amazing to see this beautiful theater filled with 1000 attendees. What’s more, apparently some 5000 more people wanted to come.

The most memorable speaker for me was Brené Brown. I wasn’t familiar with her work before I heard her speak, but I am now a fan. She talked about vulnerability.  The topic happened to coincide with an area I’ve been  working on these past few years. Most of us are so afraid of being or feeling vulnerable. She then talked about the value of keeping our heart open even when we want to shut down, withdraw or hide, because that is what keeps us connected with people, and with the world. It’s what makes us feel. She said that “the capacity to be wholehearted can’t be greater than your willingness to be heartbroken”.

After seeing her speak, and sharing the experience of singing the song “Don’t stop believing”, a popular song by Journey, with everyone in the theater full of people, I remember thinking “this alone was worth coming here”. You can read a back story of this occurring in a blog post by Brandon Sutton, who took over the microphone from Chris (in picture) after a while. Reading Brandon’s post reminded me that nothing is quite how it seems on surface, as he looked calm and confident as if he was practicing for this performance…

Then there was Cal Newport, author of “How to be a high school superstar”. He talked about how thefamiliar advice of “Follow your passion” is a bad career advice, based on his research and discovery. He said that nothing is quite as simple as the phrase suggests. He talked about the value of craftsmanship, spending 10,000 hours or more to be truly great at something, how we all should want to strive for mastery – and how the most satisfied and happy people at their jobs share common “patterns” in their career paths. When you come to this kind of conference and hear the speakers talk, you might think that the people up on the stage make everything so easy, and “anyone can do what they can do”. Or just the opposite, they might make you think that they possess something special  that you don’t, and you can’t do what they do. The truth, of course, may lie somewhere in between. Anything worth doing, and more importantly, anything that creates a lasting impact will take time to master, and one needs to put in some serious effort. Those who are the happiest at their job have spent time doing the work and got really good at a rare and valuable skill, to the point that they can leverage those “career capital” to gain general traits(characteristics of the life you want), so their life can be filled with the value of their choice. Cal concluded his speech with this remark “Do what Steve Jobs did, NOT what he said”, meaning that when you closely look at his career, creating a computer was not his #1 passion to begin with. According to Cal, if Steve Jobs had followed his passion back then, he probably would have become Zen instructor. Overall, I enjoyed Cal’s speech a lot. It reminded me that in the world of instant gratification, sticking to one thing and pursue until it becomes your passion, has lots of value. It can also be a good relationship/marriage advice. Rather than try to find what you love, learn to love what you already have….

Then there was Chris Guillebeau. At the end of these mind-turning, heart-opening, inspiration-loaded 2 days, he managed to shock us once again. He shared that unlike last year where they lost about $30,000, this year they came out ahead and made a small profit.  Then he talked about an anonymous donation that came after the last year’s summit. He announced that he would invest that money in us, the 1000 attendees of this conference. He told us that we were all going to receive a $100 each when we walk out of the venue, so we could do something good and meaningful with it. When he said that, I felt like I could hear what people are saying in their heads while quietly gasping in shock and disbelief. The picture above was taken when he just announced. In the end, we walked away with an envelop which contained $100 bill and a small card that said “Thanks for making #WDS2012 a fantastic experience. We’d love to see how you can put these funds to good use. Start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different – it’s up to you”.

How will my life be different because of this experience? How can I make someone’s life different, or make a positive change in this world? These are the big questions I still need to answer. But first thing first, my birthday is coming up in exactly 3 days! Since I pledged to give up my next birthday at the end of the presentation by Scott Harrison for his charity: water,  I created this page and started a campaign to raise money so we can give more people access to clean water all over the world. Please join me to make it happen!

Thank you Chris, the action team and the ambassadors, all of the speakers, and all those who attended and became part of this experience!

*Photos by Armosa  Studios

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