Journalist to Walk the World

For a spine-ripping blast of inspiration check out the story of Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Paul Salopek who is preparing to do a 22,000 seven year walk from Africa across Asia through the Americas, tracing the route anthropologists believe was the first path humans took out of Africa to populate the rest of the world.

The Wanderer by Johnny Cash from Matt Devir on Vimeo.

The veteran reporter says:

I could go back and work for a newspaper as a foreign correspondent. I loved that. But why not use those skills I’ve developed for the last 15 years or so on a project of my own? One that may attempt to add a layer of meaning to international news that is missing in our business.

There is so much to love about this, I don’t know where to start. The brilliance of the idea. The audacity of the goal. The sheer conjones required to set off on foot into the desert.

I suddenly feel it’s time to supersize my ambitions.

What’s your wildest dream?

How To Quit Comfortably

Bidding farewell to something that doesn’t work for you should be an opportunity to affirm what is good in your life, and to celebrate moving forward.

For that to happen, though, you need to approach exits in a positive, productive way. It’s easy to find plus points to giving up cigarettes or getting out of a moribund relationship. Leaving a job, however, especially a decent job, can be tricky.

You may have mixed emotions. Change is daunting, giving up the security of a familiar situation can be stressful, people may question your choice. (Ignore them. They don’t understand and it isn’t your duty to explain.) For your own sake, think through your transition before you write that letter. Plan how you’re going to make the process of quitting work for you.

How to Quit Comfortably:

1. Check Your Contract – Be sure you know what your notice period is, rules about using holiday, confidentiality policy, gardening leave, etc

2. Write your resignation letter then wait – Take at least 24 between writing your letter and submitting it. Ensure it is clear, professional, error-free and neutral. This is not the place to rant about your colleagues or complain about your pay.

3. Stay productive – It’s tempting to slack off but frankly, staring at Facebook doesn’t make the day go any faster. Be professional, do your work well, if only for your sake.

4. Be present – Once you’ve made the decision to quit it is natural to focus on the future. By all means start laying the groundwork for your next step, whether it’s researching a new industry or planning a DIY project, but don’t try to micro-manage a future that isn’t here yet.

5. Decide what to take with you – Not your favourite mug, or the contents of the stationary cupboard, but the intangibles. Every job, even (or especially) the bad ones can teach you something if you’re willing to learn. Identify and write down 10 positive things you can take from the role.

6. …And what to leave – Jobs are like relationships: bad ones condition you to accept being unhappy and set you up for more dissatisfaction. Figure out what frustrated you and use this awareness to avoid repeating negative patterns.

7. Detach from other peoples’ emotions – If your boss and colleagues are supportive, fantastic; if not, so what? This isn’t about them. Same goes for friends, partner, family, and acquaintances. You can acknowledge their views without getting emotionally invested.

8. Surround yourself with good things – Quitting can be tough so make the rest of your life easy. Socialise more (or less); exercise; go away for a weekend; do more of what you love.

9. Give feedback– As a quitter you have the privilege of speaking truth to “power” without repercussions. An honest exit interview is closure for you and an opportunity for your employer to make things better for your replacement.

10. Celebrate!

Big Quitters Start Small

Quitting is an exercise like any other. You don’t have to rush in and try to deadlift the heaviest thing in your life. The big, scary weights aren’t going anywhere so you may as well start with something you can pick up.

For example, when I went to Mexico I quit buying facial cleanser. At first, it was just because I was flying hand-luggage only and it was over the 100ml size limit. So I took off without it. A few days of soap and water on the road and… nothing happened. My skin – long accustomed to expensive cleansers and moisturisers – remained exactly the same. It didn’t flake off or swell up or go greasy.

Now I use Dove bar soap once a day, which costs less than a quid and lasts for months. This represents a considerable savings over £6-£10 on a cream cleanser that lasts a few weeks, so switching has saved me a lot of money.

More importantly, once I realised that ‘cleanse, tone, moisturise’ is pure marketing bullshit I started wondering “what else do I really not need?”

Turns out I can live without a huge handbag collection and a closetful of impractical shoes. Nothing bad has happened as a result of only owning one winter coat and one pair of trainers. Sure, I still have loads of stuff I treasure and would hate to get rid of but it’s good to know I don’t need it.

Join the IQ Club

Join the IQ Club — because smart people know when to quit.

Quitting is good. Seriously. If you want to be happier right now quit something.

What bugs you? Your job? Your crummy relationship? The headlines? Carpooling? Organising play dates for your kids? Pretending to be interested in your friend’s kids? Grocery shopping?

Whatever it is, take a deep breath and say – preferably aloud – “I Quit.”

You can. You are an adult, of sound mind and free will. Act like one. Do not say “I can’t.” If you won’t, be honest and say that. But don’t say “can’t”.

We’ve been sold this bullshit that in order to improve our lives we need to do more. So we run ourselves ragged to work harder, go to the gym more, eat six small meals a day, be more sociable, catch up on the latest whatever, do up the spare room… the list runs on forever. As long as we play that game we’ll always be a few tick-boxes away from perfection, so quit.

What do you have to lose? Bad habits, bad relationships, boring friends, time-and-money wasting hobbies you don’t really enjoy, uncomfortable shoes, the respect of people you don’t give a shit about anyway.

The reason a lot of us don’t quit stuff is we’re scared to falling behind. Bollocks to that. Let’s stop chasing impossibilities and revel in taking control. Be a proud quitter.

Join the IQ Club by posting a comment saying what you’re quitting, email or Tweet @CilaWarncke with your IQ(uit) pledge. My favourite “quit” wins a bar of chocolate and a copy of “On Self-Respect” so hit me up and make it interesting!

Inspiration via Salma Hayek

Never thought I’d find myself quoting an A-list Hollywood actress for her wisdom but hey, life is full of surprises. Salma Hayek’s advice to “ambitious women” is too brilliant to not share.

You have to believe in yourself. You have to take care of yourself, work for yourself, believe in yourself, and also be patient with yourself. Learn when not to push too hard, and give yourself a break. Make sure that what you want is what you want, and not what society expexts of you, or how you can impress the idiots.

Job Satisfaction – Yes You Can


Morrissey nailed the British attitude towards work when he sang:


I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
And heaven knows I’m miserable now

A handful of Londoners I know are passionate about their work (all of them self-employed). A minority of content, sensible people treat their jobs as a means to an end. Mostly, though, people complain. In shops, on buses, at the gym, they moan about the commute, the politics, the gossip, the tea-round, the reports, the boss, the admin, the atmosphere, the expectations, the air conditioning, the meetings, the colleagues, the parties, the salary, the prospects, and the tedium. Yet they get up every morning and go to work.

The most common justification for this self-defeating behaviour? “Because not everyone can have their dream job”.

True. But just because not everyone can have a job they love is no reason for you (and you, and you, and you) to not try. There are people who can’t afford food, but you don’t let that stop you eating, do you? The plain fact is a lot of intelligent, educated, able-bodied, skilled, geographically and socio-economically privileged chose to play the victim-of-circumstance because it is easier than changing.

I’m not talking about conscious compromise of the: “I hate my job but it pays mad money so I do it anyway” sort, but the inexcusable: “I hate my job and want to do something different but I can’t.”

Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time, “can’t” is bullshit. It’s a euphemism for “won’t”, or “I’m scared”, or “I don’t know how”.

Each of those is a legitimate sentiment when honestly held and expressed. Otherwise, it’s a pitiable excuse.

I know because I’ve spent most of my adult life making excuses and mistakes, copping out, compromising, and selling myself short. Until I realised there is no fairy godmother in the wings. Nobody is going to give me permission to live my dreams. If I want job satisfaction I must choose to be satisfied.

I have options – lots of ’em. If I choose to not exercise them, fine, but I cannot pretend they don’t exist. It is dishonest, and disrespectful to people who are genuinely struggling.

People who are working for sheer survival don’t have time for self-pity.

Need some inspiration? Read on…
Meet the Pickleman
Ms Cupcake’s Sweet Success
How To Do What You Really Want